Frequently-asked questions

Q. Where can I find a copy of my title/s?

Copies of titles are available from the Land Institute of New Zealand. You may either write, telephone, go to your local office or go online to www.linz.govt.nz and click on Titles and Records, to order the required documents. You might like to also check out the section 'Researchers and Historians' for further information. Title copies can be ordered online.

We have recently been advised by LINZ that they do not provide the associated research services needed to locate some titles (we believe they're getting a bit stressed by Century Farmers!) You may need the services of a lawyer or search agent to help you. One such search agent suggested by LINZ, is Bob Matthews from Pastfinders Avitus (03 473 9695) rgmatthews@orcon.net.nz.

Another alternative is Archives NZ. The staff are normally very helpful and they have all original titles bound in large books. You just need the correct family name or initials and area and they are able to track the family's title, research wills, and even letters etc. 

Some very old farms predate the whole title process as we now know it. Other families purchased and farmed for years before a title was issued. In these cases we will readily accept other forms of verification, i.e. letters, diaries etc.

Q. What kind of photographs do I enclose, and how many?

Most Century Farmers enclose copies of as many historic photographs relating to the farm/family as they can find. Conversely others have lost all in a fire or flood, and their inability to enclose such material in no way diminishes their application. There is no upper limit as to how many photographs we will accept, and they can be sent in digital form (on a memory stick or CD).  Please realise that photos of your farm and family "taken yesterday" will complete the picture. They too will be hugely interesting in 50 years!

We have received a lot of wedding photographs, school photographs and families posing beside newly completed homesteads, as well as pictures of prize livestock, horse teams, new tractors etc. Don't forget to send photographs of the current generation too. People have also submitted diverse materials such as a receipt for turnip seed, an agreement between a crofter and Scottish landowner, copies of old family letters and certificates for prize-winning fleeces. 

While we are making the request for these materials, it is much more about what you as a family would like to see preserved for future generations and what you would like those researching New Zealand's agricultural history to know.

Since the New Zealand Century Farm & Station Awards collection archive is to remain open at the Turnbull Library, you are invited to contribute further material as the years go by. To quote Dr.David Colquhoun, Curator of Manuscripts and Archives, "We know there is a lot out there on farms, by way of diaries, station books and photographs. We also hope that these Centenary farming families would want to deposit additional historical material over time."

Q. Can I copy the application form?

Please do! When we first launched these awards we struggled to make eligible families aware of them and were greatly helped by individuals copying the application forms and handing them to other interested parties.

Q. What is the application fee used for?

As a non-profit organization we try to cover as many of our expenses as possible. The substantial bronze plaques presented to awardees currently cost almost $200 each. The remaining money helps cover office expenses etc.

Q. What about that logo?

In looking for a suitable logo we chose a simple fencer's figure eight knot. We believe that anyone who ever farmed, whatever the agricultural commodity produced, probably built a fence. And we thought it also had a good connection to the famous Kiwi number eight wire ingenuity!

Q. What goes on the certificate?

The certificate reads something like this:

"Presented to: (The Smith family) (Wilbur and Martha Smith) (The Smiths of Smoothrocks) in honour of their (100? 110? 135?) year commitment to farming, by the Right Honorable _____ on May 27th, 2016"

You may select any wording that you choose for the person/s this certificate is presented to, but as this relates to the present, it's probably less appropriate to list an ancestor. But it is your choice.

Q. Why Lawrence?

Historians consider that gold made modern New Zealand. Lawrence is the town which sprang from the nation's first major gold discovery in 1861 nearby in Gabriel's Gully by Gabriel Read .

Over 11,000  people rushed to the area from all over the world, and it is thought that several thousand more transients, went unrecorded. The massive influx provided a huge impetus to agriculture. People had to eat of course! As well as providing a market for produce, immigrants brought their own varied ideas and skills to farming, after their golden dreams had faded.

Lawrence remains steeped in history and boasts an impressive collection of historical buildings, one of which is soon to be the national home of the NZCFSA.

Q. Why do you need an abbreviated family history?

An abbreviated version of award recipients' family histories are collated and included in a professionally printed booklet that are distributed on the night of the awards dinner. 

Families are asked to supply a 200-400 word summary of their family history on the farm and a selection of 2-5 photos to fill their family page.  The National Coordinator will touch base with the families to advise of deadlines, show an example of what has been printed previously and answer any queries in relation to this.

Q. I want to apply, but might not get everything together by the end of the year!

Please return the basic application and fee by the closing date of 30 November or thereabouts, and include a note re any remaining information that will be arriving later.  Or there's always next year!

The NZCFSA Committee wishes to thank you for your interest, and for helping to preserve our nation's agricultural heritage.