Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Telephone books & directories

Current Resources

New Zealand phone books

The latest available copies of all New Zealand telephone books are on the shelf at the Central Library on the 1st Floor. All our branch libraries also hold a copy of the current Wellington phone books.

You can access New Zealand telephone numbers online on our free internet computers at any of our libraries.

Australian phone books

We no longer hold hard copies of these directories, but they can be accessed online:

South Pacific phone books

We no longer hold hard copies of these directories.

Phone Books for Great Britain

The White Pages and Yellow Pages for Great Britain are no longer freely available online, although there are some charged sites where you can search for phone numbers.

Current Electoral Rolls

Current New Zealand Electoral Rolls are held near the 2nd Floor Reference Desk at the Central Library. Ask a librarian to help you access these.

NZ Post Postcode Finder

Find New Zealand postal addresses, rural delivery addresses, postcode areas, PO Box and Private Bag numbers. Start typing and possible address matches will appear.

Postcode Finder

Historical Resources

Below you'll find a guide to our historical telephone books & directories. These are a wonderful resource for genealogy and other historical queries. You may also like to view our Genealogy Popular Topic page.

Historical Telephone Books

Older New Zealand telephone books (a selection, going back up to 15 years in some regions, but not others) are held on the shelf at the Central Library, 2nd Floor.

The National Library has a large collection of New Zealand telephone directories from the 1920s onwards. Try a National Library catalogue search for 'telephone directory zealand' to see some of these.

You'll need to physically visit the National Library (in Thorndon) to browse these.

Post Office Directories

Historical directories can be used to trace the movement and occupation of a person over an extended period of time.

These can be found in physical form at the Central Library, 2nd Floor. We also have some access through Ancestry Library Edition (details below), which can be accessed from any of our branch libraries.

Ancestry Library Edition

In-library use only.

The majority of this collection is comprised of the Wise's New Zealand Post Office Directory. Although unauthorized, it was a commercial endeavor sanctioned by the Post Office and published by Henry Wise & Co., Dunedin. It covered all of New Zealand and was the first national postal directory of householders published nearly every year or two years from 1872 to 1955.

(If the link below doesn't resolve to the directories, look for a link to 'City Directories' under 'Quick Links' at the bottom of the Ancestry homepage, and then choose the NZ City & Area Directories.)

New Zealand, City & Area Directories, 1866 to 1955

Wise's New Zealand Post Office Directories

We have a very good set of Wellington directories, as well as some coverage for the rest of the country (our collection here tends to be less comprehensive). Microfiche is also available for some years (1866-1943).

Wise's were published between 1872 and 1961 and contain an alphabetical list of persons and business firms by name. Think of them as a combined Yellow Pages and Electoral Roll.

Wise's volumes covered the whole of New Zealand until 1955, and then produced separate regional volumes, concentrating on Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Listing of names of householders ceased in 1981 after a law change, and from then only streets (no residents) and businesses are listed.

Wise's directories record heads of household, usually men, in a single alphabetical list covering the whole of New Zealand. If a man is replaced in the list by a woman with the same surname at the same address, the husband has usually died.

The period 1872-1876 covers business advertisements and a street directory only; from 1878 an alphabetical surname listing is also provided. The street directory section is broken into towns and cities, then streets. The name of one resident, not necessarily the property owner, is listed at each dwelling.

There was a time lag of up to two years between the collection of information from householders and publication of the directory. The directory, which has many omissions, should be used in conjunction with the Electoral Rolls.

The back of Wise's contains supplements which include lists of ministers of religion, runholders, government servants and business persons.

Stone's directory

Stone's directory is similar to Wise's.

The directory provides an alphabetical list of residents, lists of tradespeople, officials and runholders, and the early editions also provided a general directory of New Zealand information. Our collection mostly focuses on Wellington, but we also do have some coverage for various other areas of the country.

We have most years going back to 1896. Ask a librarian at the 2nd Floor Desk, Central Library.

Historical Electoral Rolls

On Ancestry

These are searchable in-library on the Ancestry database. The Maori lists are also available there for 1908 and 1910.

(If the link below doesn't resolve to the directories, along the top bar, click 'Search', and then 'Census and Voter Lists', and then choose from the NZ Electoral Roll links under 'Featured Data Collections')

NZ Electoral Rolls 1853-1981 (in-library only)

Electoral Rolls held at Central

We hold physical copies of New Zealand Electoral Rolls going back to 1866. For more information, visit our Genealogy Page

Genealogy Library Guide

Popular Topics I Library Catalogues