Topic Explorer and other digital resources

Use our Topic Explorer or other digital resources to find content to inspire inquiry. 

Topic Explorer — This is our prototype version of the Explorer. This means it's ready for you to have a look at, but we need your feedback to make it even better. We’ve loaded some sample topics in this version. In time, it’ll cover a wide range of subjects. 

Send us your feedback on the prototype Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer — what it is, what it includes

The Topic Explorer helps you find quality, curated resources on a range of topics that inspire and support inquiry.

Topics included in the Explorer contain a wide range of resources suitable for primary through to secondary level students and different learning areas within the New Zealand Curriculum.

Resources include images, articles, websites, videos and books from trustworthy, reputable national and international sources (e.g. Alexander Turnbull Library, Te Papa, Te Ara, National Geographic, BBC and the Smithsonian).

What topics are included in the Explorer

Topic sets are designed to inspire curiosity and inquiry. They serve as a ‘starter’ for your students to develop a point of view or follow a line of inquiry. 

Our topics are carefully selected by our skilled librarians to meet teachers' needs.

  • High demand: We include topics that teachers often study in the classroom as we monitor what you're asking us for.
  • Relevance: We watch what is going on in the world and make sure we have topical sets ready for when you need them (e.g. Olympics, elections or Anzac day). We also choose topics relevant to New Zealand Curriculum learning areas and their associated subjects (e.g. Social Sciences and History or Media Studies)
  • Suitable for a wide range of audiences: Our topics are more general than specific so they are relevant to students at different educational levels. For example, we would include space as a topic as opposed to Mars.

How we select resources for topic sets

Our curated digital sets have the following features:

  • Quality content: We select non-commercial content from reputable organisations. We focus on quality not quantity. Resources must be easy to read or view, accurate, well-organised and balanced.
  • Unique NZ resources: Many of the resources come from the National and Alexander Turnbull Libraries, Archives New Zealand and other national cultural organisations. These NZ, Pasifika and Māori resources give an essential national or cultural context to a topic, and many are unique primary sources.
  • Multiple views, meaningful sets: We aim to curate topic sets that are meaningful. Resources may give multiple viewpoints on a topic or inspire a range of inquiry options.

How to find topics

Try our NZ Curriculum learning area or subject filter to find your topic, or use the 'Filter by keyword' box.

We tag a topic as 'featured' so you can find it quickly. We do this when we're getting lots of requests for a topic, or when it's current or newsworthy (e.g. Olympics).

If you can't find a topic you need, try searching through our other digital resources.

More digital resources

What's in your topic sets

Resources in your topic sets come in a range of formats.

Resource This means...
Article A page (or pages) on a website that contains relevant information about the topic.
Book Digital book or a title available from your school or public library, or from the National Library schools lending collections.

Inquiry Exemplars model how to use resources in inquiry learning.

Inquiry Exemplars in inquiry learning

Image Photograph or gallery sets of images on Pinterest or Flickr (Archives NZ). It could also be an animation, painting, map, infographic, poster or anything else that is visual.
Primary source

An original, first-hand account by someone who experienced an event. It can be a letter, diary extract, photograph, video or audio recording, painting or other type of record.

Primary sources — what are they?


A curated set of digital items from National Library content partners through DigitalNZ.

Current DigitalNZ content contributors

Video Non-commercial, reputable resources mainly from YouTube and NZ On Screen
Website A website about the topic.

Send us your feedback on the prototype Topic Explorer

Send an email to and tell us:

  1. What topics you were looking for in the Topic Explorer today.
  2. On a scale of 1 (hard) to 10 (easy), how easy did you find the Explorer to use?
  3. Tell us what you liked or didn't like.
  4. What could we do to improve the experience?
  5. Did you read the guide about the Topic Explorer (this page)? If so, was it useful? Is anything missing?

More digital resources

Search our other digital services for more quality inquiry resources:

  • High-interest topics — Discover our selection of popular topic websites from ANZAC to Summer Safety. These have been selected in response to teacher demand for curriculum-related online resources, including Māori and Pasifika topics.
  • Primary sources —  Explore a fascinating range of New Zealand primary sources in curriculum-themed galleries with related teacher material.
  • EPIC (Electronic Purchasing In Collaboration) — A gateway to thousands of e-resources (magazines, newspapers, encyclopedia, images and much more) covering all curriculum learning areas from primary to secondary level.
  • AnyQuestions and ManyAnswers — Online schoolwork help to students across the country. Use online chat or browse through ManyAnswers to find answers to popular schoolwork questions.
  • DigitalNZ — Millions of digital items from New Zealand libraries, museums, archives, communities, and government. Content also includes South Pacific countries. Create themed sets of items and share with colleagues and students.
  • Papers Past — Discover New Zealand history as it happened through old newspapers, letters, diaries, magazines and parliamentary papers.
  • Index New Zealand — A free tool for staff and students wanting historical or up-to-date information from NZ journals, magazines and newspapers on a wide range of subjects.