Maori and Electoral Rolls

Maori Electoral rolls are a great resource for finding information, but sadly there are not many old ones available.

In 1867 four Maori seats were created and adult males over 21 years, who had at least half Maori blood were eligible to vote.  However, they did not have to be enrolled and therefore there are no printed rolls.

Between 1867 – 1893 any Maori male with at least half Maori blood and a land owner could enroll on the general roll where their property was located so this may be another avenue for you to check out when looking for people, especially if you find a record of this person owning land. The years for these rolls are 1868, 1871, 1875-6, 1879, 1881, 1884, 1887, 1890 and 1893. You will have to find the name of the general roll for the area where they were living first. If you visit the New Zealand electorates page and scroll down to the bottom you will find the heading Abolished Electorates and there a list.  Click on the one that covers the area you are interested in and it will take you to a page that will explain about the electorate and also what years it was in operation.  Or, if you would like to browse by year to look for the electorate your whanau could have been in, visit Elections in New Zealand and scroll down to results.  Click on the year and you will find all of the electorates for that year.  Click on one that your whanau may have lived in and see if there is any information that explains the boundaries.

In 1897 the vote was given to women, including Maori.  At this time also if a person had half or more Maori blood they could only vote in a Maori electorate, and if they had less than half Maori blood, they could only vote in a general electorate.  Again, Maori did not have to enroll for the Maori roll so no Maori electoral rolls are available.  It was not until 1956 that Maori were required to enroll and not until 1974 that Maori (and those with Maori blood, but less than half) could choose which roll they wanted to be on.

The first Maori roll published is the 1908 Maori Electoral roll and the second one is the 1919 roll.

In 1949 Maori Electoral rolls started to be printed, the same as the general rolls.

At the Whakapapa Club we would love to be able to have all of the 1908 and the 1919 Maori electoral roll available for anyone to look up free.  Sadly we do not have all but so far have the following.

Eastern Maori Electoral Roll 1908

Western Maori Electoral Roll 1908

Eastern Maori Electoral Roll 1919

If you want to look up the rolls, try your local library or NZ Archives. will allow you to search the Maori Electoral roll of 1908 and 1919 but you will not be able to view the record if you find someone.  Instead, take a copy of the information and then do the search at your library as most of them have free access to is where you can search the 1881 electoral rolls from Cape Reinga to Auckland.