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i don't think that is true crissy11.
i can speak for my district anyway.
in Te Arawa whakapapa records are usually held by one key person in each extended whanau. usually an elder, or some person with special interest.
more extensive and ancient records are held by even fewer key elders for an entire sub tribe, and the wider geneological records for the entire tribe back to hawaiki and beyond.
try to identify these key people in the tribes you are seeking info on. Identifying them will not be too hard
Present census ask us to identify our iwi, probably held under the govt's official information act. In the past census was taken by such govt agents as Mantell and sometimes by the local policeman for govt purposes. Most of this information is probably stored at the govt. archives in Wellington. They may charge a fee to search for you but if you know what or who you are looking for this may be helpful.
The early missinaries also took careful records of christenings, marriages, funerals at which they officiated so if you know which religions they were most of these church head offices[if that's the right term] have archives with much information.
Another useful source of info are the libraries and museums who hold all sorts of records not always on view. if you write or ring them you can request them to photocopy specific info you may want. Hope this helps.