Cartoon drawing of children playing.

Get started — Papers Past newspaper open data pilot

The Papers Past open data pilot has finished. We are reviewing the pilot and aim to have the review and decisions made by January 2022. The data will continue to be available while we are reviewing the pilot.

Get in touch if you used the data. Tell us how it worked for you, what you were able to do or not do, and your thoughts on the future of open data from Papers Past. Email us at

Not sure where to start with the Papers Past newspaper open data? Too much data? Begin exploring with our starter kit.

Starter kit

We know there is lots of data and it can be overwhelming. If you just want to experiment, we suggest you download the starter kit and have a play.

The starter kit contains all the issues for seven small newspapers and is around 335MB in size. It also contains a MARC file and a Readme file for each title.

Titles in the starter kit

Title Acronym Date range Region
Charleston Argus CHARG 1867 West Coast
Hot Lakes Chronicle HLC 1895–1897 Bay of Plenty
Lyell Times and Central Buller Gazette LTCBG 1885-1886 West Coast
Mt Benger Mail MTBM 1881, 1884, 1895-1899 Otago
New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator NZGWS 1839-1844 Wellington
Oxford Observer OO 1889-1900 Canterbury
Victoria Times VT 1841 Wellington

Download the starter kit

Papers Past newspapers open data starter kit (tar.gz, 335MB)

Get in touch

Let us know how you've found the pilot, what's gone well and what hasn't worked.

If you have any questions about the data or would like to let us know about projects you have been working on with it, please get in touch.

Email us —

Feature image at top of page: Image created by Greig Roulston from pictures from the pilot dataset.