Māori Land Court Minute Books Index now open access

Māori Land Court Minute Book

Copy of a page from a Māori Land Court minute book held by the University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. (Mātauranga Māori 333.0995 N536k)

E ngā mana, e ngā reo o Te Tumu Herenga e kore e mimiti ngā kōrero i tā koutou mahi rangatira nei.

Since the July launch of the redesigned, open access Māori Land Court Minute Books Index website, accessing the information held in these historic Māori land records has never been easier and it shows.

Over the last two months, the General Library Special Collections team have seen a rise in enquiries about the minute books, mostly from those conducting whakapapa or family history research. After searching for references in the new website, researchers can visit the General Library’s microtexts room to locate specific microfilm reels, each containing the handwritten minutes from Māori Land Court proceedings. The number of reels used since the website’s launch is over five times that of the same period in 2017, reflecting a marked uptake in interest by researchers.

Sarah Dunbar, Library Assistant, Special Collections, notes that making the index publicly accessible is already having a clear impact for researchers: “Our increased discoverability is allowing more people to explore the stories in the minute books and find out about this period of New Zealand history.”

Enquiries have reached as far afield as the Australian outback as well as regional New Zealand, with individuals and community groups becoming active users of the index to discover more about their whakapapa and history.

Researchers closer to campus making use of the revamped index include students of PROPERTY 382: Māori Land Issues, who will be scrolling through the reels over the coming weeks as part of their research into the history of a Māori land block.

For more information about the minute books and index, visit the website.

Ngā mihi anō ki a koutou o Te Tumu Herenga, nā koutou i āwhina te kaupapa tika, ka māea ngā hua.