How to search for land records

Toitū Te Whenua maintains and stores New Zealand’s title and survey records, and provides public access. This page tells you how to find the records you are looking for.

You can order a copy of almost any of the historic land records held by Toitū Te Whenua or Archives New Zealand. You are welcome to visit an office to view any of the records which can’t be copied.

How to view an original land record

We can give you advice on how to find a record, but we can’t carry out a search for you.

Where to start

The first step is to work out who has the record you are looking for. The following pages are a good starting point:

Public reference systems, such as local council rating rolls, contain a lot of information. These systems will often give you the details you need to order land records.

Search for and order a land record

Archives New Zealand holds a lot of older land records. This includes Crown grants, deed registers and indexes, ‘rolled plans’, surveyors’ field books, and many early records for Crown-owned property.

Archives New Zealand

Historic land records

Most Maori land records are held by the Maori Land Court.

Searching for Maori land records

Help with your search

Many historic and genealogy organisations publish guidance on how to search for land records. The New Zealand Society of Genealogists website, for example, includes a link to ‘Where did my ancestors live?’ by Ron Hermon. This has a researcher’s guide to the land records held by Toitū Te Whenua.

New Zealand Society of Genealogists website - written presentations

Property record providers, such as local councils, may let you search their records or do this for you.

You can search the records held at Archives New Zealand by using their Collections search. This includes descriptions of historic title and survey records transferred from Toitū Te Whenua. To view the records you will need to visit an Archives New Zealand office.

Collections search

Other land record providers

Historic land records

Research guides to land records held by Archives New Zealand

You can hire a specialist ‘search agent’ to help you trace a particular property title. Like other land professionals, search agents have direct access to Toitū Te Whenua’s Landonline system (which holds property details like location and ownership). They also understand how land records are structured, including in the historic systems.


Other land record providers

The land records held by Toitū Te Whenua

The title and survey records that we hold have information about:

  • ownership (or other rights) over land
  • transfers of those rights
  • the exact physical nature of land parcels.

Our records do not include:

  • permits granted for different kinds of use
  • information about activities carried out.

We hold titles, such as:

  • current records of title
  • older records of title, previously called certificates of title or computer registers
  • the administration documents for older title systems, such as Journals and Abstracts
  • some older records relating to control and management of land.

We also hold survey information, including:

  • cadastral survey plans
  • surveyors’ technical records
  • field books and notes dating back to the earliest surveys.

Our page on historic land records includes a full list of the records available, including information about records stored at Archives New Zealand.

Historic land records

The following pages also provide background information that may be useful:

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