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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Green pattern.

What’s in our archives?

DCC Archives hold a unique set of archives that can aid you in your research. Here you can find some information, resources and handy hints for using our archives.

Property and land records

For researching house history, built heritage, land information.

  • Building plans.
  • Drainage plans.
  • Rates books and Valuation rolls - The age of your house can be determined in the rates books or valuation rolls. These books are a great source as they detail what year a house was erected, shown by a values/rates increase This is usually accompanied by a note “new house”.
  • Aerial photographs – These can show historic land use over time. These begin in 1947.
  • Photographs – see our online collection here DCC archives Flickr page (link to external website, new window). This is a living collection that we regularly add to.
  • Maps – cadastral maps can be used in conjunction with rates and valuation rolls to determine the location of a property.
  • City Engineers records.
  • Street name change lists – Many of the city’s street names have changed over time.


For researching family history, house and land ownership.

DCC Archives hold records that can help with genealogical enquiries. Most of our archives are arranged by land, not by people’s names, but we can still find people if we know roughly where they may have lived in the city.

Before asking for assistance, you can prepare by checking local directories (available at Dunedin Public Library or other archive institutions). Try Stones and Wises. It’s good to note where your relative was living in the street (how close to an intersection they were, etc). This helps us to locate the area and check properties in the old ratesbooks. Once we locate them we can tell you what property they owned or leased, how long for, where that property is now and whether the house/building is still standing.

Online Resources

For you to use at home.

  • Departmental Reports 1915-16

    The Departmental Reports were produced by the Council at yearly intervals from 1905 until 1981 and gave a concise and detailed view of the operations of the Dunedin City Corporation. We have digitised the 1915-16 edition here.

    It is more than 100 years since this report recorded the opening of the Rhododendron Dell at the Botanic Gardens, the amalgamations of Maori Hill, Bay Town and Mornington Boroughs into the City, and the first Anzac Day. While some of the activities carried out by the City at this time are no longer Civic concerns, most of the work is entirely familiar in substance to any modern rate-payer.

  • Town Board Ratesbook Transcript 1857-1862

    The Dunedin Town Board collected rates from 1857 under the Dunedin Boards and Ordinance Session II, No 13, 1855. This 1992 transcript records the alphabetical listing of owners of land rated in Dunedin from 1857 to 1862. Once you have located a person and the legal description listed, you can find out where the land is by using the 1909 Dunedin Map on this page by searching for the block number (roman numerals) and then the section.

    There are further notes on how to use this transcript on the first page of the pdf document.  Note: there are no surviving ratesbooks for 1862-1874.

  • Dunedin City Council Family Tree

    DCC family tree chart.

    This family tree maps how DCC’s predecessor’s merged into other authorities and then DCC over time. The last major merge was the 1989 Local Government Reorganisation Act which created the current Dunedin City Council.

    The records and archives that have survived of these authorities are within the Dunedin City Council collection.

  • Dunedin City 1909 – DCC Archives, Maps H1/1

    Map of the City of Dunedin 1909.

    This 1909 map shows streets, reserves, harbour land, old ward boundaries, church and government land. This is very useful for working out former street names and formations, and provides the legal descriptions of land. The legal descriptions can be directly related to land listed in Dunedin City Council’s historic ratesbooks.

    Note: The numbers on the sections are legal descriptions, not postal addresses.

  • Compare 1872 Dunedin with Today

  • Street Names in Dunedin and Suburbs

Still didn't find what you were looking for?