Family History – Passenger Lists – Port

Which Port?

If you don't know which port your ancestor landed at, try:

General biographical index 1840-70 [Microfilm]

This is an important collection because it links names of people with the vessels on which they sailed to New Zealand. It is an alphabetical list by surname. A symbol on the card refers you to a file held by Archives New Zealand in Wellington. An explanation of each symbol is given at the beginning of the first film in the Guide to Contents.
N.B.: The A - Bh volume is missing from Archives New Zealand and has never been microfilmed.

This index is taken from the following sets of archives:

  • Assisted immigrants who arrived on New Zealand Company ships 1839 - 1850
  • Passenger lists surviving among the letters received by the Colonial Secretary, Auckland 1840 - 50
  • List of immigrants, debtors to the Provincial Government of Otago for Passage Moneys 1869. 1848 - 1868
  • Register of subsidised emigrants. Small farmers with capital 1886 - 1888
  • Predominantly 1840s passenger lists
  • Immigrants arriving at Napier. 1860 - 1873
  • Vouchers of the Nelson Immigration Dept. 1857 - 1867
  • Immigrants arriving at Nelson: Inward Letters 1850 - 1879
  • Immigration arriving at Nelson: miscellaneous. Ships' papers 1850 - 1879
  • Passenger lists of persons arriving at Canterbury 1855 - 1871
  • Immigrants to Canterbury on the following ships: Gil Blas arrived 25 April 1855 from Melbourne; Wild Irish Girl arrived 1 May 1855 from Melbourne; Colchester arrived 23 May 1855 from Melbourne; Maori to Wellington passengers transhipped by Canterbury arrived 1 May 1857; Chapman arrived 12 September 1860; Minerva arrived 27 February 1861. 1855 - 1861
  • Immigration applications: Southland. Payment of Passage Money. 1861 - 68
  • Immigration in Barracks: Southland 1863
  • Sir William Eyre List of persons who died on the voyage 1863
  • Return of monies owing for passage from Britain to Otago. Promissory Notes connected with immigration from Australia
  • List of females per Robert Henderson 1862 List of females per Sevilla 1862
  • Immigrants arriving at Wellington 1865 - 1868
  • Register of Promissory Notes due 1855 - 57
  • Cash Book 1857 - 1870
  • Outward letters 1857 - 1867
  • Register of applications for passage 1859 - 1864
  • Correspondence to British Agents 1861 - 1863
  • Correspondence to British Agents 1864 - 1869
  • Provincial Treasurer - Ledgers of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure (includes lists of immigrants that arrived Auckland Province 1853 - 1875
  • List of Fencibles (British Military Pensioners) on the ships Ramillies, Minerva, Sir Robert Sale, Sir George SeymourClifton and Ann. 1847 - 49
  • List of soldiers arriving from Australia on general government troopships, among letters received by the Deputy Adjutant General
  • Appointments to NZ Government positions, c 1841 - 1853; also some later appointments to other Government positions
  • Appendix A has Early immigration ships arriving in Auckland
  • Appendix B contains miscellaneous shipping lists
  • Appendix C contains ships lists in IM-N9/1 miscellaneous ship’s papers
  • Appendix D contains a description of index entries

Index to government-assisted emigrants c. 1871-88 (Vogel Scheme)[Microfilm]

This index identifies those people (men, women, children) who were given government-assisted passages to New Zealand under the Public Works and Immigration Act 1870 (usually known as the "Vogel Scheme") and who are recorded on surviving lists. These lists, compiled by the Agent-General in London, are primarily a financial record, but also give details of each emigrant’s age, occupation and county of origin.

Also indexed are people who emigrated under an alternative (but very much smaller) scheme, set up by the Immigrants Land Act 1873. The records indexed are registers compiled at the various ports of entry and at the Immigration Dept. head office. The sequence of registers is incomplete. In most cases the name of the ship and the year of its arrival in New Zealand are given. This information can lead to a search of the Shipping Index, which may yield additional details about arrangements for the voyage, shipboard conditions and post-embarkation matters.

The cards always give the emigrant’s name and an archives reference to the original lists, which are held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington.

Assisted emigrants 1871-88 [Microfilm]

Lists of assisted emigrants to New Zealand. These lists record those people whose passages to New Zealand were partly or wholly paid by the central government. Details include the surnames and usually one other name for each emigrant, age, sex, and county of residence. Occupations of all statute adults are stated, except for wives in family groups. Six further columns give details of the costs of the passages - the government’s share, and amounts due from the emigrant or sponsors within New Zealand. The 'Remarks' column contains cross-references to friends or relatives in New Zealand who nominated the immigrant.

Nominated emigrants 1871-91 [Microfilm]

The Immigration and Public Works Act 1870 provided 1,000,000 for immigration. The Act envisaged two kinds of immigrants, those recruited by the New Zealand Agent-General and those nominated by people already living in New Zealand. Those in the latter category were known as Colonial Nominated Immigrants. The nomination scheme continued until the early part of 1891. It resulted in the arrival of 31,693 people, all of who were sponsored by persons already living here.

As each nomination was dealt with in New Zealand, a Passage Order was issued. These were recorded in numerical sequence by District Immigration Officers. These records include the following information about each nominee: number and date of Passage Order; name, age and occupation, full address of nominee; name and address of nominator, and details as to outcome of the nomination.

The film includes: Canterbury (1871-74), Timaru(1871-74); Auckland(1873); Hawkes Bay and Marlborough (1871-74); Nelson, Hokitika and Greymouth (1872-74); Otago (1871-74); Oamaru (1872-74); Invercargill and Riverton (1872-73, 1873-74); Taranaki (1872-74); Wellington 1878-80, 1881-90, 1890-91.

Social Security shipping index 1886-1910 [Microfilm]

The Social Security (SS) shipping lists are the major source for tracing immigrants to New Zealand from 1883 until 1973. The index is divided between Wellington and Auckland records, which have not been integrated. The minor ports sequence has not been indexed. The cards show passenger and ship names and year of arrival with an Archives New Zealand reference.

New Zealand Shipping Company passenger lists 1875-1950 [Microfilm]

This is organised by ship, not passenger. There are two groupings:

Series One and Three: These are lists kept by the Company as an official record of sailings, giving initial passenger and fare details and any changes made.

  • 1875-1930: voyages from the UK to various NZ ports
  • 1885-1920: voyages from NZ to the UK

Series Two and Four: These are microfilms of booklets that were issued to individual passengers as a souvenir of their voyage. The names of the passengers are listed alphabetically according to class of travel, sometimes details about the ship, including a photograph, and map of route are included.

  • 1901-1950: outward voyages i.e. from UK to New Zealand
  • 1901-1949: voyages from New Zealand to the UK

Shipping index c.1840-1960 [Microfilm]

The Shipping index identifies voyages to New Zealand for which passenger lists are held at Archives New Zealand.

Before the mid-1880s, when the Social Security (SS) lists became available, most lists of passengers held at Archives New Zealand include only government-assisted emigrants. This means that many voyages, especially from Australia, show no lists at all; the others are almost always part-lists, because government-assisted emigrants provided only part of the passenger complement, even in steerage.

The index is comprehensive until the mid-1890s in term of lists.

From the mid-1890s, there are certain exceptions. The lists in the "minor ports" sequence of the Social Security lists (1895-1973) are not indexed. However the effect is minimal since most passenger ships called at Auckland and/or Wellington in addition to any other port.

After 1916 the index lacks entries for ships in the Wellington Social Security sequence, and after 1939 there are no Social Security lists at all.

The shipping lists retained by the Collector of Customs in Auckland (now held by Archives New Zealand, Auckland have been indexed until the end of 1952. This can be helpful in identifying a relevant Social Security list.

The lists from the assisted emigration after the Second World War are included in the index. Such entries can also lead an enquirer to the relevant Social Security list fairly quickly, but the Department of Labour lists (called 'drafts') generally have much more detail.

The microfilmed cards state the name of the ship, year of arrival in New Zealand and an archives reference. Usually, the port of arrival is stated.

Sometimes, in addition, the port of embarkation and date of departure are also noted. When a ship made many voyages to New Zealand, they are often noted (together with the relevant archives references) on the card.

The archives reference can be to a wide range of sources - a list attached to correspondence, a list that forms part of a large sequence of lists, or to a copy of a list supplied to Archives New Zealand (in the 'Misc' series, usually).

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