Whether your ancestors are Maori, or later immigrants from England or elsewhere, our experts can help with your New Zealand genealogy research.
New Zealand Genealogy Research
New Zealand is a country located in the South Pacific Ocean and is a part of the British Commonwealth. It’s made up of two large islands and several smaller islands, and its official languages are English and Maori. Whether your ancestors were English or Maori affects what sources are available and how you should conduct your genealogy research, so keep that in mind as you begin. As with most other countries in the world, some of the best sources for New Zealand genealogy research are civil registration and church records.
New Zealand Genealogy Records
New Zealand’s civil registration records are indexed going back to 1848 (though civil registration was not officially required until 1856, so the earlier records are incomplete), and these indexes are available online — though the actual copies of records must be obtained from the General Registrar’s Office. Also, the amount of information each civil registration record provides varies based on the time period, so keep in mind that the earlier records may not be as helpful as the later ones.
Prior to 1848 you’ll need to use church records, and the quality and quantity of these records varies by religion. For example, Anglican records (the Church of England) begin in about 1814, Catholic records begin about 1838, and Baptist records begin in the late 1850s. After civil registration began, most churches still kept their own records, but generally with less detailed information.
Maori Genealogy Records
Maori vital statistics were not included in the English civil registration (or church records), so if your ancestors were Maori, they likely won’t be found in the early civil registration records. Maori marriages weren’t required to be recorded until 1911, and births and deaths weren’t required until 1913, so keep that in mind when searching for your Maori ancestors. Maori genealogy is generally based more on oral tradition, so the research strategy will look much different for native Maori ancestry than if your ancestors were immigrants to New Zealand from somewhere else.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
Whether your ancestors are Maori, English, or some other nationality, and whether they lived in New Zealand for many generations or just lived there for a few years as part of their immigration to another place, our professional genealogists are experts at identifying the best resources for researching your lines, and our onsite agents can assist with obtaining records when needed as well