Archives New Zealand holds some historical records relating to the sale and purchase of land in Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa and German Samoa). These historic land records relate mainly to Land transactions by British nationals between 1847 and 1915, recorded in Land Deeds registered by the British Consul. German Samoan High Court files also contain a number of Estate related records from 1900 to 1919.
Archives New Zealand does not hold any copies of the Land and Titles registers. They have been consistently held and used by the Land and Titles Court in Apia, Samoa since c1900 to the present day.
It is important to know what administration power was in place in Samoa to be able to search successfully for any land records Archives NZ might hold for the period of interest. Please see the timeline of administrations on the reverse for details.
British Consul Samoa – BCS c1843 to 1915
British purchasers of land, including traders and missionaries, registered their purchases of land from Samoans with the British Consul between 1857 and 1915.
These Registrations of land transactions are part of the BCS Registers, Series 6. The Index to the Land Deeds Registers is in Register Volume 1, Page 201 to 280, and the actual Deeds Registers are Volumes 8-12.
The key thing to find is the ‘Register number’, which equates to the actual Deed Number. This is a running number from 1 to 4612, dating from c1843 to 1915.
The files held at Archives New Zealand are approximately half of the total collection of administrative records generated by the Imperial German Administration of Samoa between 1900 and 1914. The High Court files were subsumed by the British Military Occupation force [Samoa-BMO1-4].
High Court Case files may hold the most valuable land information: Samoa-BMO4. See archway for a full sub-series below (microfilms available at Wellington Reading Room)