This article shares the findings of research undertaken in 2009-2010 into the sustainability of community archives in New Zealand. Case study analysis and literature review revealed that eleven factors are essential to maintaining community archives over the long term. The results of the research highlight the fact that community archives are a system in which a number of interrelated factors need to be present and maintained to ensure sustainability. Each of these is discussed, along with the implications for the archives. When the factors are mapped to the recordkeeping continuum model, seven out of the eleven are shown to be organisational factors, aligning with the ‘Identity’ axis on the continuum model. Not only do these factors dominate in playing a direct role in sustainability, they also strongly influence other factors which are required for sustainability. From a theoretical perspective, the findings of this research highlight the value of the continuum theory in understanding issues affecting the sustainability of community archives in particular, and archives in general. From a practical perspective, they may assist in deciding the type and priority for allocation of resources in order to ensure sustainability of archives.