Alcoholics Anonymous New Zealand Archives

About the Archives

The mission of the Alcoholics Anonymous New Zealand Archives is to document permanently the work of Alcoholics Anonymous in New Zealand, to make the history of the Fellowship accessible to A.A. members and other researchers, and to provide a context for understanding A.A.’s progression, principles, and traditions. It is the responsibility of the Archives on behalf of the Fellowship to record the oral and written history of Alcoholics Anonymous and to capture the memory of those who came before us.

Scope and Purpose

The scope of the AANZ Archives is to provide a sense of A.A.’s past to the Fellowship and to create a context for understanding and valuing A.A.’s historical milestones and Traditions. The archives will serve A.A. members along with interested communities such as sociologists, historians and other professionals interested in exploring A.A.’s roots and growth in New Zealand.

The main purpose of the archives, consistent with A.A.’s Traditions, is to keep the record straight so that myth does not predominate over fact as to the history of the Fellowship.

The AANZ Archives collects materials at all levels of Alcoholics Anonymous including Groups, Assemblies, Intergroups, Districts, General Service Conference, National Convention, and the General Service Board. However, if a local Group, Area or Intergroup would prefer to collect their own archives then the AANZ Archivist can provide advice and support for establishing or maintaining those archives.

For the entire scope and purpose of the Alcoholics Anonymous New Zealand Archives, see the Alcoholics Anonymous New Zealand Archives Collection Policy


Materials donated to and accepted by the AANZ Archives become part of its repository. Only documents and items that meet the requirements of the Collection Scope within this policy and the Archivist Guidelines will be accepted into the AANZ Archives. Donated items are free of access restrictions unless the contributor stipulates temporary limited access to certain sensitive materials. It is the AANZ Archives policy to protect the personal privacy of the contributor.

It is the AANZ Archives policy to verify, where appropriate and necessary, rightful ownership of materials that are offered to the collection, and to seek title to the donated property. All donors will be required to sign a Deed of Gift Agreement acknowledging their transfer of ownership rights to the AANZ Archives. This Deed of Gift Agreement also includes an assignment of copyright section.

Any collection items accepted by the archives will be organised and preserved in acid-free containers, when possible, which involves hand labour and costs for archival supplies. Donations that require expensive conservation, special housing, intensive processing, or other excessive demands on the archives’ resources may not be accepted.

The AANZ Archives does not purchase archival records, books, or artifacts. Items will only be accepted by donation.

A collection assessment will be completed for all potential donations by the archivist to be submitted for approval by HR Sub-Committee. The collection assessment will include the details of the donation, the relevance and appropriateness of the item(s) for the AANZ Archives, any conditions placed on the donation and will include a recommendation for acceptance from the archivist if the item meets all the required standards set out in this AANZ Archives Collection Policy.

Archival material should not be sent to the General Service Office until confirmed with the archivist. This ensures that materials that are not suitable for the AANZ Archives are not received. If this does occur and the sender is not able to collect the archives, then they will be appropriately disposed of following the same process as deaccessions (removal and disposal from the Collection).

Due to space limitations at the General Service Office, the archives cannot collect everything offered by potential donors. However, every item offered will be considered by the archivist and the HR Sub-Committee and while an original item may not be retained, consideration will be given to creating a digital copy.

Contact the archivist by email at or in writing to Unit 2, 30 Downer Street Hutt Central, Lower Hutt, 5010 if you would like to discuss donating items to the AANZ Archives Collection. See the attached AANZ Archives Deed of Gift Agreement

The Archives Collects:

The AANZ Archives’ acquisition priorities include, but are not limited to:

  • Publications released by NZ G.S.O., including books, directories, annual reports, surveys, booklets, pamphlets, magazines, newsletters, service pieces, public service announcements, press releases and other media relations material, and more.
  • Minutes, reports, and other documentation from the New Zealand G.S.O. G.S.B meetings, committee meetings, Conferences, Conventions and Area Assemblies, Districts and Intergroups.
  • Business papers, annual reports, financial information, and correspondence (letters and emails) that includes decisions or details about specific groups and/or members.
  • The Mainstay magazine, and other materials produced by the Mainstay team including administration documents.
  • Audio-visual collections including photographs, videos, and sound recordings significant to A.A.; recordings of General Service Conferences, Conventions, as well as other significant events, speeches and talks by early A.A. pioneers, G.S.B. trustees and other individuals; and more.
  • Memoirs, speeches and biographical information of A.A. members
  • Personal papers of NZ G.S.B. Trustees and other significant figures, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, including early A.A. pioneers. These may include correspondence, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, manuscripts, speeches, awards, and artifacts.
  • Oral histories and stories of figures significant to the national operations of A.A.
  • Written histories on all aspects of A.A. in New Zealand
  • Asia Ocean Service Meeting records including annual and conference reports, meeting minutes, delegate reports and historical materials. This is a service agreed to by AOSM and the New Zealand General Service Board.

The AANZ Archives will adopt a Grandparent date of 1975. Materials currently within the Archives prior to 1975 show the establishment and growth of early Alcoholics Anonymous in New Zealand. This means that there will be types of archives that are retained by the Collection that are older than 1975 that we would no longer accept future donations of. These include but are not limited to:

  • Material published outside NZ G.S.O. that describe the program of A.A., the problem of alcoholism generally, or that otherwise have significance to the organization, such as books, articles, speeches, reviews, television, and media programming, and more.
  • Original newspaper articles (these will be scanned digitally and returned to the donor unless disposal is requested)
  • Books including the Big Book unless provenance is significant to Alcoholics Anonymous in New Zealand
  • Material published by the New York G.S.O due to the importance of these materials to the founding members of A.A. in New Zealand

Archives Does Not Collect

  • The AANZ Archives does not seek to acquire collections developed outside of New Zealand or collections that would be considered more appropriate to be collected by another entity within Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Drafts, raw statistical data, or incomplete documents
  • General correspondence including notes or emails that does not include decisions or specific details about Alcoholics Anonymous in New Zealand
  • A copy of an item or archive that already exists within the Collection
  • Entire collections of archives/items that include non-A.A. related materials. Each item will need to be considered individually and some items may be declined
  • Items that are in disrepair and would require extensive conservation treatment
  • Day-to-day administrative documents such as bank statements, P.A.Y.E., receipts, invoices, literature orders and stock, to-do lists, emails, CV’s, employment information etc
  • Materials where ownership is not clear

Oral History

It is the responsibility of the Archives on behalf of the Fellowship to record the oral and written history of Alcoholics Anonymous and to capture the memory of those who came before us. If you are interested in interviewing a member of the Fellowship in order to capture their Oral History for the archives, then please follow the instructions laid out in the document below. If you have any queries, then please email the archivist at See the attached AANZ Archives Oral History Project Process

Research and Access

Materials within the AANZ Archives will be classified according to their privacy requirements. Items that have been classified as A. Open to All or B. Open to A.A. Members will be freely accessible to the members of the Fellowship either physically or digitally. Items that have been classified as C. Open with approval will need to be considered and approved by the HR Sub Committee. Researchers can request access by filling out a Research and Access form for the HR Sub-Committee to review. The HR Sub-Committee will provide access to these kinds of materials only after great care and consideration of the purpose of the request and how the materials will be used.

Physical access to the archives can be requested but is limited to the archivist’s availability. Please contact the archivist if you would like more information.

Researchers who request access to the archives will be informed that they are expected to adhere strictly to A.A.’s Anonymity Traditions. Only first names and last initials may be used to identify A.A. members. Further, there will be no photocopying of private correspondence, to assure anonymity protection, to maintain the physical integrity of archival documents, and to respect copyright laws.

Contact the archivist by email at or in writing to Unit 2, 30 Downer Street Hutt Central, Lower Hutt, 5010 if you have a research request or would like to request access to the archives. See the attached AANZ Archives Research and Collection Access Form

HR Sub-Committee

The HR Sub-Committee is responsible for establishing and maintaining policies, budgets, and procedures relevant to the AANZ Archives. Through its Group Conscience, it undertakes and maintains final responsibility and authority for the use of the archives. In all its actions, the HR Sub-Committee are guided by A.A.’s primary purpose. Non-AA members may be asked to serve on the HR Sub-Committee due to their interest, special knowledge, or expertise. However, these committee members will be people who are familiar with A.A.’s primary purpose and A.A. Traditions.

Archivist Role

The archivist is responsible for the collection, including documents, books, recordings, and artifacts. The archivist maintains the accuracy of the collection catalogue and ensures the ongoing care of the physical collection of archives. The archivist is also responsible for ensuring the protection of the anonymity of members, and the confidentiality of all A.A. records.

Volunteer at the Archives

If you have an interest in AA’s history and would like to help as a volunteer in the archives, then please email the archivist at We are always looking for extra help!

Working in the archives may include:

  • Digitising paper documents
  • Cataloguing new donated materials
  • Renaming digital files
  • Rehousing new donated materials in archival folders and files
  • Researching AA groups, events, and people
  • Interviewing members of the Fellowship to record their oral history
  • Digitising cassette tapes and naming digital files
  • Listening to audio files and identifying information (at home project)

Full training will be provided by the archivist so please get in touch if any of these sound of interest to you.