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New Zealand Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in New Zealand, go to the Religious Records page.

Anglican Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The National Library of New Zealand in Wellington houses many Anglican parish registers. To see what they have in their archives, visit their catalog here. Some of New Zealand's church records have also been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org. Additionally, the Auckland War Museum has many church records, including Anglican records, that are available to look at in their reading room. They also have some church records available online. To see what records they have available, visit them here.

However, many Anglican church records are kept in the Diocesan Archives for where your ancestor lived. The following are the five Anglican diocese in New Zealand and their corresponding archives:

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Anglican missionaries, part of the Church Mission Society, began teaching in New Zealand in 1814. Historically, Anglicans in New Zealand are of English descent. Now Anglicanism makes up 11.79% of New Zealand's population, which makes it the second largest Christian denomination behind Catholicism. The religion has the largest presence in Canterbury, New Zealand.[1]

Catholic Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

There are currently no Catholic church records for New Zealand available online. Most Catholic registers are kept in the parish where they were created. To find which parish your ancestor may have attended, visit the Catholic Diocesan website. There are six Catholic Dioceses in New Zealand:

Additionally, the Catholic Dioceses of Auckland and Christchurch have diocesan archives that house some parish registers.

The Auckland War Museum also has many church records, including Catholic records, that are available to look at in their reading room. They also have some church records available online. To see what records they have available, visit them here.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Catholic mass held in New Zealand occurred on Christmas Day 1769. Jean Baptiste Pompallier, a missionary, played an important role in establishing the Catholic church in New Zealand during the 19th century. Historically, most Catholics in New Zealand are of Irish descent. Today, Catholics make up 12.61% of New Zealand's population, which makes it the largest Christian Denomination. The territories with the highest percentage of Catholics are Kaikoura, Westland, and Grey.[2]

Congregationalist Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The National Library of New Zealand in Wellington houses many Congregationalist records. To see what they have in their archives, visit their catalog here. Some of New Zealand's church records have also been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org. Additionally, the Auckland War Museum has many church records, including Congregationalist records, that are available to look at in their reading room. They also have some church records available online. To see what records they have available, visit them here.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Congregational Church in New Zealand was established in 1840. By the 1875 Census, Congregational Independents were the fourth largest Protestant denomination.[3] Today, congregationalists make up 8.47% of the population of New Zealand.[4]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

You will usually find the following types of records for Congregationalists:

  • Baptisms
  • Marriages
  • Burials
  • Admissions
  • Dismissions
  • Minutes

Methodist Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The National Library of New Zealand in Wellington houses many Methodist records. To see what they have in their archives, visit their catalog here. Some of New Zealand's church records have also been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org. Additionally, the Auckland War Museum has many church records, including Methodist records, that are available to look at in their reading room. They also have some church records available online. To see what records they have available, visit them here.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Methodists were among the earliest missionaries to come to New Zealand.[5] Today, Methodists make up 2.64% of New Zealand's population.[6]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Typically, Methodist church records may consist of the following:

  • Baptisms (infant and adult)
  • Marriages
  • Burials
  • Ministerial Records

Presbyterian Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The best resource for Presbyterian records in New Zealand is the "Register of New Zealand Presbyterian Marriages 1848 to 1935." This database was compiled by the Presbyterian Research Centre and contains marriage records for Presbyterians during this time period. The National Library of New Zealand in Wellington also houses many Presbyterian church records. To see what they have in their archives, visit their catalog here. Some of New Zealand's church records have been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org as well. Additionally, the Auckland War Museum has many church records, including Presbyterian records, that are available to look at in their reading room. They also have some church records available online. To see what records they have available, visit them here.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Scottish settlers brought Presbyterianism to New Zealand, and consequently, most Presbyterian New Zealanders are of Scottish descent. The city of Dunedin was established as a Presbyterian settlement. Today, Presbyterians make up about 8.47% of the population. They have the strongest presence in the lower part of the South Island.[7]

Church of Christ Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Some of New Zealand's Church of Christ records have also been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Today there are 2,145 members of the Church of Christ in New Zealand, which makes up 0.05% of the country/s population.[8]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Membership lists usually consist of:

  • Names of members
  • Baptisms date
  • Admission date

Marriages usually consist of:

  • Place of registration
  • Birthplace and date
  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Father's name
  • Occupation
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Mother's name
  • Marriage date and place
  • Previous issue
  • Informant

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Some of New Zealand's records for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have also been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

More records for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are available on the FamilySearch Catalog. Search for places within New Zealand.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Today, there are about 41,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand, which makes up about 1.04% of the country's population.[9]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Most records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints available are membership records which usually consist of:

  • show the births and blessings of children
  • baptisms
  • confirmations
  • marriages
  • move-ins and move-outs
  • deaths

Lutheran Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

The National Library of New Zealand in Wellington houses many Lutheran parish registers. To see what they have in their archives, visit their catalog here. Some of New Zealand's church records have also been digitized and are available on FamilySearch.org. Additionally, the Auckland War Museum has many church records, including Lutheran records, that are available to look at in their reading room. They also have some church records available online. To see what records they have available, visit them here.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Today, there are about 4,000 Lutherans in New Zealand, which makes up 0.1% of the country's population.[10]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Typical Lutheran records include:

  • Baptisms
  • Marriages
  • Deaths

History[edit | edit source]

The keeping of church records in New Zealand generally began when representatives of each religious organization arrived in the islands. Records of the Church of England (Anglican) exist from 1814 while those for the Catholic church date from 1838, and the records of the Baptist church date from the 1850's. No one religion was ever predominant enough in New Zealand to be considered a "state church".  For more information about the various churches in New Zealand, see New Zealand Church History and New Zealand History.

Civil authorities in New Zealand began registering vital statistics of European settlers in 1848, but registration did not become compulsory until eight years later. Registration of Maori marriages became compulsory in 1911 and births and deaths in 1913. Church records can contain information on many individuals who do not appear in the civil records.

Church records continued to be kept after the introduction of civil registration, but they generally contain less information than civil registration records, particularly after 1876. For birth, death, and marriage records after 1848, see New Zealand Civil Registration- Vital Records.

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

The information recorded in church or parish registers varies somewhat from religion to religion, and later records generally give more complete information than earlier ones. Most church registers for the Anglican, Catholic, and Presbyterian denominations provide the following information:

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

  • Birth and baptism dates
  • Place of baptism
  • Christian name of the child
  • Christian and surname of the father
  • Christian name of the mother (some include maiden surname)
  • Parents’ abode
  • Occupation of the father
  • Name of the officiating minister

Children were generally baptized within a few days of birth. If a child died soon after birth, death information was sometimes added as a note.

Marriages[edit | edit source]

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Full names of the bride and groom
  • Parish of residence of the bride and groom
  • Marital status of the bride and groom prior to this marriage
  • Married by banns or license
  • In the case of a minor, whether with consent of parents
  • Name of the officiating minister
  • Signatures or marks of the bride and groom
  • Signatures or marks of witnesses

Marriage registers may also include other information about the bride and groom such as their ages, occupations, and names of parents. In cases of second and later marriages for a woman, they may include her former married names along with her maiden name.

Marriage registers sometimes include the published banns. These were announcements of intent to marry which were made for two or three Sundays prior to the marriage, and gave an opportunity for anyone to come forward who knew of any reason why the couple should not be married.

Burials[edit | edit source]

  • Dates of death and burial
  • Place of burial
  • Name of the deceased
  • Place of abode at time of death
  • Age of the deceased
  • Occupation of the deceased
  • Name of the officiating minister

Occasionally parents' names, cause of death, and even the date and place of birth are given for the deceased. Burials were recorded in the records of the church where the person was buried. The burial usually took place within a few days of death. Burial records exist for individuals for whom no birth or marriage record exists. In addition, stillbirths may have been recorded in a burial register when no baptism occurred.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Congregational Union of New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregational_Union_of_New_Zealand, accessed 11 February 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Methodist Church of New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Church_of_New_Zealand, accessed 11 February 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in New Zealand," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_New_Zealand, accessed 10 February 2020.