Auckland Library Heritage Trust

About the trust

The Auckland Libraries Heritage Trust (ALHT) was formed in 1991 to assist Auckland City Libraries with the preservation, care and development of their heritage collections.

Auckland Libraries looks after valuable heritage manuscripts, photographs, maps, ephemera, and books, principally held in the Sir George Grey Special Collections.

These fantastic collections support research into our past with a view to the future. Auckland Libraries preserves these resources to ensure they are available for future generations.

The core aim of the ALHT is to assist Auckland Libraries with the preservation and care of the collections and to advocate their promotion, growth and development.

More than a million dollars has been raised by the trust to help Auckland Libraries with this important work.

The trust’s work

Highlights of the trust’s work include:

Pre-1800 collection

The ALHT helped to catalogue the pre-1800 collection by accessing funding for the project. The pre-1800 collection includes books like the Summa contra Gentiles by St Thomas Aquinas (1476).

Performing Arts Collection

The ALHT secured a lotteries grant to help work on preserving, arranging, and describing the Performing Arts Collection. This collection includes records from the Mercury Theatre.

Researcher in residence 

The researcher in residence scholarship is funded by the ALHT and is offered to a research scholar with a particular interest in items in the Sir George Grey Special Colections. The award is open to overseas applicants as well as New Zealand citizens.

Conservation of the Grey NZ Manuscripts Collection

The trust was responsible for getting a grant for conservation work to be done on the collection.

The Dumas Collection

One of the greatest collections of books and manuscripts of Dumas’ works was kept by Whangarei pharmacist, Frank Reed, who left the items to the library when he died. The trust obtained a grant so that the entire collection could be catalogued and made available for future generations.

Discover more treasures in Auckland Libraries' special collections in the Real Gold exhibition.


Chairperson: Colin Davis

Trustees: Christopher Parr, Dinah Holman, Judith Bassett, Mac Jackson, Max Cryer, Russell Stone.

How to help the trust

The ALHT helps Auckland Libraries preserve Auckland's important documentary heritage and make it accessible.  The donation of materials and financial gifts enables work on preserving vital documents, books and manuscripts.

The trust has received many donations since its inception, which have helped in the purchase and preservation of these rare treasures.


A bequest refers to a sum of money, possessions, or property left in your will to another person, trust, charity, or organisation.

By leaving a gift to the ALHT in your will, you help to keep Auckland’s story alive.

Contact Colin Davis to discuss how you can include the ALHT in your will.


The ALHT is grateful for any donations that allow Auckland Libraries to continue with their heritage work.

If you would like to donate money to the trust, you can email Colin Davis or make a direct donation into the trust’s bank account.

Bank account details: 12 3011 0786620 02

REF: trust donation

If you would like to donate items to the Sir George Grey Special Collections, email

Image credits

Image 1: John J. Woods God defend New Zealand. GNZMS 296

Image 2: Mercury Theatre records. NZMS 813

Image 3: Reed-Dumas collection. RDMS 2198 and 2199

Image 4: Thomas Aquinas. Summa contra gentiles. 1476  

Lottery Grants Board logo.

Did you know?

The first item printed in New Zealand was a small six-page booklet in Māori,  Ko te Katekihama III (The Third Catechism). It was printed at Kerikeri in 1830 by Rev. William Yate. Only two copies survive, one in Special Collections at Auckland City Libraries, the other at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.