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About Macmillan Brown Library

06 October 2023

UC's Macmillan Brown Library houses internationally renowned cultural heritage collections that reflect our place in Aotearoa, the Pacific, and beyond. 

Our collections

The Macmillan Brown Library houses internationally renowned heritage collections that reflect our place in Aotearoa, the Pacific and the world.  Library staff are dedicated to supporting students and researchers to access and use these collections in their learning and research. Our collections include:  

  • Significant published collections on Te Ao Māori, the Pacific and Aotearoa, including lending and reference collections, Ngāi Tahu and Waitangi collections, ephemera, atlases, and indexes.
  • Rare book and modern fine print collections, including manuscripts in codex format, handwritten and printed scrolls prior to 1550, incunabula, published works and artists’ books.
  • Archival collections, including documentary archives, photographs and architectural drawings with a focus on material from the Canterbury Waitaha and West Coast Poutini regions.
  • Art collections, with a strength in representation of Canterbury Waitaha and West Coast Poutini art and artists, especially alumni of the University of Canterbury.


How the library came to be

The unique Aotearoa and Pacific collections held at the Macmillan Brown Library originate from the 1935 bequest of John Macmillan Brown (1845-1935), one of the University's founding professors. He left his book collection and an endowment to establish a library bearing his name that housed permanent research collections on the Pacific. The term 'Pacific' in relation to Macmillan Brown's will has always been understood to include Aotearoa.


The growth of the Macmillan Library

For many years, the Macmillan Brown Library was housed within the Central Library. The generosity of many donors over the years enabled the Macmillan Brown Library to build strong and dynamic collections. In 1998, the Macmillan Brown Library moved to its own quarters in Te Ao Mārama in a space called Te Ao Tūroa.


Today Macmillan Brown Library staff continue to develop, care for, and facilitate access to these permanent cultural heritage collections that reflect Aotearoa’s place in the Pacific, with a particular focus on amplifying Māori and Pacific voices within the collections.

The Macmillan Brown Library floor plan

The areas in the Macmillan Brown Library include collections, a service desk, study spaces, lifts, computers, and printers.

Macmillan Brown Library Floor Plan
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