Historic Newspapers On- Line

July 2012

Helping save our local history

Those piles of yellowing newspapers sitting on half-forgotten shelves of the local library, historical society, newspaper office or even your old garage could be given a brand-new lease on life, thanks to an initiative from the National Library of New Zealand.

The National Library is inviting groups from throughout New Zealand to apply to have their historic newspapers digitised and put online as part of the Library’s Papers Past project.


The Papers Past website ( already contains more than two and a half million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals from between 1839 and 1945, from 74 separate newspaper titles.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to save these records of our history and to put them in front of a huge audience,” says Papers Past manager Emerson Vandy. “We’re getting up to 10,000 visitors a day on Papers Past: family history researchers, academics and people who are just interested in finding out more about our past.”

Last year, some 70,000 pages were chosen to be incorporated into Papers Past. Partners included the Horowhenua Library Trust, Whangarei Libraries, Hamilton City Libraries, Christchurch City Libraries, Hutt City Libraries, Upper Hutt City Library, Whakatane District Museum & Gallery, Westport Genealogy and History Group and Palmerston North City Library

This year, the National Library will share the cost of digitising a further 50,000 pages from either newsprint or microfilm and is inviting applicants to apply by the end of August, via the National Library of New Zealand website (


Media: Allen Walley, Department of Internal Affairs 04 495 9351 or 027 384 3009

Papers Past: Ali Harty, National Library 04 474 3155