Library resources for New Zealand history

General reference works
General histories | Guides to sources | Encyclopaedias | Chronologies | Yearbooks | Biography | Atlases, maps & gazetteers
National bibliographies | Subject bibliographies
Union lists | General interest magazines
Periodical indexes | Other indexes
Government publications
Central government | Provincial governments | Statutes and regulations | British Parliamentary papers relating to New Zealand | Royal Commissions Commissions and Committees of Inquiry
Published collections of documents
Manuscripts and archives

General reference works  Top of page

General histories

In chronological order.

Guides to sources  Top of page

Encyclopedias  Top of page

Chronologies  Top of page

Yearbooks  Top of page

Yearbooks provide not only basic statistical data, but also useful general information about government policy and activity.

Biography  Top of page

Atlases, maps & gazetteers  Top of page

The Map Room on Level M in the General Library holds all maps for the New Zealand and Pacific area. These include early topographical and cadastral series and miscellaneous publications. The Auckland War Memorial Museum Library and Auckland City Libraries have large collections of historical maps.

Bibliographies  Top of page

Te Puna National Union Catalogue

Te Puna is a catalogue of New Zealand libraries. It has a comprehensive list of New Zealand resources including some material published overseas.

National bibliographies

A national bibliography lists all books and pamphlets published in a particular country, or containing significant reference to it, or written by authors of that country.

To 1960


  • Current National Bibliography, Wellington: National Library, 1950-1965.
    An annual list of publications with subject references. Bound in with Index to New Zealand Periodicals.


  • New Zealand National Bibliography, Wellington: National Library, 1966-1999.
    Published monthly with annual cumulations. Alphabetical listing of author, title and subject references.


Subject bibliographies  Top of page

To find bibliographies on a particular subject, search the Catalogue for subject headings with the subdivision "bibliography", eg,
New Zealand - History - Bibliography
This is a selection of the many bibliographies on New Zealand history:

Periodicals  Top of page

General interest magazines

Early general interest New Zealand magazines are difficult to locate because there are no authoritative lists. They are particularly useful for studies of representations and perceptions.

The Index to New Zealand Periodicals lists those it has indexed at the front of each annual volume from 1941 to 1986 including the Weekly News but not the Women's Weekly.

Some useful New Zealand magazines held in the NZ & Pacific Collection are:

19th Century

  • The Auckland Weekly News 1863-1963. [Microfilm Serials]
  • Southern Monthly Magazine 1863-1866. [NZ Glass Case 052 S726]
  • New Zealand Magazine: A Quarterly Journal of General Literature 1876-1877. [NZ Glass Case 052 N531]
  • New Zealand Country Journal 1877-1886, 1888-1898. [NZ Glass Case 630.5 N54]
  • New Zealand Farmer 1887-  [NZ & P Storage  910 N53]
  • New Zealand Punch 1888-1889, 1899. [N Z Glass Case 052 P98]
  • Zealandia: A Monthly Magazine of New Zealand Literature by New Zealand Authors 1889-1890. [NZ Glass Case 052 Z41]
  • The Tribune: An Avocate of Social, Political and Religious Liberty 1894-1895. [NZ Glass Case 052 T82]

20th Century

  • The Auckland Weekly News (The Weekly News) 1900-1963. [NZ & P Microfilm Serials]
  • New Zealand Farmer 1887- [NZ & P Storage 910 N53]
  • School Journal [Various titles] 1907- [NZ & P 372.4 S372]
  • White Ribbon. Christchurch: Printed for the W.C.T.U. of N.Z. by Smith, Anthony, Sellars [Microfiche Serials] 1895-1960. An index is available.
  • Brooks, Caroline. A Bibliography of Articles Published in The White Ribbon, The Official Organ of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union, 1895-1919. [NZ & P 016.17810995 B87 and MICROFICHE 93-243]
  • New Zealand Illustrated Magazine. 1899-1905. [NZ Glass Case 052 N538]
  • New Zealand Graphic and Ladies' Journal. 1890-1908. [Microfilm Serials]
  • Weekly Graphic and New Zealand Mail. 1908-1913. [NZ Glass Case 079.95 W395 and Microfilm Serials]
  • New Zealand Railways Magazine. 1926-1940. [NZ Glass Case 385.0995 N542] A cumulative index is also available.
  • New Zealand Listener. 1939- [NZ & P 791.405 N53] Indexed by the Index to New Zealand Periodicals and Index to the New Zealand Lstener 1939-1987. [MICROFICHE 96-102]
  • Zealandia [later New Zealandia and NZ Catholic] 1971-77, 1979- and two earlier vols. [NZ & P 282.05 Z41]
  • Catholic Review. 1945-1949. [NZ & P 282.05 C36]
  • Tomorrow. 1934-1940. [NZ Glass Case 052 H54] Index. Left-wing and literary.
  • Broadsheet. 1972-1997. [NZ & P 301.4120995 B86]
  • Out [previously New Zealand Gay News] 1972-1998. [NZ & P 301.4240995 G28]
  • New Zealand Woman's Weekly. 1932-1986. [Microfilm]
    See also lists of newspapers. The Auckland Museum Library and Auckland City Libraries also have useful collections in this area.

Indexes  Top of page

Periodical indexes

  • Index to New Zealand Periodicals, Wellington: National Library, 1941-1986.
    An annual publication which indexed most New Zealand periodicals. Included articles in overseas journals about New Zealand or by New Zealanders.
  • INNZ: Index New Zealand Wellington: National Library, 1987- .
    Continues the Index to New Zealand Periodicals including 300 journals and also some newspaper articles, social sciences theses, reports and conference papers. A retrospective indexing programme is in progress and some journals and magazines are indexed back to the early 20th Century.

Other indexes  Top of page

  • Fildes, H.E.M., Selective Indexes to Certain Books Relating to Early New Zealand, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington Library, 1984.
    Originally compiled 1920-1937. Over 500 books and journals were indexed under the headings, Europeans, Maoris, Ships, Places.
  • Maori Bibliography At Te Whare Wananga o Waikato.
    Indexes chapters from books and journal articles on Maori subjects not covered by Index New Zealand.

Government publications  Top of page

Central government

In library catalogues, government publications are normally listed under the name of the country, followed by the department or organization, eg,
New Zealand. Waitangi Tribunal.
New Zealand. Dept of Labour.
New Zealand. Royal Commission to Inquire into ...

An indispensable overview is provided by:
Ringer, J.B., An Introduction to New Zealand Government: A Guide to Finding out about Government in New Zealand, its Institutions, Structures and Activities, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1991.

Wilson, James O., 'The Papers of Parliament' New Zealand Libraries, v.25, Sep.1962, p.213-224.

The most used sources are:

Gazettes  Top of page

The Gazette is the official newspaper of the Government and reports a wide variety of detail about its day to day business including proclamations, Orders in Council, a summary of parliamentary proceedings, government notices, some official appointments, notices regarding public lands and, periodically, lists of members of some professional groups such as teachers and medical practitioners. Early Gazettes include material, such as minutes of the Executive Council and trade statistics, which was later part of the Appendices.

Journals  Top of page

  • New Zealand. Parliament. House of Representatives, Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand, 1858- Wellington.
    The minutes of the proceedings of the House. Lists accounts and papers laid upon the Table (whether printed or not); bills and their progress; members of select committees, petitions presented.
  • New Zealand. Parliament. Legislative Council, Journals of the Legislative Council of New Zealand, 1860-1867 [NZ & P 328.95 N53l Z]
  • New Zealand. Parliament. Legislative Council, Journals and Appendix to the Journals of the Legislative Council of New Zealand, 1867-1914 [NZ & P 328.95 N53l]
  • New Zealand. Parliament. Legislative Council, Journals of the Legislative Council of the Dominion of New Zealand, 1915-1950 [NZ & P 328.95 N53l]

Appendices  Top of page

  • Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR)
    A record all papers tabled in Parliament including annual reports of government departments and select committees, and the reports of royal commissions and committees of inquiry. They are an invaluable source for historians as an enormous amount of detail, covering every aspect of government activity, was reported during the 19th Century. The tendency over the years has been for the total number of reports appearing in the AJHR to increase, but for the detail they provide to decrease.

    There are lists of papers at the beginning of each volume. Cumulative indexes cover the periods 1854-1963, but these are not entirely reliable. [NZ Glass Case 328.95 N56li]

  • See under journals for Legislative Council Appendices.
  • AtoJsOnline
    A selection of volumes from the 1860s to early 1900s

Parliamentary debates  Top of page

  • New Zealand. Parliament. New Zealand Parliamentary Debates. 1854- Wellington. [NZ & P 328.95 N53]. Often referred to as "Hansard", this is a record of all speeches made in the House of Representatives and the Legislative Council. Some volumes from the 19th Century have an index at the beginning or end of the volume. There isn't a consolidated index for all the Parliamentary debates, but from 1898 sessional indexes have been published. Initially not all of the Hansard volumes that contain one have an indication to that effect on their spines.

Provincial governments, 1853-1876  Top of page

  • Provincial government publications are similar to those Parliamentary items listed above. There are Gazettes; Journals (often called Votes and Proceedings) and Ordinances (laws). When searching for them in the Catalogue use the name of the province as the author, or keywords, eg,
    Auckland province
    Wellington province
    Auckland provincial acts

Statutes and regulations  Top of page

Statutes  Top of page

Indexes to laws  Top of page

British parliamentary papers  Top of page

These cover the same sort of material as the Appendices for the period before New Zealand had a Parliament of its own, and remain a substantial source into the 1870s.

Royal Commissions  Top of page

Newspapers  Top of page

NZ newspapers on microfilm  Top of page

Some runs of newspapers are incomplete. Check the Catalogue to see the exact holdings.

To see a complete list of the newspapers in the library, in print, online, or microtexts, do a Subject Heading Search for: Newspapers New Zealand.

The Dominion 1907-1959; 1979-2002

Evening Post 1865-2002

The Gisborne Times 1905-1937

The Hawkes Bay Herald 1877-1904

The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal 1890-1908

The New Zealand Herald 1863-

New Zealand Truth (earlier Auckland Truth) 1906-1979

New Zealand Weekly News 1863-1934

The Northern Advocate 1887-1939

Otago Daily Times Nov. 1861-1970; 1977-

The Press 1861-1943, 1987-

The Southern Cross 1843-1855

Thames Star Jan. 1893-1938; 1943 ; 1945

The Weekly Graphic and New Zealand Mail 1908-1913

See also selected magazines

  • The library also has an extensive collection of Maori language newspapers and newsletters from the 1840s to the 1930s. These are available online in the Niupepa database and in a microfiche collection.
    There is also a 12 page introductory booklet. Guide to Niupepa, 1842-1933: Maori Newspapers, Wellington: Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, 1996.

Published collections of documents  Top of page

  • McIntyre, William D., Speeches and Documents on New Zealand History, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971.
  • McNab, Robert, Historical Records of New Zealand, Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1973. [NZ & P 995 M16h 1973] Facsimile reprint of original edition published 1908-14.
  • Material by Maori from the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1860-1869, compiled by Evan Morgan & Jane Falloon, Wellington: Waitangi Tribunal Division, Dept. of Justice, 1993. (Waitangi Tribunal occasional publication; no. 2)
  • National Archives of New Zealand, Raupatu Document Bank, Wellington: Waitangi Tribunal, 1989-1990.
    140 volumes of selected documents covering the 1870s to 1960s consulted by the Waitangi Tribunal in its investigation of claims relating to confiscated land. The main index is the "Introduction and list of contents" volume while indexes to AJHR papers and maps are also provided. A Guide to the Raupatu Document Bank is shelved with these volumes.
  • New Zealand. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand Foreign Policy: Statements and Documents, 1943-57, Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1972. [NZ & P 327.95 N535]
  • Levine, Stephen, Paul Harris, ed., The New Zealand Politics Source Book, 3rd edn, Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 1999.
    Contains documents relating to the constitution, parliamentary elections, political parties, Parliament, Cabinet, state sector, local government and international relations.
  • New Zealand. Waitangi Tribunal, Waitangi Tribunal Records of Documents and Submissions, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington. [MICROFICHE 95-113]
  • Rutherford, James, Select Documents Relative to the Development of Responsible Government in New Zealand, 1839-1868, Auckland: Auckland University College, 1955. [NZ & P 342.95 R97]
  • Scholefield, Guy H., The Richmond-Atkinson Papers, Wellington: Govt. Print., 1960. [NZ & P 995 S36] Letters and diaries covering the period 1841-1890s.

Manuscripts and archives  Top of page

The University of Auckland

Special Collections
The University of Auckland Library holds a large amount of original material, with particular strengths in the areas of trade unions and University organisations. There are also copies of many other important manuscripts and archives on microfilm and in photocopy. All original archives and manuscripts and microfilm and photocopied material is listed on the database Manuscripts and Archives Catalogue Special Collections/Kohikohinga Motuhake (General Library).

Maori language manuscript material in the General Library Special Collection includes copies of the Grey Manuscripts from Auckland City Libraries, the John White and Edward Shortland Manuscripts and Papatupu Block Comittee minute books.

Microfilm Collections

This guide provides references to published and unpublished guides and inventories which exist for some of the larger collections:
A Guide to Manuscripts and Archives Collections on Microtext at Auckland University Library. Auckland: Auckland University Library, 1981.

Two large microfilming projects have undertaken to cover manuscripts and archives around the world relating to Australasia and the Pacific. The following items list the material covered.

Australian Joint Copying Project

Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook, 2nd edn, Canberra: National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales, 1984- 10 volumes.
Guide to microfilms of archives and manuscripts relating to Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, most of South East Asia, and Antarctica. Those microfilms not held by the library may be obtained on Interlibrary loan from the Alexander Turnbull Library. Good coverage of early British official sources.

Pacific Manuscripts Bureau

Search for "Pacific Manuscripts Bureau" in the Catalogue for a list of the microfilms. The PMB focus on Pacific material includes New Zealand in areas such as the records of early whaling vessels. The University of Auckland Library has been a member of the PMB consortium since 1995 and has received copies of all microfilms published since then. The website includes a catalogue of all PMB items. You can get microfilms not held by the library using Interlibrary loan.

Other New Zealand institutions  Top of page

The Alexander Turnbull Library and an online version of Tapuhi (the ATL MSS & Archives database)

Union Catalogue of New Zealand and Pacific Manuscripts in New Zealand Libraries, interim ed., Wellington: Alexander Turnbull Library, 1968.
Part I: Notifications from libraries other than the Alexander Turnbull Library.
Part II: Notifications from the Alexander Turnbull Library.
A simple alphabetical sequence, arranged by author or organization responsible, no subject or chronological arrangement, no index.
Continued by The Community Archive (formerly NRAM National Register of Archives and Manuscripts)

Macmillan Brown Library University of Canterbury.

Hocken Library at the University of Otago.

Directories of archives in New Zealand  Top of page

Outside New Zealand  Top of page

Other directories and catalogues  Top of page

National archives  Top of page

  • New Zealand. National Archives, Preliminary Inventory, Wellington: Dept of Internal Affairs,1953.
    A series of nine pamphlets which list and describe briefly the contents of the various series of archives. For additions, both originals and microfilms, since these inventories were published, see the National Archives section of the annual report of the Dept of Internal Affairs (AJHR H.22), and since 1966 see:
  • National Archives of New Zealand, Summary of Work, Wellington, 1966-1977. Annual publication which includes lists of new accessions and notes on citation of National Archives files.

Two particularly useful articles which have appeared in the Summary of Work are:

  • Hornabrook, Judith S., 'Sources of contemporary history', Summary of Work, 1972, p.15-25
  • Collier, Rosemary, 'National Archives holdings of microfilm copies of overseas archives', Summary of Work, 1974, p.13- 24

  Top of page

Copyright©The University of Auckland Library
Comments and suggestions to: Philip Abela
Last updated: 6 March, 2014