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Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand has been built by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga over the last 12 years. It is a comprehensive guide to the country’s peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy, institutions and society.

Te Ara has been developed in themes; Māori New Zealanders and New Zealand Peoples (the arrival and settlement of the people), Earth, Sea and Sky (marine life, people and the sea, natural resources, and shaping forces such as geology and climate), The Bush (New Zealand’s landforms, fauna and flora), The Settled Landscape (farming, rural life, and people’s impact on the land), Economy and the City (the economy, business and city life), Social Connections (social groups, families and communities), Government and Nation (systems of government and symbols of national identity), Daily Life, Sport and Recreation – daily life, customs, sports and leisure activities, Places (guide to regions and localities).

Staff are now creating the final theme: Creative and Intellectual Life (arts, culture, invention and innovation). This is due to be launched in October 2014, and completes the build phase of what was from the beginning conceived of as a time-limited project. This status was reflected in staff contracts, which are fixed-term. Seventeen fixed-term contract staff (10 part-time positions and 7 full-time positions) are due to finish working on Te Ara by October.  

Te Ara is a popular and well-respected website, and has attracted over 5 million visits in the last year (Mar 2013 - Feb 2014). The Ministry is immensely proud of the work that has been done to create a valuable and comprehensive online resource. In light of Te Ara’s success, the Ministry has now committed to ongoing maintenance of the site.

The leadership team has recently allocated funding equivalent to four new full-time positions for the 2014-2015 year, to augment the resources currently available to maintain the Ministry’s portfolio of websites. This is part of a strategy to manage and operate our sites, including Te Ara, in a more integrated way. There will be a pool of talent responsible for all websites.

One of the focuses of these new roles will be to ensure that Te Ara remains an authoritative and trustworthy online resource. This will involve revising out-of-date content and adding relevant new material to Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.


Updated on 23rd July 2015