How to search DigitalNZ

Using filters to narrow your search

There are more than 30 million items on DigitalNZ. That's a lot to sort through! To help you navigate your way through the rich pickings, we have multiple ways to view and explore DigitalNZ's content.

Enter your search terms, and once the results have appeared you'll see a series of tabs beneath the search bar:

  • All

  • Images

  • Audio

  • Video

  • Stories

  • More

These tabs direct you to search results clustered in particular media. The "More" tab connects to different types of text-based results.

You can also filter results by the tabs across the top of your search results: "Content Partner", "Collection", "Usage" (licences and rights) and "Date".

It is also important to know that DigitalNZ has an infinite scroll function. So, your results will simply continue to appear as you scroll through.

Search tips and tricks

Our search tools support some special features for controlling your queries. In the search box try combining the following operators with your keywords.

Fuzzy search

If you do not get enough results from your search, try using fuzzy search by putting a tilde (~) after your term. Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled.

  • use ~ after a word to mean "similar to", e.g. whanganui~ 

  • use ~ after a phrase to find words within a certain distance of each other, e.g. "robert parris"~10

Boolean search

Use ANDORNOT to refine your searches.

  • Use AND to get results that include all your search terms, e.g. salt AND pepper will retrieve only results that contain both these words

  • Use OR to get results that include at least one of your search terms, e.g. Auckland OR Tamaki 

  • Use NOT to exclude unwanted search terms e.g. Whanganui NOT river will retrieve results that include "Whanganui" but not "river"

  • Use parentheses ( ) to group search terms e.g. (Fox OR Vogel) AND government


Wildcards can be used in your search terms to mean "any character here":

  • use ? as a single-character wildcard, anywhere in a word except as the first character, e.g. year: 184? 

  • use * as a zero-or-more-characters wildcard, anywhere in a word except the first character, e.g. year: 184*


Use [begin TO end] to specify a range,

URL Hacking (advanced)

The DigitalNZ filters and the fuzzy, boolean, wildcard, and range search options will help you narrow your search results. But you can also do some URL hacking if you really want to get deep into the DigitalNZ search tools! URL hacking is when you learn about how the web addresses are constructed so you can edit them in the browser. It's not for everyone, but here are some details if you are interested.

In the DigitalNZ URLs, there are various parameters that you an edit directly in your browser address bar:

  • content_partner is the name of the organisation providing the content

  • format is the type of material such as Images, Audio, Text, Video, Data

  • primary_collection is the name of the website or subsection that the metadata is organised into

  • usage is the usage activity that is supported such as Share, Modify, or Use commercially. All rights reserved is used when there is no specific usage activity supported

  • text is the keyword phrase that you want to search for