Rolls and Shipping

Lists of people have been prepared for all sorts of official purposes. These find a new use when we start looking for family members.

At Dunedin Public Libraries we hold a wide variety of rolls and registers that may help to trace your ancestors.

There are also indices prepared by members of genealogical societies and individuals for their own purposes, which have been made available for public use.

Electoral rolls

Electoral rolls provide the most complete and publicly available list of New Zealand citizens, their occupations and addresses.

Parliamentary electoral rolls list all eligible voters who have enrolled.

  • Initially voting was limited to males over the age of 21 who owned property or paid significant rent.
  • Since 1876 all male Māori have been eligible to vote.
  • Land ownership qualification for pakeha males was abolished in 1879.
  • In 1893 women gained the vote so can be traced through the electoral rolls from then on.
  • In 1969 the voting age was lowered to 20, and in 1974 to 18.

The Genealogy Room on the third floor holds electoral rolls on microfiche from 1866 to 1981 and paper copies from 1984 onwards.

The electoral rolls from 1881 to 1911 are available for searching on CD-ROM in the Genealogy Room, or through Ancestry.

Some South Dunedin electoral rolls can be found online at The University of Otago Caversham Project website.

For further information and to check your own details, head to the Elections New Zealand website.

Municipal electoral rolls

We hold local municipal rolls from 1929 onwards.

Since 1989 the area covered has extended to include the new city boundaries – from Waikouaiti to Middlemarch and Taieri Mouth.

Miltary rolls

Nominal rolls give names of military personnel going to the South African (Boer) War, and First and Second World Wars.

These rolls include information about usual occupation and next of kin.

These are available on microfiche and in book form. The First World War nominal roll is on CD-ROM in the Genealogy Room.

First and Second World War rolls for New Zealand are also available through Ancestry.

Shipping and passenger lists

There are a limited number of passenger lists available in the City Library relating to early arrivals in the Port of Otago.

The lists are transcribed from the Otago Witness and the Otago Provincial Gazette and are indexed in the following titles:

  • Otago Immigrant Passenger Index 1855 – 1865 compiled by Alma Philp
  • Index of Passengers Arrivals in Otago 1856 – 1880 compiled by Maureen Kelly

In addition to these sources it is sometimes possible to find a report of a known ship’s arrival and mention of passengers in newspapers of the time.

Lists of passengers from Victoria, Australia, to New Zealand 1852 – 1880 are available on microfiche and CD-Rom.

Useful websites

Online AUSNZ Passengers

Passenger Lists to New Zealand