Council archives

The Christchurch City Council archives are a rich resource for the history and development of Christchurch. Our records date back to when the Council was first established in 1862 and include records from amalgamated local authorities.

About the Council archives

The Council archives is our record of the history of governance and public places in our city.

These records have been assessed as having continuing value to both aid accountability and promote the historical and cultural heritage of our city.

Records held within our collection include:

  • Minute books
  • Correspondence
  • Cemetery records
  • Former Local Authority Records
  • Christchurch City Council Photographs
  • Dwellings
  • Local Government Electoral Rolls
  • Parks and Reserves

Accessing the archives

The Christchurch City Council Archives are housed at Recall, a large international business records and archives storage facility that supports many large public and private organisations. They are located in the newly developed area near the Christchurch International Airport called Dakota Park on Ron Guthrey Road (turn at the Russley/Avonhead Road intersection):

Access to the collection is by appointment only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, 12.30-4.30pm. 

Request access

For access to the archive, please contact the Archivist:

Please note that there may be limitations placed on some parts of the collection either due to restricted content or extreme fragility of the items. The Archivist will advise accordingly.

Correspondence records

The Christchurch City Council archives collection holds inwards and outwards correspondence dating back to 1862.

This collection has been extensively catalogued and gives a fascinating picture of the early and developing city.


Christchurch City Council outward correspondence

CH341 correspondence collection dates 1862 - 1972. Some of the records have been extensively listed. The following are available to view:


Christchurch City Council inward correspondence

CH342 correspondence collection dates 1904 - 1962. Some of the records have been extensively listed. The following are available to view


Christchurch City Council inward correspondence, Town Clerk

CH345 correspondence collection dates 1901 - 1907. This accession has been extensively listed:


Examples of Letters

The following are examples of letters received from the Council’s Correspondence Collection.

Complaint Letters 1903-1909:

Ettie Rout 1909:

Ice Cream Charlie (Cathedral Square) 1908:

Noxious Weeds 1919:

Digitised records

Over time access to the archives will be improved with material being digitised. This page gives examples of some of the items that have been digitised.

The following items are available on the Christchurch City Libraries website:


Reproduction

These images are provided for research purposes only and must not be reproduced without the permission of the Archivist, Christchurch City Council Archives.


General copyright and other restrictions

This material has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. Please contact Christchurch City Libraries(external link) if you have any questions relating to the use of this material. It is the responsibility of the user to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Local government electoral rolls

Christchurch City Libraries has Christchurch City Council Electoral Rolls from 1909 to the present day and are the best starting point for electoral information.

Please note that Christchurch City Council rolls do not record people who lived beyond the boundaries of the city e.g. Riccarton, Waimairi, Paparua and Heathcote before amalgamation.

Christchurch City Council Archives do hold some Electoral Rolls, particularly for these local authorities who have been superseded. Most of these are held in our offsite storage. Rolls we hold include:-

Minute Books

These records are an account of the deliberations and resolutions adopted within official meetings. They can detail everyday concerns from residents or business people, particularly in the early period of our city.

Minute Books in the Council ArchiveThe Minute Books held within the archives are a major part of the collection and include Minute Books from the Christchurch City Council and former local authorities that have merged with Christchurch City Council since the first amalgamations began in 1903.

These include, Avon Road Board, Linwood and New Brighton Borough Council, Riccarton Road Board and Borough Council, St Albans, Sumner, Sydenham, Spreydon and Woolston Borough Councils along with Lyttelton Borough Council and Banks Peninsula District Council who amalgamated with the City in 2005.

We hold minute books for the following:


Index Cards to Christchurch City Council Minute Books

Read the Minutes from the first meeting of the Council dated 3 March 1862, Sir John Hall was appointed the Council’s first Chairman:

Read the Minutes from the Committee Minute Book dated 9 June 1862 where the first street lighting was approved – 62 kerosene lamps:

Please note that there may be limitations placed on some parts of the collection – either due to restricted content or extreme fragility of the items. The Archivist will advise accordingly.

Records of former local authorities

Road boards, borough councils, county councils and district councils have amalgamated with Christchurch City Council over the years. The Council Archive holds records created by a number of these superseded entities.

records of former local authoritiesChristchurch City Council was established in 1862. Road boards, borough councils, county councils and district councils, existed in the Greater Christchurch area. Many amalgamated with the city in 1903 and others in 1989. Banks Peninsula became part of Christchurch city in 2005.

Some local authorities were the Avon Road Board (later Waimairi County Council), Heathcote Road Board (later Heathcote County Council) and Riccarton Road Board (later Riccarton Borough Council). There were borough councils at New Brighton (amalgamated with Christchurch city in 1941), St Albans, Linwood and Sydenham (amalgamated in 1903), Spreydon and Woolston (amalgamated in 1921).

Waimairi District Council, Paparua County Council, Riccarton Borough Council, Heathcote County Council, Christchurch Drainage Board and Christchurch Transport Board amalgamated with Christchurch City Council in November 1989; Banks Peninsula District Council in 2005.

Due to this process of amalgamation and re-structuring Christchurch City Council Archives holds records created by a number of these superseded local authorities. These include:


Christchurch Drainage Board


Christchurch Tramway Board


Municipal Electricity Department (MED) Southpower

Please note: Some Borough Council material continues to be held by other organisations (e.g. Akaroa Museum and the Sumner-Redcliffs Historical Society). We may refer you on to these organisations if we do not hold the resources you need.

Dwellings

Property files are not held onsite with the Archives collection. Information that is held in the archives relating to property includes rating and valuation records, and historic building permits.

Rating and valuation records

Rating and valuation records can provide information such as the name of the owner, address and value of the property and sometimes some additional information. Burgess rolls are the lists of holders of property who were qualified to vote for members of Council. They can provide names, details of address and sometimes descriptions of the property. The records we hold include the following:

Building Permit Registers and Architects Division

Other useful links

Parks and reserves

Christchurch City is recognised as New Zealand’s Garden City with over 740 parks and an extensive system of rivers, streams and wetlands.

Over time, these have been maintained by various local authorities that have merged with Christchurch City Council.

This includes Waimairi County Council, Paparua County Council and New Brighton Borough Council.

The Christchurch City Council archives hold a number of listings for Parks and Reserves but information can often be located within Minute Books. The Archivist will advise accordingly.