Our collections include many unpublished recordings of oral histories, and some broadcast material like radio and television programmes and documentaries.

Oral history is defined very broadly and includes:

  • kaumatua and other people talking about oral traditions
  • substantial life history interviews
  • interviews which focus on a specific topic and include life history material
  • shorter interviews with a more limited research focus.

Oral History Centre collection

The Oral History Centre collection contains oral history interviews and other unpublished sound and video recordings covering many aspects of New Zealand life. It includes recordings of talks, readings and events.

More about the Oral History Centre collection

Oral history transcripts in the Manuscripts Collection

Some transcripts of oral history interviews are in the Manuscripts Collection, including a few transcripts of recordings not held in the Library's collections.

More about the Manuscript Collection

Publications based on oral history

Publications based on oral history interviews, like books, sound and video recordings, documentaries and multimedia publications, are also held in the collections. Search for items using the National Library Catalogue.

Oral history collections in other institutions

Many New Zealand libraries, archives, museums and historical societies have oral history collections.

New Zealand Libraries, Museums, and Archives – Te Puna Web Directory website

Radio, film and television archives may also have oral history material. These institutions collect historical films, and television and radio programmes. You will also find extensive archival collections with iwi and other Māori radio stations.

New Zealand Television Archive website

Sound Archives / Ngā Taonga Kōrero website

The New Zealand Film Archive / Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua website