New Zealand Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

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Encyclopedias provide information on all branches of knowledge or treat a specific topic comprehensively, usually in articles arranged alphabetically. They often contain information of great interest for genealogical research. They can include articles about towns and places, prominent people, minorities, and religions. They can give information about such topics as record keeping practices, laws, customs, commerce, clothing customs, occupations, industrial background, Maori tribes and customs, and archaic terminology.

Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an online encyclopedia about New Zealand and its people, found at

The Family History Library has a general knowledge encyclopedia in the English language which can be found in most public and university libraries as well as in many homes throughout the world, i.e. Encyclopedia Britannica. Also, there are a few biographical dictionaries available. They are listed in the Family History Library Catalog, Place Search, under:


For a dictionary of the Maori language, see the "Language and Languages" section of this outline.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. 5 vols. Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand: Dept of Internal Affairs, 1990-2000, is available in many libraries and is also online at

Some of the encyclopedia include:

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand: Industrial, Descriptive, Historical, Biographical, Facts, Figures, Illustrations. Wellington, New Zealand: Cyclopedia Company, 1897. (FHL book 993.1 D3c, 6 vols; films 287489-287493; fiche 6342720-6342725.)

An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, edited A.H. McLintock. Wellington New Zealand: R.E. Owen, Government Printer 1966. (FHL book 030.931 M225e 3 vols.)