New Zealand BDM Search is now online

The New Zealand Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages has released its online index for historical births deaths and marriages. Records are restricted according to their new privacy provisions to births more than 100 years old, still births more than 50 years old, marriages more than 80 years old, and deaths more than 50 years old where the deceased was born more than 80 years ago.

Once you have found a result that you think might be useful you can order a copy online for NZ$26.00 for records before 1874 and NZ$20.00 for records after 1874. This equates to about $21.00 or $16 Australian. If you are given a choice between a certificate and a computer printout make sure you ask for a computer printout – these are like photocopies and contain more information (and are cheaper!).

Birth results give parents’ given names for easier identification. Marriages can be searched by both parties’ names, although if you search by one name you don’t get the other one in the results list. 

The website is here:

It’s slow at the moment but that may be because so many people are trying it out, like me! Sometimes it gives up and asks you to try again. I’m sure these problems will be resolved in time.

The days of poring over microfiche a year or a few years at a time and then sending a form and waiting a few weeks are over.


  1. But the days of frustration because New Zealand’s site has many mistranscriptions are now with you.

    I have so far purchased a total of six “certificates” of various types. Between them they carry fifteen name entries. Seven of them are mistranscriptions.

    Of the mistranscriptions, three are so bad that further research in the BMD index is impossible. “Sanders” for “Saunders” I might have guessed but not “Wilson” as a substitute for “Weston”.

    The issue is the same working through the indexes – find a marriage and there is no guarantee that the births for the individuals will be discoverable.

    The service is distinctly second-rate compared with other countries and the backup is at the same level. Try asking for help in deciding whether the two index entries might be the same person and you’ll find that support staff are not permitted to do it. You’ll have to buy the “certificates” – which is of little use if the names are plain wrong.

    A lot of information has been lost and will remain hidden as long as the only information that will be divulged is the transcription and the user is forbidden from seeing the original. Half a world is a long way to to get to the office and look at the books.

    I’ll score it 4/10 – could do one hell of a lot better!

  2. I agree that there are problems with the database, including indexing errors and general usability issues. I still find it an enormous improvement over the microfiche, which I can’t access from home and never seem to have time to pore through when I’m in town.

    All of these online databases have teething problems and I prefer to give applause where it is due. Many Australian states still do not have online indexes, and the more recent ones are not especially friendly. The NSW BDM indexes, which I have most experience with, have been through a few iterations until they have reached the standard they now enjoy.

    If we can stop abusing the NZ site perhaps the staff will find the time to stop being defensive and address the errors we find.

  3. The site is always falling out or going slow – one has to constantly email them asking questions and why the cut off dates, no one born after 1910 is listed etc.
    One can get around this but very time consuming.

    I suppose the only thing going for it is – it’s free

  4. Yes, it is free. It’s a shame that they haven’t sorted these problems out yet. It’s still quicker and more convenient than looking up the microfiche!

  5. Well, I have found the service to be great – impossible otherwise to find this informaiton from Australia.

  6. shirley o'connor says:

    Jude please look in State Library of NSW for up to late 20th C


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