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World-first digital encyclopedia goes live online

8 February 2005 Media Statement

World-first digital encyclopedia goes live online

Prime Minister and Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark today launched Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, the first original, official, digital, national encyclopedia in the world.

During the launch ceremony at Te Papa, Helen Clark said Te Ara would provide authoritative information about New Zealand online to a wide audience.

"The first and most important audience is New Zealanders. To know the country we are today, it is important that we know the stories of our past. Te Ara's first theme, New Zealanders, tells the stories of the many peoples who have made New Zealand their home," Helen Clark said.

Te Ara is being published by theme over the next seven years. The next theme, Earth, Sea and Sky, will focus on forces such as climate, tides, and earthquakes which have shaped our physical environment.

"This website will become a very significant way for us as New Zealanders to access information about ourselves. It will also become a key resource for the rest of the world to learn about us."

"Te Ara is a major collaborative success story, with people willing to share their experiences of coming to New Zealand, talk about their forebears and the New Zealand they discovered, and speak of their commitment to and love of the country we live in.

"I congratulate all those involved in this project and look forward to the further development of Te Ara in years to come."

Te Ara has been developed by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. A small team, led by General Editor Jock Phillips, worked with hundreds of people from around the country to collect the information for the individual entries and to source the thousands of images, artworks, maps, video clips and sound recordings which feature on the website.

Te Ara is online at


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