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IMPORTANT NOTICE about ManyAnswers

01 March 2017

Kia ora,

Please be advised that this version of ManyAnswers is no longer being updated or having new content added.

Moving forward new ManyAnswers content will be added at the revamped AnyQuestions website. 

We hope to see you there!

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Māori tools and technology

16 August 2016

What traditional materials did Māori use to make their tools?

Level: Intermediate / Secondary

Since first arriving in Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori have been using natural resources such as stone and plants to make tools for heaps of different purposes, including building, carving, food, tattooing and weapons

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Type the keywords 'Māori tools' into the search feature on the home page and have a look through the results. There's heaps of info here. We particularly like these stories:

  1.  Kōhatu - Māori use of stone, because it covers different types of stone and their uses. 
  2. The use of tools was also very important when it came to gathering food, so check out Te hī ika - Māori fishing
  3. There is also good information on the page about Kūmara which is where you can find out about Māori gardening tools and storage.  
  4. Māori also used tools for artistic purposes, so have a look at the Whakairo - Māori carving page.  

HOT TIP: It's a really good idea to try different keywords in your searches to see if that brings up different results. We tried another search, this time using the keywords 'Māori technology'. This did bring up information about modern Māori technology but there is also valuable information in these stories: 

  1. Tā moko - Māori tattooing, has a section about the traditional tools used in tattooing, including pigments and chisels. 
  2. Mau rākau - Māori use of weapons has info about traditional weapons and what they were made from. 

Te Papa: Museum of New Zealand is a great place to look further into this topic. Try a search for Māori tools on their site and look through the results. There's information here about Māori gardening tools, traditional Māori food gathering, Matau - traditional fishhooks and more.

HOT TIP: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have .govt meaning they are from a government organisation. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

The Auckland Museum is another website that has some good information on this topic. You can try a search for Māori tools and bring up lots of results including fact sheets and information about items in the Auckland Museum collection. You can also search by image for lots of pictures of different tools.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Don't forget, we have lots of other ManyAnswers entries on pre-European Māori that might help you out, too.

Māori harakeke weaving (flax weaving)

11 August 2016

Where can I find information on Māori flax weaving? How do I make a Māori flax flower?

LEVEL: Primary / Intermediate

Harakeke, also known as flax, is an important part of Māori arts and culture. It can be woven into many useful things such fishing nets and trapsfootwearropesbaskets, as well as decorative things like flowers.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. For an excellent introduction to the Māori art of flax weaving, start at the homepage and follow these steps:

  1. Click on 'The bush'.
  2. Then, because harakeke is a native plant, we want to click on 'Native plants and fungi'.
  3. Now click on 'Flax and flax working'. Here you can find out about the unique properties of New Zealand flax, the Māori use of flax, and the flax industry. You can also click on 'images and media' for pictures, and a video of expert weaver Dame Rangimārie Hetet demonstrating weaving techniques.

HOT TIP: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Christchurch City Libraries has a page on Harakeke which explores the history and the tikanga of harakeke. There is also a link on this page to 'weaving for kids' which will teach you about weaving techniques. To find it, scroll down the page and look under 'Related Links'. On the weaving for kids page you can find a set of instructions about how to weave a putiputi, or flower.

Next we did a search using the search engine DeeperWeb. We like DeeperWeb because the ‘tag cloud’ on the right suggests search words that will help ‘build’ a search. 

By typing in the keywords 'flax weaving' we found several results, including the link to Te Ara. We like the site Flax weaving instructions because it included information on flax gathering and lots of different things you can make.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Often there will be an 'About Us' link on the website where you can chck out the company's mission and values, but there isn't on this website. However, the woman who runs the site, Ali Brown, is a flax weaving tutor who has her contact details on the website, so we do know where the information has come from. 

Don't forget to check out our related ManyAnswers entry on Flax (Harakeke).

Tuatara (adaptation)

30 July 2016

Where can I find information on how the tuatara has adapted over time?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Tuatara are lizard-like reptiles found only in New Zealand. Because tuatara still look like the fossil Sphenodontians which lived during the age of dinosaurs, 220 million years ago, they are often called living fossils.

Science Learning Hub is a great site to start for all New Zealand science topics. Use the search bar to find the article on tuatara. You can also do a search for adaptations to find out more information about adaptation in general.

HOT TIP: We chose Science Learning Hub because it’s from a reputable organisation. You can tell this by looking at the bottom of their web page - they are supported by the New Zealand government. This means that they're relevant for us here in New Zealand, and we can trust the information on this site.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. Try doing a search for tuatara using the search box. The article on tuatara has a few different pages to make sure to have a look through all of them! You can also find a good video by clicking 'All images & media in this story' on the left side of the page.

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. 

The Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre is a great place to start for New Zealand topics:

  • Try using our keyword 'tuatara' to see what you can find.
  • This article from the Natural History journal called The Tenacious Tuatara might be interesting for you!

The New Zealand Geographic Archive has some useful articles and pictures.

Britannica School is another great EPIC database for general information. Have a quick search to find the article about tuatara.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

One last place to look is Wikipedia which has great coverage of many topics, including the tuatara. But you need to be aware that this information is contributed by lots of different people. If you are using this site, it always pays to check the information against that on other sites or in books from the library.

To find more general information, also see our ManyAnswers entry on the tuatara.

Anzac poetry (WW1)

23 July 2016

Where can I find information about the poetry read at Anzac Day memorial services?

LEVEL: Primary / Intermediate

Anzac Day is an important national holiday when New Zealanders and Australians attend memorial services to remember those who have fought in wars. To start with Anzac Day commemorated the Gallipoli campaign, but now those who served in all wars that New Zealand has been involved in are remembered. Poetry is an important part of these memorial services.

NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa and is an excellent source of information about World War One. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

There are a couple of pages on this site which have info about Anzac Day poetry. To find them:

  1. From the homepage, choose 'New Zealand at war'
  2. Then click on 'First World War'
  3. Now select 'commemoration'
  4. Finally, choose Anzac Day. The two pages to look at are the ceremony and the red poppy - each will introduce you to a different poem 

Another website that will help is the New Zealand government's Anzac website. From the links across the top of the homepage you can go to 'Anzac Day today' and then to the typical order of ceremony. This page has information about how poetry is used on Anzac Day.

The Australian Anzac Day Commemoration Commitee also has a list of poems that can be used in memorial services. Click on Anzac Service, Schedule and Guides and then choose Poetry (click on Read More). Here you'll find several Anzac poems from an Australian point of view that will help in expanding your own ideas about what Anzac day means to everyone.

HOT TIP: We like these sites because they’re either from a government organisation (Ministry or Council) OR a reputable organisation. You can sometimes tell this by their web address – they might have .govt in their address - or by checking the 'about us' page.

The School Journal features poems that relate to Anzac Day. These can be found in the June 2014 issue and can be downloaded as PDFs. They reflect on different themes from World War One

Check out our other ManyAnswers entries which are related to this topic: Anzac DayGallipoli; & Anzac biscuits. You may also like to take a look at our Anzac Day Poppy (WWI) entry. This will lead you to a lot more information about one poem used on Anzac Day

Katherine Mansfield (1888 - 1923)

05 July 2016

Where can I find information about Katherine Mansfield? What is she famous for?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Katherine Mansfield (1888 - 1923) was a famous New Zealand writer; particularly of short stories. Her work, which has been translated into more than 25 languages, also comprised of poetry, letters, journals and reviews . She was a member of the modernist literary movement during and after the First World War.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. A search for the keywords Katherine Mansfield will bring up some excellent information, including this biography. Te Ara also has an article about other women writers in the 1920s and 1930s that might be useful to explore. 

HOT TIP: Te Ara links sometimes take you to the ‘Short Story’. Remember to click on the ‘Full Story’ on the left hand side of the page if you want more in-depth information. You can also look at the ‘All images and media’ link for pictures and photos related to your story.

NZHistory is another one of our favourite sites for information about events and people from New Zealand history. Like Te Ara, NZHistory is from the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is valid and reputable. Try a search using the keywords Katherine Mansfield to find information including a biography.

NZEDGE Legends is a good place to check for biographies of New Zealanders who have changed or impacted the world in some way. They also have an entry about Katherine Mansfield. We can see that this article was last updated in 2001 but it still includes lots of good information. There is a student resource which includes study ideas, questions and activities. 

Katherine Mansfield House and Garden has some really interesting information about Katherine Mansfield and the house in which she was born and grew up in Wellington, New Zealand. There are resources and blogs and other articles related to the life of Katherine Mansfield.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. We recommend looking at Biography in Context and the Australia/New Zealand Reference CentreJust look for Katherine Mansfield in each resource.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Check out our other ManyAnswers entries about famous New Zealanders.

Spacecraft (spaceship)

02 July 2016

Where can I find information about spacecraft?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

A spacecraft is a vehicle, or machine designed to travel in outer space. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meterology, navigation, space colonization, planetary exploration, and trasportation of humans and cargo.

A great place to start looking for information about spacecraft is the HowStuffWorks website. HowStuffWorks is a good website for finding out how all sorts of things work. You will also find fabulous video footage, images and subject related information.

You can find information about spacecraft by:

This site also has useful information on Spaceflight which relates well to spacecraft

It's worth checking out what major news sites have on a topic too: CNN (American), BBC (United Kingdom), ABC News (Australian) and our own Stuff.co.nz. They will all have links to any current world news about spacecraft.

Another great website for questions about spacecraft is NASA. This site provides amazing information about international space stations, NASA TV, benefits of space travel for humans plus incredible images and video.

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can tell sometimes tell these sites by their web address - they might have .gov or edu in their address.

For more information, we can try the EPIC resources. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It's put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

For this question, you could try using Science in Context. Type in the keyword spacecraft in the search box to get information about the history of spacecraft, the ongoing debate: crewed vs. uncrewed flight, plus much more. You may also like to search using keywords such as space exploration to get additional information.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

You might like to check out our ManyAnswers entry about Space Travel (history).

Dawn Raids (New Zealand)

22 June 2016

Where can I find information about the Dawn Raids that occurred in New Zealand in the 1970s?

LEVEL: Secondary

The dawn raids were undertaken by the New Zealand Police to find, detain and deport Pacific Islanders who had allegedly overstayed their visitor or work visas. The dawn raids got their name because the Police often went into the homes of Pacific Islanders in the early hours of the morning to look for the alleged overstayers. Many of the Pacific Islanders detained were New Zealand citizens or permanent residents

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Start by searching using the keywords dawn raids. You will see that the information is spread across several sections, especially the article about Ethnic and Religious Intolerance. Check each section for information on the dawn raids. Repeat your search using the keyword overstayers to get more. You will notice that you don't get exactly the same information. This is why it's good to try different keywords when researching online.

On the last page of each story will be a page called 'external links and sources'.  This will give you a list of the sources the author used to write the article. It's a quick way to find additional in-depth material on this topic.  

NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website also belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. Their articles on the dawn raids are shorter than those in Te Ara but also name the sources that they consulted to write the articles. Both of these online encyclopedias have images and links to video clips on their topics. 

One really excellent source of information is documentaries. Check out NZOnScreen has a full length documantary about the dawn raids which you can watch online in four parts. This is a great way to get a real feeling for the events of the past, listen to interviews of people who were involved at the time.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

We also really like DigitalNZ, a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers. Use the keywords 'dawn raids' to bring up some good results but you will need to be careful as some of the results refer to the New Zealand record label by the same name.  

HOT TIP: For more information check out our other ManyAnswers entries on immigration or the High Interest Topic on Immigration to New Zealand on the National Library Services to Schools website. 

National colours (New Zealand)

12 June 2016

Who chose our New Zealand national colours and what inspired them? Why aren't our national colours the same colours as the New Zealand flag?

LEVEL: Primary

National colours are often seen as part of a country's identity, but they don't always appear on the nation's flag

The best place to look for information on New Zealand topics is Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Here we found that the colour black with the silver fern was first adopted by the 1888-89 native rugby team. You can read about this by typing the keywords national colour into the search box and going to the article Beginnings of sporting nationalism

To find out what inspired the use of the silver fern, search for the keywords silver fern on Te Ara and then click on the heading Ferns in New Zealand culture. Now scroll down to the headings Symbol of New Zealand and Silver fern

In 1975 the colour red ochre was officially made a national colour. We found this information on the Department of the Prime Minister and cabinet website. Type the keywords national colours into the search box to find the article titled Design of the New Zealand Orders Insignia. These are all big words (to do with the New Zealand Honours system), but don't be put off as the article is quite easy to read. 

HOT TIP: We like sites like these because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us. 

A check on Wikipedia using the keywords national colours provides us with a table, including some detail for New Zealand. In this article National Colours of New Zealand, black, white, silver and red ochre are shown as the national colours of New Zealand and there is a description as to how the colour black is closely linked to sporting teams.

HOT TIP: Because the information on Wikipedia is written by lots of different people, we suggest you check it against information on other sites or in books from the library.

To find out about the colours of the New Zealand Flag we went to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website, a well-researched and reliable government site. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the word Sitemap. Here you can see a list of everything on the website. Look below the heading NZ Identity & Heritage for the word Flags

There is also a link to the National Māori flag on the left side of the page. The national Māori colours of red, white and black have been used on their national flag. Find out about the history and importance of red ochre to Māori by searching for the keywords red ochre on Te Ara

For additional information check out our ManyAnswers entry on Flags (New Zealand)

Carbon footprints

09 June 2016
Where can I find information about carbon footprints? What are they?

LEVEL: Intermediate

Everyone has a carbon footprint; it is measured by the amount of carbon-dioxide we produce while going about our daily activities.

The NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) website has a nice clear explanation of the meaning of carbon neutral and carbon footprint. NIWA was set up by the New Zealand government to research things that affect our natural environment, so the information should be current and reliable.

HowStuffWorks is a really good website for finding out how all sorts of things work. Search for 'carbon footprint' to find articles like How carbon footprints work. Often the articles we find will go over multiple pages, so we need to click through them to find more info. We can learn more about who runs the website by reading the About page. 

For stories in the media about carbon footprints, have a look at the Science Media Centre. This Centre provides information to the media for news stories on science related issues. Enter the words carbon footprint into the search bar - on this website it is not at the top of the page, instead you will find it half way down the right side of the page! 

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Our carbon footprint has an impact on earth's climate - when there is an increase in carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere it makes earth warmer and causes sea levels to rise.

The Global Climate Change website from NASA is an excellent site for intermediate students. Search for "carbon footprint" (we suggest using quotation marks as then those two words will be highlighted in the results). If you want to find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint then the Climate Kids part of this website has a page titled How can I reduce my "carbon footprint"? 

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can tell these sites by their web address – they have .gov or .edu in their address.

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. For this question we like Global issues in context. To find the information about carbon footprints go to:

  1. 'Browse issues and Topics'
  2. Choose 'Environment and climate change'
  3. Scroll down the list until you come to Carbon Footprint.

Britannica School has a page on carbon footprint calculation and carbon footprint reduction. To find this go to the 'Secondary' tab and type carbon footprint into the search bar.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

For more information check out our other ManyAnswers entries on Carbon dioxide and Carbon cycle

Brazil (country)

28 May 2016

Where can I find information about Brazil (where the 2016 Olympics are)? What is the country and culture like?

LEVEL: Intermediate

Brazil, a former Portuguese colony, is the largest and most populated country in Latin America (South America).

For up to date and reliable information on any country we suggest using the BBC website and selecting the country you want, in this case Brazil. This page introduces the country and you will find the opportunity to click on links which provide fuller information; there is also a timeline of key events.

HOT TIP: You can search for more than just news and country information on the BBC website – check out the options on the menu across the top, and under ‘more’. 

As an alternative have a look at the National Geographic Kids site. Entering Brazil into the search box will take you to a page where you can choose Brazil for more information.

This site was chosen from listings included in Kidsclick, one of our recommended seach engines for younger students. Have a look at another of the recommendations, the Academic Kids Encyclopedia; once you have reached the page for Brazil you can read more on specific subject areas by using the links in the text. In particular, check out the Culture of Brazil

For more information, have a look at the Encyclopedia Britannica which is one of the databases found in the EPIC resources. You will see that you can search this at different levels; try using the middle level entering the keyword Brazil.

For another viewpoint have a look at Research in Context, another of the EPIC databases. Once again use the search box and enter the keyword Brazil; results will include a comprehensive article on Brazil, as well as separate links to both video and mages. 

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library. 

Lonely Planet is a popular and reliable travel publisher and has some great images with its articles. Visit the Brazilian pages to check out such things as food and drink and the sights in Brazil. Remember that some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something. It’s best to ignore these and focus on the information we’re looking for. 

  If you are looking for further information on Brazil or the 2016 Olympic Games do have a look at the separate entries on ManyAnswers. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership

25 May 2016

Where can I find information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? What does it mean for New Zealand?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between 12 countries located around the Pacific Rim; it was signed in February 2016, but is not yet in force. 

To get an international overview, we would suggest browsing the results of a search engine for students such as Sweet Search. Entering the keywords 'Trans-Pacific Partnership' does bring up many results, but for a relaible viewpoint check out the articles from the BBC and New York Times

You may have noticed that New Zealand is one of the signatories to this agreement. The official viewpoint can be found with The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which has estabished a separate website for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In addition to this have a look at the New Zealand Government's official website which has the latest news. Entering the keywords 'Trans-Pacific Partnership' into the search box, or even just TPP, will result in official government announcements on this topic. We know this information is reliable as it has come from government organisations. 

There are however differing viewpoints on the TPP and while many support the agreement there are many who oppose it. A number of groups have established themselves in an attempt to present this oppositon; have a look at one or more the following:

  • It's our future - interested citizens who have concerns as to the impact of such agreements on New Zealand's policy and democracy.
  • A fair deal - this group is specifically concerned about changes to copyright proposed under TPP.
  • New Zealand not for sale - what will be the long term effect of the various free tade agreements. 

HOT TIP: Websites that have .org and .net in the address will have good information, but you may need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisations mission and values are. 

Much has been published in the New Zealand media about the TPP, either as the reporting of developments, or opinion pieces. Check out one or more of the news websites below to see what has been written. In each case you can use the search box entering the keywords 'TPP' and 'Trans-Pacific Partnership'; you will need to enter both for a more complete search. Keywords, are the most important words in the question; choose the main ones and remember you can always change keywords or add more if you need to. 

For additional information we suggest having a look at Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre and Global Issues in Context two of the databases that make up the EPIC resources. In both cases use the search box and enter the keywords; you will get a comprehensive list of very up to date results. Limit your search if you wish by using the various links on the left hand side of the page.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

You may also like to check out other ManyAnswers entries on the topic of free trade.

Alcohol (Six o'clock closing)

17 May 2016

How did six o'clock closing /six o'clock swill affect the lives of people in New Zealand and why is this event significant to New Zealanders?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

The six o'clock swill is a slang phrase for the rush to drink (swill) beer before the pub closed at 6pm; the 6 o'clock closing of bars was introduced as a wartime measure in New Zealand in 1917 and ended in October 1967. 

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. Entering the phrase six o'clock swill results in a number of articles of interest; you will see that some of these are part of a bigger story on alcohol. For more background information, do check out the story on Liquor laws

HOT TIP: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have .govt meaning they are from government organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

NZHistory is another great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website also belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. Once again using the phrase six oclock swill (without the apostrophe) does produce some relevant articles as well as images of interest. The South Island's West Coast maintained its individuality regarding the alcohol laws and you can read about what went on in Greymouth in the story 1947 Greymouth Beer Boycott.

You can also read about Serving liquor to soldiers and six o'clock closing during the First World War and the years immediately following. 

DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers. Use the search box and enter the words 'six o'clock closing' to find articles from early newspapers, as well as images, audio and videos on the topic.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .net or .org in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

We would also suggest having a look at the Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre which is one of the EPIC databases. When using this resource do remember that the six o'clock swill also took place in Australia, so add 'New Zealand' to your search terms to limit your results. One of the entries, an article titled 'Six o'clock swill: remembered' in the 'Beer & Brewer' magazine, described six o'clock closing as a "well-meaning experiment, which utterly failed." 

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library. 

Although the six o'clock closing ended with a referendum in October 1967, there has been frequent re-telling of stories of those times and you can find some of these on the news website Stuff. Use the phrase 'six o'clock closing' which gives a number of results; have a look at one from Timaru and one from Wellington which include some photographs of the times. 

Check out our other ManyAnswers entries for further alcohol related information. 

Phoenicia (civilisation)

09 May 2016

Where can I find information about Phoenicia and its people?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Phoenicians were the ancient people of Phoenicia, an area containing most of modern-day Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Its people were known as sea-faring merchants, and their written alphabet became the basis of the Greek, and subsequently our modern Roman, alphabets. Phoenicia was also known as Canaan in the Bible, and its people were referred to as Canaanites.

A great place to start for information on ancient history is the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Doing a simple search for 'Phoenicia' will bring you to this great article all about the Phoenician civilisation. To find out more about who writes these articles, check the About section.

For some more information, it's a good idea to check out EPIC. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. It has a great selection of databases with information on history.

Have a look at Britannica School first. Use the secondary tab to do a search for 'Phoenicia' to find this article on Phoenicia, which also includes a link to an article about the history of Lebanon, including Phoenicia.

Another resource to have a look at on EPIC is World History in Context. This database has many different types of resources, including reference or encyclopedia entries, newspaper, magazine, and academic journal articles. Doing a quick search for 'Phoenicia' returns lots of entries! Try checking out any of the reference results, or have a look at the academic journal articles.

Research in Context is another resource you may like to check out. Try a search for 'Phoenicia' and have a look at the reference entries. They are organised by reading level so have a look at the coloured symbol by each article link. Green is basic, yellow is intermediate, and red is more advanced.

Another great place to check for ancient history topics is Oxford Art Online. This database is great for finding information and photographs of ancient artifacts and art. Doing a search for 'Phoenician' will get you some photographs of some Phoenician artwork, and this encyclopedia entry on Phoenician art history.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

For more information on Phoenician art history, check out the Met Museum's Timeline of Art History website. This museum is famous world-wide and has some great info on their site. Do a quick search for 'Phoenicia' to get some more info.

You might like to check out our other entries about ancient history.

Colin McCahon (1919 - 1989)

04 May 2016

Where can I find information about Colin McCahon? What is he famous for?

LEVEL: Intermediate

Colin McCahon (1919 - 1989) was a New Zealand painter. He is famous for painting the New Zealand landscape. He has helped shape the way we view our own landscape, and his paintings are amongst the most iconic and recognisable images produced in New Zealand. His style was strongly influenced by the Modernist art movement. 

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • From the homepage choose the 'biographies' option.
  • Then select 'M' from the list.
  • You should find Colin McCahon's entry if you go down the page.

Next we can try the EPIC database Biography in Context, and search for Colin McCahon:

  • I looked at the Colin McCahon entry from the Almanac of Famous People and was surprised to see very little detail - not so much help! 
  • I went back to the search results and tried the Colin McCahon entry  from Gale Biography in Context, which gave a lot more detail.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online.  Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

As Colin McCahon was such a well-known artist, the next place we can look is NZEDGE's Legends page. Look down the left-hand side of the page to find Colin McCahon's name, or use the search bar at the top of the page to search for him.

Lastly, the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust website aims to catalogue all of McCahon's works from the beginning of his career until shortly before he passed away. Whenever a previously unknown painting is brought to auction, the trust catalogues it on their website with as much information about the work as they can find.  This is a fantastic place to view all of his known works.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are. Look at both the About this Site and About the Trust pages of this site.

If you'd like to learn more, try our Many Answers post about New Zealand artists or if you think you might like to become an artist, check out our post about artistic careers.

Seed dispersal (native plants)

30 April 2016

Where can I find information on how plants spread their seeds? How does the New Zealand plant Mingimingi spread its seeds? 

LEVEL: Primary / Intermediate 

Plants make seeds that can grow into new plants, but if the seeds just fall to the ground under the parent plant, they might not get enough sun, water or food from the soil. Because plants cannot walk around and take their seeds to other places, they have developed other methods to disperse (spread) their seeds

Science Learning is a great place to start our search for information on how plants spread their seeds. There is a search box at the top of the screen that you can use to look for information. We searched using the keywords 'seed dispersal' and found some excellent articles: 

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov, .edu or .org in their address. The Science Learning website belongs to the University of Waikato and the New Zealand Government, so the information is well-researched and reliable. 

If we want to find out more about a specific New Zealand plant, such as Mingimingi, a good website to visit is Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

We searched using the keyword 'mingimingi' in the search box at the top of the screen and found some interesting articles and pictures: 

Most plants have a Latin name as well as an English name and it is useful to search using both as keywords. 

HOT TIP: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g. seed dispersal. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to. 

You might like to have a look at the Tiritiri Matangi - Open Sanctuary website which has information on Mingimingi as well as the Moa's ark website which has a great article on Lizards, berries and seed dispersal

To find out more about plants, check out our ManyAnswers posts about: 

ManyAnswers also has more information on New Zealand birds as well as their diet, Birds (diet).

Childcare in New Zealand (history)

20 April 2016

Where can I find information about the history of childcare in New Zealand (e.g. Plunket)?

LEVEL: Secondary

There are lots of different aspects of childcare in New Zealand. Historically, childcare could be the responsibility of a single parent, both parents, the whole whanau, or an organisation. Several organisations exist to help care for young children, although these have not always existed in the way they do today. Looking at childcare in New Zealand is a good way to see how we as a culture view children and those that look after them.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Te Ara has heaps of different pages that can help you get an idea of how childcare fits into New Zealand society and history.

  1. The story 'Early childhood education and care' will give you an overview of different organisations such as créche, kindergarten, play centre, kōhanga reo, and more. Click on 'Read the full story' for more in depth information.
  2. Another interesting page from Te Ara is 'Unpaid domestic work'. This includes childcare but encompasses a lot more. It's a good way to help you understand the historical and social context around childcare.
  3. For even more historical context, have a look at 'Families: a history' which gives you heaps of info about the New Zealand family from the 1840s till today.

NZHistory is another good website to use for historical and cultural information in New Zealand. From their home page, click on

  1. Culture and Society
  2. Then find the heading Health and Welfare.

Under this heading, you can find information about the history of créches and early childcare, and also baby farming. This includes the case of Minnie Dean, notorious baby farmer and the only woman to be hanged in New Zealand history, and the Newlands baby farmers.

You can also use PapersPast, a website of digitised New Zealand newspapers, to search for historical news articles about childcare organisations and baby farmers. 

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can often tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov, .edu or .org in their address. In the case of NZHistory, the url has a .net but if you scroll down you can see it is supported by the New Zealand government.

For more recent newspaper articles, try searching the Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, one of the EPIC resources. A search for 'childcare' will find lots of newspaper and magazine articles, like this one about childcare centres in Auckland. Don't forget to use the limiters from the menu on the left to refine your results.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

The New Zealand Kindergarten Inc (NZKI) has a website where you can find information about kindergarten as an organisation. You can also find information about the history of kindergartens in Aotearoa - have a look right down the bottom of the page for the 'history' link. This is great for finding out who started kindergarten in New Zealand, and how it spread through the country. 

HOT TIP: Finding out where a website got its information from can help you find even more information about the topic. Have a look at the bottom of the page for 'Sources of Information' which on the NZKI's website is a list of books, which you can look for in your local library. There's also historical publications that will contain lots of great information.

Another organisation with a long history of childcare in New Zealand is Plunket. Their official website had information about who they are, their mission and values, and a page about the history of Plunket

For more information you could look at our ManyAnswers page about Schools (history).

Vaccinations

16 April 2016

Where can I find information about vaccinations?

LEVEL: Secondary

A vaccine is a medical treatment that can make a person immune to a disease or infection.

A great place to start is the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. 

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Once you have logged in, check out Britannica School for a good overview on vaccinations

  • Click on this database and you will be asked what level you want to look at, primary, intermediate or secondary.
  • Once you have selected your level you can search for 'vaccinations' to find the encyclopedia articles about them.
  • You will get results about vaccine development, herd immunity, history of medicine, and the role of viruses in vaccination.

We also recommend the Health and Wellness Resource Center. Try different keywords like 'vaccination' 'vaccine' 'immunisation', or if you are looking for a vaccination for a particular illness, use that as your keyword too. For example if your assignment is on the influenza vaccine you could use both words together as keywords. You should be able to find lots of articles about vaccinations.

HOT TIP: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g vaccination. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Another excellent EPIC Database to look at is Opposing Viewpoints in Context, because some groups of people have very strong opinions about vaccination. Here you will find great information about different points of view, as well as images, magazine articles, news, videos and links to academic journals. Like before, try different keywords to find information about specific vaccinations.

For New Zealand information, check out New Zealand Ministry of Health's page on Immunisation:

  • Don't forget to have a look at all the different links down the left and right sides of the page. 
  • We especially like the Immunisation Schedule which will tell you what vaccines we have available in New Zealand. 

For more information, you could also look at the Immunisation Advisory Centre, especially their pages About Immunisations and the FAQs

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can often tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov, .edu or .org in their address. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation's mission and values are.

For more info, check out our ManyAnswers page about Human diseases (microorganisms).

Wahine disaster (secondary)

06 April 2016

Where can I find information about the Wahine disaster? What were the different perspectives on why it happened?

LEVEL: Secondary

The Wahine was a ferry that ran between Lyttelton and Wellington. In 1968, it sank just off the coast of Wellington. Over fifty people died, making it one of the worst maritime disasters in New Zealand.

For an excellent overview of the Wahine disaster, have a look at NZHistory.

  • Click on 'Culture and Society' from the front page.
  • Then find the link to the Wahine disaster, which is under the heading disasters.

Here you'll find information about the timeline of the disaster, tropical cylone Giselle, the rescue effort, and the court inquiry that took place after the disaster to work out why it happened. On the timeline page and the rescue page, you can listen to an audio broadcast (or read a transcript of the audio if you prefer). These can be really valuable as they give you an insight into how the news was reported at the time.

HOT TIPNZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Check out NZHistory's Further information page for some excellent links to expand your research:

1. We like the information from the New Zealand Maritime Record. This website is supported by the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, so we know we can trust the information. Here you will find lots of info about the ferry itself, including diagrams of the layout of the ship, pictures from inside before the sinking, as well as information about the sinking.

2. Another link from NZHistory takes you to the Wellington City Libraries' page about the Wahine, which includes a list of recommended books. We recommend finding these in your local library. 

For newspaper and magazine articles, one of the best places to look is the Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, which is one of the EPIC databases.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Once you have logged in, click into Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre. It will take you to a search engine where you can use the keywords 'Wahine disaster'. Once you have your results you can narrow them down using the filters on the left hand side of the page; for example, if you only want recent articles you can change the date range using the scale on the side of the page.

Unfortunately, this database doesn't have newspaper articles as back as 1968, so if you want to find primary sources (articles published at the time of the sinking) you will have to do a bit more digging. Many public libraries around New Zealand have microfiche or microfilm copies of newspapers that you can read with special machines in the library, so ask at your local library for help finding them.

Another place you can look is the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC). This is a digitised collection of New Zealand and Pacific texts and includes lots of historical books. Here you will be able to find a book published in 1970, two years after the disaster.

  • Use the keywords 'Wahine disaster' in the search box, and you will find the book The Wahine Disaster written by Max Lambert.
  • Click on the link to 'Chapter One' to start reading.

There's heaps of detail here about the boat and the passengers and the sinking, and it's a great way of finding out how people saw the sinking at the time.

For images, audio recordings, more newspaper articles and other media, check out DigitalNZ. DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites.

This is an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers. Try a search for 'wahine disaster' to find lots of different results.

Don't forget to check out our other entry on the Wahine disaster (primary/intermediate) and our page on New Zealand disasters, which includes a link to a disaster timeline.

Enzymes (chemistry)

06 April 2016

What is an enzyme and how do they help us?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Enzymes are produced by living organisms and act as catalysts to help biochemical reactions happen more quickly. A catalyst is something that speeds up a chemical reaction without undergoing any changes itself.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, enzymes are 'proteins with large complex molecules whose action depends on their particular molecular shape. Some enzymes control reactions within cells and some, such as the enzymes involved in digestion, outside them'. This can be a tricky concept to understand, but we have put together a few resources that can help make this process clearer. 

HOT TIP: Not sure what a word means? Try using Google as a dictionary. The trick is to type the word define in front of the word you want to define, then click Search. E.g. If you wanted to define the word enzyme, your search would be 'define enzyme'. This searches for all the meanings on the web that define your word.

FactMonster is an online encyclopedia and homework site. It has lots of basic facts and is a good starting point for all sorts of questions. If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you will see it's run by Pearson Education, a publisher of educational books. If you type 'enzymes' into the search box a list of good links will come up. 

HOT TIP: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g enzyme. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Khan Academy is a free to use site filled with educational videos on a range of topics, including Science. Use the search box at the top of the screen to search for 'enzyme'. You should find a video called 'Introduction to enzymes and catalysts'. This is a great short video that gives a good overview of how enzymes work. Also take a look along the left hand side of this web page. You will see a few other videos and activities that will give you more in depth informatin about enzymes and how they work. 

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It has been put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to AnyQuestions.co.nz between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online.

  • The EPIC database Science In Context provides really good information on this topic. Try searching with the keyword 'enzyme'. You should find lots of results in lots a different formats, including this really helpful 'topic page'. 
  • Britannica School is also a great EPIC database. Try searching using the keyword 'enzyme' again. There are lots of articles about different types of enzymes. Check out this entry about the basics of enzymes in biochemistry.

HOT TIP: Brtiannica has articles at three different reading levels. Select Elementry, Middle or Secondary depending on your comfort level. 

Science Learning is a site with lots of cool science information and experiments for New Zealand teacehrs and students. In the 'about us' section it tells us that this site is funded by the New Zealand government and is managed by the University of Waikato, which is a great indication that this is a reliable site. Searching this site will bring up experiments, articles, and other resouces related to various types of enzymes. Try our keyword 'enzyme' again and check out the results. For example, check out this article about digestive enzymes.

Ask Physics Questions has answers to questions that have been submitted by users. Take alook at this site to see what others have asked about enzymes. There are some really interesting questions, such as this one about how the enzymes in our saliva affect the way breads taste. 

You may also find this ManyAnsweres post about Biological discoveries useful.

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