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Heritage services and resources

Photo of Cmross Building

Heritage services and resources are on the second floor of the Central Library. It houses the Reading Room for the Ian Matheson City Archives collections of council and community records. You will also find books on the topics of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, including extensive Māori and local history collections, and genealogy books and resources.

There are also resources and professional assistance available to help you research Palmerston North and Manawatū. If you are looking for information on family, a local building or landmark, or the region and its people, we can help.

Left: The Palmerston North Central Library building, as it was in its former life as the C M Ross department store, 1930s.


The Ian Matheson City Archives is a great resource for research. It contains historical records relating to the Palmerston North community, such as local businesses, organisations, individuals and families, and the historical records of the Palmerston North City Council.

You can come to the second floor of the Central Library or email the Heritage team to discuss your research needs.  To view the archival records you have located we recommend that you contact us in advance so we can have the records ready for you when you visit. 

We welcome donations to the community archives.

Search our archive 

Image for Palmerston North City Council Archives Search

Palmerston North City Council Archives Search

Archives Central is a fully-searchable catalogue of Council Archives, including a growing collection of digitised archives, sourced from participating New Zealand local authorities.
The purpose of Archives Central is to make Council archives more accessible for the community and easier to use.
Click on the logos above to view your chosen council’s homepage and search their listings; or use the search box at the top right of this page to search over the whole site.

Manawatū Heritage

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Manawatū Heritage

Manawatū Heritage is an online repository where you can search, share and download thousands of photographs and other items about the Manawatū region.

Manawatū Heritage is a living heritage tool which encourages active participation from the community by accepting digital uploads and written articles from the public. By creating a log-in, you can upload your own stories and photographs to the repository as well as comment on individual items, share your findings via email and social media, and download low or high resolution copies of out of copyright materials.

Local history

We have books on New Zealand history, with a significant collection about Palmerston North and the wider Manawatū, Rangitikei and Horowhenua regions, many of which are now out of print.

You can also view local newspapers dating back to 1877 on microfilm. The index to the Manawatu Standard newspaper is searchable using the library catalogue to locate entries relevant for your research.

Awapuni Memorial

Genealogy and whakapapa

Heritage Research Archives Microfilm


Whether you are just beginning to delve into your family history or have been researching your family history for some time, we can help you with your genealogy research.

Some of the resources available for use in the library include:

  • Free access to library editions of the Ancestry and Find My Past databases (see below for links to these resources).
  • Free access to other selected websites and resources such as Papers Past, the New Zealand Burials Index and the New Zealand Gazette Archive.
  • Current and historical New Zealand electoral rolls.

Volunteers from the New Zealand Society of Genealogist are available to assist with genealogical research. They are available at various times and dates. Details can be found here or on this page under our Heritage Events. 


 If you are looking for whakapapa or tribal histories, here are some of the resources that may help you: 

  • Otaki Māori Land Court minute books 1-78 
  • Indexes to Māori births, marriages and deaths 
  • Māori electoral rolls (from 1908 ) 
  • An extensive collection of books including Māori history and traditions, tribal histories, pūrākau myths), waiata and whakatauki (proverbs).
Research And Archives Maori Bird Lore And Paintings Back Covers 1024X682

Māori Land Court clinics

A representative from the Māori Land Court is available in the Central Library once a month. For more information or an appointment phone the Māori Land Court on (06) 349 0770 or contact the Heritage Team.



Heritage events

Details of heritage past and future events can be found in the What's On section or below.

Ancestry Library Edition

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Ancestry Library Edition

A resource for family history researchers.

Enter names and places where your ancestors might have lived. View images of documents such as census records.

Ancestry Library Edition is available from home until April 30.

Find My Past

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Find My Past

A family history and genealogy website containing over 550 million family history records.

Find My Past is currently accessible from home.

Login using the following details -

Username: PalmerstonNorthCity@findmypast.com

Password: FMP2020

Please Note : For privacy reasons, FMP asks that users do not start or update their own family trees on this account. Instead they should register/sign into their own personal account with FMP.

Multi-user access is enabled on the username/password but there is a fair usage policy in place.

Access now available at home whilst our Library is closed.

Contact the Heritage Team

You can visit them on the second floor of the Central Library, phone them on 351 4100 or send them an email.

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