The name Levi is a proud symbol of ancient Jewish culture. Before the late Middle Ages, people were known only by a single name. However, as the population increased and travelers set out on their journeys, it became necessary for people to adopt a second name to identify themselves. Jewish hereditary surnames were adopted from a variety of different sources.Two of the most common types of Jewish family names are patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. Levi is a Jewish name that was originally derived from the Hebrew male given name Levi, which means joining. The name was extremely popular because it was borne by Levi, the son of the Biblical figures Jacob and Leah, who was the Hebrew patriarch and the ancestor of the Levites. The Levites, the Israelite tribe that was not alloted land, were the priests or assistants of the priest in the temple.
Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:
Levi Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
Elizabeth Levi, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
Mr. Levi, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Albert" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 6th March 1853 
Mrs. Levi, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Albert" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 6th March 1853 
Mr. Bernard Levi, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Anne Longton" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th October 1857 
Mrs. Julia Levi, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Anne Longton" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th October 1857