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Hocken's archives

A design for an office building
Drawing by A. L. Salmond titled 'A design for an office building', from Salmond Anderson Architects records, MS-3821/3594

From 18th century recipe books to 21st century digital files, the Hocken's archives collection is the largest held by a New Zealand University. The archives tell stories of early Dunedin giving first hand insights into events, people and places significant in Otago's history.

Collection strengths:

  • Literary and personal research papers
  • Otago Anglican records and Otago/Southland Methodist Church records
  • School records from the Otago Education Board area
  • Otago/Dunedin based business records
  • Community, club and sporting group records
  • Early European settlement documents

Papers collected by Dr Hocken form the foundation of the collection. Many organisations, families and individuals have entrusted their papers, including James K Baxter, Janet Frame, Charles Brasch, Colin McCahon, Michael Cullen, the RSA, the Plunket Society and Hallensteins Ltd. The collections also include important national documents like records of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

What are archives?

Archives are key sources of social and personal memory. We keep them for their value as historical primary source material.

Archives can be:

  • Letters, emails, records of business
  • Diaries, memoirs, databases
  • Membership records
  • Registers of community organisations like clubs, churches and associations

Archives  can be single items or groups of related materials. They can be  photographs, sound recordings or video. Archives are increasingly  collected in digital form.

How do I access restricted archives?

Access to the majority of the archives is unrestricted, however, conditions apply to some archives for reasons of personal or commercial sensitivity.

You can apply for permission to access these records prior to your visit by completing our form:

Application for permission to access restricted archives and manuscripts collections Form (PDF)

Sendit to the relevant contact for consideration.

Details of restrictions and who to apply to for access are recorded on the Hākena database.

Your request must include the following information:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The title and reference number of the archives
  • The purpose of your research
  • Viewing rights only or additional permission to copy

If you are granted access, please bring the permission with you when you visit.

Giving your archives and manuscripts to the Hocken

If you're considering giving your papers to the Hocken, please have a look at this guide to find out more:

Giving your archives and manuscripts to the Hocken Collections (PDF)

Marsden Online Archive

Search and mine  the Hocken's precious Samuel Marsden journals and letters through a new online archive developed by the University of Otago Library, in a collaborative project with the University's Centre for Research on Colonial Culture.

Reverend Samuel Marsden (1765-1838) was the driving force behind the establishment of the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand in the early 19th century.

Marsden Online Archive

The archive contains Marsden's letters and journals, as well as other early NZ missionaries. It provides access to high resolution images of manuscripts along with associated transcripts created by retired Associate Professor Gordon Parsonson.

Staff can help with…

  • Finding archives relevant to your research
  • Care and handling of archives
  • Photocopying, scanning and photography
  • Advice on conditions of access and use of archival information

University archives

Hocken is the archival repository for the University of Otago.

University archives include older corporate records of the Registry, and records of departments, schools, prominent academics and students.

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