About this database

This web site presents a database of legal references in New Zealand fictional literature and visual media. The database contains an annotated bibliographic reference for each of the approximately 500 sources (novels, plays, poems, short stories, films and television programmes).

This database is current up to and including mid 2008.

The New Zealand Law and Literature/Law and Visual Media Database project began in 2004 with the aim of exploring the nature of legal references in New Zealand fiction. The database creator is Dr Grant Morris, Senior Lecturer in Law at Victoria University of Wellington.

The database should be of interest to academics, students, lawyers, writers and members of the general public with a passion for fiction and/or law. Using the database researchers can examine the key legal themes and issues that appear in New Zealand fiction and discover popular perceptions of the law. Hopefully the database will encourage users to go beyond the bibliographic entries and study the actual texts themselves.

How to use this database

Each entry includes the following information:

If ‘the’ begins the title, the source will be entered using its second letter, for example, ‘Whale Rider, The’. The sources have been ordered by title.
This is the author of the actual source so includes screenwriters but not directors or editors.
Given the creative importance of a director in visual media the database has a separate section for the director. As mentioned above, the screenwriter is included under author.
The sources have been grouped into the following genres: novels, plays, short stories, poetry, feature films and television programmes. More specific distinctions such as ‘young adult novel’ or ‘television mini-series’ have not been included.
This is the year of the specific publication used to create the annotated bibliographic reference. The ‘references’ section coincides with this version. If the entry is a reprint or late edition, the original publication date will be noted under ‘Original Year’ to allow users to view the source in its proper historical context.
This is specifically the usefulness to the researcher interested in legal references in fiction. It is not a qualitative judgment of the source but rather an indication of the nature of the legal references, for example, how many references are in the source and how detailed the references are.
The database moves beyond bibliographic referencing in this section and supplies the key legal themes found in the source. These themes have been standardised into various categories, for example, ‘the importance of advocacy’. The thematic headings relate to different aspects of the law and legal systems.
This section summarises the legal material contained in the source including details that are too specific for the theme section. It is not a plot summary.
A guide to where the legal references in the source can be found. The references are presented in the form of page numbers for written fiction and minutes for visual media fiction.
The publishing company for written fiction and the production company for visual media fiction.
Original Year:
For sources where a later reprint/edition has been used we have also recorded the original publication date in this section.