Archivist Kaitiaki Pūranga

Archivists assess, organise, store and provide access to records and documents of long-term historical or research value. They also advise people and organisations about their archives.

Archivists may do some or all of the following:

  • advise local and central government departments and other organisations about which records they should keep or archive
  • research items under their care
  • maintain and modify records management programmes and systems
  • describe records and other materials so they are easy to find on databases
  • advise on how to store archives
  • prepare and package materials for storage
  • help people find information.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for archivists includes:

  • work in document storage
  • work as a librarian or in records management
  • customer service.

Personal Qualities

Archivists need to be:

  • patient, thorough and methodical
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good communicators, with people skills
  • organised and good at managing time.


Archivists need to have knowledge of:

  • how to organise, store and find archival information
  • the historical and potential research value of materials to be archived.

Archivists may also need to have knowledge of New Zealand history and government departments, and Māori language and culture.



  • usually work regular office hours, but may have to work longer hours with large collections
  • work in offices and in vaults and storerooms
  • may travel locally, nationally or internationally to assess or purchase collections, or attend conferences.

Archivists can earn around $47K-$60K per year.

Pay for archivists varies depending on the size of the archive and the archivist's qualifications, role and experience.

  • New archivists usually earn from minimum wage up to $50,000 a year.
  • After one to four years' experience, they can earn between $50,000 and $60,000.
  • More experienced archivists and those who work as managers can earn from $60,000 to $70,000.
  • Strategic, principal and digital archivists may earn more than this. 

Source: research, 2018.

Archivists may progress to become self-employed, become sole-charge archivists, or move into management roles.

Archivists may specialise in:

  • film
  • books and other paper records
  • photographs
  • sound
  • digital formats.

Years Of Training

3-5 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become an archivist. However, employers usually prefer applicants with a qualification in:

  • archives
  • records management
  • information studies
  • information management. 

Range of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications for archivists

  • The Open Polytechnic offers a diploma and a degree in records and information management, with a paper on archives management.
  • Te Wananga o Raukawa offers specific qualifications for those working with iwi archives: Heke Puna Maumahara, Diploma in Information Management (Level 5), and Poutuarongo Puna Maumahara, Bachelor of Information Management (Level 7).
  • Victoria University of Wellington offers a postgraduate certificate, diploma and Masters in information studies with a specialisation in archives.

 A postgraduate degree in history, and work as an historian, may also be a pathway into working as an archivist.