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Disaster recovery of archives and records in the Canterbury region

This guide contains general advice on the salvage of archives and records following the Canterbury earthquake, geared towards public agencies and other collecting institutions and organisations.
Although the advice below can be followed in most salvage efforts, information more tailored to the recovery of family collections can be found at:, the website of the New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Materials (NZCCM). This site contains a more comprehensive list of links to specialised recovery guidelines for a wide range of collection media and materials.
Note: do not attempt to enter buildings unless it has been deemed safe to do so by a qualified official. Please refer to for information on building assessments.
If you have a disaster plan, your recovery steps should be well laid out and can be put into action. If you do not have a plan, here are a few basic steps to follow, along with links to further resources with more information:

Before beginning any salvage operations
Salvage Supplies

The NZCCM website ( has links to more comprehensive lists of salvage supplies, however some basic items will include: 

Most salvage supplies are available in hardware stores, art supply stores and even the local supermarket. The NZCCM website also has a list of vendors who supply conservation materials as well as packing supplies.

Salvage Operation
Post-Salvage Operation
Resources and Links

Local advice for all and salvage assistance for institutions in the Canterbury region:
Canterbury Disaster Salvage Team
Lynn Campbell email

More detailed information on salvage of collections materials of all types, links to further websites, and directory of conservators:
New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Materials (NZCCM)

Contact Us

If you are faced with any type of damage to your records as a result of the recent earthquake, please call Preservation Services at Archives New Zealand for additional advice. We are also able to provide information on freeze drying services, and preparing material for freeze drying. Email Preservation Services, Archives New Zealand at or telephone Jennifer Koerner at (04) 496 1398 or Diana Coop at (04) 495 6221.
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