Here are the main places to start looking for whakapapa as well as information as to what kind of records each place holds.
Births, Deaths, Marriages
Only marriages between Maori and Pakeha were required to be officially registered prior to 1911. The Maori Register of Marriages recorded marriages between 1911-1954. The Maori Register of Births and Deaths were recorded between the years 1913-1961. After this time Maori births, deaths and marriages are recorded in the General register alongside other New Zealanders.
When requesting a BMorD Certificate from Central Registry, always purchase a photocopy (digital image) as these are ideal for genealogical purposes, cheaper than an actual Certificate and can include additional information such as the informant and occasionally notes in the margin.
Photocopies of the following registrations are available from Central Registry, Lower Hutt and the Births, Deaths and Marriages office Auckland, on request:
Pakeha Births 1848-1930 inclusive
All Births 1972 – to date
Pakeha Marriages 1854-1960 inclusive
All Marriages 1973 – to date
There may be in the Pakeha Births Maori records, if one of the parent’s was Maori.
The best place to find records for dates of birth or death for the 1800’s and early 1900’s is in the Maori Land Court Records.
Another option for birth, death, and marraige records are church registers.
Archives NZ is a great place to find titbits of information.
They hold schools rolls so you can see what schools your grandparents / great grandparents attended. They also have old school photographs.
The Auckland branch also has the Gum Diggers records, so if any of your whanau were gum diggers you can find when they worked, who with and how much they got paid. Often you will find that those that they worked with are relations.
Archives NZ also hold some of the Maori Land Court Records.
Anyone can visit the Archives NZ. You fill out a request to be a researcher and then the staff will show you how to access the records. They are very helpful.
Whakapapa gives us our connections to the land. You need to know where your whanau is from to find information in the Maori Land Court Records.
If your father is from the north and your mother is from the south, do not look for your father’s lines in the southern records!
If your father and mother lived in your mother’s area and you use your father’s surname as your surname, do not confuse your children and mokopuna by teaching them that your surname is from the south. It is through your mother’s whanau that you are from the south as it is those blood lines that give you the connections there and your father’s whanau name is still from the north as that is where the blood lines are and the connections to the whenua.
Maori Land Court
The Maori Land Court Records contain a wealth of information pertaining to whakapapa.
The seven Maori Land Court districts are Tai Tokerau, Waikato-Maniapoto, Waiariki, Tairawhiti, Takitimu, Aotea and Te Waipounamu.
Before consulting Maori Land Court records, you will need some basic information on when the land in question came before the Maori Land Court, and in which district the sitting took place.
Maori Land Court Records can be accessed at the Maori Land Courts, Archives NZ, many of the large public libraries and some tertiary institution libraries.
Many of the old records from the 1800’s and early 1900’s are written in cursive style writing, so the ability to read this kind of writing is important.