Auckland Libraries: Immigration to New Zealand

Immigration to New Zealand

Te haere manene mai ki Aotearoa

In your journey to complete your family tree, you might need to think about when your ancestors moved to New Zealand and find the answer to the following questions.


Where did your ancestors come from?

Until the end of the 1840s, Auckland arrivals were mainly from New South Wales and Tasmania, and then primarily from Great Britain. Mail steamers did bring some immigrants from North America from the 1860s, and large numbers came from Victoria in the 1850s and 1860s.


Recommended reading:



Where did your ancestors arrive in New Zealand?

The main Auckland region ports were:

  • Auckland (Waitematā Harbour)
  • Onehunga (Manukau Harbour - mainly coastal)
  • Bay of Islands (mainly pre-1845)
  • Hokianga (mainly pre-1840).

We have some information for other parts of New Zealand, but depending on the port of entry you may need to contact:



When did your ancestors arrive in New Zealand?

You can find this information from:

  • family stories

  • death registrations after 1875, which include details of how long the person was in New Zealand

  • obituaries

  • marriage date or birth date of first child in New Zealand, and/or last child born before emigration

  • 'Intention to marry' registers at Archives New Zealand 

  • first appearance in directories and electoral rolls

  • naturalisation records. If your ancestors were not British, other evidence of residence in New Zealand.



Did your ancestors arrive before 1838?

If your ancestors arrived in New Zealand before 1838, the following are excellent sources of information:



Did your ancestors arrive after 1838?

If your ancestors arrived in New Zealand after 1838, try the following resources:


Access to resources

  • Ancestry.com is only available from a library.  You cannot access this website from home. 
  • Find My Past provides limited access to information without being signed in. Full access is only available at a library.