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Finding all relevant information on an organism

This database has been built with the general user in mind. You do not need to know the scientific name of a plant or other organism to access information. Start with the name you are most familiar with. Then try some of the other names listed for the plant, to make sure you have found all the available records.

If searching for a scientific name, it is worth checking records that link to the genus as well as to a particular species. (e.g., Clematis as well as Clematis paniculata). Informants often did not discriminate below the level of genus. Species were sometimes wrongly identified and taxonomists have reclassified many native organisms. It is best to take a wide view to ensure you capture all the relevant information.


A record refers to a bibliographic reference, or a block of information relating to an organism or subject. 

There are five classes of record in Ngā Rauropi Whakaoranga:

  • name:  records about organisms or objects.  
  • reference: records about published or unpublished literature that have been reviewed for relevant information.  
  • common name: records for a common name in any language. They provide links to records where that common name has been cited. These records may sometimes contain additional information about that common name.
  • topic: a record that is an index to other records within the database that are relevant to the specified topic. These records are created to assist browsing on the specific topic.
  • other: miscellaneous records that cover a subject that does not fit within the other record classes.

Records of class name, reference, and other may contain information under a range of fields, whilst common name and topic records primarily provide indexing lists.


Long vowels in Māori words are marked with a macron (a line over the vowel). This is an aid to correct pronunciation.

In book titles, and when information is quoted directly, we do not use macrons unless they are in the original text.

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