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An independent charity supporting the Alexander Turnbull Library for over 85 years.
Our aim is to ensure New Zealand’s stories and documentary heritage are available to all, so they can harvest the full potential of these rich collections.


Friends of the Turnbull Library   Ngā Hoa o te Whare Pukapuka Turnbull

There is a close working relationship between the Turnbull Endowment Trust and the Friends of the Turnbull Library. The Turnbull Endowment Trust manages funds gifted to the Friends, and reports annually to the Friends on its work. The FoTL President attends Endowment Trust Board meetings.

FoTL was established to promote interest in the Alexander Turnbull Library, and to support its activities; it maintains a strong national membership in furtherance of these aims.

FoTL supports research in the Library collections through its Research Grant. Literary scholar and writer Sarah Shieff received the 2020 award (worth $20,000) for her project to publish a collection of the letters of poet Allen Curnow ONZ CBE (1911-2001).

FoTL’s publications include the Turnbull Library Record and the annual free magazine, Off The Record, as well as two newsletters distributed to members, with details about the public programme and other activities.

Assisted by Services to Schools, FoTL has committed to offering a creative writing competition for secondary school students, called Smart Alex, for three years. Set up to encourage engagement by students and schools in the ATL collections, it is well supported (about 80 schools in its first year). Prizes to the value of $3,000 are awarded to winning entries in two age-groups and to their school libraries.


New Zealand Cartoon Archive

The New Zealand Cartoon Archive is one of the major collections within the Alexander Turnbull Library. It was launched on 1 April 1992 as a partnership between the New Zealand Cartoon Archive Trust and the Alexander Turnbull Library. 


Bob Brockie and Tom Scott

The Archive holds more than 50,000 cartoons by 60 cartoonists and continues to grow, with new digital images added every week and analogue collecting ongoing. Digital collecting is one of the Archive’s strengths: most New Zealand editorial cartoonists donate their work at the same time as they send it to their editors. The Archive also holds significant analogue collections by many of New Zealand’s leading cartoonists, including Gordon Minhinnick, Nevile Lodge, Eric Heath and Chris Slane.

Guardians Kaitiaki

The Guardians Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library were established under the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003. The Act requires the Guardians Kaitiaki to provide assurance to the people of New Zealand that:

  • the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library are held in perpetuity
  • they are provided with suitable and separate accommodation
  • they are preserved, protected, developed and made accessible for all the people of New Zealand in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga
  • the character of the services distinguishing the Alexander Turnbull Library as a research library are maintained.

The Guardians Kaitiaki also give advice on all matters relating to the collections and services of the Alexander Turnbull Library to the Minister Responsible for the National Library.

Members are appointed to the Guardians Kaitiaki for a range of skills relating to mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), libraries, access and preservation issues, and historical research.

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