Arriving in New Zealand 

Since 1839 and depending on whether the government was encouraging or limiting immigration, there has been a steady flow of new arrivals. Sometimes family members know the name of the ship on which your ancestors came to New Zealand. A family diary of the journey may reveal the date of arrival and the port into which they sailed. Sometimes a child born on the voyage was given the name of the ship as a first or middle name and this can be a clue to help your research. Assisted immigrants had part or all of their fare paid by provincial or national government.

The passenger lists for ships carrying assisted immigrants who arrived before 1886 are held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington and have been indexed. Newspapers may give the names, and sometimes the ages of passengers who paid their own passage. An inquiry at a local museum or library near the port of arrival may reveal a passenger list. The New Zealand Company records immigrants arriving under government assistance 1839-1850. Provincial Governments provided assisted passage throughout the period 1853-1870. Government assistance under the Vogel Scheme covered the period 1870-1888. From 1883-1973 lists of all passengers, both arriving and departing, have been kept by the Departments of Customs, Labour or Immigration. These records are held at Archives New Zealand offices. It must be noted that there is no National Index of Passengers for New Zealand. 

If an ancestor was not born or naturalised in a British Commonwealth country before emigrating to New Zealand, Archives New Zealand may have records containing their place of birth and date of arrival. These records generally comprise those covering naturalisation procedures 1847-1948 and the control of aliens 1866-1970.