Oxford Art Online

Behind the scenes

Oxford Art Online has recently added a large amount of New Zealand content.

Screenshot of Oxford Art Online homepage

Screenshot of Oxford Art Online homepage

Oxford Art Online is an amalgam of several classic art reference books and encyclopedias combined into one searchable database. It includes the Grove Dictionary of Art and every art librarian's favourite: Bénézit's Dictionary of Artists.

To celebrate the addition of New Zealand entries, an old favourite from our collection has been placed on Oxford Art Online's start page, exposing it to thousands of art historians, researchers, students, curators and writers.

This vast body of reliable, scholarly information is not, predictably enough, available free of charge. However our good friends at Christchurch City Libraries have a subscription and all you need to use Oxford Art Online is a library card and a PIN – and they won't cost you a cent.

If you don't live in Christchurch, ask your own public, school, college or university library about Oxford Art Online: chances are they will also have a subscription.


Rita Angus Cass

'The word for a pass or saddle in Māori is nonoti or noti; Noti Raureka is the Browning Pass, not that far from Cass, which is closer in proximity to Arthur’s Pass. There’s a story about a woman named Raureka of the Ngāti Wairaki tribe on the West Coast. Raureka travelled to the east coast carrying a piece of pounamu [greenstone], which is a traditional story of how the eastern migrants found out about pounamu. I often doubt that explanation. By the seventeenth century, when Kāi Tahu were coming here, they knew about pounamu but not of the routes required to reach it. Finding a route to the West Coast was important. The man who becomes significant in that story is Te Rakitāmau, who features in the traditional accounts of the routes across the Alps. In later years, the Noti Raureka route was reserved for war parties and for freighting pounamu back to Kaiapoi. The Lewis Pass was preferred because it’s an easier walk with freight, and Browning is quite stiff.' —Sir Tipene O’Regan

(He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land, 17 September 2016 – 18 February 2017)