Hidden Histories - Jason Gunn - Day 7

Imagine taking 94 days to travel from the UK to New Zealand. You had to endure the changes in temperature as you sailed from one hemisphere to the other. The food was preserved and the water not that fresh. All your washing was done in salt water and had to be dried inside if the weather outside wasn't good. If you didn't like some of the other passengers you were stuck with them for the entire voyage.

Think about this the next time you fly overseas and make the same journey in a day.

Immigration to New Zealand

When you have identified the ancestor that arrived in New Zealand, then you need to try and work out when they arrived.

If you’re lucky you may have inherited a souvenir from the journey that identifies the exact date or maybe a diary of their trip.

RMS Ionic - 1924 voyage


However, if you haven’t then you need to look for clues:

  • What is the first record that your ancestor created in New Zealand?
  • Does their death certificate tell you how long they have been in New Zealand?
  • Do they have other family in New Zealand that were also born overseas?

Once you have narrowed down the timeframe then you can start searching the records.

Two main sources for passenger lists are listed below. It is important to remember that not every records survives and that there were different requirements depending on when and how you were travelling e.g. were they assisted immigrants or paying their own way?

Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960

Findmypast has searchable passenger lists for this period of time and these include images of the records.


New Zealand, Passenger Lists 1839-1973

These records found at FamilySearch cover both inbound and outbound passengers and also include some passengers that arrived via plane into Auckland. They are scans of documents found at Archives New Zealand. Note they do not contain complete coverage for this period of time.


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