Family History – Church Registers General Information


There are extensive, but not comprehensive, card transcripts of baptism, burial and marriage registers from local churches held on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga. Original church register material is transcribed by volunteers who copy the details from the original registers.

This is a joint venture by Christchurch City Libraries with the New Zealand Society of Genealogists. Transcripts may be used for family history research and may not be copied or republished in any systematic way without the permission of the churches who own the original registers.

The registers:

  • Cover the period from the 1840s to the 1920s and sometimes beyond. Please note that Anglican records are only available if the date of baptism was more than 100 years ago, the date of marriage was more than 80 years ago, or the date of burial was more then 50 years ago.
  • Included are Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury inland from the city and north to Cheviot and Amuri.
  • Anglican churches are particularly well-represented but the transcripts include Presbyterian, Methodist and some Catholic records. It is unlikely that further Catholic records will be included.
  • Baptism, marriage and burial registers are transcribed onto cards which are interfiled into one alphabetical index, by surname.
  • Before the cards are filed, typed and bound, copies of individual registers are produced. Individual entries can be photocopied from the bound volumes.
St Peter's Anglican Church, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. 1928
St Peter's Anglican Church, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. 1928

Details on the card index

Each card has a code in the corner (often the top right) which relates to the church register which has been transcribed. There is a list of transcribed registers and a key to the symbols used which is known as the 'Church Register Codes' book and will help you find the name of the church. Or you can download the Church Register codes [192 KB PDF].

Though it will generally be obvious from the contents of the card whether a burial, baptism or marriage is involved, a number follows the three letter code which indicates:

1 = Burial
2 = Baptism
3 = Marriage


  • Photocopies or scans to USB may be made from the typescripts rather than the cards.
  • You are able to take photographs of the cards with a camera, phone or other device.
  • The name of the officiating minister appears at the bottom, or up the side of the entry in the cards, or at the end of an entry in a bound volume.
  • If information was added by the officiating minister or a later minister, this is included.
  • Details of divorce are mentioned where noted in the register.
  • If a baptism refers to the death of a child, this is mentioned.
  • If information was included and then crossed out, it is mentioned if it seems to be of interest.

Anglican registers

Access to the baptism, marriage and burial records of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand Polynesia -Te Hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Nui Tireni ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa is decided by General Synod (Te Hinota Whanui).

Dates that records are available, are: baptisms (births over 100 years ago), marriages (over 80 years ago) and burials (deaths over 50 years ago).

The Anglican records held by Christchurch City Libraries are a copy of the material in the original registers, therefore copyright remains with the Episcopal Unit, in this case the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch.


For further details see Baptismal registersMarriage registers or Burial registers.

Holdings of original registers

Opening of the Roman Catholic church at Oaro, Hundalee 1906
Opening of the Roman Catholic church at Oaro, Hundalee 1906

Christchurch City Libraries does hold some original registers and these will all be noted on our catalogue.

Please contact the following organisations for further information about original registers:

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