Maps and Plans


Archives New Zealand has one of the largest map collections in the country, holding over 750,000 maps and plans across four offices. In the Wellington Office we hold close to 500,000 of these maps from a range of different departments and agencies.

For published maps we recommend researchers make use of the digitised NZMS collection on the National Library website. However we hold thousands of unique maps of use to family historians.

Statutory Branch Maps (Series 997)

Series 997 is a collection of around 2,000 maps that were used by the Department of Lands and Survey as reference tools for their work. The series contains some of the earliest and most diverse maps in our holdings. They are arranged by Provincial districts, with divisions into districts, towns and reserves. However there are also two very large groups which are not arranged geographically: the General and Gazetted maps. They are all listed individually on Archway.

The maps themselves vary in format. Some are as small as 20 centimetres square while others can be up to four metres long. Some are hand drawn and coloured, some are monochrome prints and some are lithographs.

The maps are useful because they:

How to search the series: From the Advanced search - Records page put 997 in the Series field. You can then try searching with relevant keywords in the Keywords field, or simply click search and browse the full list. You can arrange your results by date or alphabetically. Only some have been digitised.

Roll Plans

These large format roll plans, created by Lands & Survey, draw upon several major plan sequences including Deposited Plans (DP), Māori Land Plans (ML) and Survey Office Plans (SO). Organised into districts, these plans show:

The Roll Plans are helpful for getting a broad sweep of an area, especially if you don’t have a street address or section number for your ancestor’s land; or if you want to see boundaries in situ.

The Wellington Land District Roll Plans [Series 22381] are a set of 584 plans that mainly date from 1840 to the 1920s, but there are some from as late as 1977. They are listed by place – sometimes very broadly, such as ‘Middle Wairarapa’ or quite specific, like ‘Pipitea Pa’ – but almost all contain a Survey Office Plan or Māori Land Plan number. This means you can use the related Indexes to cross-reference each plan (see our Land guide for more information on these and other sources).

How to find Roll Plans: To search the Wellington Land District Roll Plans use the Advanced search - Records page. Put RP in the Record # field, and then use place names in the Keywords field or click Search to see the full list. Again, you can arrange your results by date or alphabetically.

To find Roll Plans covering other parts of the country, use the keywords district roll plans from the homepage of Archway. Then click on the go button for series of records and find the district you need.

Land Sale Maps

‘Land Sale Maps’ [Series 8109] and ‘Lands and Survey Maps’ [Accession W3740] deal with land sold by the Crown under the Land for Settlements Acts. Land considered unsuitable for farming was developed by the Crown into viable farmland, and rather than selling these to the highest bidder, potential buyers registered an interest in purchasing the land at a fixed price. The purchaser for each block was then chosen by ballot. Maps of the land for sale were published and distributed for public viewing at Lands and Survey offices across the country.

The 531 maps in Series 8109 range from 1893-1946, and appear to be the Head Office maps of land offered for sale. They are organised by land district and year, and are listed with their Block or settlement name. However the ‘Lands and Survey Maps’ in Accession W3740 holds a lot more: over 6,600. These are also organised by district, year, and block/section/settlement.

The maps contain:

Files on every section that was ever balloted are scarce, but if your ancestor received land by ballot then these maps will help. From newspaper references or other sources you can match up the section or block to the map for that ballot.

How to search for Land Sale Maps: go to the Advanced search - Records page. Depending on the collection you want to search, put the series or accession number in the appropriate field. Then use place names in the Keywords field or just click Search to see the full list. You can arrange your results by date or alphabetically.

Maps in Files

Many smaller maps and hand drawn sketches can be found in paper or ‘text’ files, especially nineteenth century correspondence or Lands and Survey files on sections/blocks. Crown Purchase Deeds [8102] and Old Land Claims records [OLC] are two collections in particular that have maps and plans attached to a file.

There is no real way to find these other than exploring the records associated with your topic that are listed on Archway. However there is one card index in the Wellington Reading Room (Drawer 11) which covers maps attached to the files of:

Other Collections of Interest

Archives New Zealand holds many other maps of use to family historians, including: