The Department of Internal Affairs' NZHistory.net.nz Web site is to appear as a link in the next online and CD editions of Microsoft's Encarta encyclopaedia.
The site, which launched in March, is also hosting some of its most notable archive material yet - rare film of the Tangiwai railway disaster.
The 8mm footage of the disaster scene was taken by amateur cameraman, Edwin Nitschke, on Boxing Day, 1953, two days after the Wellington-Auckland night express plunged into the flooded Whangaehu River just west of Tangiwai, near Waiouru. This is the first time since Nitschke's family provided it to Internal Affairs that the material has been shown publicly.
Department spokeswoman Pamela Fleming says the NZHistory.net.nz team was contacted "out of the blue" by Encarta, which will launch its next version next month. She expects the linking to greatly increase traffic through the site.
The site is at: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz