The Film Archive says the establishment of the vault in Wellington to protect New Zealand's oldest films will make them more accessible to film buffs as well as the wider public.
Nitro-cellulose film was the most commonly used film stock in New Zealand from 1900 until the end of the 1940 but is notoriously flammable and prone to deterioration over time.
Chief executive Frank Stark told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the films have been kept in a variety of places including ammunition bunkers and he welcomes the move to a dedicated building.
"The collections have largely been held in recent years in the north Wairarapa - quite a trek from Wellington to work on them.
"We've had international researchers here, looking quite successfully for lost treasures from around the world. Very hard to access them from an Army base in north Wairarapa so that's a real positive."
Mr Stark said the films require ideal atmospheric conditions, away from any source that might cause fire.