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Newspapers contain articles regarding current events in a given area. They may contain lists of births, marriages, deaths, and obituaries, regardless of individual religious affiliations, that may not exist in any other records. They can also contain biographies, names of recent emigrants and immigrants, and records of court cases, and juror’s lists. These types of records can be of genealogical value in that they put a person at a certain place on a certain date, naming family members, ages, religion, cemeteries, and occupations.

The earliest newspapers in New Zealand were New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator and Advertiser and Bay of Islands Gazette, which began publication in 1840. Other early papers include the Sydney Gazette, the Hobart Town Courier or Gazette.

The National Library of New Zealand's PapersPast project to digitize newspapers currently includes online 44 papers from 1840-1915 representing all regions in New Zealand.  Of these, 17 are keyword searchable. You can browse by date, region and title. To search these papers, go to:

The New Zealand Digital Library project has made many Maori newspapers available online.  To view this site, go to

Public libraries and newspaper offices keep back issues of newspapers, many of which have been microfilmed. The Hocken Library, for instance, has a significant collection. Researchers may wish to write directly to the archives. Information on surviving newspapers, along with addresses for newspaper offices or archives, can be found in:

  • Harvey, D. R. Union List of New Zealand Newspapers Before 1940: preserved in libraries, newspaper offices, local authority offices and museums in New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: National Library of New Zealand, 1985. (Family History Library book 993.1 B33h.)

The Family History Library has some indexes to vital records found in newspapers. They are found in the FamilySearch Catalog, Place Search, under:

NEW ZEALAND - NEWSPAPERS - INDEXES

NEW ZEALAND - VITAL RECORDS - INDEXES

NEW ZEALAND - [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS - INDEXES

Index to Christchurch Death Notices in "The Press" newspaper
An Index to death notices in "The Press" newspaper is available on www.stuff.co.nz
Click on "The Press" newspaper and then scroll down the page and on the right-hand side click on "Readers Services". Again on the right-hand side you will find a panel "Readers Services" which contains the death notice list of names 2000 to the present. This lists the name and date the death notice appeared in "The Press". For further information read the "hint and instructions" section on the website.

BIRTH, DEATH AND MARRIAGE NOTICES FROM NEW ZEALAND NEWSPAPERS
www.oldnewsbios.co.nz
With 14,512 names, Old News Bios is a database of notices that appeared in old newspapers mainly dealing with births, deaths and marriages.
Among the newspapers included are:
Bruce Herald
The Bruce Herald was first published in November 1864 in Milton. Originally the newspaper was published weekly until the end of 1872 from which time it was published twice weekly. Copies of the Bruce Herald are also available online at www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
Included in index online: 1864 to 1882 - births, marriages and deaths
Dunstan Times
The Dunstan Times was published in Clyde.
Included in index online: 1866 to 1900 - births, marriages, and deaths
Mataura Ensign
Copies of the Mataura Ensign are available online at www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
Included in index online: January to June 1883 - births, marriages, deaths, inquests
The Oamaru Times / North Otago Times
Available online at www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
Included in index online:
1864 to 1867 - births, marriages, deaths, funerals, obituaries, inquests
January to March 1901 - births, marriages, deaths, funerals, obituaries
May 1904 - births, marriages, deaths, funerals, obituaries
Otago Daily Times
Included in index online:
1870 - births, marriages, deaths
1871 - births, marriages, deaths, funerals, obituaries
The Otago Witness
Available online at www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
Included in index online:
1851 to 1853 - births, marriages, deaths, and inquests
1915 - obituaries, birthdays, anniversaries
1916 - obituaries, birthdays, anniversaries
The Tapanui Courier
Included in index online: 1876 to 1900 - births, marriages, and deaths
The Wakatipu Mail
This newspaper was published in Queenstown.
Included in index online:
1863, 1864, 1873, 1875, 1879 and 1884 - births, marriages and deaths
1885 to 1888, 1890, 1892 to 1900 - births, marriages, and deaths
University of Otago Magazine
The alumni magazine for the University of Otago
Included in index online: Issue 18 - October 2007 - obituaries
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  • This page was last modified on 25 July 2014, at 16:12.
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