Pandora Research - Background
Establised 01 September 2014





Pandora Research


Pandora's Box (1990-1997) - last updated 17 Oct 2014

This is mostly a collection of abridged transcripts of manuscripts held at Archives New Zealand and the intention is to increase awareness of the Wellington Office collection. With a yearning to better use the years of acquired research knowledge and experience, the decision was made in June 2014 to spend time searching through collections of undescribed records held at Archives New Zealand. While doing so improved inventories will be generated and for records particularly rich in details partial or full transcripts may also be made.

In the first instance New Zealand Company records have been chosen due to the richness of a significant group of manuscripts that are under-represented in published histories. Suggestions for looking at other sets of records are welcome especially if this would provide assistance to researchers working on 19th century NZ history projects. Help with genealogical research is also offered.

The passion to build resources for researchers of 19th Century New Zealand emerged in the early 1990s. Initial efforts focused on indexing official publications and the resulting index, called Pandora's Box, was donated to the New Zealand Society of Genealogists in 1997.

Two years later the website was established and over the years genealogical and historical data along with various images has been built and rebuilt into the form that it takes today.

In 2006 the transcription of New Zealand Government inwards correspondence registers, held at Archives New Zealand, was commenced and is now one of the core resources making up Pandora Research.

About one million letters were written to the New Zealand Government between 1840 and 1900. These are generally recorded in registers and most communities will be represented within the many thousands of letters that have survived. A few of the registers have been transcribed. In recent times more than half a million references to surviving documents have been added to Archway. These are mainly the results of a concentrated effort to better describe the correspondence collection. Much applause!

There are many other records in the Wellington Office collection that have to date escaped item level description. Achieving this at the level of excellence attained by the Alexander Turnbull Library is simply beyond the resources available to Archives NZ.

The Alexander Turnbull Library has ~1.2 million items and ~95% are described in Tiaki. Archives NZ has ~13 million items and there are ~6.3 million entries in Archway. Many of the entries listed in Archway represent 'collections' of items.

The approximate percentage of holdings for the Archives NZ Offices are:
Wellington (60%), Auckland (25%), Christchurch (11%), Dunedin (5%)

Article: The Register Room: Mining Gems from Inwards Correspondence
by Thomasin Sleigh and Heidi Kuglin
In: Genealogy Absolutely Positively 2007 Conference Proceedings

Articles by Dawn Chambers
Letters to the New Zealand Government 10 June 1886
In: Genealogical Research Institute of New Zealand (GRINZ) Yearbook 2000

Assisted Immigration to Nelson 1855-1871
In: Centred on Nelson 2005 NZ Society of Genealogists Conference Proceedings

The Wainuiomata Bush Lokey named “Pio Pio” (Jan 2016)
Ward Family Origins, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England (Dec 2016)
Daniel Baxter (1792-1881) of Avening, Gloucestershire, England (Jan 2018)
Private William ALLEN of the 58th Regiment (No.1222) - killed 16 May 1846 at Boulcott Farm, Lower Hutt (May 2018)

Famnet Newsletters: Digging into historical records series
May 2017 When did Opunake first appear on a map?
Jun 2017 Ship 'Timandra' 1842
Jul 2017 Halifax, Yorkshire & the New Zealand Company
Aug 2017 Opua Road Co-op Dairy Company Ltd 1951
Sep 2017 Durban Firearm Registrations 1869-1871
Oct 2017 Otago - Cancelled Deposit Cheques on Contracts 1865-1875
Nov 2017 Influenza 1918 - Plight of the Registrars
Dec 2017 Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington (Francis Dillon Bell) - Outwards Letterbook 1855-1856
Feb 2018 Three Wellington Ladies of 1854
Mar 2018 Cape Egmont Lighthouse - Nelson visitors November 1881
Apr 2018 Cape Egmont Lighthouse - a beacon to more than ships
May 2018 A Whakarewarewa Postcard
Jun 2018 Vogel Assisted Immigrants at the Hutt 1873

Brief CV Details:

Dawn Chambers
Born Opunake, Taranaki; Dairy Farm background
Education - Opunake Primary School; Opunake High School
Massey University - 1986 BSc Microbiology & Genetics

Employment 1986-2014 DSIR & GNS Science
(Cancer research technician; Administrator Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory)

Voluntary Genealogical Activites
1990-1997 Pandora's Box
1999 to current
2006-2014 Pandora's Box 2
2012-2015 Hutt Valley Biographical Index and Genealogies (HBIG)
2014 to current Pandora Research (full time volunteer)
2017 Joined the team at AkoAko Films
Any financial support for this website is welcome and research services are available on enquiry.
Last updated 20 June 2018