Maori Resources

Dunedin Public Libraries offers helpful resources for undertaking whakapapa research.

Items of interest are found in our McNab New Zealand and Taiehu Collections.

Official records

Registrations of Māori marriages became compulsory in 1911, and compulsory registration of Māori births and deaths in 1913. Therefore, for Whakapapa research, the indices to Birth, Death and Marriages on microfiche are of limited value before these dates.

There are separate Māori Births, Deaths and Marriages on three sets of microfiche covering births, 1913 – 1960 ; deaths, 1913 – 1960 and marriages, 1911 – 1951. These include some entries outside these dates.

The Native Affairs Department reports in the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives provide earlier documented sources for Māori genealogy research.

Key reports relating to Ngāi Tahu are:

  • 1876 G9 South and Stewart Islands half-caste claims including place of birth, residence and land entitlement.
  • 1886 G16 Middle (South) Island native census compiled by Commissioner Mantell 1848 and 1853. Gives names, gender, tribe or hapu.
  • 1887 Session ll G2 Middle (South) Island half-castes recommended land allocations. Gives name, gender, abode or place of birth.
  • 1891 G7 and G8 Middle (South) Island natives and half-castes. Name, gender, caste and land held locality.
  • 1892 G1 South Island native settlements Ngāi Tahu return, name, over/under 14 years, caste, locality.
  • 1907 G9 Southland Ngāi Tahu families

Please ask at the Heritage Collections Information Desk on the third floor for these reports.

Histories and genealogy of NGĀI TAHU

The following are some of the titles containing historical and whakapapa information about Ngāi Tahu.

  • The Ancient History of the Māori, his Mythology and Traditions. John White (1887-1890)
  • The Genealogy of the Ngāi Tahu. P. D. Garven, 6 volumes (1974-2002)
  • Lore and History of the South Island Māori. W. A. Taylor (1952)
  • Ngāi Tahu: A Migration History: The Carrington Text. Edited by Te Maire Tau and Atholl Anderson (2008)
  • Ngāitahu Kaumatua alive in 1848 as established by the Māori Land Court in 1925 and the Ngāitahu Census Committee in 1929. (Known as Blue Book pamphlet) (1967)
  • The Māoris of the South Island. T. A. Pybus (1954)
  • Te Mamae me te Aroha: The Pain and the Love: A History of Kai Tahu Whanui in Otago, 1844-1994. Bill Dacker (1994)
  • Original Beneficiaries, as listed in Māori Land Court Order dated 12th March, 1925. Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board. (Known as Pink Book pamphlet) (1963)
  • Nga Pikituroa o Ngāi Tahu: The Oral Traditions of Ngāi Tahu. Tau, Te Maire (2003)
  • He Raraka a ka Awa: Ka Putake a Te Mamae me te Aroha, 2000. Bill Dacker (2000)
  • Traditional Lifeways of the Southern Māori: The Otago University Museum Ethnological Project, 1920. Herries Beattie (Edited by Atholl Anderson, 1994)

Useful books

The following books offer useful advice for anyone wanting to get started with their whakapapa research.

  • Layer Upon Layer: Whakapapa. Jude Roberts
  • Tracing Family History in New Zealand. Anne Bromell
  • Te Haurapa: An Introduction to Researching Tribal Histories and Traditions. Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal
  • Whakapapa: An Introduction to Researching Māori and Pakeha-Māori Families, Their History, Heritage, and Culture. Brenda Joyce
  • Whakapapa Ngāi Tahu: A Guide to Enrolment and Research. Russell Caldwell

The Library also holds books and resources on other Iwi.

Useful websites

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Contains over 3,000 biographies of New Zealanders who have ‘made their mark’ on this country. It does not include people who are still alive. Can be searched alphabetically.

Search Dictionary of New Zealand Biography


An index of tribal history, tikanga and whakapapa held in the Heritage and Research Collections of Auckland City Libraries.

Index of Māori Names (Fletcher’s Index)

Listing of Māori names referred to in books and journals, including the names of boundaries, Māori individuals, canoes, trees, landmarks and geographical locations.

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