Family History Month 2020



Family History Month is observed annually during the month of August across New Zealand and Australia. It's an event to help people research their family history or whakapapa at whatever stage you are in.  Today there are many tools and resources available to those interested and the Heritage & Research team at Te Aka Mauri have put together a very interesting programme hosting a series of presentations and workshops in the library on a range of topics with hopefully, something to interest everyone.

​Volunteers from the Rotorua Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists run a help desk for family history research on the 2nd Wednesday of every month (except December & January). During August they will be in the library every Wednesday from 10am till 2pm. 

​Click on Image to the left for the downloadable Programme

For those just starting to research their whakapapa, two talks by Manukau Lewis are offered.  At Discovering Whakapapa​, Lewis will offer searching advice with recommendations about which resources and non-institutional repositories could be helpful. Lewis is a Heritage Librarian, New Zealand & Pacific Collections at Te Koopuu Maania o Kirikiriroa - Central Library. Researching whakapapa and family history are his major passions and he deals with most of the public enquiries on these topics. 

Genealogists or anyone interested in New Zealand history will probably have
come across the website DigitalNZ, a fascinating collection of over 30 million items from 300 collections. 
Thomasin Sleigh, Community Manager at DigitalNZ will present an interactive workshop, DigitalNZ ā- Tihi o Aotearoa - Connections across Collections, including search tips, new collections of interest to genealogists, and share developments for the website's future.  Thomasin works at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa and is responsible for the outreach for She talks to the people who use as well as the 200+ content partners who share their collections with the website and works to make it easier for people to connect with their heritage and taonga online.​We are encouraging attendees to bring their own devices to get the most out of this talk.​

Usually when tracing family histories, there is a military connection and finding records can be challenging.  Two speakers will talk to this subject:   

ison Pine from Auckland War Memorial Museum will present a workshop He Toa Taumata Rau | Online Cenotaph - Sharing Our Stories. She will also demonstrate how you can contribute to the database.

The following week, Grant Hays, Curator of Vehicles, Artillery and Technology at the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa will present Discovering Online WWI Service Records.  Hays has done extensive research - six full family histories (civil and military), researched all 615 POWs whose names appear on the Prisoner Of War wall at the Museum, and is currently researching all the NZ POWs captured in WW2.  He assists members of the public with research queries on everything from personal family service history to Centurion tanks, to obscure artefacts in the museum collection.  He will uncover some gems from the New Zealand Archives website and share some useful examples for those doing their own family history. 

​This year we are also including live-screenings of talks from Auckland Libraries Family History Monthy programme.  These will be played in the Discovery Space on the 2nd floor on Wednesdays in August.   Speakers include Irish genealogist John Grenham, Curt Witcher from the Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library (Indiana, USA), genetic genealogist Michelle Patient on DNA genealogy, and Gail Wilson-Waring, researcher and genealogist from TV3's show 'David Lomas Investigates' and historian Kae Lewis.  These talks will run at the following times:  

Wednesday 5 August, 10am-12pm  Starting research in Irish records

Wednesday 5 August, 12pm-1pm  Mining the Mother Lode

Wednesday 12 August, 12pm-1pm A walk around "What are the odds?"

Wednesday 19 August, 12pm-1pm  The baby in the phone box

Wednesday 26 August, 12pm-1pm  The worldwide Goldrushes of the Nineteenth Century

​Our thanks to Auckland Libraries for allowing us to screen these talks


Discovering Whakapapa

Thursday 6 August, 12.30pm – 1.30pm and 5.30pm - 7pm
Manukau Lewis will assist those who have lost touch of knowledge of their tūpuna (ancestors) and those whom have tūpuna Māori, but don’t know how to start their rangahau (research).

DigitalNZ A-Tihi o Aotearoa - Connections across Collections

Thursday 13 August, 11am - 12.30pm
DigitalNZ brings together the collections of over 200 institutions from around Aotearoa, so that they can all be searched on one website. Thomasin Sleigh will present an interactive workshop on DigitalNZ, including search tips, new collections of interest to genealogists, and developments for the website’s future.

He Toa Taumata Rau - Online Cenotaph – Sharing our Stories

Thursday 13 August, 5.30pm - 7pm
Madison Pine from Auckland War Memorial Museum will present a workshop exploring Online Cenotaph. This workshop will explore how to search for family military history and demonstrate how you can contribute from your own family history to the database.

Discovering Online WW1 Service Records

Thursday 20 August, 5.30pm - 7pm
Join Grant Hays, curator at the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa, as he uncovers some information gems from the New Zealand Archives website and shows some useful examples to help you get started or continue on your current project.

A koha is appreciated to attend any of the above events.​

Thank you to our sponsors:


Page reviewed: 22 Jul 2020 9:01am