Table of Contents

List of Tables


WITH the attainment of its fortieth issue the "New Zealand Official Year-book" has now behind it a record of no mean proportions, and, it is perhaps justifiable to assume, has established traditional standards of service and merit which will afford worthy foundations for the issues of the future.

In bulk the present number is some 150 pages smaller than its immediate predecessor, in accordance with the dictates of strict economy. Curtailment of services in other directions has also rendered it difficult, and occasionally impossible, to retain the full detail of previous issues. Within the limits of economic restrictions the task of condensation has been given very careful consideration, and it is confidently believed that the value of the Year-book is not greatly impaired.

In view of the reduction in compass, no new material of major importance has been introduced. Mention may be made of an important revision of Section XXXVI by the modernizing of the base period to which index numbers of retail prices are related, and the application of data derived from the Household Budget inquiry of 1930. Section XL, dealing with Employment and Unemployment, has been recast, and the article by Dr. Kidson on the climate of New Zealand (Section I) is entirely new.

The map of New Zealand which appeared in the Year-book for the first time in 1931 is repeated at the back of the volume.


Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Office,

Wellington, 15th December, 1931.



RIGHT HON. G. W. FORBES, P.C., Prime Minister, Minister of Railways, Minister of External Affairs, and Minister in Charge of Scientific and Industrial Research, Public Trust, Electoral, and High Commissioner's Departments.

RIGHT HON. J. G. COATES, P.C., Minister of Public Works, Minister of Transport, and Minister in Charge of Unemployment, and Roads and Public Buildings.

HON. E. A. RANSOM, Minister of Lands, Commissioner of State Forests, and Minister in Charge of Land for Settlements, Scenery Preservation, Discharged Soldiers' Settlement, and Valuation Departments.

HON. W. D. STEWART, Minister of Finance, Minister of Customs, Minister of Stamp Duties, Attorney-General, and Minister in Charge of State Advances and Land and Income Tax Departments.

HON. SIR APIRANA NGATA, Kt., Native Minister, Minister for the Cook Islands, Minister in Charge of Native Trust, Government Life Insurance, State Fire Insurance, Legislative, Public Service Superannuation, Friendly Societies, and National Provident Fund Departments, and Member of the Executive Council representing the Native Race.

HON. J. A. YOUNG, Minister of Health, Minister of Immigration, and Minister in Charge of Mental Hospitals and Printing and Stationery Departments.

HON. R. MASTERS, M.L.C., Minister of Education and Minister of Industries and Commerce.

HON. D. JONES, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Mines.

HON. J. G. COBBE, Minister of Defence, Minister of Justice, Minister of Marine, and Minister in Charge of Pensions, Police, Prisons, Registrar-General's, and Inspection of Machinery Departments.

HON. A. HAMILTON, Postmaster-General and Minister of Telegraphs, Minister of Labour, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Minister in Charge of Tourist and Health Resorts, Publicity, Census and Statistics, Audit, Museum, and Advertising Departments.




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:—

 Square Miles.
North Island and adjacent islets44,281
South Island and adjacent islets58,092
Stewart Island and adjacent islets670
Chatham Islands372

In all further references in this volume, unless the context indicates the contrary, Chatham Islands and Stewart Island are classed with the South Island.

(b) Outlying islands (total area, 307 square miles) included within the geographical boundaries of New Zealand as proclaimed in 1847:—

  • Three Kings Islands.

  • Auckland Islands.

  • Campbell Island.

  • Antipodes Islands.

  • Bounty Islands.

  • Snares Islands.

(c) Islands (total area, 293 square miles) annexed to New Zealand:—

  • Kermadec Islands.

  • Cook Islands.

  • Niue (or Savage) Island.

  • Palmerston Island.

  • Penrhyn (or Tongareva) Island.

  • Manahiki Island.

  • Rakaanga Island.

  • Pukapuka (or Danger) Island.

  • Nassau Island.

  • Suwarrow Island.

The total area of the above is 104,015 square miles. Elsewhere in this issue the aggregate area appears as 66,390,262 acres—i.e., 103,735 square miles. This covers not only the Dominion proper, but also the outlying islands and the Kermadecs.

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 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 seventeen 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 has been compiled from various sources, and does not purport to be free of omissions, nor is exactitude claimed in respect of the elevations shown, many of which are known to be only approximate.

Mountain or Peak.Height (Feet).
North Island 
Kaikoura Ranges 
Southern Alps 
David's Dome10,443
Malte Brun10,421
Elie de Beaumont10,200
Douglas Peak10,107
La Perouse10,101
Do la Beche10,058
The Minarets10,058
Glacier Peak9,865
Aiguilles Rouges9,731
Le Receveur9,562
Big Mac9,511
Conway Peak9,510
Bristol Top9,508
Hochstetter Dome9,258
The Footstool9,073
The Dwarf9,025
Darran Range 

The 1931 issue of the Year-book contained a list, not claimed as exhaustive, of 223 named peaks of 7,500 ft or more in altitude. In this issue, the list of South Island mountains is restricted to a minimum of 9,000 ft. altitude.


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 principal treatment establishments are the Main Bathhouse and the Ward Baths.

In the Main Bathhouse are a series of private bathrooms, slipper and step-down, each with its dressing-room attached, and a couch for packing purposes. The baths are arranged for either "Priest" or "Rachel" waters, with undercurrent douches and showers. There are, also, deep "Priest" pools at suitable temperatures for the treatment of chronic cases.

Off the main hall are treatment-rooms where massage and every variety of physiotherapeutic treatment can be given, and, in either wing of the building, a complete establishment for Aix-Vichy douche massage.

The Ward Bathhouse is a handsome new block of buildings which has replaced the old Pavilion Bathhouse. This building, divided into convenient sections for service and control, consists of a large main hall, swimming-pools, hot "Rachel" pools, "Old Priest," and "Radium" baths and a block of private "Rachel" baths.

At the back of these buildings is an attractive sunken courtyard, with fountain and formal garden, surrounded on three sides by verandas, and on the fourth by an open pergola facing the lake. In this courtyard garden patients and visitors can bask in the sunshine, protected from prevailing winds.

The swimming-pools, open to the air, are spacious baths lined with white tiles and having douches, showers, and convenient dressing-cubicles. These provide recreational facilities for patients and visitors.

The "Radium" and "Priest" baths, built on the pumice bed of the soil, contain some of the most important therapeutic waters in existence, and are invaluable in the treatment of heart conditions and cases of nervous debility. In connection with these baths are comfortable rest-rooms and convenient massage establishments.

The private baths are of the porcelain, slipper variety, and step-down tiled baths—the latter designed for helpless or crippled patients.


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 R. Speight, M.Sc., F.G.S., Curator of the Canterbury Museum. The approximate length of course which has been added in parentheses following the name of the river has been supplied by the Department of Lands and Survey.

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 (220), 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 flows 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 (95) 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 (75), which enters the sea about sixty miles north-east of New Plymouth, is navigable for a considerable distance in its lower reaches. Here it is flanked by limestone bluffs, clad with a wealth of ferns and other native vegetation, forming one of the most picturesque rivers of the country. Higher up, as in the Waikato, there are fine falls, which may ultimately be used for power purposes owing to their proximity to one of the important agricultural districts of the North Island.

The last of the four principal navigable rivers on the west coast is the Wanganui (140). 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 (50), the Patea (65), and the Waitara (65), 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 (115) and the Wangaehu (85)—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 (60) and the Waihou (90). 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 (40), 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 (100), 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 (30), Waikanae, and other streams flowing into Cook Strait; by the Hutt River (35), which flows into Wellington Harbour; and by the Ruamahanga (70) 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 on the Ruahine Mountains and their northerly extensions. The chief of these flowing into Hawke's Bay are the Ngaururoro (85), Tukituki (65), Mohaka (80), and Wairoa (50), the first being noteworthy for the enormous amount of shingle it has brought down; while farther north the Waipaoa (50) runs into Poverty Bay and the Waiapu (55) into the open sea, both draining an extensive area of rich papa land. From the north-western side of the range the Whakatane (60), and the Rangitaiki (95), two considerable streams, flow into the Bay of Plenty.

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

The general form of these valleys is of a fairly uniform type. Their heads are usually amphitheatre - like in shape, and for some distance they are occasionally covered by old moraines, and the course of the stream is impeded by huge angular blocks washed out of these or shed from the steep slopes; at times, too, the rivers flow through deep and somewhat narrow gorges. Lower down the valleys open out, with even steep sides, nearly perpendicular at times, and with flat floors covered by a waste of shingle, over which the rivers wander in braided streams. The sides are clad with dense bush for a height of approximately 2,500 ft., that merges into a tangle of subalpine scrub, to be succeeded after another 1,000 ft. by open alpine meadow, gradually passing upward into bare 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 (45), Hokitika (40), Wanganui (35), Wataroa (35), Waiho, Karangarua (30), Haast (60), and Arawata (45). All rise in glaciers, and their valleys are remarkable for their magnificently diversified bush and mountain scenery. Occasionally lakes, ponded back behind old moraines or lying in rock-bound basins and fringed with primeval forest, lend charm to the landscape, and make a journey along the Westland Plain one of the most delightful in New Zealand from the scenic point of view.

Farther north glaciers are absent, but the heavy rain feeds numerous large streams and rivers, the most noticeable being the Grey (75) and the Buller (105), 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 (50), which flows into Martin's Bay; but the largest of all is the Waiau (115), 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 (210); 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 (65), Oreti (105), Mataura (120), and Taieri (125); and forming the northern boundary of the Otago Provincial District is the Waitaki (135), 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 (75), Ashburton (67), Rakaia (95), and Waimakariri (93); while farther north are the Hurunui (90), and Waiau (110), 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 (45), Pareora (35), Opihi (50), Selwyn (55), Ashley (55), and Waipara (40) —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 (125), Awatere (70), and Wairau (105) have their directions almost entirely determined by a system of huge parallel earth-fractures, running north-east and south-west, and the rivers are walled in on either side by steep mountains for the greater part of their length. The Clarence Valley is the most gorge-like, since it lies between the great ridges known as the Seaward and Inland Kaikouras, which reach a height of about 9,000 ft. The last river of the three, the Wairau, flows for a considerable distance through a rich alluvial plain, and enters Cloudy Bay by an estuary which is practicable for small steamers as far as the Town of Blenheim. The most important of the streams on the southern shores of Cook Strait are the Pelorus (40), Motueka (75), Takaka (45), and Aorere (45), 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.


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


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 m 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 greywackes that, at Clinton, contain Permian fossils.

Silurian rocks are certainly known only in the Baton and Wangapeka districts, and Devonian rocks at Wangapeka and 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 are entirely unfossiliferous.

The Maitai Series, that forms the ranges on the south-east 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, 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 occurring with them in the Kaimanawa, 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 of this age 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."


The following article dealing with earthquakes in New Zealand has been prepared by Dr. C. E. Adams, F.R.A.S., Government Astronomer and Seismologist, with the assistance of Dr. J. Henderson, Director of the Geological Survey.

Earthquake and volcanic activity are manifestations of the adjustments constantly occurring in the earth's crust. In the not far distant past, geologically speaking, a more or less continuous belt of mountains was raised up round the border of the great sunken area of the Pacific, and this belt as a whole is characterized by "chronic and acute seismicity." At times the earthquakes occur within the belt itself, though a large proportion have their epicentres on its submerged frontal slope.

The South Island of New Zealand and the eastern part of the North are on the crest of the great mountain ridge or crustal fold which forms a portion of the real border of the Pacific. This ridge maintains a relatively straight course north-north-east for 1,600 miles, nearly to Samoa. The Auckland Peninsula, part of a decidedly weaker fold, meets the main fold nearly at right angles in the Rotorua-Taupo volcanic region. The earthquakes of this seismically sensitive district, though they may be locally severe, are not usually felt far from their points of origin. On the other hand, the tectonic earthquakes that occur along the main earth-fold shake large areas, some of them being recorded on instruments throughout the world. These are caused by the slipping of earth-blocks against their neighbours along fractures, and, fortunately for New Zealand, the most severe earthquakes have their origin along the great shears that probably cut the submerged flank of the main fold about 200 miles east of the North Island. The crest in New Zealand is not straight or simply curved and the elevation is not constant; elongated uplifted areas, most of them in linear series though some overlap, form a continuous ridge.

Many great faults and fault-zones have been traced for long distances, but a few only have been active since European occupation. Movement along a north-trending fault seven miles west of Murchison raised the ground east of the fault about 15 ft., and caused it to shift north-west about 9 ft. The uplift gradually decreases eastward, and dies out sixteen miles from the fault, facts indicating a slight tilt of the earth-block toward the east. Recent levellings show that the block is sinking somewhat irregularly, a movement, no doubt, causing some of the innumerable local after-shocks still being felt in the area. Other sensible earth-movements occurred in connection with the Taupo earthquake series of 1922,* the Amuri earthquake of 1888, the Wellington earthquake of 1855, and probably the Awatere earthquake of 1848.§ There is also definite evidence of geologically recent differential movement of earth-blocks at several widely separated points in both Islands.

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

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

† Alexander McKay: Reports of Geological Explorations during 1888–89. Wellington, 1890.

New Zealand Government Gazette, Wellington, vol. 2, No. 14, 17th October, 1855, p. 116. Sir Charles Lyell, "The Principles of Geology," tenth edition, 1868, vol. 2, p. 82. London: John. Murray. § New Zealand Government Gazette, Auckland, vol. 1, No. 27, 13th November, 1848. and vol. 1, No. 29, 20th November, 1848. H. S. Chapman in Westminster Review, vol. 51, 1849.

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, 1876; 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 serer 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; 9th March, 1929 (IX, R.-F.).

(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. Also 8th May, 1929 (VIII, R.-F.), and 29th May, 1929 (VII, R.-F.).

(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.


The numbers of earthquakes felt in New Zealand for each month during the years 1921 to 1930 (inclusive) are given in the following table. The total number of shocks during this period was 3,286, the greater number of which occurred in 1922 (near Taupo) and in 1929–30 (near Murchison):—


The figures in the above table indicate a sharp maximum frequency in winter, and a minimum in summer and autumn.

The next table gives the diurnal distribution of 158 shocks of intensity R.-F. 6 or greater felt during the ten-year period 1921–30 (inclusive). 12 h.=noon.


It will be seen from the above table that the frequency is considerably higher at night than in the daytime.


Seismic activity was less severe in the year 1930 than it was in 1929, although the number of shocks experienced was greater. The total number of separate earthquakes reported for the whole of New Zealand was 748, about 90 per cent. of which originated in the Takaka or Murchison districts of the South Island, where earthquakes have continued with varying intensity. Thirty-eight shocks reached or exceeded R.-F. 6 at Takaka, where they were usually more severe than in other parts of the district. During the latter part of the year activity in the South Island showed signs of diminishing, until October, when a fresh outbreak of strong shocks caused some alarm to residents in the Takaka district.

A severe earthquake occurred on the east coast of the North Island on the 12th February, the centre of disturbance being near Porangahau, where the shock exceeded R.-F. 8, and considerable damage was done to property. Several aftershocks were experienced, but the disturbance subsided within one month.

The following table gives a summary of the earthquakes reported during the year 1930:—

Month.Number of Earthquakes reported.Maximum Intensity R.-F. Scale.Locality of Maximum.
North Island.South Island.Both Islands.Total.
January2661676Kahurangi Point.
February28474718Waipawa, Porangahau.
March445..496Takaka, Murchison.
May2561576Takaka, Tophouse, Murchison.
July10474536Westport, Murchison, Puysegur Point.
September12501615Several places in both Islands.
October13432547Farewell Spit, Takaka.
Totals125648257488Waipawa, Porangahau, Takaka.

The total number of shocks felt during the year was 748, 125 of which were felt in the North Island, and 648 in the South Island, 25 being felt in both Islands.

The maximum intensity experienced in each of the years 1921 to 1930 (inclusive) is given in the following table:—

Year.Maximum Intensity R.-F. Scale.

The following table gives the number of earthquakes in 1930 whose maximum intensity fell in various numbers of the Rossi-Forel scale of intensity:—

Month.R.-F. Intensity.Totals.
Per cent. totals1.39.128.533.


Since 1888 there has been established in New Zealand a system of observing local earthquakes at selected telegraph-stations, and more recently at lighthouses 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. A number of private observers also assist in reporting earthquakes.

Two Milne-Shaw horizontal seismographs have been continually in operation at the Dominion Observatory, Wellington. The Milne seismograph which was at the Observatory was transferred to the Arapuni Hydro-electric Works in July, 1930, and has since been in operation there.

The following new seismological instruments were installed at the Observatory during 1930:—

  1. A Galitzin-Wilip vertical seismograph with photographic recording was installed in October.

  2. An Imamura strong-motion seismograph, three components, with smoked-paper recording, also installed in October.

  3. An Ishimoto silica clinograph for recording tilt was installed in September; this has photographic recording.

The Imamura seismograph and the clinograph are instruments of Japanese design.

A Milne seismograph has continued in operation 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.

The numbers of earthquakes recorded on the Milne-Shaw seismograph and on the Galitzin-Wilip seismograph, at the Dominion Observatory, Wellington, during the year 1930 are given in the following table:—

Month.Milne-Shaw (N.-S.).Milne-Shaw (E.-W.).Galitzin-Wilip (Vertical).Total Number.

* Installed 15th October, 1930.



Although outside the period covered by the present article, the disastrous earthquake in Hawke's Bay on 3rd February, 1931, deserves some special mention.

Like the Murchison earthquake of June. 1929, the Hawke's Bay earthquake reached intensity R.-F. 10 at places near the epicentre, and was felt as a swaying motion over practically the whole of New Zealand.

The following places recorded an intensity of R.-F. 8, or greater (the places are arranged in order of latitude):—

Station.Intensity (R.-F. Scale).
Te Aute9

The seismological and geological evidence places the epicentre of this earthquake near the coast-line of Hawke's Bay, at a distance of from five to fifteen miles north of Napier.

The towns of Napier and Hastings suffered severely from the earthquake, and from the fires which followed it—the business area of Napier being practically razed to the ground. A heavy casualty list resulted in Napier and Hastings, the number of deaths registered as due to the earthquake being 248.

Aftershocks were frequent immediately following the big earthquake, some of which were severe. Considering the magnitude of the disturbance, however, the aftershocks are decreasing very rapidly in number and intensity.


Prior to the Hawke's Bay earthquake on 3rd February, 1931, deaths due to earthquakes in New Zealand were very few.

The following table gives the number of deaths due to earthquakes which have occurred from time to time:—

Date of Earthquake.Locality.Resulting Deaths.

* Deaths registered only. The actual total of deaths possibly reaches 260.

1848, OctoberWellington3
1855, January 23rd"1
1901, March 16thCheviot1
1913, April 12thMasterton1
1914, October 17thGisborne1
1929, June 17thBuller17
1931, February 3rdHawke's Bay248*
Total 272

The rapid increase in the number of deaths in recent years must be regarded as a natural consequence of the increase in population and settlement. It is not necessarily due to increasing seismic activity.

An important factor in considering the havoc wrought by an earthquake is the position of the epicentre with regard to the centres of population. The Murchison earthquake of June, 1929, and the Hawke's Bay earthquake of February, 1931, are both classed as seismological disturbances of the first magnitude, and both would have been attended by equally disastrous results had they occurred in equally populated districts. This was not the case however: the centre of the Murchison earthquake was in a sparsely populated region, whilst that of the Hawke's Bay earthquake was within a few miles of two thickly populated towns. Hence the enormous difference in the number of deaths caused by these two great upheavals.


The following article on the climate of New Zealand has been prepared by Dr. E. Kidson, O.B.E., D.Sc., F.N.Z.Inst., Director of Meteorological Services:—

Owing to the necessity for economy, it has not been possible to allot the customary space to the article on the climate of New Zealand. It was, therefore, decided to confine the present note to a brief discussion of certain aspects of the subject. Those requiring more general information may refer to the volumes of the Year-book which immediately precede this.

Rainfall.—Of all the climatic elements, rainfall is the one regarding which information is earliest and most frequently sought, since both one's comfort and the productivity of the soil depend so directly upon it. The distribution of annual rainfall in New Zealand is shown in the accompanying map. The control by topography is very conspicuous. Generally speaking, the more directly a locality is exposed to the prevailing westerly or north-westerly winds and the greater the altitude above sea-level, the greater the rainfall.

But, in addition to the total fall, we wish to know how the rainfall varies throughout the year. In this respect the regimes in various parts of the Dominion differ considerably. Monthly rainfalls for a few typical stations are given in Table 1. In the part of the Auckland Province north (roughly) of Kawhia and Tauranga, on the eastern side of the main range from East Cape to Wellington,

about Tasman and Golden Bays, and in Marlborough and North Canterbury, the rainfall is much heavier in winter than in summer. May, June, and July are the wettest and November, December, January, and February the driest months. This type of annual variation is shown by Auckland, Napier, and, to a less extent, by Christchurch. The farther south one goes, the less marked does the tendency for the heaviest rain to fall in winter become.


New Plymouth4.253.873.674.506.216.186.385.375.445.624.734.3860.56
Wellington (Karori)
Peel Forest4.654.104.443.542.532.803.472.613.743.844.044.9044.66

At Hokitika, which is fairly typical of all the western districts of the South Island, the distribution is very different. The rainfall is highest in spring, October being the wettest month, rather high in the autumn, lowest in February, and low also in winter. The reason for this is that the rain is brought by winds from a westerly quarter which have an annual variation of the type described. In the western districts of the North Island, as at New Plymouth and Wellington, the variation is a combination of the first and second types.

The third type of variation occurs in Canterbury and Otago, especially the interior portions. It is illustrated by the figures for Peel Forest in Table 1. Peel Forest is in the interior of South Canterbury. The rainfall in this type is heaviest in summer and lightest in winter. This fact is of great economic importance, because in most of the area concerned the rainfall is low. The distribution throughout the year is the most favourable for producing a good yield from the soil.


New Plymouth12.111.011.814.317.517.618.217.917.717.816.813.9189.6
Half-moon Bay17.117.417.818.319.719.918.818.919.219.720.718.1229.0

The number of days on which rain falls is an important factor in climate, as well as the amount. Table 2 gives the average number of days with rain in each month for some representative stations. A day with rain is one on which 0.005 inch or more is measured. Generally speaking, there is a fairly close relationship in New Zealand between the amount of rain and the number of rain days, but the latter is not directly proportional to the rainfall. There are considerable areas on the west coast of the South Island, for instance, which have ten or more times as much rain as the driest portions of the interior, but only about double the number of rain days. Marlborough seems to have a small number of wet days compared with its rainfall. To the south of New Zealand there is a rapid increase in cloudiness, showers fall with great frequency, and the number of rain days becomes high. This effect begins to be felt at Stewart Island, as can be seen from the data for Half-moon Bay.

Temperature.—Temperature is no less important than rainfall in determining the living conditions of a country and the yield from its soil. The specification of the temperature of a place is, however, not so simple a matter as might appear. Many different factors are involved in the determination of the precise temperatures experienced in any locality. The sea, for instance, responds very slowly to both daily and yearly changes in the amount of heat received from the sun, while on the land the response is rapid. Consequently, the nearer a station is to the sea the smaller are its daily and yearly fluctuations of temperature. Again, on plain country the air tends to stagnate, especially at night. At night time the surface layer cools rapidly through radiation from the ground, while during the day it becomes heated by the sun. There is less stagnation in the warm layer of the daytime than in the cold layer of the night. Consequently, stations on level plains or plateaux tend to be subject to frost and to have a relatively low mean temperature. On hill slopes the cold air flows away to lower levels as it is formed. In windy places, also, the air is prevented from stagnation. Frosts, therefore, are less frequent in such positions than at plain stations, and the mean temperature, if we allow for altitude, is higher. Allowance must be made for altitude, because it is found that the higher we go in the atmosphere the lower does the temperature become. In temperate latitudes the fall is about 9° F. per kilometre. It is not fair, therefore, to compare temperatures recorded at Thorndon, which was 12 ft. above sea-level, with those at the present Wellington meteorological station at Kelburn, which is at an altitude of 415 ft. To make temperatures comparable, the practice is frequently adopted of adding a correction for altitude at the rate of 9° F. per kilometre, or approximately 2°.7 F. per 1,000 ft. This has been done in Table 3. The Rotorua values, for example, have been increased by 2°.5 F., the station being 925 ft. above sea-level.

In all New Zealand publications it has been the practice hitherto to derive monthly mean temperatures from the means of the daily maximum and minimum. But, even on the average, the mean of the maximum and minimum differs slightly from the true mean for the day. The correction to the mean for the day has been determined approximately at Wellington from the records of thermographs.

In Table 3, therefore, the temperatures are reduced to sea-level and mean of day. For the remainder of the temperature tables the observed readings have been used without correction. All are in Fahrenheit degrees.



The stations given in Table 3 were chosen to show the effect of changing latitude, the difference between the east and west coasts in the South Island, and the difference between coastal and inland stations. Ophir is in Central Otago, where the nearest approach is made to continental conditions of any district in New Zealand.


Mean daily maximum72.672.970.966.962.158.657.057.860.
Mean highest maximum78.678.676.472.267.364.062.562.865.468.672.075.779.7
Absolute highest max.81.585.079.077.471.
Mean daily minimum59.760.458.555.351.348.
Mean lowest minimum51.853.051.546.442.739.538.139.141.744.347.149.437.3
Absolute lowest min.
Days of frost in screen........................0.0
Days of ground frost..........

Table 5. ROTORUA (925 FT.).

Mean daily maximum75.174.971.866.360.655.954.656.359.964.068.872.665.0
Mean highest maximum84.383.780.373.968.262.060.862.766.772.577.382.586.4
Absolute highest max,98.093.587.081.578.066.566.067.474.580.085.592.098.0
Mean daily minimum52.652.749.845.641.338.637.137.741.044.446.950.044.8
Mean lowest minimum39.941.236.632.930.327.226.926.630.032.535.238.425.3
Absolute lowest min.32.530.
Days of frost in screen..
Days of ground frost0.


Mean daily maximum69.369.366.962.958.354.853.154.357.560.463.266.761.3
Mean highest maximum78.177.774.970.265.361.359.661.564.568.
Absolute highest max.
Mean daily minimum55.755.854.251.347.244.142.442.845.748.450.353.849.1
Mean lowest minimum46.446.744.141.237.434.533.333.436.238.440.944.732.3
Absolute lowest min.39.540.539.135.731.929.928.
Days of frost in screen........
Days of ground frost0.

Table 7. HOKITIKA (12 FT.).

Mean daily maximum66.466.564.761.256.853.352.653.356.458.760.663.859.5
Mean highest maximum73.572.571.367.763.759.558.659.562.364.767.070.875.9
Absolute highest max.79.082.484.574.071.563.565.
Mean daily minimum53.
Mean lowest minimum43.243.540.636.532.129.929.029.832.235.238.441.928.1
Absolute lowest min.
Day of frost in screen......
Days of ground frost0.

Table 8. CHRISTCHURCH (22 FT.).

Mean daily maximum70.469.266.462.155.851.11.50.352.357.662.465.869.261.0
Mean highest maximum86.683.781.475.768.762.561.564.970.670.179.884.088.4
Absolute highest max.95.794.189.882.377.869.370.
Mean daily minimum52.852.549.745.039.930.035.130.340.544.047.150.844.3
Mean lowest minimum41.240.937.232.328.626.126.026.729.432.135.439.024.7
Absolute lowest min.
Days of frost in screen....
Days of ground frost0.


Mean daily maximum73.773.766.661.450.243.443.849.255.660.964.669.459.3
Mean highest maximum86.886.779.673.264.457.554.858.665.870.777.082.588.1
Absolute highest max.89.388.782.474.767.866.056.960.367.473.081.085.589.3
Mean daily minimum48.447.143.738.529.525.426.328.834.339.241.145.937.4
Mean lowest minimum36.332.930.925.719.115.816.419.
Absolute lowest min.30.130.427.421.
Days of frost in screen0.
Days of ground frost4.64.48.816.025.427.623.027.820.014.610.64.8192.6

The accompanying tables (Nos. 4 to 9) relate to temperature extremes. The first line gives the average of the maximum temperatures as observed each day, the second the average of the highest temperatures observed in each month and the year, and the third the highest yet recorded. Corresponding information regarding minimum temperatures follows. Next comes the average number of days on which the minimum temperature in the thermometer screen falls to 32° F. or below. This gives some idea of the susceptibility to severe frosts, such as would affect fruit trees. The last line gives the number of ground frosts. According to the British convention, a ground frost is recorded when the grass minimum thermometer falls below 30.4° F., damage being unlikely at higher temperatures. In the preparation of these tables some of the older records have, for various reasons, been discarded.


New Plymouth263.9228.2218.9160.2155.2131.3146.7180.9164.0172.4208.9237.62,274.2
Lincoln College212.8195.6174.9149.4136.0113.4115.0152.0178.2197.2211.2204.62,040.3

Sunshine.—The next most important element is sunshine. There is no doubt that New Zealand's greatest asset is its climate, and the outstanding feature of the climate is that, in spite of a high average rainfall and rather windy conditions, the proportion of sunshine is everywhere high. There must be few places in temperate latitudes which, while having a rainfall of over 116 in., experience as much sunshine as does Hokitika. The average amount of sunshine in each month and the year is given for eighteen places with fairly long records in Table 10. The greatest amounts are recorded at places which are protected by high mountain ranges as, for instance, at Nelson and Napier. A short record for Lake Tekapo, in the Mackenzie Country of Canterbury, indicates that conditions there are little, if at all, inferior to those at Nelson and Napier.

In Tables 11 to 15 will be found information regarding the frequency of occurrence of various phenomena.

Fog.—The best means of recording fog, and the one now generally adopted, is to measure the horizontal visibility at regular intervals. A fog is regarded as occurring when the visibility is less than one kilometre (1,100 yards). Visibility observations are not available for most places in New Zealand. Table 11 will, however, give some idea of the frequency of occurrence of fog. New Zealand is comparatively free from fog, especially fog of long duration. The most widespread and persistent fogs occur during the approach of cyclonic depressions. The record for Rangiahua, on Hokianga Harbour, is included in Table 11 to illustrate the frequency of fog on some of the landlocked harbours and estuaries of North Auckland.

Snowfall.—Snow is rare at sea - level, especially in the North Island. It is more frequent in the interior and at high altitudes. In eastern districts from Canterbury southwards it lies on the ground occasionally, even at sea - level. An entry of 0.0 in Table 12 indicates that snow has been recorded, but that the frequency was not more than 0.05 day. A similar practice is adopted in the subsequent tables.

Hail.—Hail is experienced more frequently as the latitude increases and on the west coast than on the east. It occurs more often in spring than at other times of year. The majority of the hailstorms recorded, however, are harmless, the stones being quite small. Occasionally, severe hailstorms are experienced in New Zealand, the stones reaching a diameter of from 1/2 in. upwards. These are usually associated with thunderstorms, and are probably quite as numerous on the east coast as the west and in the North Island as in the South.

Thunder.—Thunderstorms are more numerous in the North than in the South and on the west than on the east side of the main ranges. They are very rare in eastern districts in winter.

Strong Winds.—The figures in Table 15 include a proportion of high winds (force 7 on the Beaufort scale) as well as gales (force 8 and over). The figures for Wellington show the effect of the concentration of the winds through Cook Strait.

Table 11. DAYS WITH FOG.

Lincoln College0.


New Plymouth......0.0..


New Plymouth0.


New Plymouth0.


New Plymouth1.


January, in addition to being very stormy, was the next wettest January to the record one of 1923. Rainfall was almost everywhere above normal.

February provided a marked contrast with January as regards precipitation. Most of the Dominion experienced a deficiency, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and the South Island having only about half the normal totals. Heavy rains were, however, experienced between Poverty Bay and East Cape.

March was even drier than February, the North Island suffering on this occasion more than the South. Much less than half the average rainfall was recorded. The fine weather enabled harvesting operations to be carried out under favourable conditions.

Over most of the Dominion the dry conditions continued throughout April. Frosts were rather numerous. Severe thunderstorms occurred on the 9th in the Motueka and Moutere districts, accompanied by very heavy rain. In parts of the Moutere hills record floods were experienced.

The dry spell was broken in the second half of May, which was stormy and showery. The total rainfall for the month was still, however, almost everywhere below the average.

In June the weather was at times stormy. Frosts were numerous and rather severe. Rainfall remained below normal, except in the far North and South. Nelson, Marlborough, and the interior of the South Island continued to suffer from a severe shortage.

July was very cold and stormy, with frequent hail, and, in the ranges, snowstorms. Nelson, Marlborough, and the interior of the South Island continued to experience very dry conditions. On the 5th and 6th there was flooding in the Auckland Province, especially the southern part, a series of cyclones being responsible for the rainfall.

Rain was more plentiful in August, the North Island and the east coast of the South Island having more than the normal. The second half of the month, also, was mild, and growth commenced in pastures. Floods occurred in the Heathcote River at Christchurch at the end of the first week of the month following continued rain.

September saw a return to cold and stormy weather. A considerable mortality resulted amongst new-born lambs, and the growth of vegetation was retarded. Gisborne had the first fall of snow for many years. Better rainfalls were experienced in eastern districts.

In October the weather remained cold and stormy and the season backward. Precipitation was below normal in most districts. Severe south-westerly gales on the 25th did considerable damage in the locality of Auckland.

In November there was much stormy weather of the westerly type. Rainfall was above or below normal according to whether the aspect was westerly or easterly. Severe floods occurred on the 26th in the Hutt Valley and at Otaki. For the third month in succession, mean temperatures were the lowest experienced in the respective months since the taking of records commenced.

Rainfall was much below normal in December, and temperatures still low at most stations.

The Year 1930 was remarkable for being one of the coldest and also one of the driest on record. 1902 was colder and 1884 and 1912 were about equally cold, but in no other years, since 1864 at least, have temperatures been so low. For the Dominion as a whole, possibly no year has been as dry as 1930. In the greater part of Canterbury and Otago, however, precipitation was approximately normal, while in the North Island 1914 and 1919 were rather drier. It was in the western half of the South Island that the deficiencies in 1930 were most marked.

As would be expected from the foregoing there was a relative absence of westerly and a prevalence of southerly winds. Snow and hail storms were frequent, though not especially heavy.

In spite of the severe conditions, the year was, in general, a good one for stock and crops. In Hawke's Bay the cold and dry winter and spring were responsible for some heavy losses of sheep.


The observations were taken at 9 a.m.

[NOTE.—Details for 1930 not available at time of going to press.]

Station.Temperatures in Shade.Hours of Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1929.Absolute Maximum.Absolute Minimum.Total Fall.Number of Days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.

* In these places the period covered is a few days short of the years

 °Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr.°Fahr. Inches. 
Auckland66.053.359.679.4 Jan.35.0 July85.035.01,962.851.52207
Te Aroha68.748.758.991.0 Jan.25.0 Aug.95.021.0 59.01149
Waihi65.248.256.783.7 Feb.25.4 Aug.89.021.02,025.088.33161
Tauranga66.644.055.386.4 Feb.26.2 Aug.87.024.5..46.71153
Ruakura66.445.255.887.2 Jan.22.8 Aug.92.023.6..47.81169
Cambridge66.446.250.387.6 Feb.20.0 July....2,107.248.26162
Matamata66.444.555.586.5 Jan.21.0 Aug.86.521.0..50.39144
Rotorua63.946.054.983.8 Feb.23.5 Aug.98.021.02,144.460.31129
Whakarewarewa65.244.254.789.0 Dec.25.0 July......56.55145
New Plymouth62.549.756.181.2 Feb.31.6 Aug.89.027.02,255.360.13188
Karioi58.437.447.978.0 Jan.17.0 Aug.......47.65138
Taihape57.643.150.380.0 Jan.28.2 Aug.87.325.0..34.98176
Massey College*62.546.954.780.2 Mar.28.1 July....1,636.440.00192
Napier64. Jan.26.5 Aug.94.027.02,307.529.58134
Hastings65.244.554.889.0 Jan.24.2 Aug.......30.46125
Pahiatua62.744.353.584.5 Jan.24.6 Aug.......30.29179
Masterton64. Jan.23.2 Aug.95.422.42,030.632.60162
Greytown64.244.354.288.0 Jan.25.0 Aug.......41.69163
Wellington59.048.353.6.74.9 Feb.34.0 Sept.88.028.62,033.247.48169
Nelson63.246.654.990.0 Jan.30.9 Aug.92.020.02,428.848.61116
Hokitika60.144.952.573.0 Jan.28.0 Aug.84.525.52,077.6109.79197
Hanmer Springs60.839.250.092.0 Feb.19.0 Aug.97.012.01,876.340.94154
Balmoral Plantation62.240.451.390.0 Jan.22.0 July Aug.......23.96106
Christchurch60.343.551.989.5 Jan.25.3 Aug.95.721.31,965.423.56127
Lincoln61. Jan.25.0 July98.420.52,004.324.98114
Lake Coleridge62.241.351.992.0 Jan.20.0 July93.016.0..34.93118
Rudstone, Methven59.241.950.584.0 Feb.25.0 Aug.......40.68132
Ashburton*..41.5....23.0 Aug.94.022.01,818.731.57131
Timaru60.043.051.595.8 Jan.26.4 July99.024.01,955.723.46115
Fairlie61. Jan.17.8 July.....2,149.238.23108
Waimate60.141.750.992.5 Jan.26.2 July94.023.02,063.226.71138
Waipiata58.637.648.18.1.6 Jan.19.0 July96.612.02,115.117.64131
Alexandra60.440.150.290.2 Jan.19.5 May....2,181.211.7488
Ophir60.037.048.588.7 Jan.18.0 July89.38.7..15.8294
Dunedin*58.843.251.094.0 Jan.30.0 June94.023.01,715.641.96169
Manorburn Dam52.734.243.480.0 Jan.5.0 July......18.55120
Invercargill58.442.950.080.0 Jan.25.0 Aug.90.019.0..41.85218

For 1929 the mean pressure in inches reduced to sea-level and standard gravity was: Auckland, 29.948; Wellington, 29.898; Nelson, 29.902; Hokitika, 29.960; Christchurch, 29.854; Dunedin, 29.864.


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 (groundsels, mostly ligneous), 35; Poa (poa grasses), 33; Myosotis (forget-me-nots), 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., Helichrysum by Ewartia and by Gnaphalium, Hebe by Veronica, Leucogenes by Raoulia (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 than 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-grass land 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 (Phormium tenax), dominant in drained swamp; niggerheads (Carex secta, C. vir-gata); 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, S 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 stiffstemmed 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 most 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, Oleariasemidentata. 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, Anisotome, 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 case 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. 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.

* 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.

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

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

The takahe (Notornis) is one of the world's very rare birds. Only four specimens have been found. Two of the skins are in the British Museum, one is in the Dresden Museum, and one in the Otago Museum, in Dunedin. The fourth specimen was caught by two guides (Messrs. D. and J. Ross) at Notornis Bay, Lake Te Anau, in 1898. 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 olidiformis), 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 Homoeosaurus, whose remains have been found in Jurassic rocks in Germany. The tuatara 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, Oöperi-patus, contains only one species, viridimaculatus. The Peripatus is viviparous. It is claimed that one New Zealand genus, Oöperipatus, is oviparous, but that has not been fully proved.* Professor A. Dendy, F.R.S., has made special investigations in regard to the New Zealand species.

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

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



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


It was on the 13th December, 1642, that Abel Jansen Tasman, a Dutch navigator, discovered New Zealand. Tasman left Batavia on the 14th August, 1642, in the yacht "Hoemskercq," accompanied by the "Zeehaen" (or "Sea-hen") fly-boat. After having visited Mauritius and discovered Tasmania, 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 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." Tasman sailed along the coast and anchored in Golden Bay, called by him "Murderers' Bay" on account of an unprovoked attack by the Natives. Thence he steered along the west coast of the North Island, and 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 sighted land on the 6th October, 1769, at Young Nick's Head, and on the 8th of that month east anchor in Poverty Bay. After having coasted round the North Island and the South and Stewart Islands— which last he mistook for part of the South Island—he took his departure from Cape Farewell on the 31st March, 1770, for Australia. He visited New Zealand again in 1773, in 1774, and in 1777.

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

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

  • M. Marion du Fresne—1772.

  • Captains Vancouver and Broughton—1791.

  • Captain Raven—1792 and 1793.

  • Alejandro Malaspina and José de Bustamente y Guerra—1793.

  • Lieutenant Hanson—1793.


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

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.

Auckland, where the seat of Government was established in 1840, was not specially colonized from the United Kingdom, but attracted population mainly from Australia and from other parts of New Zealand.


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. Hobson formally read his commissions at Kororareka on 30th January, 1840, and on 6th February of the same year a compact called the Treaty of Waitangi 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. Originally signed by forty-six chiefs, the treaty (or copies of it) was taken to various parts of the country and signed by other chiefs, so that in a period of less-than six months 512 signatures were affixed.

On 21st May, 1840, Hobson proclaimed British sovereignty in the case of the North Island by virtue of the Treaty of Waitangi, and in the case of the South Island and Stewart Island by right of discovery. On the treaty being signed in the South Island, formal proclamation of British sovereignty over that island in accordance with the consent of the Maoris was made at Cloudy Bay on 17th June, 1840, by Major Bunbury.

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."


The powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Governor - General and the Executive Council under the present system of responsible government are set out in Royal Letters Patent and Instructions thereunder of the 11th May, 1917, published in the New Zealand Gazette of the 24th April, 1919 (p. 1213). 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 present Executive Council consists of fourteen members in addition to the Governor - General. Two members, exclusive of His Excellency or the presiding member, constitute a quorum.

Since the 10 per cent. reduction imposed by the Finance Act, 1931, the Prime Minister receives £1,620 per annum, other Ministers with portfolios receiving £1,053 per annum. House allowance of £180 per annum is paid in addition in cases where a Government residence is not provided.


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.

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 thirty-five.

An Act of the Imperial Parliament in 1868 provided that future appointments of Councillors 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. The 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 this 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, and in 1931 to £283 10s. The Speaker now receives £648 per annum, and the Chairman of Committees £405. Besides the honorarium, members are allowed travelling-expenses actually incurred in going to and from Parliament.

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


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

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 "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, to the equivalent of an addition of 33 1/3 per cent. to the country population. It 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 £405 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 and again in 1931.

The election of a Speaker is the first business of a new House after the members have been sworn. A Chairman of Committees is elected as soon after as is convenient. Both Speaker and Chairman of Committees hold office until a dissolution, and receive payment until the first meeting of a new Parliament. The Speaker's remuneration is £810 per annum, plus sessional allowance of £90 and free sessional quarters, and that of the Chairman of Committees £607 10s. per annum.

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 east coast. The Province of New Munster consisted of the South and Stewart Islands and the portion of the North Island excluded from New Ulster.

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


Even before the division of New Zealand into the two provinces of New Ulster and New Munster, local government had its inception, Wellington having been created a borough in 1842 under the authority of the Municipal Corporations Ordinance of that year. The Ordinance was disallowed by the Imperial 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.


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


Among the instructions given Captain Hobson on his appointment as the first Governor of New Zealand was one directing that the colony was to be divided into counties, hundreds, and parishes. In accordance with this instruction, the boundaries of the County of Eden, in which Auckland—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 loss, 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 enabling 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 counties40 
  Forming parts of counties27 
Road districts18 
River districts50 
Land drainage districts63 
Harbour districts45 
Hospital districts45 
Electric-power districts44 
Urban drainage districts3 
Urban transport districts2 
Local railway district1 
Water-supply districts7 
Main-highway districts18 
Fire districts55 
Rabbit districts47 
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.



His Excellency, the Right Honourable Lord Bledisloe, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.B.E., D.Sc.

Military Secretary—Major Arthur H. Bathurst.

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

Aides-de-Camp—Lieutenant Sir John Hanham, Bart.; Lieutenant J. C. Elworthy, R.N.

Honorary Aides-de-Camp—Naval: Captain J. S. G. Fraser, D.S.O., R.N. Military: Colonel (temp. Brigadier) J. H. Whyte, D.S.O.; Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. Duigan, D.S.O.; Colonel H. C. Hurst, D.S.O., V.D.; Colonel W. H. Cunningham, D.S.O., V.D.; Lieutenant-Colonel R. G. Milligan, D.S.O., V.D.; Colonel J. N. McCarroll, C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D.

Honorary Physician—Colonel J. L. Frazerhurst, V.D., M.D.

Honorary Surgeon—Colonel H. T. D. Acland, C.M.G., C.B.E., F.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

His Excellency assumed office on the 19th March, 1930. A complete list of successive vice-regal representatives since 1840 will be found in the 1931 issue (pp. 59–60) of the Year-book.



Name of Ministry.Name of Premier.Assumed Office.Retired.
1. Bell-SewellHenry Sewell7 May, 185620 May, 1856.
2. FoxWilliam Fox20 May, 18562 June, 1856.
3. StaffordEdward William Stafford2 June, 185612 July, 1861.
4. FoxWilliam Fox12 July, 18616 Aug., 1862.
5. DomettAlfred Domett6 Aug., 186230 Oct., 1863.
6. Whitaker-FoxFrederick Whitaker30 Oct., 186324 Nov., 1864.
7. WeldFrederick Aloysius Weld24 Nov., 186416 Oct., 1865.
8. StaffordEdward William Stafford16 Oct., 186528 June, 1869.
9. FoxWilliam Fox28 June, 186910 Sept., 1872.
10. StaffordEdward William Stafford10 Sept., 187211 Oct., 1872.
11. WaterhouseGeorge Marsden Waterhouse11 Oct., 18723 Mar., 1873.
12. FoxWilliam Fox3 Mar., 18738 April, 1873.
13. VogelJulius Vogel, C.M.G.8 April, 18736 July, 1875.
14. PollenDaniel Pollen, M.L.C.6 July, 187515 Feb., 1876.
15. VogelSir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G.15 Feb., 18761 Sept., 1876.
16. AtkinsonHarry Albert Atkinson1 Sept., 187613 Sept., 1876.
17. Atkinson (reconstituted)Harry Albert Atkinson13 Sept., 187613 Oct., 1877.
18. GreySir George Grey, K.C.B.15 Oct., 18778 Oct., 1879.
19. HallJohn Hall8 Oct., 187921 April, 1882.
20. WhitakerFrederick Whitaker, M.L.C.21 April, 188225 Sept., 1883.
21. AtkinsonHarry Albert Atkinson25 Sept., 188316 Aug., 1884.
22. Stout-VogelRobert Stout16 Aug., 188428 Aug., 1884.
23. AtkinsonHarry Albert Atkinson28 Aug., 18843 Sept., 1884.
24. Stout-VogelSir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G.3 Sept., 18848 Oct., 1887.
25. AtkinsonSir Harry Albert Atkinson, K.C.M.G.8 Oct., 188724 Jan., 1891.
26. BallanceJohn Ballance24 Jan., 18911 May, 1893.
27. SeddonRt. Hon. Richard John Seddon, P.C.1 May, 189321 June, 1906.
28. Hall-JonesWilliam Hall-Jones21 June, 19066 Aug., 1906.
29. WardRt. Hon. Sir Joseph George Ward, Bart., P.C., K.C.M.G.6 Aug., 190628 Mar., 1912.
30. MackenzieThomas Mackenzie28 Mar., 191210 July, 1912.
31. MasseyRt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C.10 July, 191212 Aug., 1915.
32. NationalRt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C.12 Aug., 191525 Aug., 1919.
33. MasseyRt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, P.C.25 Aug., 191914 May, 1925.
34. BellHon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell, G.C.M.G., K.C.14 May, 192530 May, 1925.
35. CoatesRt. Hon. Joseph Gordon Coates, P.C., M.C.30 May, 192510 Dec., 1928.
36. WardRt. Hon. Sir Joseph George Ward, Bart., P.C., G.C.M.G.10 Dec., 192828 May, 1930.
37. ForbesRt. Hon. George William Forbes, P.C.28 May, 1930..


(Assumed Office, 28th May, 1930.)


* Died 8th July 1930.

† Succeeded by Mr. Veitch, 25th August, 1931.

Right Hon. George William Forbes, P.C.Prime Minister28 May, 1930.
Minister of Finance28 May, 1930.
Minister of External Affairs28 May, 1930.
Minister of Customs28 May, 1930.
Minister of Stamp Duties28 May, 1930.
Right Hon. Sir Joseph George Ward, Bart., P.C., G.C.M.G.*Member of Executive Council without portfolio28 May, 1930.
Ethelbert Alfred RansomMinister of Lands28 May, 1930.
Commissioner of State Forests28 May, 1930.
Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata, Kt.Minister of Native Affairs28 May, 1930.
Minister of Cook Islands28 May, 1930.
Harry AtmoreMinister of Education28 May, 1930.
William Andrew VeitchMinister of Railways28 May, 1930.
Minister of Transport25 Aug., 1931.
Sir Thomas Kay Sidey, Kt., M.L.C.Attorney-General28 May, 1930.
William Burgoyne TavernerMinister of Public Works28 May, 1930.
Minister of Transport28 May, 1930.
Philip Aldborough de la PerrelleMinister of Internal Affairs28 May, 1930.
Minister of Industries and Commerce28 May, 1930.
John George CobbeMinister of Defence28 May, 1930.
Minister of Justice28 May, 1930.
James Bell DonaldPostmaster-General28 May, 1930.
Minister of Telegraphs28 May, 1930.
Minister of Marine28 May, 1930.
Arthur John StallworthyMinister of Health28 May, 1930.
Sydney George SmithMinister of Labour28 May, 1930.
Minister of Immigration28 May, 1930.
Alfred James MurdochMinister of Agriculture28 May, 1930.
Minister of Mines28 May, 1930.
Robert Masters, M.L.C.Member of Executive Council without portfolio20 Aug., 1930.


His Excellency the GOVERNOR-GENERAL.

Rt. Hon. G. W. FORBES, P.C., Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Customs, Minister of Stamp Duties, Minister in Charge of Public Trust, Legislative, State Advances, Land and Income Tax, Scientific and Industrial Research, and High Commissioner's Departments.

Hon. E. A. RANSOM, Minister of Lands, Commissioner of State Forests, Minister in Charge of Land for Settlements, Scenery Preservation. Discharged Soldiers' Settlement, and Valuation 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 Electoral Department.

Hon. W. A. VEITCH, Minister of Railways, Minister of Transport.

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

Hon. W. B. TAVERNER, Minister of Public Works, Minister in Charge of Roads and Public Buildings.

Hon. P. A. DE LA PERRELLE, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Industries and Commerce, Minister in Charge of Tourist and Health Resorts, Publicity, Census and Statistics, Audit, Museum, and Advertising Departments.

Hon. J. G. COBBE, Minister of Defence, Minister of Justice, Minister in Charge of Registrar-General's, Pensions, Police, and Prisons Departments.

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

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

Hon. S. G. SMITH, Minister of Labour, Minister of Immigration, Minister in Charge of Printing and Stationery Department.

Hon. A. J. MURDOCH, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Mines.

Hon. R. MASTERS, M.L.C., Member of Executive Council without portfolio.

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


(For particulars of Parliaments and sessions prior to 1900, see pp. 59 and 60 of the 1930 number of the Year-book.)

Parliament.Dates of Opening of Sessions.Dates of Prorogation.Dates of Dissolution.
Fourteenth22 June, 190022 Oct., 19005 Nov., 1902.
1 July, 19018 Nov., 1901
1 July, 19024 Oct., 1902
Fifteenth29 June, 190325 Nov., 190315 Nov., 1905.
28 June, 19048 Nov., 1904
27 June, 190531 Oct., 1905
Sixteenth27 June, 19063 July, 190629 Oct., 1908.
21 Aug., 190629 Oct., 1906
27 June, 190725 Nov., 1907
29 June, 190812 Oct., 1908
Seventeenth10 June, 190917 June, 190920 Nov., 1911.
7 Oct., 190929 Dec., 1909
28 June, 19105 Dec., 1910
27 July, 191130 Oct., 1911
Eighteenth15 Feb., 19121 Mar., 191220 Nov., 1914.
27 June, 19128 Nov., 1912
26 June, 191316 Dec., 1913
25 June, 19146 Nov., 1914
Nineteenth24 June, 191515 Oct., 191527 Nov., 1919.
9 May, 19169 Aug., 1916
28 June, 19172 Nov., 1917
9 April, 191817 April, 1918
24 Oct., 191812 Dec., 1918
28 Aug., 19197 Nov., 1919
Twentieth24 June, 192012 Nov., 192015 Nov., 1922.
10 Mar., 192124 Mar., 1921
22 Sept., 192113 Feb., 1922
28 June, 19221 Nov., 1922
Twenty-first8 Feb., 192319 Feb., 192314 Oct., 1925.
14 June, 192330 Aug., 1923
26 June, 19247 Nov., 1924
25 June, 19253 Oct., 1925
Twenty-second16 June, 192614 Sept., 192618 Oct., 1928.
23 June, 19277 Dec., 1927
28 June, 192811 Oct., 1928
Twenty-third4 Dec., 192819 Dec., 1928..
27 June, 192911 Nov., 1929
26 June, 19305 Nov., 1930
11 Mar., 193128 April, 1931
25 June, 1931..



Speaker—Hon. Sir W. C. F. CARNCROSS, Kt.

Chairman of Committees—Hon. E. H. CLARK.

Clerk of the Legislative Council—E. W. KANE, C.M.G.

Name.Provincial District.Date of Appointment.
Alison, Hon. Ewen WilliamAuckland7 May, 1925.
Allen, Colonel the Hon. Sir James, G.C.M.G., K.C.B.Otago1 June, 1927.
Bell, Right Hon. Sir Francis Henry Dillon, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C.Wellington21 May, 1926.
Buddo, Hon. DavidCanterbury11 June, 1930.
Carncross, Hon. Sir Walter Charles Frederick, Kt.Taranaki17 March, 1931.
Carrington, Hon. Carey JohnAuckland17 June, 1926.
Clark, Hon. Edward HenryOtago25 June, 1927.
Collins, Colonel the Hon. William Edward, C.M.G.Wellington14 July, 1928.
Earnshaw, Hon. WilliamWellington25 June, 1927.
Fagan, Hon. MarkWellington11 June, 1930.
Fleming, Hon. David ThomasOtago7 May, 1925.
Garland, Hon. George JosephAuckland7 May, 1925.
Gow, Hon. James BurmanAuckland7 May, 1925.
Hall-Jones, Hon. Sir William, K.C.M.G.Wellington6 October, 1927.
Hanan, Hon. Josiah AlfredOtago17 June, 1926.
Hawke, Hon. Archibald FotheringhamOtago7 May, 1925.
Isitt, Hon. Leonard MonkCanterbury28 October, 1925.
McCallum, Hon. RichardMarlborough11 June, 1930.
MacGregor, Hon. JohnOtago14 July, 1928.
McIntyre, Hon. William HendersonNelson3 September, 1928.
Masters, Hon. RobertTaranaki11 June, 1930.
Mitchelson, Hon. Sir Edwin, K.C.M.G.Auckland25 June, 1927.
Moore, Hon. RichardCanterbury14 July, 1928.
Rhodes, Hon. Sir Robert Heaton, K.C.V.O., K.B.E.Canterbury28 October, 1925.
Scott, Hon. RobertOtago25 June, 1927.
Sidey, Hon. Sir Thomas Kay, Kt.Otago10 December, 1928.
Sinclair, Hon. Sir John Robert, Kt.Otago7 May, 1925.
Smith, Colonel the Hon. George John, C.B.E.Canterbury25 June, 1927.
Snodgrass, Hon. William Wallace, M.B.E.Nelson3 September, 1928.
Stevenson, Hon. WilliamOtago11 June, 1930.
Stewart, Hon. WilliamAuckland7 May, 1925.
Thomson, Hon. George MalcolmOtago7 May, 1925.
Trevethick, Hon. JonathanAuckland11 June, 1930.
Triggs, Hon. William HenryCanterbury7 May, 1925.
Witty, Hon. GeorgeCanterbury28 October, 1925.



Speaker—Hon. Sir C. E. STATHAM, Kt.

Chairman of Committees—W. A. Bodkin.

Clerk of the House—T. D. H. HALL, LL.B.

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.
Endean, William PhillipsParnell.
Field, William HughesOtaki.
Fletcher, John ShearerGrey Lynn.
Forbes, Right Hon. George William, P.C.Hurunui.
Fraser, PeterWellington Central.
Hamilton, AdamWallace.
Harris, AlexanderWaitemata.
Hawke, Richard WilsonKaiapoi.
Healy, Edward FrancisWairau.
Hogan, James ThomasRangitikei.
Holland, HenryChristchurch North.
Holland, Henry EdmundBuller.
Howard, Edwin JohnChristchurch South.
Jones, DavidMid - Canterbury.
Jordan, William JosephManukau.
Jull, Albert EdwardWaipawa.
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.
Massey, Walter WilliamHauraki.
Munns, George CharlesRoskill.
Munro, James WrightDunedin North.
Murdoch, Hon. Alfred JamesMarsden.
Nash, James AlfredPalmerston.
Nash, WalterHutt.
O'Brien, JamesWestland.
Parry, William EdwardAuckland Central.
Polson, William JohnStratford.
Ransom, Hon. Ethelbert AlfredPahiatua.
Rushworth, Harold MontagueBay of Islands.
Samuel, Albert MoellerThames.
Savage, Michael JosephAuckland West.
Semple, RobertWellington East.
Smith, Hon. 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, Vincent AubreyInvercargill.
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.
Taite te TomoWestern 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.
DefenceCommandant, N.Z. Military ForcesMajor - General W. L. H. Sinclair - Burgess, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., A.D.C.
 Under-SecretaryH. Turner.
EducationDirectorT. B. Strong, M.A., B.Sc.
External AffairsSecretaryC. A. Berendsen, LL.M.
Friendly SocietiesRegistrarR. Witheford.
Government InsuranceCommissionerA. E. Allison.
HealthDirector-GeneralM. H. Watt, M.D., D.P.H.
ImmigrationUnder-SecretaryH. D. Thomson.
Industries and Commerce, Tourist, and PublicitySecretary for Industries and Commerce, General Manager for Tourist and Health ResortsG. W. Clinkard, M.Com.
Census and StatisticsGovernment StatisticianM. Fraser, O.B.E.
Internal AffairsUnder-SecretaryP. J. Kelleher.
  Dominion MuseumDirectorW. R. B. Oliver, B.Sc.
  Government Actuary'sGovernment ActuaryC. Gostelow, F.I.A. Lond.
Justice (including Patents)Under-SecretaryR. P. Ward.
  ElectoralChief Electoral OfficerG. G. Hodgkins.
  Registrar-General'sRegistrar-GeneralW. W. Cook.
LabourSecretaryW. Newton.
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 ControllerW. Robertson.
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. Blake, C.B., D.S.O., R.N.
PensionsCommissionerJ. H. Boyes.
PoliceCommissionerW. G. Wohlmann.
Post and TelegraphSecretaryG. McNamara.
Prime Minister'sPermanent HeadF. D. Thomson, C.M.G., B.A.
Printing and StationeryGovernment PrinterW. A. G. Skinner.
PrisonsController-GeneralB. L. Dallard.
Public Service SuperannuationSecretary(Vacant).
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 AnalystW. Donovan, M.Sc., F.I.C.
  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 AdvancesSuperintendentE. O. Hales.
State Fire and Accident InsuranceGeneral ManagerJ. H. Jerram.
State Forest ServiceDirectorA. D. McGavock.
TransportCommissionerJ. S. Hunter.
TreasurySecretaryA. D. Park.
ValuationValuer-GeneralT. Brook.

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

The Act, which became operative on the 1st April, 1913, applies to all members of the Public Service with the exception of the Controller and Auditor-General, officers of the 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 £688 1/2 per annum.

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

Assistant Public Service Commissioner: B. L. DALLARD.


High Commissioner for New Zealand—Sir Thomas M. Wilford, K.C.M.G., K.C.

Secretary, and Loan and Stock Agent—(Vacant).

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

Trade and Produce Officer—F. T. Sandford.

Officer in Charge Immigration—C. B. Burdekin.

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. Code address—Deputy, Westrand.


New Zealand Trade and Tourist Commissioner to the Commonwealth of Australia—L. J. Schmitt, corner Martin Place and Pitt Street (G.P.O. Box 365F), Sydney, with branch office at 59 William Street, Melbourne. Code addresses—Zealandia, Sydney; Aotearoa, Melbourne.

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

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agents, Adelaide—South Australian Intelligence and Tourist Bureau (P.O. Box 664G), Adelaide.

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agents, Perth—Western Australian Tourist Bureau, 62 Barrack Street, Perth. Code address—Tourist.

Commissioner for New Zealand in Canada and United States—J. W. Collins, Canada Permanent Building, 320 Bay Street, Toronto, 2. Code address—Maoriland.

New Zealand Government Agent, Vancouver—W. A. James, 1017 Metropolitan Building, 837 Hastings Street West (P.O. Box 747), Vancouver. Code address—Wajames.

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

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

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent in India—T. C. Buddle, New Zealand Insurance Co., Ltd., 26 Dalhousie Square West, Calcutta. Code address—Newzico.

Honorary New Zealand Government Agent, North China—L. A. L. Moore, Tientsin. Code address—Court.

Honorary New Zealand Representative, Johannesburg—B. R. Avery, 3 Natal Bank Chambers, Market Street, Market Square (P.O. Box 1378), Johannesburg.

Honorary New Zealand Tourist Agent, Durban — H. Middlebrook, 3 Natal Bank Buildings, West Street (P.O. Box 1822), Durban. Code address—Midstream.

Honorary New Zealand Government Agent, Honolulu—H. C. Tennent, First National Bank Building (P.O. Box 44), Honolulu.

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


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 States 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: Sir C. R. J. Ward, Bart., Christchurch; R. A. Anderson, C.M.G., Invercargill.

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

Chile.—Consul-General for Australia and New Zealand: R. Dundas Smith, Sydney. Consuls: E. A. Craig, Auckland; Thomas C. Ross, Dunedin.

China.—Consuls: Ou Tsin-Shuin, Wellington; Chu Chih-Ching, Samoa. Vice-Consul: Yue H. Jackson, Wellington.

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: Georg Lyngbe Host, Sydney. 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 for New Zealand and Western Samoa: E. M. U. M. Joubert, 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. Consul (with jurisdiction over New Zealand and Dependencies, also Western and American 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 and Dependencies, excluding Western Samoa): Kojiro Inoue, Sydney. Honorary Consuls: A. B. Roberton, Auckland; A. Young, Wellington.

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: H. H. T. Fay, Sydney. Consul (with jurisdiction over Western Samoa also): A. W. Newton, Wellington. Vice-Consuls: Robert Millar, Auckland; V. E. Hamilton, Christchurch (honorary); 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, Sydney. Gerant of the Consulate: J. A. C. Allum, Auckland.

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

Yugoslavia.—Hon. Consul: John Totich, Dargaville.



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

The proper collection of statistics from the public on the voluntary basis which 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. The Census Postponement Act, 1930, passed as a consequence of extreme financial stringency, authorized the postponement to 1936 of the census falling in 1931.

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. By the Finance Act (2) of 1931 the Census and Statistics Office was transferred from the control of the Minister of Internal Affairs to that of the Minister of Industries and Commerce.


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 annually.

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

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

  1. 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; and population distribution and characteristics.

  2. 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 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.

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.
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 PopulationQuarterly.
  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 different branches of the Dominion's activities and the various aspects of her social and economic characteristics and progress. Necessarily 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 discussion on the principal features and articles presenting new annual matter as it becomes available.

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:—

Population-9Report of Department of Immigration.
Public health, hospitals, &c.H.-31Report of Director-General of Health.
 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 Department.
RailwaysD.-2Railways Statement.
 D.-1Public Works Statement.
Roads and TransportD.-1Public Works Statement.
 H.-40Report of Transport Department.
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.-3, 4Accounts of East Coast Native Trust Lands.
SurveysC.-1AReport on Surveys.
Agricultural and pastoral productionH.-29Report of Department of Agriculture.
 H.-23Sheep Returns.
 H.-34Report of Scientific and Industrial Research Department.
ForestryC.-3Report of State Forest Service.
FisheriesH.-15Report of Marine 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 (Budget).
 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 disputesH.-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 Department.
DependenciesA.-3Report on Cook and other Islands.
 A.-4Report on 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.-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.


A.-4B. Western Samoa—Extract from Report on Finances and Staff.

G.-11. Employment of Maoris on Market Gardens—Report of Committee of Inquiry.

H.-11A. Apprenticeship Conference, 1929—Condensed Report of Proceedings.

H.-11B. Unemployment in New Zealand—First Section of Report of Committee.

H.-44A. Footwear Industry—Preliminary Report of Committee of Inquiry.

I.-2A. Rotorua-Taupo Railway—Report of Public Petitions M to Z Committee, with Minutes of Proceedings, Evidence, and Appendix.

I.-4A. Miner's Phthisis Pensions — Report of Mines Committee, with Minutes of Evidence.

I.-17. Wheat Industry — Report of Wheat Industry Committee, with Minutes of Proceedings, Evidence, and Appendices.


D.-4. Railways—Report of Royal Commission on possible increased revenue and decreased expenditure.

H.-11B. Unemployment—Second section of Report of Committee.

H.-39. Ex-soldiers Rehabilitation—Report of Royal Commission.

I.-8A. Education—Report of Recess Committee on Reorganization.

I.-17. Tobacco Industry—Report of Select Committee.

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 minute 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 63. Owing to the high standard of education 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 financial stringency resulting from the severe decline in the prices of primary products caused by the world-wide economic depression led to the first interruption in the sequence of New Zealand censuses. By the Census Postponement Act, 1930, the census due to be taken in 1931 and proclaimed for 21st April of that year was postponed until 1936.

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 domicil, 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, has hitherto prevented serious intercensal errors in statements of population of New Zealand as a whole. This remark applies to Europeans only, as the same standard of accuracy cannot 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 followed formerly 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, 1931, exceeded one and a half millions. The Ross Dependency is uninhabited.

Population (exclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper735,965706,7811,442,746
Maori population of New Zealand proper35,52632,66868,194
Population (inclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper771,491739,4491,510,940
Population of Cook Islands and Niue7,6017,32014,921
Population of Tokelau Islands (November, 1929)497502999
Population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa23,78121,86845,649


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 the first general census 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, 185126,707......
" 185859,41332,706122.4612.14
" 186199,02139,60866.6718.70
" 1864172,15873,13773.8620.54
" 1867218,66846,51027.028.15
February, 1871256,39337,72517.255.11
March, 1874299,51443,12116.825.32
" 1878414,412114,89838.368.43
April, 1881489,93375,52118.225.58
March, 1886578,48288,54918.073.39
April, 1891626,65848,1768.331.61
" 1896703,36076,70212.242.33
March, 1901772,71969,3599.861.91
April, 1906888,578115,85914.992.79
" 19111,008,468119,89013.492.60
October, 19161,099,44990,9819.021.57
April, 19211,218,913119,46410.872.32
" 19261,344,469129,792*10.692.05

The European population now looks in retrospect down a vista of well over one hundred years. At the opening of the nineteenth century there existed a more or less fluctuating population of perhaps one hundred; by 1839 it had swelled to a total of about a thousand whalers, sealers, traders, missionaries, adventurers, and settlers. Activities of the colonizing companies and societies in the "forties" brought rapid changes and swiftly rising numbers, to be enhanced in the "sixties" by the gold rushes of the period.

The most significant period is possibly that of the "seventies," marked by a vigorous developmental policy of public works and assisted immigration. The record year 1874, which saw a rise in population of 46,000 (including 32,000 assisted immigrants), was, and still is, the high-water mark of population gains. Both 1874 and 1875 showed a ratio of growth far in advance of any level subsequently attained.

In the late "eighties" and early "nineties" came the blight of economic depression and comparative stagnation in population. In 1888, 1890, and 1891 emigrants exceeded immigrants for the only time in the history of the country.

In the middle "nineties" rising world prices and the new frozen-meat trade brought a return of prosperity and moderate, but steady, increase of population. Development of secondary industries and the remarkable expansion of dairying in recent years provided a substantial foundation for increasing numbers.

The average annual population increment during the ten post-war years, 1919–28, exceeded 30,000. In 1928 the population gain fell to 16,071, but showed a slight rise to 17,442 in 1929, and a further rise to 19,325 in 1930. Apart from war years, which were affected by movements of troops, these are the lowest absolute increases since 1900, and the lowest relative increases, with the exception of 1888, ever recorded. Contributing causes are the continued fall in the birthrate, which has now reached a level below half that of fifty years ago, and the shrinkage of the normal excess of overseas arrivals over departures.

The 1931 Year-book contained a diagram which illustrated the population movement of the past and permitted a speculative glimpse at the future. The population movement over several decades has proved fairly stable, and if continued at the same rate would result in a population (other than Maori) of 2,500,000 in two decades.

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; statements of increase are for Province of Cape of Good Hope only.

‡ Decrease.

New Zealand*1,344,469192620.8730.5123.3125.8791.09158.93
Great Britain44,748,00019314.7410.3612.0311.1713.9512.73
Union of South Africa7,537,62419268.496.4457.79111.8245.25
United States122,775,046193014.9421.0220.7325.5030.0822.63

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 1861–1930 migration accounted for 37 per cent. of the total increase, excess of births over deaths accounting for 63 per cent. From 1901 to 1930 the former is responsible for 31 per cent. and the latter for 69 per cent. of the increase of population.

A table is appended showing for each five-yearly period from 1861 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, 1861–1930418,864464,013882,877303,909204,186508,095722,773668,1991,390,972

The table shows clearly the irregularity of the migration increase and the comparative steadiness of the natural increase. The most fruitful quinquennium in respect of population gained through migration was that of the gold-rush period nearly seventy years ago. With a stable birth-rate the natural increase would show mounting numbers, whereas actually the peak occurred in 1911–15 and the shrinking birth-rate has reduced numbers accruing from this source.


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 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 passing 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 1861–1930 the gain of males by migration totalled 99,723 more than that of females. This excess was only partly offset numerically by a female surplus of 45,149 in the figures of natural increase, but the net excess of 54,574 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 29,000. 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 1930 was 19,325, as compared with 17,442 in 1929. 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.

* See letterpress above.


Of the total estimated population of 1,442,746, excluding Maoris, at 31st March, 1931, adults numbered 882,631 (males, 449,566; females, 433,065).

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, 80,815 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year 1930, which, compared with 1929, shows a decrease of 4,157. During the same period 76,068 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1929, shows a decrease of 5,909. The gain by migration to the Dominion's population during 1930 was thus 4,747, as compared with 2,995 in 1929.

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.



The monthly figures for 1929 and 1930 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.

In general, arrivals exceed departures in the spring and summer months, while the contrary holds for the autumn and winter periods. Excluding crews of vessels, the arrivals for the first and last quarters of 1930 formed 61 per cent. of the total arrivals, and the six months ended June accounted for 66 per cent. of the total departures, for the year. Figures for the corresponding periods in 1929 were 63 per cent. and 62 per cent.


During the calendar year 1930, 32,559 persons, excluding members of crews of vessels, arrived in the Dominion. Of these, 6,917 were immigrants intending permanent residence in the country, as compared with 6,343 of a similar class in 1929. The remainder of the arrivals, 25,642 in number, were classified as shown below. Corresponding figures for the four preceding years are also given.

Immigrants intending permanent residence17,86811,3276,3396,3436,917
New Zealand residents returning from abroad14,37514,27115,49715,10814,362
Persons on commercial business1,9931,9731,8711,8721,681
Persons visiting the Dominion in connection with entertainments, sports, &c.994782931741295
Others (officials, &c., of other countries)343430243296236
Persons in transit533557946468507
Not stated70231541877

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 the last four years in the number of immigrants intending permanent residence when compared with 1926. The number of assisted immigrants for 1930 is 1,405, as against 1,878 in 1929, 2,220 in 1928, 5,899 in 1927, and 10,766 in 1926; while the numbers of those who migrated to New Zealand without State assistance amounted to 5,512, 4,465, 4,119, 5,428, and 7,102 for the years 1930, 1929, 1928, 1927, and 1926 respectively.

The departures recorded during 1930 numbered 28,321, as compared with 31,643 in 1929. Of these, 2,449 were shown to be New Zealand residents departing permanently, 12,540 New Zealand residents departing temporarily, and 13,273 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 permanently2,5814,1453,9543,0932,449
New Zealand residents departing temporarily15,15716,65916,07514,61412,540
Visitors to the Dominion departing16,06515,41414,98913,89313,273
Persons regarding whom no information is available2230174359


Of the total arrivals recorded during the year 1930, 10.1 per cent. were under fifteen years of age. Among the immigrants intending permanent residence, however, the proportion was much higher—viz., 17.9 per cent. The corresponding percentages for all departures and for New Zealand residents departing permanently were 9.1 and 19.2 respectively. The higher percentages under fifteen years of age in the case of permanent settlers and emigrants are, of course, due to the fact that this class of person brings or takes his family, if any, with him, whereas the remainder of personscoming 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.


Of the 6,917 new immigrants during 1930 intending to settle in the Dominion, the vast majority, 6,518, or 94.2 per cent., came from British countries, mainly from the British Isles, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Fiji, and India. The majority of immigrants from foreign countries came from Yugoslavia, 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.1926.1927.1928.1929.1930.
British Isles14,4368,7034,0633,6332,843
Union of South Africa11267524021
Other British countries197168110187225
United States of America137116829688
Other foreign countries and unspecified15311010265149

With the exception of 237 persons (of whom 137 departed for the United States, 35 for China, and 35 for European countries), the whole of the New Zealand residents who permanently left the Dominion during 1930 went to British countries. Detailed figures are as follows: Australia, 955; British Isles, 917; Canada, 122; South Africa, 43; Fiji, 79; other British countries, 96.


During the year 1930 some 309 persons (males 202, females 107) of foreign nationality, out of the total of 6,917, arrived as new immigrants intending permanent residence in the Dominion. The chief nationalities represented among the alien immigrants for the last five years were as follows:—

Country of Nationality.1926.1927.1928.1929.1930.
United States of America7240303830
Other countries10068765481

Yugoslavia in 1926 accounted for approximately half the immigrants of foreign nationality, but the numbers have dwindled considerably since then, although in 1930 they represented 23 per cent. of the foreign arrivals.

The sex-constitution of foreign nationals has altered considerably of recent years. Although females among alien immigrants have always been relatively fewer than among immigrants of British nationality, the proportion of females in the former case rose rapidly from 15 per cent. in 1925 to 43 per cent. in 1929 with a decline to 35 per cent. in 1930, while that of females to total British immigrants has maintained a steady level, the percentage in 1930 being 42.

There are very few persons of foreign nationality among New Zealand residents departing permanently, the figure for 1930 being only 87 (73 males and 14 females), or 3.6 per cent. of the total.


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 1929 and 1930:—


* Decrease.

Immigrants intending permanent residence55027827343172
New Zealand residents departing permanently28..14423571860
Permanent increase of race aliens in New Zealand through migration23*50134028*271312

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 the last four years. The permanent increase in the number of Indian immigrants remains at a fairly stationary figure.

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


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, 1931, the approximate numbers of the principal alien races present in New Zealand were: Chinese, 2,854; Indians, 1,166; and Syrians, 980.


The general scheme of Governmental assistance to immigrants is based on nomination by a person who is already domiciled in New Zealand, and who undertakes to find employment for his nominee and guarantees that such nominee will reside at least five years in New Zealand. Further details will be found in the 1931 or preceding issues of the Year-book.

Since about May, 1927, the system of assisted immigration has been temporarily suspended except in regard to (1) single women under forty years of age, (2) juveniles, and (3) wives, &c., of immigrants who had arrived previously.

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 of the last twenty years are as follows:—


The total to 31st December, 1930, is 225,653, 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).



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

In the case of a person coming from a foreign country the passport must, with certain exceptions, have been issued or viséd by the British Ambassador or a British Consul in that country, and in the case of a person coining 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.

Subject to certain exemptions, the following classes of persons are prohibited from landing in New Zealand:—

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

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

Provision is made in the law to permit persons covered by clause (1) above to pay temporary visits to New Zealand for the purposes of business, pleasure, or health. Temporary permits are normally restricted to a period not exceeding 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.

Provision is also made whereby, under certain conditions, students may be allowed to enter New Zealand temporarily.

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.

Under the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act, 1931, restrictions upon the landing in New Zealand of persons of British birth and parentage may be imposed, on account of any economic or financial conditions affecting trade and industry in New Zealand, or any other conditions which render it expedient to impose such restrictions. The Act ceases to be in force on 31st December, 1933.


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). A fairly detailed account of its effects will be found on pp. 92–95 of the 1931 Year-book.

During the year 1930 letters of naturalization in New Zealand were granted to 73 persons of the undermentioned birthplaces, as compared with 122 in the previous year. In addition, 50 children were included in the certificates of their parents, and certificates under the new legislation were issued to one (Danish) male previously naturalized in New Zealand.

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

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

United States1..1..
New Zealand..22..
Western Samoa2..25

In the last nine years 1,892 subjects or citizens of other nations obtained letters of naturalization in New Zealand. The following table exhibits the principal countries involved. For the last six years concerned the basis is the country of birth, for the remaining three the previous nationality.

United States64
Western Samoa30
Other countries63



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 in 1864 attracted to these localities considerable numbers of miners.

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 1930 was 5,004, yet the total increase was only 3,138. A net "drift" of 1,866 is therefore disclosed. For the North Island the natural increase was 9,594, and the total 16,187. These figures are exclusive of Maoris.


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

Provincial District.Census Population.Estimated Population as at 30th April, 1931.

* Includes certain Maori wives of Europeans, provincial district not specified.

Hawke's Bay39,60453,09863,62870,35375,900
Otago portion125,782132,881137,062149,921152,600
Southland portion48,01659,34962,43965,52968,400

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, 85 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.

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.


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.

An important characteristic of the distribution of urban population in New Zealand is what may be termed its decentralization. In place of one great metropolis containing a huge proportion of the population as in 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 than does the North Island. Of the Northern provincial districts Taranaki is the only one in which rural population predominates.

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 of the fourteen urban areas at the census of 1926 and as estimated annually since then is as follows:—


Urban Area.(Census) 20th April, 1926.1st April, 1927.1st April, 1928.1st April, 1929.1st April, 1930.30th April, 1931.
Palmerston North19,76320,54020,94021,28021,92022,800
New Plymouth16,10116,79017,05017,21017,63018,200

The population of each county, borough, and town district as at 30th April, 1931, is given in the schedules which follow. On this occasion the custom of showing these figures as for 1st April has been varied in order to avoid the serious, but temporary, dislocation of population in several districts consequent upon the Hawke's Bay earthquake in February.


(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 Islands7,8908,470
Great Barrier390390
Hauraki Plains4,3304,330
Hawke's Bay15,40045,895
Waimate West2,9503,640
Wairarapa South3,3105,220

(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).
South Island—  
Mount Herbert520520
Chatham Islands620620
Stewart Island670670
Grand total586,9901,504,645


Borough.Population (including Maoris).
North Island— 
New Lynn3,280
Auckland (City)105,600
Mount Eden20,000
Mount Albert20,600
One Tree Hill8,000
Te Awamutu1,840
Te Kuiti2,500
Te Aroha2,480
New Plymouth15,900
Wanganui (City)25,050
Palmerston North (City)21,000
Upper Hutt3,670
Lower Hutt14,000
Wellington (City)111,500
South Island— 
Nelson (City)10,800
Christchurch (City)89,500
New Brighton4,820
Port Chalmers2,580
West Harbour2,100
Dunedin (City)68,200
St. Kilda8,220
Green Island2,380
Invercargill (City)20,400
South Invercargill1,070
Grand total880,850


Town District.Population (including Maoris).
(a) Town Districts not forming Parts of Counties.
North Island— 
Glen Eden1,350
Te Puke1,025
Havelock North1,115
South Island—
Pleasant Point580
Grand total36,805
(b) Town Districts forming Parts of Counties.
North Island—
Te Kauwhata480
Mount Maunganui425
Te Karaka390
South Island—
Grand total9,735


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 is exclusive of Maoris, but 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 is approximately 104,015 square miles. Omitting the annexed islands and certain uninhabited outlying islands, the area of the land-mass remaining is 103,415 square miles. This calculation, it should be explained, includes all inland waters.

Using the latter figure as a base, the density of population in 1931 may be quoted as 13.95 persons to the square mile, or, if Maoris be included, 14.61 persons to the square mile.

A truer statement of average density can be ascertained by subtracting from the total area that 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 utmost total inhabitable or usable land, carries a population of 17.08 (or, including Maoris, 17.89) 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.

The various cities, boroughs, and town districts in New Zealand occupy a total of approximately 509 square miles. Considering their population as "urban," the urban population (1931) had a density of 1,823 persons per square mile, and the rural population a density of 6 persons 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 Vol. XIV of the 1926 Census Results. 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.

1931 (estimate, 1st April)68,194*

The estimated number of Maoris at 30th April, 1931, was 68,290, of which 65,315 were in the North Island. Auckland Provincial District contains the bulk (49,000), particularly in the Auckland Peninsula and Poverty Bay regions. Hawke's Bay contains some 5,200; Taranaki, 4,000; and Wellington, 7,115. In the South Island Maoris do not attain any numerical significance. During 1930–31 the Maori population increased by 1,177.

During the last few years the natural increase ratio of the Maori population has exceeded that of the European. Heavy fluctuations, however, occur in the Native data, and the completeness of registration is not yet beyond suspicion.

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 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 ranging 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
Counted in the non-Maori population—


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, 1931, the population was estimated at 14,921 of which Europeans comprised 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 of the various islands in 1926 was 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, 1931, the population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa was estimated at 45,649, made up as follows:—

European and half-caste population1,4201,0782,498
Native Samoan population21,28320,78142,064
Chinese indentured-contract labour864..864
Chinese (non-indentured)79887
Melanesian and Polynesian1351136

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

North America134,000,000163,000,000
South America56,000,00080,000,000

The population of China included above was 441 millions in 1913 and 458 millions in 1929.

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 Wales39,806193026
Northern Ireland1,24419300.8
Irish Free State2,94519302
India (including Native States)351,5001931233
Union of South Africa7,89519295
  New South Wales2,50019312
  South Australia58219310.4
  Western Australia42119310.3
New Zealand1,51119311
Russia (Soviet Union)154,8001929102
United States122,775193081




REGISTRATION of births in New Zealand dates as far back as 1848, consequent upon the passing, in 1847, of 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 20 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 Dominio 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 1930 (26,797) is 50 more than the total for 1929 but 1,138 less than the figure for 1913, in spite of an increase of over 350,000 in population during the seventeen years. The rate per 1,000 of mean population (18.80) is the lowest ever recorded in the Dominion, being 0.21 per 1,000 lower than in 1929, which represented the previous lowest level.

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

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.

There is a noticeable fall in the rate in the later years of the period covered by the table, as compared with the earlier. This fall, however, is small when compared with the tremendous decline between the "seventies" and "nineties" disclosed by the following diagram, which shows also the course of the rates of deaths, natural increase, and marriages from 1855 to 1930:—

Comparisons of birth-rates over a series of years or between different countries are usually made on the basis of the crude rates—i.e., the number of births per 1,000 of the mean population, irrespective of sex or age.

The crude rates do not permit of allowance being made for variations in the proportion of women of the child-bearing ages, and it is advisable and of interest to supplement the table of crude rates with a computation of the legitimate birth-rate per 1,000 married women between 15 and 45 years of age, or the total birth-rate per 1,000 of all women of these ages. The following table gives both rates for New Zealand in each census year from 1878 to 1926.

Year.Number of Women 15 and under 45.Number of Births.Birth-rate per 1,000 Women 15 and under 45.

The legitimate rate per 1,000 married women between the ages of 15 and 45 is seen to have fallen by over 50 per cent. between 1878 and 1926, while an even greater fall is shown for the total rate on the basis of all women of the ages mentioned. The greater fall in the latter rate than in the former is due to the fact that among women of the child-bearing ages the proportion of married women is considerably lower nowadays than in the earlier years covered.

Women formerly married at younger ages in general than they do at present, and a study of the figures for successive censuses reveals considerable changes in the age-constitution of married women within the child-bearing ages. As the birth-rate varies with age, the change in age-constitution over the period is a factor which should be taken into account. For recent years statistics are available from which to calculate the birth-rate for women of different ages, and by applying the 1926 rate for each quinquennial age-group to the numbers of women in the corresponding groups in earlier years it is possible to ascertain the total births that would have been recorded in these years on the basis of the rates ruling in 1926. From a comparison of the resultant figures with the numbers of births actually recorded in the respective years weighted index numbers can be compiled, taking the year 1926 as base. Index numbers are given below, together with the corresponding unweighted index numbers and those representing the crude rates.


(Base: 1926 = 1000.)

Year.Crude Rate.Legitimate Rate on Basis of Married Women 15 and under 45.Total Rate on Basis of all Women 15 and under 45.

The fall in the rate is somewhat overstated by the crude rate figures when compared with rates compiled for married women corrected for age-distribution. Even on the latter basis, however, the birth-rate was 75 per cent. higher fifty years ago than it is now. The fall in the rates for all women between 15 and 45 is much greater than that shown for married women.

The effect of correcting the figures for age-distribution is seen to be very substantial in the case of the legitimate rate for married women, but insignificant in the case of the general rate for all women of the child-bearing ages. It is apparent that, while there have been considerable changes in the sex-constitution of the population and in the age-distribution of married women, there has been little movement in the age-distribution of women in general at the child-bearing ages.

The effect of the declining birth-rate is shown in the following table giving the numbers of children under one year of age and the proportions which those numbers represent in the total population as recorded in successive census years:—

Census Year.Total Population (all Ages).Children under One Year.Children under One Year per 1,000 of Population.


The decline of the birth-rate in New Zealand has been partially compensated for by a decrease in the death-rate. Nevertheless, the rate of natural increase of population has fallen from 31.19 per 1,000 of mean population in 1870 to 10.24 in 1930. The following table shows the fall in all three rates:—

Period.Annual Rates per 1,000 living.
Births.Deaths.Natural Increase.

In spite of the fact that the birth-rate in New Zealand is low compared with other countries, yet so low is the Dominion's death-rate that New Zealand ranks comparatively high among the nations as regards the rate of natural increase. Only 8 of the 40 countries shown in the following list have lower birth-rates than New Zealand, but only 18 have higher rates of natural increase.


Country.Quinquennium.Annual Rates per 1,000.
Births.Natural Increase.

* Registration area.

South Africa1924–2826.216.5
New Zealand1926–3019.811.2
United States*1924–2820.88.9
British Guiana1925–2932.26.7
Northern Ireland1926–3021.26.5
Irish Free State1926–3020.15.7
England & Wales1926–3016.84.7


The Australian birth-rate has been consistently higher than that of New Zealand over the last twenty years. The rates of the two countries have shown practically the same movement, New Zealand, however, reaching in 1899, and Australia not till four years later, the temporary limit of the rapid fall which had been steadily in progress since the "seventies." In each country the check in the decline of the birth-rate was succeeded by a moderate but steady rise for ten years, followed by a fall commencing in New Zealand in 1909 and in Australia in 1913, an interval of four years again separating the movements of the two countries. The rates for the last ten years are as follows:—


New South Wales25.9325.6724.6824.1124.0122.8922.6922.6021.3920.95
South Australia24.0823.7122.6021.8821.0620.5520.1219.7618.4017.19
Western Australia23.3923.9422.5523.0922.2322.1422.0321.7922.0021.98
New Zealand23.3423.1721.9421.5721.1721.0520.2919.5619.0118.80


An examination of the figures shows that, with the exception of one year, there has always been a preponderance of males in the number of children born in New Zealand. The proportions are usually shown by stating the number of births of male children to every 1,000 female births. This number has been as high as 1,113 (in 1859), and as low as 991 (in 1860).

But little significance can be attached to any figures prior to 1870, on account of the comparatively small number of births. The period preceding 1870 exhibits violent fluctuations in the proportion of males, which tend to disappear as the total of births grows larger. The extreme range since 1870 has been from 1,016 male per 1,000 female births in 1878 to 1,081 in 1923.

Year.Number of Births ofMale Births per 1,000 Female Births.

The gradual increase in the proportion of males born is illustrated by taking the average ratios of successive decennial periods. The apparent cessation in the increase, as shown by the figures for the period 1916–25 as compared with the preceding decennium, is due to the low masculinity recorded in the last two war years, when (it may be remarked in passing) the proportion of first births to total births was abnormally low.

Period.Male Births to 1,000 Female Births.

It would appear that the proportion of males is somewhat higher for first births than for the general average of all children. Of 83,008 legitimate first births registered during the ten years 1921–30 (excluding plural births), 42,748 were of males and 40,260 of females, the proportion of males per 1,000 females being 1,062. The high proportion does not appear to be due to the youth of the mothers, there being a lower rate in cases where the mother was under twenty-five than where the mother was between twenty-five and thirty-five.

The figures for various age-groups for the ten years in conjunction are as follows:—


Age of Mother, in Years.Males.Females.Males per 1,000 Females.
Under 203,3303,1941,043
20 and under 2516,75015,7281,065
25 " 3013,81913,1111,054
30 " 356,0565,5551,090
35 " 402,1822,0951,042
40 and over6115771,059

In the ten years covered there were 722 plural first births, and in 250 cases the children were both males, in 244 both females, and in the remaining 228 of opposite sex. Two cases of triplets (one case two females and one male and the other two males and one female) were recorded as first births during the period.

Further light on the question of sexes of children may be thrown by some figures extracted from the records of births registered in the ten years 1921-30 in cases where the child was shown to be the fourth-born of a family in which the three previously born children were still living. In New Zealand the birth entries give particulars of numbers and sexes of previous issue of the parents, with the ages of the living issue, and the following interesting statement showing the sex-nativity order up to the fourth child has been compiled. Families in which plural births occurred among the first four children have been excluded.

Firstborn.Second-born.Third-born.Fourth-born.Number of Cases.

Of the 20,841 families covered, in 10,779 the first child was a male and in 10,062 a female, the number of males per 1,000 females being thus 1,071. The proportion is reduced for subsequent births, being apparently lowest in the case of third-born infants. The figures are as follows:—

Child.Males.Females.Males per 1,000 Females.

It is interesting to note that not only are males in preponderance among first-born children, but also that in cases where the first-born is a male there appears to be a greater probability of the second child being a male also. Where the first-born is a female, however, the second child appears to have a more even prospect as to sex.

The figures of first-borns registered in the ten years 1921–30, and those of firstborns in cases where the fourth child of the family was registered during the period, give similar results, and the two sets of figures taken in conjunction show that there is a higher masculinity rate among first-born children than among later issue. This conclusion serves to explain the increasing masculinity of births in successive decennia referred to previously, when it is remembered that the average number of children to a family has fallen heavily during the period, and the proportion of firstborn children correspondingly increased.

The sex-proportions of illegitimate births are generally supposed to be more nearly equal than those of legitimate births. However, although little reliance can be placed on the figures for New Zealand by reason of the small numbers represented, it may be stated that the average for the period 1921–30 was 1,089 males per 1,000 females—a rate considerably in excess of that for all births (1,056) for the same period.


Counting only cases where both children were born alive, there were 305 cases of twin births (610 children) registered in 1930. There were also two cases of triplets.

The number of accouchements resulting in living births was 26,488, and on the average one mother in every 86 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, however, the total number of accouchements for the year 1930 is increased to 27,316, and the number of cases of multiple births to 343. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 80.

The number of cases of multiple births and the proportion per 1,000 of the total cases of births, in cases of living births only, during the last ten years were—

Year.Total Births.Total Cases.Cases of Twins.Cases of Triplets.Multiple Cases per 1,000 of Total Cases.

The following table shows the sexes in individual cases of twin births for the same decade:—

Year.Total Cases.Both Males.Both Females.Opposite Sexes.

During the ten years 1921–30 there were twenty-three cases of triplets. In four cases all three children were males, in six cases all were females, in five cases there were two males and one female, and in eight cases two of the three children were females.


Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1930 is shown in the table on the page following.


Age of Mother, in Years.Age of Father, in Years.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and under 50.50 and under 55.55 and under 65.65 and over.Total.

* Including twenty cases where plural births would have been registered had not one child been still-born.

Single Births.
Under 2112073251613036106......1,550
21 and under 25601,3742,610877237692482..5,261
25 " 3063543,1702,6069243331294824..7,594
30 " 352396042,1341,6417932811012815,624
35 " 40..2593781,1951,0324961535833,376
40 " 45....8281594724101405641,277
45 and over....1..323643617..144
Multiple Births.
Under 21122..1..........6
21 and under 25..192373..........52
25 " 30..5422882..1....86
30 " 35....1038231211....85
35 " 40......5221112......50
40 " 45......14942....20
Grand totals1892,5277,0456,2324,2562,7661,427490185825,125


Information as to the previous issue of the parents, which is required in connection with the registration of births in New Zealand, is useful not only for record purposes, but also as providing valuable data for statistical purposes. Tables are given in the Annual Report on Vital Statistics containing detailed information as to number of previous issue in connection with (1) age of mother, and (2) duration of marriage. The former table is here summarized.


Age of Mother.Number of Previous Issue.Total. and under 10.10 and under 15.15 and over.

* This number represents 24,826 single cases and 299 multiple cases.

Under 211,2152973851........1,556
21 and under 253,0451,480587151455......5,313
25 " 302,8332,1901, 36674433414073....7,680
30 " 351,0591,3491,19882455734736114..5,709
35 " 403935065965114433385568123,426
40 " 4510610415217114515435210851,297
45 and over97138191851181144

In computing previous issue, multiple births have been given their full significance, the numbers at the head of the columns relating to children born alive. In the following table this procedure has been followed not only for the previous issue but also for children covered by the 1930 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.


Age of Mother, in Years.Total Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.

It should be stressed that the averages are no more than they purport to be—viz., the average number of children (including those registered in 1930) born to the present time to those mothers of legitimate children whose births were registered during the year. They do not purport to represent, nor do they represent, the average issue of all women of the ages shown. The averages for the last five years were as follows: 1926, 2.92; 1927, 2.90; 1928, 2.88; 1929, 2.84; and 1930, 2.78. This falling trend in the average issue of mothers giving birth to children in each successive year is an indication of the growing tendency towards small families.


Of a total of 128,492 legitimate births registered during the five years 1926–30, no fewer than 41,650, or 32 per cent., were of first-born children, and of these 20,418, or 49 per cent., were born within twelve months, and 31,765, or 76 per cent., within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 24 per cent. of cases where there was any issue to the marriage, two years elapsed before the birth of the first child.

The percentage of first births to total births and the proportions occurring within the first and second years after marriage have shown remarkably little variation in recent years. The figures for each of the last five years are:—

YearTotal Legitimate Cases.Total Legitimate First Cases.Proportion of First Cases to Total Cases.First Cases within One Year after Marriage.First Cases within Two Years after Marriage.
Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.
   Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
Totals for five years128,49241,65032.4120,41849.0231,76576.27

In the next table the figures of first births within one year after the marriage of the parents are dissected into monthly periods:—

Duration of Marriage.1926.1927.1928.1929.1930.
Under 1 month80100877185
1 month and under 2 months124113115130125
2 months and under 3 months178197166161147
3 " 4 "199239240255247
4 " 5 "292328286306344
5 " 6 "441405414425437
6 " 7 "477493494525527
7 " 8 "372368329326360
8 " 9 "316324278249302
9 " 10 "648585596618600
10 " 11 "530572505575551
11 " 12 "464454454396393
Totals under 12 months4,1214,1783,9644,0374,118
Totals 12 months and over4,2344,1654,1234,1684,542
Grand totals8,3558,3438,0878,2058,660

The great majority of the children born between the seventh and the ninth month of marriage are obviously prematurely-born infants. Omitting these, and assuming that all infants born alive within seven months after marriage have been extra-maritally conceived, it would appear that during the five years, out of a total of 41,650 first-born children, 9,253, or 22 per cent., were extra-maritally conceived. This proportion has shown an almost continuous increase for many years.

During the five years, 6,870 cases of illegitimate births were registered, and if these are all regarded as first-births (which is not the case) a total of 16,123 extra-marital conceptions is recorded, which represents 33 per cent. of the total of legitimate first births, plus illegitimate births. The figures for each of the last five years are—

Year.Total Legitimate First Cases.Illegitimate Cases.Legitimate Cases within Seven Months after Marriage.Proportion of Legitimate First Cases within Seven Months after Marriage.Proportion of Extra-marital Conceptions to Total Cases of Legitimate First Births and Illegitimate Births.
    Per Cent.Per Cent.
Totals for 5 years41,6506,8709,25322.2233.23


The births of 1,371 children (742 males, 629 females) registered in 1930 were illegitimate. The numbers for each of the last ten years, with the percentages they bear to the total births registered, are as follows:—

Year.Number.Percentage to Total Births.

It is only natural to expect that, as the birth-rate falls, the proportion of illegitimate to total births will tend to increase. Probably a better criterion is afforded by the following table, which shows the proportion of illegitimate births per 1,000 unmarried women—i.e., spinsters, widows, and divorced women—at the reproductive ages in each census year since 1891.

Year.Unmarried Women aged 15–45 Years.Illegitimate Births.Illegitimate-birth Rate per 1,000 Unmarried Women.

Included in the total of 1,371 illegitimate births in 1930 were 8 cases of twins, the number of accouchements being thus 1,363, including 6 cases registered with the Registrar-General. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,363 mothers 452, or 34 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age.



The rates of illegitimacy in Australia and New Zealand are quoted. The average rate for New Zealand for the ten years (4.79 per 100 of all births) is somewhat higher than that of the Commonwealth (4.66 per 100), and the New Zealand rate has been the higher during each of the last seven years.


Year.Queensland.New South Wales.Victoria.South Australia.Western Australia.Tasmania.Commonwealth.New Zealand.

The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act, 1930, directs the omission of the word "illegitimate" from the register when the birth of an illegitimate child is registered. The word "illegitimate" appearing in any entry made prior to the passing of the Act is deemed to be expunged and deleted, and must also be omitted from any certified copy of an entry.


An important Act was passed in 1894 and re-enacted in 1908, intituled the Legitimation Act. Under this Act any child born out of wedlock whose parents afterwards intermarry is deemed to be legitimized by such marriage on the birth being registered in the manner prescribed by the Act. For legitimation purposes a Registrar must register a birth when called upon to do so by any person claiming to be the father of an illegitimate child; but such person is required to make a solemn declaration that he is the father, and must also produce evidence of marriage between himself and the mother of the child.

Prior to the passing, on the 6th February, 1922, of the Legitimation Amendment Act, 1921–22, legitimation could be effected only if at the time of the birth of the child there existed no legal impediment to the intermarriage of the father and mother, but the legal-impediment proviso was repealed by that amendment.

The amendment of 1921–22 also provides for legitimation by the mother in the event of the death of the father after the intermarriage of the parents. In such a case the application for legitimation is heard by a Magistrate, and upon his certifying that it has been proved to his satisfaction that the husband of the applicant was the father of the child, the child is registered as the lawful issue of the applicant and her husband.

The number of legitimations in each of the last ten years, and the total since the Act of 1894 came into force, are:—

Year.Number of Children legitimized.
Previously registered.Not previously registered.Total.
Totals to 19304,0332,2056,238

The effect of the Legitimation Amendment Act, 1921–22, is seen in augmented figures from 1922 onwards.


The Births and Deaths Registration Act contains provision for the registration of adopted children. The Clerk of the Court by which any adoption order is made is required to furnish to the Registrar-General particulars of the order, including the full name and place of birth of the child, as well as the full names and addresses of both the natural and the adopting parents. If the child's birth has been registered in New Zealand a note of the adoption order is made on it, and a new entry is made in the prescribed form in the register of births, particulars of the adopting parents being substituted for those of the natural parents.

During the year 1930 the registration of 385 adopted children (187 males and 198 females) was effected, as compared with 402 in 1929, 409 in 1928, 421 in 1927, and 404 in 1926.


The registration of still-births was made compulsory in New Zealand as from the 1st March, 1913. A still-born child is defined as one "which has issued from its mother after the expiration of the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy and which was not alive at the time of such issue." Still-births are not included either as births or as deaths in the various numbers and rates shown in this subsection and in that relating to deaths.

The registrations of still-births during each of the last ten years are as follows:—

YearMale.Female.Not stated.Total.Male Stillbirths per 1,000 Female Still-births.Percentage of Still-births to
Living Births.All Births.

It is a well-known fact that masculinity is in general much higher among still-births than among living births, though an exception to the rule occurred in 1928, when actually a lower rate of masculinity was recorded for still-births than for living births. The figures for the ten years covered by the above table show the rate for still-births to have been 1,243 males per 1,000 females. The rate for individual years has ranged between 1,726 (in 1914) and 1,022 (in 1928).

A table is added showing relative ages of parents in cases of still-births registered in 1930.


Age of Mother, in Years.Age of Father, in Years.Total.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and under 50.50 and under 65.65 and over.Illegitimate Cases.

*This number represents 833 single cases and 16 plural cases. The total number of still-born children was 865.

Under 2142382..........2360
21 and under 25..296221511....13132
25 " 30..12887521831..13221
30 " 351113634319137..6166
35 " 40....4165746241114163
40 " 45......410322320..392
45 and over..........1761..15

The median age of mothers of still-born children in 1930 was 30, as compared with 28 in the case of living births. The percentage of illegitimates among stillborn infants (7.51) was considerably higher than among infants born alive (5.12).

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1930, 34 per cent. were first births, while of legitimate still-births no less than 43 per cent. were first births. It would thus appear that there is a considerably greater probability of still-births occurring at the first accouchement than at the average of subsequent accouchements.

The following table, based on the figures for the five years 1926–30, indicates that this is so, and further demonstrates the effect of the increasing age of the mother in the causation of still-births. While for women between 20 and 25 the proportion of still-births to living births was under 2 1/2 per cent. for all births and a little higher for first births, for women over forty it was over 6 per cent. for all births and over 12 per cent. for first births.


Age of Mother, in Years.All Births.First Births.Percentage of Still to Living.
Living.Still.Living.Still.All Births.First Births.
Under 204,2971113,6621042.582.84
20 and under 2529,12466316,8084822.282.87
25 " 3038,5311,05013,2045532.724.19
30 " 3530,0479175,4583363.056.16
35 " 4018,7587961,9691764.248.94
40 and over7,705495549696.4212.57

The next table shows the percentage of still-births to living births according to nativity order of legitimate births registered in the five years 1926–30. The column for mothers of all ages shows a fairly definite gradation, the second child having the best chance of being born alive, and the probability of a still-birth increasing thereafter.


Nativity Order.Living Births.Still-births.Percentage of Still to Living.
Mothers of All Ages.Mothers aged 35–40.Mothers of All Ages.Mothers aged 35–40.Mothers of All Ages.Mothers aged 35–40.

The column for mothers aged 35 to 40 indicates that continued child-bearing after the first two or three accouchements has some small effect on the still-birth probability. There can be no doubt, however, that age of the mother is the principal factor in the case of accouchements subsequent to the first. This being so, it is of some significance that even when no allowance is made for the younger age-constitution in general of mothers of first-born, the first-born child has a greater probability of being still-born than have subsequent children.


The number of births of Maoris registered with Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths during 1930 was 2,002 (991 males, 1,011 females). The births of fifty-five males and sixty-seven females were registered under the main Act, and the total of 2,124 represents a rate of 32 per 1,000 of Maori population, a rate 68 per cent. higher than the general birth-rate for the year. Registrations in each of the five years 1926–30 were as follows:—

Year.Number of Births.Rate per 1,000 of Mean Population.


Regulations under the Cook Islands Act, 1915, providing for compulsory registration of births and deaths in the Cook Islands and Niue from the 1st July, 1916, were gazetted on the 29th June, 1916.

In the case of a birth a month is allowed in which to furnish the following particulars to a Registrar: The place and date of birth; the Christian name and sex of the child; the names and residence of both father and mother, and also (if Natives) whether of full blood, or quarter-, half-, or three-quarter-caste.

Duplicates of all entries are kept by the Registrars of the High Court at Rarotonga and Niue respectively. A fine not exceeding £5 is imposed on persons supplying false information. No fees are payable for registration.

The following are the figures of birth-registrations in each Island during the twelve months ended 31st December, 1930:—

Island.Number of Births.


Regulations providing for the registration of births and deaths of Samoans in Western Samoa were brought into force on the 1st January, 1923.

Within seven days after the birth of any Samoan child the following particulars must be furnished to the Registrar of the village and also to the Registrar of the district in which the child was born: The place and date of birth; the Christian or first name and the sex of the child; and the names and residence of both father and mother. The father and the mother are jointly responsible for the registration of birth.

Duplicate entries are taken and are kept on record by the Secretary of Native Affairs at Apia. A fine, not to exceed £5, is imposed on persons not complying with the regulations, and a fine not exceeding £;20 for persons who knowingly furnish false particulars. No fees are payable for registration.

Registrations for each of the four years 1923–26 reveal a very high birth-rate for the Samoan people, the rate not falling below 50 per 1000 of population during that period. Unfortunately, the registration requirements appear to have been ignored in a high proportion of cases during the last three or four years, the figures for which are of little value except as a reflex of the political situation in the territory. Numbers and rates of registrations of Samoan births in each year since 1923 are:—

Year.Number of Native Samoan Births registered.Rate per 1,000 of Native Samoan Population.

During the year 1930, 88 children were born to Europeans and half-castes.



MARRIAGE may be solemnized in New Zealand only on the authority of a Registrar's certificate, either by a person whose name is on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act, or before a duly appointed Registrar or Deputy Registrar of Marriages. Marriage by an officiating minister can be solemnized only between 8 o'clock in the forenoon and 8 o'clock in the evening. Marriage before a Registrar can be celebrated at any time during the hours the office of the Registrar is open for the transaction of public business. Prior to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Act, 1920, the limits in all cases were 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Notice of intended marriage must be given to a Registrar of Marriages by one of the parties to the proposed marriage, and one of the parties must have resided for three full days in the district within which the marriage is to be solemnized. In the case of a person under twenty-one, not being a widow or widower, the consent of parent or guardian is necessary before the Registrar's certificate can be issued. A schedule to the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1926, sets out the person or persons whose consent is required in various circumstances. In cases where double consent is required, section 8 provides for dispensing with the consent of one party if this cannot be obtained by reason of absence, inaccessibility, or disability. In similar cases where the consent of only one person is necessary, consent may be given by a Judge of the Supreme Court. Consent of the Court may also be given in cases of refusal by any person whose consent is required.

If a declaration is made in any case that there is no parent or lawful guardian resident in the Dominion, then a certificate may be issued by the Registrar (without the necessity of Court proceedings) after the expiration of fourteen days following the date on which the notice of intended marriage was given.

The system of notice and certificate has obtained in New Zealand since 1855. By this system it is ensured not only that marriages are in order, but that no legally solemnized marriage escapes registration. Officiating ministers and Registrars are required to send to the Registrar-General returns of all marriages solemnized, and as the returns come in they are checked off with the entries in the Registrar's lists of notices received and certificates issued. In case of the non-arrival of a marriage return corresponding to any entry in the list of notices, inquiries are made as to whether solemnization has been effected.

The marriage of a man with his deceased wife's sister was legalized in New Zealand in the year 1881, and the marriage of a woman with her deceased husband's brother in 1901. Marriage with a deceased wife's niece or a deceased husband's nephew was rendered valid in 1929.

An important provision is contained in section 7 of the Marriage Amendment Act, 1920, which reads as follows:—

  1. Every person commits an offence against this Act, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one hundred pounds, who—

    1. Alleges, expressly or by implication, that any persons lawfully married are not truly and sufficiently married; or

    2. Alleges, expressly or by implication, that the issue of any lawful marriage is illegitimate or born out of true wedlock.

  2. "Alleges" in this section means making any verbal statement, or publishing or issuing any printed or written statement, or in any manner authorizing the making of any verbal statement, or in any manner authorizing or being party to the publication or issue of any printed or written statement.

  3. A Person shall not be deemed to make an allegation contrary to the provisions of this section by reason only of using in the solemnization of a marriage a form of marriage service which at the commencement of this Act was in use by the religious denomination to which such person belongs, or by reason only of the printing or issue of any book containing a copy of a form of marriage service in use at the commencement of this Act by any religious denomination.


The movement of the marriage-rate since 1855 is shown by the diagram on p. 91. The numbers and rates of marriages during each of the last twenty years are here given:—

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 of Population.

The rapid fall in the marriage-rate after 1915 was compensated for, to a large extent, by the high figures for 1919, 1920, and 1921. The number of marriages celebrated in 1920 still easily holds the record, while the rate for that year is the highest experienced since 1864. The rate for each of the last nine years, which is low by comparison with the decennium immediately preceding 1914, follows an extraordinarily level course.


In a country like New Zealand, where the age-constitution of the population has altered considerably, the crude marriage-rate based on the total population does not disclose the true position over a period of years. Even if only the unmarried (including widowed and divorced) population over twenty in the case of men and over fifteen in the case of women be taken into account, the rates so ascertained would still not be entirely satisfactory for comparative purposes, owing to differences in sex and age constitution, divergences between rates for different age-groups, and variations in the proportions of marriageable persons in the community. A better plan is to ascertain the rate among unmarried females in each age-group and to standardize the results on the basis of the distribution of the unmarried female population in a basic year.

This has been done for each census year from 1881 to 1926, the year 1911 being taken as the standard. The course of the standardized rates as shown in the following table varies materially from that of the crude rates:—

Year.Marriage-rate per 1,000.Index Numbers of Marriage-rates taking 1911 as base = 100.
Total Population.Unmarried Female Population 15 and over.Total Population.Unmarried Female Population 15 and over.

The index number of the three classes of rates over the series of years enable the effect of standardization to be shown at a glance. Comparing, for instance, the years 1881 and 1911, it is seen that whereas the crude rate per 1,000 of total population was nearly one-fourth less in 1881 than in 1911, the crude rate when only the unmarried female population of fifteen or over is considered was one-fourth greater, and the standardized rate more than one-third greater. Similar though less noticeable results are recorded for years subsequent to 1881.

The standardized rate for 1926 is slightly less than that recorded for 1921, although the figure is considerably higher than for any other census year subsequent to 1881.


Prior to 1929, the Commonwealth marriage-rate was in excess of the New Zealand rate, but a reversal of this position has taken place in the last two years, the rate for the former country displaying a marked fall as against a fairly steady level maintained by the latter.


Year.Queensland.New South Wales.Victoria.South Australia.Western Australia.Tasmania.Commonwealth.New Zealand.

A comparison of the latest available rates in various countries is given in the next table. Of the forty countries shown. New Zealand occupies a position a little above midway. The New Zealand marriage-rate differs but little from that of England and Wales, although it is higher than that of Scotland, and markedly higher than the rates of the two Irish States. The highest marriage-rate is that of the United States of America, which has also a high ratio of divorces (in 1929, 16.3 per 100 marriages, compared with 5.8 in New Zealand).


Country.Quinquennium.Average Yearly Rate.
United States1924–2810.29
South Africa1924–288.78
New Zealand1926–307.73
England and Wales1926–307.70
Northern Ireland1925–295.87
Irish Free State1925–294.51


Normally the quarter ending in June is apparently considered the most propitious for the solemnization of marriage. Annual averages for the decade 1921–30 give marriages as follows: March quarter, 2,495; June quarter, 2,935; September quarter, 2,300; December quarter, 2,739.

The Easter and Christmas seasons are apparently regarded as the most suitable times of the year for entering the matrimonial state, and, judging by the quarterly figures for an average year, Easter would appear to predominate slightly.

The marriages contracted in each month of the last five years were as follows:—


Wednesday claims two-fifths of the total marriages, the 1930 proportions per cent. of the total marriages for the various days of the week being—Sunday, 0.4; Monday, 12.4; Tuesday, 15.3; Wednesday, 39.5; Thursday, 11.7; Friday, 4.7; Saturday, 16.0.


The total number of persons married during the year 1930 was 22,150, of whom 20,268, were single, 1,185 widowed, and 697 divorced. The figures for each of the last ten years, but showing the sexes separately, are given in the table following:—

Year.Single.Widowed.Divorced.Total Persons married.

The figures reveal an increasing tendency in the number of divorced persons remarrying, while, on the other hand, those for widowed persons have declined over the period. The position is more easily seen by studying the percentages given in the next table:—

 Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.

During the period 1921–30 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 24 per 1,000 persons married to 31, a considerable advance, and corresponding approximately to the largely increased number of divorces granted since 1918. The fall in the number of widowed persons remarrying—from 67 per 1,000 persons married in 1921 to 53 per 1,000 in 1930—is to be expected, the high figure in the earlier year being the direct outcome of the war and, to a certain extent, of the influenza epidemic.

The relative conjugal condition of bridegrooms and brides for each of the last ten years is next given:—

Year.Marriages between Bachelors andMarriages between Widowers andMarriages between Divorced Men and
Spinsters.Widows.Divorced Women.Spinsters.Widows.Divorced Women.Spinsters.Widows.Divorced Women.

Taking the whole period covered by the foregoing table, it is found that, while 2,867 divorced men remarried, the corresponding number for women was 3,225. In the case of widowed persons, however, in spite of the fact that the number of widows caused by the war and the epidemic must greatly have exceeded the widowers caused by the latter, only 5,454 widows remarried, as compared with 7,172 widowers. It would appear that in the case of divorced persons women are more likely to remarry than men, while in the case of widowers and widows the converse holds.

Included amongst widows in 1930 were thirteen women, and amongst the widowers six men, who elected to go through the form of marriage with other persons under the protection of the provisions of section 224, subsection (5), of the Crimes Act, which reads: "No one commits bigamy by going through a form of marriage if he or she has been continually absent from his or her wife or husband for seven years then last past, and is not proved to have known that his wife or her husband was alive at any time during those seven years."

During the last ten years the numbers of persons married under the protection of the above subsection was 199, comprising 64 men and 135 women.


Of the 22,150 persons married in 1930, 2,376 or 11 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 7,515, or 34 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 6,687, or 30 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 3,688, or 17 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 1,884, or 8 per cent., as forty years of age or over.

A table is given showing relative ages of bridegrooms and brides in groups of years:—


Age of Bridegroom, in Years.Age of Bride, in Years.Total Bridegrooms.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.
Under 2125211917........388
21 and under 259841,6464494681..3,134
25 " 305681,8871,290202451134,006
30 " 35141504545288721791,576
35 " 40311492341761193116756
40 " 4574885106904727410
45 and over5286186118155352805
Total brides1,9884,3812,68190445226240711,075

There have been some considerable changes in the proportions of men and women marrying at the various age-periods. To give an idea of the extent to which these figures have varied during the last three decades, a table is given showing the proportions of men and women married at each age-period to every 100 marriages in quinquennia from 1900 to 1929, and for the year 1930:—

Period.Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.Total.

A perusal of the above table reveals the fact that greater proportions of marriages are now being celebrated at both the younger and the older age-groups. The proportion of persons marrying under twenty-one years of age has increased from 9.30 per cent. for the period 1900–04 to 11.05 for 1925–29, the increase being much greater for males than for females. The increase in the number of males marrying under twenty-one years of age has been phenomenal, and goes back to the year 1914, there being a very sharp rise between the quinquennia 1910–14 and 1915–19. Although the following quinquennium showed a slight decrease, the average for the years 1925–29 was at a record figure. The figure for females was high for the period 1900–04, but decreased steadily until 1915–19, after which a considerable rise was recorded, the proportion for 1925–29 reaching the unprecedented figure of 18.61 per 100 marriages.

Taking now those persons who married at ages forty-five and over, it is found that the percentage increased from 3.35 in 1900–04 to 5.45 in 1925–29, the increase being common to the two sexes, although the increase in the female percentage is greater than that for males. The latter percentage showed a somewhat fluctuating tendency, but the female figure rose steadily. A similar movement, although to a far less extent, is apparent in the age-group 40 and under 45.

The effect of the war on the number of males marrying in the various age-groups is clearly revealed in the low figure now recorded for age-group 30 to 35. Another interesting feature of the male proportions is the fall recorded at the age-group 25 to 30, as a result of the increase at ages under 25. The fall is also noticeable, especially for the years 1925–29, in the female proportions, but in this case as a result of an increase in the older age-groups.

In the years immediately preceding the war 62 per cent. of the bridegrooms were under thirty years of age, a proportion which declined rapidly during the period 1916–19. This proportion was again registered in 1924 and 1925, while the figure for 1930 rose as high as 68 per cent.

For many years the average age at marriage for both males and females, more particularly the latter, showed a tendency to increase. However, after reaching its maximum in the three years 1917, 1918, and 1919, the average age has since decreased considerably, in spite of the effect of the increase in the proportion of widowed and divorced persons among the brides and grooms. The decrease is especially noticeable in the last five years, when an abnormal number of persons married under the age of twenty-five. The figures for each of the last ten years are given.



The average ages of bachelors and spinsters at marriage are considerably lower than those shown in the preceding table, which cover all parties and are adversely affected by the inclusion of remarriages of widowed and divorced persons. The average ages of grooms and brides of the various conditions in each of the last five years were:—


The foregoing figures give the average age at marriage, but these do not correspond with the modal or popular age, if the age at which the most marriages are celebrated may be so termed. For several years prior to 1918 age 26 held pride of place for bridegrooms and age 21 for brides. The latter has continued right through to 1930 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age is now 25. The median age for all bridegrooms in 1930 was 27—bachelors 26—while for all brides the figure was 24—spinsters 23.


Of every 1,000 men married in 1930, 35 were under twenty-one years of age, while 180 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 252 marriages in 1930 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 1,736 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 136 marriages the bridegroom was a minor and the bride an adult.

The general position as regards marriages of minors has been discussed in an earlier paragraph. The following table gives ages in single years.

AGES OF MINORS, 1926–30.

Year.Age in Years.Total. per 100 Marriages.


Of the 11,075 marriages registered in 1930, Church of England clergymen officiated at 2,983, Presbyterians at 2,931, Methodists at 1,092, and Roman Catholics at 1,225, while 2,270 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the principal denominations in the last eight years:—

Denomination.Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England28.3327.6827.2627.5327.6827.0327.1826.93
Roman Catholic10.9310.7911.3311.6811.1911.4511.3411.06
Other denominations4.914.964.635.075.575.264.845.16
Before Registrars19.2719.7320.6919.7319.0619.5819.3220.49

The foregoing figures must not be taken as a true indication of the religions of the parties married, as it does not necessarily follow that one or both of the parties are members of the Church whose officiating minister performed the ceremony, and persons married before Registrars may belong, in greater or lesser proportion, to any of the denominations.


The number of names on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act is (June, 1931) 1,986, and the denominations to which they belong are shown hereunder:—

Church of England493
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand416
Roman Catholic Church331
Methodist Church of New Zealand282
Salvation Army111
Church of Christ37
Congregational Independents32
Seventh-day Adventists13
Latter-day Saints9
Lutheran Church2
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference5
Hebrew Congregations4
Catholic Apostolic Church3
Liberal Catholic Church6
Assemblies of God6
United Evangelical Church5
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand4
Ratana Church of New Zealand99
Ringatu Church18
Church of the Seven Rules of Jehovah3

The Ringatu Church, the Church of the Seven Rules of Jehovah, and the Ratana Church of New Zealand are Maori denominations.


In cases where both parties to a marriage are of the Native race there is no necessity under the Marriage Act to comply with the provisions of that Act, though the parties are at liberty to take advantage thereof. Considerable inconvenience, however, was found to exist on account of the non-registration of Maori marriages, and a section was inserted in the Native Land Act, 1909, whereby it was laid down that Maori marriages must be celebrated either under the provisions of the Marriage Act or in the presence of a registered officiating minister, but without complying with the other requirements of the Marriage Act. Ministers solemnizing the latter class of marriages must send returns to the Registrar-General.

Returns of 419 marriages in which both parties were of the Native race were received during the year 1930. Of these 74 were in accordance with the provisions of the Marriage Act. The figures for each of the last ten years are as follows:—


Year.Under Native Land Act.Under Marriage Act.Total.

Maori marriages are not included in the numbers shown elsewhere in this subsection, nor are they taken into account in the computation of marriage-rates.


According to the annual report of the Cook Islands Department, the following are the figures of marriages solemnized in the Cook Islands during the twelve months ended 31st December, 1930, or 31st March, 1931:—


Island.Number of Marriages.

The remaining islands of the group either had no marriages or did not furnish returns.


During the twelve months ended 31st December, 1929, 220 marriages were registered in the mandated territory of Western Samoa. Of these, 13 were between members of the European population, the balance of the marriages being between native Samoans.

The following figures, taken from successive annual reports on the mandated territory, indicate wide variations either in actual marriages or in registrations, the 1925 total for Samoans representing a rate of 22 per 1,000 of Samoan population and that for 1928 a rate of only 2.6 per 1,000.




COMPULSORY registration of deaths was instituted in New Zealand in 1855. As in the case of births, a system of non-compulsory registration had obtained since 1848.

Until the year 1876 the only information provided for in the death-registration entry was the date, place, and cause of death, and the name, sex, age, and occupation of deceased. The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1875, required information to be recorded as regards parentage, conjugal condition, and issue of deceased. Particulars as to burial had also to be entered, as well as more detailed information regarding cause of death. Subsequent amendments to the Act have made it requisite to give additional information concerning issue, and, in the case of married males, age of widow.

Every death occurring in New Zealand is required to be registered within three days after the day of the death if in a city or borough, or seven days in any other case. There is a penalty up to £10 for neglect, the undertaker in charge of the funeral being solely responsible for registration. Prior to 1913 the undertaker was primarily looked to for registration, but, in addition, the occupier of the house and every other person present at the death were also responsible parties.

The law does not impose any limit of time after which a death may not be registered as it does in the case of a birth. It is not necessary to effect a death-registration entry in the case of a still-born child, though an entry must be made in the register of births.

Any person burying, or permitting or taking part in the burial of, the body of any deceased person without a certificate of cause of death signed by a duly registered medical practitioner, a Coroner's order to bury the body, or a Registrar's certificate of registration of the death, renders himself liable to a fine of £10.


The following table shows the number of deaths and the death-rate per 1,000 of the mean population during each of the last twenty years:—

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.

The figure for 1930, while not so low as some recorded in recent years, nevertheless marked the cessation of the annual increase in the death-rate in evidence during the previous three years.

The fall in the birth-rate (resulting in fewer infants at risk relatively to total population) combined with the fall in the rate of infant mortality, is largely responsible for the position disclosed by the crude death-rate figures. As will be seen farther on, however, there has been an actual fall in the already low standardized rate, which is not affected by the fall in the birth-rate, though it is very materially affected by the decline in the rate of infant mortality.


The death-rates of males and females for the last ten years are shown separately in the next table, also the number of male deaths to every 100 female deaths, and the death-rate of males expressed as an index number of the female rate, taking the latter as equal to 100.

Year.Deaths per 1,000 of Population.Male Deaths to every 100 Female Deaths.Male Rate expressed as Index Number of Female Rate (= 100).


An examination of the total number of deaths registered in each quarter of the years 1921–30 gives the following annual averages: March quarter, 2,484; June quarter, 2,712; September quarter, 3,434; and December quarter, 2,842.

High figures in September quarter of each of the years 1923, 1926, and 1929 were due in the main to the slight epidemics of influenza which occurred during those periods.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1930 the most deaths occurred during the winter months of August and July, with totals of 1,228 and 1,178 respectively. Excluding December (the figures for which are incomplete on account of a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January), February had the least number of deaths (763), followed by March and April, with 890 and 906 respectively.

The least number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 14, this number occurring on the 27th February. The greatest number (53) occurred on the 4th August.


The deaths occurring during 1930 are tabulated below:—

Under 1 month367277644
1–3 months8042122
3–6 "303060
6–12 "485098
1–2 years8064144
2–3 "303464
3–4 "412566
4–5 "282553
5–10 "9275167
10–15 "6045105
15–20 "13587222
20–25 "178137315
25–30 "187150337
30–35 "166171337
35–40 "200174374
40–45 "271207478
45–50 years360280640
50–55 "467327794
55–60 "486395881
60–65 "5934101,003
65–70 "5894881,077
70–75 "6764951,171
75–80 "6845581,242
80–85 "515445960
85–90 "314272586
90–95 "12589214
95–100 "231437
100 "325
101 "213

Some remarkable changes in the age-distribution of persons dying have occurred during the last fifty years. The total deaths in 1930 were more than twice as numerous as in 1880, but the number of deaths under one year in 1930 was little more than half of the corresponding number recorded in 1880. This is an eloquent tribute to the efficacy of the steps taken to preserve infant life (a subject which is dealt with later on in this subsection), as during the fifty years the annual number of births increased by 39 per cent.

Turning now to deaths at ages 80 and over, a remarkable difference between the earlier and later years covered by the figures is apparent. In 1880, deaths in this group numbered only 73 or just over 1 per cent. of the total of 5,437, while in 1930, 1,805 deaths of persons over 80 years of age were recorded, this number representing nearly 15 per cent. of the total deaths in that year. In 1910 the corresponding percentage was only 9. The figures are a reflex of the changes in the age-constitution of the population, combined with the great improvement in the death-rate at the earlier ages.

Furthermore, in 1930 the number of deaths in individual age-groups shows a gradual increase for practically every consecutive group from "10 and under 15" to "80 and over," where the maximum is recorded. The experience of 1880, on the other hand, is very different, the number showing an almost continuous decline after the "40–45" age-group till the minimum is attained at the final age-group.

The following table indicates the changes that have occurred over a period of fifty years:—


Ages, in Years.Number of Deaths.Percentage to Total.
Under 11,8051,4381,4691,76092433.2023.9920.4018.267.57
1 and under 565345642047832712.017.615.844.962.68
5 " 102072301731871673.813.842.401.941.37
10 " 151341391601171052.462.322.221.210.86
15 " 201712372292012223.153.953.182.091.82
20 " 252212992862983154.064.993.973.092.58
25 " 302252382763803374.143.973.843.942.76
30 " 352512202634263374.623.673.654.422.76
35 " 402802772863753745.154.623.973.893.07
40 " 452892392533404785.313.993.513.533.92
45 " 502633052913556404.845.094.043.685.25
50 " 552123463113957943.905.774.324.106.51
55 " 601623364094958812.985.615.685.137.22
60 " 651643194685291,0033.025.326.505.498.22
65 " 701092506476991,0772.004.178.997.258.83
70 " 751122584718501,1712.064.306.549.339.60
75 " 80901813558551,2421.663.024.938.8710.18
80 and over732194338501,8051.343.656.028.8214.80

The next table shows that the fall in the death-rate during recent years has been common to all ages, and to both sexes.

The table is further of interest as showing that the female rate for the various age-groups is almost invariably lower than the male rate. The rapid increase in the death-rate at successive age-groups is well exemplified.


Year.Under 1.1 and under 5.5 and under 15.15 and under 25.25 and under 35.35 and under 45.45 and under 55.55 and under 65.65 and under 75.75 and under 85.85 and over.
Both Sexes.

The average arithmetic mean age at death of persons of either sex in each of the ten years 1921–30 was as follows:—



The following figures showing the expectation of life at various ages are based on the experience of the two years 1921–22, and are as computed by Mr. L. S. Polden, A.I.A.



The expectation of life at age 0 has been as follows at successive periods:—



From the following table it will be seen that New Zealand has the lowest death-rate in the world, Australia ranking second in this respect.

Country.Quinquennium.Average Rate per 1,000.

* Registration area.

New Zealand1926–308.6
Union of South Africa1924–289.7
United States*1924–2811.9
England and Wales1926–3012.1
Irish Free State1926–3014.4
Northern Ireland1926–3014.7
British Guiana1925–2925.5


For the purpose of ascertaining the true movement of the death-rate in New Zealand, a system of standardization was introduced some years ago, the age- and sex-constitution of the population as disclosed at the census of 1911 being taken as the basis. The population and deaths of each year are divided, each sex separately, into five-yearly groups of ages (with one group only for ages 80 and over), and the rates for the various age-groups ascertained and weighted according to the proportion which the respective groups bore to the total population at the census of 1911. The following table gives the standardized rates for each fifth year from 1875 onwards, the crude rates also being given for purposes of comparison.


Year.Crude Rates.Standardized Rates.

Remarkable though the fall in the crude death-rate during the fifty-six years has been, the actual fall has been even more substantial, the standardized rate for 1930 being only 44 per cent. as high as for 1875, and 75 per cent. as high as for 1900. A comparison of the two sets of figures emphasizes the fact that the very low rates of the last few years have been achieved in spite of an upward movement in the age-constitution. The fall in the birth-rate, with the consequent decrease in the relative number of infants dying, does not affect the standardized rates, though the fall in the rate of infant mortality is an important factor in the decrease in both crude and standardized rates.

For purposes of international comparisons it is desirable to compile standardized rates on the basis of an international standard population. A standard population, based on the age-distribution of the population of 19 European countries at their censuses nearest to the year 1900, has been compiled by the International Institute of Statistics, and is now used in the compilation of international standardized rates.

Under this standard, population and deaths are divided into 11 age-groups; but, while separate standardized rates are compiled for each sex as well as for the two sexes in conjunction, no account of differences in sex-constitution is taken by the International Institute in computing the general rate. In adopting the International Institute's standard, however, Australia and New Zealand (in both of which the sex-constitution differs materially from that in Europe) make allowance for sex-constitution as well as age-constitution.


Year.Crude Rates.International Standardized Rates.
Males.Females.Both Sexes.Males.Females.Both Sexes.
Without Distinction between Sexes.With Distinction between Sexes.

An interesting point brought out by the use of the new standard in New Zealand is that the male standardized rate is actually lower than the corresponding crude rate, thus indicating that the age-constitution of the male population of the Dominion has now reached a level corresponding to that obtaining in Europe at the beginning of the present century.


The table following shows the number of living issue left by married men whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1921–30, the information being given according to age of father and of issue.

Taking all deaths of married men or widowers, whether leaving issue or not, it is found that the average living issue is 3.74, as compared with 4.00 for the period 1911–20.

Average numbers of issue left by married men or widowers during the decade 1921–30 were: Fathers aged under 30, 1.11; aged 30–39, 1.99; 40–49, 2.75; 50–59, 3.17. -69, 3.70; 70–79, 4.51; 80 or over, 4.64. Except where the father's age exceeded 80 years, averages are lower than in the preceding decade.


Age of Issue, in Years.Number of Issue left by Fathers aged—
Under 30.30 and under 40.40 and under 50.50 and under 60.60 and under 70.70 and under 80.80 and over.Totals.
16 and under 213762,4974,4152,81896315310,925
21 and over121,0619,12525,11341,21234,099110,613
Married men who died—
  Leaving issue4191,8583,6305,0136,8978,2436,48832,548
  Without leaving issue1914617371,0181,1771,2139125,709

In 1930, among men who left any issue under age 16, the average number of such issue was 2.49. The average for all married men or widowers who died during the year was, however, only 0.57.

Of 990 cases where issue under 16 years of age was left by married men or widowers during 1930, a widow was also left in 923 cases, the aggregate children under 16 in these 923 cases being 2,098, and the average per widow 2.27. By the deaths of their fathers, children under 16 to the number of 131 were left without either parent, and for 5 children there was no information as to whether the mother was alive or dead.


Of the 38,257 married men or widowers whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1921–30, 9,798 were shown to have been widowers, and 27,811 to have left widows; while in the remaining 648 cases there was no information on the point. Of the married men leaving widows, 23,906 had living issue also at time of death, and 3,905 had no living issue. In 8,288 cases widowers left issue, and in 1,510 cases no issue. In 354 of the 648 cases where no information was given as to whether a widow was left there was living issue, in 220 cases no living issue, and in 74 cases no information as to issue was given.

A table is given showing the relative ages of married men who died during the period 1921–30 and of their widows.


Age of Widow, in Years.Age of Deceased, in Years.
Under 30.30 and under 40.40 and under 50.50 and under 60.60 and under 70.70 and under 80.80 and under 90.90 and over.Totals.
Under 202442..........30
20 and under 252358526611....354
25 " 303454021131772..1887
30 " 3578774425772241..1,381
35 " 40957992725762205..1,859
40 " 45101361,3836802064112..2,468
45 " 502189101,3704221283242,886
50 " 55251681,7409542956733,234
55 " 60..1279631,67054710533,316
60 " 65....61741,9341,071246193,450
65 " 70....6229581,681398243,089
70 " 75......61831,468604452,306
75 " 80..1....28614686391,368
80 " 85........39241544554
85 " 90..........811029147
90 and over............11920
Not specified83632607212211715462


New Zealand has the lowest rate of infant mortality in the world, a fact attributable partly to such matters as climate, virility of the race, comparative absence of large industrial undertakings, &c., and partly to legislative and educative measures, the latter both by the State and by various organizations.

The following table, giving infant mortality rates in various countries for the latest available quinquennial period, clearly shows the favourable position occupied by New Zealand:—

Country.Quinquennium.Deaths under One Year per 1,000 Births.

* Registration area.

New Zealand1926–3037
South Africa1924–2870
Irish Free State1925–2970
United States*1924–2870
England and Wales1925–2971
Northern Ireland1924–2882
British Guiana1925–29161

Not only has New Zealand had for many years the lowest rate of infant mortality in the world, but the rate for the Dominion has shown steady and rapid improvement, more particularly during the last twenty years. Much of the success achieved has been due to the activities of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children. Founded at Dunedin in 1907 this society has since extended its Plunket system throughout New Zealand, and its methods are being adopted to an ever-increasing extent in other countries.

The deaths of infants under one year of age for each of the ten years 1921–30 are shown in the following table:—


Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 Births.

Since 1924 the infant mortality rate in New Zealand has exhibited a rapid decline, until in 1929 the rate stood at the remarkably low level of 34.10 per 1,000 live births. A cessation of this phenomenal improvement must naturally be expected before long, and although the irreducible minimum is by no means necessarily reached, it is not surprising to find the rate for 1930 slightly exceeding that of the previous year. The increase, however, is practically negligible, and is the equivalent of only 12 extra infant deaths.

The pronounced fall in New Zealand's infant mortality rate during the last two decades has not been accompanied by an increase in the death-rate of children between the ages of one and ten years. There has, on the contrary, been a substantial fall, as is shown by the following figures. The numbers and rates given refer to annual averages for the quinquennia mentioned.

Quinquennium.1 and under 5.5 and under 10.
Number of Deaths.Rate.*Number of Deaths.Rate.*

* Per 10,000 children at ages shown.


The increase in 1914–18 as compared with 1909–13 is due to the fact that during the latter period New Zealand experienced several minor epidemics, principally of diphtheria. The influenza epidemic in 1918 also somewhat affected the rate, though not to any great extent.

Since 1921 a distinction has been made between legitimate and illegitimate children in the New Zealand statistics of infant mortality. The proportion of illegitimate infants among those dying within the first year of life has been found to be greater (in some years substantially so) than the proportion of illegitimate births to total births, in spite of the fact that legitimations and adoptions would tend to reduce the number who would be termed illegitimate in the death entries. The year 1930 constitutes an exception.

Year.Total Deaths under One Year.Deaths of Illegitimate Infants under One Year.Proportion of Illegitimates in Total Deaths under One Year.Proportion of Illegitimates in Total Births.
   Per Cent.Per Cent.

Except for the year 1930, the excess of the male over the female rate of infant mortality holds for each of the four divisions of the first year of life shown in the next table. The discrepancy is, however, somewhat greater in the first half of the year than in the second.


Year.Male Deaths per 1,000 Male Births.Female Deaths per 1,000 Female Births.
Under 1 Month.1 and under 3 Months.3 and under 6 Months.6 and under 12 Months.Under 1 Month.1 and under 3 Months.3 and under 6 Months.6 and under 12 Months