How to find information on work, trades and training, companies, patents, bankruptcy, private employment, government employment and the public service.
The government in New Zealand has usually employed a considerable proportion of the country’s workforce. Information relevant to family historians may be found in lists of public service employees or in the records of government departments, though most such records are far from complete. Unless otherwise indicated, the records listed in this Research Guide are held in our Wellington archive.
There are many lists of public service employees in New Zealand, and most of them have been published in some form.
Blue Books (1840-1855)
These books of information about the colony include the earliest public service lists, of the ‘Civil Establishment’. Usually there is little information about a person. Those named in the Blue Books are entered in the General Biographical Index [Bio1] in the Wellington Reading Room.
Blue Books were not published every year but in some years two were published. For 1848-1852, when New Zealand was divided into two provinces, Blue Books were published for both New Ulster [IA] and New Munster [NM].
The Blue Books can be viewed online through Collections search.
For the years 1851-1951 the New Zealand Gazette (and the provincial gazettes 1851-1876) listed appointments to military and civilian positions. It is necessary to search the volume indexes to locate a name and appointment (but see next column for published lists from 1913)
Public Service Lists
Public Service lists were published in various forms. General lists appeared from 1866 in the AJHR Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives), and also in the New Zealand Gazette on 28 May 1872 (pp306-345), and then from 1913 to 1941.
The Government Printer produced the lists from 1942 until their end in 1988. From 1913 lists were printed as separate books.
The lists were given various titles, such as ‘Public Servants’, ‘Alphabetical List of Officers of the New Zealand Government’, ‘Civil Establishment’ and ‘Nominal Roll of Persons Employed in each Department’
Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives (AJHR)
The Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives include several Public Service lists.
Lists from 1866-70 were sorted under the code “D’, lists from 1871-72 can be found under the code “G” and lists from 1873 on were sorted under the code “H”.
In 1866 (D-3) and 1872 (G-10,- 28, -53) there were three different lists.
Between 1875 and 1907 only one list was published, AJHR 1881 H-2, Repro 68 in the Wellington Reading Room.
A list was published in 1907 (H-5), but then not again before regular Public Service Lists began in the New Zealand Gazette in 1913.
Editions of the AJHR can be viewed online.
Many lists from the AJHR and NZ Gazette lists were published, a bound into volumes. Especially between the years 1913-1988. These volumes can be found in our Wellington Reading Room as well as other institutions.
Early lists (1866-1875) are alphabetical, except for lists of Māori in the Public Service which are roughly north to south. However, from 1881 until 1971, the lists were organised by department, job and classification.
Searching for individual names is therefore laborious. The only exceptions are lists for 1915-1916 and 1918 where the volumes sometimes include an alphabetical index.
Published lists for specific departments
The Post & Telegraph department produced separate lists from 1891, published in the New Zealand Gazette 1891-1892 and then in the AJHR (F) from 1893. These were also produced as separate books.
The Railways Department published its own lists from 1893 in the AJHR (D-). These were also produced as separate books.
A Nominal Roll of Employees in the Lands & Survey Department appeared in the AJHR 1901 (C-1A). This list includes the full name, date of birth, age and date of joining department, length of service, place and salary.
Civil Service Examination Board Results
Civil Service examination results were published for a number of years, firstly in the AJHR 1873-1886 (H-… but a different number each year), and then in the New Zealand Gazette.
The results in the AJHR are listed in order of performance, with passes of 1st, 2nd and 3rd class noted. For each person listed, details are given of schooling. In the New Zealand Gazette the results are listed in overall order of merit.
Records by department
Most government departments maintained staff registers and service schedules or personal files. A few departments published their own employee lists.
We hold employment records from a variety of government departments and agencies, which may include life and employment data interesting to researchers. However, the records vary considerably from one department or agency to another. Many of the records are limited and incomplete.
Access restrictions usually apply to salary information and may apply to other employment records. Where possible restrictions have been given, but Collections search should always be consulted for restrictions.
Departments A - D
Ceased Employees (Classification cards 1947-1967 – alphabetical) [AAFZ W4201/1-6]
Also see our War research guides.
We hold individual personnel files from the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and from the period 1914-1920, which includes the First World War. References to individual records may be found by name in Collections search.
Later Military Service files, such as from the Second World War, are still held by the New Zealand Defence Force. Details are:
New Zealand Defence Force
Private Bag 905
Telephone: +64 4 527 5280
Email contact form: NZDF Contact form
Staff Miscellaneous [AAYS 8638 AD1/43 (boxes 904-915)]
This subseries deals with staff matters and includes civil staff, mostly First World War period. Some files contain staff returns for various sections/divisions within the Defence Department.
Ministry of Defence
Personnel records (94), 1960-2007 (R70) [AARM 25343 W5959/201]
Personnel Files (38), 1964-1993 (R70) [ABRL 7517 W5068/1-2]
ZLD Auckland - Personal Files (27) 1924-1986 (R70) [BBGZ 20454 A1037/44b-48b] (AK)
Personnel files (306) 1936-1995 (R70) [AAHT 7422] Staff (various files, 1945-1963 which may refer to individuals) [AADL 564 1/3/2-30 (8c-12a; 31b-32b)]
Staff – Applications for Appointment, 1950-1957 [AADL 564 4/1/1 (119c)]
Staff – Applications for Appointment, 1957-1963 [AADL 564 4/2/1 (13b)]
Staff, etc., Addresses, Telephone numbers 1968-1974 [DAFN D297/76e] (DN)
Lists of Persons Employed on the Permanent and Temporary Staff of the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, 1971-1974 [DAFN D297/7b-7e]
Crown Research Institutes (CRI)
Personnel Listings, 1992 (computer printout, alphabetical) (R until 2022) [ABMQ 7381 W4189/1]
Return of Staff 1866 [BBAO 5571/1/3/a] (AK)
Attendance Book 1902-1903 [BBAO 5571/1f] (AK)
Staff Lists 1915-1961 & 1948-1973 [BBAO 5571/4a-4b] (AK)
These include officers at the ports of Auckland, Hokianga, Kaipara, Mangonui, Russell, Whangarei
Staff Establishment – Customs Department 1962-1987 [BBAP 4106/65d] (AK)
Photographs – Auckland staff 1908-1913 & 1935-1938 [BBAO 5570/1a & 2a] (AK)
Nominal List of Officers etc. (entered bonds) 1866-1884 [ACIF 16485/C23/12]
Staff Index 1878-1879 [ACIF 16485/C23/14]
Salaries Books 1882-1914 [ACIF 16485/C23/7-11]
Staff (overall range 1882-1965, various files) [ACIF 16475/C1/21/...]
Appointments, transfers and salary changes 1884-1890 [ACIF 16485 C23/15]
Personal Letter Files 1925-1941 [ACIF 16486 C24/19-22]
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) (Access restrictions apply from file closure)
Personnel Files (603), 1912-1992 (R70) [AAYY 7474 W4230]
Staff Personnel Files (36), 1879?-1930? (R100/40) [AEKN 19608/SIR2/1-10]
Personnel Files (46), 1937-1974 (R70) [AAOQ W3922/1-3]
Personnel Files (40), 1919-1978 (R70) [ABLP 7216 W4708/1-2
Registered Subject Files – staff, 1910-1976 (R70) [AEKN 19606/SIRW1414/115/55/*]
Lincoln Research Centre Personnel Files (9), 1947-1991 (R100/40) [CALM CH592] (CH)
Departments E - H
The Teacher records held here are limited and incomplete. View the Education guide for more information.
Education Department Staff Register, c1878-1954 (includes departmental staff, teachers at Māori and special schools; few entries after 1910) [ACIG 17269/E16/1]
Service Schedules & Leave Cards of Department Staff (8283, not teachers), c1910-1988 (R100) [AAAD W3460/1-91]
Full files were retained for employees dismissed or whose appointments were annulled, and for those in senior positions or otherwise notable.
Nelson Education Board
Nelson Salary Cards (not teachers), 1947-1989 (R100/40) [ABQA W4480/1]
Christchurch Teachers’ College
Staffing Files, 1965-1975 (R70) [CALN CH155/92-96, 100, 106-107, 110]
Staff Photographs (4, some with students), 1915, 1933, 1988 [CALN 3082/CH537/2]
Most of these accessions also include files and photographs relating to students.
For many years Electricity or State Hydro was a division of the Works Department, so records of that Department may also need to be searched.
Personnel Files, 1905-1977 (employees who attained senior positions) (R70) [AADO 7237/262-281]
Personnel Files/Transit cards: Electricity, 1981-1987 (those who left in that period) (R70) [AAFH 7237 W4822/1-261]
Service Schedule Cards (96) 1947-1981 (mostly 1962-1981) (R100/40) [AADO 684/1-67]
Field Staff General: Hydro-Electric Supply, 1945-1948 [AANU 7740 W4121/1/30/34/H]
Reorganisation Proposals of State Hydro-Electric Department, 1946 (includes lists of staff) [AANU 7740 W4121/1/30/32/0/2]
Draughtsmen from England, 1947-1949 [AANU 7740 W4121/1/30/31/A]
Accidents to Workmen: 1945-1963 (29 files, 30 men, mostly fatal accidents) [ADOM 19157 EDW2673/40-41 4/20/5-91]
1955-1971 (3 files) (R70) [AANU W4199/1] 1961-1971 (15 files) (R70) [AADO 7740 W3004/1 28/13/3-43]
See Electricity/State Hydro, especially the second listing.
Environmental Science & Research (ESR) Institute of
Salary Classification Cards/Leave Cards, A-Z, c1950-1990 (R100) [ABLQ W4146/4-6]
Service record books, 1908-1943 [BCAQ 24071 A380/1-4] (includes Attendance Books for:
Service Cards [BCAQ A1025/4a-4h]
Western Districts, 1936-1968
Mt Wellington, 1933-1968
Mangonui Fire Brigade - YCBF
Staff returns, 1973-1974 - [Series 25081 A330/2/a 105/4]
Mt Wellington Fire Station – BCAQ [A1025/5a-5g & 6a-6b]
Roll books, 1942-1969
Volunteers roll books, 1959-1972
Tauranga Fire Brigade - BAPW [A388 1-7 & 8-11]
Roll books, 1912-1974
Mt Maunganui volunteers roll books, 1941-1974
Fire Board, Masterton – ABCR
Roll Books, 1893-1940 [Series 24222]
Occurrence Books, 1910-1949 [Series 24232]
Volunteer Fire Brigade Roll Book 1898-1900 [Series 24230]
United Fire Board Association Roll Book, 1901-1940 [Series 24222]
Fire Board, Palmerston North – ABCZ
Brigade Members, 1893-1945 [Series 24148/ W2022/3]
Drill Attendance Records, 1927-1956 [Series 24148/ W2022/11]
Brigade Members Leave/Shift records (23 notebooks), 1930s-1940s
Wages Book, 1946-1950
Wages Sheets, 1952-1958
Fire Board, Petone - ABDA
Fire Call Attendance Register, 1946-1952 [Series 24029 W2036/7]
Occurrence Books (Vol. 1-86), 1960-1978 [Series 24025 W2036/1-5]
Roll Books, 1970-1973, 1973-1975 [Series 24029 W2036/7]
Fire Board, Wellington – ABDA
Service Record Book Permanent Staff Vol.2 1899-1926 [Series 24164 W2026/24]
Service Record Book Permanent Staff Vol.3 1926-1935 [Series 24164 W2026/25]
Service Record Book Permanent Staff 1932-1947
Service Record Book Permanent Staff 1932-1955
Auxiliary Staff Registers 1931-1944, 1944-1961
All these volumes include alphabetical indexes
Appointments/Promotions, 1942-1957 [Series 24168 W2026/7]
Occurrence Books, 1931-1970s (250 vol.) [Series 24172 W2026/10-21]
Christchurch Fire Board - CASS [CH224/53/329 & 330]
Employees Register, 1920-1951
Employees Register 1939-1947
Dunedin Fire Board / New Zealand Fire Service, Otago/Southland - DABA
Various records including Personal files, etc., (R100) [D50]
Foreign Affairs - ACIE
New Zealand Representation Overseas (overall dates), 1913-1961 [Series 8798 EA1 62/1/1-62/280/4]
New Zealand Representation Overseas (overall dates) 1950-1957 [Series 8798 EA1 62/2/25- 2/202/2]
New Zealand Representation Overseas (overall dates) 1923-1985 (a mixture of general files and those for specific postings). Some files unrestricted, others restricted until vetted [ABHS 950 W4627 62/1/1-62/521/1]
Rotorua Forestry Staff classification cards, c1920-c1990 [BBQI 11140/1-21]
Waipa Sawmill Staff classification cards, c1950-c1990 [BBQI 11174/1-2]
Personnel files, 1894-1974 (192, mostly senior staff) [ADSQ 18181/FW2338/1-18]
Personnel – Staff – Miscellaneous papers, 1920-1927 (6 files) [ADSQ 18181/FW2479/2/2/16]
Staff files (5 files, senior staff), 1936-1974 [ADSQ 18181/FW2841/1]
Applications for Appointment as First Director and First Chief Inspector of Forest Service, 1919-1920 (55 applications by surname) [ADSQ 18540/FW1921/1]
Return of Discharged Soldiers employed January 1920 to October 1925 [ADSQ 17639 F1/3/1, Part 3]
Lists of Semi-permanent employees, November 1930-December 1931 [Series 17639 F1/3/0 - Part 1 (Box 178)]
Personnel File of employees, 1932-1947 [Series 17639 F1/3/1 - Part 2 (Box 179)]
Includes some lists and details of individuals, but no overall records of the period
Workers – Regulation 130 employees – Fatal Accidents, 1943-1976 (40 accidents by surname) [Series 17639 F1/W3129/29]
Workers – Regulation 130 employees – Non-fatal Accidents, 1937-1975 (75 accidents by surname) [Series 17639 F1/W3129/30]
Grievances & Dismissal of workers, May 1946-January 1954 [Series 17639 F1/179 - Parts 1-2]
Appointment of State Forest Officers as Fire Officers – September 1948-September 1958 [Series 17639 F1/178 - Parts 1-4]
Correspondence – Workmen, Wellington Conservancy – November 1951-August 1957 [Series 17639 F1/179 - Part 2]
Black & White Reference Prints [AAQA 6506 (Boxes 1-34)]
This series includes prints of staff, and of staff in the field. Names of individuals are generally recorded on the back. Access is through the Indexes in the next column.
Black & White, Colour, Slide, Subject Index, 1922-1987 [AAQA 6507 (2 drawers)]
Portraits & Groups Index [AAQA 6511/1]
This complements the Index by subject and provides references to group and individual photographs.
New Zealand Forest Service
Southland Conservancy – Staff (mostly administration; some diaries, a few personal files. Overall dates 1937-1986 [CAMP D23/2...]
Southland Conservancy – 6 personnel files, 1936-1945 [CAMP D23/127 3/1/1-3/1/5]
Otago Coast Forest Station – Forest Diaries, 1962-1981 (may contain information on individual employees) [DACB 9005 D244/1a-6c]
Health Research Council
Staff and members – salary cards, c1950 [YCBN 5997/14a] (AK)
Internal Affairs - ACGO
See Blue Books (p.1) for early officials at a time when the Colonial Secretary, later Internal Affairs, was virtually the only government department.
Register of Civil Servants, 1841-1869 (indexed) [Series 8358 IA26/1/1]
Registers of Warrants, 1862-1901 – Appointment of individuals to public office (each volume indexed) [Series 8340 IA8/5-7]
Civil Service Appeal Book, 1871 (indexed; few entries) [Series 8358 IA26/2]
Civil Servants under `The Civil Service Act Amendment Act, 1871’ (unindexed entries made February to July 1872. Many of those listed entered the government service years earlier) [Series 8358 IA26/3]
Schedule of Applications for Employment, 1877-1882 (unindexed) [Series 8358 IA26/5]
Staff files (32), 1880-1970 (R70) [Series 8370 IA38/1-8]
Internal Affairs Registers, 1913-1937 [IA3/3/1/71-75]
These registers may include lists of Staff Appointments (alphabetical) and Applications for Employment (non-alphabetical). File numbers are given, but the files themselves do not seem to exist.
Departments I - M
Island Territories - ACGA
Staff files (139, in islands) 1906-1974 (R100/40) [Series 8290 IT/11]
Justice - ACGS
Coroners’ appointments were recorded individually in the New Zealand Gazette. One other record is:
Warrants for the appointment of Coroners’, 1865-1882 (alphabetical index) [Series 16222 J23/4]
Correspondence files [Series 16211 J1/W1190 (Boxes 994-1129]
These files include, in the first few boxes which cover up to about 1930, a number of individual appointment files, generally consisting of the letter of appointment and related correspondence.
Warrant Books, 1859-1909, 1913-1919 (some indexing). Appointments to court officer positions: clerk, court registrar, coroner, warden, etc., [Series 16219 J20/1-19 (book 15 is not held)]
Warrants of Clerks to Bench, 1867-1880 (non-alphabetical index) [Series 16222 J23/3]
Department of Justice, Nominal Rolls (staff registers), 1863-1900 & 1902-1921 [Series 16258 JW2356/1-2]
Staff files (8 Justices), 1956-1992 (R70) [ABVR 7757 W5063/18]
27 records (senior staff), 1924-1995 (R70) [ABVP 7925 W5167]
29 records (senior staff), 1908-1990 (R70) [ABVP 7972 W5166-32-35]
Personal & Payroll computer printouts, 1989-1990 (not alphabetical) [ABVP 7982 W5166/32]
Justices of the Peace
Early JP appointments were recorded individually in the New Zealand Gazette under general appointments. Some copies were filed by the Justice Department. Lists of all JPs’ from 1877 were gazetted as Supplements to the New Zealand Gazette. Records held include :
Justices of the Peace, 1856-1876 (appointments, unindexed) [ACGS 16222 J23/1]
Lists of Justices of the Peace, 1863, 1877-1957 (mostly Gazette Notices, annotated or amended) [ACGS 16241 J56/1a-4e]
Register of Justices of the Peace Nominations, 1881-1888 (no indexing) [ACGS 16238 J53/1a]
Indexes to Nomination files, 1892-1963 [ACGS 16237 J52/1-5]
These indexes (alphabetical by year) provide some information in their own right and may lead to J1 correspondence before 1934; Registers of nomination files from about 1934 (see below)
Record of Attendance of Justices of the Peace, Dunedin, 1896-1901 (DN) [DAAC 20905 D437/508]
Nomination files, 1907-1989 (alphabetical by year) (R70 from file closure) [ABVP 7912 W5155/1-123]
Justice of the Peace nomination files (3561), 1915-1983 (R70 from file closure) [ACGS 16239 J54/W2703/1-24]
Registers of Nomination files, 1933-1957 (no indexing) [ACGS 16236 J51/1-3]
Minute Book of Nominations for appointment to the Commission of the Peace [AEAR 21522 W5516/83]
Prisons Department Register of Service Appointments (national), 1867-1906 [ACGS 16258 JW2356/3]
Warrants of Resident Magistrates Appointments, 1859-1880 (non-alphabetical index) [ACGS 16222 J23/2]
Labour - ACGV
Various lists of Surveyors (in one box) [Series 18482 LS48/7]
Alphabetical List Authorised Surveyors, c1860s-1880s
List of Authorised Surveyors, June 1896 (alphabetical, names only)
Rough Index Book, 1896 (alphabetical – seeking to update addresses)
Roll of Surveyors and Authorised Assistants, 1907-1921 (alphabetical). Includes NZ Gazette list of surveyors, 15 January 1925
Secretary Survey Board: Rough Minute Book and Notes, 1935-1944 Includes names of applicants to sit survey examinations.
Licenses to Surveyors under “The Land Transfer Act” 1880s-1890s (alphabetical, names only). Includes NZ Gazette Lists of Surveyors, 21 January 1926 & 12 January 1928.
Register of Staff, Survey Department, c1870-1890 (indexed) [Series 18478 LS36/6*6]
Register of Departmental Officers, 1877-1882 (by district) [Series 18478 LS36/8*8]
Register of Staff, Lands & Immigration Department, 1878-1890 (indexed) [Series 18478 LS36/5*5]
A Nominal Roll of employees in the Lands & Survey Department was published in AJHR 1901 (C-1A). This list includes the full name, date of birth, age, date of joining department, length of service, place and salary.
- Legislative - ABIK
Māori Affairs - AAMK
Personnel files, 1892-1977 (88, MA, MLC etc.,) (R100) [W3112/1-8]
Interpreters – 75 individual files, by name (overall range, 1892-1971) [ACIH 16036 MAW2490/351- 359]
List of Native Interpreters, 1907-1944 [ACIH 16036 MAW2490/349]
Māori Interpreters’ Examinations – enquiries, 1924-1964 [ACIH 16036 MAW2490/350 - Parts 1 & 2]
Iwi Transition Agency
Staff personal files (447), 1936-1983 (most 1970s-1980s) (R100/40) [AAVN W3599/368/379]
Individual Lighthouse records
Many lighthouse records, located by region in our various offices, are of little help to family historians. The most useful records are Daily Journals, if they exist, which record day-to-day activities of the lighthouse keeper and their staff, and dates of staff arriving and leaving. Some 20th century correspondence about staff matters, such as friction between keeper and assistant keeper, has survived.
We hold a number of records of early lighthouses and lighthouse keepers around the New Zealand coast, mainly for the period 1870-1920.
There are some service records for the whole of New Zealand which give details such as dates of birth, places and dates of stationing’s and salary.
Staff registers (overall dates) 1860-1920 [ADOE 16618 M7/4-7]
Lighthouse Keepers’ Service Book, 1865-1912 [ADOE 16618 M7/1]
These records refer to 19th century Marine Department Inwards Correspondence [M1] but most of those files were destroyed or badly damaged by fire in the Hope Gibbons building, 1952.
The original paper finding aids included in Appendix 3 an alphabetical list of lighthouse keepers’ c1867-1913, with details of individual service. This list was created before the fire, from the Service Book [M7/1] and from correspondence. [ARNZ 22499 W5657/110/M5]
Dunedin (DN) - DAAL
The Dunedin Regional Office holds various records – daily journals, inwards and outwards correspondence and visitors’ books, etc., (overall date range, c1870-1979) for the following lighthouses:
Cape Saunders [D28/1a-2d]
Dog Island [D28/4a-4d]
Puysegur Point [D28/8b-11g]
Waipapa Point [D28/11h-14h]
Staff register – machinery inspection, c1875-1907 [ADOE 16617 M6/2]
Government owned vessels
There were a number of vessels working around the New Zealand coast which were government owned. We hold some Ships’ Logs and other papers for these vessels, which make reference to workers employed on the vessels.
The early ships and the dates of records held are:
Hinemoa (ship), 1897-1898, 1913-1915 [ADOE 16626 M23/1-3]
Tutanekai (ship), 1897-1898, 1905-1906, 1923-1930 (some items missing) [ADOE 16626 M23/1, 4-11]
Sparrow (ship), 1905-1906 [ADOE 16626 M23/12-13]
Port Kembla copy of logbook to its sinking, 1917 [ADOE 16626 M23/35]
Amokura (ship), 1907-1919 [ADOE 16626 M23/14-30]
Index to applications for Enrolment [ADOE 16626 M23/32]
Register of Boys, 1907-1921 [ADOE 16626 M23/31]
Matai (ship), 1936 [ADOE 16626 M23/1, 33]
Ships’ Logs, Crew lists and Articles of Agreement, c1960s-c1980s [ADOE 16633 M30]
This series includes ships’ logs, crew lists, and other papers for coastal shipping and inter-island ferries, some of which may have been privately owned. Some records are arranged alphabetically from Acheron to Westport. These can be searched for on Collections search. Other records are arranged by the vessels registered number only.
Staff (mostly general files, but some appointment files, by name or job description) [ADOL 19382 MD1/2...]
Mine Accidents (some files relate to particular individuals) [ADOL 19382 MD1/7/1/...]
Compensation for Accidents (organised by surname and initial) (R75) [ADOL 19399 MD6/W2677 (Boxes 1-9)]
Index to State Coal Mine Fields [AATJ 7439/1-82]
Cards for individual employees (including apprentices, Box 14) among all the many others for collieries, etc., may be found by name on Collections search. Little information on cards.
Departments N - Q
- National Orchestra/New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - AAHT
Pensions - Civil Service
Nominal Rolls, containing details of pensions paid under the Civil Service Act, were published in some nineteenth century AJHR (Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives). These include details such as name, date pension was granted, annual amount, position held and length of service. Rolls were published in the following AJHR:
1866 D-3 (p. 74)
Police Department records include a number of registers and files which can give information on individuals who served in the police and related forces. Access to most records is restricted for 100 years. The most useful are:
Armed Constabulary 1867-1886
For records of the Armed Constabulary see the Other wars guide.
Police record books
Description Books, 1857-1948 (with alphabetical indexes) (R100) [AAAJ 977 W3167/1-2]
Police Record Book (alphabetical by Police Station; officers entered chronologically). Use MICRO 3347 (R100) [AAAJ 978 W3176/1]
Individual files (35 staff sworn in 1909-1928) [ACIS 17698 P38W2857]
Personal files (4316 staff who retired 1946-1976) (R100) [ACIS 17698 P38W2538]
Police Sworn Members Personal files, 1963-1981 (R100) [AAAJ 7773 W3480/1-35]
Police Sworn members Personal files, 1982-1985 (R100) [AAAJ 7773 W4092/1-53]
Police Sworn Members Personal files, 1986 (R100) [AAAJ 7773 W4413/1-21]
Police Sworn Members Personal files, 1987-1989 (R100) [AAAJ 7773 W4852/1-134]
Police Sworn Members Personal files, 1949-1993 (R100) [AAAJ 7773 W5161/1-220]
Personnel list, 1993 (R100) [AAAJ W4454]
Personnel list, 1994 (R100) [AAAJ W4455]
Personnel list, 1995 (R100) [AAAJ W4647]
The Post & Telegraph Department produced separate lists 1891-1985, published in the New Zealand Gazette 1891-1892 and then in the AJHR (F-) from 1893. These lists were also produced as separate books, held in the Wellington Reading Room. Other records:
Live Classification Cards, c1920-1987 (by Class & Appointment No.) (R100) [AAME 23910 W3280/271-337]
Index to Live Classification Cards (by Appointment No.) 1901-1965 (R100) [AAME 23904 W3280/338]
Dead Index Classification Cards (alphabetical) 1901-1987 (most post WWII) (R100) [AAME 23894 W3280/120-270]
Former Heads of Department (11) 1904-1982 (R100) [ADOU 17214/PO19]
Dunedin Staff Establishment Record cards, c1921-c1957 [DAJH D374/1]
Greymouth District personnel and staff files, 1941-1985 (R100) (CH) [CAIV CH554/1-10]
(Justice Department) Prisons Department Register of Service Appointments (national), 1867-1906 [ACGS 16258 JW2356/3]
Public Service Commission
See State Services Commission.
Departments R - Z
Radio New Zealand
The first New Zealand railways were created by Provincial Governments in the 1860s, but the real development of Railways, as both a government department and a means of transport, began in the 1870s as a key element in Vogel’s schemes for progress.
Many of those who worked on the railways came in the immigration boom of the 1870s.
We hold many records of New Zealand Railways as a government department, from the 1870s to the 1980s. The records include lists of railway employees in general lists of public service employees, and published lists of Railways employees 1898-1980. Some material is held in regional offices.
Staff service schedules (cards) and other personnel records can be useful to family historians. Other railways records, less useful to family historians, include general registers and files on a wide variety of topics, as well as photographs and plans.
Railway personnel were included in the Roll of Persons in Government Employ at or near each Post Office in the Colony’ in the AJHR 1881, H-2. A copy [Repro 68] is held in the Wellington Reading Room.
Lists of Railways staff, covering the period 1889-1894, appear in the AJHR 1894:
D-10 Railway Employees: details of promotion, pay and length of service, January 1889-1894 (not alphabetical)
D-10A Railway Employees engaged by the Commissioners during the last four years (not alphabetical)
D-10B Railway Employees who have received promotion between January 1889 and January 1894 (alphabetical)
D-15 Railway Officials (details of salaries, allowances, appointments, and promotions – salaried staff, alphabetical).
D-16 Railway Cadets: return of details of appointments and promotions since 1887 (not alphabetical).
From 1895, the lists were published annually in the AJHR until 1925, in the New Zealand Gazette 1926-1941 (searchable by online index) and then by the department. The Railways annual lists were published as bound volumes and most of those for 1898-1980 are held in the Reading Room at our Wellington office.
It can be difficult to find people in these unindexed lists because until 1971 they are arranged by job classification. Only the volumes 1915-1916 and 1918 have alphabetical indexes. Job designation, grading, pay and service record are given, and after 1921 the location of salaried staff.
Railways Service Schedules
Three groups of H6A Railway Service Schedules (nominal cards) are held, with the following references:
These series overlap through the period 1880s-1980s, and it may be necessary to look for the same name in each series. All the series are incomplete and overall they do not include all Railways employees.
The cards are (sometimes roughly) arranged alphabetically and typically include name, date of birth, marital status and date of marriage, date of commencement of service, education or qualifications, railways designations – date of appointment, location, pay, grading. They may record staff correspondence with management, record incidents in which staff were involved, and refer to other files.
Other Personnel Records
Staff (167) in senior positions etc., 1875-1982 (R100/40) [ADQD 17467 R7W2494/1-9]
311 records, 1900-1987 (R100) [AAVK W3183]
11 records, 1906-1948 [ABJP W4293]
Railways Nominal Cards
These cards mainly record details of disciplinary action, discharge and death. A few commend diligence or helpful suggestions. Information varies, but many cards record little (R100/40) [AAEB 7007/1-35]
Staff Register, 1903-1945 [ABIW W4026/17]
Registers of Application for Employment
Letters of application for employment with the Railways were registered. We hold the registers for 1880-1907 [AAEB 587/1-10]
Later unindexed volumes for 1938-1986 are also held. [AAEB W3734]
Registers of Vacancies and Appointments
This volume is not alphabetical and there is no index, so it is difficult to search for a name. The entries are arranged by area. There are no clear dates for the record, but it seems to cover the period 1900s to 1920s. [ABIN W3337/216]
We hold an extensive collection of Railways photographs [AAVK W3493]. Reference prints of many of these are available for viewing in Wellington. These are arranged by subject and include some staff portraits, as well as photographs of stations, engines, lines, etc.
General Managers Files
While most of these files deal with equipment and administration, some about accidents and discipline refer to individuals [R3 and later accessions].
Appointment of casuals to permanent staff, 1906-1939 [ADQD 17422 R3W2278/106-107/1906/237]
Roll of Honour, c1915-1948 (names and photographs) [ADQD 17422 R3W2381/34/1915/3212]
Railways Corporation Library
The records from the Railways Corporation Library include Railways periodicals which contain details of staff appointments, transfers, promotions, as well as individual contracts with Railways for bookstalls, etc.
NZ Railways Officers Institute – Advocate 1910-1916 & 1946-1982 [ABIN W3337/15-16]
NZ Railways Staff bulletin, 1952-1977 [ABIN W3337/17]
The Railways Corporation Library also holds copies of:
NZ Railways Magazine, 1926-1940 [ABIN W3337/18-19]
Superannuation Registers, 1912-1991 (Railways contributors) [AAJM 8964 W5383]
Returns of authorised and actual staff, 1947 & 1948 [CAHV CH21/1914/836]
Greymouth – Staff register, 1886-1924 [CAHV CH142/212]
Westport – Staff Locomotive workshops, 1914-1954 [CAHQ CH15/3]
Dunedin Traffic Manager’s Staff Record Book, c1863-1884 (nominal index) [DAFV 19857 D455/394]
Staff Register No. 1, District Engineer’s Department, 1872-1926 (indexed and available online) [DAFD D224/1]
Staff Register No. 3, District Engineer’s Department, 1903-1928 (unindexed, available online) [DAFD D224/2]
Staff Register, c1887-1928 (unindexed, roughly chronological [DABB D53/1]
Staff Registers, District Engineer Invercargill, 1891-1927 [DABB 20143 D453/252-254]
Registers of Casual Workmen, Resident Engineer’s Office Invercargill (unindexed, roughly chronological), c1903-1927 [DABB 20144 D453/255-257]
Register of Staff changes (Loco 15), 1918-1955 (unindexed, roughly chronological) [DALV D458/24]
Staff Lists (1964, 1969, 1976, 1981-1984) and Photographs (1930s) [CAUO D40/1-2]
Attendance Books, 1934-1935 [ABTW 6999 W4656/1*1 & 1*2]
Personnel files (29 high-ranking staff), 1889-1980 (R) [ABDO 16139 SS5 & SSW2406]
State Advances Corporation (Housing Corporation)
Personnel files (3), 1956-1983 (R100/40) [AALF W4113/1-2]
- State Services Commission (Public Service Commission)
Personnel files (7 people, 9 files), 1969-1989 (R70) [ABKL 7903 W5156/1]
Personnel files (6), 1912-1977 (R70) [ADRK 17582 T90/W2220/1]
Public Service lists (see Page 1) record many Works staff. A great variety of other Works employment records exist, but none of the groups of records are complete. Access restrictions apply to many records.
Registers of staff service, c1880-1914 [ACHL 19200 W14/1-10]
Indexes to staff registers, 1893-1913 [ACHL 19200 W14/11-14]
Public Works Classification Cards, c1910s-1960s (mostly 1940s-1960s; some Housing Division from 1945) [AAQB 7858 W4054/1-22]
Public Works Service Records, 1936-1991 (mostly 1960s-1970s) (R70) [ABGS W3916/1-11]
Personal files, 1927-1981 (a few important personnel) (R70) [ABGS W3916/12-13]
Personnel files, 1928-1999 (R70) [AAQB 7840 W5108, W5605]
Applications for Employment during Depression (after Napier earthquake, 1931) [ABKU W3748/35 PW20/2]
Ministry of Works Classification cards, 1941-1985 (1008 alphabetical) (R70) [AAFH 7227 W4714/1-6]
Service cards, c1957-1983 (R100/40) [AATE W4283/1-5]
Ministry of Works General Index includes:
A few regional records are held:
Nelson – Timebooks of Workmen, 1893-1901 [AEHI 19432 W-N1/5-7]
Wanganui – Service cards (alphabetical) (R100/40) [AATC W3542/1-5]
Wanganui – Personal files, 1950s & 1960s (a few by surname in registered files) [AATC W3457 7/45/0/1/4-10 (Box 138)] and [AATC W3457 10/15/0/2-13 & 15-23 (Box 204)]
Staff, 1871-1958 – Head & District Offices, Projects, Sports teams [AADX 25370 W3143/1-3]
Senior Work Officials, 1871-1988 [ATTE W4323]
[ABKK 24414 W4358/452]
Draughting staff, 1909
PWD staff, Stratford 1913
Head Office and District Office Picnic, Days Bay, 1926
Dunedin – (DN)
‘Workmen’ files (overall range 1912-1969) [DADE 9001 D445/6/...]
Files 6/1-6/64 mostly relate to men in unemployment relief camps in 1930s Depression era, Otago and Southland.
We hold a variety of government records relating to private employment, work, and financial status. Many of these originated in the courts, in government activity, or in the government requirement for those in various occupations to be registered.
Most records are incomplete and cover limited time periods, but some are quite comprehensive. Court files for bankruptcy are extensive. Some company records are full files, but often only card index entries exist. Our four offices hold many records of Liquor Licensing from the Courts, and of Mining (gold & sometimes coal), from Wardens’ Courts. Marine records – Certificates of Competency and other Seafarer records – are comprehensive up to the 1990s. Licence Registers cover various occupations for brief periods and limited places:
Gold Coin Dealers
Motor Vehicle Dealers
Printing Presses & Newspapers
Patent, Design, Trademark and Copyright records are extensive, though many applications were never completed, not all files exist, and many specifications /plans were returned to the applicant. We also hold the registration records of many Friendly Societies and Trade Unions, as well as industrial agreements.
We hold very few records of apprentices privately employed and only limited records of apprentices in government departments (see Government Employment).
Please direct enquiries to the TEC (Tertiary Education Commission) which holds apprenticeship records.
Most of our records are general in nature, relating to policy or the application of parliamentary acts. Very few even mention individual apprentices; there are no personal files for apprentices or records of qualifications gained.
Auckland High Court (AK)
Apprentices Register 1924-1953 [BBAE 5642/1a]
Department of Labour − Training
Apprentices Act – Local Committees overall dates 1928-1985 ABVT 947 W3580/277-284 17/4/1–318. Some lists of those who qualified, mostly regional; some individual applications for credits of time.
Minute Books: NZ Apprenticeship Committees
50 volumes, alphabetical by industry, Aircraft Engineering to Timber, overall dates 1947-1988: [ABVT 7254 W3581/1-8].
Minute Books include lists of apprentices who had their time requirement reduced, but the volumes are unindexed and do not focus on individuals.
Bankruptcy and insolvency
Courts created Bankruptcy Registers and two types of Bankruptcy files. A Court file was begun when a petition for bankruptcy was filed. Files were also created by the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy, in whom all bankrupts’ property was vested. You can find many files by searching the name of the person or company on Collections search, but for most a file number needs to be found through an Index or Register. Some files are not listed for restriction reasons. Access to records may be restricted.
Auckland High Court, etc (AK)
Banco Judge’s Notebook 1861-1865 [BBAE 5670/1a]
Bankruptcy Registers (alphabetical) 1884-1954 [BAEA 11029/1a-2a]
Banco Appeal Register 1886-1920 [BBAE 5682/1a]
Bankruptcy Registers 1887-1994 [BAZZ 5639/1a-43a]
Bankruptcy Files 1886-1994 [BBAE 5628/1-995]
Insolvency Files 1886-1987 [BAEA 21460 A709/1a-701f, 1237a-1247c]
Insolvency Files 1953-1990 [Series 5821]
Bankruptcy Record Books 1954-1987 [Series 11030]
Registers of Estates 1988-1994 [BBBX 11030 A1460/3a-4b]
Bankruptcy Indexes 1992-1994 [BAZZ 18812/1a-1c]
Christchurch High Court, etc (CH)
Bankruptcy Registers 1863-1997 [CAHX 3003]
Official Assignee Bankruptcy Files 1877-1932 [CAMO CH214/1-128]
Bankruptcy Minute Books 1884-1946 (with Divorces 1909-1962) [CAHX 20496 CH131/27-30]
Bankruptcy Files 1885-1997 [CAHX 3006 CH173/1-14]
Bankruptcy & Liquidation Files 1889-2001 [CAMO 3310 CH366/1a-85j]
Bankruptcy & Liquidation Files 1931-1971 [CAMO 3310 CH366/1a-159a]
Debtors Petitions 1997 [CAHX 21370 CH1007/1]
- Dunedin High Court, etc (DN)
Gisborne High Court (AK)
Bankruptcy Register 1879-1883 [BAJI 5826/1b]
Bankruptcy Registers 1970-1986 [BAJI 5827/1a-1b]
Bankruptcy Files 1892-1969 [BAJI 5828/1-20]
Bankruptcy Files 1970-1991 [BAJI 5829/1-35]
Index to Bankruptcy 1884-c1969 [BAJI 5842/1a]
Register of Proofs of Debt – Official Assignee 1890-1899 [BAJI 18313/1a]
Bankruptcy Record Book – Official Assignee 1954-1990 [BAJI 18337/1a]
Bankruptcy & company liquidation files – Official Assignee 1984-1989 [BAJI 22559 A1657/41-53]
Grahamstown (Thames) Wardens Court (AK)
Bankruptcy Files 1870-1875 [BACL 14471/1a]
- Greymouth High Court (CH)
- Hamilton High Court, etc (AK)
Hawera Magistrates Court
Bankruptcy Files 1904-1977 [ABIB W3865/85-96]
Carlyle & Patea Civil Bankruptcy Probate Administration 1875-1888 [ABIB W3865/50]
Patea Bankruptcy Book 1882-1884 [ABIB W3865/61]
Bankruptcy Probate Administration (Day Book) 1886-1906 [ABIB W3865/49]
Bankruptcy Minute Book 1895-1909 [ABIB W3865/50]
Bankruptcy – Court Minutes (Judgement Book) 1896-1906 [ABIB W3865/49]
Civil Bankruptcy Probate Administration 1902-1909 [ABIB W3865/51]
Bankruptcy Cash Books 1917-1929 & 1934-1963 [ABIB W3865/51]
Bankruptcy Releases & Prosecutions 1932-1966 [ABIB W3865/84]
Bankruptcy Miscellaneous Statement & Receipts affecting more than on Estate 1943-1965 [ABIB W3865/84]
Bankruptcy Record Book 1960-1977 [ABIB W3865/84]
- Hokitika Supreme Court (CH)
Invercargill High Court, etc (DN)
Copy of Orders, bankruptcy, etc, Book 1868-1878 [DAFG 9139 D341/335a]
Bankruptcy Proceedings Book c1872-c1882 (Book No.1) [DAFG 9134 D341/325a]
Bankruptcy Registers 1888-1992 [DAFG 9136 D341/331a-334a]
Bankruptcy Record Book 1954-1986 [DAFG 9137 D341/334b]
Masterton District Court
Pahiatua Bankruptcy Asset & Claims Register 1926-1947 [AAOF 22322 W5447/609]
Napier Supreme Court, etc
Bankruptcy Registers & Estate Ledgers 1865-1961[AAOW W3244/209-220]
Bankruptcy Index to Estates 1913-1932 [AAOW 7672 W3244/221]
Debts Ledger 1926-1938 [AAOW 17297 W3244/222]
Assets and Claims Registers 1926-1949 [AATJ 16422 W5405/4-6]
Official Assignee Abstract Book 1927-1943 [AAOW W3244/223]
Official Assignee Cashbook 1934-1957 [AAOW 16423 W3244/224]
Insolvency Adjudication Books 1954-1993 [ACCC 7705 W5010/1a-1b]
- New Plymouth High Court
- Oamaru District Court (DN)
Palmerston North High Court
Index to Register of Bankruptcies Palmerston North 1884-1978 [AAOY W3298/1153]
Bankruptcy Files 1888-1992 [AAOY 21196]
Bankruptcy Registers 1908-1992 [AAOY 21194]
Bankruptcy Ledgers 1921-1951 & 1922-1930 [AAOY W3298/842]
Dannevirke Bankruptcy Files & list of Bankruptcy Papers 1907-1909 [AAOY W3298/714]
Pahiatua Bankruptcy Files 1904-1908 [AAOY W3298/715]
- Rotorua High Court (AK)
Thames Wardens Court (AK)
Note Book of Bankruptcy Cases 1896-1934 [BACL 14415/1a]
- Timaru District Court (CH)
- Whanganui District Court
- Wellington High Court, etc
Whangarei High Court, etc (AK)
Bankruptcy Register 1957-1990 [BBBX 15040 /1a]
Bankruptcy Registers 1957-1993 [BBNY 10308]
Bankruptcy Files 1960-1994 [BBNY 10456]
Insolvency Files 1941-1975 [BBBX 18638/1a-154a]
Insolvency Files 1968-1994 [BBBX 14394/1a-151a]
The Companies Office registers corporate entities, particularly companies. Its Registers relate to companies, incorporated societies, building societies, charitable trusts, etc. The Companies Office delivers nearly all its services electronically.
The online Companies Register can be searched for current and historical company information.
Companies Office Holdings
Some Companies Office records are now held by us, however many have been destroyed. Our staff can access a destroyed files spreadsheet to confirm this. Where no file exists, all that may remain is a Register entry or Index card.
Company Files that have survived are listed by the name of the company on Collections search.
Company Registers can be useful if no file exists:
Register of Companies Incorporated under ‘The Joint Stock Companies Act 1860’ 1861-1899 (organised regionally; includes incorporation date) [AAWF W4456]
Christchurch Miscellaneous Companies Office Registers 1863-1989 [CBAT 3311 CH791/1-15] (CH)
Taranaki Company Registers 1876-1977 [AATJ 18767 W5487/1-4]
Taranaki Register of Companies 1899-1911 [AATJ 18770 W5487/5]
Taranaki Registers of Companies Dissolved 1937-1977 [AATJ 18768 W5487/6-7]
Thames Mining Register – Companies Struck off 1939-1943 [BACL 14198/1a] (AK)
Westland District Companies Registers 1869-1955 [AAWF 12499 CH941/1a-2c]
Company Card Indexes
Indexes to Companies 1860-1937 [BAEA 5590/1a-2b] (AK)
Defunct Company Index c1920s-1974 [AABR 530 W2798/1-19]
Company Index pre-1973 [AABR 532 W2798/1-19]
Company Side Index (Keywords) c1920-c1983 [AABR 566/1-296]
Live Company Index 1963-1983 [AABR 528 W2798/1-122]
Dead Companies Index 1963-1983 [AABR 529 W2798/1-44]
Friendly societies provided financial help when a family’s breadwinner suffered sickness, accident or death. The first lodge was formed by new immigrants in 1842. By 1901 friendly societies had 41,236 members – 15% of all adult males – and by 1938 there were 113,709 members in various societies.
Due to their role in providing welfare, the government established a Registrar of Friendly Societies in 1867. Office bearers of individual Friendly Societies were required by law to submit annual returns to the Registrar of Friendly Societies and Credit Unions.
The Companies Office took over the responsibility of managing friendly societies in 1997 and maintain an online register.
Friendly Society Records
You can find Friendly Societies with a search of their name on Collections search. There are also:
Annual Returns Registers & Valuation Registers 
Annual Returns 1883-1993 
Valuation Lists (5-yearly reports) c1880-1979 
Registration Files c1887-2004 
A Credit Union is a member owned cooperative financial organisation with members sharing a common bond of either residence in a clearly defined geographical area, or employment by a particular employer, or occupation, of other qualifying association.
At various times the Government required machines or people in various occupations to be licensed or registered. Courts were usually responsible for such processes and held the license records.
Finding Licence Records
Licence records are organised by region and type of licence. Records exist for:
Auctioneers: Most Auctioneer records are Registers of Licensing. A few Auctioneers’ applications for licences are individually listed on Collections search, especially for the 1970s, and may can be searched by name
Dairy Industry (Cream & Milk Graders, Dairy Factory Mangers)
Gold Coin Dealers
Money Lenders: Most records are in Registers created in the Courts. A few company applications for licences can be found on Collections search under company names, especially for the 1960s & 1970s
Motor Vehicle Dealers
Printing Presses & Newspapers
Licensing Committe and District Records - Liquor Licenses - Publicans
A Licensing Ordinance of 1842 first controlled the sale of liquor. Provincial governments issued various licences from 1853-1875, with liquor licences increasingly tied to the provision of accommodation. You can find early records in the New Zealand or Provincial Gazettes, in inwards correspondence of the Colonial Secretary  and in Provincial records, especially Wellington .
1873 legislation created Licensing Districts similar to local body areas and established Licensing Courts, which included the Resident Magistrate and other appointed members. People applied to the court for a licence and paid a fee with the application.
Licence details were published in newspapers, and can also be found in Magistrates Court records before 1881.
The Licensing Act 1881, which incorporated a number of previous acts, set up Licensing Committees within specific electoral areas (Licensing Districts) to grant, renew or revoke sale of liquor licences. Licensing Committees were based in Magistrates Courts.
Finding Liquor Licence Records
Liquor licence records are organised by region. They are often Court Registers or Record Books of applications, and can be found with an appropriate keyword search on Collections search.
Certificates of Competency
Ships’ officers and engineers had to gain Certificates of Competency from the Marine Department, or later the Transport Department. We hold many duplicate certificates, and Index cards to those records, which give some biographical data, such as birth date and place, address at time of examination, as well as date and place of examination and certificate.
There are many different categories of shipping officer certificate. The main divisions are between:
Masters or Mates or Engineers (of which there may be different grades)
Sea-going vessels or coastal/river/lake vessels.
Other less common categories include:
Home trade, foreign-going, sailing ships, fishing boats and cargo vessels.
Index - Masters & Mates 1867-1960s
Access to the Certificate Books, which hold copies of the originals, is provided by an alphabetical card index. This Index is unrestricted, and each card contains the same information as the copies in the certificate books.
The five Index boxes contain surnames beginning:
1. Abe-Dri; 2. Dro-Kay; 3. Kea-Pan; 4. Par-Squ; 5. Sta-Zac [ADOE 16631 M28W2686/1-5]
Certificate Books − Masters & Mates
Access to the bound Certificate Books is open, but copying from the books is restricted until 65 years after the date of the Certificate. To locate a Certificate Book, you will need to find the relevant Box Number and Book Number in Collections search.
Certificate Books − Masters & Mates [ADOE 16631 M28W2686/6-22]
Certificates of Competency
Bound copies 1875-1994 [ABPL 7612 W5011/1-27]
Application Forms − Masters & Mates
Name searches on Collections search will find specific files.
1954-1975 [ADOE 16631 M28W2839]
1959-1975 [ADOE 16631 M28W2858]
Examinations – Record of examinations at all Ports
Registers of Examinations of Masters and Mates 1899-1979 (10 items with some overlapping dates) [ADOE 16631 M28W2686/25-26]
Index to Register of Examinations 1969-1971 [ADOE 16631 M28W2686/25/14]
Examinations – Sight Tests
Registers of Examinations of Sight 1925-1968 [ADOE 16631 M28W2686/27]
Seafarers and Merchant Navy
Various Seafarers’ Records of Service were created between 1941-1995, and these came to us from the Maritime Safety Authority. The records are organised by occupation and then alphabetically by surname. They list the seafarers' name and date of birth, the ships upon which they had served and the dates of service. These can also be used for finding WW2 Merchant Marine seaman alongside the Merchant Navy Medal Card index cards (see below).
There is a gap in the records for 1955-1962 [ABPL 7460 W4963].
The records cover:
Cooks & Stewards
Merchant Navy War Medal Index Cards
The Merchant Navy War Medal Index records the issue of war medals, and is split into two alphabetical sequences, one for World War I and a second for World War II.
Shipping logs, lists and papers
Log Books, Articles of Agreement and Crew Lists
c1960s-c1980s [ADOE 16633]
This series includes ships’ logs, crew lists, and other papers for coastal shipping and inter-island ferries c1960s-c1980s.
Many of the vessels were privately owned. Some ships are individually listed on Collections search.
Licensed Fishing Boats 1937-1964 [ADOE 16627]
You can find individual listings, mostly under person or company name on Collections search. Some of the records are Department of Industries and Commerce files.
Register of Wrecks 1795-1988 [ABPL 7464 W5011/1-4]
Dental - Dental Schools
Our Wellington archive holds records from Dental Schools in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Nursing (Dental Therapy Programme) [ABKI]. Records include:
Auckland Dental School
A history of ‘The Glade’ (Glade Hostel for dental nurses in Auckland) [ABKI 6547/1b]
Assorted Photographs Auckland c1950-1979 [ABKI 593/1]
Photograph Albums Auckland 1951-1982 (formal & informal) [ABKI 6546/1/1-2]
Wellington Dental School
Photograph Albums 1929, 1946, 1945-1960 [ABKI 672/1/1-4]
Assorted Photographs 1920s-1980 [ABKI 667/1-4]
Photograph Album T A Hunter 1926: ‘The New Zealand State Schools Dental Service’ [ABKI 6545/1]
‘Some Memories of Early Days at ‘The Tomato House’, Government Buildings 1921-1941’ [ABKI 6547/1a]
Graduation Photographs 1923-1979 [ABKI 675/1-3]
Golden Jubilee Records 1971 (include lists of those attending from drafts 1923-1970, photographs & descriptions of dental nurse uniforms 1920s-1970 [ABKI 520/1 1a-1c]
Christchurch Dental School
Photograph Albums Christchurch 1960, training etc. [ABKI 600/1/1-2]
Graduation Photographs Christchurch 1965-1980 [ABKI 594/1-3]
Ministry of Health Dental School Records
The Ministry of Health Central Filing System sub-series 181 within (Series 632) contains many records in relation to Dental Schools across New Zealand. Some files which contain staff and student details include:
Graduation ceremony lists - Auckland (incomplete) 1970-1980 [ABQU 632 1207 181-5-16-16]
Graduation ceremony lists – Christchurch (incomplete) 1955-1980 [ABQU 632 1208 181-5-13-18]
Graduation ceremony lists - Wellington (incomplete) 1954-1983 [ABQU 632 1207 181-5-13-17]
Contact us if you need any assistance in searching for these records.
The Medical Council registers Doctors and holds its own records. Other records include:
Department of Health
Various Departmental files relate to doctors, but few have personal details. Most are restricted access. [ADBZ 16163]
Medical Practitioners, Register, 1953-1956 [AAFB 632 W3464/66/ 170/4]
Napier Supreme Court
New Zealand Medical Registers 1977-1979 [AAOW W3846/1473]
Waikato Hospital (AK)
Medical Registers 1941-1971 [ZABW 14614 A1462/1a-11a]
Midwife registration began in 1905. For most of the twentieth century midwives were registered nurses with a specialist qualification. Earlier midwife records were created by the Nurses and Midwives Registration Board under the Department of Health. Later records come from the Nursing Council.
Midwives Registration c1905-1907 (loose papers, most administrative, some individuals) [ADBZ 16161/2037]
The Midwives Register of NZ 1905-1909 [AAFB W3255/1]
Register of Trained Midwives 1905-1925 [AAFB W3255/2]
Midwives, maternity nurses, and community nurses registered from St Helens Hospital 1907-1980 [YCBH 4298/1a] (AK)
List of Midwives Removed from Register 1911-1929 [ADBZ 16163/1402 21/49]
Accounts and Papers VII Session II 1912 – Midwives Qualified and Registered [LE 1/546 1912/199]
Registers – Midwives (No.1-8790) Books 1-3 1905-1968 [ABYO 7889 W5148/26]
Register – Midwife 1968-1981 [ABYO 7889 W5148/31]
Registers of Midwives & Maternity Nurses 1933 & 1935 [YCBH 4380/1a-1b] (AK)
Registers and Nursing Registration Cards are very useful to family historians as most Health Department files relate to nursing administration and training. National records are outlined below, but many Nursing Registers (Staff, Application, Attendance) from specific hospitals and schools of nursing are held in our regional offices. You can find listings of these on Collections search. The early records were created by the Nurses and Midwives Registration Board. Most records come from the Nursing Council of New Zealand [ABYO] and have access restrictions for privacy reasons. People can access their own information with proof of ID.
Nursing Registration Cards 1914-1989
The cards provide a record of certification of all nurses and midwives registered to practise in New Zealand.
Registration Cards − Nurses Birthdate before 1900 (A-Z by surname) 1914-1944 [ABYO 7890 W5148/40-44]
Registration Cards − Nurses Deceased (A-Z by surname) 1940-1989 [ABYO 7890 W5148/32-39]
Nursing Registers (national) 1902-1981
Some Register books include more than one type of nurse. Registration covers the following:
Nurses 1902-1968 (11 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/28-29]
Maternity Nurses 1926-1979 (7 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/27,31,53]
General & Obstetric Nurses 1968-1981 (3 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/31]
Community & Enrolled Nurses 1966-1988 (3 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/26]
Nurse Aids 1942-1972 [ABYO 7889 W5148/26]
Male Nurses 1947-1977 (2 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/28,31]
Psychiatric Nurses 1945-1981 (3 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/30-31]
Psychopaedic Nurses 1961-1981 (2 volumes) [ABYO 7889 W5148/30-31]
School of Advanced Nursing Studies
A small collection of Jubilee records 1928-1978, created by Mrs Stair, secretary of SANS. There are some lists of students by year of commencing studies and a number of individual letters. [ABKY W4033/1]
Wellington Nursing Registers 1932-1957
Nursing Staff Registers [ABRR 6888/1-2]
Alphabetical by initial letter, most entries commenced late 1940s, resigned 1950s.
We hold few records relating to opticians and optometrists. You can find some applications for registration for 1928-1968 by searching the person’s name on Collections search.
We hold extensive records of miners and mining, mostly for gold, but some for coal. The records are held regionally and most are in our Auckland (Thames gold), Christchurch (West Coast gold) and Dunedin (Otago gold) Offices. Most records come from Wardens’ Courts and their listings can be found on Collections search. The main records are Indexes and Registers, and often include miners’ names, putting them in a particular place and context.
The Depression of the 1930s led to various government measures to allow rural mortgagors to seek relief from mortgage obligations. Records can be found on Collections search in the archives of the various Courts (Court of Review or Adjustment Commission), or under key words such as Mortgage or Mortgagor. Some courts also hold records of Mortgagee Sales, not just during the Depression of the 1930s.
A Patent specification number is needed to find a Patent file. You can find the Patent specification number in various indexes and Registers of Patents.
There are a number of Indexes for Patent applications and Patents. New Zealand Gazette supplements contain lists of Patents (alphabetical by patentee surname) from 1891-1911; for 1902-1911 Patents are listed in categories. Our Wellington Office holds a paper copy of the Gazette index for 1891-1903. In 1905 the NZ Patent Office began its own Indexes, and from 1911 the NZ Patent Office Indexes (below) are the only indexes to patents in New Zealand.
Indexes of Patent Specifications 1861-1888 [ABPJ 7714 W5650/1166-1167]
Indexes of Patent Specifications 1888-1904 [ABPJ 7714 W5046/58-65]
Index of Proprietors & Companies 1862-1890 [ABPJ 7718 W5046/99]
Index of Patentees & Companies 1861-1903 [ABPJ 7715 W5046/54-57]
Subject Index 1904-1907 [ABPJ 7396 W5650/1162-1165]
Applicant and Inventors Card Indexes
A three-part Index (1903-1953, 1954-1994, 1994-1997) that provides Patent file numbers [ABPJ 22716 W5650/1386-1905]
Patent Registers give a number, name of the patentee, title of the invention, and usually date of provisional and complete acceptance and fees, ultimate fate of Patent, whether void, lapsed, abandoned or transferred.
Registers of Patents 1861-1920 [AEGA 18986/1-22]
Registers of Patents 1911-1945 [ABPJ 7716 W5046/66-80]
Patent Registers 1934-1946 [ABPJ 7716 W5650/685-694]
Patent Registers 1946-1971 [ABPJ 7716 W5650/1171-1385]
Patent Registers 1971-1999 [ABPJ 7716 W5650/737-906]
Registers of Applications for Letters Patent 1902-1945 [ABPJ 7717 W5046/81-98]
Patent Application Registers 1942-1999 (gaps 1993+) [ABPJ 7717 W5650/907-950, 1035]
Patent Specification Files 1861-2004
We hold most Patent files, though there are gaps. Those up to 1929 are complete but later files were culled six years after the patent lapsed. Patent files may give brief details of the inventors and sometimes more extensive information about the invention. Plans and detailed specifications are not usually included – they were returned to the Patentee or are held separately (see ‘Original drawings’ section).
Most of the patent files are listed at the Box level by Patent specification number. So you will need to do an Advanced search in Collections using a wildcard search (using * to search for a range of numbers).
For example, Patent Number 25500 is in Box 151, which is listed as 25396 – 25645. [ABPJ 7396]
- Original Drawings for Patent Specifications
Design registration protects the external appearance of a manufactured article, especially novel or original design features that would appeal to the customer. Design Application Registers give the volume & page number of specific entries in Registers of Design (up to 1954), in rough chronological rather than number order. From 1954 Register entries are by registration number. Only approved applications were recorded in the Design Registers. These give brief application and applicant information. Diagrams or photographs may be attached for registrations before 1954.
Under the Trade-Marks Act 1866, the Colonial Secretary administered trademarks 1868-1890. Applications to register trade marks were inwards correspondence, and the annual single number formed the basis of the trade mark file number. The Patents, Designs and Trade-marks Act 1883 moved trade mark administration to the Patent Office.
Registers of Trade Marks are held in our Wellington Office, and many were also published in the New Zealand Gazette. Richard Wolfe’s Well Made New Zealand: A century of trademarks illustrates the variety of New Zealand trademarks.
Registers of Trade Marks 1873-1945 [ABPJ 7416 W5046/1-53]
The original Registers contain pasted-in copies of the trade mark forms. These give brief information about the application and the applicant.
From c1945 onwards trade mark registers were organised in binders and arranged by trade mark application number. These binders also covered trademarks retrospectively back to 1868.
Registers of Trade Marks 1868-c1999 (binders) [ABPJ 7416 W5650/167-684,950,1034,1168-1170]
In New Zealand copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, communication works and the typographical arrangement of published editions.
The files in PC4 range from the weird and wacky to the innovative and historic. Many examples of original artworks, designs, publications, sheet music, and objects were sent in with the application and can be found in the files. Most are not listed at the item level. The Wellington Reading Room holds a ring binder Index that includes file number, year, name of applicant and type of work.
Copyright Subject Files 1886-1963 [AEGA 18982 PC4/1-260]
Miscellaneous Copyright Records 1886-1963 [AEGA 18992 PC13/1-13]
We hold many union-related records but not the records created by unions themselves. Our holdings cover their interaction with the state, such as rules, annual returns, registration cards, arbitration records, awards and agreements, industrial disputes, and objections to compulsory unionism. We also hold the Trade Union Education Authority records [W3597]. For police files of industrial disputes see Law & the Courts. You can find most union records with a search of their name on Collections search.
Registration Cards of Employee Unions and Employer Organisations 1895-1991 [ABLC 18111 W4234/1-6]
Trade Union Annual Returns 1888-1951 [AACS 583/1-5]
Trade Union Registered Files c1903-1964 [AACS 623/1-11]
Registrar of Union Records 1972-1990 [ABLC 8608]
Department of Labour Central Filing System 1897-2000 (esp. sub-series 3/ and 46/) [AANK 947]
Awards, agreements and arbitration
Awards, Agreements, Order and Decisions under Industrial Legislation 1894-1970 (AK) [AANK 5918]: this is a set of printed volumes that cover the whole country.
Industrial Agreements 1897-1972 (AK) [BBAE 5620/1-2]: this covers agreements across the entire country.
Disputes Registers (Awards) 1897-1973 (AK) [BBAE 5622/1-4]
Court of Arbitration Miscellaneous Files and Registers 1893-1979 [ACJS 8872]
Awards 1900-1979 [ACGV 8829 L16/1-20]
Register of Industrial Agreements 1907-1973 [ABIO 24383/2]
Labour Employment Court records 1947-1992 [ABKE W4086]
Court of Arbitration Files 1967-1978 [ABLC W4129]
Department of Labour Central Filing System 1897-2000 (esp. sub-series 3/, 4/ and 46/) [AANK 947]
Unionism was compulsory in New Zealand from 1935-1991. You can find Labour Department files on conscientious objectors to compulsory unionism by a search of the person’s name on Collections search.
1940 Regulations established a separate court known as the Compensation Court to hear workers’ compensation cases. Compensation Court records are held regionally alongside other Court records (see Gavel & Quill). In 1972 the Accident Compensation Commission [AADP] (now Corporation – ACC) was formed and workers’ compensation as it previously existed was replaced.
- Workers' Compensation Board
Last updated on 12 May 2022