Searching for tupuna : whakapapa researchers and public libraries
Genealogists are frequent users of public libraries and other institutions that hold historical material. In recent years research has investigated the information needs of this group, the motivating factors behind their involvement in this hobby. Attempts have also been made to compile a "profile" of the typical genealogist. Research in this area has been done in response to the long association genealogists have had with libraries and in acknowledgement of the growing popularity of this pastime. Similar research methodologies as have been used overseas have been utilised in this piece of research with respect to genealogists in New Zealand, specifically those researching the family history of Maori, the indigenous people of that country. In traditional Maori culture great significance is placed on family history or whakapapa. This study aimed to investigate to what degree the use of public libraries by genealogists researching this cultural group reflected findings of library use and information seeking behaviour of genealogists in other cultural environments. Whakapapa research may be undertaken by genealogists who do not have Maori ancestors, or tupuna, themselves and these library users still fall within the scope of this study. Data was collected by using printed questionnaires distributed to public libraries in New Zealand, as well as a printable version of the questionnaire that was made available online .