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Library Subject Guides

English Literature: New Zealand Literature

A guide for UC students and staff

Best databases

Databases for finding journal articles on and reveiws of New Zealand literature:

New electronic resource

Reference Sources

Biographical and critical material on authors

Oxford companion to New Zealand literature
Alphabetical entries for authors, novels, plays, anthologies, literary periodicals/magazines, key influences on writing eg war. Entries range in length from a paragraph to a short essay. Also lists recipients of book awards.
Searchable via Oxford Reference Online

Oxford history of New Zealand literature in English
Major chapters on each form of writing: non-fction, the novel, the short story, drama, poetry, childrens' literature, popular fiction. Sections within each chapter give a chronolgical account. There is also a survey of Maori literatue, publishing and literary magazines, literary scholarship and criticism. Extensive bibliography by form, and for each author. Indexed.

Post-colonial literatures in English : Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and the Pacific, 1970-1992
Offers the best and most comprehensive annotated bibliographies of New Zealand critical writing available. Includes individual author headings.

Penguin history of New Zealand literature
Chapters on significant periods in New Zealand literature from 1890-1983.

Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914
Introduction discusses this period in New Zealand writing: chapters on Alfred Dommet, Jessie MacKay, Henry Lawson, A.A.Grace, Katherine Mansfield, Edith Searle Grossmann, Blanche Baughan, William Satchell, and on Maori writing.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
Central Library, Level 10, CT 2883 .D554
5 vols, arranged by period. Includes a Category Index listing names. See the category Literature and Scholarship.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography online
(Click on initial letter of author's surname, then select from the drop-down menu)

Aotearoa / New Zealand Literature

Catalogue Tips

Use the Library Catalogue to search for books in the Library.


Works by an author

To find books written by a particular author, use an author alphabetical search and type the author's name in the format lastname firstname, for example:

  • Ihimeara, Witi

Tip: Use the Sort By... drop-down menu to display the works of prolific authors in title order.

Plays and Short stories may be hard to find because they have been published as part of a collection. The Keyword Search often provides access to the contents of a book.

eg to find Fiona Farrell's play Chook Chook:

  • type as a Keyword search: farrell chook

and you will see that it is in a book called Playlunch: five short New Zealand plays

Books about an author

To find books about an author, select a subject alphabetical search and type in the author's name, e.g.

frame, janet

If you are looking for criticism, click on the cluster of books under the headinge.g. Janet Frame --criticism and interpretation.

If you are looking for information about the author's life, look at the cluster headed 'biography'

New Zealand literature journals

Journals devoted to New Zealand literature

All New Zealand literary journals
Interactive Library Catalogue listing of journals held.

New Zealand Literary journals free online:

Deep South
Interdisciplinary journal, published quarterly, containing work primarily by the graduate students of the Dept. of English, University of Otago, but others may sumbit work (instructions included). Covers art, fiction, literature, poetry, review and theatre. All back issues available. Links to other on-line postgraduate publications.

Ka Mate Ka Ora: a New Zealand journal of poetry and poetics
The journal is part of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre ( nzepc ) and is based at the University of Auckland. It will publish substantial essays (6,000 - 10,000 words), review articles, historical reappraisals, close readings, shorter notices and mixed genre criticism in the area of poetry and poetics.

New literary magazine publishing creative writing by Australians and New Zealanders.

Literary journal from Victoria University of Wellington, containing poetry, short stories, novel extracts, essays and art. Selections from the latest issue are available, plus the full text from issues 1 (1988) - 16(1996)

Journal of arts & literature from Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific Islands: a forum for poetry, prose, reviews, interviews, photography and artwork. Published annually.

Turbine is an online literary journal, published by the Victoria University of Wellington's International Institute of Modern Letters. It includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual works by students and graduates of the Institute, and by writers and artists in the Wellington region.

Subject Guide

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Elizabeth Cooke
Central Library, Puaka-James Hight
ext. 93898

Normal working hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9am-1pm
Subjects: Arts


New Zealand Writer Files
Site contains information on over 200 New Zealand writers. Many of the author entries are reprinted and updated from Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, but the New Zealand Book Council has augmented this by also including authors not featured in the Companion.

NZETC: New Zealand Electronic Text Collection
Contains contemporary and historical texts. The Author search is particularly useful.
Latest addition: NineteenthCentury Novels

Run by the National Library of NZ and facilitates searching across 150 NZ institutions incl libraries, galleries, museums, government departments and private collections.

New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre
An electronic gateway to poetry resources in New Zealand and the Pacific region, supported by the University of Auckland. See the essays and interviews section for critical material.

The Making of New Zealand Literature 1930-1960
Outline of this formative period in NZ literature, from the History Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Creative Writing

Best New Zealand Poems
Published annually by the International Institute of Modern Letters. The poems are chosen to show the vitality and range of current writing.

NZ Writers
Information for writers. Includes courses, groups and forums, getting published, and a writers' toolkit .

Poetry New Zealand
International print journal of poetry and poetics based in New Zealand.
Sample from each issue available online. Complete issues in the Library.

New Zealand culture online. Searchable site for cultural events in the arts.

Resources for further research

Alexander Turnball Library
Overview and link to search the Alexander Turnball Library, national research library for New Zealand and the Pacific.

The Community Archive
National Register of Archives and Manuscripts. Searchable index of manuscripts held New Zealand libraries, museums and other repositories.

Early New Zealand Books
Full text of significant early descriptive accounts of New Zealand published in the 19th century. The narratives are by explorers, missionaries and settlers. Keyword searchable, and includes digitised illustrations and maps. Provided by Auckland University Library.