New Zealand, Immigration Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: New Zealand, Immigration Passenger Lists, 1855-1973 .
These lists cover the period from 1855 to 1973.
The records are written on printed forms in tabular format in bound volumes. Most registers are legible; however some are faded or bleed through, and therefore are a bit difficult to read.
The passenger lists include immigrants arriving mostly from the British Isles, and also from Western Europe, Asia, and the Polynesia. Many people immigrated to New Zealand to form colonies and settle for a better life. From 1840 until the 1970s, Britain was the main source for immigrants; all ships carrying passengers in or out of any British port were required by law to present their passenger lists to the relevant port authorities. Other immigrants came from Western Europe, some from Polynesia, and Asia. Prior to 1900 there were various classes of immigrants; the largest groups were the assisted immigrants and paying passengers.
Because of the multi-cultural nature of the immigrants, New Zealand became a multi-cultural community from the outset. Beginning in 1871 the New Zealand Government began to offer assisted passages to selected immigrants and those people nominated by relatives. The migration of the 1870s was the most significant in New Zealand history.
In the year 1874 thousands of assisted immigrants arrived in New Zealand, forming the greatest level of migration ever. Almost half of the new immigrants came with government assistance. Three-quarters of these sailed directly from the United Kingdom. Because of economic difficulties in the later 19th century, assistance was finally terminated.
In the year 1891 New Zealand received the last small group of assisted migrants. However, assisted migration was restored in 1904 when the economy of the country returned to prosperity, making it once more an attractive country to new immigrants. During the early 20th century one-third of the immigrants came from Australia, and two-thirds from the United Kingdom.
At the port of embarkation, all passengers were listed in a book. At the port of destination this registry was verified and kept by the authorities of the destination country. These registers were later used for immigration and population statistics.
A form of identification was required to embark on the ship, so the records should be accurate. However, since they were generally handwritten by an officer, there may be some errors.
For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citations for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Ships involved in New Zealand immigration. New Zealand, Immigration Passenger Lists, 1855-1915. Archives New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.
Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout New Zealand.
These passenger lists may contain the following information:
- Full name of each passenger
- Adult or child
- Male or female
- Country of emigration
- Place where ship landed when immigrated
- Estimated age
- Total cost of passage and how paid
- Name of ship and port of embarkation
- Port of destination and date of arrival
How to Use the Records
To find ancestors on the passenger lists, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:
- Name of ancestor
- Estimated year of birth
Search the Collection
To search the index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
To search the images:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Arrival port" category
⇒ Select the "Year of arrival" category
⇒ Select the "Ship's name" category which will take you to the images.
Look at each image one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Using the Information
When you have found the record that you have been looking for, the following will help you in your research:
- Use the age to calculate an approximate birth year. To calculate a birth year, use the arrival year and subtract the age on the record to bring up an approximate birth year.
- When you have found the record, your record should have an image come up. You should see the image to see if your ancestor has traveled with his or her family during the time of their immigration. If your ancestor was married at the time, and the image lists the name of the spouse, search for a marriage record for the couple.
Unable to Find your Ancestor?
If unable to find your immigrant ancestors in the vital records of New Zealand, you may find them in the passenger lists.
The amount of information found in the registers depends on the type of immigrant—the assisted immigration registers are the most common and tend to have more information. It is estimated that the majority of the British immigrants after arrival settled in the provinces of Auckland, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Westland.
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"New Zealand, Immigration Passenger Lists 1855-1973," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FSY8-6P8: accessed14 June 2012), Edd S Phillips, carpenter, ship Adamant, departure date: 14 July 1875; citing Wellington, Passenger Lists, digital folder 4,412,767 image 0009; Archway Public Archives, Wellington, New Zealand.