Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
|Author||Prof W. H. Oliver (ed.) 1983–1990
Dr Claudia Orange (ed.) 1990–2003
1,239 individual contributors
|Subject||New Zealand biography|
|Media type||5 volumes; also available on-line|
The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB) is an encyclopedia or biographical dictionary containing biographies of over 3,000 deceased New Zealanders. It was first published as a series of print volumes from 1990 to 2000, and then on a website from 2002. The dictionary superseded An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand of 1966, which had 900 biographies. The dictionary is managed by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage of the Government of New Zealand. An earlier work of the same name in two volumes, published in in 1940 by Guy Scholefield with government assistance, is unrelated.
Scholefield was a journalist, historian, and librarian. Together with Emil Schwabe, he edited the 1908 edition of Who's who in New Zealand and the western Pacific. He was the primary editor of the two 1940 volumes of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. For the two volumes, he received an honorarium from the government of ₤300. The 1940 edition was part of a series a state-funded publications celebrating the country's centenary. The agreement with Scholefield allowed for further editions and corrigenda at perhaps ten-yearly intervals. By 1955, Scholefield had enough material for a third volume covering the 1941–1951 period, but this did not go ahead. Instead, the government approved in 1959 the production of An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand by the then-parliamentary librarian, Alexander Hare McLintock. Government officials regarded that there was thus no need for a third volume and whilst they allowed for Scholefield to privately issue a supplement, they did not allow him to have the original volumes reprinted. By then, the original print run of 2,000 copies had sold out.
Work on the current version of the DNZB was started in 1983 under the editorship of W. H. Oliver. The first volume covered the period 1769–1869 and was published in 1990. The four subsequent volumes were all edited by Claudia Orange, and they were published in 1993 (1879–1900), 1996 (1901–1920), 1998 (1920–1940), and 2000 (1941–1960).
These later volumes made a conscious effort to move away from the male and Pākehā-dominated coverage of early works to a move representative view of New Zealand. Women who had done well in male-dominated fields (Sybil Audrey Marie Lupp, Amy Isabella Johnston, Mary Jane Innes, Alice Woodward Horsley, Nora Mary Crawford, etc.) were included, as were Māori, a range of ordinary people (Joseph Zillwood, etc.) and criminals (Edward Raymond Horton, Jessie Finnie, etc.). Many of these people were included because detailed accounts of their lives were readily available, in archives, academic studies and official histories. Others were prolific diarists (Catherine Fulton, Sarah Louise Mathew, Alexander Whisker, James Cox, etc.).
Helen Clark as Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage launched the online version of the DNZB on 19 February 2002. The online version was first promoted by Judith Tizard, a graduate in history from the University of Auckland, which was supported by Clark, who had also graduated in history from the same university, and endorsed by Michael Cullen, who had been a history lecturer at the University of Otago.
A number of entries were added to make the dictionary more representative of population covered, boosting the numbers of women, Maori, and other minority groups. A number of these are not based on secondary sources, as encyclopaedias traditionally are, but instead on primary sources, because no secondary sources exist for these individuals.
- In 1991, the first print volume won the 1991 Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards.
- In 2002, Yahoo users in New Zealand and Australia voted the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography website "site of the year".
- Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : A–L I. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : M–Addenda II. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
- Oliver, W. H., ed. (1990). The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography I. Wellington: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 004641052X.
- Orange, Claudia, ed. (1993). The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography II. Wellington: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0908912498.
- Orange, Claudia, ed. (1996). The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography III. Wellington: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1869402006.
- Orange, Claudia, ed. (1998). The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography IV. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books. ISBN 1869402030.
- Orange, Claudia, ed. (2000). The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography V. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 1869402243.
- Porter, Frances. "Scholefield, Guy Hardy". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011.
- Jones, Lawrence (2001). "Dictionary of New Zealand Biography". In Jolly, Margaretta. Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms. Routledge. p. 274. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "State-funded history". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "Document downloads" (6 June 2013). Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Clark, Helen (19 February 2002). "Online version of Dictionary of NZ Biography" (Press release). Wellington: New Zealand Government. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Phillips, Jock (2003). "The Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of History 37 (1): 80–89. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Dictionary of New Zealand Biography biographical database | Ministry for Culture and Heritage". mch.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
We are able to add records to the database, and are particularly interested in people who were active between 1961 and 1980 (even if they are still alive). However, anyone who made a contribution to New Zealand society is eligible for inclusion in the database. Although the person you identify may not be selected for an essay in the Dictionary, his or her details will be retained permanently for the future benefit of researchers.
- Hutchison, Anne. "Barbara Weldon". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011.
- Glamuzina, Julie. "Jessie Finnie". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011.
- Women, Madness and the Law: A Feminist Reader. Wendy Chan, Dorothy E. Chunn, Robert Menzies. Routledge, 2012. ISBN 9781135311162
- "Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards – Literature – Christchurch City Libraries". christchurchcitylibraries.com. 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.