Directories are a valuable resource for local, family and social historians
as well as for researchers in other fields of New Zealand history. Directories
are an extremely useful tool for establishing when and where a person lived
however this is just a starting point, look further in the directory to find out
more information about the society in which they lived, the occupation they held
and the people they knew.
Directories in New Zealand fulfilled three main functions: to boost the local
and regional economy by bringing producer and consumer together; to provide a
compendium of useful information to benefit the local population as well as the
would-be migrant; and to create in printed format a resource which would help
meld isolated communities together.
Henry Wise produced his first national directory 'Wise's New Zealand
Commercial Directory' in 1872-73. In 1881, Wise won permission to refer to his
directory as the official New Zealand Post Office Directory. Wise's continued to
publish their mammoth directories in a single volume until the mid-1950s.
Information for the three main sections of Towns Business Directory,
Alphabetical Directory, and Trades Directory (the alphabetical list of names,
the names attached to the list of occupational headings, and the streets
directory) was acquired by means of a house-to-house canvass of the country's
metropolitan areas and of homes in the surrounding countryside. As a general
rule (which may vary between directories), the name of the head of the household
was listed, as well as male lodgers aged 18 years and over (21 years in some
cases). The spouse was excluded unless he or she owned property on his or her
own account, as were children over the age of 15, even if they were in the
workforce. Those who only rented property were also usually excluded.
You will find information on all the facilities that New Zealand had in 1900,
such as schools and universities, banks, companies, medical and legal persons,
all the various government departments, customs information, railway department,
even the various societies in the country.
This enormous volume of over 2000 pages, is packed full of useful information
on the people and towns of New Zealand as they were in 1900. Ideal not only as a
research tool for genealogists, but also for social historians.
Originally produced by Archive CD Books Australia in 2006, this title has now been remastered and re-released, and includes better searching capability. This CD contains high quality scanned images of the whole of the original book, and has been bookmarked for easy navigation. Pages can be searched, browsed, enlarged and printed out if required.