Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Type of site
Online encyclopedia
Available in English, Māori
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Owner Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Government
Website www.teara.govt.nz
Commercial No
Launched 2005
Current status First build completed 2014

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. Its first build was completed in October 2014.[1]


The encyclopedia was edited by historian Jock Phillips and had 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.

Later themes were The Settled Landscape (2008), Economy and the City (2010), Social Connections (2010), Government and Nation (2012), Daily Life, Sport and Recreation (2013), and Creative and Intellectual Life (2014).[2]

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. The major New Zealand encyclopedia before that was the The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, published between 1897 and 1908, a commercial venture in which businesses or people usually paid to be covered.

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

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography was integrated into Te Ara in December 2010.[3]

See also


  1. "Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  2. "Who is Te Ara?". Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. "Te Ara – a history – Biographies". Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
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