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.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, digital technologies, history and classical studies, history of arts, social studies and te reo Māori.

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.