Source Information New Zealand, Civil Registration Stillbirth Index, 1901-1973 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2022.
Original data: New Zealand, Civil Registration Stillbirth Index, 1901-1973. New Zealand, Civil Registration Stillbirth Index, 1901-1973.

About New Zealand, Civil Registration Stillbirth Index, 1901-1973

About the Civil Registration, Still Birth Index, New Zealand, 1901-1973

General collection information

This collection contains an index of still birth records from New Zealand between 1901 and 1973. Per New Zealand law, still birth records are accessible to the public 50 years after the still birth occurred. Records for live births are available after 100 years have passed.

Using this collection

Records in the collection may contain the following:

  • Surname
  • Birth year
  • Birth registration number
  • Names of parents
  • Often, only the child's last name was used to register a stillbirth. However, in some cases, a first name may also be included. In some cases, "NR" (Not Recorded) may be listed as the first name of a child.

    Children who died shortly after birth were not registered as stillbirths. Their records may be found on the New Zealand Civil Registration Birth Index.

    Please note that this collection does not contain specific birth dates or places, however, it contains excellent clues to help your research. In addition to an approximate birth date, each file lists a birth registration that correlates to a record. Full birth records will contain more details.

    Collection in context

    Although part of Aotearoa, New Zealand was contained within the geographical zone claimed by the British when they colonised New South Wales in 1788, it was not of significant interest for several years. Sealers and whalers established camps along the shorelines, and communities of Māori and Europeans (often called Pākehā) developed in some coastal areas. In the 1830s, the British Colonial Office established their first official presence, and in 1841, New Zealand split from New South Wales and became a separate crown colony.

    As a British colony, civil registration was widely based on the British civil registration system, which was introduced in 1837. New Zealand civil registration was introduced in 1848, when all births and deaths were required to be reported to the Registrar-General. However, the civil registration system was not standardised until 1856. Due to parish registers, some earlier births are also recorded.

    In 1912, the Registrar-General began recording births of stillborn children. Beginning in 1913, Māori births were recorded, but in a separate register. This institutionalized practice of keeping Māori and Pākehā birth registers separate continued until the 1960s.


    New Zealand Government. "Search Historical Birth, Death, and Marriage Records." Last Modified July 7, 2021.

    National Library. "Family History." Last Modified 2022.

    Archives New Zealand. "Life Events." Last Modified June 22, 2022.