South Canterbury Genealogical Resources

South Canterbury
Lake Tekapo with Lake McGregor and Lake Alexandrina in the background known for good trout fishing.
Genealogical Resources 

Cemeteries  |  Electoral Rolls | NEWSPAPERs | Obituaries 

What a shame the Government didn't keep the NZ census returns - thank heavens for Wises, school rolls, sheep returns, Return of the Freeholders and Electoral Rolls though.

The main facility for genealogical research in Timaru is the South Canterbury Museum which has an archives reading area.  Over the last couple of years the South Canterbury Branch of the NZSG has been transcribing the St. Mary's Anglican and Temuka Anglican church records and they are now on computer and can be accessed at the South Canterbury Museum.  The museum has records for cemeteries, most Presbyterian and some Anglican Church baptisms and marriages, and some schools, namely South School. The museum, library and St Mary's Church are all within walking distance of each other. Canterbury Sources

Libraries & Archives

The Timaru District Library has some of the old newspapers and books on South Canterbury. Details about books, magazines, music CDs, music cassettes, DVDs, and other resources held at the Timaru libraries located in Timaru, Temuka and Geraldine are available. Library members can view information such as items on issue showing the date they are due back, reserves and overdue charges. Items can be renewed online if not previously renewed or reserved. The Timaru District Library now, 2008, has the Ancestry Library Edition which includes US Census, UK Census. Go to menu and find Online databases and scroll down to Genealogy Search- Ancestry Library edition on the Library catalogue computer. "Libraries are quite social places now." NB 2010

Former Mayor, Ray Bennett, reopened the library on Monday 6th July after a $1.8 million repair and redevelopment project creating a brighter, drier and more user friendly space for all library users. He said "The library isn't just a place for books, it's a real hub for the community whether that's getting internet access, getting advice or even just getting out of the rain." A community room was added for meetings. The library had previously been the site of a factory manufacturing barbed wire.

Timaru District Library, 56 Sophia Street, Timaru, 7910
P.O. Box 228 Timaru, 7910, NZ
Phone Number - 03 687-7202 
Fax Number - 03 687-7211

The hours for the Timaru District Library are:
Monday - Friday 9am -6pm
Saturday 10am - 1pm
Sunday 1pm - 4pm
Website map
Contacts: Ask a question Timaru, Temuka and Geraldine Libraries.

Library History  postcard

Aug. 2015 MT

Wanganui Chronicle, 3 February 1909, Page 5 THE TIMARU LIBRARY.
Timaru, February 2 The first meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Public Library to-day fixed the duties of the librarian as a preliminary to calling for applications for the post. The Mayor, as chairman, said there could be no subscribers, but ratepayers and rent-payers must be allowed to take out books.

What about early Settlers - did they have libraries?? ...
Indeed they did. In Timaru a reading room was established in the School House, Barnard Street, on 7 April, 1862, three years after the first immigrant ship, the Strathallan, arrived. The reading room was open daily from 5 pm to 10 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm. It provided a wide range of English and Colonial newspapers and "a select library of books for its members". By 1896, its successor, The Mechanics' Institute received the following list of papers and magazines: 31 New Zealand, 3 Australia, 18 Home (British), and Foreign and 10 Monthly magazines. These days we may have more magazines, but we certainly can't match their overseas coverage!!

On the 3 June 1909 a new Timaru Public Library was opened, owned and operated by the Borough Council which had provided the site, the building being paid for by a grant from Mr. Carnegie and by two thousand five hundred pounds, the proceeds of the sale of the Mechanics' Institute's land and buildings. By this time, the Mechanics' Institute had ceased to exist.

In Aug. 2010 The Timaru District's three libraries hold a combined 220,055 items. The Waimate Library holds about 25,000 items, while the Mackenzie Community Library in Fairlie has about 20,000 items. The Timaru District libraries have a total of 18 full-time staff, eight part-time staff and nine part time "Student shelvers".

Hawera & Normanby Star, 4 June 1909, Page 5
Public Library for Timaru.
Timaru, June 4. A public library, erected at a cost of 3000 pounds, a grant from Mr Carnegie, was formally opened yesterday afternoon by the Mayor, so far as the reading-room section is concerned. The library section is not yet completed. All the books of the Mechanics' Institute will be taken over, and the value of the Institute, assessed at 1300 pounds, will be spent on new books. The rate will bring in 500 pounds.

Otago Witness 23 June 1909, Page 31
The average daily attendance at the Carnegie Public Library for the week ended Saturday, June 19, was 580 persons.

Grey River Argus 10 August 1906, Page 2
A special meeting of the Timaru Borough Council was held on August 6th to consider communications received from Mr Carnegie with reference to a grant for a public library. Mr Carnegie's final proposal was to give 3000 pounds for building a library, if the Council would provide a site and dispose of the present Mechanics' Institute and devote, the proceeds to the purchase of books and thereafter maintain the library efficiently. The Mayor proposed that the Council should accept the offer, and add 6000 pounds or 7000 pounds with which to erect new municipal offices and town hall in a connected building with combined facade on - a site the Council owns opposite the Post Office. The councillors, with one exception, approved of both proposals, but no resolution was passed, pending a discussion by the ratepayers. The Mayor estimated that municipal buildings would cost the ratepayers nothing, and that a _d rate would carry on the library.

Timaru Herald, 30 October 1880, Page 3
The well-known Mechanics' Institute,  (on the south side of North street) which for the last fifteen or sixteen years has formed the local habitation of the mall public library, a fire bad broken out in the Institute. Numbers of willing hands were engaged removing the books from the Library. Mr Thomas Turnbull, the late Captain of the Fire Brigade, was in the foremost rank of volunteers and worked, as he usually does in such cases, with untiring energy. Two lengths of hose were quickly run out, one of the engines working at the well at the back of the Supreme Court, the other at the well at the old Land Office in Heaton street. After working here for some time, the water gave out, and the engine was taken to Hallam's Baths. Fortunately all the books in the library were saved, although some of them suffered severely by being carelessly thrown from the room on to the footpath, and had it not been for some more sensible person procuring a door on which to place the others, they too would have suffered.

Timaru Herald, 2 December 1880, Page 6
A considerable portion of the books were destroyed by the lire, and all were more or less injured. The total damage being estimated at �210, that amount has been agreed today the several Insurance Companies.

Timaru Herald, 6 April 1867, Page 2
Mudie's Library.  We observe that a branch of this library is about to be established in Timaru, under the auspices of Mr Younghusband. The first portion of the books arrived by the Wainui on her last trip from Lyttelton, and comprise works of the most celebrated popular novelists of the day, including Anthony Trollope's, Mrs Wood's, Miss Braddon's, Wilkie Collins, Bulwer Lytton's, Henry Kingsley's, Whyte Melville's, Edmund Yates', Holme Lee's, and others. We should think from the above well known names, and from the collection of books being both interesting and varied, Mr Younghusband will have little difficulty in filling up his subscription list.

Timaru Herald, 28 May 1870, Page 5
Timaru Mechanics' Institute. A annual meeting of the members of the Timaru Mechanic's Institute was held in the Reading Room on Monday, the 16th of May. Mr R. Turnbull was voted to the chair. The meeting then selected 156 volumes of books to be sent to England for by next mail.

The Timaru District library building was built at 56 Sophia Street, Timaru in 1979, a Warren and Mahoney-designed building. 
District Libraries 1989: The Temuka and Geraldine borough, Strathallan county and Timaru City councils amalgamated in 1989 so it meant the libraries did too.
Some come in to the library not to check out books but to use the internet; others simply use the library as a reading room to check out the latest newspapers, or as a place to meet friends. How do you know what people want to read? Spending time on the front desk like librarian do. Timaru Library poems - pdf open

New Zealanders like to read about New Zealanders and read DIY books (do it yourself )

Timaru District Council
Document and Records Officer

Waimate Public Library
PO Box 122, Queen St
Waimate (03) 689 8079
Fax: (03) 689 8075
Waimate Public Library Local Government Centre ph: 689 8079
Hours: 9-5 Mon-Thurs, 9-6 Fri, 10-12 Sat

Mackenzie Community Library, Fairlie and the Old Library
The Mackenzie District Council and the Mackenzie College entered into a partnership to create a complex that serves the whole community. Entrance is at the College on Kirke Street, Fairlie opposite the St Stephens Anglican Church. The public has access to more than 6 million titles from libraries throughout New Zealand and Australia.  The borrowing period is for 21days.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10.00am-5.00pm
            Friday 10.00am-7.00pm
            Saturday 10.00am-12 noon

Temuka Library Service
King St., Temuka map

London, August 10. Are public libraries becoming less popular? A decline in the number of books issued for home reading is mentioned in many of the reports of these institutions. The falling off largely to two factors: The enormous number of standard and good popular works now published at low prices. The great increase in the number of places of cheap amusement. With this diagnosis the chief librarian of Westminster is quite in agreement. "A man can now form a library in his own home instead of being dependent on an institution." "On the other hand, no cheap form of literature can serve the purpose of a public library." Among the places of cheap amusement responsible for part of the decline Mr Pacy put the picture palaces. He also hazarded the opinion that the great tide of public prosperity was another factor. "The more prosperous the trade of a country," he said, "the less leisure is found for reading. Instead the people go holiday making. But when times are bad then the public library is a sort of solarium, and the people take more home reading. "However, our experience here,"' he added, "is that as the lending issues decline in number there is a more steady use of the, reference departments, and that, I think, is the case generally. There is, in fact, no falling off in the taste for serious reading."

Timaru Herald 20/03/2013 Waimate
New library technology taking off. The library has wireless internet and more internet capable computers. More than 400 eBooks now available at the Waimate District Library. eBooks could be downloaded through website and by following links to the library. The publications are available for borrowers to access. Members need an email address and password to access the service. If a borrower has not used the online service before, they will need to go into the library to get a password. "free eBooks which are out of copyright".

Timaru Herald 26/08/2014  Waimate Library is the place to be
Waimate residents are visiting their local library in record numbers. The number of people that went through the library's doors between July 2013 and June 2014 reached 60,000, the highest number since the Waimate District Council started keeping records in 2009. In 2000, a one-off count was conducted with 40,000 going through the doors. Based on statistics the library's patronage has increased by 50 per cent over the last 14 years, according to a report by Waimate District Library senior librarian. Council community services and planning manager, said the total of 60,000 also included people coming in to use other library services, such as the internet. "The library has had a reasonably busy winter period," she said. "The number of people using the library continues to grow." She said other aspects of the library were also proving popular, such as a free wireless internet services. It's not only the people coming through the doors, but people using wi-fi. Some are coming in and some are not. Some are sitting in their cars to access it and that's fine." The library's winter reading programme has also proved popular, with more than 60 children registering to take part. Of the 60, 45 completed the programme in the allotted time between June 23 and August 1. Several displays, such as the St Augustine Church bible display, Matt Henderson's stamp display and the current Anzac poppy display created by members of the Waimate Embroiderer's Guild, have also drawn people in. Between June 12 2013 and 31 July this year, the library secured 32 new members. The library had a circulation of 23,737, which includes books and electronic books issued, renewed, returned and reserved. Mayor Craig Rowley said he was pleased to see the town's library being well-utilised.

Department of Conservation Archives
Aoraki Mt Cook Field Centre.
George Napier was the first person to die in the Mt Cook National Park in a climbing or associated activity. He probably drowned in the Hooker River back in Dec. 1907.  Mr Napier was employed by the Hermitage to assist the guides.  It was presumed he drowned while returning alone with the horses after taking a climbing party to Ball Hut. His body was never found. 'Peter Graham Mountain Guide' an autobiography, refers to the unsuccessful searches for him.  The horses were found outside the boundary fence.

Evelyn Oxenham, a young woman, died on the Mueller Glacier on June 26, 1913. Her body was found on June 26 by guide Jim Murphy. Her "climbing companion Mr Locke reported at The Hermitage, that she had become exhausted and he left her to get help."  The pair had been climbing.  For her to have been climbing with a male guide, and without a chaperon, was very unusual for those times. 

Messrs Darby Thomson, Jock Richmond, mountain guides and Sydney L. King were caught in an avalanche, off divide north of Mt Dampier, on the Linda Glacier on Feb. 22, 1914.  They had completed a successful ascent of Mount Cook and were descending by the Linda Glacier. The body of Richmond was found and carried back to the Hermitage.

Evening Post
, 2 March 1914, Page 8 Inquest
1st March. At the Hermitage, before Mr. C. J. Pilkington, J.P., Acting-Coroner, and a jury of six, an inquest was held concerning the death of Guide J. Richmond. Guide Graham stated that on receiving word of the party being missing he arranged a search party, and proceeded to Haast bivouac, meeting Mr. Turner on the way, who returned and assisted in the search. On the morning of 25th February they proceeded to Linda Glacier and examined the steps which appeared, and arrived at the conclusion that the party had been overwhelmed by a vast avalanche. They discovered the body of Richmond very much bruiser. It had a portion of the guide-rope attached to it. The body was removed to the Haast bivouac. The avalanche had apparently been carried a quarter of a mile from where the last tracks of the party were discovered. As mountaineering goes, the spot has been generally reckoned comparatively safe. He always considered Richmond a capable and trusty guide. Richmond's watch was broken, and had stopped at 4.50, which would be about the time the party would be on the spot where the avalanche came down, judging from the time they were last seen on the summit. The avalanche would be about three-quarters of a mile long and a-quarter of a mile wide. Samuel Turner gave evidence that they saw Mr. King's party, consisting of Mr. King and Guides Richmond and Thompson, on the summit of Mount Cook about 12 noon on 22nd February. He was with the search party who found the body, and assisted to remove it to the Hermitage. A verdict was recorded in accordance with the evidence.

The accident was in no way due to carelessness, but was simply a calamity of Nature.

Evening Post, 25 February 1914, Page 3 ANOTHER ACCOUNT
CHRISTCHURCH, This Day. A different account from that contained in the official telegram was supplied last night_ by Mr. Batey, an officer of the Tourist Department, who was at the old Hermitage at the time of the supposed disaster. Batey says that King, "Darby" Thompson (senior guide), and Jock Richmond started off from the Hermitage at 4 a.m. on Saturday. Lieutenant Dennistoun and Mr. Turner started off without guides ten hours later, intending an unaided ascent of Mount Cook. They followed the track of King's party as far as the Linda Pass where, in the shadow of Mount Silberhorn, the tracks ended in an avalanche. Dennistoun and Turner searched the farther side of the avalanche, but found no further tracks, so returned and reported that King and his party had probably been swept down the crevasse. Crevasses are very numerous on Mount Silberhorn and in the Linda Pass. Thompson was a native of the West Coast, hailing from Ho Ho, three miles from Hokitika, his family being old settlers in the district. He was well known as an exceptionally clever mountaineer and was extremely popular. He had for many years been guide on Mount Cook, second in seniority only to Peter Graham. Richmond had been three years in the service. King was an Englishman who had had considerable climbing experience in the Swiss Alps. He had been unsuccessful in an attempt on the minor peaks in the Mount Cook group owing to bad luck with the weather. The present season has been especially prolific in the matter of avalanches. Mount Cook was never so bare and denuded of snow and ice as at present, owing to the hot weather.

Guide John Richmond belonged to Willowbridge. He is buried in Fairlie. He was 30 when he died  on 22 Feb. 1914. Son of John and Annie Richmond. They have to other children buried in Fairlie.

Evening Post, 27 February 1914, Page 3
Telegram from Mr. B. M. Wilson, general manager of the Tourist Department, this afternoon "The rescue party had a very hard time, and are resting to-day at Ball Hut, where Chief Guide Graham returns to-night, with Mr. Friend and three guides Conrad, Kane and Brass, who have volunteered their assistance. The country was so rough and broken that it was only possible to get the body out by each man taking turns to carry it a few steps at a time. "The body was fearfully mutilated, and barely recognisable. The party had almost decided to abandon the search, when Guide Graham saw a boot sticking out of the snow, and so discovered the body. They then tried hard to find the others.

Grey River Argus, 2 March 1914, Page 3
"Darby" Thompson was a very well known and extremely popular guide. He was second in seniority only to Peter Graham, and had been man years among the Mount Cook group of peaks. He was an exceptionally good mountaineer. Thompson, strangely enough, seems to have had some premonition of disaster. He "was discussing the perils of mountaineering with a Christchurch resident during a recent visit to this city, and he referred to the fact that there, had been no fatal accidents among the guides in the Mount Cook distract. 'All the same," he said, "we carry, our lives in our hands. Don't be surprised if you hear soon that one of us has met his Waterloo." Jack Richmond had been in the guide service for about three years. He was Peter Graham's assistant.

 Mrs Thomas Condon died while crossing the Copeland Pass in 1925.  She was crossing the pass from west to east, with a guide and her husband, when she died somewhere above the Hooker Hut. As of Jan. 2000 193 have died in aircraft accidents in the park or while climbing or guiding.  Mt Cook itself, continues to take its toll, claiming more than a quarter of all the fatalities.

Family History Centre, Pages Road, Timaru

The Family History Centre is open as follows:
Tuesdays	9.00am-1.00pm
Wednesdays	9.00am-9.00pm

Christchurch Regional Office, New Zealand Archives
90 Peterborough Street, PO Box 642, Christchurch, NZ 
Database for Canterbury wills including South Canterbury's .
Unfortunately, their photocopying policy states "that we do not photocopy archives from the nineteenth century. You may visit the Office to take a photograph, or you may wish to contact a professional photographer who has often worked at the archives."  Reference: Regional Archivist. The Archives can supply photographer contact info. The Archives have photocopied the passenger lists and surgeons journals and bound them into book form and it is from these that photocopies are made for the public.  We don't look at the originals.

Aotearoa New Zealand Centre located at the Central City Library Christchurch.
Christchurch City Libraries Genealogical research service will undertake genealogical research for a fee. $NZ20/ hour.  searchable catalogue 
General inquiries to

Family History Centre
25 Fendalton Road , Fendalton, Christchurch
Phone:  (03)  355 6874
Hours:  Closed Mondays
            Tues., Wed, Thurs      9.30am - 3.30pm
            Tues., Thurs., Fri         7-9pm
            Sat 9.30am-1pm
            Sun closed


The following institutions may have genealogical and historical records on South Canterbury.

Canterbury Museum
Rolleston Ave
Christchurch 8001
New Zealand
ph: (03) 366 5000     fax: (03) 366 5622       email
Library Manuscripts: open to researchers Monday to Friday, 1.00 - 4.30 p.m.
Pictorial Archives: open to researchers Monday to Friday, 1.00 - 4.30 p.m.; photocopying service available.

Geraldine Historical Museum Administered by the Geraldine Historical Society.  It is housed in the former Geraldine Borough Council Chambers which is a historical building. It features permanent and changing displays looking at the history and people of the area.  

Geraldine Historical Society Inc
5 Cox Street
Geraldine 7930
email -
Ph no +64 3 6937028
open Mon to Sat 10.00am - 3pm
Sun 12.30 - 3pm
Entry free, donations appreciated.
WALK INTO GERALDINE and the DISTRICT'S HISTORY - Photographs, artefacts and much more in an historical building.
Large photographic and archival collection with research only undertaken by us. The basic fee is $50 per family name- photographs, photocopying postage etc extra to help fund our entirely voluntary museum. [updated august. 2012]
The museum publishes an historical magazine twice a year.
May 2010: We are in the process of fundraising for a new two storied exhibition and display space to the west of the existing complex with 191 sq m of new exhibition space so all contributions gratefully accepted including naming rights for a price!  photos

Fairlie Historical Museum
Mt Cook Road, Fairlie 8771 Administered by the Fairlie Historical Society. Two buildings: 
The machinery of the horse-drawn era building is always open.
Mabel Binney Colonial Cottage: 2 - 4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday.  Wednesday from Labour Weekend to Easter (closed over winter) Relates to Fairlie area.  Farm diaries, photographs not available for viewing unless you make an appointment. The old Fairlie railway station is here and utilized to display exhibits.  There is a display on woolshed memobillia.

The Mackenzie District Archives Group, which was established in 1999, possesses more than 86 collections, including more than 1400 photographs, as well as a large collection of maps and local history books, all of which are catalogued and stored in a room at the Fairlie Museum. Contact

Mackenzie District Archive
Mackenzie District Archive Society Inc. has a new facility opened in Oct. 2015.
To research local history research contact
Helen Beattie - 685 6298,
Rosemary Moran - 685 8289
or Maria Evans - 685 6127.

Pleasant Point Museum and Railway
Housed in the old railway station and features displays of local history and railway items. Farewell to the Fairlie-Flyer, January 1884-March 1968 : a record of the 84 years service. Publisher: Pleasant Point Railway and Historical Society 1968 [20] p. : illus., map

Temuka Courthouse Museum
Administered by the Temuka and Districts Historical Society. Contains displays featuring the history of Temuka area and its people. Hours: Friday and  Sunday 2-4 p.m. Contact. Free admission. Donations encouraged. Former courthouse, built by Berry and Schwartz, opened in 1901.

South Canterbury Museum
Perth Street, P.O. Box 522, Timaru 8165
Phone (03) 684 2212 
Fax (03) 684 2215 
website & holdings
(opens in a new window)
An archives reading area is available for those wanting to trace family history or historical facts. Provides access to the Museum's collection of local photographs, maps, station diaries, archives, information files, biographical and genealogical files, press cuttings and local history library. e.g.
Presbyterian marriages for Pleasant Point 1881-1972
Pleasant Point School Registers
Monumental Inscriptions for all South Canterbury Cemeteries
BDMO notices from Timaru Herald 1864-1908 (indexed)
Obits from Timaru Herald 1864-1934
1882 Freeholders Register for South Canterbury
R.P.J. McNicholl local history file.
At least one Wises / Stones /Post Office directory for most decades from 1870s onwards (1890s, 1900s & 1910s notably missing).

Early Timaru Herald copies and microfilm etc that use to be held at the library are now held by the South Canterbury Museum
Shipping lists but they are not indexed - a date helps.
and more. Free admission.  Hours: Tues-Fri 10.00-4.30, Sat-Sun 1.30-4.30.
'The South Canterbury Museum Ink Well'

Aigantighe (pronounced egg and tie) Timaru's public art gallery, established in 1956. chimney pots Friends

Upper Waitaki Pioneer Gallery and Museum
Location: 25 Gordon St, Kurow. Contact: Eileen Cochrane, 25 Gordon St, Kurow
Hours: 2.30pm-3.30pm, daily October to May.

Waimate Museum
Formerly the Waimate Courthouse (1879-1979)
Located at 28 Shearman Street, Waimate 7924
Museum phone: 64 3 689 7832. Archives  689 7842
Hours: Monday-Friday 1.30-4.30pm. Sun 2pm - 4pm

The Waimate Archive facility is open to the public Tuesday through Thursday from 1:30pm to 4pm. facebook
In 2015 digitised and placed their WWI collections online.

NZ Truth 24 October 1929, Page 6 THE WHEEL OF TRANSFER
THE ever-revolving wheel of departmental transfers has lifted David Melville Webster from his office stool in the Dunedin Magistrate's Court, and deposited him as clerk of the court at Waimate. Waimate will soon find that in Webster they have a very able man.

12 April 2006 Timaru Herald
Trapped in time, their portraits tell a story of time past. Waimate Museum's exhibition Portraits from the Past illustrates many of the district's pioneers. Display co-ordinator said the portraits had been "stashed away for years" at the museum. For years they had been out of sight. We were having a clean up and found them all. The oldest portraits were painted in 1728 in England and given to the museum by Waimate resident Tom Hurst for safe- keeping. The exhibition also included a picture taken by the former Waimate photographer Charlie Clarke of his daughter Enid. The first manager of the Waimate Hospital, William Petit's portrait from 1875 is part of the exhibition. Meanwhile pictures of his daughter and wife hang in the corridor of the museum permanently. There was a portrait of John McKenzie who arrived in Waimate in 1876. He helped build the old McCullochs bridge and the old Criterion Hotel. He also built the Catholic Presbytery and Convent. A portrait of Margaret Barnett Cruickshank, who was the first woman doctor in New Zealand also featured. She began her practice in Waimate in 1897 and died in 1918 during the influenza epidemic.

Under the Covers 

New Genealogy Resources at the Timaru District Library 

The library does respond to e-mail requests ('books only'), now, 2001, their newspapers and microfilms have been placed in the Museum, and the at the Museum you can access the Cemetery records I would recommend that the first stop be the Museum. Book resources is the Library's strength and they have an excellent 'Reference Stack collection.'  Many local history books, the Timaru Herald BDM indices etc. Early 'Timaru Herald' copies and microfilm etc. that use to be held at the library are now held by the Timaru Museum.  

Computer and Internet Genealogy titles held at the Timaru District Library 

Many libraries in New Zealand have books in "Stack". It is a collection of books which are old but which they do not want to discard because they are a New Zealand, a classic, or a local publication. Most but not all stack books are available to be borrowed but are not displayed in the browsing section of the library. They have to be identified on the catalogue and then retrieved from the stack storage area by library staff.

Some valuable books in "stack" which are not on the library catalogue may be of interest for genealogy research. They are for reference only i.e. cannot be borrowed.

*On this page and the South Canterbury Bibliography page an asterisk * refers to microfilm items that can be ordered through Family History Centres worldwide.

The Community Archive - (formerly the National Register of Archives and Manuscripts)
An exhibition featuring the Acland family
Temuka Pioneers Day 75th Anniversary of Province Timaru Herald 14th December 1925
Timaru District Council Webcam

Church Records 
Histories & Lookups

Court Records

Bankruptcy: There is a fifty year restriction on access to bankruptcy files.
There are two types of bankruptcy file: the court file, where the petition is initially filed, and a file of the Official assignee in Bankruptcy and this may contain inventories of property and debts.
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:
    Official Assignee's files for Timaru from c. 1983-1932
    Timaru Supreme Court Registers 1909-1969 and files 1909-1932
    Pre -1909 Timaru records with the Christchurch material

Criminal and Civil Record Books
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings: Various restrictions apply.
Supreme /High Court  Timaru
Magistrate's /District Courts: Fairlie, Geraldine, Temuka, Timaru, Waimate
Probate records, 1871-1901  New Zealand. Supreme Court (Timaru District)  FHL Catalog. 
Index of Timaru probated wills up to 1986  Miles
Index Magistrates Court licensing records Timaru 1880 - 1974       

Deceased Estates: Probate and Letters of Administration Files (Wills). These are very useful for genealogical research. If a person died without making a will, there maybe a file of Letters of Administration, containing the documentation to settle the estate. Now online. See Archways.
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:
Timaru probates 1871-1984
National computerised index of probates (wills)

*Original records at the Supreme Court, Timaru. Book 1-5 1871-1928. Alphabetical and annual index to the probate wills and administrations.

Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:
Registers and files from the Timaru Supreme Court. 60 year restriction.

Divorce court proceedings were public up to 1982 when they came under the Family Court and were called Family Proceedings files. Divorce files, access is restricted for 60 years from file closure and are held at Archives NZ, but are they are filed according to the Supreme Court (High Court) or Court where proceedings were held and from 1982. Pre 1982 there may have been reports in the daily newspapers or "Truth". There is a microfiche index to Divorces in NZ Truth for 1946-66.

Testamentary Registers:1921 onward restriction. (Inland Revenue Department Death Duty Registers)
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:
Canterbury 1867-1983
New Zealand Estates Index 1921-1973

Land Records

The above institutions may have genealogical and historical records on South Canterbury and refer to the libraries section on the New Zealand Bound site. To locate a book check the New Zealand Bibliographic Network, an online computer system which links most public, university, government and other libraries in New Zealand to a central bibliographic database. The NZBN Database contains over 10 million bibliographic records and includes information on over 8 million books, periodicals and audio-visual programmes held in New Zealand libraries. Order the book through the Inter-loan service.

Maori Court Records

*Court held at Bluff, Taipai, Temuka, Waikouaiti, Waimate, South Island 1887-1890. Microfilm of original records at the Maori Affairs Department, Christchurch.  Contains Maori genealogies presented to the court to support land ownership claims.


Linz maps
AA has very good  NZ road atlases (several to choose from), city maps & street directories.
To find a NZ place try:
NZ Geographic Place-Names Database

"AA Concise Dictionary of NZ Place names" 
Wise's Directory

Marriage Records

Archives NZ Christchurch holdings: They are not indexed.
Notice of Intention to Marry registers for Fairlie/Mount Cook, Pleasant Point, Waimate & Timaru

Miscellaneous records

Electricity Corporation -  Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:
Accident files 1953-1984 relating to the Waitaki Hydro Group, Twizel.  Restrictions: Personal and medical formation is restricted for 100 years.
Hotel Licensing Records - From the mid 1870's licensing districts and courts were established and kept a register of applications.
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:Computerised search system
Geraldine, Temuka, Timaru, Waimate, Pareora, Hakataramea
Police Records -
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings: Not indexed.
Charge books and dairies. 70 year restriction. Fairlie, & Timaru
Post & Telegraph
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:
Records from the Chief Postmaster at Timaru includes files on most post offices and general files.
Railways -
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings: A wealth of information.
Valuation Rolls -
Archives NZ Christchurch holdings:    c.1904-1955 for Canterbury

Residences - to find


The genealogical branches of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) for the South Canterbury area are:
South Canterbury Branch of the NZSG
Meeting time: 7.30pm, 2nd Tuesday, Feb-Nov.
Branch meetings held at the South Canterbury Museum meeting room, Perth St. Timaru
South Canterbury Genealogical Group has an excellent index for School Admission registers for South Canterbury schools. At present they are in the process of putting school admission registers on to computer.

Waimate Branch of the NZSG
Meeting time: 7.30pm, 2nd Wednesday, Feb-Nov at the Genealogy House, Dempsey Complex, Innes St, Waimate.  

*On microfilm through the Family History Centre's loan programme.

Vital Records

NZ BDM fiche only have the individual's name and folio number - no information regarding parents, or the exact date. Births. Available at your nearest branch of the NZSG, large public libraries, or your nearest LDS Family History Centre. Ancestry NZ BMD records from the fiche

Additions, corrections and comments welcome!

South Canterbury NZGenWeb


A president's job is not an easy one
Thos. Bracken's poem, "Not Understood"
"Oh, God, that men could, see a little clearer and judge less harshly where they cannot see;
Oh! God, that men would draw a little nearer one another, they'd be nearer Thee and understood."
Let us draw nearer together and help one another.

Letters of Naturalisation.
Timaru Herald
, 27 August 1879, Page 2
Letters of naturalisation have been issued in favor of Mads Hansen, of Temuka.