Table of Contents


THE 1927 issue of the “New Zealand Official Year-book“ represents the thirty-fifth number of the volume, and the sixth of the present royal octavo series. The current issue will be found to maintain the consistent improvement and expansion of each issue over its immediate predecessor which has been a feature of the Year-book since the present series was instituted, and which is also a reflex of the continued extension of the activities of the Census and Statistics Office.

The growth of the Year-book will be realized from the following figures showing the number of pages in recent issues:—


The present issue contains three more sections than the 1926 number. The new section on Roads incorporates the article on Main Highways which has hitherto appeared in the Miscellaneous section; a section has been devoted to Legislation specially affecting Labour; and the former Wealth and Income section has been largely extended, and has been divided into two sections. The new Wealth section not only deals with Private Wealth, but also contains such information as is available concerning Public Wealth, together with figures re Value of Land Holdings as compiled from the returns of land furnished annually to the Commissioner of Taxes.

A special article by Mr. L. S. Polden, A.I.A., of the Government Actuary's Department, gives the results of a recent actuarial investigation by himself into the Dominion's mortality rates; while a reprint of Mr. J. C. Andersen's article on the Mission of the “Britomart“ at Akaroa in 1840 should help to remove the misconception which still clings to this early event in the history of New Zealand.

In addition to the new sections, several other sections contain considerable additional matter, while the subsections dealing with State Indebtedness and with Hospitals and Charitable Institutions have been almost entirely rewritten. All statistical, legislative, and other matter has been brought up to date, and the early prorogation of Parliament has enabled a synopsis of the legislation of the 1926 session to be included in this issue.


Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Office,

Wellington, 15th December, 1926.



THE Dominion, of New Zealand consists of two large and several small islands in the South Pacific. These may be classified as follows:—

  1. Islands forming the Dominion proper, for statistical and general practical purposes:—

    North Island and adjacent islets.

    South Island and adjacent islets.

    Stewart Island and adjacent islets.

    Chatham Islands.

  2. Outlying islands included within the geographical boundaries of New Zealand as proclaimed in 1847:—

    Three Kings Islands.

    Auckland Islands.

    Campbell Island.

    Antipodes Islands.

    Bounty Islands.

    Snares Islands.

  3. Islands annexed to New Zealand:—

    Kermadec Islands.

    Cook Islands.

    Niue (or Savage) Island.

    Palmerston Island.

    Penrhyn (or Tongareva) Island.

    Manahiki Island.

    Rakaanga Island.

    Pukapuka (or Danger) Island.

    Nassau Island.

    Suwarrow Island.

The Proclamation of British sovereignty over New Zealand, dated the 30th January, 1840, gave as the boundaries of what was then the colony the following degrees of latitude and longitude: On the north, 34° 30' S. lat.; on the south, 47° 10' S. lat.; on the east, 179° 0' F. long.; on the west, 166° 5' E. long. These limits excluded small portions of the extreme north of the North Island and of the extreme south of Stewart Island

In April, 1842, by Royal Letters Patent, and again by the Imperial Act 26 and 27 Vict., c. 23 (1863), the boundaries were altered so as to extend from 33° to 53° of south latitude and from 162° of east longitude to 173° of west longitude. By Proclamation bearing date the 21st July, 1887, the Kermadec Islands, lying between the 29th and 32nd degrees of south latitude and the 177th and 180th degrees of west longitude, were declared to be annexed to and to become part of the then Colony of New Zealand.

By Proclamation bearing date the 10th June, 1901, the Cook Group of islands, and all the other islands and territories situate within the boundary-lines mentioned in the following schedule, were included as from the 11th June, 1901:—

A line commencing at a point at the intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich, and proceeding due north to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 1—Ybk. 8th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 17th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 17th degree of south latitude and the 170th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 170th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; and thence due east to the point of intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich.

By mandate of the League of Nations the New Zealand Government also now administers the former German possession of Western Samoa; and, jointly with the Imperial Government and the Government of Australia, holds the League's mandate over the Island of Nauru.

By Imperial Order in Council of the 30th July, 1923, the coasts of the Ross Sea, with the adjacent islands and territories, were declared a British settlement within the meaning of the British Settlements Act, 1887, and named the Ross Dependency. The Governor-General of New Zealand is Governor of the Ross Dependency, and is vested with the administration of the dependency.

By Imperial Orders in Council of the 4th November, 1925, the Union Islands (consisting of the islands of Fakaofu, Nukunono, and Atafu, and the small islands, islets, rocks, and reefs depending on them) were excluded from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, and placed under the administration of the Governor-General of New Zealand. In accordance with a provision of the second of these Orders in Council, the Governor - General's authority and powers in connection with the administration of the islands were, by New Zealand Order in Council of the 8th March, 1926, delegated to the Administrator of Western Samoa.


The total area of the Dominion of New Zealand, which does not include the territories administered under mandate, the Ross Dependency, and the Union Islands, is 103,862 square miles. The areas of the principal islands are as follows:—

 Square Miles.
North Island and adjacent islets44,131
South Island and adjacent islets58,120
Stewart Island and adjacent islets662
Chatham Islands372
      Total Dominion proper103,285
“Outlying” islands284
“Annexed” islands293
      Grand total103,862


The mountainous character of New Zealand is one of its most striking physical characteristics. In the North Island mountains occupy approximately one-tenth of the surface; but, with the exception of the four volcanic peaks of Egmont (8,260 ft.), Ruapehu (9,175 ft.), Ngauruhoe (7,515 ft.), and Tongariro (6,458 ft.), they do not exceed an altitude of 6,000 ft. Of these four volcanoes only the first-named can be classed as extinct. Other dormant volcanoes include Mount Tarawera and White Island, both of which have, in recent years, erupted with disastrous consequences. Closely connected with the volcanic system are the multitudinous hot springs and geysers.

The South Island contains much more mountainous country than is to be found in the North. Along almost its entire length runs the mighty chain known as the Southern Alps, rising to its culmination in Mount Cook (12,349 ft.). No fewer than sixteen peaks of the Southern Alps attain a height of over 10,000 ft. Owing to the snow-line being low in New Zealand, many large and beautiful glaciers exist. The Tasman Glacier (Southern Alps), which has a total length of over eighteen miles and an average width of one mile and a quarter, is the largest. On the west coast the terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier is but a few hundred feet above sea-level.

The following list of named peaks over 7,000 ft. in height has been compiled from various sources. It does not purport to cover all such peaks, nor is exactitude claimed in respect of the elevations shown, many of which are known to be only approximate.

Mountain or Peak.Height (Feet).
* Not available.
North Island
Kaikoura Ranges
    Mitre Peak8,532
    St. Bernard7,416
St. Arnaud Range
    Spenser Range—
    Faerie Queen7,332
Southern Alps
    David's Dome10,443
    Malte Brun10,421
    Elie de Beaumont10,200
    Douglas Peak10,107
    La Perouse10,101
    De la Beche10,058
    The Minarets10,058
    Glacier Peak9,865
    Grey Peak9,800
    Aiguilles Rouges9,731
    Conway Peak9,519
    Hochstetter Dome9,258
    Bristol Top9,167
    The Footstool9,073
    The Dwarf9,025
    Nun's Veil8,975
    Bell Peak8,950
    Priest's Cap8,761
    Aurora Peak8,733
    Meteor Peak8,701
    Couloir Peak8,675
    Vampire Peak8,600
    Aigrette Peak8,594
    Dilemma Peak8,592
    Unicorn Peak8,394
    Maunga Ma8,335
    Baker Peak8,330
    Eagle Peak8,300
    Coronet Peak8,265
    Percy Smith8,254
    Malcolm Peak8,236
    Blair Peak8,185
    Louper Peak8,165
    The Anthill8,160
    Dun Fiunary8,147
    Glacier Dome8,047
    Graceful Peak8,000
    Lean Peak8,000
    Raureka Peak8,000
    Cloudy Peak7,870
    Observation Peak7,862
    Cadogan Peak7,850
    Da Faur Peak7,800
    Turret Peak7,800
    Park Dome7,688
    Turner's Peak7,679
    St. Mary7,656
    Sibyl Peak7,625
    Edith Peak7,600
    Madonna Peak7,600
    Novara Peak7,542
    Proud Peak7,540
    Artist Dome7,061
    McFettrick Peak7,061
Two Thumbs Range
Darran Range
Barrier Range
    Oblong Peak7,600
The Remarkables
    Double Cone7,688
    Ben Nevis7,650


The nos springs of the North Island form one of the most remarkable features of New Zealand. They are found over a large area, extending from Tongariro, south of Lake Taupo, to Ohaeawai, in the extreme north—a distance of some three hundred miles; but the principal seat of hydrothermal action appears to be in the neighbourhood of Lake Rotorua, about forty miles north-north-east from Lake Taupo. By the destruction of the famed Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana during the eruption of Mount Tarawera on the 10th June, 1886, the neighbourhood was deprived of attractions unique in character and of unrivalled beauty; but the natural features of the country—the numerous lakes, geysers, and hot springs, some of which possess remarkable curative properties in certain complaints—are still very attractive to tourists and invalids. The vast importance of conserving this region as a sanatorium for all time has been recognized by the Government, and it is dedicated by Act of Parliament to that purpose.

There are also several small hot springs in the South Island, the best-known being those at Hanmer.

The following article on the mineral waters and spas of New Zealand is by the Government Balneologist, Dr. J. D, C. Duncan, M.B., Ch.B. (Edin.), Member of the International Society of Medical Hydrology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society:—


It has been acknowledged by the leading hydrologists in Europe that New Zealand possesses the most valuable mineral waters in existence. Not only are these mineral waters interesting from a tourist's point of view, but they are, because of their medicinal value, of great therapeutic importance, and, as a Dominion asset, worthy of the deepest scientific consideration.

From the spectacular aspect only a brief mention need be made in this article, as a full description of springs, geysers, and mud-pools has been given in Dr. Herbert's book, “The Hot Springs of New Zealand”—a book that presents a comprehensive and vivid picture of the main manifestations of thermal activity in New Zealand.

Dealing with the medical-scientific aspect of the mineral waters, the space of this article will permit only the shortest account of the treatments; and, as the Rotorua Spa is of premier importance, the article will be confined almost entirely to its operations.

Since and as the result of experience gained during the war the subject of hydrotherapy has been recreated on modern scientific lines, and the actions of thermal mineral waters have been investigated, both chemically and physiologically, in determining their therapeutic value in the treatment of disease.


The mineral waters which have been harnessed for therapeutic use at the Rotorua Spa are of two main varieties—viz., the “Rachel,” which is an alkaline, sulphuretted water, emollient to the skin, and sedative in reaction; and the “Priest,” or free-acid water, which, due to the presence of free sulphuric acid, is mainly stimulating and tonic in reaction. There is, in addition to the foregoing, a valuable silicious mud similar to that found in Pistany, in Czecho-Slovakia, which, in its own sphere in hydrotherapy, exerts its influence as a curative agent.

However, it is in the “Priest” waters that one finds one's most valuable ally in the treatment of arthritis, fibrositis (the so-called rheumatic affections), and cases of nervous debility. The “Rachel” and mud baths are used mostly in those cases of fibrositis where the condition requires a softening effect; and in the types where pain is a manifest symptom these baths are invaluable as soothing and sedative agents.


In these natural acid baths the reactions are mainly stimulating, with increased hyperæmia in the parts submerged, and marked lessening of pain and swelling in the affected joints and tissues. Those waters containing free carbonic-acid gas are used for the cases of fibrositis in which the circulation requires the stimulating action of gaseous baths.

The “New Priest” waters, containing approximately 16.80 grains per gallon of free sulphuric acid, are utilized in the form of open pools, deep step-down baths, and slipper baths. They are prescribed at a suitable temperature for the individual case.

The “Old Priest” waters, containing a much lower degree of free acid (3.77 grains to the gallon), and of varying temperatures (from 84° F. to 102° F.), are used for treatment at their source. The waters, percolating through their pumice - bed, are confined in pools, and contain free carbonic-acid gas bubbling through the water.

The very strong “Postmaster” waters are also confined within pools on the natural pumice - bed, and, by a primitive arrangement of wooden sluice-valves, maintained at three ranges of temperature—viz., 104°, 106°, and 108° P. They contain 22.29 grains of free sulphuric acid to the gallon, and are strongly counter-irritant in their reactions.


In such a brief account as this one can only deal in generalizations, and the forms of treatment mentioned must necessarily be subject to wide variations. In any form of hydro-therapeutic treatment the regime must be adapted to the individual manifestations of the disease, and no routine rules or regulations can be laid down in spa operations.

The “New Priest” waters are, for the most part, prescribed for patients suffering from subacute or chronic fibrositis, subacute or chronic gout, and the various forms of arthritis. Except in cases of marked debility, those patients are given graduated baths, at temperatures ranging from 102° to 104° F., from ten to fifteen minutes daily. Most of the baths are fitted with a subaqueous douche having a pressure of 25 lb., which is directed under water on the affected tissues. The bath is usually followed by a light or hot pack, according to the needs of the case.

The subthermal “Old Priest” waters (temperature 84° F.), containing a high degree of free carbonic-acid gas, are particularly valuable in the treatment of functional nervous disease, and the methods of administration are similar to those obtaining at Nauheim. The reactions are markedly stimulating through the sympathetic nervous system, and bring about, by reflex action, a tonic effect on the heart.

The “Postmaster” baths are used in the treatment of the more chronic forms of fibrositis, arthritis deformans, and gout, requiring a more or less heroic type of procedure. They are usually prescribed in combination—i.e., a certain time in each pool, commencing with the lowest temperature. The hyperæmic reaction is most marked, and in many of the cases where pain is a predominant symptom there is a temporary paralysis of the surface nerves, as well as a strong reflex excitation of the heart. For this reason these baths are not given to patients suffering from cardiac weakness.

The mud baths being highly impregnated with silica, which has a bland, sedative effect on the tissues, are particularly indicated in cases of acute or subacute neuritis, gout, and certain skin conditions. The action of these baths is to induce an active hyperæmia in the patient with an actual absorption of free sulphur, which is present in considerable quantity. Also, the radio-activity of this medium (0.185 per c.c.) is possibly an active factor in the therapeutic action of these baths. In some of the cases undergoing mud-bath treatment the effect has been almost miraculous—instant relief from pain; reduction of swelling caused by inflammatory exudates—and such patients have been able to discard crutches or other adventitious aids and walk with more or less normal comfort.

Perhaps, of more recent date, the most efficacious effects of mud treatments have been manifested in cases of skin conditions—notably psoriasis: cases which have resisted all forms of drug treatment have cleared up in an almost magical manner; and so frequently have such cures been effected that one believes that the silicious mud of Rotorua has some markedly specific action as a therapeutic agent.

The treatment of gout depends entirely on the individual manifestations. In certain subacute and chronic types fairly high temperatures (104° to 106° F., with hot packs) of “Priest” water are employed, in order to hasten the absorption of exudates and the elimination of uric acid. In acute cases of acute gout more sedative measures are pursued, such as “Rachel” baths at neutral temperatures, local mud packs, and rest. As soon as the conditions permit, these patients are changed over to acid water baths. Cases of chronic gout exhibiting metabolic stagnation sometimes receive considerable benefit from the counter-irritant effects of the strongly acid “Postmaster” waters.


Separate establishments, containing the most modern apparatus of sprays, douches, hot steam, &c., are available for wet massage and treatments of the Aix-Vichy type.

The massage-rooms are fitted with the latest installations of electrical equipment—Bristowe tables, diathermy, high frequency, Bergonie chair, X-ray, Schnée baths, Greville hot air, and other apparatus for carrying out the most up-to-date methods of electrical-therapeutic treatments.

The baths are administered by a trained staff of attendants, and the massage, electrical-therapy, and douches carried out by a qualified staff of operators.

In every respect the hydrotherapy treatments aim at a restoration of function, and the measures employed are, for the most part, re-educative.


In connection with the Rotorua Spa is a sanatorium of seventy beds, where patients whose finances are restricted can receive treatment at an exceedingly moderate cost. The institution consists of cubicles and open wards. Thermal baths and massage-rooms in the building provide for the more helpless type of invalid.


From sixty thousand to eighty thousand baths are given annually, and an average of thirty thousand special treatments—massage, electrical therapy, &c.—is administered at the Rotorua Spa.

The usual course of treatment lasts from four to six weeks, and the high percentage of cures and improvements testifies to the value of the thermal mineral waters and the hydro-therapeutic treatments obtaining in this Dominion.


The following account of the rivers of New Zealand has been written by Professor R. Speight, M.Sc., F.G.S., Curator of the Canterbury Museum:—

In a country like New Zealand, with marked variations in topographic relief and with a plentiful and well-distributed rainfall, the rivers must necessarily form characteristic features of the landscape. Mountains, however, exert an important influence on their adaptability to the necessities of commerce, reducing their value on the one hand while increasing it on the other. Owing to the steep grades of their channels few of the rivers are fitted for navigation except near their months, but to compensate for this disability they furnish in many places ideal sites for power plants, which will in all probability be so utilized in the near future that New Zealand may become the manufacturing centre of the Southern Hemisphere. No country south of the Equator, except Chile and Patagonia, possesses such stores of energy conveniently placed, which cannot become exhausted until the sun fails to raise vapour from the neighbouring seas—a contingency to be realized only when life on the earth is becoming extinct.

The only part of the country which possesses rivers capable of being used for navigation is the North Island. The relief is not so marked as in the South, and many streams flow in deep beds, with somewhat sluggish current. There are flowing into the Tasman Sea rivers like the Waikato, Wairoa, Mokau, and Wanganui, which served the Maoris as important means of communication, and which are decidedly useful for the purposes of modern transport. The first-mentioned of these is by far the most important. Rising in the snows of Ruapehu, and receiving numerous affluents from the western slopes of the Kaimanawa Range, it pursues a northerly course for twenty miles with all the features of a mountain torrent till it enters Lake Taupo. Almost immediately on leaving this it plunges over the Huka Falls, formed by a hard ledge of volcanic rock, and then runs first north-east and then north-west till it reaches the sea, the amount of water discharged exceeding 800,000 cubic feet per minute. In certain parts of its course the valley is gorgelike in character and picturesque rapids obstruct its navigation, but in its lower reaches it widens out and flows for long distances through marshes and shallow lakes, and empties into the sea by a wide estuary, which is unfortunately blocked by a bad bar. It receives on the west a large tributary, the Waipa—itself also navigable for small steamers, and a river which may ultimately play no small part-in the development of the south-western portion of the Auckland Province.

The Northern Wairoa shows features which resemble those of the Waikato. It rises in the hilly land of the North Auckland Peninsula, and flows south as a noble-stream till it enters Kaipara Harbour, a magnificent sheet of water with many winding and far-reaching arms, but with its utility greatly discounted by the presence of a bar which, though with sufficient depth of water for vessels of mode rate size, is frequently impracticable. The total estimated discharge from the streams running into the Kaipara Harbour is about 500,000 cubic feet per minute, of which the Wairoa certainly contributes one-half.

The Mokau River, which enters the sea about sixty miles north-east of New Plymouth, is navigable for a considerable distance in its lower reaches. Here it is flanked by limestone bluffs, clad with a wealth of ferns and other native vegetation, forming one of the most picturesque rivers of the country. Higher up, as in the Waikato, there are fine falls, which may ultimately be used for power purposes owing to their proximity to one of the important agricultural districts of the North Island.

The last of the four principal navigable rivers on the west coast is the Wanganui. This river gathers its initial supplies from the western flanks of the volcanic ridge of the centre of the Island, from which numerous streams run west over the Waimarino Plain in somewhat open channels till they coalesce and form the main river. Other tributaries, such as the Tangarakau and the Maunganui-te-ao, subsequently add their quota, and the river then flows in a southerly direction in loops and windings depressed far below the level of the coastal plain, between high papa bluffs clad with rich vegetation, till it reaches the sea as a deep tidal stream, the amount of its discharge being estimated at over 500,000 cubic feet per minute. Through the greater part of its course it has a characteristic trench-like channel, with a fairly even gradient, and with only slight interruptions from rapids. At low water these are most troublesome, but at times of high river-level they are passed without serious difficulty. This fine stream affords communication into a country difficult of access by road or railway, and it may be taken as typical of other smaller streams to the west, such as the Waitotara, the Patea, and the Waitara, which are navigable to a less extent, principally owing to the obstructions of timber in their channels; while the rivers lying more to the east and with courses parallel to the Wanganui—e.g., the Rangitikei and the Wangaehu—are more rapid and have little adaptability to the needs of transport. Further east still, in the neighbourhood of the Ruahine Mountains, the rivers become true mountain torrents, with steep grades and rapid currents.

On the other coast of the North Island the only streams capable of being used for navigation except just at their mouths are those running into the Firth of Thames—the Piako and the Waihou. But no account of our navigable rivers would be complete without a reference to the “drowned rivers” which characterize the northern parts of the Island. The Kaipara may be taken as a typical case of such, for the harbour merely represents the depressed and sunken lower reaches of the Wairoa and other streams. A further notable case is the Hokianga River, which runs for twenty miles between wooded hills and receives numerous tributaries from them, tidal for a considerable part of their courses, and allowing water communication to be used for at least fifteen miles from the point where actual discharge into the open sea takes place.

The remaining rivers of the North Island of any importance rise in the mountain axis that stretches from near Wellington towards the eastern margin of the Bay of Plenty. Towards the southern end, where it lies close to the shore of Cook Strait, the rivers from it are short and swift, the only exception being the Manawatu, which has cut a deep gorge in the mountain barrier and drains an extensive basin lying on the eastern flanks of the Ruahine Range to the north, and of the Tararua Range to the south, as well as a considerable area of country on the slopes of the Puketoi Range, its headwaters in this direction reaching nearly to the east coast of the Island. The Manawatu has an estimated discharge of over 600,000 cubic feet per minute, and judging by this it must be considered the second-largest river in the North Island. Although the Manawatu is the only stream which has succeeded up to the present in cutting through the range at its head, several of the rivers flowing west have eaten their way far back, and in future ages will no doubt struggle with the Manawatu for the supremacy of that tract of land lying to the east of the range. Remarkable changes are likely to occur in the direction of drainage, especially if the earth-movements now in progress in the neighbourhood of Cook Strait continue for any lengthy period.

The central and southern parts of the Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges are drained by the Ohau, Otaki, Waikanae, and other streams flowing into Cook Strait; by the Hutt River, which flows into Wellington Harbour; and by the Ruamahanga and its tributaries, flowing through the Wairarapa Plain. These last include within their basins some amount of papa-country as well as steep mountain-slopes. While in the former they run in deep narrow channels, but when free from it they spread at times over wide shingly beds in a manner more characteristic of the streams of the South Island.

Several large rivers rise in the Ruahine Mountains and their northerly extensions. The chief of these flowing into Hawke Bay are the Ngaururoro, Tukituki, Mohaka, and Wairoa, the first being noteworthy for the enormous amount of shingle it has brought down; while farther north the Waipaoa runs into Poverty Bay and the Waiapu into the open sea, both draining an extensive area of rich papa land. From the north-western side of the range the Whakatane and the Rangitaiki, two considerable streams, flow into the Bay of Plenty.

The chief factor which determines the characters of the rivers of the South Island is the great mountain mass of the Southern Alps, with its extensions and semi-detached fragments. Its general direction is parallel to the west coast of the Island, and nearer to this coast than to the eastern one; it also lies right athwart the path of the wet westerly winds which prevail in these latitudes. The moisture collected during their passage across the Tasman Sea is precipitated in the form of rain on the coastal plain and the hills behind it, while the mountain-tops intercept it chiefly in the form of snow, the amount of annual rainfall varying from about 100 in. at sea-level up to over 200 in. near the main divide. The eastern slopes of the range receive less rain, and are increasingly drier as the coast is approached, but there the amount is slightly augmented by moist winds coming from the open ocean to the east. In the higher mountain valleys on both sides of the range lie numerous glaciers, either of the small cliff type or large ones of the first order, the most notable being the Tasman, Hooker, Mueller, Godley, Rangitata, Lyell, and Ramsay on the east, and the Franz Josef and Fox on the west. The chief large rivers of the central district of the Island rise from the terminals of the glaciers and issue from the ice as streams of considerable volume. They reach their highest level in spring and summer, for not only does the heavier rainfall of that time of the year serve to swell them inordinately, but the snow and ice are melted under the combined influence of the rain itself and of the strong sun-heat. Although they are almost always more or less turbulent and dangerous to the traveller who attempts to ford them—in the warm months of the year they are liable to sudden and serious floods, and formerly they frequently blocked communication for weeks at a stretch—now, however, many of the worst streams have been bridged, and communication is thus easier and less precarious.

The general form of these valleys is of a fairly uniform type. Their heads are usually amphitheatre-like in shape, and for some distance they are occasionally covered by old moraines, and the course of the stream is impeded by huge angular blocks washed out of these or shed from the steep slopes; at times, too, the rivers flow through deep and somewhat narrow gorges. Lower down the valleys open out, with even steep sides, nearly perpendicular at times, and with flat floors covered by a waste of shingle, over which the rivers wander in braided streams. The sides are clad with dense bush for a height of approximately 2,500 ft., that merges into a tangle of subalpine scrub, to be succeeded after another 1,000 ft. by open alpine meadow, gradually passing upward into bare rook and perpetual snow.

After leaving the mountains the streams cross the narrow fringe of aggraded coastal plain, and cut down their channels through old glacial drifts which furnished in former times rich leads of alluvial gold. The mouths of these rivers are usually blocked by shallow bars, but after heavy floods a channel may be scoured out, only to be closed, when the river falls, by the vast quantities of drift material moved along the beach by the heavy seas and the strong shore currents which sweep the open coast. It is only where it is possible to confine the river-mouths and direct their scour that open channels can be permanently maintained, and even these entrances to the river are at times extremely dangerous to shipping.

The chief rivers which flow from the central portion of the Southern Alps to the Tasman Sea are the Taramakau, Hokitika, Wanganui, Wataroa, Waihao, Karangarua, Haast, and Arawata. All rise in glaciers, and their valleys are remarkable for their magnificently diversified bush and mountain scenery. Occasionally lakes, ponded back behind old moraines or lying in rock-bound basins and fringed with primeval forest, lend charm to the landscape, and make a journey along the Westland Plain one of the most delightful in New Zealand from the scenic point of view.

Farther north glaciers are absent, but the heavy rain feeds numerous large streams and rivers, the most notable being the Grey and the Buller, the last being in all probability the largest on the west coast, the amount of its discharge being estimated at nearly 1,000,000 cubic feet per minute.

The general features of the rivers which flow into the West Coast Sounds are somewhat similar, except that few rise in glaciers, and there is no fringe of plain to the mountains. The valleys have steeper sides, waterfalls and lakes are more common, and are ideally situated for power installations. One of the large rivers of this area is the Hollyford, which flows into Martin's Bay; but the largest of all is the Waiau, which drains the eastern side of the Sounds region, receives the waters of Lakes Te Anau, Manapouri, and Monowai, and enters the sea on the south coast of the Island.

The rivers on the eastern slope of the Alps present features similar to those of the west coast in their upper courses, but the valleys are broader and flatter, floored from wall to wall with shingle and frequently containing large lakes of glacial origin. In those cases where lakes do not now exist there are undoubted signs that they occurred formerly, having been emptied by the erosion of the rock-bars across their lower extremities and filled at the same time by detrital matter poured in at their heads.

The largest of all these rivers is the Clutha; in fact, it discharges the greatest volume of water of any river in New Zealand, the amount being estimated at over 2,000,000 cubic feet per minute. The main streams which give rise to this river flow into Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, and have their sources in the main divide to the north of the ice-clad peak of Mount Aspiring and in the neighbourhood of the Haast Pass. After flowing as a united stream for nearly thirty miles it receives from the west a tributary nearly as large as itself called the Kawarau, whose dis charge has been accurately gauged by Professor Park at 800,000 cubic feet per minute. This great volume of water is due to the fact that the Kawarau drains Lake Wakatipu, which serves as a vast reservoir for the drainage of a considerable area of mountain country, including snow-clad peaks at the head of the lake. The united streams continue in a south-easterly direction, and their volume is substantially increased by the Manuherikia on the east bank as well as by the Pomahaka on the west. The course of the Clutha lies through the somewhat arid schist region of Central Otago, gorge alternating with open valley and river-flats; but some ten miles or so before it reaches the sea it divides, only to reunite lower down and thus include the island known as Inch-Clutha. It almost immediately afterwards enters the sea, but its outlet is of little use as a harbour owing to a shifting and dangerous bar. Portions of its course are navigable to a very limited extent, but it is more important commercially, since it has yielded by means of dredging operations great quantities of gold; in fact, it may be regarded as a huge natural sluice-box, in which the gold disseminated through the schists of Central Otago has been concentrated through geological ages into highly payable alluvial leads.

The following large rivers belong to the Southland and Otago District, but do not reach back to the main divide—the Jacobs, Oreti, Mataura, and Taieri; and forming the northern boundary of the Otago Provincial District is the Waitaki, which drains a great area of alpine country, and includes in its basin Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau. Its main affluents are the Tasman and the Godley, rising in glaciers of the same names near the axis of the range where it is at its highest. As the river approaches the sea it crosses shingle-plains, through which it has out a deep channel flanked by terraces, which rise bench-like for some hundreds of feet above the present level of the river. Its general features are similar to those of the rivers of Canterbury farther north, except that a larger proportion of the course of the latter lies across the plains and uninterfered-with in any way by the underlying harder and more consolidated rocks. The four principal rivers which rise in glaciers are the Rangitata, Ashburton, Rakaia, and Waimakariri; while farther north are the Hurunui and Waiau, snow- and rain-fed rivers rising in the main range beyond the northerly limit of glaciers; and there are other streams—such as the Waihao, Pareora, Opihi, Selwyn, Ashley, and Waipara—which do not reach beyond the outer flanking ranges, and are almost entirely rain-supplied.

According to recent investigations the low-water discharge of the Waimakariri is approximately 80,000 cubic feet per minute, but it frequently rises in normal flood to 500,000 cubic feet per minute.

All these rivers carry down enormous quantities of shingle, but in former times they carried down even more, and built up the wide expanse of the Canterbury Plains by the coalescing and overlapping of their fans of detritus, the depth of shingle certainly exceeding 1,000 ft. Subsequently, when conditions, climatic or otherwise, slightly altered, they cut down deep through this incoherent mass of material, forming high and continuous terraces. Nowhere is the terrace system more completely developed than at the point where the rivers enter on the plains, for there the solid rock that underlies the gravels is exposed, and by the protection that it affords to the bases of old river flood-plains or former terraces it contributes materially to their preservation in a comparatively uninjured condition. The valleys of all these rivers are now almost treeless except in their higher parts, but there the mixed bush of Westland is replaced by the sombre beech forest; it is only in exceptional cases that the totara, which forms an important element of the bush on the hills to the west, crosses the range and covers portions of the sides of the valleys on the east.

Both the Hurunui and the Waiau have cut down gorges through semi-detached mountain masses of older Mesozoic rock, a result probably accelerated by the movements of the earth's crust; and farther north, in the Province of Marlborough, the Clarence, Awatere, and Wairau have their directions almost entirely determined by a system of huge parallel earth-fractures, running north-east and south-west, and the rivers are walled in on either side by steep mountains for the greater part of their length. The Clarence Valley is the most gorge-like, since it lies between the great ridges known as the Seaward and Inland Kaikouras, which reach a height of about 9,000 ft. The last river of the three, the Wairau, flows for a considerable distance through a rich alluvial plain, and enters Cloudy Bay by an estuary which is practicable for small steamers as far as the Town of Blenheim. The most important of the streams on the southern shores of Cook Strait are the Pelorus, Motueka, Takaka, and Aorere, great structural faults being chiefly responsible for the position and characteristic features of the valleys of the last two.

An important commercial aspect of our rivers is their use not only as drainage channels, but as a source of water for pastoral purposes. Hardly any area is without water for stock or with a subsoil wanting in moisture necessary for successful cultivation. Only in Central Otago and on the Canterbury Plains were there formerly wide stretches of arid country, but the deficiency in the water-supply has been remedied by well-engineered systems of races, tapping unfailing streams at higher levels, and distributing a portion of their contents far and wide, so that the districts mentioned are rendered highly productive and absolutely protected from the serious effects of drought. It is, however, the rich alluvial flats and well-drained terrace lands bordering on the rivers that contribute specially to the high average yield per acre year after year for which this country has such a world-wide reputation.

From the brief summary given above it will be evident also that the country possesses enormous stores of energy awaiting exploitation. A beginning has been made in some places, such as at Waipori in Otago, at Lake Coleridge in Canterbury, at the Horohoro Falls and at Arapuni on the Waikato River in Auckland, at Mangahao in Wellington Province, and at a few other places where there are minor installations. These owe their development to their comparative nearness to centres of industry; but they represent an infinitesimal portion of the energy available, and the value of our vast store will be more truly appreciated when our somewhat limited reserves of coal show signs of failure or become difficult to work —unless, indeed, some new form of power is disclosed by the researches of science in the near future.

A list of the more important rivers of New Zealand is given, with their approximate lengths, the latter being supplied by the Department of Land and Survey.

Flowing into the Pacific Ocean—Miles.
      Waihou (or Thames)90
Flowing into Cook Strait—
      Manawatu (tributaries: Tiraumea and Pohangina)100
      Wanganui (tributaries: Ohura, Tangarakau, and Maunganui-te-ao)140
Flowing into Tasman Sea—
      Waitara (tributary: Maunganui)65
      Waikato (tributary: Waipa)220
Flowing into Cook Strait—Miles.
      Wairau (tributary: Waihopai)105
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean—
      Clarence (tributary: Acheron)125
      Waiau (tributary: Hope)110
      Waimakariri (tributaries: Bealey, Poulter, Esk, and Broken River)93
      Rakaia (tributaries: Mathias, Wilberforce, Acheron, and Cameron)95
      Waitaki (tributaries: Tasman, Tekapo, Ohau, Ahuriri, and Hakataramea)135
      Clutha (tributaries: Kawarau, Makarora, Hunter, Manuherikia, and Pomahaka)210
Flowing into Foveaux Strait—
      Waiau (tributaries: Maraioa, Clinton, and Monowai)115
Flowing into the Tasman Sea—
      Cleddau and Arthur20
      Haast (tributary: Landsborough)60
      Hokitika (tributary: Kokatahi)40
      Taramakau (tributaries: Otira and Taipo)45
      Grey (tributaries: Ahaura, Arnold, and Mawhera-iti)75
      Buller (tributaries: Matakitaki, Maruia, and Inangahua)105


The following article on the lakes of New Zealand is also by Professor R. Speight:—

Lakes are features of the landscape which are usually attributable to the filling-up of hollows formed by faulting or warping, or by volcanic explosions, or by the irregular accumulation of material round volcanic vents, or to the interference with river-valleys by glaciers. Seeing that all these agencies have operated on an extensive scale in New Zealand in comparatively recent geological times, it is not surprising that its lake systems are well developed. The remarkable group of lakes lying in the middle of the North Island, as well as isolated enclosed sheets of water in other parts of the Auckland Province, are due to volcanic action in its various forms, while those in the South Island are to be credited to the operations of glaciers. We have therefore two distinct types of lake scenery, one for each Island. The relief of the land near the volcanic lakes is not by any means marked, and they therefore rarely have bold and precipitous shores, and their scenic interest depends partly on the patches of subtropical bush which grows luxuriantly in places on the weathered igneous material, and partly on their desolate and forbidding surroundings, everywhere reminiscent of volcanic action, where the softening hand of time has not reduced the outpourings of the eruptive centres to a condition favourable for the establishment of vegetation. The thermal activity which is manifested in numerous places on their shores adds to their interest. In the South Island the lakes lie in the midst of splendid mountain scenery, with amphitheatres of noble peaks at their heads, crowned with perpetual snow, and clad at lower levels with dark primeval beech forest, which affords an appropriate setting for the waters at their base, rendered milky-white at times with the finest of sediment worn from solid rocks by powerful glaciers, and swept down to the quiet waters of the lake by turbulent glacial torrents.


The largest sheet of fresh water in New Zealand is Lake Taupo, which is situated in the very heart of the North Island, at an elevation of 1,211 ft. above the sea. Its greatest length in a S.W.-N.E. direction is twenty-five miles, and its greatest breadth is about seventeen miles, but its shape is somewhat irregular owing to a large indentation on its western side. Its area is 238 square miles, its greatest depth 534 ft., and it has a catchment area of about 1,250 square miles. About 60 per cent. of its water-supply comes from the Upper Waikato River, which drains the northern and eastern flanks of the central volcanoes as well as the western slopes of the Kaimanawa Range and its northern extensions. The lake discharges at its northeastern corner and forms the main Waikato River, which falls within a short distance over the Huka Falls, where the volume of water which passes over is estimated to reach an average of 5,000 cubic feet per second. The surroundings of the lake are picturesque, on the western side especially. Here it is bounded by cliffs of volcanic rock, generally between 100 ft. and 800 ft. in height, but at the Karangahape Bluffs they rise to over 1,000 ft. sheer. The northern shore is bold with promontories terminated with bluffs and intervening bays with gentler slope. The south side is generally fringed with alluvial flats, while the east is bordered in places with pumice cliffs, and is somewhat uninteresting, but relieved from absolute monotony by the graceful extinct cone of Tauhara. About twenty miles to the south rise the great volcanic peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu, with their bush-clad foothills, forming a splendid panorama when seen from the northern shore of the lake.

To the south-east of the middle of the lake lies the Island of Motutaiko, in all probability the summit of a volcanic cone on the line of igneous activity which stretches north-east from the central volcanoes towards Tarawera, White Island, Tonga, and Samoa. The formation of the lake itself is attributable either to a great subsidence after volcanic activity waned, or to a great explosion which tore a vast cavity in the earth's crust and scattered the fragments far and wide over the middle of the Island; and evidence of declining igneous action is furnished by hot springs in the lake itself and near its shore, especially at the north-east corner near Wairakei and on the southern shore near Tokaanu. Earth-movements have in all probability continued down to recent times, for an old shore platform or wave-cut terrace surrounds the lake, indicating that its waters were formerly at a higher level, and changes in level of the ground on the northern shore of the lake, attended by local earthquakes, occurred during the year 1922.

The lake forms an enormous reservoir of power conveniently placed for exploitation; it is estimated that the Huka Falls would develop up to 38,000 horse-power, and its central position renders it peculiarly suitable for supplying a wide district. Although the immediate vicinity does not hold out much hope for its utilization, the rich agricultural districts which lie at some distance will no doubt rely on it in the near future as a convenient source of mechanical energy.

To the south of Taupo, nestling in the hills between the great lake and the northern slopes of Tongariro, lies Roto-Aira, a beautiful sheet of water, three miles in length and with an area of five square miles. It discharges by the Poutu River into the Upper Waikato. The other lakes of this region are small in size and usually occupy small explosion craters on the line of igneous activity mentioned above.

A most interesting group of lakes lies in the midst of the thermal region to the north-east of Taupo. These comprise the following: Rotorua, Roto-iti, Roto-ehu, and Rotoma, which belong to a system lying to the north-west of the area, and Tarawera, Rotokakahi, Tikitapu, Okareka, Rotomahana, Okataina, Rotomakariri, and Herewhakaitu, which lie to the south-east. The former group is connected either directly or indirectly with the Kaituna River basin, and the latter with the Tarawera River basin, both of which discharge their waters into the Bay of Plenty. All these lakes occupy either explosion craters or depressions due to subsidences of the crust or hollows formed by irregular volcanic accumulations. They lie at an elevation of about 1,000 ft. above the sea. The largest is Rotorua, which is nearly circular in shape, except for a marked indentation on the southern shore. It is 32 square miles in area, and 84 ft. deep, with flat shores; but in the middle, rather towards the eastern side, the picturesque and historical Island of Mokoia rises to a height of 400 ft. The lake discharges at its north-eastern corner by the Ohau Creek into Lake Roto-iti, a shallow and irregular depression, which runs in turn into the Okere River. To the north-east lies the small lake of Roto-ehu, separated from it by low ground, and farther on lies the picturesque Rotoma, of still smaller size.

The largest lake of the south-eastern group is Tarawera, lying to the north and west of the mountain of the same name; discharging directly into it are Rotokakahi, Okareka, and Okataina, the last two by subterranean channels, while Tikitapu and Rotomahana are separated from it by comparatively narrow ridges.

All these lakes owe their interest to the thermal manifestations which occur in their vicinity, and to the remnants of beautiful bush which have survived the eruption of Tarawera in 1886. They are also noted for their fishing, being well stocked with trout. Their water is available for power purposes to a limited extent, and a small installation is placed near the low fall where the Okere River discharges from Lake Roto-iti.

Two small lakes of volcanic origin are situated on the peninsula north of Auckland: these are Takapuna and Omapere. The former lies close to the City of Auckland, and occupies a small explosion crater near the sea; while Omapere is between the Bay of Islands and Hokianga, in a shallow depression, which owes its origin to the obstruction of the Waitangi River by a lava-flow. It is three miles long by two wide, and is placed at a height of 790 ft. above the sea.

About forty miles from the east coast, in the Hawke's Bay District, lies the most important lake of Waikaremoana, twelve miles in length by about six miles and a quarter in breadth at its widest part, but with an extremely irregular outline; it has an area of twenty-one square miles. Its surface is 2,015 ft. above the sea, and it has a maximum depth of 846 ft. It discharges by the Wairoa River to the northern shore of Hawke Bay. This lake is most favourably situated for the development of water-power, and it is estimated that it would generate, owing to its admirable position, as much as 136,000 horse-power. A few miles to the northeast lies the small lake called Waikare-iti, which discharges into the large lake.

The only other inland lakes of any importance in this Island are those situated in the lower course of the Waikato River, the most noteworthy being Waikare and Whangape. The former has an area of nearly eleven square miles and has a depth of 12 ft.; the latter is smaller, with an area of only four square miles and a depth of 9 ft. These owe their origin to flooding of low-lying land alongside the river—in all probability attributable to a slight lowering of the land in this part of the country, with the consequent inability of the river to discharge its surplus water without a proper channel being maintained.

Along the coast-line, especially behind the fringe of dunes, numerous small lakes are found, such as Rotokawa, near Kaipara, and Horowhenua, near Levin; and a large sheet of water occurs near the mouth of the Wairarapa Valley, called the Wairarapa Lake. The lake is very shallow, and is liable to remarkable variations in size owing to heavy floods from the neighbouring ranges. Between it and the sea is a considerable area of swampy ground in which are several small lakes, the largest of which, Lake Onoke, is separated from Palliser Bay by a narrow shingle-spit.


By far the great majority of the lakes of the South Island are dependent for their formation either directly or indirectly on the action of glaciers. They may be either small tarns high on the mountains or large lakes occupying considerable lengths of old stream-valleys which have been overdeepened by the excavating-power of ice during the Pleistocene glaciation, or lakes formed by the filling of hollows in the irregular heaps of debris laid down on a plain at the base of the mountains or in a wide open valley. Accumulations of debris may also assist the first two causes in the formation of lakes, and some may owe the initial formation of their basins to tectonic causes, but these have been modified profoundly by other influences.

Included in the first class are numerous sheets of water from the size of small ponds upwards, found in all parts of the mountain region, but especially in the high plateau regions of western Otago, and to a limited extent in north-west Nelson. To the second group belong the large lakes of the eastern watershed of the Alps and a small number which drain west, such as Rotoroa and Rotoiti in the Buller Basin, while to the last must be assigned the majority of the lakes of Westland; but Branner and Kanieri should perhaps be assigned to the second class.

Seeing that glaciation was not so intense in the northern portion of the Island, it is not surprising that the lakes of that region are small and few in number. Attention has, however, been drawn to Boulder Lake, in the valley of the Aorere River, since it might be used for power purposes in connection with the great deposit of iron-ore at Parapara. It is only 151 acres in extent, but it lies at an elevation of 3,224 ft., and is conveniently placed for the establishment of an electric-power plant. Farther south, near the head of the Buller, are two larger lakes—Rotoroa and Rotoiti—occupying ice-eroded valleys dammed at their lower ends by moraine. The former has an area of eight square miles, and the latter two and three-quarter square miles; their heights above the sea being respectively 1,470 ft. and 1,997 ft., and the latter being 228 ft. deep.

In the valley of the Grey River are two lakes of considerable size—viz., Brunner and Poerua. These are shrunken and separated parts of a former extensive sheet of water which was ponded back behind a great glacier moraine. Lake Brunner is five miles long by four broad, has an area of 15.9 square miles, is 280 ft. above sea-level, and 357 ft. deep. It is surrounded on two sides by high wooded granite peaks, and on the other two by low ground. It discharges by the Arnold River to the Grey, but a very slight change of level would turn it into the Taramakau.

Lake Kanieri, which lies in the basin of the Hokitika River at the base of Mount Tuhua, is a beautiful sheet of water. It is five miles long by one and three-quarters wide, has an area of eight square miles, is 422 ft. above sea-level, and 646 ft. deep. It owes its origin partly to the hollow formed behind an immense morainic dam, and partly to the erosive action of the valley glacier. Farther south on the coastal plain of Westland are numerous small and picturesque lakes, wooded to the water's edge, lying behind heaps of glacial debris or in ice-eroded basins. The most notable of these are Ianthe and Mapourika, both of small size, the former with an area of only two square miles, at a height of 80 ft. above sea-level, and with a depth of 105 ft., and the latter remarkable for the fine panorama of mountain scenery, with Mount Cook in the background, which can be obtained from the shore of the lake. Along this strip of coast-line there are numerous lagoon-like expanses of water, cut off from the sea by areas of dune or of moraine, the chief of which is Mahinapua, which lies close to the Town of Hokitika. This is but 6 ft. above tide water, and has an area of one and a half square miles. The creek discharging from it is noted for the perfect reflections to be seen in the dark, peat-stained water.

On the eastern side of the main divide lie the great valley lakes which belong to the following river-basins: Hurunui—Lake Sumner; Rakaia—Lakes Coleridge and Heron; Waitaki—Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau; Clutha—Lakes Wanaka, Hawea, and Wakatipu; Waiau—Lakes Te Anau, Manapouri, and Monowai; Wairaurahiri—Lake Hauroko; Waitutu—Lake Poteriteri. These are all formed on the same plan; great glaciers have excavated the floor of a river-valley and have piled the debris across its lower portion, leaving a great hollow which was filled with water when the ice retreated. Even in those river-basins where no lakes now exist the traces of their former presence are evident; especially is this the case with the Waimakariri, Rakaia, and Rangitata Valleys. Besides these large lakes each valley has its quota of small ones, usually hidden away among the piles of moraine or ponded back behind shingle-fans. Among these small lakes should be noted the following: Tennyson, in the valley of the Clarence; Taylor, Sheppard, Katrine, and Mason, in the Hurunui; Pearson, Grassmere, and Letitia, in the valley of the Waimakariri; Evelyn, Selfe, Catherine, Ida, and Lyndon, in that of the Rakaia; Clearwater (or Tripp), Howard, and Acland, in the Ashburton; Alexandrina, in the Waitaki; Lochnagar, Hayes, and Moke, in the Clutha. In the valley of the Waiau there are numerous lakes of small size hidden away in bush-clad valleys, the chief of which is Mavora, which discharges into the main Waiau by way of its large tributary, the Mararoa. On the west coast of this region are also many insignificant lakes as far as size is concerned, such as Lake Ada, a well-known beauty-spot on the Milford Sound track, while farther north McKerrow, a lake of larger size, discharges into Martin's Bay.

The only other lakes in this Island that are worthy of mention are Waihola, Forsyth, and Ellesmere. The first mentioned occupies the lower portion of the Taieri Plain, and drains to the sea by a deep winding gorge cut through a ridge of rock-covered hills, the gorge being tidal for the greater part of its length. Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere lie on the coast immediately south of Banks Peninsula, both ponded back behind a great shingle-spit formed by the drift of material brought down by the rivers and carried north under the influence of a strong shore current. Both are very shallow and liable at times to be invaded by the sea. Ellesmere is sixteen miles long by about ten broad, and Forsyth is about six miles long by one in breadth.

Among all these lakes three stand pre-eminent for their scenic interest—Wakatipu, Te Anau, and Manapouri. The first-named is walled in on both sides by steep mountains which rise at the head of the lake to over 8,000 ft. in the Humboldt Range, and to over 9,000 ft. in Mount Earnslaw. Te Anau has an uninteresting eastern shore, but its western shore is broken into three great arms, whose impressive scenery is strongly reminiscent of that of Milford Sound and George Sound; while Manapouri, with its many bush-clad islets and its indented shore-line with innumerable sheltered coves and pebbly beaches, belongs to the same type as Dusky Sound, the most beautiful of all in the fiord region.

The lakes of Canterbury lie in a treeless area and owe their scenic interest principally to the background of snowy peaks, while Wanaka and Hawea are intermediate in character between them and the more southern lakes of Otago.

These lakes are enormous reserves of energy awaiting development. Estimates of the amount available are somewhat uncertain in their upward limits, seeing that modifications of proposed schemes may increase the possible power to a marked extent. The only one, however, which has been utilized in an adequate manner up to the present is Lake Coleridge. This yields at present 16,000 horse-power (approximately), and if the scheme be developed to its full capacity the amount will probably reach 90,000. Lake Tekapo would furnish at least 400,000 horse-power; Pukaki, 70,000; Ohau, 100,000; Hawea, 90,000; Wakatipu, 100,000; Te Anau, 90,000; Manapouri, 420,000; and Hauroko, 80,000; and there are many lakes which could very easily be adapted for smaller installations. Especially is this the case in the fiord country, where the heavy and well-distributed rainfall produces an unfailing supply of water, where lakes are placed in ideal situations as reservoirs, and deep and secure harbours provide ample facilities for the transport of manufactured products. When these are properly utilized the now wild and deserted region will become the home of industry in the Dominion, and one of the main centres of manufacture in the Southern Hemisphere. One of these lakes—viz., Monowai, in Southland—is actually being utilized at the present time as a source of energy, and it is estimated to yield a minimum of 10,000 horse-power, with a maximum of 20,000.

The following is a summary of the statistics of the chief lakes of New Zealand:-

LakeLength, in Miles.Greatest Breadth, in Miles.Area, in Square Miles.Drainage Area, in Square Miles.Approximate Volume of Discharge, in Cubic Feet per Second.Height above Sea-level, in Feet.Greatest Depth, in Feet.
North Island.
Rotorua7 ½63215842091584
Rotoiti10 3/22 ¼1426500913230
Tarawera6 ½6 ½1575..1,032285
Waikaremoana126 ¼211287722,015846
South Island.
Rotoiti522 ¾86..1,997228
Rotoroa72 ½8146..1,470..
Te Anau3361321,32012,660684906
Waihola4 ½1 ⅛3 ⅓2,200..(Tidal)52
Ellesmere1610107 ½745..(Tidal)45


The following article on the geology of New Zealand has been prepared by Mr. P. G. Morgan, M.A., F.G.S. (Director), and other members of the Geological Survey:—

The geological history of New Zealand is long and complicated, and is as yet by no means clearly deciphered. Since the beginning of the Palæozoic era that portion of the earth's crust where New Zealand is shown on the map has many times been elevated and depressed. Sometimes the land and the neighbouring ocean-floor as a whole have risen or fallen; at other times movement has been more or less local. Thus from age to age the land has greatly varied in outline, and whilst in one period it becomes a continent, in another it nearly or quite disappears beneath the ocean. The actual surface has been almost equally variable, for the mountain-chains of early periods have been planed down by denudation, and new mountains have risen to take their places. In short, the story of the land has been one of incessant, though as a rule slow-moving, change, and if the student would rightly interpret that story he must ever bear in mind that New Zealand in the past has never been quite or even nearly the same as we see it now. With the scanty materials at hand he must endeavour to reconstruct the land as it existed during past ages. A rich field for original research is open to the New Zealand geologist. Little has yet been accomplished in comparison with what remains to be done. There are many absorbing problems—some of great economic importance, some of world-wide interest—awaiting solution by the patient scientific worker.


Professor James Park writes: “Though so isolated, New Zealand contains within its narrow borders representatives of most of the Palæozoic, Mesozoic, and Cainozoic formations. Moreover, its structure is that usually associated with areas of continental dimensions; and for that reason it is often spoken of as an island of the continental type. It is a miniature continent; and the occurrence in its frame-work of thinogenic shore or shallow-water] rocks, ranging from the earliest geological epochs to the present day, is undeniable evidence that it stands on a subcrustal foundation of great stability.” (N.Z. Geological Survey Bulletin No. 23, p. 24, 1921.)

The oldest rooks in New Zealand appear to be those of western Otago, where over a large area is exposed a complex of gneisses and schists, intruded by granite and other igneous rocks. The gneisses in the main are altered granites and diorites, but some of the schists, at any rate, are of sedimentary origin. A pre-Cambrian age was assigned to these rocks by Professor F. W. Hutton, but Professor James Park considers them to be probably of Cambrian age, and includes them in his Dusky Sound Series, the lower part of the Manapouri System.

Perhaps next in age to the western Otago gneisses and schists are the mica, chlorite, and quartz schists of Central Otago. In the absence of fossils, however, the age of these rocks is uncertain. Professor Hutton regarded them as pre-Cambrian, Professor Park assigns a Cambrian age, whilst Dr. P. Marshall considers them to be little, if at all, older than the Triassic. Recent field-work by the Geological Survey, however, strongly suggests that an unconformity separates the Triassic rocks of the Nugget Point district from the greywackes of the Balclutha district, which overlie the Otago schists. In December, 1924, fossils of Permian (if not older) age were discovered near Clinton in greywacke and associated rocks. The horizon of these fossils is far above the schists, and therefore a pre-Permian age for the schists is undeniable. Some schistose rocks in north, central, and western Nelson may be as old as, or even older than, the Otago mica-schists. The gneisses and schists on the western side of the Southern Alps may for the present be classed with the Nelson schists.

The oldest known fossiliferous rocks in New Zealand are the Ordovician argillites (“slates”), greywackes, and quartzites occurring near Collingwood (Nelson), in the Mount Arthur district, and near Preservation Inlet in south-west Otago. Ordovicion rocks probably have a considerable development in other parts of Nelson and in Westland, but no recognizable fossils have been found in those areas.

Rocks containing Silurian fossils occur in the Mount Arthur, Baton River, and Reefton districts, Nelson. They are principally altered limestone, calcareous shale or argillite, sandstone, and quartzite.

Considerable areas have been assigned to the Devonian period by Mr. Alexander McKay, but owing to the non-discovery of recognizable fossils definite proof of age is wanting. For a similar reason the age of most of the rocks placed in the Carboniferous period (“Maitai Series”) by McKay is uncertain. At Reefton the supposed Carboniferous rocks, which here contain many auriferous quartz-veins, are almost certainly of Ordovician age. In the typical locality near Nelson the fossils found in the Maitai rocks, according to Dr. C. T. Trechmann, indicate a Permo-Carboniferous age.

So far Permian rocks have not been satisfactorily identified in New Zealand, but, as previously stated, fossiliferous strata of this age, or slightly older, have been found near Clinton, Otago. The Maitai rocks near Nelson ought probably to be classified as Permian rather than as Permo-Carboniferous. Park considers his Aorangi Series to be of Permian age.

During some of the Palæozoic periods it is conjectured that New Zealand formed part of or was the foreland of a large land-mass that extended far to the west. This land-mass possibly persisted to late Palæozoic times, and may have been the now dismembered and all-but-lost continent known to geologists as Gondwanaland.

Triassic and Jurassic rocks have been known to exist in New Zealand since Hochstetter's visit (1859), but the fossils were not extensively and accurately identified until the last decade, when Newell Arber and Trechmann published their valuable papers.

Newell Arber (1917) described an Upper Triassic flora from Mount Potts and Clent Hills (North Canterbury), and Hokonui Hills (Southland); Jurassic floras from North Canterbury and Southland; and a Lower Cretaceous flora from the neighbourhood of Oruarangi Point, south of Waikato South Head. Trechmann (1918 and 1923) examining marine molluscs and brachiopods from several localities, found that they ranged in age from Upper Triassic to Upper Jurassic, and correlated the different beds with European stages. The most fossiliferous localities are Hokonui Hills (Southland), near Nugget Point (Otago), Wairoa Valley (Nelson), Mokau watershed, Kawhia Harbour, and Waikato South Head, the three last-mentioned on or near the west coast of Auckland.

A broad belt of largely unfossiliferous but probable Trias-Jura rocks extends through western Canterbury and Marlborough, and is continued as a somewhat narrower belt on the north side of Cook Strait from Wellington to northern Hawke's Bay. Rocks of much the same appearance occur in the Lower Waikato Valley, in the Coromandel Peninsula, and in North Auckland. Some of these rocks may be of pre-Mesozoic age, but fossils to settle the point have not yet been found.

-No angular unconformity has been found between the Triassic and Jurassic, and the rocks have marked lithological similarity. Consequently the mapping of the boundary between these two systems is difficult, and, with our present knowledge, its extension into the great areas of unfossiliferous greywackes is impossible.

Cretaceous rocks occur at several points on the east coast of Otago and in central Canterbury. They extend in a not-quite-continuous belt from Cape Campbell in Marlborough to the neighbourhood of Waipara in North Canterbury. At Amuri Bluff they are richly fossiliferous. To the Cretaceous belongs a somewhat extensive belt of rocks near the east coast of Wellington and southern Hawke's Bay. A continuation of this belt extends from a point north-west of Gisborne to the East Cape district. In North Auckland Cretaceous rocks cover considerable areas.

The oldest known workable coal-seams in New Zealand occur in Cretaceous rocks. Much controversy, however, concerning the age of our coalfields has arisen. The late Sir James Hector, and with him Mr. Alexander McKay, considered that the coal-measures belonged to a Cretaceo-Tertiary system that extended from the Upper Cretaceous to the Middle Tertiary. For many years Mr. McKay was practically the sole exponent of this theory, but since 1911 Dr. Marshall has advocated a very similar view. The truth, however, seams to be that the coal-measures concerning which there is a dispute are of two different ages. The Kaitangata, Green Island, Shag Point, Malvern Hills, and Broken River (Canterbury) coalfields are probably of Upper Cretaceous age. The other coalfields, as mentioned below, are Tertiary.

To the Eocene may be assigned the coal-measures of the Taratu-Milton, Grey, Buller, and Collingwood districts, and some of the coal-bearing patches of central Nelson. In various other localities possible Eocene coal-measures occur. The Wangaloa beds, near Kaitangata, contain an Early Eocene fauna, which has also been identified at Boulder Hill, North Taieri, near Dunedin, and are underlain by the Taratu-Milton coal-measures.

During the Early Eocene, as some geologists and biologists believe, New Zealand was again part of a continental area that extended far to the north, and was joined, or all but joined, to New Guinea and northern Australia. This continent may have included much of the area in the Pacific now studded with coral islands. Its former existence is inferred mainly from various features in our plant and animal life. According to the late Mr. T. F. Cheeseman, no fewer than 366 New Zealand plants are found also in Australia, but recent botanical work tends to reduce the number. More significant, perhaps, is the occurrence of many closely related species and genera in the two regions, for comparatively few of the 366 species are likely to have persisted since the Eocene. Many of our birds show marked affinities to Australian and Malayan species. In this connection an interesting line of support for a Tertiary extension of New Zealand to the north is afforded by the annual migrations of the New Zealand cuckoos and of the godwit.

During the Oligocene and Miocene periods New Zealand subsided until little of the present land-surface was above water. Consequently, notwithstanding extensive denudation in later periods, Middle-Tertiary strata are well represented in almost all parts of the country. They are typically developed in the Oamaru district (northeast Otago), and hence Hutton's name of “Oamaru Series” is generally applied to the Oligocene-Miocene strata of New Zealand. There is reason to think, however, that the lowest part of the Oamaru Series is of pre-Oligocene age, but until patæonto-logical work now in progress is completed a definite opinion cannot be expressed. Oamaru rocks are well represented in South Canterbury, in North Westland, in North Auckland, and in many other localities. Brown coal usually occurs at the base of the Oamaru Series, and about its middle a fairly thick fossiliferous limestone is usually developed. This marks the time when the Middle Tertiary sea was deepest. Some of the finest agricultural districts in New Zealand are in areas where Middle-Tertiary rocks predominate.

The present tendency of the Geological Survey is to separate, under various local names, the uppermost Miocene strata from the Oamaru Series, even though this be held to include the Awamoa or Pareora beds. Strata high in the Miocene cover large areas in the North Taranaki, upper Wanganui, and Gisborne-East Cape districts, and are found also in Marlborough, North Canterbury, &c. In North Taranaki they contain valuable seams of brown coal.

In many localities the Miocene rocks pass without detectable angular unconformity into strata considered to be of Pliocene age. In the Hawke's Bay and Wanganui districts these are marine and highly fossiliferous. They give rise to much good agricultural and more especially pastoral land adapted to sheep-farming or dairying. In Nelson and north Westland the Pliocene strata are largely composed of river-transported material, and are known as the Moutere Gravels. These in places are poorly auriferous. In Nelson they form a poor pastoral soil, but one well adapted for apple-culture.

Towards the close of the Miocene and during the Pliocene period many parts of New Zealand, more particularly in the South Island, underwent elevation. As a result the North and South Islands (then quite different in outline from their present configuration), together with most of the outlying islands now in existence, such as the Chathams, Auckland Islands, &c., probably formed one large land-mass, which was united to, or almost reached, an Antarctic continent. Since many New Zealand plants* are identical with, or closely allied to, South American forms, and there are also some striking resemblances in bird and other forms of animal life, some geologists and biologists believe that this Antarctic continent formed a bridge, though probably at no time quite complete, between New Zealand and South America. At the time of this continental extension the Southern Alps rose far above their present heights, and were covered with one vast snowfield that fed immense glaciers spreading far and wide over the lowlands to the east and the west. According to Park, during the Pleistocene a great sheet of ice spread over the whole of the present South Island and over part of the North Island. Moreover, this ice-sheet was joined to the Antarctic ice. The extreme views of Professor Park are not shared by other New Zealand geologists, who, however, unanimously agree that a large area in the South Island was glaciated. The great ice-streams of Pleistocene times gave rise to rivers that carried enormous quantities of gravel and finer material derived from the mountains beyond the ice-front, and in great measure built up the lowlands of Canterbury and Westland. In the latter district the gravels sorted by these streams-are in many places richly auriferous, but a greater and more permanent source of wealth is furnished by the fertile soil of the Canterbury Plains.

* According to T. F. Cheeseman's “Manual of the New Zealand Flora” (Preface, page xiv), 112 New Zealand plants extend to South America.

In many parts of Otago, Canterbury, Westland, and Nelson evidences of past glacial action are afforded by huge moraines, perched blocks, ice-worn surfaces (roches moutonnées), rock-benches, rock-basins, and other tokens of glaciation. To ice-action we owe some of the most magnificent features of the western Otago sounds. Some evidence of interglacial periods has been found, and doubtless more will be obtained by future investigations.

At or before the end of the Pleistocene period the mountains lessened in height, through both denudation and a well-marked subsidence of the land. The climate grew milder, and the lowland ice melted away. The mighty glaciers rapidly retreated, geologically speaking, and are to-day represented only by the comparatively modest valley and mountain glaciers of north-west Otago, Canterbury, and Westland, with which may be included the small but permanent snowfield and glacier on Mount Ruapehu. While the glaciers were retreating, the rivers of Canterbury and Westland, swollen by the melting ice, were unusually active in transporting debris to the lowlands and the sea-coast. At this time, too, as well as at somewhat earlier periods, the volcanoes of the North Island furnished an abundant supply of fragmentary material, much of which was transported by the streams and used in building plains and river-flats. Many of these are fertile, but in those districts where pumice abounded a poor soil, difficult of utilization, has resulted. Thus the land gradually became much as we see it now. In recent times geological changes, such as the lowering of heights by denudation, the filling of lakes by sediment, the outward growth of coastal plains in some places, and the wearing-away of the shores in other places, have slowly proceeded, and are to-day, of course, still going on. Slow movements of the land are probably in progress, but these have not been certainly detected. In 1855, however, as the result of a violent earthquake, the northern shore of Cook Strait, near Wellington Harbour, was raised on the average at least 5 ft., whilst the southern shore near Tory Channel and towards the mouth of the Wairau River was almost correspondingly depressed. The Taupo earthquakes of 1922 also caused a measurable movement of the land surface near Taupo.


In the preceding paragraphs little notice has been given to igneous rocks or to-volcanic action. The oldest igneous rocks of New Zealand are probably represented by the gneisses of western Otago, which, as previously stated, are mainly metamorphosed granites and diorites. Plutonic rocks intrude many of the Palæozoic and Mesozoic strata, and some of the formations also show evidence of contemporaneous volcanic action. Of the more ancient plutonic rocks granite is the most prominent. It occurs in many localities in Stewart Island, western Otago, Westland, and Nelson. It has, however, not been found in situ in the North Island, though in many localities boulders of granite and allied rocks, probably derived in all cases from ancient conglomerates, have been discovered. Ultra-basic igneous rocks, now largely altered to serpentine, occur in north-west Otago, Westland, Nelson, and to a minor extent in North Auckland.

Throughout the greater part of the Tertiary periods volcanic action in New Zealand was probably more intense than in any former age. During the Late Eocene or Early Miocene period eruptions, at first principally of andesitic rocks and later of rhyolite, began in the Coromandel Peninsula, and with brief intermissions-continued throughout Miocene and Pliocene times. These volcanic rocks contain the gold-silver veins which have been extensively worked at Coromandel, Thames, Waitekauri, Karangahake, and Waihi.

There are many areas of Miocene and later volcanic rocks in North Auckland, and near the City of Auckland numerous small volcanoes were in action during the Pleistocene, or even later. Some of these—for example, Mount Rangitoto—have possibly been active within the last few thousand years. In Taranaki the beautiful cone of Mount Egmont was built up during Pliocene and Pleistocene times. It is in the central part of the North Island, however, that the most intense volcanic activity has been displayed. Volcanic rocks, more especially the rhyolitic pumice ejected during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, cover large areas. Vulcanism has not yet ceased, for minor eruptions of fragmentary material still take place from Ngauruhoe, a typical volcanic cone near Mount Ruapehu. The most striking evidence of volcanic action, however, is afforded by the numerous steam-vents, hot springs, and geysers found in a belt extending from Ruapehu to White Island (in the Bay of Plenty), itself a volcano in the solfataric stage. It is more than a coincidence that this belt is in line with the Southern Alps. Solfataric action is generally regarded as a sign of dying vulcanism, but that the subterranean forces are still capable of mischief was shown by the eruption of Tarawera, an apparently extinct volcano, on the 10th June, 1886. On that occasion over a hundred lives were lost.

In the South Island vulcanism is apparently quite dead, for the hot springs of Hanmer Plains and the western side of the Alps are due to other causes. During the Miocene, however, volcanic outbursts took place in many localities, in some on a grand scale. Banks Peninsula is formed mainly of basaltic and andesitic rocks. Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours are believed to represent ancient craters or centres of eruption. In the neighbourhood of Dunedin occurs a very interesting series of alkaline volcanic rocks. These were first described by the late Professor G. H. F. Ulrich, and in later years Dr. Marshall has given them much study. Recently alkaline volcanic rocks have been discovered in the outlying Chatham Islands.


In the course of a short article it is impossible to give any adequate idea of what has been accomplished by geological workers in New Zealand, or what remains yet to be done before even the foundation for future work shall be securely laid. The important applications of geology to agriculture and mining have hardly been mentioned, but elsewhere in this volume will be found descriptions of the agricultural and mineral resources of the Dominion. For detailed information the reader is referred to the bulletins of the New Zealand Geological Survey; to Professor Park's “The Geology of New Zealand,” which contains an excellent bibliography; and to the treatises on “Geology of New Zealand,” by Dr. P. Marshall, as well as to many other publications too numerous to be here named. Yet the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” of which fifty-six volumes have been issued, must be mentioned, more especially since they contain many articles dealing with the palæontology and geology of New Zealand, as well as numerous papers on other branches of natural science. Finally it may be stated that in each of the University Colleges at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin excellent instruction in geology is being given by capable and enthusiastic teachers, so that progress in solving the many knotty problems of New Zealand geology is now being made, and may be expected to continue.


The following article on earthquakes in New Zealand has been prepared by Dr. C. E. Adams, D.Sc., F.R.A.S., Government Astronomer and Seismologist, with the assistance of Dr. J. Henderson, D.Sc., Mining Geologist:—

The Wellington earthquake of 23rd January, 1855, received a full notice in Sir Charles Lyell's classic work “The Principles of Geology,”* and probably largely on that account the attention of the scientific world was attracted to this feature of the natural phenomena of New Zealand. But since that earthquake, during which the level of the land in the neighbourhood of Wellington Harbour was raised about 5 ft., there has been no shock in the New Zealand region proper which has at all approached the destructive phase. Indeed, of about 2,100 earthquakes recorded as having origins in or near New Zealand, that of 1848 is the only other earthquake comparable in intensity to that of 1855; and the average intensity of all the earthquakes thus recorded is between III and IV on the Rossi-Forel scale—or, in other words, just sufficient to make pictures hung on walls move a little, and to cause doors and windows to creak or rattle slightly. In about twenty instances the force has been sufficient near the origin to overturn some chimneys (for the most part badly constructed ones), and in a very few buildings to crack walls or ceilings of faulty design. In about fifty other earthquakes such phenomena have been noted as the stopping of clocks, without any damage. The great majority of shocks have passed unperceived by the ordinary observer, and have been recorded only by means of instruments.

* Tenth edition, 1868, vol. 2, p. 82. London: John Murray; New Zealand Government Gazette, Wellington, vol. 2, No. 14, 17th October. 1855, p. 116.

Westminster Review, vol. 51, 1849; Mr. Justice H. S. Chapman, “Earthquakes in New Zealand,” Trans. Aust. Assoc. Adv. Science vol. 3, 1891; G. Hogben, “The Earthquakes of New Zealand,” p. 37; “Report of Seismological Committee,” p. 505; New Zealand Government Gazette, Auckland, vol. 1, No. 27, 13th November, 1848. and vol. 1, No. 29, 20th November, 1848.

Earthquakes are usually divided into the two classes of volcanic and tectonic earthquakes. The former are those that precede, accompany, or follow a volcanic eruption, whereas tectonic earthquakes are caused by deformation of the earth's crust. The latter are of far greater general importance than those due to volcanic action, which may, indeed, be considered an effect of the same stresses that produce tectonic earthquakes.

A volcanic eruption is in almost all cases preceded by earthquakes, which, although they may be extremely violent, are characterized by the sharpness and brevity of the shock and by the smallness of the disturbed area. The after-shocks of a severe earthquake of the so-called volcanic type continue for a relatively short period. Successive earthquakes of a series have nearly the same place of origin.

Volcanic earthquakes in the past were usually considered to be due to explosions within the mass of the mountain. This hypothesis has been discarded, or at least much modified, by most modern authorities. They are considered rather to arise from the formation of new fractures, from the reopening or extension of old fractures, from the sudden injection of lava into cavities or fissures, and from the displacement of rock-masses adjoining a fracture. Thus they are essentially of the same nature as “tectonic” earthquakes.

Tectonic earthquakes are caused by the deformations of the earth's crust, to which surface features are ultimately due. These deformations arise from the gradual shrinking of the central core or from changes in the load on the crust through denudation and sedimentation. Stresses accumulate in the solid rock until relieved by the formation of fissures, along which movements of adjacent earth-blocks take place. These earth-blocks may be of vast size, and fractures or faults separating them are rarely single planes of rupture, but consist of numerous subparallel breaks extending more or less continuously along elongated belts. Such fault-zones may be hundreds of miles long and many miles wide.

The connection between earthquakes and the formation, extension, or growth of faults is evident in the somewhat rare cases in which the displacement reaches the surface. It is also indicated by the elongated form of the area over which the shock is equally felt, and by the association of these areas with faults traceable on the surface by geological and topographical data. When movement occurs considerable areas of the fracture-plane must be affected, and, since shocks may originate from any part of this area, the seismic focus may be of large size. Again, the foci of successive shocks of a series may migrate to and fro along the fracture or shift to adjacent fractures. Similarly, earthquake series may migrate along a fault-zone.

In New Zealand many great faults and fault-zones have been traced for long distances on geological and topographical evidence, but of these a few only have been active since European occupation. A notable zone extends north-east through the centre of the North Island from Mount Ruapehu to White Island. South of Ruapehu it has not been definitely traced on the surface, although from the positions of the foci of the groups of earthquakes it probably extends past Wanganui, across-Cook Strait, and along the south-east shore of Tasman Bay to the South Island. The volcanic phenomena of the Rotorua-Taupo region, together with the recent. remarkable earthquakes at Taupo, indicate that earth-stresses are still accumulating along this great fracture-zone.

Another important fault-system extends through North Canterbury, Marlborough, East Wellington, and Hawke's Bay. Its general course is north-east, parallel with the Taupo belt and the principal mountain-ranges of New Zealand. The Marlborough valleys, as well as the lowlands of the Hutt and Wairarapa districts, are directly controlled by fractures of this great system. In addition to many less severe shocks, the Wellington earthquake of 1855 was due to displacement along one of the major fissures. The southern end of the known active portion of the great fracture-belt is crossed by several important east-and-west faults; and the Hanmer earthquake of 1888 was due to the reopening of a fault extending in this direction along the upper valley of the Waiau-ua River.

The edge of the submarine plateau of which New Zealand is the most elevated portion lies about two hundred miles east of the North Island. Thence it extends north-eastward for hundreds of miles in a nearly straight line. The sea-floor to the east is several thousand feet lower, and the precipitous edge of the plateau probably is the scarp of a great fracture-belt. The most active seismic region of New Zealand is at or near the southern end of this submarine scarp, and here have originated several severe earthquakes.

Another submarine earthquake-zone, presumably also a fracture-zone, extends parallel with and some fifty miles from the east coast of the South Island, from opposite Christchurch to south-east of Dunedin. Numerous unimportant earthquakes have originated from this zone.

Another group of earthquake-foci occurs off the west coast of the North Island, opposite Raglan and Kawhia. This, like the other seismic zones, extends in a northeasterly direction parallel with the main mountain-axis of the Dominion. Few earthquakes have been recorded from this locality, the principal being in 1882 and 1891.

The origins of the New Zealand seismic region will be seen to arrange themselves in groups as follows:—

Group I.—Earthquakes felt most strongly on south-east coast of North Island; the origins form a strip 180 miles from the coast, parallel to the axis of New Zealand, and to axis of folding of older rocks in Hawke's Bay. Chief shocks: 17th August, 1868; 7th March, 1890; 23rd and 29th July, 1904; 9th August, 1904 (intensity IX on R.-F. scale); 8th September. 1904; prob. 23rd February, 1863 (IX, R.-F.); &c.

According to the late Captain F. W. Hutton, F.R.S., the geological evidence shows that New Zealand rose considerably in the older Pliocene period, and was then probably joined to the Chatham Islands. At a later period subsidence occurred, followed again by elevation in the Pleistocene period, with oscillations of level since. The seismic origins of this group are at the foot of a sloping submarine plateau, about two hundred miles wide, which culminates to the east-south-east in the Chatham Islands. This elevation is separated from the New Zealand coast by a trough from 1,000 to 2,000 fathoms in depth, which is widest and deepest between these origins and the mainland.

Group II.

  1. South-east of Otago Peninsula. Shocks: 20th November, 1872, &c.

  2. A strip south-east of Oamaru. Shocks: February, 1876; April, 1876; &c.

  3. Many short and jerky, but generally harmless, quakes felt in Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, and mid-Canterbury. Chief shocks: 31st August, 1870; 27th December, 1888 (VII, R.-F.); &c. Focus of 1888 shock, sixteen miles long, from west-south-west to east-north-east, twenty-four to twenty-five miles below surface, being the deepest ascertained origin in the New Zealand region.

These origins form a line parallel to the general axis of the land. It is possible that the loading of the sea-floor by the detritus brought down by the rivers of Canterbury and Otago is a contributing cause of the earthquakes of this group.

Group III.—Wellington earthquakes of January, 1855, and Cheviot earthquakes of 16th November, 1901, and of 25th December, 1922 (VIII, R.-F.).

The origin of the earthquake of 1855 was probably the fault that forms the eastern boundary of the Rimutaka Range and the western boundary of the Wairarapa Valley.

The origin of the Cheviot earthquake of 1901 was probably in or near the southern continuation of this fault.

The great earthquakes of October, 1848, probably came from the same region as those of January, 1855. The chief shocks of both series did extensive damage to property, and caused the formation of large rifts in the earth's surface; they are the only seismic disturbances since the settlement of the Dominion that can be assigned to degree X on the Rossi-Forel scale.

Group IV.—

  1. Region about twenty-five to thirty miles in length, and ten miles or less in width, running nearly north north-east from middle of Lake Sumner, about twenty miles below the surface, whence proceed most of the severer shocks felt from Christchurch to the Amuri, and a large number of minor shocks. Chief earthquakes: 1st February, 1868; 27th August to 1st September, 1871; 14th September and 21st October, 1878; 11th April, 1884; 5th December, 1881 (VIII, R.-F.), when Christchurch Cathedral spire was slightly injured; 1st September, 1888 (IX, R.-F.), when upper part of same spire fell, and still more severe damage was done in the Amuri district.

  2. A small shallow origin not more than five to ten miles below the surface, a few miles south of Nelson. Earthquake: 12th February, 1893 (VIII to IX, R.-F.); chimneys thrown down and buildings injured.

  3. Origin in Cook Strait, north-north-east of Stephen Island, about ten miles wide, and apparently traceable with few interruptions nearly to mouth of Wanganui River; depth, fifteen miles or more. More than half the earthquakes recorded in New Zealand belong to this region; earthquake of 8th December, 1897 (VIII to IX, R.-F.), and other severer ones came from south-south-west end. Probably the first recorded New Zealand earthquake, felt by Captain Furneaux on the 11th May, 1773, belonged to this region.

  4. Taupo Earthquakes.—During June and July, 1922, earthquakes were almost continuous in the Taupo district. The shocks reached intensity VIII on the Rossi-Forel scale, and then gradually subsided. Conditions were practically normal by the end of the year. The shocks were restricted to a small area of country, and were felt most strongly at Taupo, Wairakei, and Oruanui. The disturbances were accompanied by loud rumblings. No effect appears to have been produced on the thermal activities of the region. Considerable subsidence was reported along the north side of Lake Taupo in a general north-easterly direction.*

    Former smart shocks in this region were reported in September-October, 1897.

  5. An origin near Mount Tarawera, with a large number of moderate or slight shocks, most, but not all, volcanic and local in character—e.g., those of September, 1866, and those of June, 1886, which accompanied and followed the well-known eruption of Mount Tarawera.

These origins of Group IV, (a), (b.), (c), (d), (e), are nearly in a straight line on the map; on or near the same line are the origins of earthquakes felt in the Southern Lake District (15th December, 1883, &c.), the volcanoes Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro, Tarawera, and White Island. It is evident that this line, which, like the rest, is parallel or nearly so to the general axis, is a line of weakness or of unstable equilibrium. Hence the adjusting movements that have caused earthquakes may have from time to time relieved the pressure of the rocks that restrained overheated steam and other volcanic agents from bursting out, and so may have led to volcanic eruptions; just as the series of earthquakes in Guatemala and in the Caribbean Sea in April and May, 1902, were the signs of movements in the great folds of that part of the earth's crust, in the course of which, the pressure in the Antillean Ridge being relieved, the volcanic forces below Mount Pelée in Martinique, and Mount Souffrière in St. Vincent, caused the disastrous eruptions of that year.

Group V.—Off the west coast of the North Island near Raglan and Kawhia. Chief shock: 24th June, 1891 (VII to VIII, R.-F.). The line joining this origin to that of the earthquake of 1st February, 1882, is parallel to the other lines of origins (Groups I to IV); but we have no data to establish any connection between them.


Since 1888 there has been established in New Zealand a system of observing local earthquakes at selected telegraph-stations—about eighty in number—distributed throughout the extent of the Dominion.

Whenever a shock occurs and is felt by an officer in charge of one of these stations he fills up a form giving the New Zealand mean time of the beginning of the shock, its apparent duration and direction, and the principal effects observed by him. Some of the officers exhibit considerable care and skill in making up these returns, and the data have been used to determine principal origins of earthquakes within the New Zealand region.

* P. G. Morgan: N.Z. Geological Survey Annual Report for the year 1923, p. 10.

All observers of earthquakes are cordially invited to forward their reports to the Government Seismologist, Dominion Observatory, Wellington, giving all or any of the following particulars:—

  1. Time of beginning of shock (if possible, New Zealand time to nearest quarter-minute).

  2. Whether clock was verified by New Zealand time.*

  3. Apparent direction— e.g., S.E. to N.W., then N.E. to S.W.

  4. Apparent duration of shock.

  5. Effects in terms of the Rossi-Forel scale as under.

  6. Remarks: e.g., previous or subsequent tremors; spilling of liquids, with direction of overflow; rumbling before, during, or after shock.

The Rossi-Forel scale of earthquake intensities is as follows:—

  1. The shock felt by an experienced observer.

  2. Extremely feeble shock: Felt by a small number of persons at rest.

  3. Very feeble shock: Felt by several persons at rest; strong enough for the direction or duration to be appreciable.

  4. Feeble shock: Felt by several persons in motion; disturbances of movable objects, doors, windows; creaking of floors.

  5. Shock of moderate intensity: Felt generally by every one; disturbance of furniture, beds, &c.; ringing of some bells.

  6. Fairly strong shock: General awakening of those asleep; general ringing of bells; oscillation of chandeliers; stopping of clocks; visible disturbance of trees and shrubs; some startled persons leave their dwellings.

  7. Strong shock: Overthrow of movable objects; fall of plaster; ringing of church bells; general panic, without damage to buildings.

  8. Very strong shock: Fall of chimneys; cracks in walls of buildings.

  9. Extremely strong shock: Partial or total destruction of some buildings.

  10. Shock of extreme intensity: Great disaster; buildings ruined; disturbance of strata; fissures in the ground; rock-falls from mountains.

Four seismographs, all with photographic registration, are installed in New Zealand: two are Milne horizontal pendulums, and two the new Milne-Shaw horizontal pendulums. One Milne and two Milne-Shaw seismographs are installed at the Dominion Observatory, Wellington, with their booms placed at right angles; and the other Milne seismograph is installed at the Magnetic Observatory, Christchurch.

A set of Wiechert seismographs with mechanical registration is installed at the Observatory at Apia, Samoa. By the courtesy of the Administrator copies of the records are forwarded to the Dominion Observatory.

One twin-boom Milne seismograph is installed at Suva, Fiji, and by the courtesy of the Government of Fiji the seismograms are forwarded to the Dominion Observatory. The Fiji records are useful in supplementing those of New Zealand.

The records of the New Zealand stations are sent to the General Secretary of the Seismological Committee of the British Association, to the Station Centrale Sismologique, Strasbourg, France, and to the principal observatories of the world, and thus form part of the general system of earthquake-observation being conducted throughout the world since 1890.

EARTHQUAKES, 1923–1925.

The accompanying diagram illustrates graphically the number and intensities of the earthquakes reported to the Seismologist in the years 1923, 1924, and 1925. These reports were supplied by officers of the Post and Telegraph Department, by private observers, and by the newspapers. Each vertical line represents the maximum effect of an earthquake, with the intensities according to the Rossi-Forel scale shown at the sides of the figure. It will be seen that one earthquake in 1925 reached intensity VIII on this scale, while two others in 1925 and one in 1924 reached intensity VII. The figure also shows the distribution in time of the earthquakes.

* A convenient means of verifying the time is provided by the wireless time-signals sent out every day, at 10.30 a.m. N.Z. time, by the Dominion Observatory on a wave-length of 600 metres.


Deaths due to earthquakes in New Zealand are fortunately very few. In the last seventy-five years seven have been recorded.

The shock of October, 1848, throw down a wall in Wellington, and three people were killed.

On the 24th January, 1855, a death occurred at Wellington recorded as “accidental death from the falling of a chimney.” The large earthquake took place during the night of the 23rd January, 1855.

On the 16th November, 1901, a child was killed by the Cheviot earthquake.

On the 12th April, 1913, a Maori was killed at Masterton by material falling from the post-office, due to an earthquake.

On the 7th October, 1914, a shepherd was killed by the Gisborne earthquake.


The following article on the climate of New Zealand has been prepared by the Dominion Meteorologist, Mr D. C. Bates:—

The climate of New Zealand is spoken of in popular and general terms as equable, mild, and salubrious; but such a summary does not convey an adequate idea of variations that exist in a country stretching, as it does, north and south for nearly a thousand miles, and distinctly differentiated by lofty mountain-chains. Another fact which must also be borne in mind is that the greater part of the North Island is controlled by a different system of circulation from that which dominates conditions in the parts about Cook Strait and in the South Island. The former is subject to ex-tropical disturbances, and the latter more to westerly or antarctic “lows,” which travel along the latitudes of the “forties,” with their prevailing westerly winds.


The climate of the Auckland Provincial District, speaking generally, combines degrees of warmth and humidity agreeable by day and comfortable by night. North of Auckland City conditions are almost subtropical, and in summer balmy easterly breezes prevail, and are responsible for delightful conditions. In winter the winds are more north and west, while changes to the south-west or south-east mostly account for the rainfall. Cumulus clouds are frequently formed in the afternoons, and, while tempering the heat of the day, also cut down sunshine records somewhat, but add considerably to the beauty of the land- and sea-scape. Southward of Auckland the climate is more varied, the west coast experiencing more rain, while the central parts are warmer in the day and considerably colder at night. In the winter months frosts, which are unknown farther north, now and then occur in the hours of darkness. Eastward from Rotorua (the great health resort and the centre of the thermal region) is to be found one of the most genial climates in the world, and Tauranga and Opotiki have charms all their own, especially for their weather and the fruits which ripen to perfection in these regions.

The monthly and annual means of the temperature, rainfall, and sunshine of Auckland and Rotorua are shown in the following tables:—

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 73 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January73.659.066.52.6610.4220 31
February74.162.667.03.069.6182 30
March71.957.764.93.0311.2174 54
April67.754.661.23.4613.9141 56
May62.650.756.84.5018.5127 40
June59.147.853.54.9119.4114 43
July57.546.051.74.9820.8119 47
August58. 36
September60.748.554.63.6517.5146 40
October6.550.957.23.6416.5167 51
November65.953.560.33.2616.0192 13
December70.856.963.92.8411.6206 34
      Year65.552.959.144.18184.91,943 55
Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 39 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January75.152.463.74.249.9236 39
February74.952.663.63.828.7188 36
March71.749.660.63.549.8185 4
April66.145.455.74.3810.8155 57
May60.440.950.65.6212.7137 29
June55.938.547.15.2913.2115 34
July54.537.045.64.9313.7128 18
August56.337.646.94.8913.3143 23
September60.040.950.45.2214.2154 25
October64.044.354.25.1014.1178 21
November68.446.957.74.0212.7209 58
December72.849.961.23.6710.1218 26
      Year65.044.754.854.72143.22,052 10


Hawke's Bay is one of the richest districts in New Zealand, and is favoured with a pleasant climate, being sheltered from westerly winds, though occasionally they are of the warm and dry (Foehn) type. It is rather dry, but ex-tropical disturbances are occasionally responsible for heavy downpours. Though the number of days with rain is less than, and sunshine above, that of other parts, the rainfall is still a good one, and fairly regular throughout the year, though some seasons have been notably dry. The meteorological records of Napier show reliable normals for the coastal districts. Inland the country is rather mountainous and less mild

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 47 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January75.556.866.13.187.2261 27
February74.356.765.52.927.2207 25
March71.354.763.03.297.4217 46
April67. 18
May61.546.153.83.749.4155 56
June57.942.350.13.5910.5155 13
July56.441.548.93.9011.3148 17
August57.842.049.93.5711.6186 42
September62. 33
October66.345.757.52.308.5234 1
November69.751.860.72.518.5245 3
December73.155.364.12.307.2270 52
      Year66.149.057.736.41105.92,491 33


As disclosed by its meteorological records, Wellington, the capital city, has a mean climate for the whole Dominion. Wellington occupies a central position, and is situated near Cook Strait, which divides the two main Islands. It has a somewhat changeable but temperate climate, and, though occasionally subject to disturbances from warmer regions, is usually controlled by the terrestrial wind-currents which have a westerly direction round the world in the latitude of the “forties.” It is popularly regarded as a rather windy spot, for high winds are frequently experienced, although they hardly ever reach hurricane force. Its windiness is largely owing to local configuration, for places quite near Wellington experience very little wind; and to compensate for this rather disagreeable element is a bountiful sunshine, averaging 2,017 hours per annum. There is a plentiful rainfall, amounting to nearly 50 in.

The region between Wellington and Taranaki, following the Taranaki Bight, is probably as fertile and agreeable as any in Australia or New Zealand; but inland, though very productive, conditions are not so favourable.

Taranaki has a rather heavy rainfall, and in most parts of this region the grass is always green. Its climate is mild, and cattle winter in the open. Wanganui and Manawatu districts (which lie between Wellington and Taranaki) have less rainfall than either Wellington or Taranaki.

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 68 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January69.455.762.53.3110.5223 25
February69.355.862.53.209.0208 10
March66.954.260.53.2811.3180 35
April62.851.257.03.8413.0153 37
May58.347.252.74.7616.6125 52
June54.744.249.44.9017.2106 3
July53.142.347.75.5918.1105 54
August54.442.848.64.4516.9145 20
September57.545.751.64.0214.9161 51
October60.448.454.44.1514.2173 45
November63.450.556.93.4212.8202 20
December66.953.960.43.2912.1229 57
      Year61.449.355.448.21166.62,016 49

It may be useful to make a comparison between the records of Wellington and those of Camden Square, London.

Camden Square, London.
Month.Mean Temperatures.
Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 68 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January70.552.961.73.5510.0233 26
February71. 52
March69.652.060.83.6010.0177 14
April64.647.656.13.9013.0150 6
May58.743.951.34.2214.9114 59
June54.941.848.34.2314.699 42
July.53.340.046.74.1915.7108 27
August55.341.048.13.9314.6142 10
September59. 59
October62.146.754.44.6714.9157 56
November65.148.856.93.5312.4180 7
December68.650.959.73.6312.0227 44
      Year62.746.954.846.15153.31,931 42


Nelson and Marlborough are highly favoured regions with regard to sunshine and shelter from marine winds. Long ago Bishop Selwyn said, “No one knows what the climate is till he has basked in the almost perpetual sunshine of Tasman's Gulf, with a frame braced and invigorated to the full enjoyment of heat by the wholesome frost or cool snowy breeze of the night before.”

Pastoral and agricultural industries are thriving, and Nelson is also famous for its fruit cultures—apples especially being celebrated for their variety, colour, and flavour. The rainfall about Nelson is very reliable, and averages from 35 in. to 45 in. per annum. Marlborough is also a sunny district, and its rainfall averages from 25 in. to 30 in.

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 68 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January74.953.964.32.828.4273 23
February74. 45
March71.051.461.13089.0197 53
April66.247.556.92939.5194 38
May60.042.551.23.0810.5165 1
June56.138.847.43.6910.1146 13
July54.637.646.134910.8151 47
August56.538.547.53.0210.6199 45
September60.642.351.43.7512.0199 44
October64.745.455.03.5912.0212 39
November68.648.458.52.9311.3244 42
December71.951.661.72.098.8259 16
      Year64.946.055.437.84122.32,481 46

Following are the rainfall and sunshine records for Blenheim:—

Month.Mean Rainfall for 17 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 Inches.Hr. min.
January2.32232 3
February2.21200 53
March2.12180 14
April1.85152 36
May2.94153 46
June3.00135 23
July3.51142 23
August2.64177 46
September2.72181 5
October2.62186 17
November2.42222 15
December1.96190 10
      Year30.312,154 51


The climate of Westland is influenced by its position with regard to the prevailing westerly winds, its proximity to the sea from which these winds blow, and the mountainous character of its eastern half. The rainfall, as might be expected, is heavy, and ranges from about 70 in. per annum in the north on the coast to as much as 200 in. in the mountainous country. The weather-changes are chiefly due to atmospheric depressions, with lowest pressures passing south of the Dominion. Cyclones centred in the north, while bringing heavy rains to the North Island and the east-coast portions of the South, do not, as a rule, affect Westland, as easterly winds, which then prevail, are not conducive to cloud - formation in this district. Sunshine at Hokitika averages 1,925 hours a year, and, though not so abundant as in east-coast districts, this is a good average amount considering the rainfall. Westland is noted for a clear, beautiful atmosphere during fair-weather periods.

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 47 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January67.453.260.39.8713.0208 11
February68. 27
March66. 1
April62.447.254.79.3815.1141 39
May57.942.149.99.7115.6134 48
June54.438.746.49.6015.4109 48
July53.036.744.89.0816.0127 9
August54.538.046.39.34160156 6
September57.642.550.093316.5142 33
October59.645.752.711.8419.1156 35
November61.748.154.910.7317.5175 29
December65.351.458.410.7016.2207 8
      Year60.745.7531116.59185.91,924 54


The chief health resort of the South Island, Hanmer Spa, is situated on a small plateau in the northern portion of the Canterbury Land District. On account of its altitude, 1,120 ft., it enjoys an invigorating climate, with a mean annual temperature of only about one degree below that of Christchurch. Owing to its elevated position and nearness to the mountains Hanmer is in some winter seasons subject to rather severe snowstorms, such as are never experienced on the Canterbury Plains. The mean annual rainfall is 40.82 in., and the mean total sunshine 1,990 hours

The district of Canterbury comprises a variety of topographical features. A plain stretches over a hundred miles from north-east to south-west, with a maximum width of about forty miles from the east coast to the foothills to the westward. The latter merge into the mountainous country culminating in the main range of the Southern Alps, which divides the provincial districts of Canterbury and Westland, and affords a protection from the heavily moisture-laden north-westerly winds. The rainfall of the Canterbury Plains is in consequence much restricted, the average being about 26 in. There is, however, a remarkable progressive increase from east to west, as is shown by the records. At Christchurch the mean is 25.30 in.; at Mount Torlesse Station (near Springfield), 40.24 in. The climate of Canterbury might almost be described as Con in type, with largo extremes of temperature between summer and winter and between day and night. Except in the three summer months frosts are numerous, and even in the early spring and late autumn they are at times severe enough to damage vegetation of a tender nature. In summer, day temperatures of over 90° in the shade are sometimes experienced. With regard to both climate and soil, the Plains have proved most suitable for agricultural farming, and much of the district is capable of growing splendid cereal and root crops. The prevailing winds in Canterbury are north-east and south-west, while north-westerlies are not as often supposed, of frequent occurrence. They are most common in the springtime, and, being dry and warm, they have a somewhat enervating effect, though in winter-time they come as a welcome change from the keen temperatures then generally ruling. The bright sunshine, as recorded at Lincoln, shows a daily average for the year of 5.7 hours.

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 45 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January71.951.361.62.219.5212 24
February71.351.761.51.657.7201 13
March68.449.058.72.2810.0181 46
April63.644.354.02.019.6158 47
May57.439.848.52.3311.3135 49
June52.936.344.62.4511.6118 10
July51135.243.12.7513.2116 41
August53.536.545.02.0411.1153 8
September58.440.349.41.939.7178 2
October63.243.953.61.689.3204 16
November66. 27
December70.149.359.72.12100209 11
      Year62.343.753.025.39123.42,087 54


Otago, the southernmost part of New Zealand, is very diversified as regards both its physical features and its climate. Inland, in Central and North Otago, the climate is dry and clear—hot in summer and cold in winter. The rainfall for this district averages from 13 in. to 20 in. Near the coast, in the Dunedin district, the rainfall in more plentiful, averaging from 30 in. to 40 in. per annum, a good deal of which falls in light drizzling rains.

There are continuous rainfall records from various parts of Dunedin for seventy years, of which the median rainfall is 33.5 in., and the mean in the table following may be regarded as too high.

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 69 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January66.349.658.03.3614.3184 26
February65.849.557.72.6911.2165 4
March63.047.955.42.9813.0137 8
April58.744.851.72.8212.7111 23
May53. 19
June49.438.443.83.1512.887 44
July47.737.142.43.0113.095 33
August50.237.944.03.1412.8125 36
September55.040.947.92.7412.7144 29
October59.242.951.03.0914.3159 26
November61.645.053.33.2714.1168 42
December64.648.056.33.4814.4186 19
      Year57.943.650.736.96158.91,663 9


Queenstown, on Lake Wakatipu, amongst the mountains, at an elevation of over 1,000 ft., furnishes the following averages:—

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 34 Years.


At Invercargill, the chief town of Southland, the averages are as follow:—

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 32 Years.Mean Sunshine.
 °F.°F.°F.Inches.Days.Hr. min.
January66.548.057.24.0115.5203 8
February66.147.456.82.8512.0161 10
March63.845.754.73.9014.7120 57
April59.242.450.84.3616.8107 12
May53.737.745.84.4617.888 42
June49.835.442.73.6016.391 16
July48.833.941.43.2816.081 26
August52.035.543.83.3115.1120 33
September57. 32
October60.042.551.34.4417.3151 6
November61.643.952.84.4017.8175 16
December64. 17
      Year58.641.550.045.98189.31,600 35

The average rainfall of Southland is between 40 in. and 50 in., but towards Queenstown the rainfall is between 30 in. and 40 in. The rainfall is well distributed throughout the year, and there is less wind in winter than in summer.

Stewart Island has a wonderfully mild and moist climate, especially on its eastern side, with an average rainfall of 65.18 in.


The total rainfall for the year was below the average over most of the North Island and in the West Coast district northward of Greymouth and the extreme south of the South Island, while elsewhere it was above the average.

Following is a brief summary for each month of the weather and the chief atmospheric systems which were in evidence:—

January.—Several ex-tropical disturbances accounted for unsettled conditions from the 20th to the close of the month, and between the 25th and 27th some heavy rains occurred.

Rain also fell generally about the 12th, but the weather during the remainder of the month was, on the whole, warm and fair, and in the first half some high temperatures were recorded, particularly in the East Coast districts.

The rain about the 26th proved most beneficial to farmers and graziers in most parts of the Dominion.

Except in the East Coast districts of the North Island and parts of the Nelson and North Canterbury districts in the South, the total month's rainfall was below the average, and remarkably so in Otago.

Mean temperatures were mostly higher than usual, but there were cold snaps about the 11th, 17th, and 26th.

February.—During the first half of February most parts of the Dominion experienced fair weather, but the last half was dominated chiefly by westerly low-pressure areas which accounted for the prevalence of high westerly winds, unsettled, and, at times, stormy conditions.

Heavy rains occurred, especially in all the western districts and southern portion of the South Island. These parts recorded a total rainfall considerably above the average, while the east coast districts of both Islands experienced a deficiency, a reversal of the position in the previous month.

Conditions were particularly stormy about the 18th and 22nd, on both of which days the barometer fell very low in the South. The high winds caused much damage to fruit crops in various parts of the Dominion.

March.—In marked contrast to the same month last year, March proved one of the driest ever recorded, particularly in the East Coast districts. Rainfall was considerably below the average in all parts of the Dominion, with the exception of the high country and South Westland and Otago in the South Island and New Plymouth in the North Island.

During the first fortnight the weather was changeable, with squally and showery conditions, especially in the West Coast and southern districts. An anticyclone then ruled until the 25th with fair weather generally. The latter part of the month was somewhat unsettled, but, on the whole, the weather during the month was dry and sunny, with warm days and cool nights.

On the last two days sharp frosts occurred in many places.

April.—April proved a fine, dry, and sunny month on the whole, with rainfall generally below the average. In parts of Canterbury, however, the total was in excess, and considerably so at places about Bank's Peninsula. This is accounted for by a particularly heavy downpour on the 16th, which resulted from a cyclonic disturbance passing between the 15th and 19th and which intensified when located off the east coast. The east coast of the North Island was not affected by this storm, the aggregate rainfall in that district showing the greatest percentage below normal for the whole of the Dominion during April, Napier having only 8 per cent. of its mean precipitation.

Except during the period when the above-mentioned cyclone ruled, and also between the 5th and 8th when a rather intense westerly low-pressure area was in evidence, atmospheric pressure was usually above normal.

May.—During May the most remarkable meteorological feature was the number of cyclonic disturbances which passed in the North. On this account rainfall was greatly in excess of the average over the North Island and in the east-coast portions of the South Island, and deficient in the western and southernmost districts of the South.

There were two periods when fair weather prevailed over the Dominion as a whole —viz., between the 7th and 11th and the 24th and 28th; but during the remainder of the month, except in Westland and Otago, unsettled and wet weather predominated.

Heavy rains and floods occurred in the northern districts about the 12th, 14th, and 15th, and very stormy conditions were experienced over the Dominion on the 22nd and 23rd, with further floods in the North. Both these stormy periods resulted from ex-tropical cyclones, and an intense cyclone also made the close of the month extremely unpleasant for the northern districts.

June.—The weather in June was dominated by similar conditions to those experienced in May, there being again a remarkable prevalence of ex-tropical disturbances. The latter chiefly affected the North Island and the north-east districts of the South, and, in consequence, these parts received a rainfall considerably above the average, while in South Canterbury, Otago, and Westland fair weather predominated, with a low rainfall.

Except for a period of anticyclonic conditions and fine weather between the 11th and 22nd, the weather was extremely unsettled and, at times, stormy. During the last week, owing to abnormal rains large areas of country in the northern districts were flooded, and on the last three days snow fell in many parts of the South Island.

July.—The stormy conditions which were prevalent during the last week of June continued into July until the 10th, heavy rains and floods being experienced in the northern and East Coast districts. The Canterbury rivers also flooded, owing to the warm rains melting the recently fallen snow in the higher country.

Unsettled and wet weather also ruled between the 13th and 16th and the 21st and 25th. During the latter period an extensive disturbance held sway, with very low pressure in the South, and beneficial rains fell in Otago, where extremely dry weather had been experienced for some time.

Anticyclonic conditions and fair weather prevailed generally between the 10th and 13th, the 17th and 19th, and from the 26th to the close of the month.

The total rainfall was above the mean in the Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, and Taranaki districts in the North Island, and in Westland and Canterbury in the South Island. Auckland and Wellington districts, as well as parts of Otago and the central portion of the South Island, recorded a deficiency.

On the whole, the weather proved dull, mild, and humid, and in most parts of the Dominion there was more than the usual growth of grass for the time of the year.

August.—August proved a dull and wet month in most parts of the country, the East Coast districts especially having a total rainfall considerably in excess of the average. The Auckland and Taranaki Provinces in the North Island, and the country about Westport, Greymouth, and Foveaux Strait in the South, had a deficiency. Westland, owing to a prevalence of east to south-east winds, appears to have experienced the greatest number of fine days.

A storm of somewhat local character occurred in Canterbury on the 6th and 7th, with heavy rain, snow, and bleak weather. A cyclone passed in the North between the 12th and 15th, accounting for high east to south-east winds and some heavy downpours. Anticyclonic conditions followed, and the highest reading of the barometer, 30.675 inches, was registered at Wellington on the morning of the 17th.

An intense westerly disturbance passed in the South, with a barometer reading of 28.95 inches, at the Bluff, on the 23rd, and was preceded and followed by very unsettled weather. Snow, hail, and thunderstorms were reported at various times on high country of the South, and some sleet at lower levels.

The wet weather was a great hindrance to farming operations in Canterbury, and growth of grass was delayed by several frosts and dull weather in many other parts of the country.

September.—The weather during September was, on the whole, unsettled, bleak, and squally. Westerly disturbances predominated, and were usually of considerable extent and intensity. Rainfall was therefore above the average in districts having a westerly aspect, and deficient at most places on the east coast of both islands.

Stormy weather prevailed generally between the 3rd and 8th, and during this period some heavy snowfalls were experienced in the South Island. Conditions were also severe from the 19th to the 27th, very heavy rains accounting for flooded rivers in Westland about this time.

The month was an extremely unfavourable one for agricultural and pastoral pursuits, and vegetable growth was very backward on account of the cold and lack of sunshine.

October.—October's weather was an improvement on that experienced in the preceding spring and winter months, less wind and more continued warmth being favourable to vegetable growth and stock.

Although westerly disturbances predominated, only one, which passed in the South between the 13th and 15th, was of marked intensity, causing strong northerly to westerly winds and considerable rain, especially in the South and about Cook Strait.

Anticyclonic conditions ruled during the last week, when fine sunny days and cold nights were experienced generally.

The total month's rainfall was below the average in all districts, except Nelson and parts of Otago in the South Island, and about the Bay of Islands in the North.

November.—As in the preceding month, weather conditions during November were chiefly affected by westerly disturbances, with lowest pressure southward of New Zealand, and northerly to westerly winds predominated. Southerly changes, however, occurred on several occasions, and, though of brief duration, they were very marked, and were in parts accompanied by hail and sleet, and followed by frosts.

Two disturbances intensified considerably after passing to the eastward, and accounted for severe southerly gales on the 16th and 26th, with cold squally conditions, particularly along the east coast.

The aggregate rainfall for the month was mostly below the mean of previous years, but above along the east coast of the South Island southward of Kaikoura and in Westland.

On the whole, the weather, though somewhat changeable, was warm, dry, and windy.

December.—Warm, dry, and windy weather was experienced during December in most parts of the Dominion and, except in Westland and the high country of the South Island, the aggregate month's rainfall was everywhere below the mean. The latter districts had more than their average precipitation, chiefly owing to two severe westerly storms, one which ruled on the 3rd and 4th, and the other between the 9th and 11th. The heavy rains during these two periods caused floods in the West Coast rivers, and also, at the same time, some of the Canterbury rivers flooded, owing to the melting of the snow on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps.

There were several other minor westerly disturbances during the month, and only one ex-tropical “low,” which passed too far north to benefit Hawke's Bay. A thunderstorm there, however, on. New Year's Eve, brought some temporary relief from an extended period of drought.

The following tables show the difference, above or below the mean, for each month in the year:—

Monthly Means compared with the Averages for Twenty Previous Years.
Mean Number of Days with Rain, compared with the Averages for Twenty Previous Years.

+ Above the average.

- Below the average.

Monthly Means compared with the Averages for Twenty Previous Years.
Mean Number of Days with Rain, compared with the Averages for Twenty Previous Years.

+ Above the average.

- Below the average.

Stations.Months.Temperature in Shade.Rainfall.Mean Height of Barometer.Prevailing Winds.
Highest.Lowest.Mean Max. Temp.Mean Min. Temp.Mean Temp. for Month.Wet Days.Fall.
Auckland (lat. 36° 50' S.; long. 174° 50' 4' E.; alt. 125 ft.)— °Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.No.Inches.Inches. 
January77., SW.
February77.055.072.659.366.0143.3729.901W, E.
March75.050.069.957.363.681.3030.050SW, NW.
April71046.066.253.860.0131.2830.209E, SW.
May68.044.062.452.257.3245.2530.073E, W.
June63.038.057.948.053.0217.8529.927S, E.
August64038.057.145051.1173.6829.935SW, N.
September67., NW.
October69045.462.751.657.2192.0329.997NW, S.
November72.043.064.452.058.2152.4430.016W, NW.
December79., W.
Ruakura Farm of Instruction, Hamilton E. (lat. 37° 47' S.; long, 175° 20' E.; alt. 131 ft.)—January84.241.478.350.664.5103.30..NE, SW.
February82.840., E.
April75.826.268.541.254.9120.96..W, NE.
May70.028.864.043.453.7195.59..NE, NW.
June68.625.059.839.749.8167.87..SE, SW.
July64.424.058.936.447.7165.99..SW, SE.
August66.027.859.735.447.5132.50..SW, SE.
September66.029.860.340.450.323508..W, NE.
October73.632.066.245.355.7172.93..W, NE.
Te Aroha (lat. 37° 32' S.; long, 175° 42' E.; alt. 46 ft.)—January85.046.079.756.368.093.82..SE, NW.
February85.043.078.453.966.1111.63..W, SE.
March80. S, NW.
April75.638.070.646.758.6141.19..S, NE, NW.
May76.032.066.545.255.8155.52..S, NW, N.
June68.025.060.641.7511169.50..S, W.
July66.025.060.839.350.0176.61..N, W.
August66.026.062.436.549.4147.67..N, S.
September65.033.061.644.152.8194.35..NW, W.
October75., S.
November78.030.072.346.059.1143.57..NW, W.
December84.032.077.551.064.281.10..W, NW.
waihi (lat. 37° 28' S.; long, 330 ft.—January84.244.377.455.566.4103.4229.996W, SE.
February81.541.974.652.363.4134.6329.941W, SE.
March80.334.073.449.061.291.7630.078W, SW.
April73.727.567.445.756.5131.3630.221W, E.
May70.328.463.345.654.42110.9430.131NW, E.
June65.425.258.341.950.11515.8629.976E, NW.
July64.724.657.737.947.8179.1029.955NW, W.
August66.224.858.437.247.81515.8629.972SW, E.
September67.628.560.243.451.8247.3829.846W, SW.
October74., E.
November76.429.68.148.358.2152.9530.011W, SW.
December86.742.374.454.564.461.0729.994W, SW.
Tauranga (lat. 37° 42' S.; long. 176° 22' E.; alt. 100ft.)January84.045.072.456.164.2102.70..SW, NE.
February78.045.072.853.763.2102.54..SW, SE.
March76.041.070.950.460.681.74..SW, NW.
April72.036.064.347.456.1151.68..S, NE.
May70.038.063.447.355.3158.46..SW, S.
June64.033.059.343.551.41515.01..S, SE.
July65.031.058.840.649.7165.40..S, SW.
August66.031.058.939.149.5153.20..S, NW.
September68.034.060.543.552.0203.87..SW, NW.
October78.036.064.848., NE.
November77.034.068.946.757.8112.30..SW, W.
December83.  SW.
Rotorua (lat. 38° 9' S.; long. 176° 15' E.; alt. 932ft.)—January82.044.074.455.464.9146.76..NE, W.
February78.043.071.551.061.2113.40..W, SE.
March78., S.
April70.033.064.744.054.3112.56..SW, NW.
May67.034.060.544.652.5147.20..SW, NE.
June63., SE.
July61.028.055.337.046.1115.38..SE, S.
August63.028.055.936.846.3164.09..S, NE.
September63.032.056.741.148.9216.20..NE, W.
October74.035.062.946.454.6216.66..NE, SE.
November76.031.065.744.855.292.39..W, SW.
December84.544.072.751.762.261.90..W, SW, NE.
New Plymouth (lat. 39° 3' 35' S.; long. 174° 4' 58' E.; alt. 60 ft.)—January75.046.270.953.962.461.48..N, SE.
February75.044.269.854.362.0112.91..SE, W.
March69.340.566.351.158.7113.90..SE, W.
April68.039.863.948.656.2111.83..SE, W.
May64., SW.
June62.032.256.445.250.8176.64..SE, SW.
September60.434.656.644.450.5278.66..NW, SE.
October69.334.261.648.955.2204.39..SE, N.
November65.434.361.248.654.9212.49..NW, W.
December71.147.064.652.858.7143.02..NW, W.
Napier (lat. 39° 29' S.; long. 176° 55' E.; alt. 5ft.)—January84.545.571.4056.263.6132.87..E, W.
February82.549.572.556.964.780.72..S, NE, W.
March81.040.570.151.660.850.53..W, N, E.
April79.535.567.448.157.7 0.18..W.
June65.033.555.045.450.2236.57..W, SW.
July64.031.555.941.048.4165.15..SW, NW.
August65.531.556.342.049.1204.10..SW, W.
September72.533.060.841.152.660.34..W, NW.
October75.537.564.950.657.7101.17..SW, E.
November77.037.067.849.758.770.28..W, E.
December84.047.574., W, E.
Taihape (lat. 39° 40' S.; long. 175° 49' E.; alt. 2,080 ft.)—January79.440.770.150.760.4133.60..W, E.
February74., NE.
March72.435.064.546.555.581.81..W, NE.
April68.032.059.843.051.4100.93..W, SW.
May64.832.854.241.347.7185.76..W, NE, NW.
June62., S.
July57.827.048.336.542.4182.43..NE, NW.
August57., NE.
September56.029.049.337.743.5214.74..NW, SW.
October68.033.057.442.549.9132.57..NW, W.
November68.031.457.942.350.1172.29..W, SW.
December75.240.065.447.356.371.56..SW, W, NW.
Palmerston North (lat. 40° 21' S.; long, 175° 37' E.; alt. 100 ft.—January83.545.074.654.764.674.01..W, E.
February81.543.071.852.061.982.44..W, E.
April74.032.065.844.655.2102.37..W, E.
May66., E.
June65.029.054.841.848.3183.83..E, W.
July63., E.
August67., W.
October73.035.063.847.255.5151.59..W, E.
Tangimoana (lat. 40° 20' S.; long. 175° 18' E.; alt. 8 fg.)—January81.044.073.651.662.673.15..NW, SE.
February80.042.071.350.861.0101.98..NW, SE.
March74.539.068.448.058.281.36..NW, E.
April70.031.564.842.753.7121.51..N, NW.
May69.031.059.441.350.3145.88..E, NW.
June64., SE.
July65.531.056.837.247.0112.47..E, SE.
August72.527.058.533.145.8131.60..E, NE.
September64.531.058.441.550.0234.11..NW, NE.
October74., NW.
November70.032.065.547.556.5151.18..W, SW.
Central Development Farm Weraroa (lat. 17' 38' S.' long, 175° 17' E.; alt. 119 ft.)—January78.039.069.553.061.292.20..W, NW.
February80.044.070.853.061.9113.02..W, NW.
March75.033.067.448.257.860.68..W, NW.
April71.032.063.746.855.2142.71..NW, W.
May68.032.058.744.251.5158.19..E, NE.
June65.031.055.840.047.9154.55..SE, SW.
July62.030.055.439.347.3143.37..NW, SW.
August65., E.
September64.031.056.542.649.5204.82..W, NW.
October73.032.062.845.854.3131.99..W, NW.
November68.035.061.749.455.5121.56..W, NW.
December70.047.064.954.459.591.56..NW, W.
Masterton (lat. 40° 57' S.; long. 175° 40' E.; alt. 377 ft.)—January86.439.873.752.663.4102.86..SW, N.
February80.638.671.550.360.9101.58..NW, SW.
March78.632.671.544.457.970.45..NW, N.
April77.032.466.841.754.291.60..SW, N.
May71.631.457.843.050.4235.42..NW, SW.
July61.826.253.938.246.0204.19..SW, N.
August61.827.654.038.046.0215.51..N, SW.
October74.225.063.845.054.4191.69..SW, N.
November80.031.467.244.255.7111.42..W, NW.
December84.442.674.451.162.760.55..NW, W.
Wellington (lat. 41° 16' S.; long, 174° 46' E.; alt. 10 ft.)—January78., N.
February75.046.069.355.662.4103.9029.846NW, N.
March75.441.467.353.260.252.0829.982NW, NE.
April72.039.663.650.657.4102.6230.126N, NE.
May69., NW.
June62.032.352.842.647.7218.3329.990SE, S.
July60.832.353.443.948.6194.3729.889NW, SE.
October72.735.261.048.954.9185.6529.933NW, SE.
November69.339.963.450.957.4151.5629.857NW, N.
Brightwater (lat. 41° 23' S.; long. 173° 9' E.; alt. 89 ft.)—January78.045.072.654.563.5143.44..N.
March76., S.
April72.030.064.642.053.351.14..SW, S.
May70.032.059.338.949.1143.58..SW, SE.
June62.027.056.535.646.0102.72..SW, SE.
August62.026.055.735.545.6123.54..S, SW.
October68.033.061.743.252.4175.40..NE, SW.
November74.034.066.744.555.6919.0 SW, N.
Nelson (lat. 41° 16' 17' S.; long. 173° 18' 46' E.; alt. 13 ft.—January76.149.871.256.964.093.1429.952N.
February74.343.069.653.361.4133.4929.832N, SW.
March75.138.267.648.658.162.1629.969SW, N.
April70.936.563.945.054.471.9030.113N, S.
May66.934.758.541.750.1103.7030.062SE, S.
June61.527.955.137.446.2113.6829.965SE, S.
August65.928.455.938.247.0113.2729.4931N, S.
October68.035.961.546.053.7176.6129.914N, SW.
November75., W.
December82.539.870.150.960.580.7529.843N, SW.
Hokitika (lat. 42° 41' S.; long. 170° 49' 30' E.; alt. 12 ft.)—January73.047.068.854.261.574.7329.948SW, NW.
February76.044.066.553.159.81711.2329.798NW, SW.
March68.538.061.746.954.31811.7129.968NW, SE.
April67.535.559.244.651.9137.7330.112SW, NW.
May62., E.
June62.028.053.335.144.2136.0729.980E, SE.
July60., E.
August59.029.553.936.945.4129.8029.949NE, E.
September66.030.053.840.046.92714.0129.645NE, SW.
October65.036.558.744.251.41610.5629.948SW, NW.
November62.034.057.546.251.82414.3329.912SW, NW.
December66., NW.
Hanmer Springs (lat. 42° 23' S.; long. 172° 47' E.; alt. 1,225 ft.)—January85.036.071.948.059.9133.88..NW.
February79.038.065.548.757.1143.73..NW, SE.
September59.026.051.835.643.7156.98..NW, N.
October74.028.061.340.851.0152.50..NW, S.
November72., SW.
Christchurch (lat. 43° 31' 30' S.; long. 172° 38' 50' E.; alt. 25 ft.)January83.345.469.553.461.472.1829.958SW, NE.
February77.440.067.851.859.880.2729.781NE, SW.
March79.634.866.446.056.261.1329.904NE, SW.
April76.532.562., SW.
May67.628.354.137.045.6142.1230.083SW, NE.
June53.624.047.734.441.0214.3230.028SW, NE.
July61.528.950.536.343.4152.9829.880SW, NE.
August61.725.551.437.344.4195.9729.936SW, N.
September66.828.055.338.046.6133.0829.548SW, NE.
October77.432.262.144.753.471.6729.870NE, SW.
November76.530.963.944.554.2122.4229.773SW, NE.
December84.739.071.149.760.471.0329.732NE, NW, E.
Kisselton, Lake Coleridge (lat. 43° 22' S.; long. 171° 33' E.; alt. 1,200 ft.)—January83., NW.
February78., SW.
March79.034.067.944.856.372.30..NW, SW.
May75., SW.
June64.027.049.733.141.4102.81..SE, NW.
July71.029.051.538.144.8144.89..NW, SW.
August74.028.055.938.847.3186.84..NW, SE.
October86., SW.
November85., SW.
December85.033.071.447.159.273.03..NW, SW.
Timaru (lat. 44° 25' S.; long. 71° 171° 18' E.; alt. 56ft.)—January84.445.071.252.461.891.09..NE, E.
February78.239.269.651.960.7151.57..NE, SE, KW.
March82.034.869.546.057.780.57..NE, SW.
April76.632.062.543.553.072.10..NE, SW.
May69.230.054.536.845.6102.01..SW, NE.
June58.626.249.232.640.9121.33..SW, NE.
July69.429.049.335.942.6114.23..SW, NE.
August62.026.450.635.042.8152.21..SW, NE.
September63.629.054.738.446.6112.09..SE, SW. NW. NE, SW.
October76.036.061.943052.4110.91..NE, SW.
November75.833.065.344.2547102.27..SW, SE.
December83.638.068.448.858.6121.25..SE, E.
Waimate (lat. 44° 44' S.; long. 171° 14' E.; alt. 200ft.)—January85.042.068.350.959.681.22..NE, SW.
February75.038.066.450.358.3161.07..NE, SW.
March80.035.066.445.956.171.27..NE, SW.
April76., SW.
May71.028.054.635.345.0102.05 SW
July61.029.050.435.242.8145.98..NE, SE, SW.
August60., SW.
September65., SW.
October75.032.060.841.251.081.18..NE, SW.
November73., SW.
December80.037.065.547.456.4132.47..NE, SE.
Waipiata (lat. 45° 10' S.; long. 171° 12' E.; alt. 1,550ft.)—January84., NW.
February78.038.065.545.055.2111.31..SW, NW.
March73.032.063.441.852.6101.69..W, SW.
April72.031.059.439.349.391.36..W, SW.
May66., N.
June56.018.043.626.134.8100.74..SW, SE.
July56.022.045.330.337.891.18..SE, W.
August59., SW.
September56., W.
October70.029.058.938.948.9112.06..NW, SW.
November78.629.860.639.750.1141.14..NW, SW.
December77.235.066.544.055.2121.55..NW, W.
Dunedin (lat. 45° 52' S.; long. 170° 31' E.; alt. 300 ft.)—January81.041.067.750.058.861.3129.951NE, SW.
February77., SW.
March73.038.063.547.355.4134.0029.893SW, NE.
April71.035.060.443.752.0162.4330.052SW, NE.
May61.032.053.838.646.292.7930.105SW, NE.
June60., NE.
July57.032.049.938.344.1155.9929.874NE, SW.
August60., SW.
September64.030..052.739.045.8223.2429.504SW, NE.
October77., SW.
November73.036.059.843.551.6204.5129.761SW, NE.
December76.041.064.347..255.7182.2429.725SW, NE.
Gore (lat. 46° 6' S.; long. 168° 57' E.; alt. 245 ft.)January89.031.071.346.358.860.48..SW, E.
February84.030.066.744.455.5121.87..E, SW.
May68., E.
June55., NW.
July57.024.047.681.839.7131.55..E, NE.
August61., NE.
September62.028.052.335.243.7214.26..SW, E.
October72.031.062.739.551.1112.32..E. SW, NW.
November77., NE.
December79.033.064.843.354.0202.61..SW, NE.
Invercargill (lat. 46° 25' S.; long. 168° 21' E.; alt. 12 ft.)—January87.032.068.547.658.0121.01..E, SW.
February82.032.065.547.056.2212.63..SW, E.
April71.031.061.340..350.8204.72..SW, W.
May62.022.052.534.543.5152.49..SW, NE.
June55.019.047.826.637.2122.03..NE, NW, E.
July58.025.049.531.540.581.32..NE, E.
August., E, SW.
September62., SW.
October71.033.059.942.151.0143.24..NW, SE.
November71.036.057.543.150.3244.02..SW, W.
December74. SW. W.
Stations.Temperature in Shade.Rainfall.Mean Height of Barometer.Prevailing Winds.
Highest and Date.Lowest and Date.Mean Max. Temp for Year.Mean Min. Temp for Year.Mean Temp. for Year.Days on which Rain fell.Total Fall.
Auckland79.0 Dec. 3138.0 June 20, July 12, Aug. 1664.352.658.419739.2129.985W, SW, NW.
Hamilton East84.2 Jan. 2424.0 July 1267.243.555.417744.24..W, NE, SW.
Te Aroha85.0 Jan. 16, Feb. 1625.0 June 21, 22, July 1269.646.658.116351.98..W, NW.
Waihi86.7 Dec. 3124.6 July 1966.646.656.617469.4630.012W, SW.
Tauranga84.0 Jan. 2231.0 July 12, Aug. 3165.847.556.616252.73..SW, S.
Rotorua84.5 Dec. 928.0 July 11, 19, Aug. 9, 1964.045.154.515661.69..SW, NE.
New Plymouth75.0 Jan 29, Feb. 732.261.848.355.019255.05..SW, W.
Napier84.5 Jan. 1031.5 July 20, Aug. 1264.849.156.912725.51..W, SW.
Taihape79.4 Jan.2427.0 July 1157.542.650.017934.88..W, NW.
Palmerston N.83.5 Jan. 2425.0 July 563.246.354.816135.54..W, E.
Tangimoana81.0 Jan. 25, 2727.0 Aug. 1763.944.154.015330.07 NW, E.
Weraroa80.0 Feb. 15, 1728.0 Aug. 1161.946.254.115655.67 W, NW
Masterton86.4 Jan. 2425.0 Oct. 2963.843.953.817536.94 SW, NW
Wellington78.2 Jan. 3029.9 Aug. 1761.449.255.317552.1729.927 NW, N, SE.
Brightwater83.0 Dec. 826.0 Aug. 1863.443.053.213735.08..SW, N.
Nelson82.5 Dec. 727.9 June 1362.545.253.813938.4929.912N, SW.
Hokitika76.0 Feb. 1628.0 June 1358.744.251.5207123.8929.924SW,NW.
Hamner Springs85.0 Jan. 2418.0 June 1759.539.849.613853.02..NW.
Christchurch84.7 Dec. 2124.0 June 1860.243.151.613833.4229.878SW, NE.
Kisselton, Lake Coleridge86.0 Oct. 1327.0 June 16,17,2662.842.852.812641.18..NW, SW.
Timaru84.4 Jan. 3126.2 June 2760.642.451.513121.63..SW, NE.
Waimate85.0 Jan. 2227.0 June 17, 18, Aug. 11,1659.241.350.213625.49 NE, SW.
Waipiata84.0 Jan.1618.0 June 1, 2756.637.146.812517.94..NW.SW.
Dunedin81.0 Jan. 3030.0 Sept. 4, 558.042.950.417239.8329.869SW, NE.
Gore89.0 Jan. 3018.0 June 2758.438.148.217729.63..SW, E.
Invercargill87.0 Jan. 3019 0 June 27, 2857.839.348.620739.24..SW, NE.


The following article on the flora and vegetation of New Zealand has been prepared by Dr. L. Cockayne, F.R.S.:—

Owing to its long isolation and diverse elements (Malayan, Australian, Subantarctic, and endemic), the flora of New Zealand is of special interest. Ferns, fern-allies, and seed-plants number, so far as is at present known, about 1,800 species, of which more than three-fourths are endemic. Many hundreds of algæ, fungi, mosses, and liverworts have been described, but these certainly do not represent the total number of such. With regard to the seed-plants, one family (the daisy) contains more than 250 species, three (sedge, figwort, and grass) each more than a hundred, and nine (carrot, orchid, buttercup, madder, epacrid, willowherb, pea, rush, and forget-me-not) between thirty and seventy. The ferns and fern-allies, though not of the overwhelming importance in the flora that many think, still number 162 species. The genera Veronica (Hebe), Carex, Celmisia, Coprosma, Ranunculus, Olearia, Senecio, Epilobium, Myosolis, Poa, Dracophyllum, and Aciphylla contain many species, no few of which are difficult to exactly define. This is especially the case with Veronica, which embraces more than a hundred species. Such uncertainty in their delimiting lies in what is usually called their “variability,” which is due partly to more than one distinct true-breeding entity being joined together as one species, partly to the frequent occurrence of hybrids, and to some extent to differences in appearance and form caused by different environments.

Variability is not concerned merely with adult plants, but often there are species with juvenile forms quite distinct from the adults which may persist for many years. This strange procedure is seen, more or less, in a hundred species. Familiar examples amongst trees are the lacebark, lowland-ribbonwood, lancewood, kowhai, pokaka, and kaikomako.

Many of the growth-forms of New Zealand plants are characteristic of the life-conditions. These are, for example — climbing-plants with long, woody, ropelike stems; shrubs with stiff, wiry, interlaced branches forming close masses; cushion-plants sometimes of immense proportions, as in the vegetable sheep (species of Haastia and Raoulia); leafless shrubs with round or flattened stems (species of Carmichaelia and Notospartium); species of Veronica looking exactly like cypresses; trees with leaves bunched on long trunks; grasses and sedges forming tussocks. The ligneous plants are almost all evergreen, only some twenty being deciduous or semi-deciduous. Herbs that die to the ground in winter and bulbous plants are rare.

The plant associations are of quite as great interest as the species; indeed, to find an equal variety a continent extending to the tropics would have to be visited The northern rivers and estuaries contain a true mangrove association, an unexpected occurrence outside the tropics. Lowland and montane forests are generally of the subtropical rain-forest type. They are distinguished by their wealth of tree-ferns, filmy ferns, woody climbing-plants, massive perching-plants, deep carpets of mosses and liverworts, and trees provided at times with plank-like buttresses. The kauri forest in the North, the dicotylous broad-leaved forests, and the assemblages of taxads (rimu, miro, totara, and matai) are different rain-forest associations. Another forest is that where species of the southern-beech (Nothofagus), incorrectly termed “birch,” are dominant. Such are subantarctic rain-forests, and constitute the greater part of the high-mountain forests, though in Wellington, Marlborough, and Nelson they are common in the lowlands. Shrubland in which the manuka is dominant is common in the North, South, and Stewart Islands, but is specially abundant on the Auckland gumfields, where it is an obstacle to agriculture. Fern heath of tall bracken is also widespread. Swamp characterized by Phormium, raupo, toetoe, and niggerhead was once common, but draining has greatly reduced its area, though where the association is not burned or the ground ploughed Phormium has greatly increased. Bogs and moorland support a peculiar vegetation. Here hummocks of bog-moss are abundant, and a small wiry umbrella-fern may cover wide areas. Grassland with brownish-leaved tussock-grasses is a great feature of parts of the volcanic plateau of the North Island, and especially of the east of the South Island. Species of Poa and Festuca form the principal tussocks of the lowlands and lower hills, but at higher altitudes and in Southland at low levels tall species of Danthonia dominate. This name is not to be confused with the turf-making species (D. pilosa) of the same genus used in artificial pastures.

The alpine vegetation is of great scientific importance. It contains, exclusive of lowland plants which ascend to the mountains, about 500 species, most of which never descend below 1,500 ft. altitude, while some are confined altogether to the highest elevations. The most beautiful of the New Zealand flowers, with but few exceptions, belong to this mountain-flora. Here are the great buttercups, white and yellow; the charming ourisias; the marguerite-flowered celmisias; the dainty eyebrights; forget-me-nots, yellow, bronze, and white; and many other delightful plants. The growth-forms, too, are often striking or quaint. Cushion-plants, rosette-plants, stiff-branched shrubs, and mat-forming plants are much in evidence. Hairiness, leathery texture, and great rigidity, perhaps accompanied by needle-like points, as in the spaniard (Aciphylla Colensoi), are common characters of leaves.

The floras of the following groups of islands, far distant from the mainland, are distinctly part of that of New Zealand. The Kermadecs contain 115 species of ferns, fern-allies, and seed-plants, only twelve of which are endemic, while eighty-nine belong also to New Zealand proper. The largest island (Sunday Island) is covered with forest in which Meirosideros villosa, a near relation of the pohutukawa, is the principal tree. The Chatham Islands possess 240 species, thirty-two of which are endemic, though several of the latter are trivial varieties merely, while the remainder of the flora is, with one exception, found on the mainland. Forest, moor, and heath are the principal plant associations. The leading tree is the karaka, but by the Moriori called kopi. On the moors are great thickets of a lovely purple-flowered shrub, Olearia semidentata. There are two remarkable endemic genera, Coxella and Myosotidium, the former belonging to the carrot family, and the latter a huge forget-me-not, now nearly extinct. The subantarctic islands (Snares, Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes, Macquarie) have a dense vegetation made up of 189 species, no fewer than fifty-six of which are endemic, the remainder being found in New Zealand, but chiefly in the mountains. Forest is found only on the Snares and the Aucklands, with a species of Olearia and the southern-rata as the dominant trees respectively. Extremely dense scrubs occur on the Auckland and Campbell Islands, and moors, sometimes with huge tussocks, are a characteristic feature of all the islands, thanks to the enormous peat-deposit and the frequent rain. Several herbaceous plants of stately form (species of Pleurophyllum, Anisotome, and Stilbocarpa) and with beautiful flowers occur in great profusion.

The Cook Islands, though a part of the Dominion, possess a Polynesian flora quite distinct from that of New Zealand, and are excluded from this notice, while, on the contrary, the flora of the Macquarie Islands (belonging to Tasmania) is a portion of that of New Zealand.

Besides the indigenous, an important introduced element, consisting of about 560 species, mostly European, has followed in the wake of settlement. These aliens are in active competition with the true natives. There is a widespread but quite erroneous opinion that the latter are being eradicated in the struggle. This is not the case. Where the vegetation has never been disturbed by man there are no foreign plants; but where man, with his farming operations, stock, and burning, has brought about European conditions, then certainly the indigenous plants have frequently given way before artificial meadows, with their economic plants and accompanying weeds. But in many places associations not present in primitive New Zealand have appeared, owing to man's influence, composed principally, or altogether, of indigenous species. On the tussock-grassland invader and aboriginal have met, and though the original vegetation is changed there is no reason to consider the one class or the other as the conqueror. Finally, in course of time, a state of stability will be reached, and a new flora, composed partly of introduced plants and partly of those indigenous to the soil, will occupy the land, and, save in the national parks and scenic reserves, if these are kept strictly in their natural condition, this new flora will build up a vegetation different from that of primeval New Zealand.

The above brief sketch of the flora and vegetation is obviously most incomplete. Those wishing to dive deeper into the fascinating matter can consult the following works: “The Manual of the New Zealand Flora,” by T. F. Cheeseman; “Plants of New Zealand,” by R. M. Laing and E. W. Blackwell; “The Vegetation of New Zealand,” “New Zealand Plants and Their Story,” and “The Cultivation of New Zealand Plants”—the last three by L. Cockayne.


The fauna of New Zealand is briefly described in the following article by Mr. James Drummond, F.L.S., F.Z.S.:—

New Zealand's native fauna has attracted the attention of investigators in nearly all parts of the world. Its special interest lies in its manifold peculiarities, in the incongruous characters possessed by some of its members, and in the ancient types found in different classes of its animals.

Beginning with the mammalia, the Dominion is surprisingly inadequately represented. Its only land-mammals, except seals, are two bats. One of these, the long-tailed bat, belongs to a genus (Chalinolobus) which is found in the Australian and Ethiopian zoological regions, and to a species (morio) found in the south-east of Australia as well as in New Zealand; but the other, the short-tailed bat (Mystacops tuberculatus), belongs to a genus peculiar to this Dominion. At one time it was believed that the Maori dog (Canis familiaris, variety maorium, the “kuri” of the Maoris) and the Maori rat (Mus exulans, the Maoris' “kiore”) were indigenous to New Zealand, but it is now generally believed that these two animals were introduced by the Maoris when they made their notable migrations from their legendary Hawaiki (probably Tahiti, in the Society Group). The dog was highly prized as a domestic pet, and the rat as an article of diet. Both could easily be taken across the sea in the large canoes used in those days. The dog, without doubt, is extinct. Statements by Captain Cook, J. R. and G. Forster, Sydney Parkinson (the artist), the Rev. W. Colenso, and early visitors to New Zealand show that the Maori dog was a very ordinary animal. It was small, with a pointed nose, pricked ears, and very small eyes. In colour it was white, black, brown, or parti-coloured, and it had long hair, short legs, a short bushy tail, and no loud bark, but only a whine. The Maoris lavished upon it an abundance of affection. When dead its flesh was used for food, its skin for clothing, and its hair for ornaments. Opinions differ in regard to the approximate date of its extinction, and investigations in this respect are made somewhat difficult by the fact that for some years “wild dogs,” as they were called—probably a cross between the Maori dog and dogs brought by Europeans —infested several districts in both the North Island and the South Island, and were confused with the Maori dog. It is probable that the pure Maori dog became extinct about 1885. The Maori rat, a forest-dweller, is not as plentiful as it was when Europeans first came to New Zealand, but it still lives in the forests.

The long-tailed species of bat was once fairly plentiful, especially in the forests, where it makes its home in hollow trees. Large numbers also at one time were found under old bridges across streams, notably at the River Avon, in Christchurch. It is not very rare now, and specimens sometimes are found in the forests and in caves. The short-tailed species is not extinct, but rare. Most bats are exceptionally well adapted for life in the air, feeding on flying insects, and even drinking on the wing. But the short-tailed species of New Zealand possesses peculiarities of structure which enable it to creep and crawl with ease on the branches and leaves of trees, and probably it seeks its food there as well as in the air. Few naturalists, however, have had opportunities to observe it, and little is known of its habits.

The sea-lion, the sea-elephant, the sea-leopard, and the fur-seal are found on islands in the Dominion's boundaries. In the early days of colonization sealing was a great industry, and yielded large profits to some of the adventurous men who took part in it.

Amongst the sea-mammals whales are the most important. For some years New Zealand held the record for the largest known mammal in the world, living or extinct. This was the Okarito whale, whose skeleton is in Canterbury Museum. It was found dead on the sea-beach near Okarito, a small village in South Westland, in February, 1908. A very careful and conscientious measurement showed that its length, in the flesh, was 87 ft., or 99 ft. measured over the curves of its back. It held the record until September, 1918, when a whale was found stranded at Corvisart Bay, near Streaky Bay, at the eastern extremity of the Australian Bight, South Australia, which measured in a straight line 87 ft. 4 in Both competitors for the record were females, and both were blue whales, which usually are known as Balaenoptera sibbaldi, but which now bear the name Balaenoptera musculus.

At one time extensive whaling was carried on in New Zealand waters, three hundred vessels, chiefly from America, sometimes visiting the country in one year. The industry began about 1795, reached the height of its prosperity between 1830 and 1840, and then began to dwindle. In recent years there has been an effort to revive the industry, but it will never attain the position it held in former years. Porpoises are plentiful, and the dolphin (Delphinus delphis) also is found in these waters. Mention should be made here of “Pelorus Jack,” a solitary whale which for some years met vessels near Pelorus Sound, and which was protected by an Order in Council under the name of Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus). He was the only member of the species reported from New Zealand waters.

In contrast with the species of land-mammals, the members of the next class, Aves, were remarkably plentiful when settlement began. Bush and grass fires, cats, stoats and weasels, and the ruthless use of the gun have reduced their numbers, but they still stand as probably the most interesting avifauna in the world. They include a comparatively large number of absolutely flightless birds. No living birds in New Zealand are wingless, but the kiwi (Apteryx), the weka (Gallirallus), the kakapo parrot (Strigops), and the takahe (Notornis hochstetteri)* cannot use their wings for flight, while a duck belonging to the Auckland Islands (Nesonetta) is practically in the same plight. There, are also several species of birds whose wings are so weak that they can make only short flights. Other notable birds are the kea (Nestor notabilis), which is accused of killing sheep on stations in the South Island; the tui (Prosthemadera novae-zealandiae), which affords one of the most beautiful sights in the New Zealand forests, and charms visitors with its silvery notes; the huia (Heteralocha acutirostris), the only species known in which there is a wide divergence in the shape of the bills in the two sexes, the male's being short and straight, while the female's is curved, pliant, and long; and the wry-billed plover (Anarhynchus frontalis), the only bird known to possess a bill turned to one side. Cormorants or shags (Phalacrocorax) and penguins (Impennes) are exceptionally well represented in the avifauna. New Zealand, indeed, may be regarded as the headquarters of the penguins, as all the genera except one are found within the boundaries of this Dominion. The oldest fossil penguin known is from the Eocene and Oligocene rocks of New Zealand. New Zealand probably was the centre from which penguins were dispersed to other countries.

Several species of birds make notable migrations to New Zealand. The godwit (Vetola lapponica baueri) breeds in the tundras of Eastern Siberia and in Kamchatka and Western Alaska, and spends the summer months in New Zealand, arriving about October, and leaving in March or April. The knot (Canutus canutus) breeds in circum-polar regions and migrates to New Zealand; and two cuckoos—the shining-cuckoo (Lamprococcyx lucidus) and the long-tailed cuckoo (Urodynamis taitensis)—come from Pacific islands in the spring, and leave for their northern homes about April. Both, like most members of the Cuculidæ family, are parasitical, and impose upon small native birds the duty of hatching and rearing young cuckoos. The kiwi, already mentioned, belongs to the same subclass as the ostrich, the emu, and the cassowary, all struthious birds, and has several peculiarities besides its flightlessness. One of these is the position of its nostrils at the tip of its bill, instead of at the base as in all other birds. Its plumage is peculiarly hair-like in appearance. It possesses a very generalized structure; as Sir Richard Owen once suggested, it seems to have borrowed its head from one group of birds, its legs from another, and its wings from a third. It was once believed to be almost extinct, but in recent years has been shown to be fairly plentiful in some districts where there is little settlement.

The takahe (Notornis) is one of the world's very rare birds. Only four specimens have been found. Two of the skins are in the British Museum, one is in the Dresden Museum, and one in the Otago Museum, in Dunedin. The fourth specimen was caught by two guides (Messrs. D. and J. Ross) at Notornis Bay, Lake Te Anau, in 1898. Although at the present time (1924) it is twenty-six years since the Notornis was last seen, there is reason to believe that individuals still exist in the wild districts of the southern sounds.

The interest of the living avifauna is surpassed by the interest of the extinct birds. These include the great flightless moa (Dinornis), a goose (Cnemiornis minor), a gigantic rail (Aptornis otidiformis), and an eagle (Harpagornis moorei).

* This bird is better known as Notornis mantelli. That name was first given by Sir Richard Owen to an extinct bird, represented by a fossil found at Waingongoro, in the North Island, by Mr. W. Mantell in 1847. When the first living specimen of the Notornis was found in 1849 scientists concluded that it was identical with the fossil, and it bore the same name; but when Dr. Meyer, of Dresden, examined the skeleton of the third specimen he found that it was different from the fossil, and he changed the specific name from Mantelli to Hochstetteri, thus honouring Dr. Hochstetter, a naturalist who visited New Zealand in the early days. Messrs. G. M. Mathews and T. Iredale, in their “Reference List” of 1913, give Mantellornis hochstetteri as the name of this interesting rail.

Reptilian life is restricted to about fifteen species of lizards, and to the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus). This is a lizard-like creature, the only surviving representative of the order Rhynchocephalia, otherwise extinct. The tuatara is found in no other country. Its nearest ally is Homœosaurus, whose remains have been found in Jurassic rocks in Germany. It has been destroyed to a large extent by wild pigs, cats, and dogs, and is now seldom found except on a few islands off the coast of the mainland.

The amphibians are represented by two species of frogs. One, Liopelma hochstetteri, has been recorded from only a few districts in the Auckland Province. The other, Liopelma hamiltoni, has been recorded from only Stephen Island, a small island in Cook Strait, notable as one of the refuges of the tuatara.

About 250 species of fish have been found in New Zealand waters. Many of these are used for food. Several species, notably the mudfish (Neochanna apoda), which is sometimes discovered buried 4 ft. deep in clay in places where rivers have overflowed in flood, and in swampy places, are interesting. Some of the genera are peculiar to New Zealand, but some also occur in Australian and South American waters.

Amongst the invertebrates one of the peculiarities is the fact that the Dominion has few butterflies, although it is well supplied with moths. It has a red admiral butterfly (Vanessa), named after the European species, which it resembles, and a copper butterfly (Chrysophanus), which is very plentiful. In the forests there is that strange growth the “vegetable caterpillar.” The Dominion has native bees and ants, dragon-flies, sober-coloured beetles, and representatives of other orders of insects. The katipo spider (Latrodectes katipo), which lives mostly on or near the sea-beach, is well known locally. Amongst the mollusca there is a large and handsome land-snail (Paryphanta), and Amphibola, an air-breathing snail, peculiar to the Dominion, which lives in brackish water, mainly in estuaries. There are about twenty species of univalves and twelve of bivalves in the fresh-water shells, and about four hundred species in the marine shells, including the paper nautilus (Argonauta). Perhaps the most interesting of all the invertebrates is the Peripatus, an ancient type of creature which survives in New Zealand and in parts of Australia, Africa, South America, the West Indies, New Britain, the Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra. Zoologically, it belongs to the air-breathing division of the phylum Arthropoda, and has been placed in a special class, Prototracheata or Onychophora. It is about 3 in, long, has many feet, loves moisture, shuns light, and moves slowly. Two genera have been found in New Zealand. One genus, Peripatoides, contains two species, novae-zealandiae and suteri, and the other, OÖperipatus, contains only one species, viridimaculatus. The Peripatus is viviparous. It is claimed that one New Zealand genus, OÖperipatus, is oviparous, but that has not been fully proved.* Professor A. Dendy, F.R.S., has made special investigations in regard to the New Zealand species.

With the arrival of Europeans the whole face of the fauna was changed. The first European animal introduced was the pig, liberated by Captain Cook in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1773. With settlement, sheep, cattle, horses, and other domestic animals were brought, some for utility, some for pleasure, such as song-birds, and some for sport, such as deer, trout, pheasants, and quail. In the work of acclimatization several great and irretrievable blunders were made. The worst of these was the introduction of rabbits, stoats, and weasels.

* Professor Adam Sedgwick, F.R.S., late Professor of Zoology at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, in the new Encyclopaedia Britannica.



THE history of New Zealand prior to the seventeenth century is shrouded in mythology and tradition. When the country was discovered by Europeans in 1642 it was found to be inhabited by a race of Polynesians called Maoris, who had discovered these islands many centuries previously. At what time the discovery of New Zealand was made by the Maoris, and from what place they came, are matters of tradition only, much having been lost in the obscurity enveloping the history of a people without letters. Nor is there anything on record respecting the origin of the Maori people themselves, beyond the general tradition of the Polynesian race, which seems to show a series of successive migrations from west to east, probably by way of Malaysia to the Pacific. Little more can now be gathered from their traditions than that they were immigrants, and that they probably found inhabitants on the east coast of the North Island belonging to the same race as themselves—the descendants of a prior migration whose history is lost. The tradition runs that, generations ago, the Maoris dwelt in a country named Hawaiki, and that one of their chiefs, after a long voyage, reached the northern island of New Zealand. Returning to his home with a flattering description of the country he had discovered, this chief, it is said, persuaded a number of his kinsfolk and friends to set out with a fleet of double canoes for the new land. The names of most of the canoes are still remembered, and each tribe agrees in its account of the doings of the people of the principal canoes after their arrival in New Zealand; and from these traditional accounts the descent of the numerous tribes has been traced. The position of the legendary Hawaiki is unknown, but many places in the South Seas have been thus named in memory of the motherland. The Maoris speak a very pure dialect of the Polynesian language, the common tongue, with more or less variation, in all the eastern Pacific islands.


It was on the 13th December, 1642, that Abel Jansen Tasman, a Dutch navigator, discovered New Zealand. Tasman left Batavia on the 14th August, 1642, in the yacht “Heemskercq,” accompanied by the “Zeehaen” (or “Sea-hen”) fly-boat. After having visited Mauritius and discovered Tasmania, named by him “Van Diemen's Land,” in honour of Anthony van Diemen, Governor of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies, he steered eastward, and sighted the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, described by him as “a high mountainous country.”

Tasman, under the belief that the land he saw belonged to a great polar continent, and was part of the country discovered some years before by Schouten and Le Maire, to which the name “Staten Land” had been given, gave the same name “Staten Land” to New Zealand; but within about three months afterwards Schouten's “Staten Land” was found to be merely an inconsiderable island. Upon this discovery being announced, the country that Tasman had called “Staten Land” received the name of “New Zealand,” by which it has ever since been known. Tasman sailed along the coast and anchored in Golden Bay, called by him “Murderers' Bay” on account of an unprovoked attack on a boat's crew by the Natives and the massacre of four white men. Thence he steered along the west coast of the North Island, and gave the name “Cape Maria van Diemen” to the north-western extremity thereof. After sighting the islands of the Three Kings he finally departed without having set foot in the country.

There is no record of any visit to New Zealand after Tasman's departure until the time of Captain Cook, who, after leaving the Society Islands, sailed in search of a southern continent then believed to exist. He sighted land on the 6th October, 1769, at Young Nick's Head, and on the 8th of that month cast anchor in Poverty Bay. After having coasted round the North Island and the South and Stewart Islands—which last he mistook for part of the South Island—he took his departure from Cape Farewell on the 31st March, 1770, for Australia. He visited New Zealand again in 1773, in 1774, and in 1777.

Several other explorers also visited New Zealand during the latter portion of the eighteenth century, amongst whom may be mentioned—

M. de Surville, in command of the “Saint Jean Baptiste,” who sighted the north-east coast on the 12th December, 1769, only two months after Cook's arrival at Poverty Bay.

M. Marion du Fresne—1772.

Captains Vancouver and Broughton—1791.

Captain Raven—1792 and 1793.

Alejandro Malaspina and José de Bustamente y Guerra—1793.

Lieutenant Hanson—1793.


So far as is known, the first instance of Europeans being left in New Zealand to their own resources occurred in 1792, when Captain Raven, of the “Britannia,” landed a sealing-party at Facile Harbour, on the west coast of the South Island, where they remained a little over twelve months before being called for by the “Britannia.”

The next few years saw the establishment of whaling-stations at several points on the coast, and in 1814 the first missionaries—Messrs. Hall and Kendall—arrived in New Zealand. After a short stay they returned to New South Wales, and on the 19th November of that year again embarked in company with Mr. Samuel Marsden, chaplain to the New South Wales Government, who preached his first sermon in New Zealand on Christmas Day, 1814. He returned to Sydney on the 23rd March, 1815, leaving Messrs. Hall, Kendall, and King, who formed the first mission station at Rangihoua, Bay of Islands.

In 1825 three separate attempts were made to found colonies in various parts of New Zealand, but none of these was successful, and for some years the only settlements were those round the principal whaling-stations. A number of Europeans gradually settled in different parts of the country, and married Native women.

The first body of immigrants under a definite scheme of colonization arrived in Port Nicholson on the 22nd January, 1840, and founded the town of Wellington. During the few succeeding years the settlements of Nelson, Taranaki, Otago, and Canterbury were formed by immigrants sent out by associations in the United Kingdom.


As early as 1833 a British Resident (Mr. Busby) was appointed, with headquarters at Kororareka (now called Russell), on the Bay of Islands. Seven years later—namely, on the 29th January, 1840—Captain William Hobson, R.N., arrived at the Bay of Islands, empowered, with the consent of the Natives, to proclaim the sovereignty of Queen Victoria over the Islands of New Zealand, and to assume the government thereof. A compact called the Treaty of Waitangi, to which in less than six months 512 names were affixed, was entered into, whereby all rights and powers of sovereignty were ceded to the Queen, all territorial rights being secured to the chiefs and their tribes. The seat of Government was established at Waite-mata (Auckland), and a settlement formed there.

The record of formal Government of New Zealand under the British Crown begins with the following Proclamation issued by Captain Hobson on the 21st May, 1840:—


In the name of Her Majesty VICTORIA, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. By WILLIAM HOBSON, Esquire, a Captain in the Royal Navy, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand.

WHEREAS by a treaty bearing date the sixth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty, made and executed by me, William Hobson, a Captain in the Royal Navy, Consul and Lieutenant-Governor in New Zealand, vested for this purpose with full powers by Her Britannic Majesty of the one part, and the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and the separate and independent Chiefs of New Zealand not members of the Confederation, of the other, and further ratified and confirmed by the adherence of the principal Chiefs of this Island of New Zealand (commonly called the “Northern Island”), all rights and powers of sovereignty over the said Northern Island were ceded to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland absolutely and without reservation:

Now, therefore, I, William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, in the name and on behalf of Her Majesty, do hereby proclaim and declare to all men that from and after the date of the above-mentioned treaty the full sovereignty of the Northern Island of New Zealand vests in Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her heirs and successors for ever.

Given under my hand, at Government House. Russell, Bay of Islands, this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.



By His Excellency's command.


British sovereignty over the South Island was formally proclaimed at Cloudy Bay on the 17th June, 1840, by Major Bunbury, H.M. 80th Regiment, and Captain Nias, R.N.

From the date of Hobson's Proclamation until the 3rd May, 1841, New Zealand remained a dependency of New South Wales, and on the latter date it was created a separate colony by Royal Charter dated the 16th November, 1840.


The Government of the colony was first vested in a Governor, who was responsible only to the Crown; there was an Executive Council, with advisory powers only, as well as a Legislative Council.

On the 30th June, 1852, an Act granting representative institutions was passed by the Imperial Parliament, and published in New Zealand by Proclamation on the 17th January, 1853. Under it the constitution of a General Assembly was provided for, to consist of a Legislative Council and a House of Representatives.

The first session of the General Assembly was opened on the 27th May, 1854, but the members of the Executive were not responsible to Parliament. During the session of that year there were associated with the permanent members of the Executive Council certain members of the House of Representatives, who, however, held no portfolios. The first Ministers under a system of responsible government were appointed in the year 1856.

On addresses from both Houses of the General Assembly, His Majesty the King, by Order in Council dated 9th September, 1907, and by Proclamation issued 10th September, 1907, was graciously pleased to change the style and designation of the Colony of New Zealand to “The Dominion of New Zealand”; the change taking effect from Thursday, the 26th September, 1907.

By Letters Patent dated 11th May, 1917, the designation of Governor and Commander-in-Chief which had hitherto been held by the Royal representative in New Zealand was altered to “Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief.”


Prior to the establishment of responsible government the Executive Council for New Zealand consisted, in addition to the Governor, of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney-General, and the Colonial Treasurer, seniority being in the order named. The Governor, or in his absence the senior member present, was to preside, and two members exclusive of the Governor or member presiding were to form a quorum. The Governor was commanded to in all things consult and advise with the Executive Council, and not to exercise the powers and authorities vested in him except by and with the concurrence and advice of the Executive Council, unless in cases of an urgent and pressing nature which would not admit of delay. In such cases he was, with all convenient speed, to bring the measures so adopted by him before the Executive Council for its revision and sanction. Nothing in these instructions, however, was to prevent the Governor exercising any or all of the powers and authorities vested in him, without the advice and concurrence of the Executive Council, in cases not considered of sufficient importance to require their assistance or advice, or in cases which were of such a nature that in his judgment material prejudice might be sustained by consulting the Executive Council thereupon. No questions were to be brought before the Council except those proposed by the Governor, who in any case in which he saw sufficient cause to dissent from the opinion of the major part or the whole of the Council was further empowered to exercise the powers vested in him in opposition to such opinion.

The powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Governor-General and the Executive Council under the present system of responsible government are set out in Royal Letters Patent and Instructions thereunder of the 11th May, 1917, published in the New Zealand Gazette of the 24th April, 1919 (p. 1213). The relationship between the powers of the Governor-General and the Executive Council is indicated in paragraphs V and VII of the Instructions, which read as follows:—

V. Governor-General to take Advice of Executive Council.

In the execution of the powers and authorities vested in him the Governor-General shall be guided by the advice of the Executive Council, but, if in any case he shall see sufficient cause to dissent from the opinion of the said Council, he may act in the exercise of his said powers and authorities in opposition to the opinion of the Council, reporting the matter to Us without delay, with the reasons for his so acting.

In any such case it shall be competent to any member of the said Council to require that there be recorded upon the minutes of the Council the grounds of any advice or opinion that he may give upon the question.

VII. Regulation of Power of Pardon.

The Governor-General shall not pardon or reprieve any offender without first receiving in capital cases the advice of the Executive Council, and in other cases the advice of one at least of his Ministers; and in any case in which such pardon or reprieve might directly affect the interests of Our Empire, or of any country or place beyond the jurisdiction of the Government of the Dominion, the Governor-General shall, before deciding as to either pardon or reprieve, take those interests specially into his own personal consideration in conjunction with such advice as aforesaid.

The present Executive Council consists of fifteen members in addition to the Governor-General. Two members, exclusive of His Excellency or the presiding member, constitute a quorum.


Prior to the establishment of responsible government the Legislative Council of New Zealand consisted of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney-General, the Colonial Treasurer, and the three senior Justices of the Peace. The Governor, or in his absence the senior member present, was to preside at all meetings of the Council; four members in addition to the Governor or the member presiding to form a quorum. No law or Ordinance was to be enacted by the Legislative Council which was not first proposed by the Governor, and no question was to be debated unless submitted by him for that purpose. The laws and Ordinances of the Council were to be designated “Ordinances enacted by the Governor of New Zealand with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council thereof.” No laws were to be made to continue for less than two years except only in cases of unforeseen emergency requiring provision for temporary service, and the Governor was specially enjoined not to propose or assent to Ordinances or laws dealing with certain matters, some of which were,—

Restricting public worship, although not conducted according to the Church of England.

Reducing revenue or infringing prerogative or affecting the salaries or allowances of public officers without special leave.

Issuing bills of credit or other negotiable securities in lieu of money on the credit of the colony, or paper currency, or any coin save the legal coin of the realm.

By which persons not of European birth or descent might be subjected or liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of European birth or descent would not also be subjected.

Raising money by public or private lotteries.

Naturalizing aliens without leave.

Divorcing persons joined together in holy matrimony.

Granting money, land, or other donation or gratuity to the Governor.

The Legislative Council assembled for its first session at Auckland on the 24th May, 1854, and comprised fourteen members.

The Councillors had been designated a year earlier by the Governor, and their names submitted for the Royal approval; and they were gazetted in New Zealand in December, 1853. Until 1868 the rule was that the appointment of members should be made by an instrument under the Royal Sign-manual, but the rule was not strictly observed after 1861. An Act of the Imperial Parliament in 1868 validated any appointments of Councillors that might have been made irregularly in the past, and provided that future appointments should be made by the Governor (not by the Sovereign).

Until 1891 members were appointed for life, but since that year appointments have been made for seven years only, members, however, being eligible for reappointment. The last remaining life appointee, the late Hon. W. D. H. Baillie, died on the 24th February, 1922, after holding office for nearly sixty-one years. Prior to 1891 the Speaker was appointed by the Governor, but the Council now elects its own Speaker, who holds office for five years. A Chairman of Committees is elected every session, and holds office till the election of his successor. Speaker and Chairman are both eligible for re-election. The Imperial Act under which the earliest appointments were made did not fix a minimum number of members, though it provided that the first appointees should be not less than ten in number. The number actually summoned was sixteen, of whom only fourteen attended and were enrolled. The number increased irregularly for thirty years. In 1885 and 1886 it stood at fifty-three, but has not since reached that limit. The number on the roll at present is forty-two.

Provision for an elective Legislative Council is contained in the Legislative Council Act, 1914, which was originally intended to come into operation at the first general election of members of the Lower House after the end of 1915. The introduction of the new system has, however, been postponed from time to time, and at present the position is that the Act is to be brought into operation at a date to be specified by Proclamation. Under the system outlined in the Act the Dominion is to be divided into four electoral divisions, two in the North Island and two in the South, and the number of members is to be forty, divided between the two Islands on a population basis. The Governor-General is empowered to appoint not more than three Maori members to the Council.

The qualifications for membership of the Legislative Council are the same as for the House of Representatives, referred to below, with the proviso that a person may not at the same time be a member of both Houses.

Before the year 1892 the honorarium of Councillors was understood to be for the session, not for the year, and formed the subject of a special vote every session, the amount varying in different sessions. By the Payment of Members Act, 1892, the honorarium was made annual, not sessional, and was fixed at £150 a year. The amount was raised in 1904 to £200, and in 1920 to £350, but was reduced in 1922 to £315. Besides the honorarium, members are allowed travelling-expenses actually incurred in going to and from Parliament.

Subject to certain exemptions, members not attending the Council are liable to be fined.


The number of members constituting the House of Representatives is eighty—seventy-six Europeans and four Maoris. They are now designated “Members of Parliament.” The number was originally fixed by the Constitution Act as not more than forty-two and not less than twenty-four, and the first Parliament called together in 1854 consisted of forty members. Legislation passed in 1858 fixed the number of European members at forty-one; in 1860, at fifty-three; in 1862, at fifty-seven; in 1865, at seventy; in 1867, at seventy-two; in 1870, at seventy-four; in 1875, at eighty-four; in 1881, at ninety-one; in 1887, at seventy; and in 1900, at seventy-six. By the Maori Representation Act, 1867, which is still in force, as embodied in the Legislature Act, 1908, four Maori members were added, three for the North Island and one for the South.

The North Island at present returns forty-six European members, and the South Island thirty. Quinquennial Parliaments, instituted under the Constitution Act, were abolished by the Triennial Parliaments Act, 1879, which fixed the term at three years. General elections have been held at three-yearly intervals since 1881, with the exception that the term of the nineteenth Parliament was extended to five years by special legislation.

Every registered elector of either sex who is free from any of the disqualifications mentioned in the Legislature Act, 1908, is eligible for membership. All contractors to the public service of New Zealand to whom any public money above the sum of £50 is payable, directly or indirectly, in any one financial year, as well as the public servants of the Dominion, are incapable of being elected as, or of sitting or voting as, members.

The payment made to members of the House of Representatives is £450 per annum, subject to certain deductions for absence not due to sickness or other unavoidable cause. Travelling-expenses to and from Wellington are also allowed. The rate of payment for several years prior to 1920 was £300 per annum, but was increased in that year to £500, a 10-per-cent. reduction, however, being made in 1922 by the Public Expenditure Adjustment Act, 1921–22.

The election of a Speaker is the first business of a new House after the members have been sworn. A Chairman of Committees is elected as soon after as is convenient. Both Speaker and Chairman of Committees hold office until a dissolution, and receive payment until the first meeting of a now Parliament.

Twenty members, inclusive of the Speaker, constitute a quorum.


The three cardinal principles of the franchise in New Zealand are (1) one man one vote, (2) female suffrage, and (3) adult suffrage.

There are, of course, slight exceptions to the last-mentioned, the following classes of persons not being entitled to register as electors or to vote:—

An alien;

A person of unsound mind;

A person convicted of an offence punishable by death or by imprisonment for one year or upwards within any part of His Majesty's dominions, or convicted in New Zealand as a public defaulter, or under the Police Offences Act, 1908, as an idle and disorderly person or as a rogue and vagabond, unless such offender has received a free pardon, or has undergone the sentence or punishment to which he was adjudged for such offence.

To be registered as an elector a person must have resided for one year in the Dominion, and for three months in the electoral district for which he claims to vote. A system of compulsory registration of electors was introduced at the end of 1924.

The system of “one man one vote” has been in operation since 1889, and women's suffrage since 1893. The qualifications for registration are the same for both sexes.


Side by side with the general government of the country, but subordinate to it, there has existed a system of local government since the early years of New Zealand's annexation as a British colony. The history of local government divides naturally into two periods representing two distinct systems—viz., the provincial, which was in operation up to 1876, and the county, which superseded the provincial in that year.


On the 23rd December, 1847, a Charter was signed dividing the colony into two provinces—New Ulster and New Munster—and this was proclaimed in New Zealand on the 10th March, 1848. The Province of New Ulster consisted of the whole of the North Island with the exception of that portion adjacent to Cook Strait and lying to the south of a line commencing at the centre of the mouth of the Patea River and running thence due east to the east coast. The Province of New Munster consisted of the South and Stewart Islands and of the portion of the North Island excluded from New Ulster. Each province had a Lieutenant - Governor, an Executive Council, and a Legislative Council, while the Governor-in-Chief for the whole colony was also Governor of each province. Provision had also been made for a House of Representatives in each province, but this portion of the Charter was suspended for five years, and before it came into operation a new Constitution was obtained.

Under the new Constitution the Provinces of New Ulster and New Munster were abolished and the colony was divided into six provinces—Auckland, New Plymouth (later altered to Taranaki), Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago. Each province was to be presided over by an elective Superintendent, and to have an elective Provincial Council empowered to legislate, except on certain specified subjects. The franchise amounted practically to household suffrage. In each case the election was for four years, but a dissolution of the Provincial Council by the Governor could take place at any time, necessitating a fresh election both of the Council and of the Superintendent. The Superintendent was chosen by the whole body of the electors of the province, and each member of the Provincial Council by the electors of a district. The boundaries of the new provinces were gazetted on the 2nd April, 1853, and the boundaries of the electoral districts on the 14th May following, the first general elections for the House of Representatives and the Provincial Councils being held during 1853 and the beginning of 1854. The Provincial Governments, afterwards increased to nine by the formation of Hawke's Bay, Marlborough, and Southland, later reduced to eight by the merging of Southland with Otago, and again increased to nine by the formation of Westland, remained as integral parts of the Constitution of the colony until the 1st November, 1876, when they were abolished by an Act of the General Assembly, that body having been vested with the power of altering the Constitution Act.


Even before the division of New Zealand into the two provinces of New Ulster and New Munster, local government had its inception, Wellington having been created a borough in 1842 under the authority of the Municipal Corporations-Ordinance of that year. The Ordinance was disallowed by the Home Government, but was re-enacted, with necessary alterations, in 1844. Wellington, which lost its status on the original Ordinance being disallowed, did not become a borough again. until 1870, Auckland (constituted in 1851) remaining the only borough in New Zealand for several years.

Wellington, which had been the first borough in the country, also became the first town district, with a form of government not differing greatly from that of a municipality. Gradually the more important towns adopted the status of boroughs, while the less important remained town districts. In Otago, however, between 1865 and 1875, several small towns were created boroughs under the authority of an Ordinance of the Otago Provincial Council, nineteen of the thirty-six boroughs in existence at the date of the abolition of the provinces being in Otago, all formed under the provisions of the Ordinance referred to.


Another form of local government which came into existence in the provincial days was that of the road districts, or, as they were called in certain parts of the country, highway districts. As the names imply, the road and highway districts were formed for the purpose of extending and maintaining roads. Each district was controlled by an elected Board, which had power to levy rates. The first Road Boards were formed in 1863, and by 1875 their number had risen to 314.


Among the instructions given Captain Hobson on his appointment as the first Governor of New Zealand was one directing that the colony was to be divided into counties, hundreds, and parishes. In accordance with this instruction, the boundaries of the County of Eden, in which Auckland—the then capital—is situated, were proclaimed in 1842, and some years later the county was divided into hundreds. Very little further was done towards giving effect to the instructions, and the first administrative county was Westland, separated from Canterbury Province in 1867, and granted a system of local government in the following year.

It was not until the abolition of the provinces in 1876 that a scheme of division of the whole country into counties was introduced. The Counties Act, 1876, which, in conjunction with the Municipal Corporations Act of the same year, provided a comprehensive scheme of local government in lieu of the provincial governments, divided New Zealand into sixty-three counties. With the exception of six, which were exempted from the operations of the Act, each county was placed under the control of an elected Chairman and Council, possessed of fairly full powers of local government—considerably less, however, than those formerly enjoyed by the Provincial Councils. The Counties Act specially excluded boroughs from the counties within which they geographically lie, and a similar provision has since been made in the case of town districts having a population of over 500.


Since the abolition of the provinces and the passing of the Counties and Municipal Corporations Acts of 1876 there has been considerable extension of local government. Many of the road districts have merged with the counties within which they lie, while others have become boroughs and town districts. On the other hand, counties, boroughs, and town districts have increased in numbers, while several entirely new classes of local districts, formed for definite purposes—as, for instance, land drainage or electric-power supply—have come into existence. In most cases the Boards of these districts have borrowing and rating powers.

The numbers of local districts of each class in the Dominion at present are as follow:—

Town districts—
      Not forming parts of counties40
      Forming parts of counties29
Road districts35
River districts48
Land-drainage districts64
Harbour districts41
Hospital districts.46
Electric-power districts41
City and suburban drainage districts3
Tramway district1
local railway districts5
Water-supply districts6
Main-highway districts18
Fire districts37
Rabbit districts54
Gas-lighting district1

Much fuller information concerning the origin, development, constitution, functions, &c., of local governing bodies than can be given here will be found in the Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand. The reader is also referred to the section of this book dealing with Local Government.



Captain William Hobson, R.N., Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand under Sir George Gipps, Governor of New South Wales, from January, 1840, to 3rd May, 1841, and Governor of New Zealand from 3rd May, 1841, until date of death, 10th September, 1842.

Lieutenant Willoughby Shortland, Administrator from 10th September, 1842, to 26th December, 1843.

Captain Robert Fitzroy, R.N., Governor from 26th December, 1843, to 17th November, 1845.

Captain George Grey, who became Sir George Grey, K.C.B., in 1848, Governor from 18th November, 1845, to 1st January, 1848; Governor-in-Chief over the Islands of New Zealand, Governor of the Province of New Ulster, and Governor of the Province of New Munster from 1st January, 1848, to 7th March, 1853; Governor of New Zealand from 7th March, 1853, to 31st December, 1853.

Lieutenant-Governors of Provinces.

Edward John Eyre, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster from 28th January, 1848, until duties of Lieutenant-Governor ceased on 7th March, 1853.

Major-General George Dean Pitt, Lieutenant-Governor of New Ulster from 14th February, 1848, until date of death, 8th January, 1851.

Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Henry Wynyard, C.B., Lieutenant-Governor of New Ulster from 26th April, 1851, until duties of Lieutenant-Governor ceased on 7th March, 1853.

1854 TO DATE.

Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Henry Wynyard, C.B., Administrator from 3rd January, 1854, to 6th September, 1855.

Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, C.B., Governor from 6th September, 1855, to 2nd October, 1861.

Sir George Grey, K.C.B., Administrator from 3rd October, 1861; Governor from 4th December, 1861, to 5th February, 1868.

Sir George Ferguson Bowen, G.C.M.G., Governor from 5th February, 1868, to 19th March, 1873.

Sir George Alfred Arney, Chief Justice, Administrator from 21st March to 14th June, 1873.

Sir James Fergusson, Baronet, P.C., Governor from 14th June, 1873, to 3rd December, 1874.

The Marquis of Normanby, P.C., G.C.M.G., Administrator from 3rd December, 1874; Governor from 9th January, 1875, to 21st February, 1879.

James Prendergast, Esquire, Chief Justice, Administrator from 21st February to 27th March, 1879.

Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, G.C.M.G., Administrator from 27th March, 1879; Governor from 17th April, 1879, to 8th September, 1880.

James Prendergast, Esquire, Chief Justice, Administrator from 9th September to 29th November, 1880.

The Honourable Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon, G.C.M.G., Governor from 29th November, 1880, to 23rd June, 1882.

Sir James Prendergast, Chief Justice, Administrator from 24th June, 1882, to 20th January, 1883.

Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, G.C.M.G., C.B., Governor from 20th January, 1883, to 22nd March, 1889.

Sir James Prendergast, Chief Justice, Administrator from 23rd March to 2nd May, 1889.

The Earl of Onslow, G.C.M.G., Governor from 2nd May, 1889, to 24th February, 1892.

Sir James Prendergast, Chief Justice, Administrator from 25th February to 6th June, 1892.

The Earl of Glasgow, G.C.M.G., Governor from 7th June, 1892, to 6th February, 1897.

Sir James Prendergast, Chief Justice, Administrator from 8th February to 9th August, 1897.

The Earl of Ranfurly, G.C.M.G., Governor from 10th August, 1897, to 19th June, 1904.

The Right Honourable William Lee, Baron Plunket, K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., Governor from 20th June, 1904, to 8th June, 1910.

Hon. Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G., Chief Justice, Administrator from 8th June to 22nd June, 1910.

The Right Honourable John Poynder Dickson-Poynder, K.C.M.G., Baron Islington, D.S.O., Governor from 22nd June, 1910, to 2nd December, 1912.

Hon. Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G., Chief Justice, Administrator from 3rd December to 19th December, 1912.

The Earl of Liverpool, P.C., G.C.M.G., G.B.E., M.V.O., Governor from 19th December, 1912; Governor-General from 28th June. 1917, to 7th July, 1920.

Right Hon. Sir Robert Stout, P.C., K.C.M.G., Chief Justice, Administrator from 8th July, 1920, to 26th September, 1920.

Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., Governor-General from 27th September, 1920, to 25th November, 1924.

Right Hon. Sir Robert Stout, P.C., K.C.M.G., Chief Justice, Administrator from 26th November, 1924, to 12th December, 1924.

General Sir Charles Fergusson, Baronet, LL.D., G.C.M.G., K.C.B., D.S.O., M.V.O., Governor-General from 13th December, 1924.


His Excellency, General Sir Charles Fergusson, Baronet, LL.D., G.C.M.G., K.C.B., D.S.O., M.V.O.

Private Secretary—George J. Little.

Official Secretary—A. Cecil Day, C.M.G., C.B.E.

Military Secretary and Aide-de-Camp—(Vacant).

Aide-de-Camp—Captain C. J. Vernon-Wentworth.

Assistant Private Secretary—David J. Keswick.

Honorary Aides-de-Camp—Colonel J. Findlay, C.B., D.S.O.; Colonel M. M. Gard'ner. D.S.O.; Lieutenant-Colonel F. Symon, C.M.G., D.S.O.; Lieutenant-Colonel N. S. Falla, C.M.G., D.S.O.; Lieutenant-Colonel S. S. Allen, C.M.G., D.S.O.; Lieutenant-Colonel J. Hargest, D.S.O., M.C.

Honorary Physician—Colonel R. Tracy-Inglis, C.B.E., M.B.

Honorary Surgeon—Colonel P. C. Fenwick, C.M.G., M.D.


Name of Ministry.Name of Premier.Assumed Office.Retired.
1. Bell-SewellHenry Sewell7 May, 185620 May, 1856.
2. FoxWilliam Fox20 May, 18562 June, 1856.
3. StaffordEdward William Stafford2 June, 185612 July, 1861.
4. FoxWilliam Fox12 July, 18616 Aug., 1862.
5. DomettAlfred Domett6 Aug., 186230 Oct., 1863.
6. Whitaker-FoxFrederick Whitaker30 Oct., 186324 Nov., 1864.
7. WeldFrederick Aloysius Weld24 Nov., 186416 Oct., 1865.
8. StaffordEdward William Stafford16 Oct., 186528 June, 1869.
9. FoxWilliam Fox28 June, 186910 Sept., 1872.
10. StaffordEdward William Stafford10 Sept., 187211 Oct., 1872.
11. WaterhouseGeorge Marsden Waterhouse11 Oct., 18723 Mar., 1873.
12. FoxWilliam Fox3 Mar., 18738 April, 1873.
13. VogelJulius Vogel, C.M.G.8 April, 18736 July, 1875.
14. PollenDaniel Pollen, M.L.C.6 July, 187515 Feb., 1876.
15. VogelSir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G.15 Feb., 18761 Sept 1876.
16. AtkinsonHarry Albert Atkinson1 Sept., 187613 Sept., 1876.
17. Atkinson (reconstituted)Harry Albert Atkinson13 Sept., 187613 Oct., 1877.
18. GreySir George Grey, K.C.B.15 Oct., 18778 Oct., 1879.
19. HallJohn Hall8 Oct., 187921 April, 1882.
20. WhitakerFrederick Whitaker, M.L.C.21 April, 188225 Sept., 1883.
21. AtkinsonHarry Albert Atkinson25 Sept., 188316 Aug., 1884.
22. Stout-VogelRobert Stout16 Aug., 188428 Aug., 1884.
23 AtkinsonHarry Albert Atkinson28 Aug., 18843 Sept., 1884.
24. Stout-VogelSir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G.3 Sept., 18848 Oct., 1887.
25. AtkinsonSir Harry Albert Atkinson, K.C.M.G.8 Oct., 188724 Jan., 1891.
26. BallanceJohn Ballance24 Jan., 18911 May, 1893.
27. SeddonRt. Hon. Richard John Seddon, P.C.1 May, 189321 June, 1906.
28. Hall-JonesWilliam Hall-Jones21 June, 19066 Aug., 1906.
29. WardRt. Hon. Sir Joseph George Ward, Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G.6 Aug., 190628 Mar., 1912.
30. MackenzieThomas Mackenzie28 Mar., 191210 July, 1912.
31. MasseyRt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C.10 July, 191212 Aug., 1915.
32. NationalRt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C.12 Aug., 191525 Aug., 1919.
33. MasseyRt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C.25 Aug., 191914 May, 1925.
34. BellHon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, G.C.M.G., K.C.14 May, 192530 May, 1925.
35. CoatesRt. Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, P.C., M.C.30 May, 1925..


1925, May 10.—Right Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C., Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Stamp Duties, died at Wellington.

1925, May 14.—Hon. Sir Francis Henry Hon Bell, G.C.M.G., K.C., appointed Prime Minister; and Hon. William Nosworthy appointed Minister of Finance and Minister of Stamp Duties. In other respects all Ministers confirmed in their then existing offices and as members of the Executive Council.

1925, May 30.—All Ministers, with exception of Hon. William Downie Stewart (absent in America), resigned their offices and their seats in the Executive Council. All Ministers, with the exception of Hon. William Downie Stewart and Hon. Sir Maui Pomare K.B.E., C.M.G., reappointed to Executive Council with same offices as before, except for following changes:—

  1. Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, M.C., succeeded Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, G.C.M.G., K.C., as Prime Minister.

  2. Hon. Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G., succeeded Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, M.C., as Postmaster-General and Minister of Telegraphs.

Hon. William Downie Stewart confirmed as a member of the Executive Council and in office as Minister of Customs and Minister of Industries and Commerce.

1925, June 1.—Hon. Sir Maui Pomare, K.B.E., C.M.G., appointed a member of the Executive Council and Minister of Health and Minister for the Cook Islands.

1926, January 18.—Hons. Oswald James Hawken. Francis Joseph Rolleston, and James Alexander Young appointed members of the Executive Council. Hon. William Downie Stewart succeeded Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., as Attorney-General; Hon. Oswald James Hawken succeeded Hon. William Nosworthy as Minister of Agriculture, and Hon. Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes, K.B.E., as Commissioner of State Forests; Hon. Francis Joseph Rolleston succeeded Hon. Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G., as Minister of Justice, and Hon. Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes, K.B.E., as Minister of Defence; Hon. James Alexander Young succeeded Hon. Sir Maui Pomare as Minister of Health. Hon. Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes, K.B.E., remained a member of the Executive Council without portfolio.

1926, April 24.—Hon. Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G., resigned seat in Executive Council and offices of Minister of Education, Postmaster-General, and Minister of Telegraphs, consequent on appointment as High Commissioner.

1926, May 24.—Hon. Robert Alexander Wright appointed a member of the Executive Council and Minister of Education. Hon. William Downie Stewart succeeded Hon. William Nosworthy as Minister of Finance and Minister of Stamp Duties; Hon. William Nosworthy succeeded Hon. Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G., as Postmaster-General and Minister of Telegraphs, and Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., as Minister of External Affairs; Hon. Alexander Donald McLeod succeeded Hon. William Downie Stewart as Minister of Industries and Commerce; Hon. Francis Joseph Rolleston succeeded Hon. William Downie Stewart as Attorney-General; Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., remained a member of the Executive Council without portfolio.

1926, June 12.—Hon. Kenneth Stuart Williams appointed a member of the Executive Council and Minister of Public Works, succeeding the Right Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, P.C., M.C., in respect of latter.


* Confirmed in offices previously held.
Right Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, P.C.,M.C.Prime Minister30 May, 192512 June, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Williams.
Minister of Public Works30 May, 1925
Minister of Railways30 May, 1925
Minister of Native Affairs30 May, 1925
Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C.Attorney-General30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
Minister of External Affairs30 May, 192524 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Nosworthy.
Member of Executive Council without portfolio24 May, 1926  
David Henry GuthrieMember of Executive Council without portfolio30 May,1925 
William Downie StewartMinister of Customs30 May, 1925*  
Minister of Industries and Commerce30 May, 1925*24 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. McLeod.
Attorney-General18 Jan., 192624 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Rolleston.
Minister of Finance24 May, 1926  
Minister of Stamp Duties24 May, 1926  
William NosworthyMinister of Finance30 May, 192524 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
Minister of Stamp Duties30 May, 192524 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
Minister of Agriculture30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Hawken.
Minister of Immigration30 May, 1925  
Postmaster-General24 May, 1926  
Minister of Telegraphs24 May, 1926  
Minister of External Affairs24 May, 1926  
Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G.Minister of Education30 May, 192524 April, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Wright.
Minister of Justice30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Rolleston.
Postmaster-General30 May, 192524 April, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Nosworthy.
Minister of Telegraphs30 May, 192524 April, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Nosworthy.
George James AndersonMinister of Labour30 May, 1925  
Minister of Mines30 May, 1925  
Minister of Marine30 May, 1925  
Alexander Donald McLeodMinister of Lands30 May, 1925  
Minister of Industries and Commerce24 May, 1926  
Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes, K.B.E.Minister of Defence30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Rolleston.
Commissioner of State Forests30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Hawken.
Member of Executive Council without portfolio24 May, 1926  
Sir Maui Pomare, K.B.E., C.M.G.Minister of Health1 June, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Young.
Minister of Cook Islands1 June, 1925  
Richard Francis BollardMinister of Internal Affairs30 May, 1925  
Oswald James HawkenMinister of Agriculture18 Jan., 1926  
Commissioner of State Forests18 Jan., 1926  
Francis Joseph RollestonMinister of Justice18 Jan., 1926  
Minister of Defence18 Jan., 1926  
Attorney-General24 May, 1926  
James Alexander YoungMinister of Health18 Jan., 1926  
Robert Alexander WrightMinister of Education24 May, 1926  
Kenneth Stuart WilliamsMinister of Public Works12 June, 1926  


His Excellency the GOVERNOR-GENERAL.

Right Hon. J. G. Coates, P.C., M.C., Prime Minister, Minister of Railways, Minister of Native Affairs, Minister in Charge of Public Trust and Native Trust Departments.

Right Hon. Sir F. H. D. Bell, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., Member of the Executive Council without portfolio.

Hon. W. Downie Stewart. Minister of Finance, Minister of Stamp Duties, Minister of Customs, Minister in Charge of Land and Income Tax and State Advances Departments.

Hon. W. Nosworthy, Postmaster-General, Minister of Telegraphs, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Immigration, Minister in Charge of Legislative, Tourist, and Health Resorts, Government Life Insurance, State Fire and Accident Insurance, and Public Service Superannuation Departments.

Hon. G. J. Anderson, Minister of Labour, Minister of Mines, Minister of Marine, Minister in Charge of Pensions, Printing and Stationery, Publicity, and Inspection of Machinery Departments.

Hon. Sir R. Heaton Rhodes, K.B.E., Member of the Executive Council without portfolio, and Leader of the Legislative Council.

Hon. D. H. Guthrie. Member of the Executive Council without portfolio.

Hon. A. D. McLeod, Minister of Lands, Minister of Industries and Commerce, Minister in Charge of Electoral, Valuation, Land for Settlements, Discharged Soldiers' Settlement, and Scenery Preservation Departments.

Hon. Sir Maui Pomare, K.B.E., C.M.G., Minister for Cook Islands, and Member of the Executive Council representing the Native Race.

Hon. R. F. Bollard, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister in Charge of High Commissioner's Office, Audit, Museum, Registrar-General's, Census and Statistics, Laboratory, and Advertising Departments.

Hon. O. J. Hawken, Minister of Agriculture, Commissioner of State Forests.

Hon. F. J. Rolleston, Attorney-General, Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence, Minister in Charge of Police, Prisons, and War Pensions Departments.

Hon. J. A. Young, Minister of Health, Minister in Charge of Mental Hospitals Department.

Hon. R. A. Wright, Minister of Education, Minister in Charge of Friendly Societies and National Provident Fund Departments.

Hon. K. S. Williams, Minister of Public Works, Minister in Charge of Roads and Public Buildings.

Clerk of the Executive Council—F. D. Thomson, B.A., C.M.G.


Parliament.Dates of Opening of Sessions.Dates of ProrogationDates of Dissolution.
First27 May, 18549 Aug., 185415 Sept., 1855.
31 Aug., 185416 Sept., 1854
8 Aug., 185515 Sept., 1855
Second15 April, 1856 (No sess., 1857)16 Aug., 18565 Nov., 1860.
10 April, 1858 (No sess., 1859)21 Aug., 1858
30 July, 18605 Nov., 1860
Third3 June, 18617 Sept., 186127 Jan., 1866.
7 July, 186215 Sept., 1862
19 Oct., 186314 Dec., 1863
24 Nov., 186413 Dec., 1864
26 July, 186530 Oct., 1865
Fourth30 June, 18668 Oct., 186630 Dec., 1870.
9 July, 186710 Oct., 1867
9 July, 186820 Oct., 1868
1 June, 18693 Sept., 1869
14 June, 187013 Sept., 1870
Fifth14 Aug., 187116 Nov., 18716 Dec., 1875.
16 July, 187225 Oct., 1872
15 July, 18733 Oct., 1873
3 July, 187431 Aug., 1874
20 July, 187521 Oct., 1875
Sixth15 June, 187631 Oct., 187615 Aug., 1879.
19 July, 187710 Dec., 1877
26 July, 18782 Nov., 1878
11 July, 187911 Aug., 1879
Seventh24 Sept., 187919 Dec., 18798 Nov., 1881.
28 May, 18801 Sept., 1880
9 June, 188124 Sept., 1881
Eighth18 May, 188215 Sept., 188227 June, 1884.
14 June, 18838 Sept., 1883
5 June, 188424 June, 1884
Ninth7 Aug., 188410 Nov., 188415 July, 1887.
11 June, 188522 Sept., 1885
13 May, 188618 Aug., 1886
26 April, 188710 June, 1887
Tenth6 Oct., 188723 Dec., 18873 Oct., 1890.
10 May, 188831 Aug., 1888
20 June, 188919 Sept., 1889
19 June, 189018 Sept., 1890
Eleventh23 Jan., 189131 Jan., 18918 Nov., 1893.
11 June, 189125 Sept., 1891
23 June, 189212 Oct., 1892
22 June, 18937 Oct., 1893
Twelfth21 June, 189424 Oct., 189414 Nov., 1896.
20 June, 18952 Nov., 1895
11 June, 189619 Oct., 1896
Thirteenth7 April, 189712 April, 189715 Nov., 1899.
23 Sept., 189722 Dec., 1897
24 June, 18985 Nov., 1898
23 June, 189924 Oct., 1899
Fourteenth22 June, 190022 Oct., 19005 Nov., 1902.
1 July, 19018 Nov., 1901
1 July, 19024 Oct., 1902
Fifteenth29 June, 190325 Nov., 190315 Nov., 1905.
28 June, 19048 Nov., 1904
27 June, 190531 Oct., 1905
Sixteenth27 June, 19063 July, 190629 Oct., 1908.
21 Aug., 190629 Oct., 1906
27 June, 190725 Nov., 1907
29 June, 190812 Oct., 1908
Seventeenth10 June, 190917 June, 190920 Nov., 1911.
7 Oct., 190929 Dec., 1909
28 June, 19105 Dec., 1910
27 July, 191130 Oct., 1911
Eighteenth15 Feb., 19121 Mar., 191220 Nov., 1914.
27 June, 19128 Nov., 1912
26 June, 191316 Dec., 1913
25 June, 19146 Nov., 1914
Nineteenth24 June, 191515 Oct., 191527 Nov., 1919.
9 May, 19169 Aug., 1916
28 June, 19172 Nov., 1917
9 April, 191817 April, 1918
24 Oct., 191812 Dec., 1918
28 Aug., 19197 Nov., 1919
Twentieth24 June, 192012 Nov., 192015 Nov., 1922.
10 Mar., 192124 Mar., 1921
22 Sept., 192113 Feb., 1922
28 June, 19221 Nov., 1922
Twenty-first8 Feb., 192319 Feb., 192314 Oct., 1925.
14 June, 192330 Aug., 1923
26 June, 19247 Nov., 1924
25 June, 19253 Oct., 1925
Twenty-second16 June, 192614 Sept., 1926..


ROLL OF MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF NEW ZEALAND, SEPTEMBER, 1926.Speaker—Hon. Sir W. C. F. CARNCROSS, Kt.Chairman of Committees—Hon. John Barr.Clerk of the Legislative Council—A. F. LOWE, C.M.G.
Name.Provincial District.Date of Appointment.
Alison, Hon. Ewen WilliamAuckland7 May, 1925.
Barr, Hon. JohnCanterbury22 January, 1921.
Bell, Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C.Wellington21 May, 1926.
Carncross, Hon. Sir Walter Charles Frederick, Kt.Taranaki17 March, 1924.
Carrington, Hon. Carey JohnAuckland17 June, 1926.
Carroll, Hon. Sir James, K.C.M.G.Auckland2 September, 1921.
Clark, Hon. Edward HenryOtago25 June, 1920.
Cohen, Hon. MarkOtago25 June, 1920.
Collins, Hon. Colonel William Edward, C.M.G.Wellington14 July, 1921.
Craigie, Hon. JamesCanterbury1 June, 1923.
Earnshaw, Hon. WilliamWellington25 June, 1920.
Fleming, Hon. David ThomasOtago7 May, 1925.
Garland, Hon. George JosephAuckland7 May, 1925.
Gow, Hon. James BurmanAuckland7 May, 1925.
Guthrie, Hon. David HenryWellington28 October, 1925.
Hall-Jones, Hon. Sir William, K.C.M.G.Wellington15 October, 1920.
Hanan, Hon. Josiah AlfredOtago17 June, 1926.
Hawke, Hon. Archibald FotheringhamOtago7 May, 1925.
Isitt, Hon. Leonard MonkCanterbury28 October, 1925.
Lang, Hon. Sir Frederic William, Kt.Auckland22 February, 1924.
MacGregor, Hon. JohnOtago14 July, 1921.
McIntyre, Hon. William HendersonNelson2 September, 1921.
Mackenzie, Hon. Sir Thomas, G.C.M.G.Otago12 March, 1921.
Malcolm, Hon. Alexander ScottOtago16 June, 1924.
Mander, Hon. FrancisAuckland1 June, 1923.
Michel, Hon. Henry LeslieWestland7 May, 1925.
Mitchelson, Hon. Sir Edwin, K.C.M.G.Auckland25 June, 1920.
Moore, Hon. RichardCanterbury14 July, 1921.
Newman, Hon. Edward, C.M.G.Wellington1 June, 1923.
Reed, Hon. Vernon HerbertAuckland16 June, 1924.
Rhodes, Hon. Sir Robert Heaton. K.B.E.Canterbury28 October, 1925.
Rikihana, Hon, WiremuAuckland1 June, 1923.
Scott, Hon. RobertOtago25 June, 1920.
Sinclair, Hon. Sir John Robert, Kt.Otago7 May, 1925.
Smith, Hon. Colonel George John, C.B.E.Canterbury25 June, 1920.
Snodgrass, Hon. William Wallace, M.B.E.Nelson2 September, 1921,
Stewart, Hon WilliamAuckland7 May, 1925.
Stout, Right Hon. Sir Robert, P.C., K.C.M.G.Wellington3 August, 1926.
Thomson, Hon. George MalcolmOtago7 May, 1925.
Triggs, Hon. William HenryCanterbury7 May, 1925.
Weston, Hon. Thomas ShailerWellington17 June, 1926.
Witty, Hon. GeorgeCanterbury28 October, 1925.


ROLL OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SEPTEMBER, 1926.Speaker—Hon. Sir C. E. STATHAM., Kt.Chairman of Committees—F. F. Hockly, M.P.Clerk of the House—E. W. KANE.
Name.Electoral District.
For European Electorates.
Anderson, Hon. George JamesMataura.
Armstrong, Hubert ThomasChristchurch East.
Atmore, HarryNelson.
Bartram, Frederick Notley Bell, AllenGrey Lynn. Bay of Islands.
Bellringer, Charlie EmanuelTaranaki.
Bitchener, JohnWaitaki.
Bollard, Hon. Richard FrancisRaglan.
Buddo, Hon. DavidKaiapoi.
Burnett, Thomas DavidTemuka.
Campbell, Hugh McLeanHawke's Bay.
Coates, Right Hon. Joseph Gordon, P.C., M.C.Kaipara.
Dickie, Harold GaltPatea.
Dickson, James McCollChalmers.
Dickson, James SamuelParnell.
Eliott, John GordonOroua.
Field, William HughesOtaki.
Forbes, George WilliamHurunui.
Forsyth, ThomasWellington East.
Fraser, PeterWellington Central.
Girling, William JamesWairau.
Glenn, William SpiersRangitikei.
Hamilton, AdamWallace.
Hamilton, John RonaldAwarua.
Harris, AlexanderWaitemata.
Hawken, Hon, Oswald JamesEgmont.
Hockly, Frank FranklinRotorua.
Holland, HenryChristchurch North.
Holland, Henry EdmundBuller.
Horn, JamesWakatipu.
Howard, Edwin JohnChristchurch South.
Hudson, Richard PhineasMotueka.
Hunter, Sir George, Kt.Waipawa.
Jones, DavidEllesmere.
Jones, WilliamMarsden.
Jordan, William JosephManukau.
Kyle, Herbert Seton StewartRiccarton.
Lee, Ernest PageOamaru.
Lee, John AlexanderAuckland East.
Linklater, JosephManawatu.
Luke, Sir John Pearce, Kt., C.M.G.Wellington North.
Lysnar, William DouglasGisborne.
McCombs, JamesLyttelton.
McKeen, RobertWellington South.
McLennan, Ewen DonaldFranklin.
McLeod, Hon. Alexander DonaldWairarapa.
Macmillan, Charles Edward de la BarcaTauranga.
Mason, Henry Greathead RexEden.
Mason, JohnNapier.
Nash, James AlfredPalmerston.
Nosworthy, Hon. WilliamAshburton.
Parry, William EdwardAuckland Central.
Potter, Vivian HaroldRoskill.
Hansom, Ethelbert AlfredHahiatua.
Reid, Daniel StewartWaikato.
Rhodes, Thomas WilliamThames.
Rolleston, Hon. Francis JosephTimaru.
Rolleston, John ChristopherWaitomo.
Samuel, Albert MoellerOhinemuri.
Savage, Michael JosephAuckland West.
Seddon, Thomas Edward YoudWestland.
Sidey, Thomas KayDunedin South.
Smith, Robert WilliamWaimarino.
Statham, Hon. Sir Charles Ernest, Kt.Dunedin Central.
Stewart, Hon. William DownieDunedin West.
Sullivan, Daniel GilesAvon.
Sykes, George RobertMasterton.
Tapley, Harold Livingstone, C.M.G.Dunedin North.
Veitch, William AndrewWanganui.
Waite, FredClutha.
Walter, EdwardStratford.
Ward, Right Hon. Sir Joseph George, Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G.Invercargill.
Wilford, Thomas MasonHutt.
Williams, Hon. Keneth StuartBay of Plenty.
Wright, Hon. Robert AlexanderWellington Suburbs.
Young, Hon. James AlexanderHamilton.
For Maori Electorates.
Tau HenareNorthern Maori
Ngata, Hon. Apirana TurupaEastern Maori.
Pomare, Hon. Sir Maui Ngatata, K.B.E., C.M.G.Western Maori.
Uru, Henare Whakatau.Southern Maori.


Department.Permanent Head.
AgricultureDirector-GeneralC. J. Reakes, C.B.E., M.R.C.V.S., D.V.Sc. Melb.
AuditController and Auditor-GeneralG. F. C. Campbell, C.M.G.
Crown LawSolicitor-GeneralA. Fair, LL.B., K.C.
CustomsComptrollerG. Craig, LL.M.
DefenceGeneral Officer Commanding N.Z. Military ForcesMajor - General R. Young, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
EducationDirectorJ. Caughley, M.A.
External Affairs and Cook IslandsSecretaryJ. D. Gray.
Government InsuranceCommissionerA. T. Traversi, F.I.A., Lond.
      National Provident FundSuperintendent
      Friendly SocietiesRegistrarW. M. Wright.
      Public Service SuperannuationSecretary
HealthDirector-GeneralT. H. A. Valintine, C.B.E., M.R.C.S.,L.R.C.P.,D.P.H.
Industries and CommerceSecretaryJ. W. Collins.
ImmigrationUnder-SecretaryH. D. Thomson.
Internal AffairsUnder-Secretary and Chief Electoral OfficerJ. Hislop, M.V.O., O.B.E.
      Registrar-General'sRegistrar-GeneralW. W. Cook
      Census and StatisticsGovernment StatisticianM. Fraser, O.B.E.
      Government Actuary'sGovernment ActuaryC Gostelow, F.I.A., Lond.
Justice (including Patents)Under-SecretaryR. P. Ward.
LabourSecretaryF. W. T. Rowley.
Land and Deeds and Stamp DutiesRegistrar-General of Land, Secretary for Land and Deeds, and Commissioner of Stamp DutiesC. E. Nalder.
Land and Income TaxCommissionerA. E. Fowler.
Land for SettlementsLand Purchase ControllerJ. D. Ritchie.
Lands and SurveyUnder-SecretaryJ. B. Thompson, M.N.Z. Soc.C.E.
MarineSecretaryG. C. Godfrey.
Mental HospitalsInspector-GeneralDr. Sir F. Truby King, Kt., C.M.G.
MinesUnder-SecretaryA. H. Kimbell.
NativeUnder-SecretaryR. N. Jones.
Native TrustNative TrusteeW. E. Rawson.
NavalNaval AdviserCommodore G. T. C. P. Swabey, D.S.O., R.N.
PensionsCommissionerG. C. Fache, O.B.E.
PoliceCommissionerW. B. McIlveney.
Post and TelegraphSecretaryA. T. Markman.
Prime Minister'sPermanent HeadF. D. Thomson, B.A., C.M.G.
Printing and StationeryGovernment PrinterW. A. G. Skinner.
PrisonsController-General of Prisons(Vacant.)
Public TrustPublic TrusteeJ. W. Macdonald.
Public WorksUnder-Secretary and Engineer-in-ChiefF. W. Furkert, C.M.G., A.M.I.C.E., A.M.I.M.E.
RailwaysChairman of Railways BoardF. J. Jones.
Scientific and Industrial ResearchSecretaryE. Marsden, D.Sc.
State AdvancesSuperintendentW. Waddel.
State Fire and Accident InsuranceGeneral ManagerJ. H. Jerram.
State Forest ServiceDirectorL. McIntosh Ellis, B.Sc. (F.), C.S.F.E.
Tourist and Health ResortsGeneral ManagerB.M.Wilson.
TreasurySecretaryR. E. Hayes, I.S.O.
ValuationValuer-GeneralT. Brook.

By an Act passed during the year 1912 and intituled the Public Service Act, 1912, the Public Service of New Zealand was placed under the direct and sole control of a Commissioner and two Assistant Commissioners, who are appointed for a term of seven years, are responsible only to Parliament, and can be dismissed from office only for misbehaviour or incompetence.

The Act, which became operative on the 1st April, 1913, applies to all members of the Public Service with the exception of the Controller and Auditor-General, officers of the Railway Department, members of the Police and Defence Forces, Judges and Magistrates, officers of the House, certain officers of the Legislative Departments, and persona paid only by fees or commission, as well as any officer to whom the Governor-General in Council declares the Act shall not apply.

By the Post and Telegraph Act of 1918 the Post and Telegraph Department was exempted from the control of the Commissioner, with the exception that the Commissioner makes all appointments.

Public Service Commissioner: P. D. N. VERSCHAFFRLT.


High Commissioner for New Zealand in London—Hon. Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G., New Zealand Offices, 415 Strand, London W.C. 2.

Official Representative of Customs Department in United Kingdom—F. W. Lawrence, New Zealand Offices, 415 Strand, London W.C. 2.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner for Australia and Government Agent, Melbourne—H. J. Manson, Dominion Chambers, 59 William Street, Melbourne.

New Zealand Government Agent, Sydney—W. R. Blow, London Bank Chambers, corner of Pitt and Moore Streets, Sydney.

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent, Brisbane—T. G. Dewar, King's Building, 79 Queen Street, Brisbane.

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent, Adelaide—D. T. Lawes, Pirie Street, Adelaide.

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent, Perth—A. S. McClintock, 285 Queen's Buildings, Murray Street, Perth.

Honorary New Zealand Representative in India—R. L. B. Gall, 11 Clive Street, Calcutta.

Honorary New Zealand Representative. Johannesburg—B. R. Avery, 8 Natal Bank Chambers, Market Street, Market Square (P.O. Box 1378), Johannesburg.

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent, Durban — H. Middlebrook, 20 Union Castle Buildings (P.O. Box 1822), Durban.

New Zealand Government Agent, Vancouver—W. A. James, 1,017 Metropolitan Building, 837 Hastings Street West, Vancouver.

Resident Agent for New Zealand, San Francisco—H. Stephenson Smith, 311 California Street, San Francisco.

Official Representative of Customs Department in Canada and United States—W. J. Stevenson, 44 Whitehall Street, New York.

Honorary New Zealand Government Agent, Honolulu—H. C. Tennant, care of Messrs. Henry Davies Audit Company (Limited), Honolulu.

Honorary New Zealand Representative, Marseilles—The Secretary, British Chamber of Commerce, 2 Rue Beauvau, Marseilles.

Honorary Commercial Correspondent for New Zealand, Antwerp—J. P. H. Mertens, 32 Rue Oudaen, Antwerp.


United Kingdom.—H.M. Trade Commissioner: L. B. Beale, 11 Grey Street, Wellington.

Canada.—Trade Commissioner: C. M. Croft, Customs Street, Auckland.



Argentine Republic.—Consul-General: Humberto Bidone, Wellington. Vice-Consuls: F. S. Battley, Auckland; E. S. Baldwin, Wellington; J. A. Johnstone, Dunedin.

Belgium.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over. New Zealand): H. Segaert, Sydney. Consuls: A. M. Ferguson, Auckland; G. F. Johnston, Wellington; Sir J. J. Kinsey, Christchurch; G. L. Denniston, Dunedin. Vice-Consuls: C. R. J. Ward, Christchurch; W. A. Moore, Dunedin; R. A. Anderson, Invercargill.

Brazil.—Vice-Consul: George Robertson, Wellington.

Chile.—Consul-General for Australia and New Zealand: Senor Don Manuel Gundelach, Sydney. Consul: E. A, Craig, Auckland. Hon. Consul: J. Montgomery, Christchurch.

China.—Consuls: Li Kwang Heng, Wellington; Chuh Chih-Ching, Samoa.

Czecho-slovakia.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Dr. Rudolph Svetlik, Sydney. Consul: E. J. Hyams, Wellington.

Denmark.—Consul-General for Australia and New Zealand: Ove Lunn, Melbourne. Consul for North Island: S. A. Longuet, Wellington. Consul for South Island: H. D. Acland (acting), Christchurch. Vice-Consuls: S. P. Anderson, Auckland; W. Perry, Hokitika; O. H. MÖller, Dunedin; Charles Dahl, Palmerston North.

Finland.—Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Harald Tanner, Sydney. Vice-Consuls (honorary); Robert Burns, Auckland; Vaino Sarelius, Christchurch.

France.—Consul: Paul A. Serre, Auckland. Consular Agents: George Humphreys, Christchurch; O. R Bendall, Wellington; S. E. D. Neill. Dunedin.

Germany.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Dr. Hans Busing, Melbourne. Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand and Dependencies, and Western Samoa): W. Penseler, Wellington.

Greece.—Honorary Consul for New Zealand: J. F. Dyer, Wellington.

Honduras.—Consul-General for Australia and New Zealand: Frederic Walsh. Sydney.

Italy.—Consul-General for Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and New Guinea: Commendatore A. Grossardi, Melbourne. Consular Agents: Joseph Wallace, Christ-church; L. O. H. Tripp, O.B.E., Wellington; J. A. Roberts, Dunedin; Geraldo Perotti, Greymouth; Giovanni (J. H.) Pagni, Auckland.

Japan.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Izemasa Tokugawa, Sydney. Honorary Consuls: A. B. Roberton, Auckland; A. Young, Wellington.

Jugo-Slavia (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes).—Consul: (Vacant).

Latvia.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Edward Birin, London.

Liberia.—Consul: Dr. A. W. Izard, Wellington.

Mexico.—Consul: (Vacant).

Netherlands. — Consul - General for Australia and New Zealand: P. E. Teppema, Sydney. Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): W. G. Johnston, Wellington. Vice-Consuls: George Ritchie, Dunedin; M. Copeland, Auckland; C. J. Cooper, Christchurch.

Norway.—Consul-General for Australia and New Zealand: E. K. B. Arentz, Melbourne. Consul: A. W. Newton, Wellington. Vice-Consuls: Robert Millar, Auckland; George Jameson, Christchurch; M. E. Wiig, Invercargill; J. H. Enright, Westport; W. F. Edmond, Dunedin (honorary).

Paraguay.—Consul: A. E. Kernot, Auckland.

Peru.—Consul-General for Australia and New Zealand: J. M. Paxton, Sydney. Consul: G. H. Baker, Auckland.

Poland.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Hon. George Earp, Sydney.

Portugal.—Consul: David L. Nathan, Auckland. Hon. Vice-Consul: Alfred Nathan, Auckland. Vice-Consuls: A. D. S. Duncan, Wellington; C. W. Rattray, Dunedin.

Spain.—Consul-in-Chief (with jurisdiction over Australia and New Zealand): Sen Don Gustavo do Sastoa, Melbourne. Hon. Vice-Consul: C. W. D. Bell, Wellington.

Sweden.—Consul-General for Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji: E. H. Lindquist, Sydney. Consul: J. T. Martin, Wellington. Vice-Consuls: C. I. Nathan, Auckland; W. Machin, Christchurch; J. S. Ross, Dunedin.

Switzerland.—Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): M. Stahel, Melbourne.

United States of America.—Consul-General: W. L. Lowrie, Wellington. Consul: W. F. Boyle, Auckland. Vice-Consuls: M. I. Mays, Wellington: J. C. Hudson, Wellington; A. R. Preston, jun., Auckland. Consular Agents: H. P. Bridge, Christchurch; H. Reeves, Dunedin. Consul at large: Robert Frazer, jun.

Uruguay.—Vice-Consul (Acting-Consul): W. J. Prouse, Wellington



NEW Zealand was proclaimed a British Crown colony in 1840. Official statistical records of the country commenced with the following year, 1841, in the shape of reports compiled for the information of the Colonial Office, and known by immemorial custom as “blue-books.” These reports, which continued until 1852, were prepared in manuscript form in triplicate, and several copies repose to this day in the custody of the Registrar-General, their careful penmanship still legible despite the faded ink. A collection of tables, compiled by various Government authorities and illustrating the work of their Departments, composed the annual blue-book.

Two factors retarded the development of the statistics of the blue-books: in the first place, they were not intended for general publication; secondly, there appeared a lack of co-ordination between the Departments furnishing the returns and the office collating and ultimately issuing them.

It was not long, however, before the need of authoritative statistics was felt, both for present use and also as a record of the development of the country and its various provinces and settlements. Accordingly we find that, in 1849, “Statistics of New Munster,” compiled under the superintendence of Alfred Domett, were printed by order of the Legislative Council. Again, “Statistics of Nelson” covering the period 1843–54 were issued in 1855. Various other publications were issued dealing with some individual province or settlement. In the year 1853 a Constitution granted by the Imperial Parliament came into force, and from this date the fragmentary and inchoate statistical works find a new complexion. Five years later the Registrar-General, who had been entrusted with the task of compiling annually statistics of the whole colony, produced a volume dealing with the years 1853, 1854, 1855, 1856.


One of the many ways in which statistics may be classified is as to source from which obtained, and in this respect they naturally divide into two classes—i.e., as to whether they are compiled from the records (obtained primarily for some other purpose) of a Government Department or other similar authority, or whether the data require to be specially collected from individual persons, &c.

As has been indicated above, the statistics included in the early blue-books belong in the main to the first of these two categories. Certain items, however, notably population figures, would be more correctly placed in the second category, though the system of collection was exceedingly crude and the scope of inquiry very limited. As a matter of fact, the population figures prior to 1851 appear to have been compiled in each settlement by the local Resident Magistrate by the simple method of ascertaining from the head of each house the number of persons in the household. From such small beginnings, however, has grown the Dominion's present comprehensive system of collection of statistical data.

The proper collection of statistics from the public on the voluntary basis which appeared to exist in the “forties” could be maintained only with a very small population, and with the simplest of inquiries. With the increase of population and the desire to obtain fuller information than in the past it was found advisable as early as 1851 to pass an Ordinance providing for the collection of statistics in the form of recurrent censuses.

Following on the passing of the Census Ordinance of 1851 by the General Government several of the provinces into which New Zealand was divided passed Census Ordinances of their own, the necessity for which is not apparent, as other provinces took censuses under the authority of the 1851 Ordinance.

This Ordinance gave way in 1858 to the Census Act of that year, which was amended in 1860, 1867, 1873, and 1876, and was in its turn repealed in 1877, when a new Act was passed, consolidating and extending the law relating to census-taking. The Act of 1877 was amended in 1880 and again in 1890; also, in effect, in 1895, when the Agricultural and Pastoral Statistics Act was passed, making provision for the annual collection of agricultural and pastoral statistics, which had formerly been collected quinquennially under the Census Act. In 1908 the Census Act and amendments and the Agricultural and Pastoral Statistics Act were consolidated in the Statistics Act, 1908, as part of the general consolidation of statutes. The Statistics Act, 1908, was replaced two years later by the Census and Statistics Act, 1910, which was amended in 1915 by the Census and Statistics Amendment Act of that year. The Act of 1910 was superseded by the Census and Statistics Act, 1926, which contains the present law on the subject of statistical inquiry.

It would be out of place here to recapitulate the various alterations and extensions involved in the successive enactments referred to. Suffice it to say that they reflect the growth of the world-wide realization of the importance and value of statistics.

The Census and Statistics Act, 1926, provides not only for the taking of the quinquennial population census, but also for the collection of statistical information under numerous specific heads, and contains a general authority to the Governor-General to extend the system of collection to cover any other items in respect of which statistical information may be found necessary or advisable.


The early “blue-books” appear to have been compiled by the Colonial Secretary. After the granting of responsible government the Registrar-General was entrusted with the collection of statistics, a function which he retained until 1910. The Census and Statistics Act, 1910, provided for the appointment of a Government Statistician, who has since been the authority charged with the administration of the Act. The 1910 Act laid down that the Government Statistician was to be an officer of the Registrar-General's Department, but this proviso was cancelled in 1915 by the amending Act of that year, whereupon the Census and Statistics Office came into existence as a separate branch of the Department of Internal Affairs.


Until quite recent years there was very little statistical collection apart from the quinquennial census, the annual collection (on legislative authority) of the agricultural and pastoral statistics, the collection on a voluntary basis of returns of private schools, savings-banks, &c., and the obtaining of statistical information from other Government Departments. It should be noted, however, that the census was formerly the means used for the collection of certain data (as, for instance, concerning factory production), now obtained independently of the census.

Since the passing of the Census and Statistics Act in 1910, and more especially since the formation of the Census and Statistics Office in 1915, the system of statistical collection has expanded considerably, not only in regard to the regular activities of the Office, but also for the obtaining of data required for some special purpose. During the war and post-war periods, for instance, the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act were utilized for the collection of information as to stocks, consumption, requirements, &c., of numerous commodities, including flour, wheat, oats, coal, oils, wire, iron, steel, copper, twine, turnip-seed, and medical requisites.

Branches of statistical inquiries now regularly pursued by the Census and Statistical Office include the following:—

  1. From private sources: Agricultural and pastoral statistics (main collection); areas sown in wheat and oats; threshings of wheat and oats;. stocks of wheat, flour, and oats; sheep returns; detailed statistics of live-stock; stocks of wool; detailed statistics of commercial orchards; eggs and egg-pulp in cool store; factory production; fire insurance; life insurance; accident insurance; finances of local governing bodies; loans of local governing bodies (quarterly); building permits; building operations; forestation and plantation operations; building societies; port cargo statistics; private savings-banks; prices; wages; unemployment; sports bodies; consumption and stocks of coal; hospital patients; benevolent institutions.

  2. From Government Departments in the form of individual cards, &c.: Births; marriages; deaths; orphanhood; migration; naturalization; inquests; civil and criminal cases in Court; prisons; divorce: bankruptcy; port shipping returns; deceased persons' estates; State advances to local bodies; incomes and income-tax; land-tax; industrial disturbances; industrial accidents.

The above refers only to statistical compilation from the original data. In many other branches of statistics, as, for instance, trade and public finance, detailed figures compiled by the Departments concerned are utilized in the Census and Statistics Office for the further compilation of statistics.


When New Zealand ceased to be a Crown colony in 1853 the annual despatch of the blue-books to the Colonial Office in London was discontinued. During the next few years several volumes of statistical tables appeared, compiled by various Provincial Governments, and in 1858 the Registrar-General published a volume for the colony as a whole, covering the years 1853, 1854, 1855, and 1856. This volume was the first of a regular annual series which, developed and expanded, were issued, formerly by the Registrar-General's Department, and from 1915 to 1920 by the Census and Statistics Office. As indicating the expansion of the country and of its statistical organization it may be mentioned that while the statistics of the four years 1853–56 were contained in a single small volume, the statistics for 1920, the last year of publication in the old form, occupied four volumes aggregating nearly 1,200 pages.

Closely allied to the annual volumes of Statistics were the volumes of Census Statistics which were regularly compiled and published after each census of New Zealand from 1858 to 1916, for the first four occasions as part of the Statistics, but later (commencing with 1871) as separate publications.

With each volume of Statistics, commencing with that for 1853–56, went a brief report on the statistics presented. Developing slowly at first, the ultimate result was a fairly comprehensive report on the statistics—not only those presented, but the whole statistics (so far as compiled) of the colony. A similar report on census matters was included in each volume of Census Statistics.

Parallel with the statistical reports came, in 1875, an issue of another type—“The Official Handbook of New Zealand, a Collection of Papers by Experienced Colonists on the Colony as a Whole, and on the Several Provinces,” edited by Julius Vogel, C.M.G. (afterwards Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G.), at that time Premier of the colony. The purpose of this book differed from that of the statistical reports. Its aim was to give “a New Zealand view of New Zealand to those who may think of making the colony their home or the theatre of business operations.” Its well-written articles, generously illustrated with woodcuts and photographs, make this early volume interesting reading. Printed in London, it was circulated largely in England.

In 1884 a new and revised edition of this Handbook was compiled by Mr. William Gisborne, and edited by the Agent-General of the day (Mr. F. D. Bell, afterwards Sir Francis Bell). The purpose of this edition was similar to that of its predecessor, although in form it approximated more closely to the modern type.

Another example of a handbook composed for some special purpose was that of Dr. Hector, issued for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880.

By the year 1889 the annual report on the statistics had reached considerable proportions, and it was decided by the Registrar-General to issue it as a separate publication. He remarks in the preface to the 1889 volume of Statistics as follows: “The report has now reached about the size of the original Victorian Year-book, and it has been deemed desirable to publish it in octavo size to make it more convenient for general reference.” A similar decision, it may be added, was come to in regard to the quinquennial Census Report.

For 1889 and 1890 the Report on the Statistics was accordingly issued as a separate publication with several new features. The following year (1891) was a census year, and the place of the usual statistical report for that year was taken by a separate “Report on the Results of a Census of the Colony of New Zealand taken for the Night of the 5th April, 1891,” the first of a series of reports which have been published after each census since.

In 1892 the Report on the Statistics reppeared, remodelled and considerably enlarged, and under the title of the “New Zealand Official Handbook.” The Handbook achieved a very considerable success, and the Government gave instructions for the preparation annually of a similar volume, to be called the “New Zealand Official Year-book.” The compilation remained in the hands of the Registrar-General until 1910, when on the passing of the Census and Statistics Act of that year the Year-book and other statistical publications came under the control of the Government Statistician.

The demy octavo size adopted in 1889, when the Report on the Statistics was first issued as a separate publication, was retained for the Official Handbook, and, up to the 1920 number, for the Year-book. This size, however, was not altogether satisfactory from the point of view of economy of space or for the display of tabular matter, and in the next issue gave way to the royal octavo size.

A change was also made at the same time in the year-number of the book. Formerly the book had been designated by the year of compilation, though in recent years it had not appeared until early in the following year. The book now bears the year of publication.

It has been shown above how the annual volume of Statistics included in each year up to 1888 a prefatory report, which gradually grew in bulk until it was deemed advisable in 1889 to publish it as a separate volume, which shortly afterwards developed into the “New Zealand Official Year-book.” From 1889 to 1920 the Statistics were accordingly issued without any accompanying letterpress.

A new policy adopted in 1921 in regard to the publication of the Annual Statistics involved the reintroduction of the report to accompany the tabular matter. In lieu of presenting the statistics in one comprehensive publication, these now form the tabular matter for nine separate annual reports, each covering a definite branch of statistical inquiry, and including explanatory letterpress in addition to the tables.

A similar policy is being followed in the case of the census results. In addition to the complete report published separately after the completion of the census tabulation, each volume of tables contains also an introductory discussion of the results disclosed.

The full list of the regular statistical publications of the Census and Statistics Office is as follows:—

Title.Periodicity of Issue.
New Zealand Official Year-bookAnnual.
Local Authorities HandbookAnnual.
Annual Statistical Reports—
      Population and BuildingsAnnual.
      Vital Statistics
      Trade and Shipping
      Agricultural and Pastoral Production
      Factory Production
      Miscellaneous (Prices, Wages and Hours of Labour, Labour Department's Employment Bureaux, Factory Accidents, Building Societies, Bankruptcy, Incomes and Income-tax, Land and Land-tax, Meteorology, Statistical Summary)
Monthly Abstract of StatisticsMonthly.
Census Statistics—
      Vol. I. PopulationQuinquennially.
      Vol. II. Ages
      Vol. III. Birthplaces
      Vol. IV. Allegiance
      Vol. V. Length of Residence
      Vol. VI. Race Aliens
      Vol. VII. Religions
      Vol. VIII. Industries, Occupations, and Unemployment
      Vol. IX. Conjugal Condition
      Vol. X. Fertility
      Vol. XI. Orphanhood
      Vol. XII. Dependency
      Vol. XIII. Life Insurance
      Vol. XIV. Households
      Vol. XV. Dwellings
      Appendices: (a.) Maori Census
      (b.) Census of Cook and other Pacific Islands
      (c.) Census of Western Samoa
      (d.) Libraries
      (e.) Religious Denominations
      (f.) Poultry and Bees
General Report on the Census
Published in New Zealand Gazette, and also as extracts:—
      Vital Statistics of Urban AreasMonthly and annual.
      Estimated Population of New ZealandQuarterly.
      Agricultural and Pastoral Statistics—
      Estimated Yields of Wheat and OatsAnnual.
      Estimated Spring Areas under Wheat and Oats
      Stocks—Flour, Wheat, and Oats

The principal publication of the Census and Statistics Office is the “New Zealand Official Year-book,” which, as its title implies, is the official book of general reference on the various branches of the Dominion's activities and the various aspects of her social and economic characteristics and progress. Necessarily, however, much of the information given in the Year-book is of a condensed character, owing to the wide range of subjects covered. The Local Authorities Handbook, the annual Statistical Reports, and the census publications contain much more detailed information on the particular subjects they deal with, while the Monthly Abstract of Statistics contains the latest statistical information available on a variety of subjects, giving monthly or quarterly figures in most cases.

In addition to the publications of the Census and Statistics Office, many parliamentary reports contain statistical information, often of a detailed nature. The full list cannot be given here, but the principal of these annual reports are mentioned below, arranged in the order of subjects followed in the Year-book:—

Public health, hospitals, &c.H.-31Report on Public Health, Hospitals, and Charitable Aid.
H.-7Report of Inspector-General of Mental Hospitals.
EducationE.-1Report of Minister of Education.
E.-2Report on Primary Education.
E.-3Report on Education of Native Children.
E.-4Report on Stare Care of Children, Special Schools, and Infant-life Protection.
E.-5Report on Technical Education.
E.-6Report on Secondary Education.
E.-7Report on Higher Education.
JusticeH.-16Report of Commissioner of Police.
H.-20Prisons Report.
H.-20AReport of Prisons Board.
DefenceH.-19Report of General Officer Commanding Defence Forces.
H.-5Report on New Zealand Naval Forces.
ShippingH.-15Report of Marine and Inspection of Machinery Department.
RailwaysD.-2Railways Statement.
D.-1Public Works Statement.
RoadsD.-1Public Works Statement.
Postal and telegraphicF.-1Report of Post and Telegraph Department.
LandsH.-3Report of Land Transfer and Deeds Registration Department.
Crown landsC.-1Report on Settlement of Crown Lands.
C.-5Report on Land for Settlements Act.
C.-9Report on Discharged Soldiers' Settlement.
Native landsG.-9Report on Native Land Courts, Maori Land Boards, and Native Land Purchase Board.
Agricultural and pastoral productionH.-29Report of Department of Agriculture.
H.-23Sheep Returns.
ForestryC.-3Report of State Forest Service.
FisheriesH.-15Report of Marine and Inspection of Machinery Department.
H.-22Report of Internal Affairs Department.
MiningC.-2Mines Statement.
C.-2AReport on State Coal-mines.
Water-powerD.-1Public Works Statement.
Public financeB.-1Public Accounts.
B.-6Financial Statement.
D.-1Public Works Statement.
State AdvancesB.-13Report of State Advances Office.
PensionsH.-18Report of Pensions Department.
SuperannuationH.-26Report of Public Service Superannuation Board.
E.-9Report on Teachers' Superannuation Fund.
D.-5Report on Government Railways Superannuation Fund.
National Provident FundH.-17Report of National Provident Fund Board.
BankingF.-4Report on Post Office Savings-bank.
InsuranceH.-8Report of Government Insurance Commissioner.
H.-6Report of General Manager of State Fire Insurance Office.
Friendly societiesH.-1Report of Registrar of Friendly Societies.
Industrial disputes Public Trust OfficeH.-11Report of Labour Department.
B.-9Report of the Public Trust Office.
B.-9AAccounts of the Public Trust Office.
Patents, designs, and trademarksH.-10Report of Registrar of Patents.
Inspection of machineryH.-15Report of Marine and Inspection of Machinery Department.
Islands attached to NewA.-3Report on Cook and other Islands.
ZealandA.-4Report on Western Samoa.



IN common with almost all countries, the chief instrument in compiling population data in New Zealand is the census, which in this country is taken quinquennially. Preliminary figures for the latest enumeration (1926) are quoted herein, while fuller details of the previous enumeration (1921) will be found in the 1924 number of the Year-book and in the special publications devoted to the census; here it is sufficient to refer to the following aspects. In the first place, the comparative shortness of the interval between census enumerations mitigates the danger of serious intercensal error. Secondly, owing to the high standard of intelligence of the population, and to the political, geographical, and social conditions prevailing in the Dominion, the data compiled as a result of the census are both remarkably free from error and unusually complete.

The basis adopted for the census—and indeed, practically universally throughout population statistics in New Zealand—is that of the population de fait, as opposed to the population de sejour habituel, the population de droit, and other bases adopted in various countries. For the benefit of those not conversant with the terms current in statistical usage, it may be explained that the population de fait is the basis perhaps most common in international use, and comprises simply all persons present at the place of enumeration at the time of enumeration, irrespective of habitual residence, legal domicil, and so forth.

Intercensal figures of total population are based on the customary equation:—

Population = Population (census) + Births and immigration — Deaths and emigration.

Compulsory registration of births and deaths was instituted throughout the Dominion in 1855, and the present system of recording such particulars may be confidently asserted to afford statistics exceptionally complete. A point of minor importance which may be noted is that births and deaths registered during a year are considered as actually occurring during that year.

The fact that all migration to and from the Dominion must be waterborne over lengthy distances, and that it centres in a few ports, facilitates the compilation of accurate statistics of external migration. Records of migration between the North and South Islands are also maintained. Population statistics of lesser internal divisions and of towns are based upon a variety of data collected annually.

Residents of the Cook Islands, Niue, Western Samoa, and the Tokelau Group are not included in the population statistics quoted throughout this section, except in the first table on the next page and in the paragraphs devoted to these islands at the end of the section. A similar course was formerly followed in regard to Maoris, but figures are now given both inclusive and exclusive of Maoris where possible, in accordance with a decision of Cabinet. In tables covering a long period of years, however, and in the part of the section dealing with distribution of population in areas smaller than provincial districts, Maoris have of necessity been omitted, on account of lack or insufficiency of data.

For the 1926 census all half-caste European-Maoris were included with the Native population in lieu of the previous practice of treating such half-castes as were living in European fashion as Europeans. Numbers so treated were as follows: 1921, 4,236; 1916,3,221; 1911,2,879; 1906,2,578; 1901,2,407.

Separate statistics of the Maori population are given towards the end of the section.


The population of the Dominion of New Zealand and its dependencies and the mandated territory of Western Samoa at the census of 1926, is quoted:—

Population (exclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper686,947657,4371,344,384
Maori population of New Zealand proper32,73030,05162,781
Population (inclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper719,677687,4881,407,165
Population of Cook Islands and Niue7,0236,81013,833
Population of Tokelau Islands5235101,033
Population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa20,98519,24640,231


The outstanding note of the history of population movement in New Zealand is that of unbroken growth. That it has not been invariably regular is well attested by the accompanying table setting forth the increase at successive census enumerations from 1858 onwards. To carry the investigation farther back were at once unnecessary and unprofitable, for prior to the census of 1858 we have only one New Zealand census, together with divers provincial enumerations of earlier dates, few of the records of which are now available.

Date of Enumeration.Population (excluding Maoris).Numerical increase.Percentage Increase.Equivalent Annual Percentage Increase.

* Based on population excluding half-castes living as Europeans, who are included in population totals in 1921, but not in 1926.

December 185859,413   
    ,,     186199,02173,13773.8624.97
    ,,     1864172,15846,51027.018.86
    ,,     1867218,66837,72517.255.40
February, 1871256,39343,12116.825.60
March 1874299,514114,89838.369.58
    ,,     1878414,41275,52118.225.91
April 1881489,93388,54918.073.63
March, 1886578,48248,1768.331.66
April, 1891626,65876,70212.242.44
    ,,     1896703,36069,3599.861.99
March, 1901772,719115,85914.992.95
April, 1906888,578119,89013.492.74
    ,,     19111,008,46890,9819.021.63
October, 19161,099,449119.46410.872.42
April, 19211,218,913129,707*10.682.13
    ,,     19261,344,384   

As might be expected, the rate of increase in the earlier years was exceedingly high compared with the experience of later years, for a young country, endowed with fertile soil and moderate climate, and in the opening stages of development, presented glowing attractions sufficient to overcome the less alluring considerations of pioneering in a distant country more or less occupied by a race of warlike Natives.

In the “sixties” the gold rushes brought large numbers of people to New Zealand, many of whom stayed to become permanent citizens. This source of increase, however, was eclipsed during the vigorous immigration policy of the “seventies,” when in one year alone (1874) 32,118 assisted immigrants were brought into the country.

The rate of increase gradually subsided as the country became settled and the land available for settlement became less. At the present time the annual increment of population is less than 2 ½ per cent. The respective annual increases during the five years ended March, 1922, to 1926, inclusive, may be stated as 30,476 (2.50 per cent.), 23,543 (1.89 per cent.), 22,162 (1.74 per cent.), 31,134 (241 per cent.), and 29,255 (2.21 per cent.).

Subjoined is a diagram which illustrates the population movement of the past and permits a speculative glimpse at the future. The arithmetic average of the percentage increases of population, as ascertained by census enumerations during four decades (1881–1921), has been approximately 12.11 per cent. per quinquennium. Plotting this constant - ratio as a logarithmic “curve,” and producing it both forward and backward in point of time, it is contrasted with the logarithmic “curve” expressing the actual populations. The two “curves” coincide greatly of recent years, thus indicating the steadying of the rate of growth and giving some confidence to the projection of the constant ratio as supplying an approximation of the probable population in the future.

The final criterion of the Dominion's growth in respect of population is supplied by a comparison of the rates of increase of other portions of the British Empire and of various foreign countries. In the table appended are shown the intercensal ratios of increase for such countries. In all cases the movements shown are those for the intercensal periods approximating as closely as possible to the decades chosen. Contrasted with the European countries shown, the Dominion is experiencing a rapid growth, for they are “emigration” countries, while New Zealand is an “immigration” country. Contrasted on the other hand with Canada and Australia, the comparison is not altogether favourable to New Zealand, although the former countries are much older in point of settlement. Canada is, of course, comparatively close to the sources of immigrant population, while both Canada and Australia still have vast areas undeveloped.

Country.Population (latest Census).Intercensal Increase per Cent. in Decennial Periods approximating to

* Excluding Maoris.

† Decrease.

New. Zealand*1,344,384192620.8730.5123.3125.8791.09158.93
Great Britain42,767,53019214.7410.3612.0311.1713.9512.73
Cape of Good Hope2,782,71919218.496.4457.79111.8245.25
United States of America105,710,620192014.9421.0220.7325.5030.0822.63

Up to the “seventies” New Zealand was dependent on migration for the greater portion of her increase of population, but since then natural increase—i.e., excess of births over deaths—has been the principal factor. For a few years, indeed (1888–91), there was actually an excess of departures over arrivals.

During the fifty years that have elapsed since 1875 natural increase has accounted for 72 per cent. of the total increase of population, as against only 32 per cent. during the fifteen years preceding 1875.

A table is appended showing for each five-yearly period since 1860 the excess of births over deaths and of immigration over emigration.

Quinquennium.Excess of Births over Deaths.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.Total Increase.
Males.Females.Both, Sexes.Males.Females.Both Sexes.Males.Females.Both Sexes.

* Decrease.

† Departure and return of troops of Expeditionary Force not included in migration figures.

Totals, 1861–1925381,978423,557805,535289,151194,317488,468671,129617,8741,289,003

The diagram which follows shows much more clearly the irregularity of the migration increase and the steadiness of the natural increase, the latter, however, broken by a sharp fall on account of the low birth-rate of the late war years and the influenza epidemic of 1918. The curves represent five-yearly moving averages.

Further information on the subject of natural increase will be found in the “Births” subsection of the “Vital Statistics” section of this book.


In respect of the relative proportions of the sexes in the population, New Zealand has since the first settlement of the Islands differed materially from the older countries of the world. Although in the latter the composition of the populations has been no doubt to some extent affected by migration, yet, in general, natural increase would appear to be the main determining factor, the numbers of males and females being in most of these countries approximately equal, with a more or less marked tendency, however, for the females slightly to exceed the males. The excess of females in such older countries arises from a variety of causes, amongst which the most potent are probably (a) higher rate of mortality amongst males, (b) the fact that males tend to emigrate to a greater extent than females.

Very different is the case with newer countries such as New Zealand, where the rule is (in the early years of colonization especially) for the male population to outnumber the female.

The following table is interesting as showing the early excess of males and the gradual equalization of the sexes in New Zealand, the number of females to 1,000 males having risen from 622 in 1861 to 896 in 1911. The proportion rose to 993 in 1916, mainly on account of the absence of so many men at the war, and fell again in 1921 to 956, only to show a slight rise in 1926 to 957, a figure appreciably higher than in pre-war years. The figures quoted are exclusive of Maoris.

Census Year.Males.Females.Females to 1,000 Males.

The preponderance of males in the early years of New Zealand was doubtless due to the fact that the difficulties of pioneering and the remoteness of the country from Europe were such as to deter female immigration to a greater extent than male. This was accentuated by the character of the early industries. Gold-mining and coal-mining, for instance, would attract large numbers of men, but few women. The effect of this early preponderance of males no doubt still exists, but in an ever-diminishing degree, its gradual elimination being effected by the dying-off of the earlier settlers.

Of the two sources from which the Dominion's population has been recruited—viz., migration and natural increase—the effect of the former has hitherto been to give in the aggregate a considerable preponderance of males, and of the latter to give a regular preponderance of females. Between 1860 and 1925 the gain of males by migration totalled 94.800 more than that of females. This excess was only partly offset numerically by a female surplus of 41,500 in the figures of natural increase, but the net excess of approximately 53,300 males is not nearly sufficient to maintain the former high ratio of males to females in the population. It is highly probable that within two or three decades the female population will outnumber the male, unless considerable changes occur in the character of immigration.


As already noted, the intercensal estimates of population prepared from the records of vital statistics and of migration are, by virtue of the favourable position of the Dominion in this respect, remarkably accurate. Indeed, as regards the statistics of total population the term “estimate” is scarcely correct, for the system in use should give, and to a great extent does give, the actual figures. With the exception of the years of the Great War, when the movement of troops was not ascertained exactly, the census totals invariably showed the quarterly returns of population to be highly accurate. There is always a difference in date between the census enumeration and the nearest quarterly statement, for no two of the seventeen general census enumerations in the history of the Dominion have been taken on the same day of the year, and this in itself usually accounts for the greater part of what disparity actually is shown.

The population at the end of each of the last ten years is quoted in the appended table, together with the movement in each year and the mean population for the year:—

Calendar Year.Estimated Population (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year.Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Total.Numerical.Per Cent.

* Decrease.

† Census population.


As the year ended 31st March is for most of the administrative functions of the Government the period most in use, similar figures are given for March years:—

Year ended 31st March.Estimated Population (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year.Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Total.Numerical.Per Cent.

The figures given in the two preceding tables show the population exclusive of Maoris. The following table shows the population inclusive of Maoris at 31st December and at 31st March of the last ten years, with the means for the various twelve-monthly periods:—

Estimated Population (including Maoris) at End of Year.Mean Population for Year.
Years ended 31st December.
Tears ended 31 st March.


Records of external migration have been kept in New Zealand since 1860. Prior to the 1st April, 1921, the statistics were compiled from returns furnished monthly by Collectors of Customs, but since that date they have been compiled from individual statements obtained from each person entering or leaving the Dominion, and much detailed and important information is consequently now available. The year 1925 is the fourth complete twelve months for which figures under the new system are available, and direct comparisons are therefore possible with the three previous periods.

Including crews of vessels, 90,069 persona from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year 1925, which, compared with 1924, shows an increase of 442. During the same period 77,267 persons departed. This figure is 2,685 less than the corresponding one for 1924. The gain by migration to the Dominion's population during 1925 was thus 12,802, as compared with 9,675 in 1924.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last ten years are given in the table following. The figures for the four years 1916–19 do not include members of the Expeditionary Force, nor have crews of vessels been taken into account.


The monthly figures for 1924 and 1925 are as follows, the excess of arrivals or of departures for each month being also shown:—

Month.Arrivals.Departures.Excess of Arrivals.Excess of Departures.
      Totals39,81541,84630,59329,1729,222 12,674.... 


The statistics for the twelve months ended 31st December, 1925, show that during that period 41,846 persons, excluding members of crews of vessels, arrived in the Dominion. Of these 15,704 were immigrants intending permanent residence in the country, as compared with 14,314 of a similar class in 1924. The remainder of the arrivals, 26,142 in number, as compared with 25,501 in 1924, were classified as shown below. Corresponding figures for 1924 are also given with percentages in each case.

Total (both Sexes).Per Cent. of Total.Total (both Sexes).Per Cent. of Total.

* Includes 19 naval ratings.

† Includes 156 naval ratings.

Immigrants intending permanent residence14,3143615,70438
New Zealand residents returning from abroad14,076*3514,02434
Persons on commercial business2,08052,2415
Persons visiting the Dominion in connection with entertainments, sport, &c.1,00931,1933
Persons in transit48315201
Others (officials, &c., of other countries)3281194..
Not stated100..72..
      Grand totals (excluding crews)39,81310041,846100

The departures recorded during 1925 numbered 29,172, as compared with 30,593 in 1924. Of these, 1,946 were shown to be New Zealand residents departing permanently, as against 2,256 in 1924. The figures which follow show the different classes of emigrants for 1924 and 1925, with percentages in each case:—

Total (both Sexes).Per Cent. of Total.Total (both Sexes).Per Cent. of Total.
New Zealand residents departing permanently2,25671,9467
New Zealand residents departing temporarily15,0064913,75847
Visitors to the Dominion departing13,3204413,46246
Persons regarding whom no information is available11..6..


New Zealand residents going abroad temporarily on business or pleasure represented 47 per cent. of the total departures, as against 49 per cent. in 1924, while of the arrivals 34 per cent. were New-Zealanders returning to their homes after temporary absence, compared with 35 per cent. in 1924. The elimination of this class of migrant reduces the arrivals during 1925 to 27,822, and during 1924 to 25,739, and the departures respectively to 15,414 and 15,587.


Tourists and other temporary visitors comprised 28 per cent. of the arrivals and 46 per cent. of the departures, as compared with 29 and 44 per cent. respectively in 1924. The bulk of the temporary visitors each year came from Australia, the British Isles, and the United States of America. The following table shows for the years 1924 and 1925 the principal countries of residence of temporary visitors, classified according to their purpose in coming to the Dominion:—

Country of last Permanent Residence.Purpose in coming to Dominion.
Tourists.On Business.Theatrical, &c.Official, &c.In Transit, &c.

* Includes 156 naval ratings.

British Isles1,0031,430358400197216271*93102102
United States3895031581667466471257
South Africa9081614143..44
Samoa 7260910..1..15133 
Other countries29432790115262642283259


Having eliminated the two classes of migrants whose movements only temporarily affect the population of the Dominion, there remains the important residue which represents the permanent additions and losses of population. During the year 1925 15,704 persons landed in the Dominion with the intention of making their future homes here, compared with 14,314 in 1924, while during the same period 1,946 permanent residents of New Zealand were attracted to other countries, as against 2,256 in 1924. These figures are based on statements of intention only, and a certain percentage of immigrants, finding the conditions in the Dominion unsuited to their particular requirements may, after a short stay, depart elsewhere. Such persons on arrival would state their intention of becoming permanent residents, but on departure might not be classified as permanent residents departing permanently. For this reason it is not possible to state what the actual net gain to the permanent population of the Dominion through migration may be. The percentage referred to above, however, is known to be practically negligible, and by comparing the foregoing figures an idea of the permanent gain in population, sufficiently accurate for practical purposes, may be gauged.

In a young country such as New Zealand it would not be surprising to find that the proportion of males to females among the new immigrants was considerably in favour of the former, but the figures for the years 1925 and 1924 show that the male preponderance is not as great as might be expected. As a matter of fact, females comprised 41 and 47 per cent. of the total immigrants in the respective years. No doubt the propaganda work carried out by the New Zealand and Imperial Governments in connection with the scheme for assisting domestic servants and also the wives and families of immigrants from Great Britain to the Dominion is largely responsible for this comparatively high proportion of females. An examination of the figures supports this contention, for whereas during 1925 44 per cent. of immigrants from the British Isles were females, the corresponding percentage for immigrants from all other countries was 33 only.

Of the New-Zealanders who transferred their homes to other countries during the years 1924 and 1925 1,126 and 924 respectively were females and 1,130 and 1,022 males.


Of the total arrivals recorded during the year 1925 13.7 per cent. were under fifteen years of age Among the immigrants intending permanent residence, however, the proportion was much higher—viz., 22.7 per cent. The corresponding percentages for all departures and for New Zealand residents departing permanently were 9.6 and 23.4 respectively. The higher percentages under fifteen years of age in the case of permanent settlers and emigrants is, of course, due to the fact that this class of person brings or takes his family, if any, with him, whereas the remainder of persons coming to and going from the Dominion, consisting for the most part of tourists and persons on business, travel almost exclusively without at least the younger members of their families. The higher percentage of persons of forty-five years and over amongst the departures would appear to confirm to a certain extent the general impression that many immigrants return to their native land later in life. The following table shows the percentage of new permanent immigrants who arrived during 1924 and 1925, and the New Zealand residents who departed during the same period, by age-groups, and also for the same period the permanent gain through migration in the population of the Dominion:—

Under 15 Years.15 and under 45 Years.45 Years and over, and Age not stated.
 Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.
Immigrants intending permanent residence23.7322.6765.0467.1311.2310.20
Permanent departures24.8323.3654.5655.8520.6120.79
Permanent gain to population of Dominion23.5322.5766.9968.739.488.70

From the foregoing it will be seen that approximately 90 per cent. of the permanent gain in population through migration consists of persons under forty-five years of age. Under the system in force, children under fifteen years of age accompanying parents or guardians are included in the statement furnished by such parent or guardian. Of the 3,560 children under fifteen years of age 3,368 were so returned. The number of parents or guardians concerned was 1,674, and it is interesting to note that 776 were accompanied by one child, 466 by two children, 221 by three, 121 by four, 52 by five, 20 by six, 15 by seven, 1 by eight, 1 by nine, and 1 by eleven. These figures convey a fairly accurate indication of the sizes of the families which comprise the recent addition to our population, for although, as mentioned above, children accompanying guardians are also included, such cases are not very numerous.


Of the 15,704 new immigrants during 1925 intending to settle in the Dominion the vast majority, 14,729, or 93.8 per cent., came from British countries, mainly from the British Isles, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and India. The majority of immigrants from foreign countries came from Jugo-Slavia, Italy, the United States of America, and China. The following table shows for the years 1924 and 1925 the principal countries whence arrived new immigrants who intended permanent residence in the Dominion: —

Country whence arrived.1924.1925.
British Isles5,8195,26311,0826,5975,24611,843
South Africa68421107561136
Other British countries8264146150104254
United States5531869966165
Other foreign countries1225717910769176

With the exception of 148 persons (of whom 97 departed for the United States, 25 for China, 13 for European countries, 5 for South American countries, 6 for foreign islands of the Pacific, and 2 for other foreign countries), the whole of the New Zealand residents who permanently left the Dominion during 1925 went to British countries. The figures for the principal countries for 1924 and 1925 are as follows:—

British Isles221249470252243495
South Africa131225151429
Other British countries8816171936
United States223153465197
Other foreign countries341145141226


During 1925 some 894 persons (males 761, females 133) of foreign nationality, out of the total of 15,704, arrived as new immigrants intending permanent residence in the Dominion, as compared with 833 (669 males, 164 females) out of a total of 14,314 in 1924, the remaining persons (14,810 in 1925 and 13,481 in 1924) being British subjects. This reveals a very considerable increase over the year 1923, and it is worthy of note that 71 per cent. in 1925 and 62 per cent. in 1924 of these foreign nationals were subjects of the Southern European countries of Jugo-Slavia, Italy, and Greece. The figures for subjects of these countries arriving to take up permanent residence in New Zealand during 1925 were: Jugo-Slavia, 350; Italy, 262; and Greece, 22—compared with 447, 52, and 19 respectively in 1924. The chief nationalities represented among the alien immigrants for the last two years were as follows: —

Nationals of1924.1925.
United States131124242044
Other countries101511527442116

There are comparatively few females among foreign nationals intending permanent residence. Whereas 43 per cent. of the British immigrants are females, the corresponding percentage for foreign nationals is slightly under 15. The proportion of young people is also relatively low in the case of foreign nationals; the percentage under twenty-one years of age for British and foreign respectively being 38 and 24.

Foreign nationals constituted a very small proportion of the total number of New Zealand residents who departed permanently during 1925. The following table shows, in regard to permanent residents departing permanently for the years 1924 and 1925, the principal nationalities represented, classified according to age-groups.

Under 15 Years.15 and under 45 Years.45 Years and over.Under 15 Years.15 and under 45 Years.45 Years and over.
Other foreign countries21812......
      Total foreign104234..1029
           Grand totals5581,2304684551,087404


Information pertaining to the occupations of immigrants intending permanent residence is of general interest. It should be clearly understood, however, that the occupations stated are those followed by such immigrants prior to their arrival in the Dominion, and the figures do not necessarily indicate even approximately the occupations that will be followed in New Zealand. The following table shows for the years 1924 and 1925 the number of male and female immigrants, fifteen years of age and over, intending permanent residence and the principal classes of occupations followed prior to arrival: —

Fishing and trapping29145..
Agricultural and pastoral1,549202,18830
Mining and quarrying385..468..
Transport and communication40154366
Commerce and finance497149585140
Public administration, clerical, and professional468351521399
Personal and domestic service1161,032137930
Children under fifteen years of age1,7601,6351,8871,673

Persons claiming occupations connected with agricultural and pastoral pursuits comprised a considerable proportion of the total male immigrants under discussion, representing 30 per cent. in 1925 and 25 per cent. in 1924. Of the female immigrants, “personal and domestic service” claims the majority of the breadwinners. If dependants are eliminated women with occupations coming within this class comprise 47 per cent. of the total in 1925 and 50 per cent. in 1924. No doubt the special concessions granted to “farm workers” and “domestics” under the assisted immigration scheme largely account for the figures quoted.


Although race aliens comprise comparatively small proportions of the total arrivals and departures, they are by no means unimportant. The principal race aliens with whom New Zealand is concerned are the Chinese and Indians, and these are shown separately from other race aliens. The definition of the term “race alien,” as used in connection with these statistics, is “a person of other than European race.”

The following table shows the number of race aliens who arrived as immigrants intending permanent residence, the number who were permanent New Zealand residents departing permanently, and the permanent increase in each case to the population of New Zealand through migration for the years 1924 and 1925:—

Immigrants intending permanent residence934467204587360191
New Zealand residents departing permanently1711735244..28
Permanent increase of race aliens in New Zealand through migration764350169346960163

It should be noted that the figures quoted above include half-castes. There is a substantial decrease in the number of Chinese immigrants compared with 1924, and this, coupled with an increase in the number departing permanently, shows a reduction in the addition to the Chinese population through migration of from 76 in 1924 to 34 in 1925. The increase in the number of Indian immigrants over that of the previous year consisted for the main part of half-castes, of whom there were 24. The “other” race-alien immigrants intending permanent residence were made up mainly of 26 Syrians and 17 Polynesians.

The total arrivals and departures of race aliens during each of the last ten years are as follows:—


The pending alteration of the law was the cause of a huge influx of Chinese in 1920, with a view to anticipating the tightening of the restrictions, which actually came into operation on the passing of the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act of that year. A limit on the number of Chinese permitted to enter the Dominion is now imposed, and an announcement has been made that no further permits will be issued during 1926.

During the war years the number of race-alien arrivals was swelled by the unavoidable inclusion of natives of the British and French Pacific islands who came to New Zealand to embark for the seat of war.

Estimates of the number of race aliens in the Dominion at 31st March, 1925, are as follows: Chinese, 3,229; Syrians, 698; Indians, 642; other races, 957; total, 5,526.

At the census of 1881, the year in which taxation was first imposed on Chinese landing in New Zealand, the Chinese population numbered 5,004 persons, which fell to 4,542 in 1886, and further to 3,711 in 1896. During the period 1881–96 the poll-tax was £10 per head, and this seemed sufficient for the purpose of preventing a large influx of Chinese. During the years 1894 and 1895, however, the arrivals shown by the Customs returns were found to be somewhat greater than the departures, and in 1896 an Act was passed raising the poll-tax on Chinese immigrants to £100 per head, and limiting the number of Chinese passengers that may be carried by vessels to New Zealand to one for every 200 tons burthen. According to the census of 1901, the Chinese population was 2,857; in 1906 it was 2,570; in 1911, 2,630; in 1916, 2,147; and in 1921, 3,266, of whom 156 were half-castes.


Permanent residents of the Dominion and bona fide New-Zealanders visiting the United Kingdom may nominate any person, not a prohibited immigrant within the meaning of the Immigration Restriction Act, 1908 (N.Z.), and its amendments, or of the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Act, 1919 (N.Z.), residing in the United Kingdom, for an assisted passage to New Zealand under the following conditions:—

The person nominated must be under the age of fifty years. Although assisted passages cannot be granted to persons who have attained the age of fifty years, the Immigration Department can arrange full-fare passages for any such persons proceeding as members of a family or of a party the remainder of which is travelling at assisted rates. Full fares (subject to alteration by the shipping companies) are as follows: Third-class six-berth, £37; four-berth, £39; two-berth, £43 per adult.

The person nominated must not have resided in the Dominion or in Australia for a period of at least five years immediately preceding nomination.

He must supply to the High Commissioner for New Zealand in London satisfactory medical certificate and certificate of character.

In the case of a married person, nomination must, include husband, wife, and family (if any), except where a judicial separation exists or desertion is proved.

The nominator must undertake to make provision for maintenance and employment for the nominee after arrival in the Dominion, and must also guarantee that the nominee will reside in the Dominion for at least five years.

All questions as to suitability of any person nominated for an assisted passage are decided by the High Commissioner for New Zealand in London.

Provided that the above conditions are complied with, an assisted passage will be granted at the following rates, which are subject to revision:—

 Third Class.
Married or widowed adults, 19 and under 50 years£1113£17
Single adults, 19 and under 50—
Males£13 15s.£15 15s.£19 15s.
Farm labourers, 19 and under 45£11£13£17
Domestics, 19 and under 40FreeFreeFree
Boys, 17 and under 19, not travelling with parents£5 10s.7 10s.£11 10s.
Children, 12 and under 19 (other than boys 17 to 19 not travelling with parents)Free£26
Children, 3 and under 12Free£1£3
Children, under 3, if not more than oneFreeFreeFree

The full amount of passage-money must be paid before a passage is booked. The money can be paid in New Zealand by the nominator, or in London by the nominee, or partly by both.

In any case where nominees are unable to pay the cost of six-berth passages the Imperial and New Zealand Governments, acting in concert, will, on the approval of the High Commissioner, advance the necessary amount by way of loan, repayable within a reasonable time after their arrival in the Dominion.

Nomination forms are obtainable at Post-offices throughout the Dominion, or at the Department of Immigration; Wellingtons Nominations can be cabled at an extra cost of £1. Remittances can be forwarded to nominees at time of nomination without fee.

Passages are granted on vessels belonging to the Shaw-Savill and Albion Company, the New Zealand Shipping Company from London or Southampton, and the Federal Steam Navigation Company from Liverpool. Passages can be booked to the following ports in New Zealand: Auckland, Gisborne, Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton, Timaru, Oamaru, and Port Chalmers. Nominated passages are granted by direct route only.

In addition to the conditions set out as governing the general nominated passages, the following apply to single men nominated as farm labourers.

The person nominated must be a bona fide farm labourer employed as such at the time of nomination, and a written undertaking to follow such calling for at least twelve months after arrival in the Dominion is required. He must also be under forty-five years of age.

The following special conditions apply to nominated domestics: —

The person nominated must be a bona fide domestic and employed as such at the time of nomination, and a written undertaking is required that such calling will be followed for at least twelve months after arrival in the Dominion, and that marriage will not be contracted during that period.

A person nominated as a domestic must be under the age of forty years.

“Domestic” means general servant, cook, housemaid, parlourmaid, waitress, laundress, or nursemaid.

Passages at reduced rates will not be granted to unhealthy persons. When cases of lung, chest, or other like complaints are discovered in any member of a family by the Medical Officer at London, Liverpool, or Southampton, the whole family will be prevented from sailing.

In the case of immigrants under twenty-one years of age special arrangements have to be entered into for their protection on the voyage where deemed necessary or advisable.

The High Commissioner is authorized to grant to suitable and healthy farmers, farm labourers, and domestic servants, who apply to him in London, a third-class passage to New Zealand at the same rates as nominated migrants.

As their respective Governments do not subscribe to the provisions of the Empire Settlement Act, 1922, residents of the Irish Free State or the Channel Islands (except Guernsey) are not eligible for nomination. As far as Ireland is concerned only residents of the following counties are eligible for nomination, viz.: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone.

Various systems of assisted immigration have been in force since 1871, with the exception of the period 1892 to 1903 (inclusive). Up to 1884, free passages were granted in the majority of cases. The numbers of assisted immigrants during each year are as follows: —


The total to 31st December, 1925, is 203,485, of which number all have come from the United Kingdom, with the exception of 3,909 from the Continent of Europe spread over the five years 1874 to 1878 (inclusive).


On arrival in New Zealand the immigrants are met on board by officers of the Immigration Department, who accompany the Port Health Officer to the ship. Whilst the vessel is in the stream it is the special duty of such officers to afford to the assisted immigrants all necessary information as regards transhipment, &c. Arrangements are made for the safety and transhipment of luggage.

Each immigrant is seen as he passes towards the doctor for examination, and is handed an official letter containing information as to where his ticket will be arranged for, and the place and time of departure of his connecting train or boat (if any). It is the practice of the Department to send out advices, by wire if necessary, to friends and relatives of immigrants about to arrive, and to get back information as to where the newcomers will be met. These messages, often together with private letters, &c., are given out on board to those to whom they are addressed.

As regards the female assisted domestic workers who are sent to New Zealand under the supervision of one or more responsible matrons, the Government advertises the fact that the books of the Department are open to record the names of those people in the Dominion desirous of securing the services of an assisted girl. Such advertisements bring in many applications, especially pending the arrival of the ship.

Each matron in charge on board is instructed to classify the girls under two heads: (a) Those with work already arranged or friends to go to; (b) those without either friends or work. On arrival they are met by the Girls' Superintendent of the Immigration Department. Arrangements are made for sending to their destinations those girls who are going to friends or to definite positions. Those requiring accommodation are directed to homes or hostels approved by the Minister of Immigration for this purpose. The Superintendent then separately considers the case of each girl, and arranges to place her with an applicant for a Government-assisted girl. After a girl has been placed the Department endeavours to keep in touch with her by correspondence.



With certain specified exceptions, no person over the age of fifteen years may land in New Zealand unless in possession of a passport or some other document satisfactorily establishing his or her nationality and identity. Exemption from this requirement (which is additional to the requirements of the Immigration Restriction and Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Acts), may be granted by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

In the case of a person coming from a foreign country the passport must, with certain exceptions, have been issued or viséd by the British Ambassador or a British Consul in that country, and in the case of a person coming from any part of the British dominions the issue or visé must have been by some public official duly authorized in that behalf.

Certain exceptions are made with respect to persons coming to New Zealand from the Cook Islands and Samoa. In their case the only requirement is the possession of a permit to visit New Zealand granted by the Resident Commissioner of the Cook Islands or the Administrator of Samoa, as the case may be. The regulations, further, do not apply to a British subject arriving in New Zealand as the master or a member of the crew of the vessel in which he arrives, or to a British subject arriving from the Commonwealth of Australia.


With the exception of British subjects travelling to the Commonwealth of Australia, Cook Islands, and Samoa, all persons travelling to places beyond the seas are required to be in possession of a passport or similar document to facilitate landing thereat. British passports are issued, under the direction of His Excellency the Governor-General, by the Department of Internal Affairs. They are valid for five years and may be renewed for any number of years not exceeding five. Subject to the Immigration Regulations in force in the various countries of the Empire, they are valid for travelling anywhere within the British Empire.


The legislation respecting the restriction of immigration into New Zealand is contained in the Immigration Restriction Act, 1908, and its amendments, and the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Act, 1919. It is administered by the Customs Department. In general the provisions outlined hereunder do not apply to (a) His Majesty's land and sea forces, (b) the officers and crew of any ship-of-war of any Government, (c) persons duly accredited to the Government of New Zealand by any other Government, (d) the officers and crew of any mercantile vessel who leave New Zealand with the vessel, (e) persons domiciled in New Zealand, (f) any persons who may be exempted in special cases (at the discretion of the proper authority).


The following classes of persons are prohibited from landing in New Zealand:—

  1. Persons not of British birth and parentage, unless in possession of permits issued by the Customs Department.

  2. NOTE.—A person is not deemed to be of British birth and parentage by reason that he or his parents or either of them is a naturalized British subject, or by reason that he is an aboriginal Native or the descendant of an aboriginal Native of any dominion (other than New Zealand), colony, possession, or protectorate of His Majesty.

  3. Aliens of the age of fifteen years or over who refuse or neglect to take an oath (or make an affirmation) of obedience to the laws of New Zealand.

  4. Idiots or insane persons.

  5. Persons suffering from contagious diseases which are loathsome or dangerous.

  6. Persons arriving in New Zealand within two years after the termination of a period of imprisonment for a serious offence.

  7. Persons who are considered by the Attorney-General to be disaffected or disloyal, or of such a character that their presence in New Zealand would be injurious to the peace, order, and good government of the Dominion.

Provision is made in the law to permit persons covered by clause (1) above to pay temporary visits to New Zealand. Temporary permits are normally restricted to a period of six months, but may be extended if the proper authorities consider that the circumstances warrant such action. A deposit of $£10 is required in respect of such temporary permits, and is returned on departure if the conditions of the temporary permit are complied with.

In addition to the necessity for being in possession of the permit indicated in clause (1) above, Chinese entering New Zealand to become permanent residents are required to pay £100 poll-tax.


“When persons arrive in New Zealand who are lunatic, idiotic, deaf, dumb, blind, or infirm, and axe likely to become a charge upon the public or upon any public or charitable institution, the master, owner, or charterer of the ship by which such persons come to New Zealand may be called on to enter into a bond for £100 for each such person, guaranteeing payment of any expenses which may be incurred for his support and maintenance by or in any such institution within a period of five years.


Every person of and over the age of fifteen years who lands in New Zealand must, unless exempted by the Minister of Customs, make and deliver to an officer of Customs a declaration giving the following particulars: Name, age, nationality, race or people to which he belongs, occupation and residence, and places of birth of himself and parents.


The British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Act of 1923, which came into operation on the 13th May, 1924, and the regulations made thereunder, provide that an alien friend residing in New Zealand may apply to the Minister of Internal Affairs setting forth—

  1. His name, age, birthplace, residence, occupation, and nationality;

  2. The length of his residence in New Zealand, and his desire to settle therein, either permanently or for a limited period, stating such limited period (if any);

  3. A request that a certificate of naturalization may be granted to him.

If the Minister is satisfied—

  1. That the applicant has either resided within New Zealand for a period of not less than three years, or has been in the service of the Crown in any part of His Majesty's dominions for not less than five years within the last eight years; and

  2. That the applicant is of good character and has an adequate knowledge of the