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Getting Approval to Dispose

Why do we need disposal authorisation?

Under the Public Records Act 2005, no one may dispose of a public record without authorisation from the Chief Archivist. For many offices, our General Disposal Authorities can be used for the disposal of non-core business records which are common across public offices i.e. records that relate to administration, corporate services, human resources, finance, and common transitory, low-value records.


The disposal authorisation process set out here applies only to public offices and not to local authorities. For local authorities please refer to our advice on the Local Authority List of Protected Records.

What is the process?

The first step towards obtaining authorisation for public records disposal is doing an appraisal to determine the records’ value. Public offices can either undertake appraisals themselves or contract information management consultants to undertake this work on their behalf.

Archives New Zealand assigns an advisor to collaborate with the public office and or consultant in the development of the appraisal report and retention and disposal schedule. The advisor will keep the public office informed throughout the process.

A legacy appraisal report is recommended for when you have a discrete set of non current records.

Appraisal Report Legacy Functions, Activities and Records Evaluation Template

A functional appraisal report is recommended for when you want to cover all ongoing records

Appraisal Report Functions Activities and Records Evaluation Template.

The completed appraisal report and the accompanying retention and disposal schedule [Disposal Schedule and Access Schedule Template] are then submitted to Archives New Zealand.

Our staff will then review them for clarity and to ensure that retention and disposal recommendations are appropriate.

Once the review process is complete, the report will be placed on our website for public comment, in accordance with the Public Records Act 2005. The Chief Archivist must post these ‘intentions to dispose’ for a minimum of 30 days. Once this period is up, all comments will be analysed and a summary of the comments with any resulting changes will accompany the appraisal report to the Chief Archivist. At this point a final decision to authorise disposal will be made.

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