Te Reo Māori, niupepa, and Papers Past

The historians and whakapapa researchers among you may already be familiar with Papers Pastopens a new window, an impressive and still-growing online resource from the National library. This site makes digitised versions of Aotearoa newspapers, magazines and journals, letters and diaries, and parliamentary papers available online, for free.

The fascinating newspaper section (believe me, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit-hole of reading old articles and advertisements for hours!) contains a wide range of digitised New Zealand and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries, including an important collection of newspapers/niupepa in Te Reo Māori (or in English for a Māori readership).

Many of these became available in 2015, when the National Library added a collection of historic newspapers. This latest online collection was based on the digital Niupepa Collection developed and made available in 2000 by the New Zealand Digital Library Project, at the Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato. The original source material for this was ‘Niupepa 1842-1933’, a collection of niupepa filmed by the Alexander Turnbull Library in the late 1980s and made available on microfiche in the 1990s.

There were three main types of Māori niupepa published over this period; government sponsored, Māori initiated, and religious. To see the current list of what’s available in this collection, take a look at the list on the Papers Past 'about' pageopens a new window.

More information about the newspapers can be found in Rere Atu Taku Manu! Discovering History, Language & Politics in the Māori Language Newspapers, edited by Jennifer Curnow, Ngapare Hopa, and Jane McRae, available from our collection.

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