3000 public sets

Posted on 26 November 2015 by Thomasin

Do you know what is better than 2000 sets? 3000 sets! Last time we celebrated set-making on the blog, we had 2000 glorious sets. But industrious set-makers never rest, and now we reached a new milestone.

We are always intrigued and amazed at what kinds of topics people make sets about, so we've put together this special highlights package just for you.

Family history

Family history sets are a strong group in the pantheon of sets. Family historians weave together materials from Papers Past, Archives New Zealand's Defence Force personnel files, the Dictionary of New Zealand biography, and many other collections, to build rich portraits of their tupuna. Take for example this set of Papers Past material about the Belchamber family , or this one about the Vigers .


Regions and towns

This is also a popular set-making topic. People love to search through online collections to build vivid sets of an area's history and stories. Take for example this excellent set about Dunedin's warehouse precinct , or this set about Hokio stream and beach in the Horowhenua.


Creative projects

We love it when people make sets as inspiration for their own creative projects. This set of ruffles, hats, and cinched waists was created for steampunk inspiration. 'Uniform' are a collective of artists who often make sets alongside their staged events and art practice, here's one of ominous empty swimming pools , and another of the visual language of protest and affirmative action in Auckland .



With so many fantastic images of fashion history and glamorous people, fashion is, of course, a popular topic for set-making. The New Zealand Fashion Museum (one of our fantastic content partners) made this set of sumptuous ball gowns , and we loves this set of turtle neck sweaters , an "ode to the scratchiest of sweaters".

Turtle Necks


It goes without saying that set-makers are often interested in history and sets are often used for exploration and personal research. Berhampore school in Wellington recently celebrated its 100th anniversary and created this set of their school's history . The histories of passive resistance and peace-makers are explored in this set by master set-maker 'Kaupapa KĊrero'. Sets are often used for very specific areas of historical investigation. This set tells the story of the construction and demise of the precipitous tramway that ran along the wild Piha coast.

Piha Tramline

Abstraction and creativity

Finally, as illustrated in the series we ran 'Creative people make creative sets', set-making is often an intuitive and creative process, and can be used to explore more abstract concepts. We love this set 'A bit of sass' which brings together active, confident women, and symbols of female empowerment. Set-maker 'jane' uses sets to create and explore patterns in imagery, such as in this small but perfectly formed set about cyclists .

4  3  2  1   Digital Nz

We are also looking to the future of set-making. How can we make the service more intuitive, flexible, and beautiful? How can we better help people tell and share Aotearoa's stories? We have big plans to add more functionality to sets, and allow for people to upload their own items and images. You can get a sense of what we're working on from the video embedded in this blog post about the DigitalNZ Day we held earlier this year.

We've turned off comments here, but we'd still love to know your thoughts. Visit us on our Facebook Page @digitalnz or on Twitter @DigitalNZ to share any ideas or musings with the DigitalNZ team.