Naturalisation records

Naturalisation records often provide such extra details on the person you are tracing as occupation, location, birthplace and number of years in New Zealand. The term Alien refers to immigrants not of British ancestry, as British residents were automatically given citizenship to New Zealand.

Key resources held in Aotearoa New Zealand Centre

Our alien friends
Names etc. of alien friends who have been naturalised in New Zealand also called Our alien friends. An alphabetical list of names of 19th and early 20th century 'aliens', usually continental Europeans, and when they were naturalised.
Aliens naturalised in New Zealand, 1843-1916
A microfiche resource which includes the text of the acts and ordinances through which people gained the status of New Zealand citizens. However, this is based on a 1918 version of Our alien friends. The microfiche may have fewer names than the book as some people were deprived of their citizenship during World War I.
Register of persons granted New Zealand citizenship
A microfiche resource covering the period from the 1840s to 1981 listing:
  • people’s surnames
  • Christian names
  • dates of birth or age
  • former nationality
  • occupation
  • place of residence
  • date of naturalisation
  • file number
The information is reproduced with the permission of the Department of Internal Affairs. It may contain errors and omissions, and where possible the original files should be consulted. Files are held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington. Access is restricted to one hundred years after the birth of the individual or 40 years after his/her death, whichever is sooner. The full name and the file number should be quoted.
Register of aliens, 1917
A list of people who had not been naturalised produced by the Department of Statistics. This lists:
  • individual’s names
  • ages
  • conjugal status
  • birthplace
  • years in New Zealand
  • occupation and address
The resource is arranged by geographic location, rather than by name.
Index of aliens naturalized in New Zealand: ordinance years included, 1844-1856, 1858, 1861-1864, 1866
Information is included on people’s countries of origin, occupations, names of parents and spouses and when naturalized.
New Zealand Gazette
Page references to individual 'aliens' who were naturalised at a particular time are listed in their index to the 19th and early 20th century volumes, under 'Aliens Act'. The New Zealand Gazette is also available online in our libraries and may be browsed from 1841 onwards.

Further naturalisation information is provided in the guide Family history at National Archives.


Resources about specific nationalities

The Aotearoa New Zealand Centre holds a range of information on specific ethnic emigrants:

Contains a list of some 2,000 Chinese people who paid the poll-tax at Wellington between the years 1888 and 1930.




Other titles can be found under the Immigrants subject heading on the catalogue.



There is a card index to those who arrived in Canterbury pre-1850 (before the first four ships) known as the 'Pre-Adamites' index. This also includes information and source material on individual French people who lived in Akaroa in this period. The card index is available in the Family History Centre, Central Library Manchester. The first cards in the sequence explain the symbols used. We do not know how this resource came to be named.


Updated: April 2012