Wellington City Libraries

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Ngā rauemi whakapapa ahuwhānui Whakapapa general resources

The best sources of information for whakapapa research are the whakapapa books and knowledge held within your whānau, hapū or iwi.

However, where these are not easily accessible, your library may offer published resources such as:

  • iwi histories and biographies
  • Māori Land Court Minute Books
  • other sources of government information.

There are many resources on the web, some available free through library subscriptions (such as the index to the Land Court Minute Books).

He kaupapa

Tau, Te Maire In defence of oral history : whakapapa as a case study, in, Te Karaka ; (Winter, 2001) pp. 8-9

Te Rito, Joseph Selwyn. Whakapapa : a framework for understanding identity, in, MAI review ; 2007, article 2.

He ara : Books

929.1 JOY
Joyce, Brenda. Whakapapa : an introduction to Māori family history research. Māori Interest Group of the NZSG Inc., 2006.

929.1 ROB
Roberts, Jude. Layer upon layer = Whakapapa. Wotz Wot, 2006.

907.2 ROY
Royal, Charles. Te haurapa : an introduction to researching tribal histories and tradition. Bridget Williams Books, 1992.

Articles in Magazines or Books

Barlow, Cleave. The scope of Māori genealogy, in, New Zealand genealogist ; vol. 18, no. 172 (1987) pp. 34-36.

Bromell, Anne. Whakapapa : Māori genealogy, in, New Zealand beginner’s guide to family history research. Rev. ed. Whitcoulls, 2004 p. 44.

Hampton, Denis. From the Appendices. Pt. 9. Native Affairs, in, New Zealand genealogist ; vol. 24, no. 223 (Sept/Oct 1993) pp. 314-315.

Herlihy, Brian. The Māori Land court as a source of information, in, Archifacts : vol. 2 (1985) pp.45-48.

McRae, Jane. Researching Māori genealogy, in, New Zealand genealogist ; vol. 23, no. 218 (1992) pp. 384-387.

Mead, Hirini Moko. Tribal archival research : the Ngāti Awa experience, in, Oral history in New Zealand, Vol. 2 (1989) pp, 27-30.

Mossong, Verna. A brief introduction to sources for non-traditional Māori family history research, in, Bridging the generations : fourth Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, Canberra 1986, compiled by Geoffrey Burkhardt and Peter Procter. Canberra, A.C.T.: Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra, 1986.

Skelton, Kim. Tracing your whakapapa through Māori Land Court records, in, New Zealand genealogist ; vol. 18, no. 172 (1987) pp 36-40.

Webber, Heaather J. When the time is right : researching Māori whakapapa using traditional methods, in, Something of interest : proceedings of the 1994 Conference, held by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, 6th-8th May 1994, compiled by Vivienne M. Parker. Auckland, N.Z : The Society, c1994 pp. 433-440.

General finding tools to items held in libraries, museums etc

305.8994016 CUR
Curnow, Jenifer Mary. Ngā pou ārahi : ko te rārangi-ā-iwi o ngā tuhituhinga mō ngā taonga Maori, arā mō te reo, mō ngā whakapapa, mō nga waiata, mō ngā kōrero, mō ngā tikanga, mō ngā whakatauki = tribal inventory of manuscripts relating Māori treasures, language, genealogy, songs, history, customs and proverbs. Auckland, N.Z.! : Auckland Institute and Museum, 1995.

Te Hikoi Marama : a directory of Māori information. Wellington : Auckland Public Library : National Library of New Zealand, 1993.

Fildes, H E M. Selective indexes to certain books relating to early New Zealand. 1984


Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
Biographies of New Zealanders who have 'made their mark' on this country. It does not include people who are alive.

Māori births and deaths index 1913-1960, and Māori marriages index from 1911-1951
(Microfiche, or these are also on a database available only at the Enquiry Desk, Second Floor, Central Library)

Births Deaths, Marriages, Historical Records
The historic data available for you to search is limited to:

  • Births that occurred at least 100 years ago
  • Stillbirths that occurred at least 50 years ago
  • Marriages and eventually Civil Unions that occurred at least 80 years ago
    Deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago or the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago

IGI/Family Search
Enter South West Pacific and New Zealand as location
Some interesting tāpuna names have been entered during the last 20 years.

Varcoe’s Marriage Index
You may search collectively, 1862 and below by Names and also Search Maori Data ; for all other marriages, search for a name within a particular year.

Index to Land Court Minute Books
The MLCMBI, an index only database, to over 1100 minute books created by the Maori Land Court between 1865 and 1910.

Lists beneficial owners of land administered by the Maori Land Court.

Archway (Archives New Zealand)
A database of historical records of government departments deposited with Archives New Zealand. Entries are usually descriptive only; not a fulltext reproduction of the record.

Pages from 34 separate periodicals, 1842-1933 and three types of newspapers: government sponsored, Māori initiated, and religious newspapers. 70% of the collection is written solely in Māori, 27% is bilingual and about 3% is written in English.

61 digitised New Zealand newspapers published somewhere between 1839 to 1945.

Te Ao Hou
Published from 1952 to 1976 by the Māori Affairs Department in New Zealand Aotearoa and aimed "to provide interesting and informative reading for Maori.

When you use Find, resources from the following are presented under the 'Core Sources' tab:
The National Library of New Zealand catalogue (published items)
TAPUHI, the Alexander Turnbull Library catalogue (unpublished items)
Timeframes (digitised New Zealand and Pacific images from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library)
Publications NZ (print and electronic publications from or about New Zealand, or by New Zealand authors)
FindNZArticles and Index New Zealand (articles published in New Zealand magazines and newspapers and publications about New Zealand and the South Pacific)
Te Puna Web Directory (selected New Zealand and Pacific Island web sites)

Resources from the following are presented under the 'Extended Sources' tab:
Papers Past (digitised historical New Zealand newspapers)
Manuscripts and Pictorial (digitised manuscripts and pictorial items from the Alexander Turnbull Library collections)
New Zealand Libraries' Catalogue (aggregated catalogue of New Zealand libraries)
Discover (curriculum-related digital resources)
Te Ao Hou (digitised magazine)
Digital New Zealand (New Zealand digital content)

You may wish to link to TAPUHI and Timeframes directly -
TAPUHI - Alexander Turnbull Library
Bibliographic records of manuscripts, photographs, drawings, paintings, prints and cartoons, ephemera (for example, posters and flyers), manuscript maps held in the Alexander Turnbull Library unpublished collections.

Selected New Zealand and Pacific images from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Journal of the Polynesian Society
The early issues contain a rich repository of indigenous texts and traditions contributed by Pacific peoples, missionaries etc.

Donald McLean papers
Papers of Donald McLean held at the Alexander Turnbull Library that McLean received from many hundreds of correspondents, both public and private – many were written by prominent kaumatua, and discussed land issues.

New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
Here are just a few of the full-text works that are included in this database:
Legends of the Maori (Volumes 1 & 2), by James Cowan & Buck
Polynesian Mythology, by Sir George Grey
Polynesian Voyagers, by Elsdon Best
Te Ika a Maui, by Richard Taylor
The Ancient History of the Maori, by John White
The Maori: Yesterday and To-day, by James Cowan
The Maori As He Was : A Brief Account of Life as it Was in Pre-European Days, by Elsdon Best
The Maori - Volume 1 & 2, by Elsdon Best

Search and discover millions of NZ images, text, video and audio from the digital stores of libraries, museums, archives, communities, and government, including Alexander Turnbull Library, Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland City Libraries, Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, The New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki o Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua, Otago Museum, Puke Ariki, The University of Auckland Library, University of Otago Library, including Hocken Collections, Wairarapa Archive – Te Puranga Korero o Wairarapa.

Fletcher’s Index to Maori Names
This index was compiled about 1925 by the missionary Rev. Henry James Fletcher (1868-1933) and lists names occurring in the following publications:
The Ancient history of the Māori. J. White. Vols. 1-6 (1887-1890)
Te Ika a Maui.. R.Taylor. 2nd ed. (1870)
Journal of the Polynesian Society. Vols. 1-19 (1892- 1910)
Dominion Museum Bulletin. Nos. 2-10
Ko ngā whakapepeha. G. Grey (1857
Polynesian mythology. G. Grey (1855)
Southern districts of New Zealand. E. Shortland (1851)
Māori religion and mythology. E. Shortland (1882)
Traditions and superstitions of the New Zealanders. E. Shortland. (1856)
Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. Vols. 1-42 (1868-1910)
Old Whanganui. T. Downes (1915)

Iwidex - Auckland City Libraries
Iwidex focuses on people, whakapapa and the land. The information is drawn from The New Zealand Herald, The Auckland Star, The Weekly News, current Māori newspapers and some of the Auckland City Libraries' Māori manuscript collection and early printed Māori work.

Whakamīharo Lindauer Online
This website features the Māori portraits of Gottfried Lindauer and the recently re-discovered visitors' book that accompanied them when they were first painted.

Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand
About 20% of the early issues – up to 1891 contained topics of ethnography, agriculture, history and literature.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
This website pays tribute to the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars.

Korero o te Wa I Raraunga I Rauemi I Te Whanganui a Tara I Whakapapa