The index is available via two platforms. Either through Knowledge Basket, which Auckland Library members can access via the Digital Library, or through DBTextworks.
Auckland Library members can search the DBTextworks version on pcs at the Central Auckland Research Centre, the South Auckland Research Centre and the West Auckland Research Centre. We recommend using the DBTextworks version if possible as it enables specific field searching, the results can be easier to interpret and you can utilise the ‘browse feature’ to look up terms used in the index (helpful if you are unsure of spellings etc).
The index does not contain the content of the minute books themselves, so you will need to note the district, bookname and page numbers to then refer to the appropriate hard copy or microfilmed minute book. The hard copies can sometimes be easier to read than the microfilmed versions. Also, multiple volumes can be included on one reel of microfilm; each volume is only indicated at the start of that volume - which can make finding the appropriate volume and page more difficult.
When searching, you would usually be using some of the following information:
- Names of land blocks
- Names of people who may have given evidence in court between 1865-1910 or died before 1910
- Names of hapū or iwi who may have been mentioned in court between 1865-1910
Other possibilities include date, place of sitting, judge, type of case or district.
This screenshot shows a search for succession cases on the Wairoa block involving Wiremu Kauika, using the Advanced Search:
Note that the database uses the surname, first name format. Eg Kauika, Wiremu
As is often the case when database searching, ‘less is more’, and it may be appropriate to include search information in only one field; sometimes just searching on a surname is sufficient. If you get too many irrelevant results than you can add more information to narrow your search.
A useful tip for name searching which accommodates the fact that names may have been recorded in the minute books in different orders, is to use the ‘within’ operator. Eg a search for Wiremu W2 Kauika will find all records where ‘Wiremu’ is within two words of ‘Kauika’ (in either order) allowing for an intervening middle name.
Part 1 of this post covered the background to the Māori Land Court Minute Books.