Auckland Council Libraries: Rare books

Rare books

He pukapuka puiaki

We hold a number of important collections of rare books, ranging from former governor Sir George Grey's collection to contemporary private press publications.

Rare book collections are housed in the Heritage Collections Reading Room on the second floor of the Central City Library. Make an appointment with a specialist librarian to access these in the Heritage Collections Reading Room by emailing

This collection can also be viewed at Kura Heritage Collections Online. They include New Zealand rare books, including books printed in te reo Māori, as well as one of the most significant collections of international rare books held in the country.

Sir George Grey’s collection formed the foundation of the collections, but it has been continually added to by later donors and the library. Highlights include all four folios of William Shakespeare and William Blake's America and Europe. These books are for reference only and can be viewed in the reading room on the second floor.

All of the books in the printed collections have been listed in the library catalogue.


Meet a Rare Book podcast

Know more about rare books held in Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections in this podcast series.

Librarian Georgia Prince talks about what makes these books special, sharing stories about why and how they were made, who bought them and read them, and how they found their way into our public library.

Angela Morton Collection

The Angela Morton Collection is a reference collection of books and other materials covering the visual arts of New Zealand from pre-European times to the present day. It is a memorial collection dedicated to the late Angela Morton, a North Shore resident devoted to New Zealand art. The nucleus of the collection was funded from an original family bequest in 1985. The collection can be accessed during opening hours at Takapuna Library.



The title page to 'Europe a prophecy' by William Blake


Auckland Council Libraries:Rare books We hold a number of important collections of rare books, ranging from former governor Sir George Grey's collection to contemporary private press publications.