Topic: The Original Kete

Topic type:

The birth of a community-built digital library


The Original Kete -

Kete Horowhenua was the original Kete installlation, and is a community built digital library of arts, cultural and heritage resources for and about Horowhenua, New Zealand. Horowhenua Library Trust are responsible for the creation and ongoing development of the site.

Kete is now used by many organisations, and aims to get privately owned papers and photographs out from under beds and sitting alongside public archive and photograph collections. But we want so much more too. We want to capture the memories and stories that are our heritage, we want a place where our artists can showcase their work, and where our businesses and attractions can promote themselves, where we can celebrate who we are and how we live and what we do through photographs, video and audio footage and stories.

What we want is a vibrant and lively community of Kete users adding value to the site: joining together related photographs and clips and documents by writing and submitting an article or story; a story that others can add their own memories and knowledge to as well.

Kete was developed with Ruby on Rails, utilizes Zebra z39.50 full text indexing engine developed by IndexData, is fully compatible with Koha, and will be released under a  GNU General Public License (GPL). The Kete software is available for download and we invite other communities to build their own Kete.

You can read more about Kete and which other groups are involved at


Who's involved with Kete Horowhenua?

Conception: Kete was the bright idea of Joann Ransom, Deputy head of Libraries, Horowhenua Library Trust and Kete Project Manager.

Partners: Horowhenua Library Trust have partnered with Horowhenua District Council and Levin SeniorNet for this project.

Funders: The National Digital Strategy : Community Partnerships Fund provided the bulk of the development funding

Developers: Walter McGinnis (Lead Developer), Russell Garlick (Information Architect) Robert Lyon (Web Programmer), and the rest of the crew at Katipo Communications.

Content Manager: Pippa Coard has worked full time for nine months coordinating the collection of content, and managing volunteers.

Workers: We asked for help and boy did we get! We have had thousands of hours of voluntary labour gifted to us by individuals in the community preparing digital content.

Community groups: Horowhenua and Foxton historical societies have provided the bulk of the seed collection, and Lorraine and Chris Wright from the Levin branch of NZ Society of Genealogists have created databases for bulk import.

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