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Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Web address
Slogan Te Ara - The Pathway
Commercial? No
Type of site
Online encyclopedia
Available in English, Māori
Owner Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Government
Launched 2005
Current status Perpetual work-in-progress

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an online encyclopedia created by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage of the New Zealand Government. The project was established in 2002 and the website launched in 2005. Te Ara is a long-term project, although much content is already visible.


The encyclopedia is edited by historian Jock Phillips and has a staff of writers, editors, image and resource researchers and designers. It is organised by themes, and its first theme focused on telling the stories of New Zealanders. It covers the migration of peoples to New Zealand, and the history of their settlement – both New Zealand's indigenous Māori people, and other immigrant groups.

An overview section, New Zealand in Brief, presents concise information and facts about the country.

In 2006 a second thematic group of entries was published entitled Earth, Sea and Sky and covering ocean fish, sea and shorebirds and other marine life, the interactions of people and the sea, the country's natural resources, and shaping forces such as geology, volcanology, weather and climate. Distinctively New Zealand features are the main focus of the content, and scientific and technical data is presented within its social and human context.

Te Ara's third theme, The Bush, was launched in late 2007. It covers New Zealand's indigenous landscapes, forests, plants and animals, and the ways that people have used them or attempted to understand them. The Bush comprises more than 100 entries, covering such topics as early mapping, tramping, conifer–broadleaf forests, taniwha, Māori exploration, threatened species, logging native forests, moa, kiwi and a great deal more.

A further six thematic groups of entries will appear progressively – roughly one a year until 2013. In 2008 the theme being prepared focused broadly on farming and rural life.

Geographical information is also being added progressively, and by early 2008 included Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Manawatū and Horowhenua, Northland, South Canterbury, the Volcanic Plateau, Wairarapa and Wellington.

The previous official New Zealand encyclopedia was An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, first published in 1966 and edited by A.H. McLintock. A digitised version of this work now forms part of the Te Ara website. Unlike the earlier commercial The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, neither Te Ara nor An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand contain self-published material.[citation needed]

Entries on topics relating substantially to Māori are presented in Māori as well as English.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography has been integrated into Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand as the portion covering people.[1]

See also


External links