New Zealand Gets Its Own Free Text Archive

It’s not humongous like Google Books, but it’s certainly respectable! New Zealand now has the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC), over 1000 electronic books that feature well-known books about, by, or relating to New Zealand and New Zealanders (or I hope they don’t mind if I call them Kiwis.) The new site is available at

You can do a keyword search (there’s a simple or an advanced search) or you can browse. You can browse by author, by works, or by subject (Contemporary and Historical Māori and Pacific Islands, Language, Literature, New Zealand History, etc.)

I chose Historical Māori and Pacific Islands, not knowing enough to do a really good keyword search. The NZETC gave me a list of titles, from A Bibliography of Online Resources for the “Moko; or Maori Tattooing” Project to ‘A Curious Document’: Ta Moko as Evidence of Pre-European Textual Culture in New Zealand. I clicked on Legends of the Maori, as that looked interesting, and got what looked like an outline of a book. Each item in the outline had a direct link to that part of the book as an HTML page. You could read the book on the page if you wish, though sometimes I wished there was some kind of hyperlinked glossary. I initially had no idea what a pakeha was, nor a kai-haukai, and while I could and did look them up, it distracted me from my reading.

If you want to view the books on your e-reader, the NZETC makes the books available in ePUB format or TEI XML. I don’t think my Kindle will read ePub, but after doing a little bit of research I found Calibre, which is an open source program which converts to/from a variety of e-book formats (the useful pair in my case is from ePub to MOBI.)

The Maori stuff in the archive is fascinating to me, but I’m sure all of it’s worth a browse. Kudos New Zealand! Oh, and thanks for letting me access these materials as well, even though I’m over 8000 miles away.

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