Famous people (junior)

Where can I find information about famous people?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Black and white photo from 1916 or Katherine Mansfield. She is seated, book in hand, in a deck chair, Garsington Manor, England.

Image: Katherine Mansfield by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Collection: Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref 1/2-002594-F.

Entry last updated: 11/09/23


Famous people are people who are well-known in many places for what they have done. They come from lots of different areas of life, including politics, sport, music, art, science and technology. Sometimes, these people are called celebrities or heroes. This entry will show you how to find information about famous people from the past and the present.

General websites

Here are some websites with fantastic information about famous people.

Biography (Gale in Context)

Gale in context is one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable resources covering lots of different topics. It's put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps answer questions like this.

  • Use the search bar and enter the name of a famous person eg 'Mother Teresa'.

  • Choose an article eg Mother Teresa, Saint.

  • This provides a good overview of Mother Teresa, and if you go down then you can find more information, such as photos and news articles.

  • If you're unsure who to look for you can select Person Search and use the drop down menus to choose things like Nationality, Occupation, or when someone was born.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Britannica School Primary

Britannica School is also an EPIC resource. Britannica School has a lot of good information about general topic, but it may have less information about New Zealand people, unless they are very famous.

  • Use the search bar and enter the name of a famous person eg 'Whina Cooper'.

  • Choose an article eg Whina Cooper.

  • If you want to find more detailed information, then you can change the reading level in the top right corner from 1 to 2.


Ducksters is a website with information on History, Biography, Geography and Science from around the world.

  • Select Biography on the home page.

  • Go down and choose a biography eg George Washington.

Tips: Some of the biographies on Ducksters also have links to videos on the person.

New Zealand websites

These websites are useful for finding information about famous New Zealanders.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography is part of Te Ara and has over 3,000 biographies of New Zealanders. It also has around 500 biographies in te reo Māori. However, this site does not have biographies of living people.

  • Use the search bar and enter the name of a famous person eg 'Katherine Mansfield'.

  • Select the entry for that person eg Mansfield, Katherine.

  • If you want to find digital versions of primary sources, use the menu on the left to change from Dictionary of New Zealand Biography to Images and Media.

Tips: When using the images and media section, the rules around using the information will usually be under the heading 'Using this item'. Make sure to check this out before using an image or piece of media.


NZHistory has a section called People which has information about famous New Zealanders. You can search alphabetically or use the search feature. 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.

  • Choose People and select the letter for your person eg T.

  • Select an entry eg Te Rauparaha.

  • Under the heading Biography select Te Rauparaha.

Tips: On the home page for NZHistory you can also go down the page to find featured biographies.


Famous people are often in the news when their achievements and life events are reported. Check the websites below for the latest news.


This is the website for the Fairfax group of newspapers in New Zealand. It has national news, world news, business, opinion, sports and entertainment etc.

  • Use the search feature to enter the name of a famous person and find the latest news about them.

1 News

You can also watch, listen to and read news items from 1 News, one of New Zealand's main news programmes.

  • Go to the magnifying glass on the top right of the page.

  • Enter the name of the famous person to find recent stories.

Tips: People often write about their opinions on people or current events. Keep this mind when doing research about a famous person, as there may be multiple opinions about them. Usually these pieces will say "Opinion" near the top or bottom to make this clear.


Your school library and local public library will have books about famous people. Here are some suggested titles:

SCIS no. 5463852

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