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Buller heritage

Dive into the history of the Buller District formed in 1989 through the amalgamation of Buller County, Inangahua County and Westport Borough.

Council archives

The Buller District was formed in 1989 through the amalgamation of Buller County, Inangahua County and Westport Borough. Before the Abolition of Provinces Act in 1886, these areas were administered as part of Nelson Province.

The Council archives are organised to reflect these changes:

  • Buller County Council (1877 – 1989) - Series BCC 1001 – 1132
  • Inangahua County Council (1877 – 1989) - Series ICC 2001 – 2043
  • Westport Borough Council (1873 – 1989) - Series WBC 3001 – 3224
  • Buller District Council (various dates) - Series BDC 5000 – 5055, Series BDC 6001 – 6004, Series BDC 6030 – 6031

The archives – including rates books, valuation registers, minutes, correspondence, reports, ledgers, financial statements, cash books, maps, photographs and newspaper clippings – can be found via the Buller District Libraries online catalogue and viewed at the Sue Thomson-Casey Memorial Library in Westport.

For the best results, follow the steps below:

  • Type keywords into the search box and click ‘Search’.
  • In the ‘Limit Search Results’ sidebar under ‘Shelf Location’, select ‘View All’.
  • Tick ‘Reference – in library use only’, then click ‘Include’.

The records that relate to the keywords will be displayed in a list. Once you have found what you are looking for, get in touch with the staff at the Sue Thomson-Casey Memorial Library. They will let you know whether the material is held there or in the Council’s archive on Brougham Street. If this is the case, there will be a delay of 2-3 days while the material is retrieved.

All archives must be viewed in the library’s local history room.

Other resources

Burial records can be found online through Buller District Council’s cemetery database.

Cemetery records for Westport and surrounding areas are held at the Council’s office on Brougham Street. Cemetery records for Reefton, Cronadun, Inangahua and Lyell are held at the Reefton Visitor and Service Centre on Broadway.

NB: Records for the Lyell Cemeteries are not available online.

Buller District Libraries has a comprehensive collection of local history books that can be viewed or borrowed at the Sue Thomson-Casey Memorial Library in Westport and the Inangahua County Library in Reefton.

The Sue Thomson-Casey Memorial Library also has a local history room with a growing number of available resources, including back issues of the Westport News (1968 onwards), newspaper supplements, magazine articles, newsletters, reports, brochures, diaries, scrapbooks, postcards, photographs and more.

Archives New Zealand

Use Archives New Zealand’s Archway to find digitised government records including passenger lists, probates, military archives, police gazettes, naturalisation information, land information, maps, plans, and more. 

Births, Deaths & Marriages

Search for births that occurred 100+ years ago, marriages that occurred 80+ years ago, and deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago. 

Buller District Council’s Cemetery Database

Search burial records for the Buller District by surname, date, or keywords. NB: Records for the Lyell Cemeteries are not available online. 


Explore over 30 million digital items – videos, newspapers, maps, audio recordings, artworks, news reports, and more – from over 200 organisations around New Zealand.

Heritage New Zealand

Search the New Zealand Heritage List for information about Aotearoa’s significant heritage places, including those in the Buller District. 

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a digital library of free books, video, images, and more. There are over 20 million downloadable books and texts and 2.3 million modern eBooks that can be borrowed and read in the online reader. 

Kete West Coast

The Kete was created to enable groups and individuals to share their memories, stories, and activities of the West Coast. The content – including over 3,000 images – was migrated to eHive in July 2022. 

National Library of New Zealand

Use keywords (Buller, Westport, Reefton, etc.) to search the online catalogue for newspapers, books, photographs, maps, journals, manuscripts, and more. Many of these can be viewed online and copies of other items (e.g., newspaper articles) can be requested via their ‘Ask a Librarian’ service. 

New Zealand History

This site features information and resources on New Zealand people, places, events, and topics, including the Memorials register and the South African War embarkment roll. 

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Use keywords (Buller, Westport, Reefton, etc.) to search the online catalogue for sound and moving image items. 

Papers Past

Search back issues of local papers including the Charleston Argus (1867), Inangahua Times (1877 – 1919), Lyell Times and Central Buller Gazette (1885 – 1886), and Westport Times (1868 – 1886). 


This site contains 500,000 arial photographs from 1936 to 2005. Typing an address into the search box and selecting one of the suggestions will open a map and images of that location. 

Stats NZ Store House

The Store House contains electronic and digitised publications which are not on the Statistics New Zealand website, including the New Zealand Official Yearbooks 1886-2010 and the Census of Population and Dwellings 1871-1956. 

Te Ara

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is a comprehensive guide to the country’s peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy, institutions, and society. 

Te Papa

Te Papa’s online collection includes over 190,000 images, with over 60,000 available for high resolution download. There is also a wealth of information on related people, places, topics, and research. 

West Coast New Zealand History

This site, launched in 2015, contains a large selection of photographs from around the West Coast. Most of the images have been transferred from West Coast South Island History, a private Facebook group with over 20,000 members (see below). 

West Coast South Island History

A private Facebook group with over 20,000 members who share and discuss historic photographs from around the West Coast. as reference books to be used within the library for preservation reasons.