To celebrate the release of almost three million New Zealand BMDs, we've put together a collection of incredible portraits taken during the nineteenth century.

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Many of the photos were taken at the studios of English-born photographer William James Harding. He and his wife, Annie, emigrated to New Zealand in 1855. All photos are used courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Mrs A Harding

Ref: 1/4-030434-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22897296

This is presumed to be the photographer's wife, Annie, taken by the studio of William James Harding, Whanganui.

Our England and Wales Marriages 1827-2008 show that they were married in London in 1853 and William appears in the Index to Register of Passport Applications 1851-1903 that same year.

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William and Annie had eight children, five of whom are recorded in the New Zealand Birth Index, Alpha Bennick, Horace John Baker, Minnie, Deborah and Lydia Anne.

Unidentified woman

Ref: 1/2-012406-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23236728

Unidentified Maori woman with a chin moko, feathers in her hair, and European clothing, ca 1885. Location and photographer unknown.

John, William & Lawrence Grace

Ref: PA1-q-630-19-4. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23022500

Studio portrait of the brothers (from left) John Grace, William Grace, and Lawrence Grace photographed by George Elgin Page, Auckland, 18 August 1873. According to the dates found in the New Zealand Birth Index, John and Lawrence were most likely twins, both born in 1854.

Ida, Kate, Walter, and Cornelius Silbon

Ref: PA1-q-238-274-1. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22730553

Group portrait of the gymnasts Ida, Kate, Walter, and Cornelius Silbon, taken ca 1890 by an unidentified photographer. The siblings were born in England and toured the world including New Zealand, where this portrait was taken, performing aerial acrobatics. They're attributed with the invention of the mid-air double somersault.

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Kate, Walter and Cornelius appear in the 1871 England, Wales and Scotland Census, along with another brother, Alfred. Ida was born in 1872.

Captain Flowers with unidentified woman, and dog

Ref: 1/4-005003-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22789926

Captain Flowers with unidentified woman, and dog, photographed in 1878 by Wanganui photographer William James Harding. This woman may have come from the West Indies, and possibly accompanied Captain Flowers to New Zealand.

Unidentified boy

Ref: 1/4-005335-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22417122

Unidentified boy posed with a book, 1870 to 1889 Photograph taken by the studio of William James Harding, Whanganui.

Ngapoita (most likely)

Ref: 1/1-003094. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22835291

Identified on file print as Ngapoita, and in `Te Awa, Partington's photographs of Whanganui Maori' (Whanganui Museum Collection), as Tupati Teaukawa. Name on negative is Ngapoiti. Photograph taken by William Henry Thomas Partington ca 1900, probably in Wanganui.

Unidentified man

Ref: PA1-q-963-11-5. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22792971

Head portrait of an unidentified young man. Location possibly Masterton. Photograph taken about 1887-1889 probably by Robert Gant.

Two unidentified girls

Ref: 1/4-005304-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22449416

Two unidentified girls taken between 1856 and 1889 Photograph taken by the studio of William James Harding, Whanganui.

Arihi Te Nahu

Ref: 1/2-055347-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22688806

Cabinet card portrait of Arihi Te Nahu, of Te Hauke, taken on 16 December 1892 by Samuel Carnell of Napier.

Mr Muhan

Ref: 1/4-004557-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22407951

Mr Muhan, 1888. Photograph taken by the studio of William James Harding, Wanganui.

Miss Siddle

Ref: 1/4-005182-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23246819

Miss Siddle, August 1887. Photograph taken by the studio of William James Harding, Whanganui.

Mr G Willis

Ref: 1/4-004823-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23176492

Mr G Willis, April 1884. Photograph taken by the studio of William James Harding.

Paora Tuhaere

Ref: PAColl-8194. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23017056

Ngati Whatua leader Paora Tuhaere, taken circa 1880-1892 by Frederick Pulman. The cloak in the photograph is shown in other photographs taken by the Pulman Studio.

Rhipeti Nikorima and baby

Ref: 1/1-003095. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22405518

On the back of the file print she is identified as Rihipeti Nihorima or Nikorima, Wanganui River. In the same photograph held by the Whanganui Museum she is identified as Rihipeti Rewi of Ngati Poutama iwi. Photographed by William Henry Thomas Partington in early 1900s, probably at Wanganui.

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