Thanks to the online birth, death and marriage site, most of us can now locate the dates and places of these three life milestones for our ancestors. You may also know their religion or at least be able to make an educated guess. A logical next step would be to locate the church records for the baptisms, marriages and funerals on these individuals.
The keeping of church records in New Zealand generally began when representatives of each religious organization arrived in the islands.
Anglican Church (Church of England) records exist from 1814 onwards. They are held at the Archives of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. Research can be undertaken in person or by contacting the Archivist at P O Box 4438 Christchurch Fax: 03-379- 5954 Email: email@example.com. There is no charge if research is undertaken in person, but donations are always welcome. Written research charges are $30.00 per hour, charged in 20 minute time periods. Photocopies of Baptism, Marriage and Burial records are available at $10.00 each. Reductions are available for 3 or more records at any one time. Photocopying is at the discretion of the archivist. The Archives of the Anglican Diocese are currently developing more online resources.
The Methodist Church of New Zealand Archives is located in Morley House, Latimer Square, Christchurch, New Zealand. There is also a branch of the Archives located in Auckland. Contact the Head Archivist by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch sells a CD with an index of baptisms in their diocese. As a general rule, Catholic Church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials are held by the local parishes. In the archives at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament there are early baptisms for Akaroa, Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula, and for Shands Track. Shands Track records were for people from the Rangitata River to Cheviot with the exception of the Christchurch area. Records of homes for orphans and the aged are held by the institution that runs them or the religious orders which are in charge. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Christchurch does not hold published material.
The Archives of the Diocese of Christchurch are housed in a tower of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and consist of a varied collection of documents relating to property, personnel and events. An appointment can be made to visit the Roman Catholic archives. Most information is provided free of charge. Roman Catholic Archives web site is at http://www.chch.catholic.org.nz/?sid=1037
The Salvation Army Archives will make available historical information about people who have been in their care for whatever reason. They can also provide some information regarding those who have been an officer or otherwise of some note in the Salvation Army, and you may find an obituary in the army’s periodical, the War cry, which is held at the Salvation Army headquarters in Wellington. Further details, including research fees and contact details, are provided on their web site. http://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/research-media/archives-heritage/
Those with Lutheran ancestors (many were German or Danish), should check the Archives collection at the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. You may also contact the President of the Lutheran Church New Zealand. The Lutheran Archives AUSTRALIA is the official repository of historical material relating to the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) and it also holds a limited collection of records from New Zealand.
The Baptist Church has a history in New Zealand dating back to the 1850s. Some of the church’s records can be found in the Hocken Collections http://hakena.otago.ac.nz/nreq/Welcome.html
The New Zealand Jewish Archives opened in 1980. The Archivist, Mr. Michael Clements MNZM JP, assisted by volunteers, will answer well-posed enquiries bearing on genealogy and family history. A donation towards the archives is expected for such enquiries. Contact information and more about the collection can be found at their website http://www.nzjewisharchives.org/