Table of Contents


THE 1930 issue of the “New Zealand Official Year-book” represents the thirty-eighth number of the volume, and the ninth of the present royal-octavo series.

The present number is on the same lines as its immediate predecessors. No new sections have been added, but a considerable amount of additional matter has been added to existing sections, and in several instances sections have been partially rewritten or recast.

Among new matter, particular reference should be made to an entirely new article on Flora and Vegetation by Dr. L. Cockayne, C.M.G., Ph.D., F.R.S., which takes the place of his former short article in Section I. The section relating to Wages and Working - hours has been largely rewritten to present the new index numbers of wage-rates for male and female workers separately. Valuable new matter on the subject of land holdings (area and location—i.e., in town or country—having been added to the existing items covered) will be found in the section on Wealth, while that devoted to Mortgages contains corollary information on the subject of mortgages on land according to location, area, value, &c.

The section on Employment and Unemployment contains unemployment statistics of the 1926 census, including figures as to time lost owing to various causes. This section also gives, for the first time, monthly figures of local-body employment. Statistics of private assignments, collected for the first time for the year 1928, have been added to the existing statistics of bankruptcy, and some figures of fire-insurance claims paid per head of population in the various provincial districts and urban areas will be found in the Insurance section. New Zealand's position among butter and cheese producing and exporting countries is shown by some world statistics on the subject in the section on Agricultural and Pastoral Production.

The addition of new matter has, despite the cutting-down of existing letterpress and the non - inclusion of special articles, now brought the Year-book nearly to the limits of convenient size. The 1063 pages of the present book may be compared with the 616 pages of the 1921–22 issue.

MALCOLM FRASER,Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Office,Wellington, 16th December, 1929.



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

(a) 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.

(b) Outlying islands included within the geographical boundaries of New Zealand as proclaimed in 1847:—

Three Kings Islands.Antipodes Islands.
Auckland Islands.Bounty Islands.
Campbell Island.Snares Islands.

(c) Islands annexed to New Zealand:—

Kermadec Islands.Manahiki Island
Cook Islands.Rakaanga Island.
Niue (or Savage) Island.Pukapuka (or Danger) Island.
Palmerston Island. Nassau Island.Penrhyn (or Tongareva) 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′ E. 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 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 of 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 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 or Tokelau 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 power 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 Tokelau 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 faces of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are 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 Peak9,510
    Hochstetter Dome9,258
    The Footstool9,073
    The Dwarf9,025
    Nun's Veil8,975
    Bell Peak8,950
    Bristol Top8,832
    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
    Raureka Peak8,000
    Cloudy Peak7,870
    Observation Peak7,862
    Cadogan Peak7,850
    Du 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 hot 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 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, are maintained at three ranges of temperature — viz., 104°, 106°, and 108° F. 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. to the square inch, 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 to 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 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 about thirty thousand special treatments—massage, electrical therapy, &c.—are administered each year 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 is by Professor It. 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 mouths, but to compensate for this disability they furnish in many places ideal sites for power plants. 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 moderate 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 Now 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 he 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 rock and perpetual snow. After leaving the mountains the streams flowing to the West Coast 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 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 West-land 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 latter 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 discharge 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 cut 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.

The rivers flowing to the east all 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 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 0,000 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 in her rivers 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 Horahora Falls and at Arapuni on the Waikato River, at Mangahao in Wellington, at Lake Waikaremoana, 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 Lands and Survey.


Flowing into the Pacific Ocean—Miles.
    Waihou (or Thames)90
Flowing into Cook Strait— 
    Manawatu (tributaries: Tirau-mea and Pohangina)100
    Wanganui (tributaries: Ohura, Tangarakau, and Maunganui-te-ao)140
Flowing into the 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: Mararoa, 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 Provincial District, 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 is 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 north-eastern 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.

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 Lake Wairarapa. 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 small tarns high on the mountains, 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 Brunner 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 Rotoiti 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 these being 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 he 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.

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

Lake.Length, 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 Fact.Greatest Depth, in Feet.
    North Island.       
Rotorua7 1/263215842091584
Rotoiti10 3/42 1/41426500913230
Tarawera6 1/26 1/21575..1,032285
Waikaremoana126 1/4211287722,015846
                South Island.       
Rotoiti522 3/486..1,997228
Rotoroa72 1/28146..1,470..
Kanieri51 3/4811..422646
Te Anau3361321,32012,660694906
Waihola4 1/21 1/83 1/32,200..(Tidal)52
Ellesmere1610107 1/2745..(Tidal)45

A reference to the section of this book dealing with water-power will give an idea of the enormous amount of energy awaiting development in the lakes of the South Island. The only one yet utilized to any great extent for hydro-electric purposes is Coleridge, in Canterbury. Some use is also being made of Monowai. In the North Island, Waikaremoana is one of three great schemes which have been developed for supplying the hydro-electric requirements of the whole of the Island.


The following article on the geology of New Zealand was prepared by Dr. J. Henderson, M.A., F.N.Z. Inst., Director of the Geological Survey.


New Zealand is a small country, but its geological history is as complex and as ancient as that of a continent. Land, though from age to age it varied greatly in area, outline, and elevation, must have persisted in the New Zealand area from the oldest Palæozoic or earlier. Long periods during which gentle regional oscillations and warpings, aided by the slow-acting forces of denudation, brought about gradual changes were interrupted by great revolutions, when earth-stresses ridged the crust into mountains and quickly altered the whole configuration of the land and sea-floor. For New Zealand the important geological periods are those that followed the two latest mountain-building movements—the Kaikoura deformation of late Tertiary time, and the Hokonui deformation of the early Cretaceous. The deposits laid down in the intervening period of relative crustal stability cover a large proportion of the land, and contain all the coal and most of the limestone of the Dominion. The soils on which grow the forests, pastures, and crops are of post-Tertiary age, and the great bulk of the gold has been won from deposits formed during the same period.


The oldest known fossiliferous rocks in New Zealand are the Ordovician slates and greywackes of west Nelson and south-west Otago. Lower unfossiliferous beds of the same great system extend southward from the northern area and outcrop in the Westport, Reefton, Greymouth, Ross, and Okarito districts. Above the fossil-bearing beds, but probably still of Ordovician age, are the black phyllites, quartzites, and marbles which outcrop continuously from Takaka to Mount Owen, and are again exposed in the upper basins of the Matakitaki, Maruia, and Grey Rivers. The similar rocks of western Otago probably also belong to this group. The complex of gneisses and schists of the same region, intruded by acid and basic plutonics, and usually considered of Archæan age, resembles the part of the Ordovician strata of western Nelson that has been similarly invaded and metamorphosed and may well be of early Palæozoic age. Different authorities assign the mica, chlorite, and quartz schists of Central Otago to ages that range from the Archæan to the Triassic. They are certainly Palæozoic or older, since they grade upward into greywackesth at, at Clinton, contain Permian fossils.

Silurian rocks are certainly known only in the Baton and Wangapeka districts, and Devonian rocks at Reefton. These beds, fossils from which have lately been examined in England, cover only small areas. But the old Geological Survey mapped wide tracts of country in Nelson and Otago, covered with beds of the Te Anau Series, as Devonian, and the correlation may well be correct, though the rocks ale entirely unfossiliferous.

The Maitai Series, that forms the ranges on the south-cast side of the Nelson lowlands, are probably of Carboniferous or Permo-Carboniferous age. Their position in the time scale and their correlation with rocks in other parts of New Zealand have provoked much discussion. Permian strata, as already stated, occur in Otago, where the area they cover may be considerable.

Richly fossiliferous late Triassic rocks are known in the Kawhia-Mokau district, near the City of Nelson, and at several localities in Canterbury and Otago. Except in Nelson and Canterbury, strata that contain fossils referable to several stages of the Jurassic succeed without observed unconformity. The broad belt of greywacke and argillite that forms the mountains of Canterbury and Marlborough, and continues as a narrower belt through Wellington to northern Hawke's Bay, is usually referred to the Trias-Jura. Similar rocks outcrop in the centre of the North Island and at many points in North Auckland. There are Upper Triassic molluscs in these beds at several localities in the South Island, and the vertebra of a saurian with Triassic rather than Permian affinities was found near Wellington. Lithologically the greywackes and argillites of this vast series differ somewhat from the rocks of similar type belonging to the Jurassic and Maitai series; they are therefore thought to be of older Triassic age, but may well range into the Permian. The schists surrounded by them in the Kaikoura, Moorhouse, and Kirkliston Ranges are probably older.

The thick conglomerates conformably overlying the younger Jurassic shales of the Port Waikato, Kawhia, and Coromandel regions belong to either the youngest Jurassic or the oldest Cretaceous. Strata of early and middle Cretaceous age occur east of the main axis of New Zealand at several points from Marlborough to East Cape. Late Cretaceous beds are much more widely distributed, being known in North Auckland and in many localities along the eastern side of both Islands. They contain thick layers of black shale that give many indications of oil, which, however, has not yet been found in commercial amount. The oldest known workable coal-seams in New Zealand, those at Broken River, Malvern Hills, Shag Point, and Kaitangata, and perhaps some near Greymouth, are in young Cretaceous beds.

Tertiary rocks form the greater part of the North Island and are widely distributed in the South. As a whole they are weaker and more readily weathered than the older strata, and hence have given rise to less rugged country, now mostly cleared and grassed and forming productive pastoral land.

Eocene rocks are present in North Auckland, and probably also in the Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, and east Wellington districts. In the South Island they occur on the West Coast and in Canterbury and Otago, in which regions they contain valuable coal-seams worked at Westport, Reefton, Greymouth, Mount Somers, and Milton. Of the same age are the auriferous “cements” of the Tuapeka district that greatly enriched the gravels of the neighbouring streams and are themselves worked for gold.

In Oligocene time the maximum subsidence during the Tertiary occurred, and but little of the New Zealand area remained above sea-level at its close. The thick limestones of the Oamaru district and the contemporaneous limestone prominent in many parts of New Zealand are the younger deposits of this age. The older beds contain the extensive coal-measures of the North Auckland, Waikato, Charleston, and other coalfields.

Miocene strata cover large areas in both Islands, and also outcrop in the Wanganui, Gisborne, and Hawke's Bay regions, where Oligocene beds are altogether absent. In North Taranaki, the Murchison basin, and parts of the West Coast, thick coal-measures contain workable seams of brown coal.

During the Pliocene the New Zealand area, which had been intermittently rising since the close of the Oligocene, was greatly elevated and deformed. The earth-blocks from which the present mountains have been carved were uplifted from, or from near, sea-level, and New Zealand as it now is was roughly shaped out. In the South Island the deposits of this period are chiefly gravels deposited in structural depressions; but in the North, and especially in its southern half, there are thick and extensive shoal-water marine sediments. These, and the underlying Miocene strata, are the source of the petroleum found at New Plymouth.

The Pleistocene was a period of regional oscillation. While the land was high the mountains of the South Island were intensely glaciated, and great ice-streams, carrying vast bodies of debris, descended into the low country; after the highlands had been reduced in height through both denudation and decided subsidence the glaciers rapidly retreated, and are to-day represented by comparatively small remnants far in the mountains. While the ice was melting, the rivers of the South Island were unusually active in transporting waste to the lowlands and the sea. At this time, too, as well as somewhat earlier, the volcanoes of the North Island ejected an abundant supply of fragmentary material, much of which was borne away by the streams and used in building plains.

The deposits of Pleistocene and Recent age are in New Zealand of greater economic importance than those of all other ages. The plains, river-flats, and lowlands generally were formed or profoundly modified during this period, and the soils that cover them produced. During the same time practically all the gold won from the gravels of the South Island was liberated from a hard matrix and concentrated into workable deposits, and the rich bonanzas of the lodes of Hauraki were formed by secondary enrichment. The land-oscillations of the period are also of economic importance, for New Zealand's abundant water-power is derived from streams that have not yet, owing to the recency of land-uplift, cut their valleys to grade. On the other hand, land-depression has provided harbours and valuable artesian basins in many parts of the Dominion.


Plutonic rocks intrude many of the Palæozoic and Mesozoic strata, and some of the formations show evidence of contemporaneous volcanic action. Of the plutonic rocks granite is much the most prominent, and it outcrops at many points in West Nelson, Westland, Otago, and Stewart Island. In Nelson there were at least two periods of intrusion, no doubt corresponding with the great mountain-folding movements of the late Palæozoic and early Cretaceous times. The auriferous lodes of Reefton and other localities on the West Coast probably originated from the cooling magmas that formed the younger granites. Basic and ultra-basic rocks, the latter now largely altered to serpentine, occur in Nelson, Westland, Otago, and to a less extent in North Auckland.

Though volcanoes are known to have existed in Mesozoic and Palæozoic times, they seem to have been more active during the Tertiary than in any earlier age. The vast pile of flow and fragmental rocks that form the Hauraki Peninsula and the range that continues it southward to Tauranga belong to this period. The gold-silver veins extensively worked at Coromandel, Thames, and Waihi are in these rocks, which southward are smothered by the rhyolitic pumice that vents in the Taupo-Rotorua zone ejected during the late Pliocene and Pleistocene. Thick showers of pumice from this region cover a large part of the centre of the North Island and streams have carried the finer material to practically all the low-lying parts of the Island. The volcanoes are still alive, as is evidenced by the steam-vents, hot springs, and geysers found in the depressed zone extending from Ruapehu to White Island. The volcanic rocks of Taranaki probably range from the Miocene to the Pleistocene in age. The basalts and scoria cones that occur so abundantly between Kawhia and the Bay of Islands belong for the most part to the late Pliocene and Pleistocene, though cones at Auckland City are probably Recent.

In the South Island the volcanoes appear to be quite dead, for the hot springs at Hanmer and near the alpine chain are due to other causes. In the middle Tertiary, however, there were outbursts at many points, the chief eruptions being at Banks Peninsula and about Dunedin.


In a short article it is impossible to give an adequate idea of what geological workers have accomplished in New Zealand, or of what they have yet to do in order that the wisest use may be made of the country's mineral and agricultural resources. For good general accounts the treatises of Professors Park and Marshall should be consulted, and for more detailed information the bulletins of the Geological Survey and the many papers that have appeared in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute.”


An article dealing with earthquakes in New Zealand was 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., Director of the Geological Survey, and published in the 1929 and previous numbers of the Year-book. The following condensation of this article was in type before the occurrence of the Murchison earthquake of 17th June, 1929, which as regards loss of life and destruction of property is the most severe ever recorded in New Zealand.

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 2,500 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.

* The earthquake of 17th June, 1929, was more destructive than that of 1855.

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. Pew 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. —(a) South-east of Otago Peninsula. Shocks: 20th November, 1872, &c.

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

(c) 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.

Group IV. —(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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.

(e) Morrinsville Earthquakes.—During November and December, 1926, earthquakes similar to the Taupo ones of 1922 were felt in and around Morrinsville. The earthquakes were apparently of shallow origin, and were probably caused by a movement along a fault trending west-north-west on the eastern side of the Pakaroa Range. The average intensity of the shocks was about IV, although one shock reached VIII on the Rossi-Forel scale. As in the case of the Taupo earthquakes, there was no evidence of any variation in the thermal activities of the district.

(f) 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 are nearly in a straight line on the map; on or near the same line are the origins of earthquakes felt in the Southern Lakes 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 origin (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.

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.


* Sixteen people were killed by the Murchison earthquake of 1929.

Deaths due to earthquakes in New Zealand are fortunately very few. In the eighty years between 1848 and 1928 only seven were recorded*. The shock of October, 1848, threw 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 Dr. E. Kidson, M.A., D.Sc., Director of Meteorological Services:—

The problem of the classification of the climate of a country may be regarded from various aspects. First of all, there is its solar climate, which depends on the amount of heat it receives from the sun and the variations of this amount with the seasons, and which is determined solely by the latitude of the country. New Zealand lies wholly within the Temperate Zone, and on the equatorial, or warmer, side of it. The amount of heat received from the sun is therefore never excessive even in the far north, while even in the middle of winter and in the southernmost portions, on the other hand, the sun rises high enough to give considerable warmth during the day. The difference in length between the longest and the shortest days in the year is about four and two-thirds hours in the northernmost and seven and one-third hours in the southernmost extremity of the Dominion. The day has never so short a length as eight hours.

If the surface of the globe were homogeneous—if, for instance, it were all ocean —all places on the same parallel would have the same climate, and there would be no need for any other classification than according to solar climate. Instead of this, however, we have a varying surface, some of it being land and some water, while the land surface varies in nature and in elevation. Solar radiation has very varying effects on these different types of surface, and they in turn react in different ways on the atmosphere. Based on these physical conditions, then, we have two main types of climate—viz., continental and marine. A marine climate is controlled to a large extent by the waters of the surrounding ocean areas, and, since New Zealand nowhere has any great breadth, its climate is of the marine type. The distinctive feature of such a climate is its sluggishness as regards temperature changes when compared with a continental one. When sunshine falls on a land surface most of it is absorbed in a very shallow layer and converted into heat. The surface, therefore, tends to become very hot. Water, on the other hand, reflects a large portion of the sun's heat back through the atmosphere, whence it is lost. Such radiation as is absorbed penetrates to a considerable depth, so that the rise of temperature at the surface is slight. Even then a good deal of the heat thus accumulated is expended in evaporating water. Over the ocean, therefore, there is very little difference in temperature between the coldest part of the day, just before sunrise, and the hottest, in the early afternoon. Over the land the difference is considerable, and increases, generally speaking, with the distance from the shore. Similarly, in a marine climate the difference between summer and winter is relatively small. Another effect of the sluggishness in temperature changes is that the seasons lag behind the movement of the sun. The spring is cold, although the days are getting longer and the sun higher and stronger. It is common knowledge in New Zealand that we are liable to cold snaps practically up to Christmas. Frosts damaging to vegetation are not rare in November, and snow storms occasionally affect comparatively low-lying country even later in the year. On the other hand, the autumn is warm, and mild temperatures may be experienced well into April. A marine climate is generally characterized by high average rainfall, its atmosphere being abundantly charged with moisture evaporated from the sea.

Generally speaking, then, the climate of New Zealand is equable, with an abundant precipitation, which is spread fairly uniformly over the different months. Not only is this so, but the difference in climate between the northern and southern extremities is comparatively slight in view of the fact that the Dominion covers a range of nearly 13 degrees, or about 900 miles, in latitude. The mean temperature at sea-level falls from about 62° F. in the far north to about 50° F. in the far south.

Another aspect from which there is an increasing tendency for geographers and meteorologists to classify climates is that of the vegetation produced by the soil. There are many plants which are able to live only within certain definite climatic limits, and others require certain restricted conditions to produce satisfactory growth. Since man depends so much for his livelihood on the products of the soil, the classification of climates on this basis is a logical and very useful one. From this point of view New Zealand has a warm-temperate and humid climate. The rainfall is almost everywhere sufficient for plant requirements all the year round. The temperature of 50° F. is an important one from the biological point of view, since many plants of the temperate region do not grow well unless the air rises above this temperature for considerable periods. Nowhere in New Zealand are there more than five months with a temperature lower than 50° F. In the Auckland Peninsula and in coastal places a little farther south, mean temperatures do not fall below 50° F. in any month. As regards the settled portions of the Dominion, it is only in the elevated regions of Otago and Southland that the mean temperature falls slightly below 40° F. in some of the coldest months, or that the mean minimum for any month falls below freezing-point; consequently the ground is nowhere continuously frozen for long periods. Owing to these mild temperatures, there is some growth of herbage practically the whole year round. Vegetation has no long period of rest, and deciduous trees are practically unknown.

Since temperatures are everywhere warm enough to promote growth and nowhere excessively hot (the mean maximum for any month probably nowhere reaches as high as 80° F. or the mean temperature as high as 70° F.), there is comparatively little difference between the North and South as regards the nature of the things grown. Grapes, for instance, can be grown successfully out-of-doors in parts of all provinces of the Dominion. Certainly, in the North such semitropical products as citrus fruits can be grown successfully, whereas in the South this is not possible.

As regards human occupation, New Zealand lies in the zone of the Southern Hemisphere which is subject at all times of year to frequent moving barometric depressions, with all their accompanying weather changes. Some experts consider this an important condition for the development of civilization in its highest form. Cloudiness is nowhere excessive, so that there is plenty of sunshine, and a considerable range between day and night temperatures, which again tends to produce bracing conditions. Indeed, there can be few countries so admirably adapted for the production of a high yield from the soil and the maintenance of a high standard of comfort and civilization as New Zealand.

The Dominion is in the region of prevailing westerly winds. North of about New Plymouth and Napier these westerlies are not, in the main, strong, and, in fact, in summer there is a prevalence of south-easterlies. Though these can scarcely be classed as trade winds, even in the far north, they are to a large extent part of the same system. South from the 39th parallel of latitude the westerlies prevail, and although, in the free air at least, their mean strength increases the farther south we go, they are of considerable average force even in Taranaki and Hawke's Bay.

We next have to consider the feature that exercises the most potent influence in modifying climate in New Zealand—that is, its mountain ranges. Such variations of climate as are encountered in the different parts of the Dominion are produced mainly by these ranges. Their effect is closely associated with the prevalence of westerly winds. A range of mountains presents an obstacle to a wind which meets it. To force the air up and over it requires a great deal of energy. Wherever possible the wind will flow round rather than over. The most notable instances of this effect in New Zealand are found in the Cook and Foveaux Straits regions. Air in a westerly wind is forced round and over the lower portions of the northern part of the South Island into Cook Strait. Some of the air thus entering the strait possibly comes from as far south as Westport when the general wind is from due west. At the same time, the ranges in the North Island deflect into a southerly direction all winds which strike south of Cape Egmont. Some of the air is forced through the comparatively low gap in the neighbourhood of the Manawatu Gorge, while the greater part goes on down to Cook Strait. Similarly, in the south-west corner of the Dominion, a westerly wind is deflected into a north-westerly and flows round Puysegur Point into Foveaux Strait. A south-westerly wind is deflected into a westerly through the strait. The two regions mentioned are ones through which winds from a considerable area are forced to converge, and the consequence is that they are subject to an unusual proportion of strong winds. Through such channels it is practically only possible for winds to have one of two directions—i.e., they must blow through the straits from one direction or the other. Owing to the great preponderance of winds from a westerly quarter, the prevailing direction in Cook Strait is from the north-west. This wind may correspond with any direction between north-west and south-west in the open ocean waters where winds are unimpeded. More rarely there are strong winds from an easterly direction, which produce south-easterlies in the Strait. These may correspond with any wind between north-east and south over the open waters to the east. In the South the predominance of westerlies is greater than at Wellington, but there are at times strong easterlies through Foveaux Strait. Though not on the same scale, effects of a similar kind are noticeable in other parts. Round East Cape, for instance, there is a tendency for winds to be deflected along the coast-line, and easterly winds are likely to be specially strong there. At Nelson there is a different effect, and westerly winds tend to be deflected down Tasman Bay as south-westerlies, but at the head of the bay meet the winds which have come round Cape Farewell and are checked. If the general wind, therefore, is between north-west and west-south-west about, the winds are usually light at Nelson.

When the general wind is almost due south-west, or practically parallel to the main range in both Islands, many parts of the Dominion are protected. Strong south-westerly winds may be blowing and wet weather prevail in the southern parts of Otago and Southland, and also in Taranaki and the northern parts of the Auckland Provincial District, while much of the rest of the country, including the inland portions of Otago, Canterbury, and Marlborough, the east coast of the North Island, and especially Cook Strait, experience unusually fine yet bracing weather and comparatively little wind. A slight deviation of this wind to one side or the other means bringing unsettled weather to the west coast of the South Island or to the eastern districts from East Cape southwards.

The checking of the westerly winds by the Southern Alps results in a large proportion of variable winds on the west coast of the South Island.

Although it is true that wind will flow round an obstacle in preference to climbing over it, yet when a broad belt of winds meets a mountain barrier lying across its path much of the air must be forced over the range. This happens when the prevailing winds, which are from between north-west and west, strike the Southern Alps, and, to a less extent, the ranges of the North Island. The distribution of rainfall over New Zealand is greatly influenced by this fact, as can be seen from the accompanying rainfall map. Most of our rain is produced from moisture carried from warmer latitudes by north-westerly winds. The rain falls either in the north-westerlies or when the latter are forced up by colder south-westerly winds. When the westerly or north-westerly winds are driven over the mountain ranges they rise into regions in which the air pressure is much reduced. They are, in consequence, cooled. The colder the air is, the less uncondensed water vapour can it contain. Moisture is therefore condensed, and falls as rain on the mountain tops and their western slopes. Generally speaking, therefore, districts with a westerly aspect have the heaviest rainfall. This is especially noticeable in the South Island, where the west coast opposite the Southern Alps has an excessive rainfall, while in their lee we have the driest areas in New Zealand, that in Central Otago being the most notable. Round Mount Egmont is another area of heavy precipitation. The East Cape district has a high rainfall because it gets a good deal of the northwesterly rain, and is also subject to very heavy falls in easterly winds which occur in connection with cyclones in the neighbourhood of the North Island.


When the westerly winds blow over the mountains they sometimes shoot down them again on the opposite side. Falling into levels where the pressure is higher, they are heated, just as the air compressed in a bicycle pump is heated and warms the pump. Having lost a good deal of their moisture, they are very dry, and the energy gained by falling down the mountain slopes adds to their speed. We therefore have the gusty, hot, dry wind which is characteristic of mountain regions and is called the “Fohn” wind. The Canterbury Plains, especially the portions near the foothills of the Alps, form one of the regions of the world where the Föhn effect is most notably developed. The characteristics of the north-west wind are well known to the dwellers in those parts. During the Föhn wind a band of clear sky is produced on the leeward side of the mountains, while farther away cloud often forms again at a considerable height. This gives the characteristic appearance of the “Föhn arch.” Though most strongly developed in Canterbury, Föhn winds are experienced also in Otago, parts of Marlborough, and from the Wairarapa to Hawke's Bay.

Föhn winds', owing to their high temperature and to the fact that relatively high pressure tends to be produced in them on the west side of the ranges and relatively low on the east side, are often underrun by east or north-east winds on the east coast. These are especially prevalent in Canterbury, and the north-easter is a persistent and humid wind of an unpleasant type.

The shelter given from the ocean winds, and the clear dry atmosphere produced by the mountains, causes a nearer approach to continental conditions in their lee than in other parts of the country. The greatest extremes of temperatures are found in these regions.

In addition to the climatic effects above described, there are others produced by mountains and due directly to the elevation. Other things being equal, the amount of precipitation increases with elevation until about 5,000 ft. or 6,000 ft. is reached. Higher than that, it falls off again owing to the fact that the cold air above those levels is able to hold little moisture. Again, the greater the height above mean sea-level, the lower the mean temperature, the difference being about 3.5° F. per 1,000 ft. There are no closely settled areas in New Zealand sufficiently high for the elevation to produce any very marked influence on the climate. The effect is to some extent counterbalanced, too, in most places by the facts (1) that the sloping ground prevents the accumulation of cold air on the surface, so that night temperatures are less extreme than they might otherwise have been, and (2) that the atmosphere is more transparent, owing to the reduced amount of vapour it contains and the absence of dust, so that the sun seems to give more heat.

Above about 5,000 ft. snow frequently lies for long periods and the climate is severe. Forest trees become more and more stunted as this height is approached, and finally are unable to survive. Beyond it we have a mountain climate and characteristically alpine flora. The latter is adapted for resistance to drought, although actually the rainfall is usually heavy. The adaptation is necessary because of the rapid drainage, the intense heat produced on still clear days by the sun's rays, and the cutting off of water supplies from the roots for long periods owing to the freezing of the ground. Even in these high regions, however, conditions are not extreme. It is probably very rarely indeed that the temperature falls as low as 0° F., except perhaps for short intervals and in sheltered basins. The mountain region of the Southern Alps is, nevertheless, of great interest on account of its large' and characteristic glaciers. The Franz Josef Glacier is especially famous, owing to the fact that it descends almost to sea-level, although the latitude is comparatively' low. No doubt the very heavy rainfall on the mountains in this district and the rapid fall to sea-level are chiefly responsible for this effect.

The tables which follow, giving average values of various meteorological quantities for a number of typical stations, will serve to indicate the variation of climate in the different parts of New Zealand.

For comparisons with New Zealand conditions, data are given for Kew Observatory, near London, and for Aberdeen. It will be seen that even at Kew the mean temperature is lower than at Queenstown or Invercargill, while at Aberdeen the mean maximum is less than 2° F. higher than the mean temperature at these stations. Again, the number of days with rain is much higher at the British stations than in New Zealand for rainfall totals of corresponding amount. The Dominion also has a much larger average amount of bright sunshine. These advantages of increased warmth and sunshine, combined with an abundant supply of water, account for the wonderful fertility of our soil.



Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 74 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 24 Years.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 40 Years.Bright Sunshine


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 48 Years.Bright Sunshine.

New Plymouth.

Month.Dean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 50 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 69 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 44 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 48 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 21 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 46 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures for 59 Years.Mean Rainfall for 70 Years.Bright Sunshine.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 36 Years.


Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall for 33 Years.Bright Sunshine.

Kew Observatory. (Richmond, Surrey, England.)

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall.Bright Sunshine.

Aberdeen. (Scotland.)

Month.Mean Temperatures.Mean Rainfall.Bright Sunshine.


January.—Abnormally dry conditions were experienced throughout the Dominion. The month was the driest January on record in southern Auckland, Taranaki, and parts of the Manawatu, Nelson, and Marlborough districts. Anticyclonic conditions prevailed, and there were no storms of note.

February.—Dry and warm conditions continued until about the end of the third week. Thereafter the greater part of the country received good rains, but conditions were still very dry in Nelson and Marlborough.

March.—Droughty conditions were again the rule, especially in Taranaki, western Wellington, and Nelson. North Auckland and Hawke's Bay had rainfalls above normal.

April.—Heavy, warm rains at Easter time were of great benefit to the central provinces, the drought being relieved in most parts. Heavy general rains fell also towards the end of the month. Severe southerly gales were experienced on the 30th, and damage, though of a minor nature, was widespread. Frosts produced deleterious effects on small crops in the South Island on the 5th and the 25th.

May.—Though mild conditions continued, the month was a wet one and rather stormy. High floods caused damage in Kaitaia and the surrounding districts. These were associated with a cyclone which crossed the South Island on the 14th.

June.—Temperatures were mainly below normal, and a prevalence of southerly winds emphasized the wintry character of the month. Rainfall was below normal in most districts.

July.—Except in the Auckland Province, remarkably mild and sunny weather was experienced. Heavy floods occurred in the Waikato and Waihou Rivers as a result of rains connected with a cyclone which crossed the Auckland Peninsula between the 22nd and the 25th. In parts of the Waihou watershed record levels were reached. In Canterbury, Westland, the Wairarapa, and parts of Hawke's Bay, the rainfall was much below normal.

August.—In the parts of Auckland which had experienced a very wet July, August proved a dry month. In most other districts there were good rains. Temperatures were uniform, and the condition of the country at the end of the month was good. A heavy southerly gale on the 15th did damage on the east coast. The most serious was to the Wellington-Petone Railway, where a high tide coincided with the heavy seas. Heavy snowfalls occurred on the 30th. reaching down to the low levels in parts of Otago and Canterbury.

September.—For the first time during the year, stormy weather of the westerly type was the rule. From the 7th onwards gales, mainly from the north west or west, were of almost daily occurrence in some part or other of the Dominion. One of these did considerable damage in Hawke's Bay on the 8th. On the 18th a small tornado passed over the northern portion of Hokitika. A very deep and extensive depression passed between the 22nd and the 28th, the barometer at Akaroa falling to 28.62 in. at 9 a.m. on the 24th. Very severe gales accompanied this depression, and damage was done in many places by hail, rain, and wind. A tornado wrecked a number of buildings at St. Helier's Bay, Auckland, on the 25th. Snow fell on the high country on several occasions, and on some of the lower levels of the South Island on the 26th and 27th. Thunder and hail storms were unusually frequent during the month. Except in the eastern districts, rainfall was mainly above the average.

October.—Rainfall was almost everywhere above normal. Stormy westerly weather continued until the 10th. The westerly gales of this and the preceding month attracted especial attention, because it was during this period that the Tasman Sea was crossed by air for the first time. On the 5th and 6th the gales were very violent in South Canterbury, and damage was done to trees and buildings. Thunder and hail storms were again very frequent. Heavy rains in the ranges of the South Island caused the southern lakes to reach very high levels, especially Lake Wakatipu.

November.—Cool and dry weather was the rule, but a remarkably fine and summery spell occurred between the 16th and the 25th. Numerous thunderstorms were again recorded.

December.—Rainfall was very heavy, many places experiencing the wettest December for many years. Temperatures were on the whole mild. A very severe hailstorm played havoc with fruit-crops on a narrow band of country from Eskdale through Greenmeadows to Pakowhai, in the Napier district. Some of the hailstones were as large as 1 1/2 in. in diameter.

Year.—The year was remarkable for two things: first, the absence of westerly winds, and, second, the frequency of cyclonic storms. These two phenomena are, in all probability, closely connected. In no previous year have so many cyclones been recorded in the New Zealand area. Westerly winds were unusually strong and frequent in September and the early part of October, but the opposite was the case during the remainder of the year.

Thunder and hail were recorded with abnormal frequency.

For the Dominion as a whole, rainfall was considerably in excess of the normal. Where such was not the case the deficits were seldom large. An extensive area in the central portion of the North Island recorded more than 10 in. above the average. The principal areas where less than the normal was experienced were in the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Westland, and Otago.

For those engaged in agricultural pursuits the year was a very good one.


The observations were taken at 9 a.m.

Station.Mean Pressure in Inches reduced to Sea-level and Standard Gravity.Temperatures in Shade.Hours of Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Maximum.Mean Minimum.Approx. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1928.Absolute Minimum.Absolute Minimum.Total Fall.Number of Days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.


†For 364 days.

 Inches.°Fahr°Fahr°Fahr°Fahr°Fahr°Fahr°Fahr Inches. 
Auckland29.98566.354.760.585.0 Feb.38.0 Aug.91.031.91979.459.27213
Te Aroha..69.948.859.390.0 Feb.24.0 June95.021.0..77.02143
Waihi29.90865.549.457.483.2 Feb.26.0 July89.021.02033.4127.33152
Tauranga..67.746.457.087.0 Feb.27.0 June87.024.5..61.99149
Ruakura, Hamilton East..68.546.757.692.0 Feb.25.6 June92.023.6..55.67169
Matamata.. Feb.22.0 June85.522.0..63.51155
Rotorua.. Feb.28.0 June98.021.0..69.90149
Whakarewarewa..*45.0**23.0 Aug.......67.09167
New Plymouth..64.050.557.283.3 Jan.31.3 June93.027.02370.757.25170
Karioi.. Dec.20.0 June, Aug.......42.95142
Taihape..58.841.551.679.0 Feb.28.2 June87.325.0..37.99173
Palmerston N...64.4**85.0 Feb.28.0 June91.023.0..34.85129
Tangimoana..65.848.357.085.0 Jan.29.0 Aug.85.020.5..32.20117
Weraroa..64.348.356.384.0 Feb.30.0 July, Aug., Oct.87.022.52054.138.23156
Napier.. Feb.30.0 June94.022.02286.936.34158
Hastings..65.8**86.0 Feb.*......32.22136
Pahiatua..64.146.955.585.0 Feb.25.0 June......51.32188
Greytown.. Feb.27.0 June......49.15153
Masterton..64.845.555.188.4 Feb.26.4 June95.422.41942.946.23177
Wellington29.94460.749.355.079.2 Feb.36.1 Aug.88.028.62120.155.21146
Nelson29.94964.348.256.283.6 Feb.29.9 June92.020.02534.941.21110
Hokitika30.01961.946.754.384.5 Mar.28.5 June87.025.51981.6116.19206
Hanmer Springs..*****97.012.01829.957.59153
Balmoral Plantation..62.342.252.290.0 Jan.23.0 July......27.52116
Christchurch29.92261.345.353.392.3 Feb.28.0 June95.721.3..23.77129
Lincoln*62.744.753.793.0 Feb.25.5 June98.420.51994.425.77111
Lake Coleridge..65.642.053.888.0 April20.0 July93.016.0..36.18130
Rudstone, Methven.. Feb.24.0 July......41.02133
Ashburton..*42.9**22.0 July94.022.01792.931.44137
Timaru..61.444.452.994.0 Feb.25.0 May99.024.01882.422.59134
Lake Tekapo..58.437.047.781.0 Feb.12.0 May86.04.02370.126.8468
Waimate..60.843.051.991.0 Feb.27.0 May94.023.02010.124.20141
Waipiata..60.239.349.796.6 Jan.19.6 July96.612.02196.419.83124
Ophir..61.339.150.289.3 Jan.16.6 May89.38.7..17.14101
Dunedin29.90560.245.052.683.0 Feb.29.0 May94.023.01700.230.15159
Gore..61.541.151.388.0 Feb.21.0 May92.018.01997.134.31173
Invercargill.. Feb.26.0 June90.019.0*43.71205


The following article on the flora and vegetation of New Zealand is by Dr. L. Cockayne, C.M.G., Ph.D., F.R.S. (Honorary Botanist, State Forest Service).

For various reasons the plant-life of New Zealand is of peculiar interest, especially its extreme isolation from other land-masses, its flora of diverse origin but with an astonishing number of endemic species and group after group of wild hybrids, the numerous and often peculiar life-forms of its members, its having developed unmolested by grazing and browsing mammals, and its vegetation, so diversified that only a continent extending into the tropics can claim an equality.

The Flora, considering in the first place the Ferns, Fern-allies (lycopods, &c.) and Seed-plants (trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, grasses, &c.) consists of about 1,848 species—including under this term a good many well-marked varieties—of which 148 are ferns, 19 fern-allies, 20 conifers (only 1 with a cone in the usual sense), 426 monocotyledons (grasses, sedges, liliaceous plants, orchids, &c.), and 1,235 dicotyledons (mostly trees, shrubs, herbaceous and semi-woody plants), and they belong to 109 families (groups of related genera) and 382 genera (groups of related species). Nearly 79 per cent. of this flora is found wild in no other land (endemic), and the remaining 392 species are chiefly Australian (236), and the balance subantarctic South American (58), Cosmopolitan in a narrow sense (most also Australian), Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, and Polynesian; while a good many of the families and genera are Malayan, which tropical element found its way to New Zealand during a great extension of its area northwards in the early Tertiary period. The high endemism of the flora is not confined to the species, for there are 39 purely New Zealand genera, some of which are only very distantly related to genera elsewhere—e.g., Tupeia, Dactylanthus, Pachycladon, Ixerba, Carpodetus, Myosotidium, Teucridium, and Alseuosmia. The specially large families and genera, together with the number of species each contains, are as follows: Families—Compositae (daisy family), 258; Filices (ferns), 148; Cyperaceae (sedge family), 133; Gramineae (grass family), 131; Umbelliferae (carrot family), 89; Orchidaceae (orchids), 71; Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), 61; Rubiaceae (coprosma family), 55; Onagraceae (willowherb family), 45; Epacridaceae (Australian - heath family), 44; Leguminosae (pea family), 38; Boraginaceae (forget-me-not family), 33. Genera—Hebe (koromikos), 66 at a low estimate; Carex (sedges), 59; Celmisia (mountain-daisies), 56 at least; Coprosma (karamus), 48; Ranunculus (buttercups), 47 at least; Epilobium (willowherbs), 41; Olearia (daisy-trees), 35; Senecio (groundsols, mostly ligneous), 35; Pou (poa grasses), 33; Myosotis (forget-menots), 32; and there are 10 other genera with 20 to 30 species, and 11 with from 13 to 19 species. It is not of necessity the large genera which dominate the landscape, for some of the smallest are of particular moment in this regard—e.g., Arundo (toetoe grass), 2 species; Desmoschoenus (pingao), 1 species, which clothes unstable sandhills in the three main islands and extends to the Chathams; Rhopalostylis (nikau-palm), 2 species; Cordyline (cabbage-trees), 4 species; Phormium (New Zealand flax), 2 species; Nothofagus (southern-beeches), 5 species; Corynocarpus (karaka), 1 species; and Leptospermum (manuka), 4 species.

Besides the species and their varieties, the flora contains, according to recent research, no less than 353 groups of hybrids (some with hundreds of distinct forms) between the species, together with many within the species themselves between their varieties; nor is this all, for there are a few well-marked hybrids between certain genera—e.g., Helichirysum by Ewartia and by Gnaphalium, Hebe by Veronica, Leucogenes X Raovlia (edelweiss X vegetable-sheep), and Nothopanax by Pseudopanax. How widespread in New Zealand is wild hybridism appears from the fact that hybrids are now known to occur in 44 families and 101 genera; and were it not that many species never come into contact there would be still more hybrids, for certain species which never meet in nature, have spontaneously given rise to hybrid progenies when planted side by side in gardens. This new knowledge concerning natural hybridism is already making radical changes in the classification of New Zealand plants, and it may also have a profound bearing on plant classification in general and on theories of evolution.

The ferns, fern-allies, and seed-plants by no means make up the whole New Zealand flora, but in addition hundreds of species have been described of the less highly organized plants (the mosses, liverworts, algae, fungi, &c.), but they certainly do not nearly represent the total number of such.

Coming next to the primary biological groups of which the flora is composed, the following gives the name of each class and the number of species it contains: Trees (including 12 tree-ferns), 182: shrubs, 316; semi-woody plants (including 10 ferns with short trunks), 241; herbaceous plants (including 93 ferns which grow on the ground), 664; grasslike plants, 255; rushlike plants, 49; climbing-plants (mostly ligneous, and including 7 ferns), 51; perching-plants (both ligneous and herbaceous, and including 26 ferns), 45; parasites (mostly ligneous), 17; water-plants (all herbaceous), 28. These biological classes are made up of many life-forms—i.e., the outward forms of plants, and the shape, structure, &c., of their organs—which enable them to occupy definite habitats. In no few instances a plant can modify its form as its habitat changes or if it moves to a different habitat from that to which it is accustomed. The New Zealand flora is particularly rich in such “plastic species,” as they are called. Further, the flora contains quite a number of life-forms rare or wanting in many other floras. Thus there are climbing-plants with extremely long, woody, ropelike stems; shrubs with stiff, wiry, interlaced twigs forming dense masses number about 51, and belong to 16 families and 20 genera; cushion-plants number at least 65, and belong to 21 families and 34 genera, some of them of immense proportions and quite hard, as in the vegetable-sheep (species of Raoulia and Haastia); leafless shrubs, tall or dwarf, with flattened or “round” stems (mostly species of Carmichaelia); the cypress form, the leaves reduced to scales, as seen in various species of Hebe and Helichrysum, but a form to be expected in the podocarps; trees with leaves bunched together on long trunks, as in the liliaceous cabbage-trees (Cordyline) and certain species of the Australian-heath family (Dracophyllum); the tussock form, with some 40 species, belonging to 5 families and 19 genera.

Not the least interesting feature in this matter of life-forms is the presence in the flora of 200 or more seed-plants which for a longer or shorter period have a juvenile form quite distinct from that of the adult; while in about 165 species the plant remains for many years—it may exceed fifty—a juvenile, and in these cases such may blossom and produce seed, the tree juvenile below and adult above—two species, as it were, on the one plant. In some instances so different are juvenile and adult that accomplished botanists have described them as different species. How widespread is the phenomenon stands out clearly from the fact that these 165 species belong to 30 families and 50 genera, and that 51 are trees, 82 shrubs, 19 woody climbing-plants, 10 herbaceous plants, and 3 water-plants; a few ferns exhibit the same peculiarity. Some of the commonest trees come into the above category—e.g., the kahikatea (Podocarpus dacrydioides), the matai (P. spicatus), the kaikomako (Pennantia, corymbosa), the pokaka (Elaeocarpus Hookerianus), the lance-wood (Pseudopanax crassifolium), and others.

Taking the flora as a whole, a large proportion of the species are evergreen; conspicuous flowers are far from common; annuals and plants which die yearly to the ground are rare; water-plants are few in number; turf-making grasses are not abundant; and bulbous plants are almost negligible.

Altitude, on the one hand, and proximity to the coast, on the other, have a profound bearing on the distribution of the species. Thus about 140 species are confined to the coast-line or its immediate vicinity, and 9 families and 35 genera containing 41 species are virtually coastal. Then there are about 560 species which are confined to the lowlands and lower hills, and there are no less than 24 families and 103 genera which are purely lowland. Finally, there is a plentiful high-mountain flora, with about 510 species belonging to 38 families and 87 genera, which never descend to the lowlands, but as compared with the lowland flora the number of genera (only 16) confined to the high-mountain belt is trifling.

Latitude has also a strong bearing on plant-distribution, and, apart from a gradual change, there are three critical parallels of latitude—36° S., 38° S., and 42° S.—near which (it may be somewhat to the north or south of the line) many species attain their southern limit. On the other hand, Cook Strait and Foveaux Strait are of but little moment as barriers to advance or retreat. Far greater is the influence of wet and dry local climates, which is most striking when two such areas impinge on one another as in the case of the wet area which extends from the Tasman Sea to near the eastern base of the Main Divide, which is forest-clad to the timber-line, and the dry area extending thence to the east coast, which is clothed with tussock-grassland. In the dry area of Marlborough and the contiguous wet western area of north-western Nelson, there are 36 species confined to the dry area (locally endemic) and 39 to the wet area. So, too, dry Central Otago possesses 15 locally endemic species. Speaking of the distribution of the species in a wide sense, there is every transition, from those which extend continuously from the north of the North Island to Stewart Island to those found in only one limited area (e.g., Cassinia amoena, near the North Cape; Xeronema Callistemon, on the Poor Knights; Dracophyllum Townsoni, on the Paparoa Range), or those occurring only in two or three distant localities (e.g., Metrosideros Parkinsonii, in north-western Nelson and Great Barrier Island; Pittosporum patulum, near Lake Hawea and in north-western Nelson; Adiantum formosum, near Dargaville and in the Manawatu Gorge and its immediate neighbourhood).

The physical features of New Zealand; its many types of climate, especially with regard to the annual rainfall and the number of rainy days; its varied altitude, ranging from sea-level to the snowfields of the Southern Alps; its many kinds of soils, particularly their water-holding capacity; the diverse frost-tolerating ability of the species; their aggressive powers—largely a matter of their life-forms and inherent plasticity—all these and other factors have led to a most varied Vegetation made up of a host of plant communities, some of which appear out of place in the Temperate Zone. Thus between tide-marks in the northern rivers and estuaries there is a true mangrove community—an unexpected occurrence outside of the tropics; and even so far south as north-western Nelson groves of tall palm-trees are a striking feature. But, more than all else of an unexpected character—though familiar enough to all New-Zealanders—is the lowland forest, which resembles in no whit the forests of temperate Europe, Asia, or America, but is a true tropical rain-forest. This tropical character is shown in its groups of tall tree-ferns, which may exceed 40 ft. in height; in its wealth of ferns of all kinds; in the abundance of woody, ropelike climbing-plants and huge perching-plants far up in the forest canopy; in the several tiers of undergrowth, consisting of low trees and tall shrubs with smaller shrubs and ferns beneath, and the ground clothed with a deep carpet of filmy ferns, liverworts, and mosses, while the tree-trunks are similarly clad: in short, the forest exhibits prodigal luxuriance of growth, and Nature, as it were, runs riot. Rarely does one tall canopy tree dominate, but the uppermost story of the forest is constructed out of the crowns of various kinds of trees growing side by side, just as the undergrowth is composed of many species. But no forest is homogeneous in its structure, for differences in the topography of the area, in the water content of the soil, and in the relative amount of light in the interior of the forest, lead to various combinations of species. All the same, especially so far as the tall trees are concerned, there is an advance towards stability and uniformity, so that all the forests if not interfered with are progressing towards a “climax association,” as it is named, with (as a rule) the tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa) dominant to the north of latitude 42°, and the kamahi (Weinmannia racemosa) dominant southwards.

Taking the New Zealand forests of all kinds for the whole of the region, their species number 498 (ferns and their allies 121, conifers 19, monocotyledons 70, dicotyledons 288), and they belong to 70 families and 167 genera, the largest of which are: Families—Ferns, 114; Rubiaceae, 34; Compositae, 32 (but most are confined to subalpine scrub-forest); Cyperaceae, 25; Orchidaceae, 23; Pittosporaceae, 21; Myrtaceae, 18; Araliaceae, 14. Genera—Coprosma, 32; Pittosporum, 21; Hymenophyllum, 19; Blechnum, Uncinia, and Olearia, each 12; Metrosideros, 11. As for the biological groups of forest, they are as follows: Trees, 151 (but a good many are frequently shrubs also); shrubs, 84; herbaceous and semi-woody plants, 56; grasslike and rushlike plants, 29; climbing-plants, 33; perching-plants, 17; parasites, 14; and ferns, 114.

The considerable number of species for the whole New Zealand community may easily lead to an exaggerated estimate of the number of species to be found in any ordinary piece of forest, even though of considerable extent. Thus extensive pieces of lowland forest to the north of latitude 42° may possess from 150 to 180 species, and to the south of this parallel from 140 to 160 species, while 125 species is a fairly high estimate for Stewart Island.

Another class of forest, though usually possessing many rain-forest characteristics, is that where one or more species of southern-beech (Nothofagus —there are 5 species and very many hybrids) dominate. Such forests extend—but not continuously—from somewhat south of latitude 37° almost to the shore of Foveaux Strait. Generally they are restricted to the mountains, but in places they descend to sea-level in southern Wellington, northern Marlborough and Nelson, and to the west of the coastal mountains of western Nelson and of the Southern Alps. Throughout the high mountains the southern-beech forests generally form the uppermost forest belt.

Nothofagus forest differs from lowland rain-forest in possessing about one-half the number of species and in lacking the exuberant richness of the forest interior, due largely to its comparative poverty in small trees, diversity of shrubs, climbing-plants, perching-plants, and ferns, as also to the forest-floor and tree-trunks being but scantily covered, or draped, with filmy ferns, mosses, and the like. A fundamental difference, and one of great economic importance, is that southern-beech forest regenerates into forest of the same class, while rain-forest proper slowly changes into forest dominated by trees of small commercial value, such replacing the valuable timber-trees (kauri, podocarps) when these die; also, all the southern-beeches, as compared with other tall New Zealand trees, are of far more rapid growth.

Where water lies here and there in shallow pools and the soil is always saturated with moisture there is semi-swamp forest which is of a true rain-forest character, though not directly dependent on a heavy rainfall, its composition depending upon the ability of many rain-forest species to tolerate a constantly wet substratum. Its most marked characteristic is the overwhelming dominance of one tall tree, the kahikatea (Podocarpus dacrydioides), the tall mast-like trunks of which, standing closely side by side, and their absurdly small crowns, stamp the community as absolutely distinct in appearance from any other type of forest; while in the North Island its physiognomy is made still more remarkable by the astonishing number of asteliads perched on its branches, and resembling gigantic birds' nests. To the north of latitude 42° the pukatea (Laurelia novae-zelandiae) is a common lofty tree. The florula for semi-swamp forest, as a whole, consists of about 138 species, but of these only 4 species are confined almost exclusively to the community. The forest under consideration bids fair in a few years to become almost a thing of the past, since the dominant tree is being rapidly converted into timber for butter-boxes, and the ground occupied by the forest is usually of a high class for dairy-farms.

Proximity to the sea leads to a class of forest distinct from the usual lowland type in its composition, in the much lower stature of its members, and in the extreme density of its roof, the last two characters induced by the frequent more or less salt-laden winds. The maritime climate favours the presence of trees which will not tolerate frost, so that a number of well-known trees and shrubs are confined, or nearly so, to coastal forest—e.g., the kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum), the large-leaved milk-tree (Paratrophis opaca), the karo (Pittosporum crassifolium), the haekaro (P. umbellatum), the karaka (Corynocarpus laevigata), the akeake (Dodonaea viscosa), the pohutukawa (Metrosideros tomentosa —but the name has recently been altered to excelsa, which by the “Rules of Botanical Nomenclature” is correct for the time being, notwithstanding that tomentosa has been the sole name for nearly a hundred years!), and the ngaio (Myoporum laetum). Several of the above do not extend beyond latitude 38°, and the ngaio alone reaches Southland, so that coastal forest in the southern part of the South Island is made up of those ordinary lowland trees, &c., which can tolerate coastal conditions.

In addition to forest, the other great New Zealand plant-community dependent on climate is tussock-grassland. This community is of but little moment in the North Island except on the volcanic plateau and the highest mountains, but in the South Island it was the original plant-covering of most of the country to the east of the Divide of the Southern Alps, excepting northern Marlborough, northern Nelson, and parts of Southland. It extends from sea-level to the upper subalpine belt of the mountains, but is less continuous at high then at low levels. It also occupies some of the lowland and montane river-valleys of north-western Nelson and Westland, and ascends to the subalpine western slopes of the mountains.

There are two distinct types of tussock-grassland—“low” and “tall”—the former distinguished by the dominance of the medium-sized tussocks of Poa caespitosa and Festuca novae-zelandiae (one or both), and the latter by the dominance of one or both of the much taller and more massive tussocks of red-tussock (Danthonia Raoulii var. rubra), or snow-grass (D. Raoulii var. flavescens), and the numerous hybrids between them. Taking lowland and montane low tussock-grassland together, and excluding tall tussock-grassland, since they occupy a far more extensive area, and leaving out of the estimate the 74 or so exotic species now, firmly established, the number of species they contain for the whole area is 216 (ferns and fern allies 10, monocotyledons 66, dicotyledons 140), which belong to 38 families and 104 genera, the largest being: Families — Gramineae, 36; Compositae, 35; and Cyperaceae, Leguminosae, and Onagraceae, each 11. Genera—Poa and Epilobium, each 11; Carmichaelia, 9; and Carex, Acaena, and Raoulia, each 7. As for the biological groups, they and the number of species to each are as follows: Trees, 2; shrubs, 31; tussocks, 13; other plants of the grass form, 43; herbaceous plants, 90; semi-woody plants, 30; and ferns, 7. About 85 of the species are drought-tolerating.

Where water can accumulate and remain fairly permanent, yet not too deep to hinder land-plants rooting in the mud, there is swamp. Except forest, no class of vegetation has been so greatly altered by man, or even destroyed, so that really primitive swamps are almost unknown. The florula consists of about 74 species, which belong to 18 families and 37 genera. The following are specially common species: Raupo (Typha angustifolia), frequently dominant; New Zealand flax (Phormiam tenax), dominant in drained swamp; niggerheads (Carex secta, C. virgata); toetoe grass (Arundo conspicua); cabbage-tree (Cordyline australis); common koromiko (Hebe salicifolia); karamu (Coprosma robusta); common coprosma (C. propinqua); and many hybrids between the last two. When, as frequently happens, the swamp gradually dries up, the number of shrubs increases and an early stage of semi-swamp forest is produced.

At the present time, especially in the North Island and the north of the South Island, wide areas are occupied by bracken-fern (Pteridium esculentum) or by manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), for the most part caused by fire; yet as fire was a natural agency in primitive New Zealand in the vicinity of active volcanoes, there would be natural communities of the above character. Both communities if left alone would in time change into forest. Manuka shrubland is a common feature of the Auckland gumlands, where also, in hollows, bogs are abundant, which, as for lowland New Zealand in general, are distinguished by pale hummocks of bog-moss (Sphagnum), a small umbrella-fern (Gleichenia circinata), and a wiry rushlike plant, the wire-rush (Hypolaena lateriflora). On these bogs grow several kinds of sundew (Drosera) and bladderwort (Utricularia).

The vegetation of the high mountains is both of great scientific interest and full of rare beauty. It is composed of no less than 966 species, and it is certain that a good many more species will be discovered. How strongly of New Zealand origin is the flora is revealed by the fact that of the 514 purely high-mountain species all except 16 are endemic, and probably 5 of these are endemic also. The headquarters of the true high-mountain species is in the South Island, their total being 473, as compared with 105 for the North Island, a matter which should cause no surprise since the area for plants above the forest-line is far and away less than in the South Island, where also the average height of the mountains is much greater.

Though the high mountains contain only 16 genera which do not descend to the lowlands, 8 of them are endemic. But there are 40 genera which, possessing but few truly lowland species, are well represented by purely high-mountain species, e.g. (to cite some of particular importance): Danthonia, Colobanthus, Ranunculus, Nasturtium, Geum, Acaena, Pimelea, Drapetes, Schizeilema, Aciphylla, Anisotome, Dracophyllum, Gentiana, Myosotis, Hebe, Veronica, Ourisia, Euphrasia, Plantago, Lobelia, Forstera, Olearia, Celmisia, Raoulia, Helichrysum, Abrotanella, and Senecio.

With but few exceptions the most beautiful flowers of New Zealand belong to the high-mountain flora, so that in due season many plant-communities are natural flower-gardens of extreme loveliness. There are the giant buttercups, white and yellow—but nearly all the flowers are of these colours—which may be seen by the acre; the lovely ourisias, with the flowers in whorls round the stem, tier above tier, as in some of the Asiatic primulas, or the glistening green leaves, as in O. caespitosa, may form mats on stony ground bearing multitudes of delicate blossoms; the eyebrights—true alpine gems—their flowers white with a yellow eye or purple throat, or yellow altogether; forget-me-nots, yellow, bronze, purplish, or white; the snow-groundsel, its large marguerite-like flowers produced in such profusion that the mountain-meadow glistens like a snowfield; the two kinds of edelweiss, far surpassing their Swiss elder sister in beauty, the flowers of the “everlasting” kind, their outer leaves flannelly and snow-white. But above all other plants of the mountains, not only for their beauty of flower, leaf, and form, but for their abundance in all situations, come the various species of Celmisia. “Go where you will”—to quote from “The Vegetation of New Zealand,” (ed. 2, p. 238)— “on sub-alpine and alpine herb-field and their silvery foliage strikes the eye, it may be in stately rosettes of dagger-like leaves, in circular mats trailing over the ground, or in dense cushions. Their aromatic fragrance fills the air; from early till late summer some of their white heads of blossom may be seen, while in due season, gregarious species clothe both wet herb-field and dry, stony slopes with sheets of white.”

The life-forms of the high-mountain plants are in great variety and frequently of striking appearance. Cushion-plants, rosette-plants, mat-forming plants, and stiff-stemmed shrubs are greatly in evidence. Hairiness, leathery texture, and surprising rigidity, perhaps accompanied by needle-like points, as in the giant Spaniards (Aciphylla Colensoi, A. maxima, &c.), are common characteristics of leaves.

There are many plant-communities composed of combinations of tussock-grasses, herbaceous plants, semi-woody plants, dwarf or creeping shrubs, and cushion-plants which are sometimes dense enough, and sometimes so open that there is more stony ground than vegetation. The most surprising community is that of unstable stony debris—the “shingle-slips” of the shepherds—which covers the slopes of certain dry mountains for some thousands of feet, particularly in Marlborough and Canterbury. No less than 33 species occupy this inhospitable station, 25 of which are confined thereto. So far apart do the species grow—frequently many yards—that they bear no relation to each other. Their life-forms are clearly in harmony with the peculiar environment. All have thick fleshy or leathery leaves, frequently of the grey colour of the stones. In 16 species the part above the ground is annual; the shoots nearly always lie close to the stones, but if buried they have the faculty of growing upwards again. One species, Cotula atrata, has a jet-black flower-head, with stamens like tiny golden pin-heads.

Shrubland is common in the mountains, the moist characteristic being the sub-alpine scrub, which on many mountains forms a dense belt above the timber-line. That typical of a wet climate consists of rigid or wiry-stemmed shrubs which grow into one another, and the main branches of many are parallel to the slope and project downwards. The scrub may be so dense that one must either crawl beneath it or walk on its treacherous roof. For the whole of the region the community consists of about 122 species, belonging to 28 families and 49 genera. The chief groups of plants which compose the scrub are shrubby composites and epacrids, wiry shrubs with densely entangled twigs (mainly species of Coprosma), species of Hebe, Phormium Colensoi, various podocarps, and giant Spaniards. On river-terraces scrubs with species of Hebe dominant are frequent, and fringing stony river-beds there is often an open scrub of wild-irishman (Discaria toumatou) —one of the few spinous plants in the flora.

Rock-vegetation is always of interest, and this is particularly so in the high mountains. The number of species occurring on rocks is about 190 (families, 36; genera, 74). About 44 species are virtually confined to rocks, and such include a dwarf fern (Polypodium pumilum), certain rosette plants at present referred to the genus Nasturtium, one or two dwarf Spaniards and a few forget-me-nots, hebes, celmisias, and raoulias.

The floras of the following groups of islands, far distant from the mainland, are distinctly part of that of New Zealand. The Kermadecs contain 117 species of ferns, fern-allies, and seed-plants, 16 of which are endemic, while 89 belong also to New Zealand proper. The largest island (Sunday Island) is covered with forest in which a variety of Metrosideros collina, a near relative of the pohutukawa, is the principal tree. The Chatham Islands possess at least 257 species, of which 36 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 communities. 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 193 species, no fewer than 60 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 moor, sometimes with huge tussocks, is a characteristic feature of all the islands, thanks to the enormous peat deposits and the frequent rain. Several herbaceous plants of stately form (species of Pleurophyllum, Anistome, Stilbocarpa, and Celmisia) and with flowers of extreme beauty—some of them purple in colour—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 520 species, mostly European, has followed in the wake of settlement. These aliens are in more or less 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 and arable land, 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 exotic plants and partly of those indigenous to the soil, will occupy the land, and, save in the national parks and scenic reserves, but only if these are kept strictly in their natural condition as to both plants and animals, 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 subject can consult the following books: “The Cultivation of New Zealand Plants,” by L. Cockayne, 1923; “Manual of the New Zealand Flora,” ed. 2, by T. F. Cheeseman, 1925; “New Zealand Plants and Their Story,” ed. 3, by L. Cockayne, 1927; “Plants of New Zealand,” by R. M. Laing and E. W. Blackwell, ed. 3, 1927; “New Zealand Trees and Shrubs and how to identify them,” by H. H. Allan, 1928; “The Trees of New Zealand,” by L. Cockayne and E. Phillips Turner, 1928; “The Vegetation of New Zealand,” ed. 2, by L. Cockayne, 1928. Also (but now out of print) “The Forest Flora of New Zealand,” by T. Kirk, 1889, must not be overlooked.


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. 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 within 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 the 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 fine 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.*

* A blue whale (90 ft. in length) larger than either of these was stranded at Orewa, near Auckland, in September, 1925; but all records were broken when a blue whale 110 ft. in length and weighing 115 tons was caught by the “N.T. Neilsen-Alonzo” in the Antarctic early in 1027.

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.

† 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 takahe was found in 1849 scientists concluded that it was identical with the fossil, and it was accordingly given the same name of Notornis mantelli; 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. Matthews and T. Iredale, in their “Reference List” of 1913, give Mantellornis hochstetteri as the name of this interesting rail.

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 circumpolar 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. There is reason to believe that the takahe still exists 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).

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, whoso 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.

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

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 those was the introduction of rabbits, stoats, and weasels.



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 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 those 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 loss 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 crow 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 loft 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.

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 many of these 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 Waitemata (Auckland), and a settlement formed there.

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.

New Zealand remained a dependency of New South Wales until the 3rd May, 1841, when 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.

An Act granting representative institutions to the colony was passed by the Imperial Parliament on the 30th June, 1852, and was 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.

By Order in Council dated 9th September, 1907, and by Proclamation issued 10th September, 1907, the style and designation of the Colony of New Zealand was altered 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, presided, and two members exclusive of the Governor or member presiding constituted a quorum. The Governor was required in all things to 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. The Governor could, however, exercise 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 could 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 Gazelle of the 24th April, 1919 (p. 1213). In the execution of the powers and authorities vested in him the Governor-General must be guided by the advice of the Executive Council, but, if in any case he sees sufficient cause to dissent from the opinion of the Council, he may act in the exercise of his powers and authorities in opposition to the opinion of the Council, reporting the matter to His Majesty without delay, with the reasons for his so acting.

In any such case any member of the Executive Council may 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.

The Governor-General may 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 the British Empire, or of any country or place beyond the jurisdiction of the Government of the Dominion, the Governor-General must, before deciding as to either pardon or reprieve, take those interests specially into his own personal consideration.

The present Executive Council consists of thirteen 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, presided at all meetings of the Council; four members in addition to the Governor or the member presiding formed a quorum. No law or Ordinance could be enacted by the Legislative Council which was not first proposed by the Governor, and no question might be debated unless submitted by him for that purpose The laws and Ordinances of the Council were 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 specified matters.

The Imperial Act under which the earliest appointments were made to the Legislative Council under a system of responsible government provided that the first appointees should be not less than ten in number. The number actually summoned for the first session (held at Auckland from 24th May, 1854), was sixteen, of whom only fourteen attended. 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-one.

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. 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 was formerly elected every session, but in 1928 the standing orders were amended to provide for a three-years' term of office. Speaker and Chairman are both eligible for re-election.

Provision for an elective Legislative Council is contained in the Legislative Council Act, 1914, which 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. In addition, 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 on the next page, 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; an 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.

After each population Census the Dominion is divided anew into seventy-six European electorates, according to population distribution, with an allowance for rural population. The effect of this in recent years has been to increase the number of North Island electorates and to reduce the number in the South Island, the former numbering forty-seven and the latter twenty-nine as a result of the redistribution following the 1926 Census.

The “country quota” is computed on the basis that 28 per cent. is added to the rural population, which for electoral purposes means population other than that contained in a city or borough of over 2,000 inhabitants or in any area within five miles of the chief post offices at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, or Dunedin. The “country quota” first appeared in 1881, in which year a schedule of electoral districts was prepared on the basis of the quota for country districts being “less than the quota for town districts by as nearly as possible 25 per cent.,” this being equivalent to adding 33 1/3 per cent. to the country population. The proportion to be added was reduced in 1887 to 18 per cent., but was increased in 1889 to the present 28 per cent.

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 during the Great War extended to five years by special legislation.

Every registered elector of either sex who is free from 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 now 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 new 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 mentally defective person:

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, 1927, 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 cast coast. The Province of New Munster consisted of the South and Stewart Islands and the portion of the North Island excluded from Now 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 Now 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 now 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 Pay, 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.


Even before the division of New Zealand into the two provinces of New Ulster and New Minister, 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 Homo 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 then 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—then the 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 or 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 follows:—

Town districts— 
    Not forming parts of counties42
    Forming parts of counties27
Road districts20
River districts50
Land drainage districts69
Harbour districts44
Hospital districts47
Electric-power districts43
City and suburban drainage districts3
Tramway district1
Transport district1
Local railway district1
Water-supply districts7
Main-highway districts18
Fire districts50
Rabbit districts49
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, Baron Islington, K.C.M.G., 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.

Military Secretary—Captain E. P. O. Boyle, M.V.O.

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

Aide-de-Camp—Lieutenant E. L. Orr-Ewing, M.C.

Assistant Private Secretary—The Lord Waleran.

Honorary Aides-de-Camp—Naval: Captain J. S. G. Fraser, D.S.O., R.N.; Captain L. V. Wells, D.S.O., R.N. Military: Colonel J. Findlay, C.B., D.S.O.; Brigadier 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.; Colonel J. Hargest, D.S.O., M.C.; Colonel A. B. Charters, C.M.G., D.S.O.

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

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



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, B.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,25 Aug., 191914 May, 1925.
34. BellP.C. Hon. 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, 192510 Dec, 1928.
36. WardRt. Hon. Sir Joseph George Ward, Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G.10 Dec, 1928..



 Prime Minister10 Dec, 1928.
Right Hon. Sir Joseph George Ward,Minister of Finance10 Dec, 1928.
    Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G.Minister of Stamp Duties10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of External Affairs10 Dec, 1928.
George William ForbesMinister of Lands10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Agriculture10 Dec, 1928.
Thomas Mason WilfordMinister of Justice10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Defence10 Dec, 1928.
Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata, Kt.Minister of Native Affairs10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Cook Islands10 Dec, 1928.
Harry AtmoreMinister of Education10 Dec, 1928.
William Andrew VeitchMinister of Labour10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Mines10 Dec, 1928.
Ethelbert Alfred RansomMinister of Public Works10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Railways10 Dec, 1928.
William Burgoyne TavernerMinister of Customs10 Dec, 1928.
 Commissioner of State Forests19 Dec, 1928.
James Bell DonaldPostmaster-General10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Telegraphs10 Dec, 1928.
Philip Aldborough de la PerrelleMinister of Internal Affairs10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Marine10 Dec, 1928.
John George CobbeMinister of Industries and Commerce10 Dec, 1928.
 Minister of Immigration10 Dec, 1928.
Arthur John StallworthyMinister of Health10 Dec, 1928.
Thomas Kay SideyAttorney-General10 Dec, 1928.




*Confirmed in offices previously held.

†Portfolio had been temporarily administered by Sir Maui Pomare.

 Prime Minister30 May, 192510 Dec., 1928 
 Minister of Public Works30 May, 192512 June, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Williams.
 Minister of Railways30 May, 192510 Dec., 1928 
Right Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, P.O., M.C.Minister of Native Affairs30 May, 192510 Dec., 1928 
 Minister of External Affairs25 Aug., 192810 Dec., 1928 
 Minister of Mines28 Nov., 192810 Dec. 1928 
 Minister of Agriculture28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 
 Attorney-General30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
 Minister of External Affairs30 May, 192524 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Nosworthy.
Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, P.O., G.C.M.G., K.C.Member of Executive Council without portfolio24 May, 192624 Aug., 1928Appointed Minister of Marine.
 Minister of Marine25 Aug., 192810 Dec, 1928 
David Henry GuthrieMember of Executive Council without portfolio30 May, 192531 Mar., 1927Deceased.
 Minister of Customs30 May, 1925*10 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Industries and Commerce30 May, 1925*24 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. McLeod.
 Attorney-General18 Jan., 192624 May, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Rolleston.
William Downie StewartMinister of Finance24 May, 192610 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Stamp Duties24 May. 192610 Dec, 1928 
 Attorney-General28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Justice28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Defence28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 
 Minister 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.
William NosworthyMinister of Immigration30 May, 192510 Dec, 1928 
 Postmaster-General24 May, 192610 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Telegraphs24 May, 192610 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of External Affairs24 May, 192624 Aug., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Coates.
 Minister of Education30 May, 192524 April, 1926Succeeded by Mr. Wright.
Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G.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.
 Minister of Labour30 May. 192526 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Wright.
George James AndersonMinister of Mines30 May, 192526 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Coates.
 Minister of Marine30 May, 192525 Aug., 1928Succeeded by Sir Francis Bell.
 Minister of Defence30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Rolleston.
Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes, K.C.V.O., K.B.E.Commissioner of State Forests30 May, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Hawken.
 Member of Executive Council without portfolio24 May, 192610 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Lands30 May, 192526 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Williams.
Alexander Donald McLeodMinister of Industries and Commerce24 May, 192626 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Young.
 Minister of Health1 June, 192518 Jan., 1926Succeeded by Mr. Young.
Sir Maui Pomare, K.B.E., C.M.G.Minister of Cook Islands1 June, 192510 Dec, 1928 
 Minister of Internal Affairs25 Aug., 192810 Dec, 1928 
Richard Francis BollardMinister of Internal Affairs30 May, 192525 Aug., 1927Deceased. Succeeded by Sir Maui Pomare (25th August, 1928).
Oswald James HawkenMinister of Agriculture18 Jan., 192626 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Coates.
 Commissioner of State Forests18 Jan., 192626 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Williams.
 Minister of Justice18 Jan., 192626 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
Francis Joseph RollestonMinister of Defence18 Jan., 192626 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
 Attorney-General24 May, 192626 Nov., 1928Succeeded by Mr. Stewart.
 Minister of Health18 Jan., 192610 Dec, 1928 
James Alexander YoungMinister of Industries and Commerce28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 
Robert Alexander WrightMinister of Education24 May, 192610 Dec., 1928 
 Minister of Labour28 Nov., 192810 Dec. 1928 
 Minister of Public Works12 June, 192610 Dec, 1928 
Kenneth Stuart WilliamsMinister of Lands28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 
 Commissioner of State Forests28 Nov., 192810 Dec, 1928 


His Excellency the GOVERNOR-GENERAL.

Right Hon. Sir J. G. WARD, Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G., Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Stamp Duties, Minister in Charge of Public Trust, Tourist and Health Resorts, Legislative, State Advances, Land and Income Tax, and High Commissioner's Departments.

Hon. G. W. FORBES, Minister of Lands, Minister of Agriculture, Minister in Charge of Land for Settlements, Scenery Preservation, Discharged Soldiers Settlement, and Valuation Departments.

Hon. T. M. WILFORD, Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence, Minister in Charge of Police, Prisons, and War Pensions Departments.

Hon. Sir A. T. NGATA, Kt., Minister of Native Affairs, Minister of Cook Islands, Minister in Charge of Native Trust, Government Life Insurance, and State Fire and Accident Insurance Departments, and Member of the Executive Council representing the Native Race.

Hon. H. ATMORE, Minister of Education, Minister in Charge of Scientific and Industrial Research Department.

Hon. W. A. VEITCH, Minister of Labour, Minister of Mines, Minister in Charge of Pensions and Electoral Departments.

Hon. E. A. RANSOM, Minister of Public Works, Minister in Charge of Roads and Public Buildings.

Hon. W. B. TAVERNER, Minister of Railways, Minister of Customs, Commissioner of State Forests, Minister in Charge of Publicity and Advertising Departments.

Hon. J. B. DONALD, Postmaster-General, Minister of Telegraphs, Minister in Charge of Public Service Superannuation, Friendly Societies, and National Provident Fund Departments.

Hon. P. A. DE LA PERRELLE, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister in Charge of Registrar-General's, Census and Statistics, Laboratory, Printing and Stationery, Audit, and Museum Departments.

Hon. J. G. COBBE, Minister of Marine, Minister of Industries and Commerce, Minister of Immigration, Minister in Charge of Inspection of Machinery Department.

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

Hon. T. K. SIDEY, Attorney-General and Leader of the Legislative Council.

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



Parliament.Dates of Opening of Sessions.Date of Prorogation.Date of Dissolution.
 27 May, 18549 Aug., 1854 
First31 Aug., 185416 Sept., 185415 Sept., 1855.
 8 Aug., 185515 Sept., 1855 
 15 April, 185616 Aug., 1856 
 (No sess., 1857).. 
Second10 April, 185821 Aug., 18585 Nov., 1860.
 (No sess., 1859).. 
 30 July, 18605 Nov., 1860 
 3 June, 18617 Sept., 1861 
 7 July, 186215 Sept., 1862 
Third19 Oct., 186314 Dec., 186327 Jan., 1866.
 24 Nov., 186413 Dec, 1864 
 26 July, 186530 Oct., 1865 
 30 June, 18668 Oct., 1866 
 9 July, 186710 Oct., 1867 
Fourth9 July, 186820 Oct., 186830 Dec., 1870.
 1 June, 18693 Sept., 1869 
 14 June, 187013 Sept., 1870 
 14 Aug., 187116 Nov., 1871 
 16 July, 187225 Oct., 1872 
Fifth15 July, 18733 Oct., 18736 Dec, 1875.
 3 July, 187431 Aug., 1874 
 20 July, 187521 Oct., 1875 
 15 June, 187631 Oct., 1876 
Sixth19 July, 187710 Dec., 187715 Aug., 1879
 26 July, 18782 Nov., 1878 
 11 July, 187911 Aug., 1879 
 24 Sept., 187919 Dec, 1879 
Seventh°28 May, 18801 Sept., 18808 Nov., 1881.
 9 June, 188124 Sept., 1881 
 18 May, 188215 Sept., 1882 
Eighth14 June, 1883Sept., 1883 27June, 1884.
 5 June, 188424 June, 1884 
 7 Aug., 188410 Nov., 1884 
Ninth11 June. 188522 Sept., 188515, July, 1887.
 13 May, 188618 Aug., 1886 
 26 April, 188710 June, 1887 
 6 Oct., 188723 Dec, 1887 
Tenth10 May, 188831 Aug., 18883 Oct., 1890
 20 June, 188919 Sept., 1889 
 19 June, 189018 Sept., 1890 
 23 Jan., 189131 Jan., 1891 
Eleventh11 June, 189125 Sept., 18918 Nov., 1893
 23 June, 189212 Oct., 1892 
 22 June, 18937 Oct., 1893 
 21 June, 189424 Oct., 1894 
Twelfth20 June, 18952 Nov., 189514 Nov., 1896.
 11 June, 189619 Oct., 1896 
 7 April, 189712 April, 1897 
Thirteenth23 Sept., 189715 Nov., 1899 
 24 June, 18985 Nov., 1898 
 23 June, 189924 Oct., 1899 
 22 June, 190022 Oct., 1900 
Fourteenth1 July, 19018 Nov., 19015 Nov., 1902.
 1 July, 19024 Oct., 1902 
 29 June, 190325 Nov., 1903 
Fifteenth28 June, 19048 Nov., 190415 Nov., 1905.
 27 June, 190531 Oct., 1905 
 27 June, 19063 July, 1906 
Sixteenth21 Aug., 190629 Oct., 190629 Oct., 1908
 27 June, 190725 Nov., 1907 
 29 June, 190812 Oct., 1908 
 10 June, 190917 June, 1909 
Seventeenth7 Oct., 190929 Dec, 190920 Nov., 1911.
 28, June, 19105 Dec, 1910 
 27 July, 191130 Oct., 1911 
 15 Feb., 19121 Mar., 1912 
Eighteenth27 June, 19128 Nov., 191220 Nov., 1914
 26 June, 191316 Dec., 1913 
 25 June, 19146 Nov., 1914 
 24 June, 191515 Oct., 1915 
 9 May, 19169 Aug., 1916 
Nineteenth28 June, 19172 Nov., 191727 Nov., 1919
 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., 192618 Oct., 1928.
23 June, 19277 Dec., 1927
28 June, 192811 Oct., 1928
Twenty-third4 Dec., 192819 Dec, 1928 
27 June, 1929  



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 WilliamAuckland  7 May, 1925.
Allen, Colonel the Hon. Sir James, G.C.M.G., K.C.B.Otago  1 June, 1927.
Barr, Hon. JohnCanterbury22 January, 1928.
Bell, Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon, P.O., 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.
Clark, Hon. Edward HenryOtago25 June, 1927.
Collins, Colonel the Hon. William Edward, C.M.G.Wellington14 July, 1928.
Craigie, Hon. JamesCanterbury  1 June, 1923.
Earnshaw, Hon. WilliamWellington25 June, 1927.
Fleming, Hon. David ThomasOtago  7 May, 1925.
Garland, Hon. George JosephAuckland  7 May, 1925.
Gow, Hon. James BurmanAuckland  7 May, 1925.
Hall-Jones, Hon. Sir William, K.C.M.G.Wellington  6 October, 1927.
Hanan, Hon. Josiah AlfredOtago17 June, 1926.
Hawke, Hon. Archibald FotheringhamOtago  7 May, 1925.
Isitt, Hon. Leonard MonkCanterbury28 October, 1925.
Lang, Hon. Sir Frederic William, Kt.Auckland22 February, 1924.
MacGregor, Hon. JohnOtago14 July, 1928.
McIntyre, Hon. William HendersonNelson  3 September, 1928.
Mackenzie, Hon. Sir Thomas, G.C.M.G.Wellington12 March, 1928.
Malcolm, Hon. Alexander ScottOtago16 June, 1924.
Mander, Hon. FrancisAuckland  1 June, 1923.
Michel, Hon. Henry LeslieWestland  7 May, 1925.
Mitchelson, Hon. Sir Edwin, K.C.M.G.Auckland25 June, 1927.
Moore, Hon. RichardCanterbury14 July, 1928.
Newman, Hon. Edward, C.M.G.Wellington  1 June, 1923.
Reed, Hon. Vernon HerbertAuckland16 June, 1924.
Rhodes, Hon. Sir Robert Heaton, K.C.V.O., K.B.E.Canterbury28 October, 1925.
Rikihana, Hon. WiremuAuckland  1 June, 1923.
Scott, Hon. RobertOtago25 June, 1927.
Sidey, Hon. Thomas KayOtago10 December. 1928.
Sinclair, Hon. Sir John Robert, Kt.Otago  7 May, 1925.
Smith, Colonel the Hon. George John, C.B.E.Canterbury25 June, 1927.
Snodgrass, Hon. William Wallace, M.B.E.Nelson  3 September, 1928.
Stewart, Hon. WilliamAuckland  7 May, 1925.
Stout, Right Hon. Sir Robert, P.O., K.C.M.G.Wellington  3 August, 1926.
Thomson, Hon. George MalcolmOtago  7 May, 1925.
Triggs, Hon. William HenryCanterbury  7 May, 1925.
Weston, Hon. Thomas ShailerWellington17 June, 1926.
Witty, Hon. GeorgeCanterbury28 October, 1925.



Speaker—Hon. Sir C. E. STATHAM, Kt.

Chairman of Committees—S. G. Smith, M.P.

Clerk of the House—E. W. KANE.

Name.Electoral District.
For European Electorates. 
Ansell, Alfred EdwardChalmers.
Armstrong, Hubert ThomasChristchurch East.
Atmore, Hon. HarryNelson.
Barnard, William EdwardNapier.
Bitchener, JohnWaitaki.
Black, George Charles CecilMotueka.
Bodkin, William AlexanderCentral Otago.
Broadfoot, Walter JamesWaitomo.
Burnett, Thomas DavidTemuka.
Campbell, Hugh McLeanHawke's Bay.
Carr, Rev. Clyde LeonardTimaru.
Chapman, Charles HenryWellington North.
Clinkard, Cecil HenryRotorua.
Coates, Right Hon. Joseph Gordon, P.C., M.C.Kaipara.
Cobbe, Hon. John GeorgeOroua.
De la Perrelle, Hon. Philip AldboroughAwarua.
Dickie, Harold GaltPatea.
Donald, Hon. James BellAuckland East.
Field, William HughesOtaki.
Fletcher, John ShearerGrey Lynn.
Forbes, Hon. George WilliamHurunui.
Fraser, PeterWellington Central.
Hall, Arthur WilliamHauraki.
Hamilton, AdamWallace.
Harris, AlexanderWaitemata.
Hawke, Richard WilsonKaiapoi.
Healy, Edward FrancisWairau.
Hogan, James ThomasRangitikei.
Holland, HenryChristchurch North.
Holland, Henry EdmundBuller.
Howard, Edwin JohnChristchurch South.
Hunter, Sir George, Kt.Waipawa.
Jenkins. Harry ReginaldParnell.
Jones, DavidMid - Canterbury.
Jordan, William JosephManukau.
Kyle, Herbert Seton StewartRiccarton.
Langstone, FrankWaimarino.
Linklater, JosephManawatu.
Lye, FrederickWaikato.
Lysnar, William DouglasGisborne.
McCombs, JamesLyttelton.
McDonald, Thomas WilliamWairarapa.
McDougall, DavidMataura.
McKeen, RobertWellington South.
Macmillan, Charles Edward de la BarcaTauranga.
Macpherson, John AndrewOamaru.
Martin, William LeeRaglan.
Mason, Henry Greathead RexAuckland Suburbs.
Massey, John NormanFranklin.
Munns, George CharlesRoskill.
Munro, James WrightDunedin North.
Murdoch, Alfred JamesMarsden.
Nash, James AlfredPalmerston.
O'Brien, JamesWestland.
Parry, William EdwardAuckland Central.
Poison, William JohnStratford.
Ransom, Hon. Ethelbert AlfredPahiatua.
Rushworth, Harold MontagueBay of Islands.
Samuel, Albert MoellerThames.
Savage, Michael JosephAuckland West.
Semple, RobertWellington East.
Smith, Sydney GeorgeNew Plymouth.
Stallworthy, Hon. Arthur JohnEden.
Statham, Hon. Sir Charles Ernest, Kt.Dunedin Central.
Stewart, Hon. William DownieDunedin West.
Sullivan, Daniel GilesAvon.
Sykes, George RobertMasterton.
Taverner, Hon. William BurgoyneDunedin South.
Veitch, Hon. William AndrewWanganui.
Waite, FredClutha.
Ward, Right Hon. Sir Joseph George, Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G.Invercargill.
Wilford, Hon. Thomas MasonHutt.
Wilkinson, Charles AndersonEgmont.
Williams, Kenneth StewartBay of Plenty.
Wright, Robert AlexanderWellington Suburbs.
Young, James AlexanderHamilton.
    For Maori Electorates. 
Tau HenareNorthern Maori.
Ngata, Hon. Sir Apirana Turupa, Kt.Eastern Maori.
Pomare, Hon. Sir Maui Ngatata, K.B.E., C.M.G.Western Maori.
Makitanara, TuitiSouthern 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.
Cook IslandsSecretaryS. J. Smith.
Crown LawSolicitor-GeneralA. Fair, LL.B., K.C.
CustomsComptrollerG. Craig, C.M.G., LL.D.
DefenceGeneral Officer Commanding N.Z. Military ForcesMajor - General R. Young, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
EducationDirectorT. B. Strong, M.A., B.Sc.
External AffairsSecretaryC. A. Berendsen, LL.M.
Government InsuranceCommissionerA. E. Allison.
HealthDirector-GeneralT. H. A. Valintine, C.B.E., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.P.H.
ImmigrationUnder-SecretaryH. D. Thomson.
Industries and CommerceSecretaryJ. W. Collins.
Internal AffairsUnder-SecretaryG. P. Newton.
    Registrar-General'sRegistrar-GeneralW. W. Cook.
    Census and StatisticsGovernment StatisticianM. Eraser, O.B.E.
    Government Actuary'sGovernment ActuaryC. Gostelow, F.I.A., Lond.
    ElectoralChief Electoral OfficerG. G. Hodgkins.
    Dominion MuseumDirectorW. R. B. Oliver, B.Sc.
Justice (including Patents)Under-SecretaryR. P. Ward.
LabourSecretaryF. W. T. Rowley, I.S.O.
Land and Deeds and Stamp DutiesRegistrar-General of Land, Secretary for Land and Deeds, and Commissioner of Stamp DutiesC. E. Nalder.
Land and Income TaxCommissioner of TaxesE. J. R. Cumming.
Lands and SurveyUnder-Secretary and Land Purchase ControllerJ. B. Thompson, C.B.E., M.N.Z.Soc.C.E.
Law DraftingLaw DraftsmanJ. Christie, LL.M.
MarineSecretaryG. C. Godfrey.
Mental HospitalsInspector-GeneralT. G. Gray, M.B., Bac. Surg.
MinesUnder-SecretaryA. H. Kimbell.
NativeUnder-SecretaryR. N. Jones, C.B.E.
Native TrustNative TrusteeW. E. Rawson.
NavalFirst Naval MemberCommodore G. T. C. P. Swabey, D.S.O., R.N.
PensionsCommissionerJ. H. Boyes.
PoliceCommissionerW. B. McIlveney, M.V.O.
Post and TelegraphSecretaryG. McNamara.
Prime Minister'sPermanent HeadF. D. Thomson, B.A., C.M.G.
Printing and StationeryGovernment PrinterW. A. G. Skinner.
PrisonsController-GeneralB. L. Dallard.
Public Service SuperannuationSecretaryW. M. Wright.
Public TrustPublic TrusteeJ. W. Macdonald, C.M.G.
Public WorksUnder-Secretary and Engineer-in-ChiefF. W. Furkert, C.M.G., A.M.I.C.E., A.M.I.M.E.
RailwaysGeneral ManagerH. H. Sterling, LL.B.
Scientific and Industrial ResearchSecretaryE. Marsden, D.Sc.
    Dominion LaboratoryDominion AnalystJ. S. Maclaurin, D.Sc., F.C.S.
    Dominion ObservatoryDominion Astronomer and SeismologistC. E. Adams, D.Sc., F.R.A.S., A.I.A. (Lond.).
    Geological SurveyDirectorJ. Henderson, M.A., D.Sc., B.E., A.O.S.M.
    MeteorologicalDirectorE. Kidson, M.A., D.Sc.
State AdvancesSuperintendentW. Waddel.
State Fire and Accident InsuranceGeneral ManagerJ. H. Jerram.
State Forest ServiceDirectorE. P. Turner, F.R.G.S.
Tourist and Health ResortsGeneral ManagerB. M. Wilson.
TransportCommissionerJ. S. Hunter.
TreasurySecretaryR. E. Hayes, C.M.G., I.S.O.
    National Provident FundSuperintendent 
    Friendly SocietiesRegistrarR. Witheford.
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 solo 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 Railways Department, members of the Police and Defence Forces, Judges and Magistrates, officers of the House, certain officers of the Legislative Departments, and persons 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 Department 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 other than to positions carrying a salary of over £765 per annum.

Public Service Commissioner: P. D. N. VERSCHAFFELT, LL.B.

Assistant Public Service Commissioner: B. L. DALLARD.


High Commissioner for New Zealand—Hon. Sir Christopher James Parr, K.C.M.G.

Secretary, and Loan and Stock Agent—Alexander Crabb.

Publicity and Exhibition Officer—H. T. B. Drew.

Trade and Produce Officer—W. S. Ferguson.

Immigration Officer—F. T. Sandford.

Finance Officer, Accountant, and Loan and Stock Agent—E. Toms.

Audit Officer—Arnold Hore.

Customs Department Representative—F. W. Lawrence.

Dairy Produce Officer—W. Wright.

Offices—New Zealand Government Offices, 415 Strand, London W.C. 2.


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

New Zealand Trade Commissioner for New South Wales and 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—V. H. Ryan, Director, South Australian Intelligence and Tourist Bureau (P.O. Box 664G), Adelaide.

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

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent in India—T. C. Buddie, New Zealand Insurance Co., Ltd., 26 Dalhousie Square West, 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, 1017 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. A. Paish, O.B.E., T. and G. Buildings, Grey Street (P.O. Box 369), Wellington.

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

United Slates of America.—Trade Commissioner: J. B. Foster, 100 Customhouse Quay, Wellington.



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

Belgium.—Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Armand Nihotte, Wellington; Consuls: A. M. Ferguson, Auckland: Sir J. J. Kinsey, Christchurch; G. L. Denniston, Dunedin. Vice-Consuls: C. R. J. Ward, Christchurch; 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.

China.—Consuls: Ou Tsin-Shuin, Wellington; Chu Chih-Ching, Samoa.

Czecho-Slovakia.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): Dr. R. Kuraz, Sydney. Honorary Consul: E. J. Hyams, Wellington. Honorary Vice-Consul: C. P. Agar, Christchurch.

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, Christchurch. Vice-Consuls: S. P. Anderson, Auckland; W. Perry, Hokitika; O. H. Moller, Dunedin.

Ecuador.—Honorary Consul: William Birss, Auckland.

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, Sydney. Hon. 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 Nob. A. Grossardi, Melbourne. Consul: Signor Giovanni Formichella, Wellington. Consular Agents: Joseph Wallace, Christchurch; J. A. Roberts, Dunedin; Geraldo G. Perotti, Greymouth.

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

Jugo-Slavia (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes).—Hon. Consul: John Totich, Dargaville.

Latvia.—Consul-General (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): C. L. Seya, London. Hon. Consul: N. E. Heath, Auckland.

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

Mexico.—Hon. Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand and Western Samoa): Don Carlos Zalapa, Sydney.

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; N. Francis, 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 (with jurisdiction over New Zealand and Dependencies): Sir Stephen Morell (acting), Melbourne.

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

Switzerland.—Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand): M. Stahel, Melbourne. Gerant of the Consulate: J. A. C. Allum, Auckland.

United Slates of America.—Consul-General: W. L, Lowrie, Wellington. Consuls: B. Gotlieb, Wellington; W. F. Boyle, Auckland. Vice-Consuls: L. A. Bachelder, Auckland; William P. Cochran, jun., Wellington; Q. F. Roberts, Apia (in charge). Consular Agents: H. P. Bridge, Christchurch; H. Reeves, Dunedin.



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 consisted of a collection of tables, compiled by various Government authorities and illustrating the work of their Departments.

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, 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 Resilient 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 appears to have existed 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, stool, copper, twine, turnip-seed, and medical requisites.

Branches of statistical inquiry now regularly pursued by the Census and Statistics Office include the following:—

(a) From private sources: Agricultural and pastoral statistics (main collection); areas sown in wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes; threshings of wheat and oats; potato yields (post-harvest collection); 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; electric tramways; electric-power; fire insurance; life insurance; accident insurance; finances of local governing bodies; loans of local governing bodies (quarterly); building permits; building and construction operations; forestation and plantation operations; building societies; motor transport; port cargo statistics; banks of issue; private savings-banks; wholesale and retail prices; private assignments; wages; short-time and overtime in factories; employment and unemployment; consumption and stocks of coal; hospital patients; benevolent institutions.

(b) From or through other 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; exports of butter and cheese; deceased persons' estates; State advances to local bodies; incomes and income-tax; land and land-tax; mortgages; unplaced applicants for employment; industrial disturbances; industrial accidents; joint-stock companies.

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 homes or the theatre of business operations.” Its well-written articles, generously illustrated with woodcuts and photographs, made 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 reappeared, 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 introductory and explanatory letterpress in addition to the tables.

A similar policy is also now 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.
Monthly Abstract of StatisticsMonthly.
Pocket Compendium of StatisticsAnnual.
Annual Statistical Reports— 
    Population and BuildingsAnnual.
    External Migration
    Vital Statistics
    Trade and Shipping (in two parts)
    Agricultural and Pastoral Production
    Factory Production
    Miscellaneous (Prices, Wages and Hours of Labour, Employment and Unemployment, Industrial Accidents, Building Societies, Bankruptcy, Incomes and Income-tax, Land and Land-tax, Statistical Summary)
Volumes of Census Results— 
    Geographical DistributionQuinquennial.
    Conjugal Condition
    Orphan Children and Dependent Children
    Race Aliens
    Native-born and Foreign-born
    Religious Professions
    Industrial and Occupational Distribution
    Unemployment from Sickness and other Causes
    Families and Households
    Maori and Half-caste Population
    Public Libraries and Places of Worship
    General Report
Published in New Zealand Gazette and also as extracts— 
    Vital Statistics of Urban AreasMonthly and annual.
    Estimated Population of New ZealandQuarterly.
    Estimated Yields of Wheat, Oats, and BarleyAnnual.
    Estimated Spring Areas under Wheat, Oats, Barley, and PotatoesAnnual.
    Stocks of Flour, Wheat, and OatsAnnual.

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, together with letterpress presenting new annual matter as it becomes available. The Pocket Compendium contains, in very handy form, summarized annual statistics on the various subjects dealt with in the Year-book.

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:—

PopulationD.–9Report of Department of Immigration.
Public health, hospitals, &c.H.–31Report on Public Health, Hospitals, and Charitable Aid.
 H.–7Report on Mental Hospitals.
EducationE.–1Report of Minister of Education.
 E.–2Report on Primary Education.
 E.–3Report on Education of Native Children.
 E.–4Report on Child Welfare, State Care of Children, Special Schools, and Infant-life Protection.
 E.–5Report on Manual and Technical Education.
 E.–6Report on Secondary Education.
 E.–7Report on Higher Education.
JusticeH.–16Report on Police Force of the Dominion.
 H.–20Prisons Report.
 H.–20AReport of Prisons Board.
 H.–20BReport on Operations of Offenders Probation Act.
DefenceH.–19Report of General Officer Commanding Defence Forces.
 H.–5Report on New Zealand Naval Forces.
External tradeH.–44Report of Department of Industries and Commerce.
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.
 C.–14Report on National Endowments.
Native landsG.–9Report on Native Land Courts, Maori Land Boards, and Native Land Purchase Board.
 G.–2Accounts of Native Trust Office.
 G.–3Accounts of East Coast Native Trust Lands.
SurveysC.–1AReport on Surveys.
Agricultural and pastoral productionH.–29Report of Department of Agriculture.
 H.–29AReport of Board 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.
 C.–12Report on Kauri-gum Industry.
Factory productionH.–44Report of Department of Industries and Commerce.
Public financeB.–1Public Accounts.
 B.–2Report and Accounts of Public Debt Commission.
 B.–6Financial Statement.
 B.–7Appropriations chargeable on Consolidated Fund and other Accounts.
 B.–7AAppropriations chargeable on Public Works Fund.
 D.–1Public Works Statement.
State advancesB.–13Report of State Advances Office.
 B.–14Report of Rural Intermediate Credit Board.
PensionsH.–18Report of Pensions Department.
SuperannuationH.–26Report of Public Service Superannuation Board.
 E.–8Report on Teachers' Superannuation Fund.
 D.–5Report on Government Railways Superannuation Fund.
National Provident FundH.–17Report of National Provident Fund Board.
BankingB.–15Balance-sheet of Bank of New Zealand.
 F.–1Report of Post and Telegraph Department.
 F.–4Report on Post Office Savings-bank.
InsuranceH.–8Report of Government Insurance Commissioner.
 H.–6AReport on Accident Insurance Branch of the State Fire Insurance Office.
 H.–6Report of General Manager of State Fire Insurance Office.
 H.–12Report on Fire Brigades.
Friendly societiesH.–1Report of Registrar of Friendly Societies.
Trade-unionsH.–11Report of Labour Department.
Industrial disputes.H.–11Report of Labour Department.
Industrial accidentsH.–11Report of Labour Department.
 D.–2Railways Statement.
 C.–2Mines Statement.
Electric-powerD.–1Public Works Statement.
Public Trust OfficeB.–9Report 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.
DependenciesA.–3Report on Cook and other Islands.
 A.–4Report on Western Samoa.
 A.–4AReport of Department of Health of Western Samoa.

The foregoing list relates, as stated, to annual reports. Special reports on subjects of particular interest which have been presented to Parliament during the last three years include the following:—


A.–4D. Tokelau (Union) Islands—Report of Administrator of Western Samoa.

B.–2. Allocation of Public Debt—Treasury Memorandum.

B.–5. Rural Credits—Report of Royal Commission.

H.–27. Organization of Scientific and Industrial Research—Report of Sir H. F. Heath, K.C.B.


A.–4R. Mandated Territory of Western Samoa—Report of Visit by Hon. W. Nosworthy, together with Representations of Citizens' Committee and Replies thereto, &c.

C.–15. Dobson Colliery Disaster—Report of Royal Commission.

H.–28. Tariff Commission—Report.

H.–44A. Proprietary Articles Trade Association—Report of Committee of Inquiry.

I.–16. Rural Intermediate Credit Bill Committee—Report.


A.–4B. Western Samoa—Report of Royal Commission concerning the Administration of.

C.–3A. Pulp and Paper Making—Report on Investigations into Suitability of Selected New-Zealand-grown Woods for.

G.–7. Confiscated Native Lands and other Grievances—Report of Royal Commission.

H.–17C. National Provident Fund—Actuarial Examination for the Triennium ended 31st December, 1925.

H.–26A. Public Service Superannuation Fund—Actuarial Examination as at 31st March, 1927.

H.–27. Rating of Farm Lands in Boroughs—Report of Commission of Inquiry.

H.–31A. Prevention and Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in New Zealand—Report of Committee of Inquiry.

Among important papers on subjects not specially dealt with in the Year-book are those relating to such matters as Imperial Conferences, sessions of the League of Nations, and other international Conferences. Such papers are usually to be found among the “A” series of parliamentary reports.



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. The minutiae of the distribution of population, together with analyses of various population characteristics, compiled from census data will be found in the census publications listed on page 71. 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 remarkably complete and reliable.

The basis adopted for the census—and indeed, practically universally throughout population statistics in New Zealand—is that of the population de fait, all persons being counted as at the place of enumeration, irrespective of habitual residence, legal domicile, and so forth.

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

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

The comparative shortness of the interval between the census enumerations, combined with New Zealand's insular position and the high standard of her registration system, practically precludes the possibility of serious intercensal errors. Compulsory registration of births and deaths of Europeans was instituted throughout the Dominion in 1855, and under the present system of recording such particulars it may be confidently asserted that the proportion escaping registration is very low. This remark applies to Europeans only, as the same standard of accuracy can not be claimed for Maori registrations. 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 passenger traffic 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 inclusive of Maoris where possible, in accordance with a decision of Cabinet. In certain tables, however, Maoris have of necessity been omitted, on account of absence 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 as Europeans such half-castes as were living in European fashion. 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 1st April, 1929, exceeded one and a half millions. The Ross Dependency is uninhabited.

Population, (exclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper716,679688,2831,404,961
Maori population of New Zealand proper34,29631,39765,693
Population (inclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper750,974719,6801,170,654
Population of Cook Islands and Niue7,3517,07714,428
Population of Tokelau Islands (Census, 1926)5235101,033
Population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa22,99320,96543,958


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.

Date of Enumeration.Population (excluding Maoris).Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.Average 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......
December, 186199,02139,60866.6718.70
December, 1864172,15873,13773.8620.54
December, 1867218,66846,51027.028.15
February, 1871256,39337,72517.255.11
March, 1874299,51443,12116.825.32
March, 1878414,412114,89838.368.43
April, 1881489,93375,52118.225.58
March, 1886578,48288,54918.073.39
April, 1891626,65848,1768.331.61
April, 1896703,36076,70212.242.33
March, 1901772,71969,3599.861.91
April, 1906888,578115,85914.992.79
April, 19111,008,468119,89013.492.60
October, 19161,099,44990,9819.021.57
April, 19211,218,913119,46410.872.32
April, 19261,344,469129,792*10.692.05

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.

An actual decline in population has been experienced only in 1916 and 1917, and this fall was due solely to departures of troops. The natural increase of the population has proved more than sufficient to offset any migration losses, although in point of fact, omitting movements of troops, departures have exceeded arrivals in three calendar years only—viz., 1888, 1890, and 1891. This loss by migration occurred, it will be noted, at a period of great economic depression.

The average annual population increment during the ten post-war years, 1919–28, exceeded 30,000. In 1927 the population gain fell below 20,000, and in 1928 to 16,071 (Maoris excluded). Apart from war years, which were affected by movements, of troops, this is the lowest absolute increase since 1900, and the lowest relative increase, with the exception of 1888, ever recorded. Contributing causes are the continued fall in the birth-rate, which has now reached a level equal to about half that of fifty years ago, and the shrinkage, almost to vanishing-point, of the normal excess of overseas arrivals over departures. Although Governmentally assisted immigrants arriving during 1928 numbered 2,220 (the lowest figure in post-war years), the net surplus of arrivals of all classes was only 682.

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, 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, within limits, 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. Contrasted with the European countries shown in the table following, 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.

† Europeans from census of 1926, other races from estimate; statement of increase are for Province of Cape of Good Hope only.

‡ Decrease.

New Zealand*1,344,4691,92620.8730.5123.3125.8791.09158.93
Great Britain42,767,6301,9214.7410.3612.0311.1713.9512.73
Union of South Africa7,537,6241,9268.496.4457.79111.8245.25
United States105,720,6201,92014.9421.0220.7325.5030.0822.63

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.

Over the whole period 1861–1928 migration accounted for 37.0 per cent. of the total increase, excess of births over deaths accounting for 63.0 per cent. From 1901 to 1928 the former is responsible for 31.1 per cent. and the latter for 68.9 per cent. of the increase of population.

A table is appended showing for each five-yearly period since 1860 the excess of births over deaths and of immigration over emigration. Maoris are not included.

Period.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, 1861–1928405,209448,544853,753299,054201,305500,359704,263649,8491,354,112

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 influenza epidemic of 1918, and further disturbed by the low birth-rate in recent years. The curves represent five-yearly moving averages.



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 959, 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. In recent years there has been a, considerable approach towards equality in the increase of males and females by migration, and in some years the female increase from this source has exceeded the male.

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. In the period 1861–1928 the gain of males by migration totalled 97,749 more than that of females. This excess was only partly offset numerically by a female surplus of 43,335 in the figures of natural increase, but the net excess of 54,414 males is not nearly sufficient to maintain the former high ratio of males to females in the population. The surplus of males at present, exclusive of the Native population, is some 28,000. The effect of the natural increase of population is in the direction of eliminating this surplus at the rate of about 900 per annum, and the sexes would therefore be brought to numerical equality in a few decades were it not for the somewhat variable factor of migration.


As already noted, the intercensal estimates of Dominion 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 eighteen 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.

* See letterpress following.


The actual increase of population (excluding Maoris) during the calendar year 1928 was 16,071, as compared with 19,984 in 1927. The increase for 1926 was 29,054, although from the figures shown for population at 31st December, 1925 and 1926, the increase would appear to have been much less. The population at 31st December, 1925, however, was the official estimate for that date, arrived at, incidentally, on the old basis of including with the European population half-castes living as Maoris.

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.

* Sec letterpress above.


Of the total estimated population of 1,404,961, excluding Maoris, at 31st March, 1929, adults numbered 846,159 (males, 430,959; females, 415,200).

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.
Years ended 31st 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.

Including crews of vessels, 83,684 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year 1928, which, compared with 1927, shows a decrease of 4,844. During the same period 82,889 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1927, shows a decrease of 1,787. The gain by migration to the Dominion's population during 1928 was thus only 795, as compared with 3,852 in 1927, 12,413 in 1926, and 12,802 in 1925.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last ten years are given in the table following. Crews of vessels have not been taken into account, and the figures for the year 1919 do not include members of the Expeditionary Force.



The monthly figures for 1927 and 1928 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.

It will be noted that in each month of the first half-year the number of arrivals for 1928 was less than that of the corresponding month for 1927, while during the second half-year an increase was recorded in each case with the exception of November. Excluding crews of vessels, 20,356 persons arrived during the six months ended June, 1927, as against 15,841 in 1928, while during the second half-year the figures were 18,320 and 19,637 for 1927 and 1928 respectively.


The statistics for the twelve months ended 31st December, 1928, show that during that period 35,478 persons, excluding members of crews of vessels, arrived in the Dominion. Of these, 6,339 were immigrants intending permanent residence in the country, as compared with 11,327 of a similar class in 1927. The remainder of the arrivals, 29,139 in number, were classified as shown below. Corresponding figures for the four preceding years are also given.

Immigrants intending permanent residence14,31415,70417,86811,3276,339
New Zealand residents returning from abroad14,07614,02414,37514,27115,497
Persons on commercial business2,0802,2411,9931,9731,871
Persons visiting the Dominion in connection with entertainments, sports, &c.1,0091,193994782931
Others (officials, &c., of other countries)483194343430243
Persons in transit328520533557946
Not stated100727023154

The action of the New Zealand Government in temporarily suspending, from early in 1927, the major portion of its scheme of granting assisted passages to migrants from the British Isles is chiefly responsible for the decreases shown for 1927 and 1928 in the number of immigrants intending permanent residence when compared with 1926. The figures for assisted immigrants for the years 1927 and 1928 are 5,899 and 2,220 respectively, as against 10,766 in 1926: while the decrease in the number of those who migrated to New Zealand without State assistance amounted to 1,674 in 1927 and 2,983 in 1928 when compared with 1926. The effect of the discontinuance of the “assisted” scheme would in all probability be greater than the figures would suggest. In order to obtain assistance intending migrants must fulfil certain conditions, and it frequently happens that some member or members of a family, being unable to comply with these conditions, have to come unaided. On this account, therefore, the “unassisted” are less than they would have been had the scheme not been curtailed.

The departures recorded during 1928 numbered 35,035, as compared with 36,248 in 1927. Of these, 3,954 were shown to be New Zealand residents departing permanently, 16,075 New Zealand residents departing temporarily, and 14,989 visitors to the Dominion departing. The figures which follow show the different classes of emigrants for each of the last five years:—

New Zealand residents departing permanently2,2561,9462,5814,1453,954
New Zealand residents departing temporarily15,00613,75815,15716,65916,075
Visitors to the Dominion departing13,32013,46216,06515,41414,989
Persons regarding whom no information is available116223017


New Zealand residents going abroad temporarily on business or pleasure accounted for 46 per cent. of the total departures, a similar percentage being recorded for 1927, while of the arrivals 44 per cent. were New-Zealanders returning to their homes after temporary absence, compared with 37 per cent. in 1927. The elimination of this class of migrant reduces the arrivals during 1928 to 19,981 and during 1927 to 24,405, and the departures respectively to 18,960 and 19,589.

The following table gives an indication of the destinations of New Zealand residents who went abroad during 1927 and 1928. The total for 1928 (16,075) was less than that of 1927 by 584, and males outnumbered females by 523.

Country of Destination.1927.1928.
British Isles1,4391,6753,1141,4981,8193,317
South Africa2331547737114
United States1501613111,12115227
Pacific Islands4744909645925131,105
Other countries1117718815093243


Tourists and other temporary visitors in 1928 comprised 38 per cent. of the arrivals and 43 per cent. of the departures, as compared with 34 and 43 per cent. respectively in 1927. The bulk of the temporary visitors come from Australia, the British Isles, and the United States of America. The following table shows for the years 1927 and 1928 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.Other, Official, &c.*In Transit.Total.

* Including undefined.

British Isles1,3791,41935533954115263110153872,2042,070
United States of America65669513913388282121168915926
South Africa759767..321..683114
Other countries39938214312017574226110108711693

Persons visiting the Dominion as tourists showed in 1928 an increase of 492 over the 1927 total. Apart from a decrease of 144 in the number from China, each of the main countries from which the tourist traffic is drawn showed an increase.


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 1928 6,339 persons landed in the Dominion with the intention of making their future homes here, compared with 11,327 in 1927, while during the same period 3,954 permanent residents of New Zealand were attracted to other countries, as against 4,145 in 1927. 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 in any given year. Over a period of years, of course, the best figure is arrived at by simply deducting total departures from total arrivals, including crews in each instance.


Of the total arrivals recorded during the year 1928, 9.2 per cent. were under fifteen years of age. Among the immigrants intending permanent residence, however, the proportion was much higher—viz., 17.1 per cent. The corresponding percentages for all departures and for New Zealand residents departing permanently were 10.0 and 21.2 respectively. The higher percentages under fifteen years of age in the ease 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 1927 and 1928, 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 residence21.2417.1367.8769.6210.8913.25
Permanent departures20.8921.2262.1760.1416.9418.64
Permanent gain by migration21.4410.3671.1585.327.414.32

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 1,086 children under fifteen years of age in 1928, 988 were so returned. The number of parents or guardians concerned was 539, and it is interesting to note that 267 were accompanied by one child, 175 by two children, 50 by three, 26 by four, 12 by five, 7 by six, 1 by seven, and 1 by eight. Dealing with the 839 permanent departures under fifteen years of age, it is found that 833 were returned as accompanying parent or guardian, while the number of parents or guardians involved was 447. Of these, 223 were accompanied by one child, 129 by two children, 50 by three, 28 by four, 13 by five, 3 by six, and 1 by seven. These figures convey a fairly accurate indication of the sizes of the families which comprise the recent addition to and losses from our population, for although, as mentioned above, children accompanying guardians are also included, such cases are not very numerous.


Of the 6,339 new immigrants during 1928 intending to settle in the Dominion, the vast majority, 5,987, or 94.4 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, the United States of America, and Italy. The following table shows for each of the last five years the principal countries whence arrived new immigrants who intended permanent residence in the Dominion:—

Country of Last Permanent Residence.1924.1925.1926.1927.1928.
British Isles11,08211,84314,4368,7034,063
South Africa1101361126752
Other British countries146254197168110
United States8616513711682
Other foreign countries165163153110102

With the exception of 206 persons (of whom 119 departed for the United States, 23 for China, 32 for European countries, 13 for South American countries, 8 for foreign islands of the Pacific, and 11 for other foreign countries), the whole of the New Zealand residents who permanently left the Dominion during 1928 went to British countries. The figures for the principal countries for the last five years are as follows:—

British Isles470495528732941
South Africa2529513753
Other British countries1636557986
United States5397132124119
Other foreign countries4526225264


During the year 1928 some 316 persons (males 196, females 120) of foreign nationality, out of the total of 6,339, arrived as new immigrants intending permanent residence in the Dominion, as compared with 442 (322 males, 120 females) out of a total of 11,327 in 1927, the remaining persona being British subjects. The figures for the three years 1924–26 show a considerable increase over those for the year 1923, mainly owing to the large influx of immigrants from Jugo-Slavia and Italy, but greatly decreased numbers from these countries have resulted in the 1928 total being less than half of that for each of the three years referred to. The chief nationalities represented among the alien immigrants for the last five years were as follows:—

Nationals of1924.1925.1926.1927.1928.
United States2444724030
Other countries1341071006876

There are comparatively few females among foreign nationals intending permanent residence. Whereas in 1928 a little over 46 per cent. of the British immigrants were females, the corresponding percentage for foreign nationals was only slightly over 38, this proportion being much higher than usual.

Foreign nationals constitute only a very small proportion of the total number of New Zealand residents who departed permanently during 1928. The following table shows the principal nationalities of the permanent residents departing permanently during the last five years.

Nationals of1924.1925.1926.1927.1928.
British countries2,1701,9072,5294,0363,874
United States20..8512
Other foreign countries6354131
        Total foreign86395210980
Grand totals2,2561,9462,5814,1453,954


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 permanent increase in the Dominion's race-alien population through migration for the years 1927 and 1928:—


* Decrease.

Immigrants intending permanent residence114126786441767
New Zealand residents departing permanently35316542351947
Permanent increase of race aliens in New Zealand through migration24*38102417*392*20

It should be noted that the figures quoted above include half-castes. There has been a substantial decrease in the number of Chinese immigrants during the last few years, and this, coupled with increases in the number departing permanently, makes an actual reduction in the Chinese population through migration during 1927 and 1928 of 24 and 17 respectively, as against an increase of 23 in 1926. The permanent increase in the number of Indian immigrants remains at a fairly stationary figure. The “other” race-alien immigrants intending permanent residence in 1928 were made up mainly of 10 Syrians.

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. Since 1926 no permits for Chinese immigrants have been issued by the Government. Therefore those shown as new immigrant's during the three years 1926–28 were either admitted on permits issued prior to 1926 or were former residents of New Zealand who had been absent therefrom for more than five years or were children of New Zealand residents born while parents were abroad.

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; in 1921, 3,266; and in 1926, 3,374. At the 31st March, 1929, the approximate numbers of the principal alien races present in New Zealand were: Chinese, 3,083; Indians, 1,137; and Syrians, 975.


In connection with the following paragraphs, it should be explained that since about May, 1927, the system of assisted immigration has been temporarily suspended except in regard to (1) domestics and single women, (2) boys under Flock House (also girls), Salvation Army, and Church of England schemes, and (3) wives, &c., of immigrants who have arrived previously.

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 adults, under 50 years (including widows with children)£11£13£17
Single men, 19 and under 50£11£13£17
Single women (including widows without children)—
    19 and under 40Free£2£6
    40 and under 50£11£13£17
Boys and girls, 12 and under 19Free£2£6
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, Wellington. 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 and 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.

Passages at reduced rates are not 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 is 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.

In addition to the system of nomination, qualified domestic servants under 40 years of age may, on application to the High Commissioner, be granted free passages to New Zealand. To be eligible a person must be a bona fide domestic (general servant, cook, housemaid, parlourmaid, waitress, laundress, or nursemaid) and be in employment as such at time of application, and a written undertaking must be given to follow such calling for at least twelve months after arrival in the Dominion, and that marriage will not be contracted during that period.

Qualified farm labourers under 45 may apply for and be granted assisted passages as for single men. The conditions are the same as in the case of domestics, except, of course, that the question of marriage does not enter into the matter.

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). As explained previously, the present scheme has been in the main suspended since the middle of 1927. The numbers of assisted immigrants during each year are as follows:—


The total to 31st December, 1928, is 222,370, 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. While 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.

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.

In the case of domestics, the matron in charge on board is instructed to classify the girls under two heads: (a) Those with work already arranged or with 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 vised 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 Western 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, the Cook Islands, or Western 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, including territories under British protection or mandate, but not Palestine or Mesopotamia unless specially endorsed for those countries.


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.

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.

(2) Idiots or insane persons.

(3) Persons suffering from contagious diseases which are loathsome or dangerous.

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

(5) 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.

(6) Aliens of the ago 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.

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 the departure of the visitor if the conditions of the temporary permit are complied with. The Collector of Customs may also require, if he so decides, a deed to be entered into by some person or persons resident in New Zealand approved by him guaranteeing to pay all expenses that may be incurred by the Crown or any public body for the visitor's maintenance, relief, arrest, or detention in New Zealand or his deportation therefrom.

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


When persons arrive in New Zealand who are lunatic, idiotic, deaf, dumb, blind, or infirm, and are 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, residence, particulars of children under fifteen years of age arriving with him, and (if not domiciled in New Zealand) occupation, and places of birth of himself and father.


The British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Act, 1928, which was reserved for Royal assent, came into force on the 1st July, 1929. This Act made important alterations in the naturalization law of New Zealand, and made provision for the adoption of Part II of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914 (Imperial). The effects of the adoption of the provisions referred to are twofold, namely:—

(1) Certificates of naturalization heretofore granted or that may hereafter be granted in the United Kingdom or in any of the self-governing dominions in accordance with the said Part II will be operative in New Zealand, and the holders will accordingly continue, when in New Zealand, to be entitled to the privileges and to be subject to the obligations of British subjects.

(2) Certificates of naturalization granted in New Zealand after the commencement of the Act will confer on the holders thereof the complete status of British subjects, a status which will not be forfeited by departure from New Zealand. In this respect it differs from the status created by naturalization under the previous law.

Holders of existing certificates of naturalization granted in New Zealand may apply for and receive certificates under the present law; unless and until new certificates are issued to them, their rights and obligations as British subjects remain restricted to New Zealand. The Act does not impose any obligation upon the holders of such certificates to apply for the more complete form of naturalization afforded by the Act, and no limitations are placed upon the duration of existing certificates.

The Imperial Act provides as a condition precedent to the grant of a certificate of naturalization that the applicant must have an adequate knowledge of the English language. This condition is, in the case of Samoans, dispensed with in the Act. As it is not legally possible for the New Zealand Legislature to dispense with any conditions in the adoption of the Imperial Act, it is proposed to retain for Samoan applicants for naturalization who cannot satisfy the above condition the limited type of certificate that has been heretofore granted. Every certificate which is so limited in its operation will bear on its face a statement to that effect. Samoans who satisfy the language requirements will be entitled to receive certificates conferring on them the full status of British subjects.


Section 13 of the Act re-enacts the existing law as to the capacity of aliens to acquire and hold land in New Zealand. The electoral rights of aliens in relation to local government are defined in section 17 of the Local Elections and Polls Amendment Act, 1926.


An alien friend residing in New Zealand may apply to the Minister of Internal Affairs, setting forth—

(a) His name, age, birthplace, residence, occupation, nationality, name of wife or husband, and names and nationality of parents:

(b) 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):

(c) A request that a certificate of naturalization may be granted to him.

If the Minister is satisfied—

(a) That the applicant has either resided within New Zealand for a period of not less than five 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 before the application; and

(b) That the applicant is of good character and has an adequate knowledge of the English language; and

(c) That the applicant intends, if his application is granted, to continue to reside in His Majesty's dominions, or to enter or continue in the service of the Crown; and

(d) That in all other respects the applicant is a person fit to hold and exercise the rights of a British subject in New Zealand—

he may, in his absolute discretion, give or withhold the certificate as he thinks most conducive to the public good, and no appeal lies from his decision.

The Minister of Internal Affairs is empowered to revoke a certificate of naturalization that has been obtained by false representation or fraud, or by concealment of material circumstances, or where the person to whom the certificate is granted has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty. Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions it is laid down that the Minister shall by order revoke a certificate of naturalization granted by him in any case in which he is satisfied that the person to whom the certificate was granted either—

(a) Has during any war in which His Majesty is engaged unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy or with the subject of an enemy State, or been engaged in or associated with any business which is to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist the enemy in such war; or

(b) Has within five years of the date of the grant of the certificate been sentenced by any Court in His Majesty's dominions to imprisonment for a term of not less than twelve months, or to a term of penal servitude, or to a fine of not less than one hundred pounds; or

(c) Was not of good character at the date of the grant of the certificate; or

(d) Has since the date of the grant of the certificate been for a period of not less than seven years ordinarily resident out of His Majesty's dominions otherwise than as a representative of a British subject, firm, or company carrying on business, or an institution established, in His Majesty's dominions, or in the service of the Crown, and has not maintained substantial connection with His Majesty's dominions; or

(e) Remains according to the law of a State at war with His Majesty a subject of that State;

and that (in any case) the continuance of the certificate is not conducive to the public good.

The fees are as follows, that for the grant of a certificate of naturalization covering also the registration of the certificate and of the oath of allegiance in respect thereof:—

Certificate of naturalization (local) in case of a Samoan026
Certificate of naturalization in case of a women who was a British subject previously to her marriage to an alien050
Certificate of naturalization in other cases—
          (i) Except in cases of indigence1000
          (ii) In case of indigence, to be determined by the Minister of Internal Affairs100
Registration of a declaration of alienage or of retention or resumption of British nationality0100
Certified copy of any declaration or certificate0100

During the year 1928 letters of naturalization in New Zealand were granted to 302 persons of the undermentioned birthplaces, as compared with 137 in the previous year. In addition, 155 children were included in the certificates of their parents, and certificates under the new legislation were issued to three male Dalmatians (covering also four children) previously naturalized in New Zealand.

Country of Birth.Males.Females.Total.Children.*

* Children included in certificate of parent; additional to preceding figures.

    Faroe Islands2..2..
Danzig Free City1..1..
United States5..58
America (not further defined)1..1..
Western Samoa3..32

In the last seven years 1,697 subjects or citizens of other nations obtained letters of naturalization in New Zealand. The following table exhibits the principal countries involved. For the last four years concerned the basis is the country of birth, for the remaining three the previous nationality.

United States59
Western Samoa28
Other countries52



In 1858 the North Island had a larger population than the South, this position being reversed at the succeeding enumerations until 1901, in which year the North Island was found to have slightly the larger total, a position which it has since considerably improved upon. The Maori War which broke out in 1860 retarded settlement in the North, while a large area of land reserved for the Maoris was for many years a serious hindrance to the development of this portion of the Dominion. The South Island was practically free from Maori troubles, and settlement was more rapid, though much of the land was disposed of in large areas. The discovery of gold in Otago in 1861 and on the West Coast m 1864 attracted to these localities considerable numbers of miners.

Population of the North and South Islands, 1858–1926.

Census Year.Population (excluding Maoris).Proportions per Cent.
North Island.South Island.*Total.North Island.South Island.*

* Including Stewart Island and Chatham Islands.


A feature of recent years has been the steady trend of population to the North Island.

The natural increase of population (i.e., excess of births over deaths) for the South Island in 1928 was 5,250, yet the total increase was only 3,636. A net “drift” of 1,614 is therefore disclosed. For the North Island the natural increase was 10,139, and the total 12,435. These figures are exclusive of Maoris.


The populations of the various provincial districts, as disclosed by the censuses of 1901, 1911, 1921, and 1926, with the estimate for the current year, areas follows:—

Provincial District.Census Population.*Estimated Population* as at 1st April, 1929.

* Excluding Maoris.

Hawke's Bay35,42448,54660,92565,62068,530
    Otago portion125,341132,402136,880149,522150,360
    Southland portion47,80458,72862,14765,12167,260

During the twenty-five years from 1901 to 1926 the population of the Dominion increased by 74 per cent., and each of the four North Island provincial districts showed a higher rate of increase—viz., Auckland, 141 per cent.; Wellington, 93 per cent.; Hawke's Bay, 65 per cent.; and Taranaki, 80 per cent. Among the South Island provincial districts Canterbury led with a percentage increase of 49, followed by Marlborough (37), Southland (36), Nelson (34), Otago (19), and Westland (4).


On 20th April, 1926, somewhat over one-third (38.5 per cent.) of the population of the Dominion (excluding Maoris) was included in the four principal urban areas—Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and over one-half (51.6 per cent.) in these and in the ten secondary urban areas. The urban areas are not homogeneous local governing bodies, but were formed for statistical purposes, with a view to obviating difficulties formerly experienced through alterations of boundaries of cities and boroughs. Each urban area contains, in addition to the central city or borough and any suburban borough, town, or road districts, a considerable non - municipalized area adjacent to and contingent on the centre. The boundaries, which were designed to remain unaltered for a long period, thus allowing of definite comparisons being made over a series of years, were fixed with a view to providing for probable expansion.

Including those cities and boroughs which form parts of urban areas, the borough population at the census of 1926 aggregated 785,040, or 58.39 per cent. of the total population of the Dominion. Prior to 1900 there was no statutory limitation to the number of inhabitants necessary to constitute a borough, and consequently many small centres became municipalities. The Municipal Corporations Act now imposes a limit as to area, and provides that no new borough may be constituted unless the proposed area contains at least 1,000 inhabitants.

The counties contain what is generally regarded as the rural population, though this is only approximately correct, some of the boroughs, as stated above, having small populations mainly engaged in rural occupations. On the other hand, some of the non-municipalized towns, which include town districts suburban to the cities and principal boroughs and lying within the urban areas referred to above, have populations more urban than rural.

The town districts are of two classes, which may be referred to as “dependent” and “independent,” the former being in some matters under the jurisdiction of the Council of the county within which it lies, while the latter is entirely independent of county control. A town district may attain its independence of the county when its population exceeds 500, and may become a borough on reaching a population of 1,000.

For population purposes dependent town districts have their figures included in the totals of the counties within which they lie, while independent town districts are excluded, as is also the case with boroughs. Under the old method of computing urban and rural population, however, both classes of town districts are included in the county totals, as in the following table showing the urban and rural population at each census since 1881:—

Census Year.Counties.Boroughs.Percentage.
Counties.Boroughs.Shipboard, &c.


In view of the public attention which has in recent years been bestowed upon the question of urban drift, the subject merits some further discussion. A measure of very fair accuracy is provided by the proportion of “county” and “borough” population in the table immediately preceding. Its drawback is perhaps that it slightly overstates the proportion of urban inhabitants and recent movements of the urban drift. A better criterion is contained in the next table, although perhaps the effects are here slightly understated.

For reasons indicated above, it is not altogether correct to regard the county population as rural and the borough population as urban. It is perhaps preferable to consider the question in the light of the following figures, in the computation of which the urban population is considered as that living in cities, boroughs, or town districts of over 1,000 inhabitants in 1881, 1,200 in 1886, 1,300 in 1891, 1,450 in 1896, 1,600 in 1901, 1,800 in 1906, 2,050 in 1911, 2,250 in 1916, and 2,500 in 1921 and 1926. Here the basic town has been given a rate of increase approximately equivalent to that of the country as a whole, it being assumed that a town of 2,500 bears much the same relationship at the present day as one of 1,000 inhabitants did in 1881. The results are as under:—

Census.Rural Population: Per Cent.Urban Population: Per Cent.

The increasing proportion of urban population in recent years is plainly manifest. It is noteworthy that the “urban drift,” either non-existent or quiescent up to 1906, in that year commenced a swift rise, which is rapidly gaining in momentum.

Consideration of urban population would be incomplete without a reference to the size of the towns dealt with. To that end a table has been compiled which shows the grouping of the residents of cities, boroughs, and town districts according to the size of their municipality. The total may be taken as corresponding sufficiently well to the urban population. The table shows some very interesting

movements in urban distribution, but it is necessary to utter a caution against comparisons made without due consideration. Adjoining boroughs frequently amalgamate, and thus a large borough or city is at once in existence, although there may well be little or no change otherwise. Again, boroughs or town districts are often created out of what prior to such creation has been considered rural territory, and the change in status automatically places them within the number of the urban population without any corresponding change in the industries, &c., characteristic of the respective towns. Furthermore, the number of alterations in the boundaries of local districts is most marked.

Boroughs and Town Districts with Populations of1901.1926.
Number of Boroughs, &c.Population.Per Cent. ofNumber of &c. Boroughs, &c.Population.Per Cent. of
Urban Population.Total Population.Urban Population.Total Population.
Over 50,000........4337,22140.5725.08
Under 1,0006335,8829.774.647538,7224.662.88

An important characteristic of the distribution of urban population in New Zealand is what may be termed its decentralization. Increase of one great metropolis containing a huge proportion of the population, as if the case of the Australian States—e.g., Victoria, whose capital city, Melbourne, contains over 50 per cent. of the total population of the State—the more highly urbanized portion of the community is localized in four widely separated centres. These four centres have always existed more or less on the same plane, a fact which has played no small part in the development of the country.

Urban and rural communities are not evenly distributed. The South Island, for example, contains proportionately more rural population that does the North Island. Of the Northern provincial districts Taranaki is the only one in which rural population predominates. The distribution as at the census of 1926 is set forth in the accompanying table:—

Provincial District.Boroughs, &c., of over 10,000.Boroughs, &c., of 2,500–10,000.Boroughs, &c., of under 2,500.Total Population of Boroughs, &c.Remainder of Population.
Hawke's Bay225,05014,24399,11038,40327,217
    Otago portion167,536317,5131916,987102,03647,486
    Southland portion117,15613,914109,75430,82434,297

New Zealand is not alone in experiencing the modern tendency towards urban aggregation: it is, in fact, occurring in almost all countries. Accurate data on this point are not readily available, but the next table, which gives a comparison with England and the United States, removes this deficiency to some extent. Neither of these two countries, however, represents the same stage of development as the Dominion, so that the comparison suffers to that extent. The urban population quoted for England is that of the total of “urban districts”: that for the United States is the total population in towns of over 2,500 inhabitants.

Census nearest toNew Zealand.England and Wales.United States of America.

The population of each urban area, county, borough, and town district as at 1st April, 1929, is given in the schedules which follow.


Urban Area.Population (including Maoris).
Auckland City102,070
    Birkenhead Borough3,285
    Northcote Borough485
    Takapuna Borough835
    Devonport Borough10,235
    New Lynn Borough3,230
    Newmarket Borough3,240
    Mount Eden Borough19,530
    Mount Albert Borough19,690
    Onehunga Borough11,000
    Otahuhu Borough4,805
    Ellerslie Town District2,715
    Mount Roskill Road District5,875
    One Tree Hill Road District7,670
    Mount Wellington Road District1,280
    Panmure Township Road District305
    Remainder of urban area5,550
Wellington City105,400
    Lower Hutt Borough11,625
    Petone Borough10,520
    Eastbourne Borough1,990
    Johnsonville Town District1,330
    Remainder of urban area2,905
Christchurch City88,100
    Riccarton Borough5,050
    New Brighton Borough4,780
    Sumner Borough3,200
    Lyttelton Borough3,710
    Remainder of urban area20,570
Dunedin City67,100
    St. Kilda Borough8,130
    Green Island Borough2,260
    West Harbour Borough2,045
    Port Chalmers Borough2,575
    Remainder of urban area2,970
Hamilton Borough14,800
    Remainder of urban area2,660
Gisborne Borough13,635
    Remainder of urban area2,035
Napier Borough16,025
    Taradale Town District1,170
    Remainder of urban area1,865
Hastings Borough10,850
    Havelock North Town District1,060
    Remainder of urban area3,690
New Plymouth. 
New Plymouth Borough14,970
    Remainder of urban area2,240
Wanganui City24,850
    Remainder of urban area2,780
Palmerston North. 
Palmerston North Borough19,535
    Remainder of urban area1,745
Nelson City10,580
    Tahunanui Town District690
    Remainder of urban area980
Timaru Borough16,300
    Remainder of urban area1,590
Invercargill Borough19,760
    South Invercargill Borough1,060
    Remainder of urban area2,490


(NOTE.—The column headed “Administrative” does not include boroughs or town districts independent of county control, but includes dependent town districts. The heading “Geographic” includes all cities, boroughs, or town districts geographically situated in a county.)

County.Population (including Maoris).
North Island—  
    Bay of Islands7,6808,205
    Great Barrier380380
    Hauraki Plains4,2954,295
    Hawke's Bay15,02044,125
    Waimate West2,9103,595
    Wairarapa South3,2705,120
South Island—
    Mount Herbert520520
    Chatham Islands610610
    Stewart Island665665
Grand total582,9551,462,595


Borough.Population (including Maoris).
North Island— 
    New Lynn3,230
    Auckland (City)102,070
    Mount Eden19,530
    Mount Albert19,690
    Te Awamutu1,715
    Te Kuiti2,465
    Te Aroha2,400
    New Plymouth14,970
    Wanganui (City)24,850
    Palmerston North19,535
    Upper Hutt3,170
    Lower Hutt11,625
    Wellington (City)105,400
South Island— 
    Nelson (City)10,580
    Christchurch (City)88,100
    New Brighton4,780
    Port Chalmers2,575
    West Harbour2,045
    Dunedin (City)67,100
    St. Kilda8,130
    Green Island2,260
    South Invercargill1,060
Grand total842,225


Town District.Population (including Maoris).
(a) Town Districts not forming Parts of Counties.
North Island— 
    Glen Eden1,340
    Te Puke990
    Havelock North1,060
South Island—
    Pleasant Point575
Grand total37,415
(b) Town Districts forming Parts of Counties.
North Island— 
    Te Kauwhata450
    Te Karaka370
South Island— 
Grand total9,500


New Zealand has many townships with considerable population, but without local self-government as boroughs or town districts. A list of such townships (other than those included in urban areas) with more than five hundred inhabitants, as at the census of 20th April, 1926, is here given. The population quoted includes, as a rule, the immediate neighbourhood as well as the actual township itself.

* Including construction camp.

† Including mental hospital.

Miller's Flat511


Adjacent to the main Islands are many smaller islands, some of which are of considerable area, and are under cultivation; others are but islets used as sites for lighthouses, while others again are barren and unfitted for human habitation. Some of these islands are included within the boundaries of counties, and their populations are included in the county figures. The following adjacent islands not attached to any county were inhabited at the census of 1926:—

Island.Population (including Maoris).
Little Barrier123
Great Mercury3..3


The total area of the Dominion of New Zealand, including Cook and other annexed islands, is 103,861 square miles. Omitting the annexed islands and certain uninhabited outlying islands, the area of the land-mass remaining is 103,285 square miles. This calculation, it should be explained, includes all inland waters.

Using the latter figure as a base, the density of population in 1929 may be quoted as 13.60 persons to the square mile, or, if Maoris be included, 14.24 persons to the square mile.

A truer statement of average density can be ascertained by applying not the total area as used above, but subtracting the area occupied by rivers, lakes, roads, State forests, higher portions of mountain-ranges, &c. The remaining area, amounting to about 84,500 square miles, which may be considered as the total inhabitable or usable land, carries a population of 1663 (or, including Maoris, 1740) persons to the square mile.

Reverting to the area first used above, as being the one in common use for this purpose, the progress of development is illustrated in the appended statement:—

Persons per Square Mile.
Excluding Maoris.Including Maoris.

Of interest also is the relative distribution of the population, and to this end the density is quoted for provincial districts as at the 1st April, 1929:—

Persons per Square Mile.Area in Square Miles.Provincial District.
Excluding Maoris.Including Maoris.
Hawke's Bay4,24116.1617.33
Otago—Otago portion13,95710.7710.80
Southland portion11,3585.925.96

The South Island provincial districts, it should be noted, contain on an average much more mountainous country than those of the North Island.

The various cities, boroughs, and town districts in New Zealand occupy a total of approximately 508 square miles. Considering their population as “urban,” the urban population (1929) had a density of 1,750 per square mile, and the rural population a density of 5.6 per square mile.

Attention may be drawn to the necessity for the exercise of discretion in the use of data concerning density of population, particularly in comparing one country with another. Areas may be calculated in many ways, while area itself may have little relationship to potentiality of use. In the case of urban population, it is impossible to obtain the aggregate area of sites actually in occupation by business premises, residences, &c. Many boroughs contain within their boundaries large reserves which, with farming and other unbuilt-on land, tend to disguise the actual relation of population to area.


A record of early statistics of Maoris is given in the General Report on the Census of 1921. The first official general census was taken in 1857-58, and others occurred in regular sequence from 1874 onwards. Owing to inherent difficulties the earlier census records make no pretence towards complete accuracy, and even later enumerations hardly claim to be more than approximations which approach the truth as nearly as possible.

Available statistical evidence points to a decline in the numbers of the Native race since the advent of Europeans, but this decline was commonly exaggerated by early writers. Of later years an unmistakable increase has been noted. This gain, however, has been accompanied by a very considerable dilution of blood. The census record is as follows:—

* Includes half-castes, vide introduction to section.
1929 (estimate)65,693*

Of 65,693 Maoris in April, 1929, 62,786 were in the North Island. Auckland Provincial District contains the bulk (47,116), particularly in the Auckland Peninsula and Poverty Bay regions. Hawke's Bay contains some 4,970; Taranaki, 3,850; and Wellington, 6,850. In the South Island Maoris do not attain any numerical significance. During 1928-29 the Maori population increased by 876.

The following table, which shows the increasing proportion of children under fifteen years of age, affords further evidence of increasing numbers:—

Census Year.Males.Females.
Under 15.Over 15.Under 15.Over 15.

The (arithmetic) mean age of Maoris in 1926 was—males, 23.88; females, 22.95 years. The Maori population is a younger one than the European, and possesses higher ratios at all ages up to twenty-five years.

The number of half-castes is given in the next table for seven census periods. Those under the first heading have, prior to the census of 1926, been included in the Maori totals, the others being classed among the European population. It is a matter of some difficulty to ascertain the number of half-castes living as Maoris. There has been no definite rule to guide collectors in deciding when a half-caste should be classified as living as a Maori—indeed, it might be said that all the half-castes and a large proportion of the Maoris in the South Island live in European fashion. They mostly have separate holdings of land and separate homes, and have adopted the habits of the Europeans. At the censuses of 1916 and 1921 the old method of enumerating the South Island Maoris was discarded, the same methods and forms being utilized as for the European population, and in 1926 for the first time schedules were employed in the North Island, a special Maori schedule being used in most cases. It is interesting to note that of the total Maori entries on all schedules over 45 per cent. were in the Maori language.

Census Year.Half-castes.Total.
Living as Members of Maori Tribes.Living as and among Europeans.

The 1926 Census Results, of which Volume XIV is devoted to a more comprehensive statistical survey of the characteristics of the Maori population than has hitherto been possible, show that a total of 69,780 persons possessed some degree of Maori blood. Of these, 45,429 were classed as of full Maori blood, this term including all persons whose ancestry ranges from over seven-eighths Maori blood to unmixed native descent. As noted in the Census Results, the degree of miscegenation is probably understated, and the numbers of Maoris of pure Maori descent is unlikely to greatly exceed 50 per cent. of the total. The 1926 census analysis is as follows:—

Counted in the Maori population— 
        Full Maori45,429
        Maori-European, n.o.d.303

The religious affiliations of the Maori, available for the first time through the 1926 census, show interesting variations from those of the Europeans. Religious professions with the greatest number of adherents were:—

Church of England21,738
Ratana Church11,567
Roman Catholic8,558
Mission (“Mihinare”)3,804
Latter-day Saints (Mormon)3,461
Followers of Te Whiti and Tohu375
Maori Church90
Seventh-day Adventist84
Seven Rules of Jehovah71
Object to state3,193
All others1,485

The close connection of the Maori race with the soil is well evidenced by the following figures. Apart from some 4,729 labourers whom paucity or data prevent from more specific classification, some two-thirds of all Maori male breadwinners are engaged in farming or forest pursuits:—

Numbers engaged inMales.Females.
* Includes 4,729 labourers.
Primary production8,4991,798
Transport and communication52516
Commerce and finance9325
Public administration and professional623333
Domestic and personal service58627
Other groups (including ill-defined)7,006*607

An analysis of Maori dwellings and households compiled from the 1926 census records shows that there were 10,771 dwellings, averaging 5.7 occupants each. Of these, 69 per cent. were classed as private dwellings, 17 per cent. as huts or whares, 12 per cent. as tents, camps, &c., and 2 per cent. as “other dwellings.”

Out of 8,989 cases in which the facts were ascertained, dwellings were owned by the occupiers in 6,675 instances, and 1,387 were rented.


During the year 1901 the boundaries of the Dominion were extended to include the Cook Group and certain other of the South Pacific islands. No record of the population of these islands was then obtainable, but at each subsequent census a record of various particulars was obtained. In April, 1929, the population was estimated at 14,428, of which Europeans composed over 300. The movement of population is in the direction of a gradual increase. The figures for each census from 1906 onwards are as follows:—

Census Year.Males.Females.Total.

The population (1926) of the various islands is as follows, non-Native population being mentioned first: Aitutaki (14, 1,417); Atiu (9, 924); Mangaia (8, 1,241); Manihiki (3, 413); Manuae and Te-au-o-tu (2, 21); Mauke (15, 496); Mitiaro (2, 236); Palmerston (0, 97); Penrhyn (5, 390); Pukapuka (16, 510); Rakahanga (2, 325); Rarotonga (202, 3,682); shipping at Rarotonga (3, 49); Niue (32, 3,763).


At 1st April, 1929, the population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa was estimated at 43,958, made up as follows:—

European and half-caste population1,3851,0192,404
Native Samoan population20,47119,93740,408
Chinese indentured-contract labour921..921
Chinese (non-indentured)70878
Melanesian and Polynesian indentured-contract labour1461147

The population at the census of 1926 (40,229) was 3,886 in excess of that disclosed by the census of 1921 (36,343). A full comparison with enumerations prior to 1921 is not possible, owing to indentured-contract labour not having been included in these. A census taken in July, 1917, showed the European population to then number 1,927, and the native Samoans 35,404. The latter are now steadily increasing in number.


The sources of the data quoted herein comprise official publications, bulletins issued by the League of Nations, and the Statesman's Year-book. So far as can be ascertained with some pretension to comparative accuracy—the various estimates of the population of the Chinese Empire, for instance, vary to the extent of considerably over 100 millions—the world population is now over 1,900 millions.

The 1,470,000 inhabitants of the Dominion therefore comprise about one thirteen-hundredth part of the population of the world. Details for continents are:—

North America134,000,000161,000,000
South America56,000,00079,000,000

The Chinese population included above is 441 millions in 1913 and 458 millions in 1927.

As a useful indication of the comparative size of various countries, the following index of population has been prepared:—

Country.Population (000 omitted).Year.Index of Population (New Zealand = 1).
England and Wales39,4821,92827
Northern Ireland1,2481,9281
Irish Free State2,9501,9282
India (including Native States)331,5001,928225
Union of South Africa7,7001,9285
    New South Wales2,4451,9292
    South Australia5791,9290.41
    Western Australia4061,9290.3
New Zealand1,4711,9291
Russia (Soviet Union)150,5001,928102
United States120,0131,92882


Table of Contents



REGISTRATION of births in New Zealand dates as far back as 1847, in which year was passed a Registration Ordinance which made provision for a record of births and deaths being kept by the State. Under this Ordinance many registrations were effected, some of births as far back as 1840. Compulsory registration did not, however, come into force until 1855.

The earlier Registration Acts and their amendments provided for very little information being given in the case of births, the register containing merely date and place of birth, name and sex of child, names of father and mother, and occupation of father. In 1875, however, a more comprehensive Registration Act was passed, under which information was recorded as to ages and birthplaces of parents, and in 1912 the sexes and ages of previous issue of the marriage were added to the items required to be shown in the birth entry.

The law as to registration of births is now embodied in the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1924, a consolidation of the then existing legislation. The provisions generally as to registration are that a birth may be registered within sixty-two days without fee. After sixty-two days and within six months a birth is registrable only after solemn declaration made before the Registrar by the parent or some person present at birth, and on payment of a late fee of 5s., which may, however, be remitted at the discretion of the Registrar-General. When six months have elapsed a birth may be registered with a Registrar of Births within one month after conviction of one of the responsible parties for neglect, but an information for such neglect must be laid within two years of date of birth. Power is given by the Act of 1924 for the Registrar-General to register an unregistered birth which occurred in New Zealand, irrespective of the time that may have elapsed, a fee of 5s. being payable and satisfactory evidence on oath and such other proof as the Registrar-General may deem necessary being required.

There is also provision in the Births and Deaths Registration Act for the re-registration of the births of adopted children, with particulars of the adopting parents in place of those of the natural parents.

Registration of still-births, previously not provided for, was made compulsory from the 1st March, 1913.

Although sixty-two days are allowed for the registration of a birth, it is compulsory to notify the birth to the Registrar within a much shorter interval—viz., forty-eight hours if in a city or borough, and twenty-one days in every other case.


In the successive Registration Acts special provision was made for exemption from the necessity of registration in the case of births and deaths of Maoris, though registration could be effected if desired. Section 20 of the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act, 1912 (now section 60 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1924), empowered the making of regulations to provide for the registration of births and deaths of Maoris. Regulations were made accordingly, and Maori births and deaths became registrable as from the 1st March, 1913. The number of Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths in the Dominion is over 200, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Native settlement of any size is within easy reach of one of these Registrars. Maori registrations are entered in a separate register, and the figures of births given in the following pages do not include those of Maoris, which are dealt with towards the end of this subsection.


The number of births registered in 1928 (27,200) is 681 less than the total for 1927 and 735 less than the figure for 1913, in spite of an increase of over 320,000 in population during the fifteen years. The rate per 1,000 of mean population (19.56) is the lowest ever recorded in the Dominion, being 0.73 per 1,000 lower than in 1927, which represented the previous lowest level.

The numbers and rates of births in each of the last twenty years are as follows:—