The James Duncan Reference Library

The McGuinness Institute is committed to providing a strong evidence base for our work. To support us in this, the James Duncan Reference Library was established in October 2009 and the collection has been growing rapidly since then. The library and archive house publications on New Zealand’s future-thinking initiatives and historical development, the theory and practice of future-thinking, strategy development, and national and international perspectives.

The Institute believes that New Zealand’s future must build on its past and this is why our library, in all its forms, is so important to us. The collection has reached 4,710 books and publications and is still growing.

Opening Hours

The library is open to the public, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. To make an appointment, contact our librarian at or +64 4 499 8888


The McGuinness Institute office,
Level 2, 5 Cable St, Wellington.

Our Collections

    Gold collections

This collection contains old or unique New Zealand publications. Most of this material can be found on our online catalogue and is available on request.

    Silver collections

These publications are kept in the James Duncan Reference Library and cannot leave the premises. They are searchable on our online catalogue and are accessible from our library at the McGuinness Institute on Level 2, 5 Cable St, Wellington.  We also have soft copies available for those not living in Wellington.


  • Antarctica and Southern Ocean (ANZ)
    • This collection is in hard copy only, we do not have any online material.

    Bronze collections

These collections contains recent books and cover a range of topics. They are not on our online catalogue but visitors are most welcome to browse our book shelves on request.


  • Countries Collection
  • Civics and Media Collection
  • Climate Change Collection
  • Economics & Resource Management Collection
  • Food and GM Collection
  • Foresight & Scenarios Collection
  • Marketing Collection
  • One Ocean Collection
  • One Integrated Report Collection
  • Public Science Collection
  • Risk and Pandemic Collection
  • StrategyNZ Collection
  • TalentNZ Collection
  • Urban Design Collection
  • Writing and Media Collection (How to)


The McGuinness Institute would like to acknowledge the following people who have loaned or donated material to the library: Paul Corliss, Jennifer Coote, Yvonne Curtis, Judith Davey, Perrine Gilkison, Myra Harpham, Niki Lomax, NZ Futures Trust, Geoffrey Palmer, Jessica Prenderhast, Betty Radford, Peter Rankin, Hayley Vujcich and Isabel White.

About the Library

The James Duncan Reference Library is located at the office of the McGuinness Institute in Wellington. Named after the former Chair of the Commission for the Future, Professor James Duncan (1921–2001), the library has been established to provide a record of long-term thinking in New Zealand.

The Project 2058 team has been greatly encouraged by the work of Professor Duncan and his team, and Duncan’s book Options for New Zealand’s Future was a major inspiration in the initial stages of Project 2058 . The library collection evolved as the McGuinness Institute grew, and the team came to the realisation that we had the beginnings of something unique. We hope that the library will prove to be a valuable resource in its own right for those interested in thinking about New Zealand’s long-term future.

The major focus of the collection is material relating to New Zealand Futures Thinking; publications from the Commission for the Future, Futures Thinking Aotearoa and the New Zealand Planning Council form the core of this collection. As well as the New Zealand Futures Thinking collection, the library also features collections focusing on the work of international future thinkers and scenario planners; New Zealand history and society; books with a Māori focus; and a diverse collection of reference and general materials from New Zealand and around the world.