New Zealand Schools
A system of free public schools was not established in New Zealand until 1877. Prior to that date most schools were founded and run by various religious denominations as a way of educating the population with both secular and religious instruction. Many of these schools continued to function even after the public system was instituted. The records of these pre-1877 schools are in the hands of the school administrators or have been deposited in the collections of religious archives. See the "Archives and Libraries" section of this outline for a list of religious archives and their addresses.
Separate "Native Schools" were available for the Maori children from 1867 to 1969. Prior to 1867, Maori children received their European-style education from religious schools. In 1969 they were finally integrated into the public school system.
The main school records of value are the admission registers and class lists. These may contain the following:
- Names and ages or birth dates of pupils
- Parents’ names and residences
- Date of enrollment and class level
- Information regarding previous schooling
- Reason for removal from the school rolls religious denomination
There are sources that may help you determine what schools were in the area where your ancestors lived. From 1878-1894, public and private schools and their staff were listed in Wise’s Postal Directories, which are available on microfiche at the Family History Library. See the "Directories" section of this outline for more information. Appointments and certification of teachers were also listed in the New Zealand Gazette. See the "Newspapers" section of this outline for more information.
Primary and High Schools
Existing school records will be found in the hands of the current school administrators or in the collections of various archives in New Zealand. See the "Archives and Libraries" section of this outline for addresses. School admission, progress and withdrawal records up to 1920 are available at many New Zealand Libraries. Another way to locate these records is by contacting your local branch of the NZ Society of Genealogy. They will be able to tell you where the records are located.
Colleges and Universities
If your ancestor attended a college or university in New Zealand, he or she was likely recorded in the matriculation records of that school. School records, as well as jubilee commemorative books, have occasionally been published.
School Records at the Family History Library
The Family History Library has some school records, mostly for colleges and universities. These include enrollment lists. They will be found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog, under:
NEW ZEALAND - SCHOOLS
NEW ZEALAND - [TOWN] - SCHOOLS