About Te Kupenga online

Colour photo showing 2 rows of the book 'Te Kupenga: 101 Stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull' stacked together.

Te Kupenga online is a collection of stories from ‘Te Kupenga: 101 Stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull’, curated with resources to inspire learning about Aotearoa New Zealand's histories. Read more about the stories and the people who wrote them.

A net filled with stories

In 1893 Alexander Turnbull said:

Anything whatever to do with this colony, on its history, flora, fauna, geology and inhabitants, will be fish for my net, from as early a date as possible until now.

Te Kupenga (the net) highlights the broad range of remarkable items held in the Alexander Turnbull Library collections. Each has a story to tell.

Contributors to Te Kupenga online chose an item in the collections that meant something to them personally or professionally and wrote about it.

They each write in their own voice, their choices and stories informed by numerous factors, including language, personalities and backgrounds. Some are written in the first person. Some are formal and learned, while others are informal and familiar. Our voices are diverse, as are our users and readers.

Stories to help young people learn about their histories

These stories will help young New Zealanders learn about the histories of the place they live. History isn’t about memorising facts, figures and dates. Rather it is about drawing on evidence to uncover a narrative, to tell a story, to find truths.

Stories are how we remember things that are important to us, as individuals, families and communities, and as a country. They offer insights that help us make sense of who we are and how we see the world.

Stories from across time and place, with resources

The stories in Te Kupenga online range across time and place, travelling Aotearoa New Zealand and the world.

Each story is supported by links to other relevant items in the Alexander Turnbull Library collections and curations of resources from Topic Explorer and Many Answers. The stories also list connections to New Zealand's National Curriculum documents:

  • Te Maruatanga o Aotearoa
  • The New Zealand Curriculum.

New Zealand's National Curriculum

Taking stories from the Turnbull online

Te Kupenga: 101 Stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull is a book published to mark 100 years of the Alexander Turnbull Library, one of our great pātaka (storehouses) of knowledge.

Read more about the Alexander Turnbull Library

National Library Services to Schools have selected many of the 101 stories in Te Kupenga and created resources to inspire and inform learning about the past.

The book is an initiative from the Turnbull Endowment Trust.

Contributors to Te Kupenga

Ulu Afaese

Ulu Afaese is of Samoan descent and hails from the villages of Falealili Mata‘utu and Sagone. He is currently the Pacific Virtual Museum Content Analyst, involved in a joint project between the National Library of New Zealand and the National Library of Australia.

Lisa Allcott

Lisa Allcott has been a Facilitator National Capability, Services to Schools, since 2001. She currently works with schools in South Auckland, Manurewa and Franklin, running face-to-face and online professional development for school library teams in the areas of reading engagement, digital resources and school library development.

Dr Natasha Barrett

Dr Natasha Barrett is currently Research Librarian Digital Materials in the Arrangement and Description team and serves on the National Digital Forum Board. She has a PhD in Museum Studies (University of Leicester) on the meanings and uses of colonial-era photographs of Māori and their taonga in British museum collections.

Trish Beamsley

Trish Beamsley (Te Ati Haunui-a-Papārangi, Te Āti Awa) is Research Librarian Māori and has worked for the Turnbull and its clients for two decades. One of her favourite aspects of her job is introducing and reuniting Māori with their ancestors’ taonga held in the library.

Dr Abi Beatson

Dr Abi Beatson is the Covid-19 Digital Archivist. Her work focuses on building the Turnbull’s Covid-19 collection to ensure that the historical record of this unprecedented time in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history is collected and preserved to support future understanding and research.

Catherine Bisley

Catherine Bisley (Ngāpuhi) is a part-time Arrangement and Description Librarian with a special interest in photographic collections. Outside of her work at the Turnbull, she works in film as a writer and director. Kia whakarite, kia whakamārama, kia tauhere ki te ao.

Dr Michael Brown

Dr Michael Brown is the Curator Music. He has published on various aspects of New Zealand music and music archiving practice and co-edited Searches for Tradition: Essays on New Zealand Music, Past and Present (Victoria University Press, 2017).

Rene Burton

Rene Burton is the National Manager Online, Services to Schools. He provides strategic leadership and direction relating to online services, content, and resources that support educators and learners to access taonga in an ever-increasingly digital world.

Jenni Chrisstoffels

Jenni Chrisstoffels is the Research Librarian, Pictorial, and has worked at the National Library and Alexander Turnbull Library for over 30 years. Since 2011, she has specialised in assisting researchers to find and use relevant images from the Turnbull’s vast pictorial collections.

Gail Cochrane

Gail Cochrane is the Facilitator National Capability (Priority Learners) within Services to Schools. She provides advice to schools and kura to support enquiry learning, digital literacy, reading engagement, and the development of their libraries’ physical and online services.

Paul Diamond

Paul Diamond (Ngāti Hauā, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) was appointed as Curator Māori in 2011. He is the author of A Fire in Your Belly (Huia, 2003), Makereti: Taking Māori to the World (Random House, 2007) and Savaged to Suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand (Fraser Books, 2018), and has also worked as an oral historian and broadcaster. In 2017, he was awarded Creative New Zealand’s Berlin Writer’s Residency to complete a book about Charles Mackay, a former mayor of Whanganui who was killed in Berlin in 1929.

Suzanne Hardy

Suzanne Hardy is a Reading Services Librarian for Services to Schools in the Literacy and Learning Directorate of the National Library of New Zealand.

Cellia Joe-Olsen

Cellia Joe-Olsen (Nō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Pahauwera, Tūwharetoa) ko te Heritage Advice Coordinator tōna tūranga i roto i te ranga Outreach Services. Ahakoa he tūranga whānui tāna, e ngākaunui ana ia ki te reo Māori, ki ngā tikanga Māori, ā, ki tōna ao Māori anō hoki.

Michael Keith

Michael Keith cut his teeth in publishing as editor of the School Journal with the Department of Education. Since 1990, he has been the principal of Shearwater Associates, a company engaged in numerous publishing, writing, editorial and educational projects in New Zealand and the Pacific. This has included multiple exhibition and visitor experience developments at Te Papa Tongarewa and many other museums, historic places and environmental and recreational sites throughout Aotearoa.

Valerie Love

Valerie Love is Kaipupuri Pūranga Matihiko Matua Senior Digital Archivist. They are responsible for the transfer, ingest and management of born-digital heritage collections, including social media material. Through their work, Valerie continually strives for inclusive and respectful contemporary collecting for the Library.

Pamela Lovis

Pamela Lovis is Librarian Research Enquiries, part of a team that facilitates access to the library’s collections and information for researchers in the reading rooms and responds to distance enquiries. She has an interest in New Zealand’s extinct birds, particularly the huia, from many years working in New Zealand museums with natural history collections.

Joan McCracken

Joan McCracken has been the Outreach Services Leader since 2011, heading a team that supports the library’s public events programme, and providing advice and training in oral history and care of collections. She first worked at the Turnbull from 1972 to 1976 and returned in 1984 to provide research services to the pictorial collections.

Keith McEwing

Keith McEwing is Assistant Curator Music for the Archive of New Zealand Music and Secretary for the Lilburn Trust. He completed a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Arts at Victoria University of Wellington. His interests include Baroque dance, and he teaches Ballroom and Latin dance, and Taiji Quan.

Seán McMahon

Seán McMahon is Assistant Manuscripts Curator Kairaupī Tuhinga Taketake Tuarua and he manages the Manuscripts and Archives Collection at the Turnbull. His special interests are shipboard diaries and First World War manuscripts.

Indira Neville

Indira Neville is the Principal Advisor National Programmes and Strategy, Services to Schools. She develops high-level advice, strategy and policy related to school libraries in Aotearoa and the curriculum generally. She is a practising cartoonist and musician and a prolific writer in the fields of both education and pop culture.

Dr Sascha Nolden

Dr Sascha Nolden is a Research Librarian who joined the Turnbull’s Arrangement and Description team in 2015 and works across all the analogue formats of the unpublished collections. His research interests in history and biography include the transcription, translation and editing of primary sources.

Dylan Owen

Dylan Owen works as an Online Content Services and Product Developer (Curriculum), Services to Schools. His role is to research, develop and provide online curriculum resources for Aotearoa New Zealand schools. He has also been documenting New Zealand society over the last three decades through photography.

Denise Roughan

Denise Roughan is a former Assistant Curator Drawings Paintings and Prints. She worked at the library for 13 years and now resides in her hometown of Dunedin.

Lynette Shum 沈寶蓮

Lynette Shum 沈寶蓮 is an Oral History Advisor and has been with the Turnbull for 14 years. Her role is primarily to advise, train, support and advocate for oral history. She has a passion for the history of Chinese in New Zealand, particularly the historic Chinatown that was in central Wellington.

Mary Skarott

Mary Skarott is Research Librarian Children’s Literature and has worked with the Turnbull’s children’s collections since 1991. Her role is to connect researchers with the library’s substantial children’s literature resources and to contribute to building the National Children’s Collection and the Dorothy Neal White Collection.

Jeannie Skinner

Jeannie Skinner is Facilitator National Capability (Priority Learners), Services to Schools, and provides leadership and advice around learning, literacy and libraries. She is passionate about the importance of engaging children with reading for pleasure, the power of story to enrich their lives, and the role of libraries to help this happen.

Te Whai Mātauranga Smith

Te Whai Mātauranga Smith is National Capability Services Facilitator Māori in the Literacy and Learning Directorate of the National Library of New Zealand.

Dr Oliver Stead

Dr Oliver Stead is Curator, Drawings, Paintings and Prints. Oliver trained in art history and information studies, specialising in the arts of New Zealand and the South Pacific. His PhD research focused on the New Zealand-born art dealer and collector Sir Rex Nan Kivell.

John Sullivan

John Sullivan was Curatorial Services Leader at the Turnbull from 2011 to 2021. Prior to taking up this role, he had worked for 37 years with the library’s photographic collections, the last 26 of them as Curator.

Amanda Sykes

Amanda Sykes is the Collections Registrar. She manages the Turnbull’s loans programme, the storage and movement of its many varied collections, and is responsible for a team of library assistants. Her specialities lie in collection storage and logistics, making sure the collections remain as safe as possible to ensure they can be accessed by future generations of New Zealanders.

Chris Szekely

Chris Szekely has held the statutory position of Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library since 2007. He began his library career at the Auckland School Library Service, and for a time led library services in the South Auckland city of Manukau. He is a founding member of the Māori Information Professionals’ Association Te Rōpū Whakahau and a Fellow of the Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa. He is also an award-winning children’s author with works published in te reo Māori and English.

Anthony Tedeschi

Anthony Tedeschi MRSNZ is Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing. He holds an MLS with a Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship Specialisation from Indiana University and an MA with Distinction in English Literature from the University of Otago. His areas of specialty include book history and collecting, provenance evidence, and European history and literature.

Ariana Tikao

Ariana Tikao (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Irakehu) is a former Research Librarian, and a writer, singer, composer and leading player of taonga puoro. She was awarded an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2020. Her writing explores themes relating to her Kāi Tahu identity and mana wahine and draws upon historical kōrero from her ancestors.

Ruki Tobin

Ruki Tobin (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whātua) is Poutiaki Rauemi, Ngā Ratonga ki ngā Kura Services to Schools.

Rob Tuwhare

Rob Tuwhare is executor of the Hone Tuwhare Estate and founding member of the Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust. He teaches carpentry to South Auckland secondary school students at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Suliana Vea

Suliana Vea is the Research Librarian for the Pacific. She grew up in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, which she proudly calls home. She is of Tongan descent and hails from the villages of Faleloa in Ha‘apai and ‘Ahau in Tongatapu.

Audrey Waugh

Audrey Waugh is Assistant Curator in the Contemporary Voices and Archives team and has worked at the library since 2015 in the Collection Care, Research Access and Curatorial Services teams.

Dr Shannon Wellington

Dr Shannon Wellington is Curator Archives. Her research interests include the intersections of theory and practice between galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Prior to her role at the library, she was a lecturer in Archival Systems and Preservation Management at Victoria University of Wellington.

Erena Williamson

Erena Williamson (Ngāpuhi) is the Senior Specialist Online Services and Learning Resources at Services to Schools. She contributes thought leadership relating to online content, including teaching and learning resources, blog posts, partnership projects and professional learning development.

Camus Wyatt

Camus Wyatt is an Imaging Technician/Photographer and artist. He was first contracted by the library as a photographer during the digitisation of the Flying Nun Records archive.

Logos for Turnbull Endowment Trust and National Library of New Zealand.