Talk on the NZ Biography Dictionary

A huge compendium

By Lyn Belt

The staff who worked on the Dictionary, 1999

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography was originally published in five print volumes between 1990 and 2000.

It comprised 3000 biographical essays about a wide range of deceased New Zealanders who had come to prominence by 1960. The Dictionary went online in 2001.

In 2010 it was merged with Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand to form the single largest reference work on New Zealand’s history and society.

The combined Dictionary and Te Ara website is one of the largest works of scholarship ever undertaken in this country, and is unique in the world.

Work resumed last year

Kate Sheppard is a key entry

The Dictionary has been in hiatus since the completion of the print programme in 2000, with the exception of a batch of 15 biographies that were published online in 2010-11.

A distinguished writer

Tim Shoebridge, the Dictionary’s programme manager, is a senior historian at Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Tim is the author of several books including New Zealand’s First World War Heritage (co-authored with Imelda Bargas), Quarantine! Protecting New Zealand at the border (co-authored with Gavin McLean) and Featherston Military Training Camp and the First World War.

He also contributes to the Ministry’s NZHistory and Te Ara websites.

When and where

  • Wednesday 6 June 2018
  • Lunchtime – 12.10pm to 1.00pm.  
  • Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library Building, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington.  



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