Our Aims and Objectives

Our aim is to improve the understanding of and support for libraries in New Zealand and of book culture, and to see that there is a considered, appropriate review of the National Library’s Overseas Published Collections. It is appropriate and good that the National Library focuses on everything that is published in New Zealand, but part of what makes us New Zealanders is what is published in other countries. The Overseas Published Collection is a hugely valuable collection and it must be retained for New Zealanders to use now and in the future. We support a well-funded, vibrant National Library that is outside the Department of Internal Affairs. The current crisis is one that is entirely generated by cost-cutting imposed on the Library by DIA. The Library needs to be removed from DIA, along with Archives NZ, as the NALI review and many others have strongly recommended.

You can read more about what we stand for on the Manifesto page on this website.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions about the Book Guardians and the issue of National Library disposals, below:


Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Executive Officers:

Michael Pringle
Christine Dann

Advisory Committee Members

Brian Easton
Chris Bourke
Jennifer Frost
David Grant
Doug Munro
Brad Patterson
Powhiri Rika-Heke
Harry Ricketts
Arastou Shahabi
Paul Taillon
Philip Temple
Jim Traue 
Brian Turner
Valerie Wallace
Nelson Wattie
David Young


If you are new to Ngā Kaitiaki o ngā Pukapuka/Book Guardians Aotearoa (BGA) you may have some questions about who, what, when and why. We have done our best to answer them below.

1	When was Book Guardians Aotearoa formed? 

In October 2020.

2	Why was BGA formed?

(i)	 	To provide a formal channel for the growing public opposition to the decision by the Minister of Internal Affairs in 2018 (Tracey Martin) to accept the advice of the then National Librarian (Bill Macnaught) to dispose of most of the books in the National Library of New Zealand’s (NLNZ) Overseas Published Collections (over 600,000 books). 
(ii)		 To research and share information on why and how this decision is wrong in principle and in practice, and to encourage others to do likewise. 

3	What does BGA stand for?

See the BGA Manifesto.  BGA is well aware that the advice to dispose of most of the NLNZ’s books was the result of years of under-funding of the library, plus management being devolved to Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) officials with no knowledge of or expertise in National Library matters. Hence the Manifesto contains six other points which urgently need addressing in addition to stopping the book disposal. 

4	What does BGA do?

The Executive Officers and Advisory Members of BGA are variously involved in 
* lobbying ministers and MPs 
* writing articles and letters for/to mainstream media
* putting in Official Information Act requests for details on the whys and wherefores of the book disposal
* analysing the OIA documents
* writing articles for the BGA website exposing what we find
* taking any other actions we can (given our limited capacity) to raise the profile of the issue and get government to take appropriate action. 

5	How can I help? 

You could
* meet with your local MP(s) and raise the issue with them (use the Manifesto and other material on the BGA website as a guide to what to say/ask for)
* write letters to your local paper
* write to the Minister of Internal Affairs (the Hon Jan Tinetti) and tell her why the book disposal must be stopped (and any other points you want to make) j.tinetti@ministers.govt.nz
* spread the news and need for action via social media 
* stage a creative non-violent direct action (public readings from the books of authors due to be thrown out outside the NLNZ, anyone?)
* help analyse the OIA request data 

Let’s build something together.