MFAT releases previously classified historical records

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

  • Corporate
More than 380 previously classified Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) files spanning the last 100 years are to be made public.

The files include preparations for David Lange’s speech to the conference on UN disarmament in 1985 and cards sent by hundreds of New Zealanders to MFAT in 1988, as part of a Greenpeace campaign to stop French nuclear testing in the Pacific. The files also contain a historical narrative of New Zealand’s involvement in the Viet Nam War and condolence letters received from around the world following the Erebus disaster.

Other files in the tranche of releases cover:

  • Indonesian Geothermal Aid Projects 1970s-1980s
  • European Economic Community (EEC) including Butter, Cheese and Sheep meats 1970s-1980s
  • Commonwealth Conferences 1950s-1960s
  • Whaling Commission 1980s
  • Framework Convention on Climate Change 1990s
  • South Pacific Forum/Pacific Island Conference 1970s-1980s
  • South Pacific Festival of the Arts 1970s-1980s
  • Samoan Mau Movement 1920s
  • Correspondence from Administrator Tokelau 1980s
  • East Timor Political Affairs 1970s
  • Rwanda Political Affairs 1990s

This file release is part of MFAT’s regular declassification programme, which sees records 25 years or older reviewed and declassified, subject to a vetting process to ensure New Zealand’s interests are protected.

The original files will be available to access at Archives New Zealand.  They can be requested through Archway, Archives New Zealand’s search tool, at link), and viewed at Archives House, 10 Mulgrave Street, Wellington.


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