Our history

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Tohatoha Aotearoa Commons is the latest form of New Zealand’s evolving commitment to a fair and equitable digital world

We started with a focus on open copyright licensing and have gone from there to a wide range of issues.

How it all began

The following was written by Matt McGregor, who worked with us as the Public Lead of Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand for many years.

Danyl Strype, a keen Open Source advocate, had helped set up the CC-NZ email list in 2005, from which grew an enthusiastic community of open licence advocates. There was a large meeting at the National Library in Wellington about the Creative Commons project in 2006. Soon after that meeting, Dr Brian Opie – then Executive Director of the Council for the Humanities – signed a memorandum of understanding with Creative Commons Headquarters, officially launching Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand (CCANZ) under the umbrella of the Council.

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand

After the meeting at the National Library, Jane Hornibrook was hired to help manage the project on a day-to-day basis, and began advocating for the use of Creative Commons licensing across the country.

So, we had a project, but we didn’t yet have any copyright licences. To help address this problem, Brian made contact with an IP lawyer, Andrew Matangi. Andrew worked to ‘port’ the Creative Commons copyright licences to New Zealand.

And so, at the end of 2007, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand launched its local 3.0 licences. The 4.0 licences were translated into te reo Māori in 2015 – the first translation into an indigenous language anywhere in the world.

Our hosts

CCANZ followed the Council for the Humanities into the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2010, where we were housed for the next four years. Around this time, CCANZ formed its Advisory Panel, to ensure that our work meets the needs of its various constituent groups, and to provide strategic advice.

Then in 2014, CCANZ shifted to the Open Education Resource Foundation (OERF), based out of Otago Polytechnic. While CCANZ staff Matt McGregor, Elizabeth Heritage and Keitha Booth remained based in Wellington, the OERF provided governance and administrative support.

If you’re interested in the work we did during our first decade, check out our ebook, A Quiet Revolution.

Towards independence

After many successful years of being supported as part of other organisations, in 2017 we decided to strike out on our own. Tohatoha Aotearoa Commons is now an incorporated society.