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Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa

General reference sources

General reference sources

A good general starting point for any researcher is Studying New Zealand History (2nd ed. 1992) by G.A. Wood and revised by Cauchi. Although the emphasis is on historical research the coverage is broad enough to encompass theatre and music. A third edition is expected shortly. The annual New Zealand Official Yearbook (1893- ) is an essential New Zealand current reference work, providing a vast amount of commentary on virtually every aspect of life in New Zealand. Consulting volumes over a period of time offers a handy means of tracking changes in policy and statistical information. The 1990 sesquicentennial issue is particularly valuable as it was enhanced by historical surveys and extracts from earlier volumes.

The most comprehensive encyclopaedia is still A.H. McLintock's three-volume Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (1966), which includes biographical and subject entries, and is well indexed. Although dated, and articles are of varying quality, no revised edition is planned. The illustrated part-work publication New Zealand's Heritage (1971-73) includes some articles of relevance to New Zealand print culture history.

Now of historic interest, the six-volume Cyclopedia of New Zealand: Industrial, Descriptive, Historical, Biographical, Facts, Figures, Illustrations (1897-1908) is mainly useful for biographical information (arranged by locality) on individuals and businesses, though not entirely trustworthy. Directories (dating from the 1840s onwards) provide some basic information on commercial activities; refer to Hansen's Directory Directory (1992) for further assistance in this area of research.

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (1990- ) provides the first comprehensive and authoritative approach to biographical information; three of the planned five volumes have been produced so far, covering from 1769 to 1920. The project is due for completion in 2000, with the final volume to cover to 1960, and a major database of information available to researchers has been compiled in the process. The selection policy is broader than similar overseas projects and the Categories Index provides a subject approach to the entries, a number of which are relevant to print culture. The Book of New Zealand Women: Ko Kui ma te Kaupapa (1991) is a biographical dictionary also with a broad approach and a detailed subject index. Oral history archives could also be investigated as a source of unpublished information.

Pictorial material can be approached through major organised institutional collections (such as the Alexander Turnbull Library's, now also available on the Internet through its Timeframes service, or the New Zealand Film Archive), newspaper archives, and commercial photographic libraries.