Papers Past guide

Screenshot showing Papers Past homepage.

Papers Past has a wealth of digitised historical New Zealand content that can be used for a variety of teaching and learning activities. The content includes newspapers, magazines, journals, letters, diaries and parliamentary papers.

  • About Papers Past

    The Papers Past website is a goldmine of historical information, with millions of pages of digitised historical content from all over New Zealand. The content is divided into 4 sections — all containing digitised primary source materials.

    Newspapers — digitised NZ and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries. Each newspaper has its own page containing information about the publication and its availability online. The section includes early te reo Māori newspapers (niupepa) as well as newspapers published for a Māori audience but written in English. Find a list of niupepa

    Magazines and journals — magazines and journals published in New Zealand from 1861 to 2017. Each title has a page that provides a brief history of the publication and its availability online.

    Letters and diaries — a range of personal and official letters written between 1839 and 1876 from the Sir Donald McLean Collection. McLean was a government official and politician, and fluent in Māori. He played a pivotal role in interactions between Māori and the government. The collection includes:

    • inward letters in English and Māori
    • letter books, outward letters — drafts and fragments
    • diaries and notebooks
    • telegrams
    • official papers
    • inward family letters.

    Parliamentary papers — comprises 3 volumes of the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives (1854–1856). The section also includes the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR) — a collection of government-related reports published every year from 1858 to 1950. The AJHR contain:

    • annual reports of government departments
    • reports from commissions of inquiry
    • many maps, plans, photos, sketches, and diagrams relating to New Zealand life.
  • Using Papers Past

    The range of historic primary resources available on Papers Past is invaluable. They can be used for a variety of teaching and learning activities. They also offer unique resources to inform inquiry-based learning focused on New Zealand’s shared history.

    Supporting inquiry learning

    Papers Past has a range of search functions that make it easy to find content.

    • Newspapers can be browsed by title, region, and date.
    • Newspaper articles can be searched by keyword, date, title, and type of content (article, advertisement, or illustration).
    • Magazines and journals can be browsed by title and date.
    • Magazine articles can be searched by keyword, date, title, and type of content (article, advertisement, or illustration).
    • Letters and diaries can be searched by keyword, date, place, person, series, and iwi or hapu.
    • Parliamentary papers can be browsed by parliamentary session, date, or volume.
    • Parliamentary articles can be searched by keyword, date, parliamentary session or section.

    Papers Past help — has tips on how to find items in Papers Past.

  • Responsible use — copyright and attribution

    When you use any of the digital resources included in Papers Past, be aware of their copyright requirements and usage restrictions.

    A copyright statement is provided for each resource.

    Copyright guide — Papers Past

    It's important that you acknowledge or attribute resources that you use in your work. Check if your school has guidelines for responsible use of other people's work.

    If you're unsure about how to use these digital resources responsibly, ask your librarian or refer to:

About Papers Past

The Papers Past website is a goldmine of historical information, with millions of pages of digitised historical content from all over New Zealand. The content is divided into 4 sections — all containing digitised primary source materials.

Newspapers — digitised NZ and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries. Each newspaper has its own page containing information about the publication and its availability online. The section includes early te reo Māori newspapers (niupepa) as well as newspapers published for a Māori audience but written in English. Find a list of niupepa

Magazines and journals — magazines and journals published in New Zealand from 1861 to 2017. Each title has a page that provides a brief history of the publication and its availability online.

Letters and diaries — a range of personal and official letters written between 1839 and 1876 from the Sir Donald McLean Collection. McLean was a government official and politician, and fluent in Māori. He played a pivotal role in interactions between Māori and the government. The collection includes:

  • inward letters in English and Māori
  • letter books, outward letters — drafts and fragments
  • diaries and notebooks
  • telegrams
  • official papers
  • inward family letters.

Parliamentary papers — comprises 3 volumes of the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives (1854–1856). The section also includes the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR) — a collection of government-related reports published every year from 1858 to 1950. The AJHR contain:

  • annual reports of government departments
  • reports from commissions of inquiry
  • many maps, plans, photos, sketches, and diagrams relating to New Zealand life.

Using Papers Past

The range of historic primary resources available on Papers Past is invaluable. They can be used for a variety of teaching and learning activities. They also offer unique resources to inform inquiry-based learning focused on New Zealand’s shared history.

Supporting inquiry learning

Papers Past has a range of search functions that make it easy to find content.

  • Newspapers can be browsed by title, region, and date.
  • Newspaper articles can be searched by keyword, date, title, and type of content (article, advertisement, or illustration).
  • Magazines and journals can be browsed by title and date.
  • Magazine articles can be searched by keyword, date, title, and type of content (article, advertisement, or illustration).
  • Letters and diaries can be searched by keyword, date, place, person, series, and iwi or hapu.
  • Parliamentary papers can be browsed by parliamentary session, date, or volume.
  • Parliamentary articles can be searched by keyword, date, parliamentary session or section.

Papers Past help — has tips on how to find items in Papers Past.


Responsible use — copyright and attribution

When you use any of the digital resources included in Papers Past, be aware of their copyright requirements and usage restrictions.

A copyright statement is provided for each resource.

Copyright guide — Papers Past

It's important that you acknowledge or attribute resources that you use in your work. Check if your school has guidelines for responsible use of other people's work.

If you're unsure about how to use these digital resources responsibly, ask your librarian or refer to: