The Archive of Māori and Pacific Music houses the world’s largest ethnographic sound collection relating to the Pacific. Established in 1970 to promote research into the music of the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, and those of the people of the Pacific Islands, its holdings today include material from most tribal groups of New Zealand and most Pacific Islands areas, commercial and field recordings of vocal and instrumental music, oral histories, stories and language resources. In forty years the curators, scholars and community of the Archive have built a highly regarded platform of research, teaching and recordings which actively provides for present cultural and academic needs and which also works for future generations of South Pacific peoples.
The Archive’s mission is to promote knowledge and understanding of Māori and Pacific music, past and present, as an integral part of the cultures represented in its holdings. Changing socio-demographics and cultural needs in New Zealand have placed new demands on its universities as the repositories and generators of societal knowledge.
The Archive is open to the general public as well as researchers, scholars and students.
In its early years of operation, when most users were staff and students, the Archive functioned essentially as a University resource. However, in the last decade – as a result variously of free distribution of its four published catalogues to every public library in the country, the burgeoning growth of Ethnomusicology and Pacific Studies within secondary and tertiary level institutions, a steadily moving revival of interest in records of Māori and Pacific Island ethnicity, and growing awareness within Pacific nations of the breadth of the Archive’s holdings – the user base has swung away from university to community, and from Auckland-centred to nation-wide and beyond. The demand for its services and the gifts of its depositors have built the Archive of Māori and Pacific Music from a university asset into a national institution, serving wider regional needs and providing a free public service.