Stories from the NZ Police Gazette

By Tema Hemi
  • Auckland

A collection of police gazettes which spans from 1878-1945 and details information on police officers, victims of crime, missing persons, and wanted and released criminals has been revealed in a presentation of case studies to the Auckland Central Library.  

The presentation turns the pages back on 150 years of New Zealand culture and history.

Jason Reeve of Ancestry.com says, "Well, in the days before the internet obviously the police still had to communicate and this was their method of communicating".

It's taken a collaborative effort to make this information available to the public.

Reeve also says, "so this is a partnership between Archive NZ and DIA and ancestry. So we work with a range of archives basically try to digitalise a lot of the collections that they have."

Depending on the content most government records have not been available to the public. 

Reeve continues, "So all they have to do is go to ancestry.com.au its obviously a website they just go in if they're not familiar with the website there is a fourteen-day free trial that they can sign in to and they can browse all the records they want to in those fourteen days. it's information which will be of great benefit to individuals, families or groups wanting to access the archives.

"So there are records out there that shed additional light on the story of an individual and in this case on some Māori and other people as well.  And, because of the content of what these are they're not something that was orally shared".
 
Some people may not always agree with the police records. 

"Everyone reacts differently, right?  You take a record of a murderer, some people will take that as a negative thing they don't want to know about it.  Some people see it as a positive thing for its part of history, its part of who that family line is.  It all depends on the individual".

And for many, the police account of history will be a bitter pill to swallow.  Reeve says in a final statement, "I'd encourage people to have an open mind and remember that history is history".

It's a collection which could prove to be a great resource for anyone researching NZ history.