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Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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Help preserve your local history – get it online!

11 April 2017

The National Library is calling on communities to protect their local history through helping digitise historic newspapers.

Submissions are open until May 5 to digitise newspapers and put them online as part of the National Library’s popular Papers Past project.

Papers Past contains over five million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals from between 1839 and 1945.

Lesley Courtney, Heritage Team Leader at Palmerston North City Library is an advocate of the initiative.

“We’ve been part of the Collaborative Newspaper Programme since the beginning because we knew how important it was to our community to search newspaper content in a much more user-friendly way. The programme’s allowed us to make the news history of our area available online to researchers worldwide preserve our content and get it online, ” says Lesley.

“Yes, it costs us money, but it’s so worthwhile. It’s expected these days that content is easily available from home and it’s searchable. I’ve always thought it was a fantastic initiative that benefits everyone.”

Every year 80,000 pages of additional historic content is added to Papers Past through the programme, expanding the Papers Past website, which makes millions of text items available from 1839 onwards.

The annual programme provides an opportunity for individuals and groups to nominate and support the newspapers they’d like to help make available online.

Later this month submissions accepted into the 2016 programme will be available on the Papers Past website.

Collaborative Newspaper Programme Manager Donna Williams expects to see a spike in activity on the site from people using the new material. This will include:
• Manawatu Times (1924-1928)
• Patea Mail (1921-1941)
• Pelorus Guardian and Miners' Advocate (1911-1919)
• Southern Cross (1893-1908)
• Waihi Daily Telegraph (1924-1935)

The costs for bringing this material online are shared between the National Library and the individual or group who nominate a paper.

“It’s actually a very cost-effective way for people to digitise the newspapers and make content searchable,” says Donna.

For more information or to apply before May 5, via the National Library of New Zealand website or go to


Kim Chambers
Department of Internal Affairs