Walsh Memorial Library
MOTAT’s Walsh Memorial Library houses an extensive collection of historical records, archives, and materials reflecting Auckland’s social history and New Zealand’s unique history of transport and technology.
Named after New Zealand aviation pioneers Leo and Vivian Walsh, the library opened in 1964, and serves to preserve and document heritage items, and provide the Museum staff and public with access to the collection.
The library is a reference only facility, meaning resources are not able to be signed out or taken off site. However, the library is open to the public, research requests can be made through the website, and much of the collection is available online. The space is also used to display exhibitions related to the library collection. Please see the exhibitions listings on the website for more information on what’s currently on display.
MOTAT 1, 805 Great North Road | Monday to Friday 10am – 4:30 pm | Closed on public holidays | Phone: 09-845-3690 | Email
The Walsh Memorial Library holds an impressive collection of manuscript, pictorial, published, and oral history collections based on New Zealand aviation, transport, technology, and Auckland social histories as outlined below.
This includes books and serials dating back more than a century ago through to present day. They cover a vast range of topics, from aviation, rail transport, and auto mechanics to printmaking, engineering, and New Zealand social history. We also have a large collection of manuals for a wide range of plane and car models. Our published collections are available to browse online here.
Manuscripts, Maps, and Plans
These records reflect the MOTAT collections, and include manuscripts and hand-written letters from aviation pioneers, plans and blueprints for locomotives and tracks, statistics, and records for New Zealand transport histories, and more. Contact us for more information on this extensive collection.
The library has over 400 hours of recordings archived, covering themes of aviation, transport, telecommunications, and more. Interviews with former MOTAT staff members and volunteers give an intimate and lively account of the development of the museum and its collections. Come in and listen to our interviews with Guy Robertson (pioneer of NZ aerial top dressing), Phyllis Harwood, (Auckland tram conductress between 1947 and 1956), and many more.
The pictorial collections are currently being digitized, and include significant New Zealand collections like the Whites Aviation and Les Downey rail collections. Read in-depth articles about some of our collections, as written by our dedicated volunteers.
To access a wider selection of our pictorial collections see our Collections Online.
Meet the Library Team
The library is run by a dedicated team of qualified and knowledgeable staff and volunteers. The Library Team are always on hand for research assistance, and can also provide digitization and image reproduction services for items in our collections. We welcome research requests in person, online, and by phone.