Whakapapa

This guide was last updated in 2009

The genealogy of the family has a strong basis in the Maori culture and is known by the name “Whakapapa”.

Maori children learned the names of their forebears by rote and were also instructed in tribal history, including the name of the canoe in which the tribe “waka” arrived in New Zealand in the period around the turn of the first millennium.

In the absence of a written language, such recitations and oral history were immensely important. Tribal elders will, therefore, have a lot of historical information about the “whanau” (extended family), “hapu” (sub-tribe) and “iwi” (tribe) in question.

Maori Land Court books, which start from 1863, provide important details on Maori families and their ownership of tribal lands. They have been microfilmed and are available through the Church of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) research centres. Visit www.familysearch.org.uk to find your nearest.

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