Papers Past

Papers Past is a goldmine of historical information, with millions of pages of digitised historical content from all over New Zealand.

Digitised primary source materials

The Papers Past content is divided into 4 sections — all containing digitised primary source materials.


Search digitised NZ and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries, including early te reo Māori newspapers. Each newspaper has its own page containing information about the publication and its availability online.

Search Newspapers

Magazines and Journals

Search digitised magazines and journals published in New Zealand, covering topics from building to nursing to science. Each journal has its own page containing information about the publication and its availability online.

Search Magazines and Journals

Letters and Diaries

Search digitised manuscripts from the Sir Donald McLean collection of personal and official letters written between 1839 and 1876.

Search Letters and Diaries

Parliamentary Papers

Search digitised volumes of the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives (1854-1856) and the Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (1858-1950).

Search Parliamentary Papers

Selecting newspapers for digitisation

We have a couple of ways of adding more newspapers to Papers Past.

We have an ongoing selection process, tracking suggested titles. We investigate each title to work out:

  • copyright status
  • the quality and availability of microfilm, and
  • geographic coverage.

With that information, we are able to decide what titles are suitable for digitisation.

Collaborative Digitsation Programme

The Library also runs an annual Collaborative Digitisation Programme, when we invite external groups or individuals to join with us in digitising a newspaper of their suggestion, and the costs of digitisation are shared.

Collaborative Digitisation Programme

National Newspaper Collection

The digitised newspapers on Papers Past are only a small proportion of our newspaper collections. Visit us to access a much wider range of newspapers, including current publications, in print and on microfilm.

More about the National Newspaper Collection