Historical images can be used by teachers and students to:

  • introduce history topics and themes 
  • stimulate curiosity and questions about the past 
  • explore historical information through visual sources 
  • develop critical thinking skills by considering the authorship, sources, and perspectives of the images. 

How to find historical images

Historical images can be found online and in books. The following three websites are good places to search for online images about Aotearoa New Zealand's histories:

Local sources for historical images include community museums, libraries, and art galleries. Students, whānau, iwi, and community groups might have old photos and paintings that share the history of your place. 

When using historical images to support your histories programme:

  • be sure to include Mātauranga Māori sources
  • keep images of faces intact 
  • check image usage rights; most image rights don't allow you to modify the image and some require you to credit the image creator. 

Curiosity cards for inquiry

These curiosity cards, developed by the National Library, use images to spark student inquiry about Aotearoa New Zealand's rich bicultural heritage. Use them to explore themes related to the He Tohu documents and exhibition, and Tuia — Encounters 250 (Tuia 250).

Each card has:

  • an image of a New Zealand historic item, place, event, or person
  • fertile questions to inspire inquiry about the image and its wider story
  • a link for more resources to help with teaching and learning.