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Getting started with New Zealand research

New Zealand lies in the S.W. Pacific Ocean, 2000km east of Australia.  New Zealand consists of 2 major Islands - North and South Island, with Stewart Island below the South Island, and the Chatham Islands 500 miles east of Christchurch.  New Zealand was first discovered in 1642 by Abel Tasman of Holland, who gave it its name.  Captain James Cook claimed New Zealand as a British Colony in 1769. But this was not ratified until 1841 following the Treaty of Waitangi process of 1840. The Polynesian (maoris) arrived around 1000A.D.  The Chatham Is. were originally seetled by Moriori people. Mount Cook (Mount Aoraki) is the highest mountain at 12,316ft. (3754metres) high.  A wide range of temperatures, from tropical in the north, to dry cold in the south.

Jurisdictions

Auckland Kapiti  Taranaki 
Bay of Plenty King Country Waikato
Canterbury Manawatu Wairarapa
Coromandel Marlborough Wairarapa South
East Cape Northland Wellington
Fiordland Otago Westland
Hawkes Bay Southland

Research Tools


Libraries, Books and Newspapers


Historical and Regional Resources

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Featured Content

The sovereignty of New Zealand was proclaimed and its courts established by Ordinance in 1841. Court records that may be useful for genealogical research are those of the Supreme Court 1841-1980 (renamed the High Court in 1980), Police Magistrates Courts 1846-1893, Resident Magistrates’ Courts 1893-1980, District Courts 1980-present, and Wardens’ Courts 1858-present. Read more...

Did you know?

  • Did your Ancestors live in Otago/Southland?  The Otago Nominal Rolls Index (ONI) up to 1876 is available on line, showing electoral rolls and street directories.
  • New Zealand was a British colony where British soldiers served and sometimes remained following their military service. New Zealand-born soldiers also served in British regiments stationed in New Zealand. The military records contain information on all soldiers who served in the British military.
  • There are School Admission, Progress and Withdrawls up to 1920, available at many New Zealand Libraries, or contact the nearest NZ Society of Genealogy Branch, and they will be able to tell you where they are located.
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