Māori Studies

Finding whakapapa and information on people & iwi

This guide aims to suggest how you might research Whakapapa and highlights some resources to use.

Whakapapa is the core of traditional mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge). Whakapapa means genealogy. Other Māori terms for genealogy are kāwai and tātai. Kauwhau and taki refer to the process of tracing genealogies.”

Rāwiri Taonui. 'Whakapapa – genealogy - What is whakapapa?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 17-Dec-14
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/whakapapa-genealogy/page-1

 

Nō hea koe? Where are you from?

This question is asked when meeting or being introduced to people you do not know. It is also the question whakapapa research seeks to answer. Your search for whakapapa is likely to require you drawing on family knowledge, published sources and official records.

Starting your research should begin with identifying what you know. From there you can consider using the resources mentioned in this guide.

These three titles will help you start your search, check if our print copies are available:

 

Library guides to whakapapa resources

Family sources

When compiling the life of an individual consider:

Groups or organisations they were involved in, these may be religious, political or social. For those that served in the armed forces look for  Military Service Records

Newspaper notifications of key events like births, marriages and deaths.

Search check list

Government sources of Information

Archives New Zealand

Archway lists official records kept in the government  archives. You will need to register with Archives New Zealand to order any information you are looking for.

Department of Internal Affairs

Māori Land Court

Statistics New Zealand 

Te Puni Kōkiri

Key government sources

Early records provide some of the best information on or about Māori. These are the 4 most significant: