Free and Open Source Projects in New Zealand

The NZOSS presents the following list of Free and Open Source projects that have a strong degree of 'home-grown' content. By this we meant to say that the project was born in New Zealand; is largely driven by New Zealanders or has an otherwise significant contribution by New Zealanders. This is by no means an exhaustive list, we'd love to hear from you if you're aware of one that we've missed. Similarly, if one of the below (or another project you're aware of) is worthy of some recognition, consider submitting a nomination for the New Zealand Open Source Awards the next time nominations are called for.
  • Kete - the Māori word for 'basket' - provides a platform for developing community contributed content. The kete or basket is the overall organising structure for content. Beyond baskets content is organised by the community using tagging and relating pieces of content to each other. Kete is a Ruby on Rails application originally commissioned by the Horowhenua Library Trust and built by Katipo Communications.

  • Koha is a library management system originally written by New Zealander Chris Cormack way back in 1999. It is used by 100s of libraries worldwide and has over 40 active developers. Koha is also now based in the States as part of a stable of products from open source library provider Liblime. Koha enjoys strong support from the libraries here in New Zealand that contributed to Koha’s development, and continue to use it to this day. Horowhenua Library Trust in particular were early to recognise Koha’s strengths.

  • The Libravatar project is part of a movement working to give control back to people, away from centralised services and the organisations running them. It addresses a simple problem: putting a face on an email address.

  • In a knowledge economy, lifelong learning – both online and face-to-face – is increasingly relevant. Mahara is designed to provide people with a way to demonstrate their skills and development to a variety of audiences over time. With blogs, a resume builder and social networking, Mahara puts users in control and in touch with fellow learners, teachers and potential employers. A nationwide Mahara service is already available for schools and tertiary organisations in New Zealand: MyPortfolio.

  • Mātāpuna is a web-based tool developed for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori / The Māori Language Commission to assist with compiling a Māori language dictionary. The system assists with many aspects of lexicography, including team collaboration, routine error and consistency checking, corpus searching, publishing, and progress monitoring in addition to the traditional headword and entry management.

  • The National Library of New Zealand created the Metadata Extraction Tool to programmatically extract preservation metadata from a range of file formats including PDF, image files, sound files and office documents.

  • The NIWA Image Capture Analysis & Management System is funded by NIWA (National Institute for Water & Atmospheric Research) and is being developed by Catalyst IT. It builds on two existing FOSS applications, Imagej & Postgresql. NICAMS allows users to identify & record the (qualitative & quantitative) contents of photographs, supporting taxonomic & substrate content comprising point, line and region areas of interest.

  • openWolf is designed to check websites for Web Accessibility Initiative priorities and New Zealand Web Standards compliance. Amongst other things, it can include stylesheets in the checks, compare colour contrasts, identify acronyms, handle bad HTML and much, much more.

  • Refinery CMS is a Ruby on Rails content management system that started at Resolve Digital in 2004 ( It was closed source for 5 years before becoming open source in 2009. It has quickly become the second most popular Ruby on Rails CMS and is growing rapidly. The project is contributed to nearly daily as it is core to Resolve Digital's business.

    The project focuses on making the end user experience simple and understandable and offers developers brilliant tools to get a site developed quickly.

  • From its origins as a locally produced web content management system, Silverstripe took the open source path and has never looked back. Scoring a major coup in 2008, with the the US Democratic National Convention website, Silverstripe is firmly on the world stage for New Zealand and open source software. With some 250 websites already showcased, Silverstripe has proven to be a versatile and rapidly evolving framework.