There are many useful resources for researching New Zealand ancestors.  Sources of information include indexes to newspaper notices and church records. 

The key to finding information is in the State Library catalogue using a keyword search.  Search under the name of ships or ports in New Zealand with keywords such as emigration, immigration, immigrants, passenger lists, church records, death notices, marriage records, obituaries, registers of births, wedding anniversaries.

Guides, archives libraries and gateways

The following resources are available either in the Genealogy Centre, 3rd Floor, State Library:

Births, marriages and deaths

The official recording of births, marriages and deaths in New Zealand, known as civil registration, began in 1848 for births and deaths and in 1854 for marriages. It was not a requirement for Maori marriages to be recorded until 1911 and for Maori births and deaths to be recorded until 1913.

  • New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs - Use this website to find births, marriages and deaths in New Zealand for Births 1840-1915, Marriages 1840-1935, Deaths 1840-1965. Deaths later than 1965 are searchable if the deceased’s date of birth was over 80 years ago

The State Library has the following indexes in the Genealogy Centre on the 3rd floor in either Microfiche, or CD-ROM format: Births 1840-1990, Marriages 1840-1990,  Deaths 1840-1990. There is a separate index to War Deaths 1914-1918.

Ordering certificates

New Zealand birth, marriage and death certificates can contain lots of useful information for the family historian. Death certificates, in particular, can be very informative and often contain the place of birth and the length of time spent in New Zealand. For a detailed breakdown of information recorded see the Library guide:  Information found on certificates for Australian states, New Zealand and the British Isles (PDF 35KB). It is recommended that printouts are purchased, rather than certificates, as they contain more information. They can be ordered from New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.

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