Story: Archives

Hope Gibbons fire, 1952 (1st of 2)

Hope Gibbons fire, 1952

Before the creation of the National Archives (known as Archives New Zealand since 2000), government archives were stored in a number of unsatisfactory places, including the Hope Gibbons office building in Wellington. On 29 July 1952 fire broke out in this building, and the aged paper records provided a perfect source of fuel. Numerous public records from the public works, lands and survey, labour and employment, agriculture and marine departments were destroyed or damaged. Some records were salvaged and were still undergoing conservation work in the 2010s. 

The tremendous loss of public records in this fire prompted the establishment of the National Archives in 1957. Over the years many a historian has been frustrated to find that correspondence files listed in registers no longer exist, thanks to the 1952 fire.

About this item

Archives New Zealand – Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: ARCH 458 Box 1 c AR1/5

Permission of Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga must be obtained before any re-use of this material.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Stuart Strachan, 'Archives - Government archives', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/41758/hope-gibbons-fire-1952 (accessed 27 April 2017)

Story by Stuart Strachan, published 22 Oct 2014