Information for donors

© Restricted/University of Canterbury

The Macmillan Brown Library is dependant upon the generosity of Donors to build upon its already substantial research archive. Donations enable us to build a strong and dynamic collection that is an excellent resource for display, teaching and research. Donations may also be made in order to honour or remember someone special.

An Art Collection Policy has been developed to provide guidelines for adding to our Art Collection. Copies are available from the Library.

If you are considering making a donation to the library, please contact the Archivist, Art Collections Curator or Macmillan Brown Library Manager for assistance. This page should answer some common questions that Donors often ask when considering whether to deposit their papers with the Macmillan Brown Library.

What do we collect?

Our collecting activities are primarily orientated towards supporting the research needs of University of Canterbury staff and students, but as part of this goal we also aim to preserve records of historical significance to the wider community.

The collection is particularly strong in the areas of the records of Trade Unions, personal papers gathered by Members of Parliament and Ministers of the Crown, personal and family papers compiled by individuals, the records of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, University of Canterbury records and the papers of voluntary groups active in the community. Our collecting activities are designed to build upon these strengths.

In addition we vigorously pursue the collection of records from a broad cross section of the community, from both organizations and individuals

We hope the material we collect will reflect the core activities of these individuals and groups and therefore preserve an accurate record for present and future generations of researchers.

What types of record are we interested in?

We want to preserve those records that reflect the core activities and interests of the donor. These records are normally unique and original. You will find examples of the kind of records we are interested in below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you are in any doubt as to whether your papers are worthy of permanent preservation please contact the Curator of Archives and Manuscripts.

For an organisation, club or business the kinds of records we collect may include:

  • Minute Books
  • Correspondence files
  • Financial Papers
  • Reports
  • Classified and Subject Files

For a person or a family the kind of material in which we may be interested includes:

  • Personal papers and correspondence
  • Diaries and Journals
  • Family Albums
  • Original memoirs/scrapbooks
  • Manuscripts

What material do we not normally collect?

The following kinds of material are not normally placed in the archives:

  • Published works held in other repositories
  • Multiple copies of a single item
  • Objects and memorabilia

Exceptions to this principle are sometimes made, such as when an item is very rare or of particular research value or when an item forms an intrinsic part of the collection and cannot sensibly be removed from it.

If your materials are not considered appropriate for the archives collection we may encourage you to place them in the published collections or we may be able to suggest an alternative local repository.

What happens to your papers once they are deposited with us?

Once you decide to donate your material to the Macmillan Brown Library we will ask you to sign a Deposit Agreement.

The Deposit Agreement sets out the terms and conditions of deposit and outlines the responsibilities of both the Macmillan Brown Library and the Donor. Copies of the Deposit Agreement are available from the Curator of Archives and Manuscripts.

The material is then placed in a specialised archival repository, which is managed by a professional curator. The material is preserved and cared for according to the best professional practices available. Eventually, your records will be listed and made available via this site.

Restrictions on sensitive material

If you have material that is sensitive or personal in nature we are able to restrict access to it on your behalf. You may ask for written permission to be obtained from you or your descendants before a researcher can view an item or we can place an access ban on the material for a specified time.

Continuing access for donors

The Macmillan Brown Library acknowledges the special relationship Donors have to the records they give to our care. Donors will have ongoing permanent access to their papers during normal Macmillan Brown Library opening hours.


If you are considering making a bequest, do talk with us first to ensure that your Will is worded in a way that achieves exactly what you intended, and matches the needs of the University and its students. We will also send you a brochure that gives you all the information you need, including a suggested form of words to include in your Will.

For more assistance with Bequests, please contact:

University of Canterbury Foundation
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch, New Zealand
Telephone: +64 3 364 2921