Ngā pūkete hekenga
Learn how to find a record of your arrival into Aotearoa New Zealand, or your residency status – whether it’s held by us or by Immigration New Zealand.
Which organisation has your record?
We don’t have a record of every immigration to Aotearoa New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand has some records that haven’t been transferred to us yet.
The quickest way to find your record depends on when it was created.
If you immigrated in 1997 or later
It’s easiest to contact Immigration New Zealand and ask for your record.
If you or your family immigrated before 1997
Immigration New Zealand may still have your information, but it may have been transferred to us. In some cases, our records go up to 2007.
Search our collections to find out if we have a record of your arrival or residency status.
Finding immigration records in the archives
If we have a record of your immigration to New Zealand or residency, there are two ways to find it.
1. Search our collections for your name
Start by searching our collections for:
your parents’ names, if they immigrated before you were born.
Filter your search
You’ll often get a large number of results if you enter a name into Collections search – especially if it’s a common name. For example, searching for “John Smith” returns over 4,000 results.
You can filter your results so you only see immigration records.
Enter your search term in Collections search.
Find the filter at the top-left of the results page.
Find the Included in series filter.
Tick the box that says Immigration Case Files.
If you search for your name and don’t find your record
We may still have your file. Not all immigration files are listed by the names of the people they relate to. Try searching by record type instead.
2. Search by record type
We have many types of record that contain information about immigration, residency and citizenship.
Some records have been digitised, so you can view them online. If you want to look for your information in a record that hasn’t been digitised, you can:
view it in the reading room at the archive where it’s held
ask an archivist to check if it contains your name – you’ll need to pay our remote reference fee for this service.
Search for immigration records
Records containing immigration information
You may find a record of your arrival in Aotearoa or your immigration status in these archives.
Immigration case files 1914 - 2007
We have over 200,000 files on people and families who have immigrated to New Zealand. They mainly contain:
successful applications for permanent entry or permanent residence visas
refugee visa applications
appeals after unsuccessful visa applications.
These files don’t contain applications for:
temporary visas, like work or holiday visas
returning resident visas.
To find them, search our collections for your name. Try different spellings – the names on immigration case files sometimes contain spelling mistakes.
Access restrictions on immigration case files
Some of our records have access restrictions, which means you need to get permission to view them.
Access to immigration case files is restricted for 100 years after the last date on the file. If you want to view an immigration case file, you need to get permission from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). It's easiest to contact MBIE by email.
Ship and plane passenger lists
Most passenger lists record the names of people who arrived in New Zealand by ship. There are some passenger lists for people who arrived by plane, including those who came as part of immigration drafts (schemes) from specific countries.
Ship passenger lists 1839 – 1973
We have records of people who arrived by ship into ports across Aotearoa.
These records have been digitised. They’re available for free on FamilySearch, where you can:
search them by passenger name
view them online.
Finding names in FamilySearch
Remember that names on ship passenger lists were recorded in different ways – you may find the record you need by searching for:
a full name – for example, "John Smith"
an initial and surname – for example, "J Smith"
Plane passenger lists – arrivals into Auckland 1939 - 1965
Our Auckland archive has lists of people who arrived in Auckland by plane between 1939 and 1965. The lists are arranged by year of arrival.
These lists are not digitised, so you need to search the paper records for names. You can:
view these records in our Auckland reading room
ask an archivist to check them for your name – you’ll need to pay a remote reference fee for this service.
Plane passenger lists – assisted immigration schemes 1949 - 1981
Our Wellington archive has lists of people who arrived by plane through assisted emigration schemes from 1949 - 1981.
To find these, search our collections for:
nominal air drafts
immigration air drafts.
Immigration Index 1947 - 1988
You may find a record of your immigration in the Immigration Index at our Wellington archive. The index contains records of over 100,000 immigrations to Aotearoa from 1947 – 1988, organised alphabetically.
The cards may include:
dates of arrival into Aotearoa
immigration file numbers.
Check the Immigration Index for your name
The index is not digitised – to check if it contains your information, you can:
view it in our Wellington reading room
ask an archivist to look for your name - you’ll need to pay a remote reference fee for this service.