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.

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 Iron Mountain, a large international business records and archives storage facility that supports many large public and private organisations. Iron Mountain is located at 3 George Bellew Drive, Russley.

Access to the collection is by appointment, please contact: archives@ccc.govt.nz

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 Christchurch City Council Archives Collection holds inwards and outwards correspondence dating back to 1862 for both Christchurch City Council and many amalgamated local authorities

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

Christchurch City Council correspondence


Christchurch City Council outward correspondence

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


Christchurch City Council inward correspondence

The CH342 inwards correspondence collection covers the period from 1904 to 1962. The letters for the period 1904-1908 have been extensively listed and can be viewed below:


Christchurch City Council inward correspondence, Town Clerk

The correspondence to the Town Clerk collection dates 1901 - 1963.  This series is fully indexed. It is a collection of 22 boxes with Box 1-17 containing the majority of the collection from 1901-1931 and Box 18-22 containing 1932-1963.


Additional Christchurch City Council series


Amalgamated authorities correspondence

Some accessions have numerous correspondence records within their series. You can search within the following finding aids for ‘correspondence’:

  • CCC ARC 300 Amalgamated Local Authorities 1864-1989 [PDF, 663 KB]
    Includes correspondence from Avon Road Board, Hillsborough Domain Board, Linwood Borough Council, New Brighton Borough Council, Richmond Domain Board, Riccarton Road and Domain Board, Spreydon Road Board, Spreydon Borough Council, St Albans Borough Council, Sumner Town Board, Sydenham Borough Council.
  • Waimairi County Council Correspondence 1898-1989: Currently unlisted but please ask the Archivist for assistance archives@ccc.govt.nz.

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:

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.

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 does hold some Electoral Rolls, particularly for these local authorities which have been superseded. Please contact the Archivist to enquire - archives@ccc.govt.nz.

Rolls we hold include:

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

The 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 which amalgamated with the City in 2006.

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.

We hold minute books in the following series:


Index cards to Christchurch City Council minute books


Digitised 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:

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.

Christchurch 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 2006.

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 2006.

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 Tramways/Transport Board


Power Boards

Property files are not held onsite with the archives collection. If you are looking for information on a current dwelling please see property files in the first instance.

Information that is held in the archives relating to property includes historic rating and valuation records, and a small selection of 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.

Please note rate books are often not indexed and can be time-consuming to search – the Archivist will advise accordingly.

Search on ‘rating roll’ or ‘valuation’ in the finding aids below to see what is available within the series:


Building Permit Registers and Architects Division

The following Christchurch City Council Building Permit registers from 1907-1943 have been completely indexed:


Additional information

  • CH344 City Architects Files [PDF, 429 KB]
     This series holds records created by the Christchurch City Council City Architects Department and relates to buildings under the control of the Council.
  • CH811 City Engineers Administration 1964-1996 [PDF, 297 KB]
    This series holds records created by the Christchurch City Council City Engineers Department and includes information on general town planning, district schemes, and urban renewal.
  • Lyttelton House Files [PDF, 82 KB]
    This is a series of material collated originally by the Banks Peninsula District Council and now maintained by Christchurch City Council Archives. It is mainly photocopies of records and photographs and you can search by address.

Other useful links

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.