A detailed insight into times past is revealed in this country's Blue Books 1840 to 1855 which are now available online, according to Archives New Zealand Chief Executive Dianne Macaskill. "All 24 books which are a wonderful source of information about the workings of the early New Zealand government have been digitised," she said.
"The Blue Books were produced in all colonies of the British Empire in order to provide Imperial officials with the necessary knowledge for good government. "Early public records are always fascinating - these statistics about population, revenue, trade, shipping, public works, legislation, land transactions, churches, schools and prisons are a useful insight into times past and our collective history - they have a real story to tell.
"Historians and genealogists will be able to find out more about the individuals who worked for government, their date of appointment and salary.
"Other statistical returns provide information about fees that needed to be paid for various services along with the wages of the day for domestic employment and labourers, the cost of various products like butter and flour and how these varied from region to region, and many more categories that give life to the environment in which the ancestors lived."
Dianne Macaskill said digitisation had helped to preserve the originals, by ensuring high-quality copies were now available to more people online.
The Blue Books are available at http://www.archives.govt.nz.