New Zealand Electronic Text Centre


The NZETC, a free online archive of New Zealand and Pacific Islands texts and heritage materials, was created in 2002 as part of the University of Victoria Library. Since then, the centre has grown its accessible collection to over 2,600 texts that feature in an online library.

Their four main objectives are

  • To create a digital library providing open access to significant New Zealand and Pacific Island texts and materials. This encompasses both digitised heritage material and born-digital resources;
  • To effectively partner with other organisations, as a collaborator and service provider, on a variety of digitisation and digital content projects;
  • To build a wider community skilled in the use and creation of digital materials through teaching and training activities and by publishing and presenting the results of research
  • To work at the intersection of computing tools with textual material and investigate how these tools may be used to make new knowledge from our cultural inheritance.

NZETC works with many partners in the cultural heritage and ePublishing sector such as National Library of New Zealand, the Alexander Turnbull Library, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the State Library of Victoria and Learning Media. Projects have also been developed within Victoria University of Wellington with the International Institute of Modern Letters, the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies, Va’aoman Pasifika, the School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University Press, J C Beaglehole Room and Wai-te-ata Press. The centre is an active member of the National Digital Forum, the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium, and the Australia New Zealand Digital Encyclopedias Group.

Licence Usage

The NZETC provides free access to a range of materials in multiple formats for download or online browsing. In situations where the original text is out of copyright, the NZETC provides a digitised version under a New Zealand Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike licence. This allows the sharing and remixing of the digitised text, even for commercial reasons, as long as the NZETC is credited and users licence their new creations under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Licence too.

“We hope this will encourage more use of the resources by making it obvious to our users that, in many cases, they can take the digital editions to share and transform as they like.”

Alison Stevenson, NZETC director

So far there are 433 titles available under the New Zealand Creative Commons licence including Walter Buller’s A History of the Birds of New Zealand, the 1914 edition of the Edmond’s Cookery Book, Katherine Mansfield’s fiction, Elsdon Best’s monographs, and the many 19th century New Zealand novels in the archive.

Much of the material handled by the NZETC cannot be released with Creative Commons licences because full copyright is retained by others, although these parties will have the option of choosing CC for their work from now on. NZETC Director Alison Stevenson says that “in terms of CC licensing for original works which are in copyright, now that we can demonstrate the license in use on the site it will be easier to offer it as an option and we’ll certainly talk to authors about this in future projects.” The centre regularly received requests from remix poets for permission to republish text, and from journalists and exhibition organisers for permission to reproduce NZETC images. By applying a Creative Commons licence to some of the collection, users no longer have to contact the centre for permission on this material.


“Another year has gone, and it is Christmas again at Warleycombe. The curtain has dropped upon the tragedy of many thousands of human lives, and myriads of hopes and fears have culminated and been engulphed in the awful Mystery which surrounds humanity. Life-sorrows have been quieted, and ambitions set at rest, since Father Christmas last smiled upon the pretty Devon lane. As we know, sorrow has visited Laura Harrild; but she still moves amongst her father’s guests with the quiet grace of old. She has been smitten with a great grief, which will shadow all her future years; but she has her duties to perform in the world, and she performs them meekly and patiently. She dwells with calm sorrow upon the memory of her lover, and in her heart she cherishes the hope that he will return to her; and she will forgive him, and take him to her heart again. On that she has resolved; for a nature like Laura’s loves only once, and loves for ever.”

Shadows on the Snow: A Christmas Story is Licenced under Creative Commons. Read the full text at NZETC.

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