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Huge Online Family Records Archive Uncovers Russell Crowe's Maori Roots

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Huge Online Family Records Archive Uncovers Russell Crowe's Maori Roots

Five major collections covering 140 years of New Zealand history now online, plus records reveal Russell Crowe's strong Māori ties. 

In a world-first, New Zealanders now have access to more than 20 million family history records that cover 140 years of New Zealand's early history from 1842 to 1981, thanks to family history website

The six major historical collections - the New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1853-1981, Canterbury Provincial Rolls 1868-1874, Jury Lists 1842-1862, Māori Voter and Electoral Rolls 1908 & 1919, Māori Land Claims 1858-1980 and New Zealand Naturalisations 1843-1981, are now available online exclusively on

The collections have been digitised and individual records fully indexed, and depending on the record type, can be searched by a combination of name, gender, district, province and electoral year.

Together, they form part of the larger 'Anne Bromell Collection', named after the woman who spent over 20 years scouring the shelves of New Zealand's archives, libraries and bookshops. During this time, Mrs Bromell converted some of the country's most important genealogical works to microfilm.

The collections will be of enormous interest to those with early New Zealand roots, and as history shows that antipodeans have a long history of moving back and forth between New Zealand and Australia, they will also be relevant to many Australians.

Given that 80 per cent of New Zealanders claim UK ancestry, Britons will also have a keen interest in discovering New Zealand ancestors and maybe even their living descendants.

And as also hosts more than 800 million UK records, for the first time New Zealanders will have the opportunity to seamlessly trace their Brit ancestors from early New Zealand records back through even earlier UK records.

After shaking the family tree of one of New Zealand's most famous exports, Russell Crowe, has discovered for the first time Crowe's Māori heritage. It appears that his maternal great-grandmother was of Ngati Rangi, a hapu (sub-tribe) of Ngati Porou from the East Coast of the North Island. An ancestor of the Ngati Porou people is Paikea - more famously known as the 'Whale Rider'.

The Ngati Porou is a very proud Māori tribe with a long warrior history. Crowe's warrior connection clearly must be in his blood considering the roles he has played on the big screen, including Gladiator, Cinderella Man and Robin Hood.

The collections also include a listing of Crowe's parents, John and Jocelyn Crowe, as Publican and Hotel manager respectively, in the 1981 Electoral Rolls for Roskill.

Electoral rolls contain invaluable information, and in countries like New Zealand where traditional census records are not available, are hugely important for family history researchers as they are published consistently and nationally and so are useful in tracking individuals over time and place. Content Director Brad Argent comments: "This is a big step forward for New Zealand family historians as this is the first time most of these collections have been made available online.

"These collections will give New Zealanders the opportunity to explore their past and hopefully uncover new information about their ancestors, who they were and where they came from."

New Zealand genealogist and spokesperson Christine Clement comments: "This comprehensive set of online records will open up access for New Zealanders and make it easier than ever before for people to get online and start uncovering their family history."

The Anne Brommell Collection is available to UK Heritage Plus and World Heritage members.


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