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Mahara is a unique content management both in how it was developed and what it is typically used for.
First, it was first developed in New Zealand in 2006. The project was funded by the New Zealand
Tertiary Education Commission’s e-Learning Collaborative Development Fund. This makes it the only
government sponsored CMS on the market today that I am aware of. It was designed not so much just
to make websites, but to create online places where people can collaborate and work on projects
together. Today the platform is funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Education as well as funds
provided by the Mellon Foundation.
The Mahara page says that this is an ‘electronic portfolio’ tool as well, which helps to illustrate what
types of things it can and should be used for. While it certainly is not going to be the first choice of
developers who are looking to make a traditional blog or website, Mahara absolutely has some very
practical applications for many people around the world. Like most CMSs, Mahara is an open source
system and free to use.