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Herries Beattie Papers (1848–1972)


The Herries Beattie Papers document the traditional knowledge and memories of 19th century South Island Māori and Pākehā during a key time in New Zealand history, a great deal of it based on conversations and interviews.

Beattie was an extremely thorough researcher and the information he collected is detailed and specific to the South Island. Leading up to the Ngāi Tahu claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, researchers for iwi and the Crown used the Beattie papers repeatedly as they provided reliable and detailed historical and ethnographical data not found elsewhere.

The collection records thousands of South Island Māori place names gathered by Beattie from his lifetime work of interviewing Ngāi Tahu people. Subsequently, the Beattie collection was an important source of knowledge relating to Ngāi Tahu place names for Kā Huru Manu.

Archive Location

Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Beattie in later life

First page of Beattie’s boyhood diary.

Notebook used for information on native birds.

Printed map of Stewart Island showing numerous place name annotations by Beattie.

A selection of notebooks including the first page of the notebook on native birds, above.


Catalogue Record

Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Digitised Herries Beattie

The Herries Beattie collection has been digitised as part of Hocken’s Kāi Tahu Digitisation Programme. The collection includes correspondence, newspaper clipping books, notebooks, childhood diaries, manuscripts of published and unpublished works, typescripts, ephemera, plans, photographs, sketches and illustrations.


Anna Blackman, Head Curator, Archives, Hocken Collections, speak about the Herries Beattie papers