The Chapman Archive

New Zealand’s largest and most comprehensive collection of news and current affairs



The Chapman Archive is the University Library’s largest audiovisual collection. The Archive's focus is on building a collection that reflects New Zealand’s political, social, cultural and economic history as shown through broadcast media. This broad focus has allowed the Chapman Archive to develop a comprehensive collection depicting defining moments in New Zealand’s history.

It is a unique University collection providing a view of New Zealand’s past that is not easily accessible through other means.

The Archive’s collections include:

  • Broadcasting from the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Television New Zealand, commercial broadcasters, including TV3 from 1989.
  • A near complete record of prominent television shows and personalities such as news from all networks, Holmes, Assignment, Marae, Face to Face, Frontline, 60 Minutes, Close Up and Campbell Live.
  • An extensive collection of Radio New Zealand broadcasts, including Morning Report, Checkpoint and Insight as well as selected recordings from 1ZB, Radio Pacific, Radio Live and Radio Hauraki.

At the beginning of 2015, the Chapman Archive held approximately 175,000 titles. It continues to collect over 10,000 new titles every year.

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The Chapman Archive began as a personal collection of broadcast recordings made by Professor Robert Chapman and his wife Noeline in the early 1960s. It later became a resource of the University of Auckland’s Department of Political Studies of which Robert Chapman was the inaugural Professor.

Early years

The first decade of recordings were very much a personal reflection on what Chapman believed to be the important issues of the day: politics, the economy, and the rural life of New Zealand, consisting of audio broadcasts from the National Programme and AKTV2, the Auckland television station of the NZBC. Professor Chapman also made recordings of meetings, University lectures, and interviews with colleagues and other notable New Zealanders.

The seventies and eighties

By the mid-1970s, both the broadcasting and recording of programmes became more regular, with the rate of recording increasing with the introduction of Television Two in 1975.

Robert Muldoon’s infamous announcement of the snap election in July 1984 prompted a move to begin recording television broadcasts — complete with image — at a rapid rate, recording just over 700 programmes in the first six months.

With Professor Chapman’s retirement in 1988 the Archive’s significance as a research collection became more apparent.

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Access to the collection is available through the University Library’s TV and Radio service.

This online streaming media service allows the University community to:

  • View historic and contemporary broadcasts.
  • Search the extensive catalogue.
  • Access detailed programmatic and descriptive information relating to programme segments and featured individuals.
  • Stream, download, and request archiving of New Zealand television programmes from the previous two weeks.

The Chapman Archive collects under the University's Screenrights Licencing Agreement.

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Digitisation activities

  • 2011: The digitisation of the Archive’s deteriorating audio tapes from 1965 through to 1999. This was funded by a grant from the Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Development Fund and was completed in 2012 resulting in 32,000 hours of audio.
  • 2013: The digitisation of radio broadcasts from 1999-2009 held on VHS media.
  • 2014: The digitisation of the University Library’s Māori Audiovisual Collection containing thousands of historic programmes on the Māori world was completed by the Chapman Archive team.
  • 2015: Format shifting of the Archive’s complete DVD holdings from 2004-2011 is underway.

The Chapman Archive also receives on-going support from Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision with the digitisation of its collections.

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Alitia Lynch | Research Specialist
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 84871

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