Search for family history records in New Zealand
You might be able to trace your family’s history in NZ through genealogy websites, old newspapers, or ships’ passenger lists.
You can use the National Library's resources to research your family's history.
There are also websites to help you do your own family history research.
Find out when your family came to NZ
You can use shipping lists to find out how and when people arrived in New Zealand.
Shipping lists might be able to tell you:
- someone's full name
- their occupation
- their marital status
- the name of the ship they arrived on
- where they landed in NZ
- where they came from.
Search the collection of shipping lists for your ancestors' names. Not all shipping lists are available online – you'll only be able to find someone if they came to NZ:
- with government assistance before 1888
- after 1910.
Between 1888 and 1910 some records exist, but they aren’t complete.
Births, deaths and marriages in NZ
Births, Deaths and Marriages hold New Zealand birth, death, marriage, civil union and name change records, including:
- birth records since 1848
- death registrations since 1848
- marriage registrations since 1843
- civil union registrations since 26 April 2005
- name change registrations since 1954.
You can search online for:
- birth records that are at least 100 years old
- stillbirth records that are at least 50 years old
- marriage records that are at least 80 years old
- death records that are at least 50 years old, or
- death records where the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago.
You can also order more recent records.
If you don’t know the year of the birth, death or marriage, you can ask Births, Deaths and Marriages to search their records. There may be an extra cost for this.
Family records in Australia
Many Kiwi families originated in Europe, but they might have emigrated to Australia first. Christchurch City Libraries has an extensive list of Australian family history resources.
You can search for the records and medals of New Zealanders who have served in our armed forces. If the person is still alive, you can’t get their records without their written approval.