Saturday, July 24, 2010

First time Maori research

Knowing nothing about Maori research, I tentatively approached Anna at the Auckland Library for an introduction to the subject.

The first question she would put to a new researcher is where were their parents and grandparents born. Without this information it is quite difficult to identify the tribe the researcher might belong to.

To complicate this, the New Zealand government didn't make it compulsory to register Maori marriages until 1911, and births and deaths in 1913. And even then, Maori names were often mis-spelled so detective work is necessary. The Maori registrations were kept separately until 1967, when they were combined with everyone else's.

But if the first hurdle is passed then she would point the researcher to a Marae in the district identified. A visit to the Marae would find the elders of the district, sometimes indirectly.

The elders may probe the reason for the visit to find out if it was genuine. Oral histories are still passed on to descendants who have the best attributes, namely, good memory retention and respect for the information. It may not be passed on all at once.

There are two good resource books , Whakapapa by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists and Te Haurapa by Charles Royal.  There are some other documented sources of information as well, but we will explore them another time.


  1. First of all - nice informative blog. The maori land court land records may have relevant information, as I found out. After requesting land transactions for my Grandfather, they sent old court record copies, which included names of his parents, and others.

    I cross referenced the names with NZ archway archives online, and found more information.