About Papers Past

Papers Past

Digitized New Zealand newspapers, periodicals, letters, diaries and parliamentary papers. Coverage includes The Press from 1861 to 1989.

Papers Past from the National Library of New Zealand presents an array of New Zealand primary source material. You can search using keyword or browse using titles and dates as guides. This eResource is updated regularly as more content is digitized. Papers Past allows you to:

  • Read New Zealand’s earliest newspapers — the oldest listed is New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, August 21, 1839;
  • Access The Press, from 1861 to 1989; The Star, 1868 to 1935; The Sun 1914 to 1920
  • Read the New Zealand Herald from 1863 to 1945;
  • Examine a collection of historic newspapers published primarily for a Māori audience between 1842 and 1935;
  • Explore magazines such as the The Ladies’ Mirror who felt that "every woman alive has at least one story to tell"
  • Access the papers of Donald McLean (1820-1877) who played a central role in relations between Māori and the Government during this period;
  • Access reports from the Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHRs) and the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives. The reports document the work of both the government and government departments of the day.

The material in Papers Past is a great source of information about the social, economic and political events of the times. Researchers of family history, whakapapa, and genealogy will find the shipping news, births, deaths, marriages and divorce proceedings of interest.

A range of titles are available on the site, making it a valuable source of information on life in all regions of New Zealand. This is a fantastic resource for Cantabrians as Papers Past’s coverage of The Press covers the early years of the Canterbury settlement, World War I, political commentary and public comment.


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