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NZ Census Records for Māori

 

You may have been told that New Zealand does not hold any accessible census records.  This is true as regards national records but there are many nineteenth century census records, still extant, which were taken at various times in specific geographical areas.  For details of these refer to Donald Hansen’s article in the NZSG Magazine May/June 2011 Forgotten but not gone.  Many census records for Māori are listed, together with details of the information they provide and how to access them.

You can search Archway (Archives NZ catalogue of holdings) to see if more census records have now become available.  Be sure to read the definition carefully as some of these records give numbers of the population but do not list names.  Also check which Archives NZ office holds the documents you wish to see as the documents are only accessible at that office.  You can request a document on line at Archway from your home computer so that it will be ready and waiting for you when you visit the office.

 

To date the earliest known census of Māori was collected by the New Zealand Company and sent to London by the Principal Agent as part of his dispatches, dated Wellington early 1842.  It covers only the Te Aro district of Wellington.  Ref NZC 3/2 pp 192-200 (AAYS 8971).  This is accessible at the Wellington office of Archives NZ.  There is also a map of Te Aro Pa ref AAFV 997 WT8

 

The 1853 census is much more extensive.  It covers the area from Porirua to Waikanae and is available from Archives NZ Wellington.  Archives NZ ref NB8 1850/283.  For $22.00 they will put the whole record on a CD for you.  Not only does it list the names of all Māori women, men and children in each settlement but it tells you their religion and if they can read and write.  It is prefaced with the enumerator’s log of his journey including weather conditions and a brief description of each settlement.  Finally there is a list of the community’s possessions e.g. the number of whare, churches, mills, goats, horses and crops.  Together this record gives a vivid picture of the way Māori were living at the time.  If your tipuna were listed on this census you have a goldmine of information to add to your whakapapa research.

 

Kia kaha.  

Keep searching census records.

http://archives.govt.nz/

 

 

Here are 2 pages from an 1853 Māori census of the Porirua to Waikanae district. It’s brilliant as it not only gives names of the people but also religion, if they can read and write. Also what the community owned e.g. churches, waka, crops etc. Archives NZ Ref: NM8 1850/283

Here are 2 pages from an 1853 Māori census of the Porirua to Waikanae district. It’s brilliant as it not only gives names of the people but also religion, if they can read and write. Also what the community owned e.g. churches, waka, crops etc. Archives NZ Ref: NM8 1850/283