Wairarapa Archive

The Masterton District Library heritage collection is housed in the Wairarapa Archive, and is dedicated to collecting and preserving Wairarapa’s unique heritage, and presenting back to the community. It includes a comprehensive reference collection of printed material relating to Wairarapa, both non-fiction and fiction.

The collection of archives and manuscripts is unrivalled in any similarly sized town, and is the envy of many cities. It contains the records of many important local institutions, including schools, churches, lodges and agricultural societies, as well many personal papers. These can be searched on the online catalogue.

The archive also stores the archived records of the Masterton District Council from the 1860s until 1989. These records can be searched at the Wairarapa Archive.

The Heritage collection includes over two million photographs, of which nearly 20,000 have been digitised and can be seen online in the Picture Wairarapa component of the website.

Over 1000 hours of oral history are stored in the archive, the result of thirty years recording.  There are over 350 interviews covering a wide range of subjects.

For those interested in Maori history, the collection includes an index to the Maori Land Court Minute Books relating to Wairarapa, plus copies of the books for perusal.  There are also pukapuka whakapapa.

Wairarapa newspapers from 1867 to the present are stored in a mix of hard copy and microfilm. Microfilm copying and scanning is available in the Wairarapa Archive.

Those interested in family history should also plan a visit to the Wairarapa Archive, as the collection includes many genealogical resources, plus we provide free access to Ancestry.com in the Library and Archive.



The Wairarapa Archival Society has an active publication programme, with more than 25 books published since 1998.  Most of these volumes are still in stock and available for purchase from the Wairarapa Archive.  Taken together, these volumes provide a significant insight into the history of the Wairarapa.


Wairarapa Archival Society

The Wairarapa Archival Society was the body behind the establishment of the Wairarapa Archive in 1989.  Its members have been involved in promoting the use of the Wairarapa Archive.

If you are looking for a tangible way to assist the development of the Wairarapa Archive, joining the Wairarapa Archival Society is the way to do it.  For a minimal annual subscription you will be able to purchase all the Society’s publications at a special rate.

Contact us at