New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records

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New Zealand

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New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973
This article describes a collection of records at
New Zealand
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Flag of New Zealand
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Location of New Zealand in Oceania
Record Description
Record Type Immigration Passenger Lists
Collection years 1839-1973
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archives - New Zealand

Why Should I Look at This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Many people immigrated to New Zealand to form colonies and settle for a better life. From the 1840s until the 1970s, Britain was the main source for immigrants, and 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, Polynesia, and Asia. Prior to 1900 there were various classes of immigrants, with the largest groups being the assisted immigrants and paying passengers.

New Zealand became multicultural due to the number of immigrants coming from other countries. Beginning in 1871 the New Zealand Government began to offer assisted passages to selected immigrants and others nominated by relatives. The migration of the 1870s was the most significant in New Zealand history.

In 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 1891 New Zealand received the last small group of assisted migrants. However, assisted migration was restored in 1904 when the country's economy 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.

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains immigrant registers from New Zealand, covering the period 1839 to 1973. Upon leaving a home country for New Zealand, all passengers in a ship were listed in a register book, and were then checked against that register upon entry into their port of destination. As a form of identification was required to embark on the ship, these immigration records are generally accurate. However, since they were normally handwritten by an officer, slight errors are not uncommon. The records are written or printed on prepared forms, tabular format, in bound volumes. Most registers are legible; however, some are faded or have some bleed-through, and so are a bit difficult to read.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Full name of each passenger
  • Adult or child
  • Male or female
  • Country of emigration
  • Port of Entry and date of arrival

  • Estimated age
  • Occupation
  • Total cost of passage and how paid
  • Name of ship and port of embarkation

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

This collection contains primarily New Zealand immigration passenger lists, although crew lists make up a significant portion as well. Approximately ten percent of the collection is a mixture of other travel-related documents, including goods manifests.

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the Collection Page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information can be substituted as necessary.

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
  1. Select Arrival port or destination
  2. Select Arrival Year
  3. Select Ship's name to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record for future reference.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the estimated age to calculate an approximate year of birth, if that is yet undetermined
  • Remember that the family structure reported in these passenger lists are a snapshot of the family at one moment in their lives. Other relations may have not traveled with the family, died previously, or were born afterwards
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Remember that individuals might not be listed with their immediate families, as they often migrated with neighbors, distant relatives, or other associates
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil or religious records

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names
  • Note that some women reverted to their maiden name when their husband died, and therefore could possibly have traveled under their maiden name
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches
  • It is estimated that the majority of the British immigrants after arrival settled in provinces near their port of entry. Thus, a wider search in the provinces of Auckland, Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Nelson, Taranaki, Wellington, or Westland may prove fruitful, depending on which port the individual landed in

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you research your family in New Zealand.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.