Table of Contents

List of Tables


THE preparation of the 43rd issue of the “Official Year-Book” has been carried out under the same financial restrictions as operated for its immediate predecessors. It has not been practicable to incorporate special surveys or to accord the desired fullness of treatment to features of current importance and wide interest. Nevertheless, within available resources, pains have been taken to add comprehensive and up-to-date data on significant topics. In result it is hoped that this issue will maintain the usefulness of the Year-Book at a time of far-reaching changes when a considered examination of present conditions has, perhaps, never been more necessary.

Experience has demonstrated the necessity of a foreword regarding the expression of monetary values in current statistics. While the broad movements that have led to the distinction between New Zealand currency and other currencies are probably well known, the statistical incidence is less appreciated. In general all monetary values herein are in terms of New Zealand currency, except where the contrary is specifically staled. This will occasion care, in some instances, when chronological comparisons are drawn. In a few instances the monetary unit is a composite one—e.g.. Public Debt, where English, New Zealand, and Australian pounds are totalled without conversion to a common unit. The view accepted here is that existing conditions represent fluctuations only, and since the question of present redemption does not arise, adjustment to a New Zealand currency basis would not remove possibilities of misconception.

Errors have been frequently observed in respect of the use of statistics of balance of visible trade. For Customs (and consequently for statistical) purposes merchandise imported is given value in sterling, except that Australian merchandise is given value in Australian currency. (Incidentally, since payments of duty are accepted in New Zealand currency without addition of exchange, the rate of exchange upon dutiable goods is commonly overstated.) Merchandise exported, on the contrary, is valued in New Zealand currency. Specie is recorded at face value. The unadjusted difference between recorded import and export merchandise values therefore does not correctly represent the visible balance of trade. Trade totals, expressed in both sterling and New Zealand currency, with correct figures of visible trade balance, are given in the first pages of the section on External Trade. In consonance with general practice both imports and exports are valued at the same point—i.e., at New Zealand ports. Import values thus include freight and accessory charges, a point of some importance in connection with balance of trade.

I desire to express cordial acknowledgment of assistance rendered by other Government Departments and by members of my staff, particularly Mr. D. J. Cruickshank, LL.B., Acting Chief Compiler, who has again done the whole of the editorial work.


Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Office,

Wellington, New Zealand, 15th December, 1934.


Estimated (inclusive of Maoris but exclusive of residents of Cook and other Pacific islands) at 30th September, 1934790,887760,8981,551,785
Passenger arrivals, 1st April to 31st October, 19345,2034,7849,987
Passenger departures, 1st April to 31st October, 19347,5567,27414,830
VITAL STATISTICS:—Males.Females.Total.
Births, 1st January to 30th September, 19349,3758,73018,105
Deaths, 1st January to 30th September, 19345,1824,1949,376
Corresponding yearly rates per 1,000Births, 16.37; Deaths, 8.48
TRADE SUMMARY (EXCLUDING SPECIE):—£ (Sterling).£ (New Zealand Currency).
Exports, 1st January to 31st October, 193433,569,00041,934,000
Imports, 1st January to 31st October, 193420,656,00025,783,000
  Excess of Exports12,940,00016,151,000
  Quantity.Value. £ (N.Z.)
Exports, 1st January to 31st October, 1934: Principal items (New Zealand produce):—   
  Beef, frozencwt.711,902754,108
  Lamb, whole carcasses, frozencwt.2,387,0217,269,141
  Mutton, whole carcasses, frozencwt.858,7971,515,755
  Pork, frozencwt.327,815867,703
  Veal, frozencwt.61,44875,747
  Milk, driedlb.14,450,114275,501
  Hides, cattle and horsenumber422,016391,806
  Sheep-skins, with woolnumber2,642,157479,077
  Sheep-skins, without woolnumber8,720,179696,210
  Timbersup. ft.26,618,899245,772
 Value £(Stg.)*
* Sterling except in case of imports from Australia, which are recorded in terms of Australian currency.
Imports, 1st January to 31st October, 1934: Principal items:— 
  Boots, shoes, and slippers311,542
  Drapery n.e.i.218,366
  Carpeting, matting, and linoleum278,110
  Cotton piece-goods1,106,092
  Silk and artificial silk piece-goods656,447
  Woollen piece-goods488,594
  Motor-spirits n.e.i.757,093
  Crude petroleum, fuel oil, &c.221,616
  Paints, colours, and varnishes190,674
  Iron and steel—Galvanized plate and sheet219,921
  Iron and steel—Tubes, pipes, and fittings188,616
  Hardware, cutlery, and metal manufactures n.e.i.319,216
  Electrical machinery and equipment605,895
  Wireless apparatus270,214
  Paper, printing.203,786
  Paper, other132,092
  Books, papers, and music, printed271,052
  Fancy goods112,244
  Medicinal preparations n.e.i.210,021
  Rubber-tires, &c., for motor-vehicles490,899
Inwards, 1st January to 31st October, 19344822,142,662
Outwards, 1st January to 31st October, 19344792,143,123
Operating revenue, 1st April to 13th October, 19342,879,220
Operating expenditure, 1st April to 13th October, 19342,747,928
Town and suburban properties7,8733,299,425
Country properties3,1494,173,573
New buildings, 1st January to 31st October, 19341,9222,261,250
Alterations, 1st January to 31st October, 19344,892663,170
Receipts, 1st April to 30th September, 19349,900,125
Expenditure, 1st April to 30th September, 193412,860,571
Net amount collected, 1st January to 31st October, 19341,708,934
PENSIONS, OCTOBER, 1934:—Number.Annual Value.£
Military (Maori War)743,626
Boer War531,902
Family allowances12,268153,299
MORTGAGES:—Number.Amount £.
Registered, 1st April to 31st October,. 19348,6146,582,537
Discharged, 1st April to 31st October, 19348,3947,481,738
BANKRUPTCIES, 1ST JANUARY TO 31ST OCTOBER, 1934:—North Island.South Island.Total.
Persons, &c, adjudged bankrupt19369262
Deeds of assignment582987
1st January to 31st October, 19344,29913,025,022
Export prices: General index number (base: 1909–13 = 1000)1,042
Wholesale prices: General index number (base: 1909–13 = 1000)1338
Retail prices, all groups: Dominion index number (base: 1926–30 = 1000)806
Share prices: All Groups (base: 1926 = 1000)1,006
Dominion index number (base: Year, 1914 = 1000), September quarter, 19341,365
Number reported17
Number of workers affected3,161
Approximate loss in wages£5,578
Numbers on register, 17th November, 1934 46,638


Title.Latest No.Month of Issue.Price per Copy.Postage (extra).

* £1 Is. per annum (post free).

† No Census taken In 1031.

‡ Out of print.

New Zealand Official Year-Book1935Jan.,19357610
Annual Statistical Reports—
  Population and Buildings (including External Migration)1933–34Aug.,1934262
  Vital Statistics1933Oct.,1934508
  Trade and Shipping (Part I)1933June,193420010
  Trade and Shipping (Part II)1933Oct.1934362
  Agricultural and Pastoral Production1933–34Nov.,1934261
  Factory and Building Production1932–33April,1934364
  Miscellaneous (Prices, Wage-rates and Hours of Labour, Unemployment, Industrial Accidents, Tramways, Banking, Building Societies, Bankruptcy, Statistical Summary)1932Feb.,1934404
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand (published annually)1934June,1934768
Monthly Abstract of Statistics..  *261
Volumes of Census Results (published quinquennially)
  Geographical Distribution1926May,1927464
  Conjugal Condition1926Feb.,1926262
  Orphan Children and Dependent Children.1926Mar.,1929202
  Race Aliens1926Feb.,1929202
  Native-born and Foreign-born1926May,1929202
  Religious Professions1926Nov.,1928202
  Industrial and Occupational Distribution.1926Mar.,1930303
  Unemployment from Sickness and other Causes1926Sept.,1930202
  Families and Households1926April,1931202
  Maori and Half-caste Population1926Mar.,1929303
  Public Libraries and Places of Worship1926Mar.,1927161
  General Report1926April,1931503

NOTE.—This list is subject to revision from time to time. Publications are obtainable from the Government Printer, Wellington,



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 included with the South Island.

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

 Square Miles.
Three Kings Islands3
Auckland Islands234
Campbell Island44
Antipodes Islands24
Bounty Islands
Snares Islands1
Solander Island

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

Kermadec Islands, annexed in 1887 (area, 13 square miles).

Cook and other Pacific Islands, annexed in 1001:—

Cook Islands (area, 150 square miles)—

  • Rarotonga.

  • Mangaia.

  • Atiu.

  • Mitiaro.

  • Aitutaki.

  • Mauke (or Parry).

  • Takutea.

  • Manuae and Te-Au-o-Tu (Hervey Islands).

Islands outside the Cook Group (area, 130 square miles)—

  • Niue (or Savage).

  • Palmerston (or Avarau).

  • Penrhyn (or Tongareva).

  • Manihiki (or Humphrey).

  • Rakahanga (or Reirson).

  • Pukapuka (or Danger).

  • Suwarrow (or Anchorage).

  • Nassau.

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. All areas given are necessarily approximations.

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; (hence 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 new 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 (in the Antarctic regions), 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. The dependency is uninhabited.

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, a total area of only four square miles) 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:—

Mountain or Peak.Height (Feet).
North Island 
Kaikoura Ranges 
Southern Alps 
  David's Dome10,443
  Malte Brim10,421
  Elie de Beaumont10,200
  Douglas Peak10,107
  La Perouse10,101
  De la Beche10,05S
  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 these at Hanmer. In addition to the major spas of Rotorua and To Aroha, which are controlled by the Department of Industries and Commerce, Tourist, and Publicity, and of Hanmer, administered by the Department of Health, there are numerous smaller resorts which have been developed by private or municipal enterprise. In many other instances the springs are wholly or mainly undeveloped.

In his book “The Hot Springs of New Zealand,” Dr. A. S. Herbert, O.B.E., M.D., gives the following grouping of the better-known waters corresponding roughly to their mineral-water classification:—

  • Sulphur waters: Rotorua, Hanmer, Taupo, Wairakei, Waiotapu.

  • Alkaline waters: Te Aroha.

  • Saline waters: Helensville, Waiwera, Tarawera.

  • Iodine waters: Morere, To Puia.

  • Calcium carbonated waters: Kamo.

  • Simple thermal waters: Okoroire and the Waikato springs.

The following article is by the Government Balneologist, Dr. J. D. C. Duncan, MB., 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 swimming-pools of the new Blue Bath afford one of the most attractive playgrounds for visitors to Rotorua. The larger pool, 100 ft. by 40 ft., with a depth of 4 ft. 6 in. to 9 ft., has unique diving-platforms. This pool is lighted under the water by 20 are lamps, which give a beautiful luminous effect to the water. The smaller pool, 70 ft. by 36 ft., is a safe and enjoyable playground for children of any age. The Blue Bath, with all its comfortable and attractive appointments, is one of the finest swimming-baths in the Southern Hemisphere.


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 Czechoslavakia, 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 these 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 hyperemia in the parts submerged, and marked lessening of pain and swelling in the affected joints and tissues. These 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 stop-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 deal only 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, these 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 these obtaining at Nauheim (Germany). 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 hyperaemic 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: eases 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 1013° 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.


In the 1932 Year-Book appears an account of the rivers of New Zealand by Professor R. Speight, M.Sc, F.G.S., Curator of the Canterbury Museum.

Space in this issue is, however, available only for a list of the more important rivers, with their approximate lengths, the latter being supplied by the Department of Lands and Survey. Figures in parentheses indicate the approximate discharge, in cubic feet, per minute.


Flowing into the Pacific Ocean— 
  Waihou (or Thames)90
Flowing into Cook Strait— 
  Manawatu (over 600,000)100
  Wanganui (over 500,000)140
Flowing into the Tasman Sea— 
  Waikato (over 800,000)220
  Wairoa (over 250,000)95


Flowing into Cook Strait— 
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean—- 
  Waimakariri (low water 80,000 normal flood 500,000)93
  Clutha (over 2,000,000)210
Flowing into Foveaux Strait— 
Flowing into the Tasman Sea— 
  Cleddau and Arthur20
  Buller (nearly 1,000,000)105


An article on the lakes of New Zealand, also by Professor R. Speight, will be found in the 1932 Year-Book. The more important lakes are stated below.

Lake.Length, in Miles.Greatest Breadth, in Miles.Area, in Square Miles.Drainage Area, in Square Miles.Approximate Volume of Discharge, in Cubic Feet per Second.Height above Sea-level, in Feet.Greatest Depth, in Feet.
North Island. 
Tarawera6 ½1575 1,032285
Wairarapa104271,250.. 64
South Island. 
Te Anau3361321,32012,660694906
Waihola1 1/83⅓2,200..(Tidal)52


The following article on the geology of New Zealand was prepared by Dr. J. Henderson, M.A., F.K.S.N.Z., 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 Palaeozoic 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 these that followed the two latest mountain-building movements—the Kaikoura deformation of late Tertiary time, and the Hokonui deformation of the early Cretaceous. The deposits laid down in the intervening period of relative crustal stability cover a large proportion of the land, and contain all the coal and most of the limestone of the Dominion. The soils on which grow the forests, pastures, and crops are of post-Tertiary age, and the great bulk of the gold has been won from deposits formed during the same period.


The oldest known fossiliferous rocks in New Zealand are the Ordovician slates and greywackes of west Nelson and south-west Otago. Lower unfossiliferous beds of the same great system extend southward from the northern area and outcrop in the Westport, Reefton, Greymouth, Ross, and Okarito districts. Above the fossil-bearing beds, but probably also 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 Palaeozoic age. Different authorities assign the mica, chlorite, and quartz schists of Central Otago to ages that range from the Archuean to the Triassic. They are certainly Pahaeozoic 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, which 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, these 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, new 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-scams 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 new 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 these 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 Palaeozoic 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, probably corresponding with the great mountain-folding movements of the late Palaeozoic 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 new 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 Palaeozoic 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 (now the Royal Society of New Zealand).


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 Br; 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 across the floor of the Pacific, 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.

Many great faults and fault-zones have been traced for long distances, but a few only have been active since European occupation. The Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931 raised an area sixty miles long in a north-east direction and in parts ten miles wide. The uplift was greatest along the south-east edge of the area, for miles amounting to 6 ft. or more. Numerous levels on the Heretaunga Plain and along the railway north of Napier show that the uplift decreased northwestward, so that the area was slightly tilted in that direction. The ground east of the uplifted area sank, and parts of the Napier and Wairoa flats are over a foot lower than before the earthquake. In 1029 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 felt in the area over many months. Other sensible earth-movements occurred in connection with the. Taupo earthquake series of 1922.* the Amuri earthquake of 1888,† the Wellington earthquake of 1885,‡ 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.

* 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.

In previous numbers of the Year-Book the origins of earthquakes have been classified according to locality. In recent years, however, a great many more epicentres have been determined, and it is new found impossible to make a satisfactory classification according to locality.

New Zealand is traversed by an active seismic region, which, commencing in the East Cape Peninsula, runs in a general south-westerly direction, embracing the southern portion of the North Island, Cook Strait, and the northern and western portions of the South Island. Districts within this region are liable to frequent earthquakes, whilst these outside it experience occasional shocks only.


Seismic activity in New Zealand was considerably lower in 1033 than during the previous eight years. No major earthquakes occurred, and no earthquakes were reported above 7 on the Rossi-Forel scale.

The following is a list of all important New Zealand earthquakes during the year 1933. The summary includes (1) earthquakes of high intensity. (2) earthquakes felt over a wide area:—

New Zealand Mean Time.Position of Epicentre.Maximum R.-F. Intensity as felt.Station reporting Maximum Intensity.
South Lat.East Long.
1933. d. h. m.     
Feb. 22 0 2941.0172.36.7Takaka.
Mar. 30 18 4938.0179.55Tokomaru Bay.
April 11 12 4539.8176.55Wairoa.
May 15 19 5039.5177.56Hawke's Bay.
June 29 10 4940.7172.56Takaka.
July 26 11 340.5172.57Takaka, Nelson.
Aug. 27 10 2540.0175.04.5West Coast, North Island.
Nov. 3 4 4841.2174.06Cook Strait.
Dec. 13 20 1840.0175.56Southern part of North Island.


During 1933 thirteen seismograph stations have been in continuous operation in New Zealand and the neighbouring islands. By the courtesy of the Government of Fiji the records from the Suva seismograph are forwarded to the Dominion Observatory, Wellington, for measurement. The New Zealand subsidiary stations are operated by officers of various Government Departments and by private individuals. Two of the stations are privately owned, the observers supplying records and reports, and thus assisting in the general seismological work. A set of Weichert seismographs with mechanical registration is installed at Apia Observatory, Western Samoa.

The Dominion Observatory, Wellington, and the Magnetic Observatory, Christ-church, publish preliminary earthquake reports each month, giving data regarding the principal earthquakes recorded. More complete reports are also published from time to time. These reports are sent to the General Secretary of the Seismological Committee of the British Association, to the Station Central Sismologique, Strasbourg, France, and to the principal observatories of the world.

* 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.


Since 1888 there has been established in New Zealand a system of observing local earthquakes depending entirely on personal observations. At first this system was confined to selected telegraph-offices throughout the Dominion, but more recently a number of lighthouse-keepers have also taken up the work, as well as many private observers. Special forms are supplied for reporting earthquakes, in which information is required concerning the observed time of the shock, the direction and the duration of the movement, and also general effects which are likely to lead to a determination of the intensity of the earthquake.

The following summary includes all earthquakes reported felt in New Zealand in 1933:—

Month.Number of Earthquakes reported.Maximum Intensity R.-F. Scale.Locality of Maximum.
North Island.South Island.Both Islands.Total.
January5054 Widely distributed.
March792146Hicks Bay, Hermitage.
September42155Waiatu Valley, Owen River.
November671126Cook Strait.
December42066Marton, Feilding, Kahurangi Point.

The next table gives the number of earthquakes in the year 1933, in which the maximum intensity as reported reached the various degrees of the Rossi-Forel scale.

Month.Rossi-Forel Intensity.Totals.

The total number of earthquakes felt and the maximum intensities reached in each of the years 1921 to 1933 (inclusive) are as follows:—

Year.Number of Shocks.Maximum Intensity R.-F. Scale.


During the years 1932 and 1933 no deaths resulted from earthquakes in New Zealand. The number of deaths due to' earthquakes at present totals 279, 255 of which were due to the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3rd February, 1931.

For details regarding deaths due to earthquakes in New Zealand the reader is referred to the Official Year-Book for 1933.


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


The New Zealand Meteorological Office is located at Wellington. Weather forecasts, based on observations at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., are issued at noon and 5 p.m. respectively. The midday forecast is telegraphed to approximately one hundred country centres, where it is displayed at the post-offices. The evening forecast is broadcasted from the New Zealand Broadcasting Board's stations at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The 7 p.m. issue from Wellington includes weather reports from a series of stations as well distributed as possible over the Dominion and the surrounding area.

Rainfall data from approximately four hundred stations are printed monthly in the Government Gazette. Observations of temperature, pressure, sunshine, wind, &c., from about, forty-five stations are published annual- by the Meteorological Office. Papers on various aspects of the climate and weather of the Dominion are published from time to time as “Meteorological Office Notes.”


New Zealand lies wholly within the Temperate Zone, and, though they are stronger and more persistent farther southward, it is also wholly and at all seasons within the zone of prevailing westerly winds. Owing to its isolation and its narrowness in the direction of the prevailing winds, its climate is predominantly marine in character. Nevertheless, the modifications due to the height and continuity of the main ranges and the general high relief of the country are quite considerable, especially in the South Island. There is, for example, a very great variation in the rainfall from the western to the eastern side of the Southern Alps, and for so narrow a country features of a continental type are rather strongly developed in the interior of the South Island. By breaking up the prevailing winds and causing the air at different levels to mix, mountains tend, also, to prevent the stratification of the air into layers of different density. Consequently very extensive and persistent cloud-sheets are seldom experienced. New Zealand therefore enjoys a high percentage of sunshine, a factor of great importance in the climate of a country with so high a rainfall.

The principal current in the surrounding ocean waters is from south-west to north-east. Off the west coast of the South Island, however, the current divides, one branch turning southwards to Foveaux Strait, while others pass through Cook Strait and round the northern extremity of the Dominion. The rather small range in climate from north to south is probably accounted for by this current.

According to the widely accepted classification of climates developed by W. Köppen, New Zealand has the climatic formula Of, denoting a cool-temperate moist climate without marked seasonal variations in temperature or precipitation. Under the same formula are classified southern Victoria and Tasmania and parts of southern Chile in the Southern Hemisphere, much of Europe, Japan and Korea, and a strip of the west coast of North America in the Northern Hemisphere. Generally, however, it is a climate characteristic of the ocean rather than the land areas of the Temperate Zone.


Of all the climatic elements, probably the one that exerts the greatest influence on our lives is rainfall. It causes us much personal discomfort, but the production of the food by which we live depends directly on the availability of moisture from this source.

Its control by topography in New Zealand is very conspicuous. Areas exposed to the westerly winds have heavier rains than these protected from them by mountain ranges. Next, the greater the altitude, the greater in general is the precipitation. There must be a limit beyond which precipitation begins to decrease again with altitude, but this has not yet been determined in this country. The indications are that precipitation is heaviest between 3,000 ft. and 4,000 ft. The annual total varies from about 13 in. at Galloway in Central Otago to over 200 in. in parts of the Southern Alps and on Mount Egmont.

The distribution of the precipitation throughout the year is little less important than its total amount, the effect of rainfall in winter, for example, being very different from that in summer. There are three principal factors controlling the annual variation of rainfall in New Zealand. The first of these is the proximity to the high-pressure belt in the subtropics. In this belt the rainfall year is divided into a dry summer and a wet winter season. We will call this distribution type A. As the distance from the high-pressure belt increases, the contrast between summer and winter decreases, so that by the time southern New Zealand is reached the variation due to this factor is small. The next most important factor is the influence of the prevailing westerly winds. These bring rains to the areas exposed to them, while these which are protected from them by mountain ranges have little rain when the westerlies are blowing. Now, the westerly winds are strongest in spring, the maximum flow being in October. There is a temporary drop in February, followed by a partial recovery in the autumn, but the flow is least in winter. The regime of the westerly winds, therefore, tends to produce a second type of annual variation, type C, in which the rainfall is heaviest in spring, falls somewhat in the late summer, increases again in the autumn, and falls to a minimum in winter.

The third factor is the convection which takes place during periods of light winds, clear skies, and intense sunshine, especially when the preceding winds have brought cold air over the land from the South. After conditions of the type mentioned have endured for several days, the convection is likely to be so intense as to produce local showers. These are often heavy, sometimes accompanied by thunder, and occasionally of the nature of local cloud-bursts. Rainfall of this type is most common in the interior of continents. Being caused by solar radiation, it is most frequent when solar radiation is strongest—namely, in summer. According to type B. therefore, we would have a relatively wet summer and a dry winter.


Cape Maria van Diemen1.712.882.033.864.834.623.993.732.842.561.611.6536.31
Tolaga Bay3.214.424.735.497.716.386.706.063.603.202.903.0357.55
Riversdale, Inglewood7.506.
Waitatapia, Bulls2.432.502.463.003.533.183.252.683.783.633.222.7135.37
Ditton, near Masterton3.142.963.583.075.454.985.504.783.714.363.563.0148.79
Marshlands, Blenheim2.
Peel Forest4.844.054.383.542.5l2.753.422.573.773.854.014.8544.54
Clyde1.821.061.501 .

A rainfall regime of type A in a fairly pure form is experienced in the part of the Auckland Province north, roughly, of Kawhia and Tauranga, and on the eastern side of the main ranges from Cook Strait to East Cape. It is still dominant in the lower county about the Tasman and Golden Bays, and in Marlborough and North Canterbury. Type C is developed strongly in Westland and the south-west Fiord country. It is shown fairly well by Hokitika, but much more distinctly if the data for a number of West Coast stations be combined. It is dominant in the far South, in the mountains of Nelson, and in the portion of the North Island not yet referred to. In this latter area, however, types A and C combine in varying proportions. Most districts show the effect of the westerly winds in a relatively high rainfall in October, but this is least noticeable in the low country east of the main ranges. The areas where type C dominates are these with the heaviest rainfall. Type B is dominant in the interior and southern portions of Canterbury and the central and eastern portions of Otago, and is especially characteristic of the dry areas of the provinces mentioned. The summer rains of this type are of great importance to the farming communities in the interior of Canterbury and Otago. The regime of annual rainfall experienced had an important influence in determining the nature of the primitive vegetation in the various districts.


New Plymouth12.710.411.913.317.717.618.818.417.618.416.314.2188.6
Marshlands, Blenheim7.
Half-moon Bay18.516.217.818.020.419.919.719.018.820.220.818.2227.3

Next to the amount and the annual variation of precipitation, the frequency with which it falls is its most important characteristic. In Table 2 the average number of days with rain in each month is given for some representative stations. A day with rain is one on which 0.005 in. 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 clays, 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. New Zealand is extremely fortunate in that, even where the rainfall is very heavy, intervals between rains are almost everywhere sufficiently frequent and prolonged to ensure adequate drainage, while there is enough sunshine to dry the soil surface. Otherwise, large areas in the west and south would be covered with peat.


Temperature is no less important than rainfall in determining the living conditions of a country and the yield from its soil. But it is much less variable, and in the Southern Hemisphere especially is largely determined by latitude. Its influence is therefore taken much more for granted. 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. It is to this effect that the principal difference between a continental and a marine climate is due. Although New Zealand is narrow, the high ranges shield the country to the east of them to a considerable extent, so that there is a nearer approach to continental conditions than would otherwise be expected, particularly in the interior of Canterbury and Otago. 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. The effect is accentuated near the slopes of hills because the cold air flows away down the slopes to lower levels. The hills, therefore, gain freedom from frost at the expense of the plains. In windy situations, also, the susceptibility to frost is lowered owing to the prevention of stagnation. Apart from the effects due to air-drainage and windiness, the temperature decreases with altitude. In temperate latitudes the fall is about 9° F. per kilometre. It is unsound, therefore, to compare, for example, temperatures recorded at Thorndon, Wellington, which was only 12 ft. above sea-level, with these at the present meteorological station at Kelburn, which is at an altitude of 415 ft., without making allowance for this difference in altitude. Such a procedure would lead to the erroneous conclusion that the climate had become colder. If charts of mean temperature are to be prepared it is clear that they will be very complicated, especially in a mountainous country like New Zealand, owing to this effect of altitude. It is usual, therefore, to simplify matters by applying a correction 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. If the actual temperature is required, it can be found by reversing 1 his process.

In New Zealand publications it has been the general practice 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 from the records of thermographs with fair accuracy at Wellington and more roughly at several other places.

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.


New Plymouth62.962.961.257.854.451.449.750.

The stations given in the above table were chosen with a view to illustrating the effect of changing latitude, the difference between east and west coasts, especially in the South Island, and the contrast between coastal and inland conditions. Waipoua is in the Auckland Peninsula, north of Dargaville, and Ophir in Central Otago.


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. TAIHAPE (2,157 FT.).

Mean daily maximum68.067.364.659.952.848.547.448.852.857.459.864.357.6
Mean highest maximum78.077.374.469.
Absolute highest max.87.381.078.075.569.863.261.061.867.073.474.282.087.3
Mean daily minimum50.049.848.244.940.737.636.436.639.
Mean lowest minimum39.539.538.234.631.929.228.028.730.032.034.437.026.4
Absolute lowest min.31.932.
Days of frost in screen......
Days of ground frost0.


Mean daily maximum69.366.962.958.354.853.154'357.560.463.266.761.3 
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.39.540.530.135.731.929.928.629.
Days of frost in screen........
Days of ground frost0.

Table 7. HOKITIKA (12 FT.).

Mean daily maximum66.466.564.761.256.853.352.653.656.458.760.663.859.5
Mean highest maximum73.572.571.367.763.759.558.659.552.364.767.070.975.9
Absolute highest max.79.082.484.574.071.563.565.067.167.669.
Mean daily minimum53.
Mean lowest minimum43.243.540.636.532.129.929.029.832.235.238.441.928.1
Absolute lowest min.
Days of frost in screen......
Days of ground frost0.

Table 8. CHRISTCHURCH (22 FT.).

Mean daily maximum70.469.266.462.155.851.150.352.357.662.465.869.261.0
Mean highest maximum86.683.781.475.768.762.561.564.970.676.179.884.088.4
Absolute highest max.95.794.189.882.377.869.370.
Mean dally minimum52.852.549.745.039.936.035.136.340.544.047.150.844.3
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.

Table 9. DUNEDIN (240 FT.).

Mean daily maximum66.565.963.158.953.349.347.950.355.159.161.664.558.0
Mean highest maximum81.580.577.371.864.459.357.461.566.873.075.378.084.3
Absolute highest max94.
Mean daily minimum49.749.547.844.841.038.637.438.240.642.944.948.043.0
Mean lowest minimum41.341.539.136.733.831.230.531.233.034.837.040.029.4
Absolute lowest min.
Days of frost in screen........
Days of ground frost..

Table 10. GORE (245 FT.).

Mean daily maximum69.068.966.160.153.747.747.151.756.860.963.166.459.3
Mean highest maximum84.984.380.273.864.958.457.162.068.673.077.680.987.9
Absolute highest max.93.091.589.
Mean daily minimum46.746.044.040.435.732.431.633.237.540.842.244.939.0
Mean lowest minimum35.134.932.929.225.923.522.924.628.230.832.035.021.4
Absolute lowest min.
Days of frost in screen0.
Days of ground frost0.

The accompanying tables (Nos. 4 to 10) relate to temperature extremes. The first line gives the average of the maximum temperatures its 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 below 32° F. 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.


In Table 11 are listed for each month and the year the average number of hours of sunshine at all places from which a sufficiently long record is available. The greatest amounts are recorded at places protected from the prevailing winds by high mountain ranges. The excellence of New Zealand's climate, particularly for the growth of pasture, is undoubtedly due to the abundance of sunshine combined with a high rainfall and an absence of extreme temperatures.


New Plymouth256.0230.7221.6164.9159.8132.0143.6178.2166.0174.3209.2238.72,275.0
Lincoln College213.0197.0176.9149.ll36.9114.8115.3l48.9174.6197.1211.8205.32,040.7
Lake Tekapo267.3235.2238.0191.5174.7122.7140.7154.2180.3220.0227.6265.52,418.3


Tables giving monthly averages for a number of stations under each of the heads distinguished below will be found in the 1933 edition (at page 25) of the Year-Book.

Fog.—Fog does not play an important part in New Zealand weather. Most of the fogs recorded are shallow radiation fogs occurring only in the early morning. During the approach of cyclonic depressions, however, widespread and persistent fog is a frequent occurrence. Occasionally, parts of the coast are affected by fog in calm weather. The landlocked harbours and estuaries of North Auckland appear to be unusually susceptible.

Snow.—Snow is rare at sea-level, especially in the North Island. In the interior and at high altitudes it occurs more frequently. On the summits of the ranges in the whole length of the South Island and on the highest peaks in the North Island snow falls, on the average, on over thirty days per annum. In the interior of the South Island there is a considerable area of settled country which is subject to half that number. Towards the coast, however, the number falls off rapidly. Data regarding snow lying are scanty. In the North Island any snow falling on the low levels almost invariably melts as it falls, but on the high plateaux it may lie, especially in the hollows, for from one to three weeks during the year. In the South Island it practically never lies at low levels on the north or west coasts, but on the east coast does so on a few days in some years. At altitudes between ft. and 1,000 ft. in the interior of the South Island the average number of days appears to be between seven and fourteen. Railway traffic is interfered with by snow to an almost negligible extent.

Hail.—Hail is experienced more frequently as the latitude increases and on the west coast than on the east, the rise in frequency in the extreme south-west and about Foveaux Strait being very marked. It occurs more often in spring than at other times of the 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 ½ in. upwards. These are usually associated with thunderstorms, and are probably little less numerous on the east coast than the west or in the North Island than 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.—Averages give the number of days of strong winds experienced per year as: Auckland, 31.5; New Plymouth, 25.7: Wellington, 57.7; Hokitika, 38.3; and Dunedin, 16.3 days. These figures 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.


January was a warm and sunny month with little wind. There were several days on which numbers of places in the South Island recorded temperatures over 90° F. Rainfall conditions were rather variable, but, on the whole, the totals were below average. There was, however, a good deal of humid weather. Thunderstorms were unusually frequent.

February was very windy. Temperatures were high, but without any very extreme values. Except in the low-lying portions of eastern districts the rainfall was very heavy. The wet weather interfered with haymaking and harvesting, and the strong north-westerly winds did some damage to crops. Sunshine was below normal. Thunderstorms were again numerous and severe. On the night of the 14th and the morning of the 15th lightning caused almost unprecedented damage to telephone, telegraph, and power-lines from North Canterbury to southern Wellington.

March.—In March the weather was very dry, warm, and sunny. Scorching north-westerly winds accentuated the dry conditions in eastern parts of the South Island. Root crops and pastures suffered considerably from the activities of insect pests or their larva. Extremely heavy rainfall in the central portion of the North Island caused sudden and very severe flooding in the National Park and the upper tributaries of the Wanganui River. Serious damage occurred in Taumarunui.

April.—The first part of April was fine and mild, but in the latter half there were frequent boisterous winds from a westerly or south-westerly quarter. Unusually cold weather was experienced on the 23rd and 24th. Heavy snow reached to low levels on the mountains, and frosts were widespread and rather severe. The continued dry weather was causing considerable anxiety regarding winter feed in many parts of the eastern districts. Stock continued to maintain good condition. though milk-yields fell rapidly after the 23rd.

May was a dull and -wet month. The first part was cold and rather stormy. but the remainder was relatively mild. This, fortunately, permitted a certain amount of growth in pastures, thus easing the situation as regards winter feed, especially in Canterbury. Severe floods occurred in the Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay districts on the 25th, and the Manawatu River also overflowed.

June.—Southerly or south-easterly winds and very cold weather prevailed in June. Though rainfall was far less than the average, there was much dull, damp, and showery weather. Root crops and pastures were holding out better than anticipated.

July.—In this month also there was much dull weather and a persistence of southerly winds. Sunshine was below normal, especially in eastern districts. Nevertheless, temperatures were mild for the time of year. A certain amount of growth still continued in pastures, and the feed-shortage in the eastern districts of the South Island, which had experienced a prolonged spell of dry weather, never became very serious.

August was an excellent winter month. There was an unusual absence of days of severe cold. snow, hail, &c. Crops and pastures were looking well and stock had kept good condition. Canterbury and Marlborough continued to experience very low rainfalls.

September was similar to August. In most districts precipitation was far below the average, but fortunately the country can safely dispense with much of its winter rain. An excellent lambing-season was experienced. The amount of bright sunshine was above the normal.

October proved to be another very dry month. The first twenty days were mild, but very cold weather followed. Between the night of the 20th and the morning of the 23rd there were unusually heavy and widespread snowfalls. Severe frosts followed the snowfalls in the various districts, and much damage was done. The orchards in Central Otago and at Stoke, near Nelson, suffered badly. In Marl-borough and Nelson the continued dearth of rain and the cold weather combined to make the position very difficult for the agriculturist.

November was relatively quiet. Southerly winds again predominated, and mean temperatures were generally below normal. Hard frosts occurred on the 22nd and 23rd, and orchards in eastern districts from Hawke's Bay southward again suffered severely. The rainfall was better distributed than in previous months, and good falls in Canterbury saved the situation there as regards crops. Stock continued to do very well. Nelson and Marlborough experienced no relief from the dry conditions which had reigned for so long.

December.—The first half of December was very dry and warm. Though good rains fell thereafter, pastures had at the end of the month the dry and browned appearance characteristic of midsummer. The drought conditions were somewhat relieved in Nelson and Marlborough, but the rains were too late to save large areas of crops and sales of fat stock had been much reduced. For the first time for several months, sunshine considerably exceeded the average. The stormy conditions in the latter part of the month were responsible for a cold Christmas, with rain, thunder, and hailstorms, and a heavy fall of snow on the mountains. Similar weather was experienced from the 28th to the 30th. On this occasion the southerly gale was one of the worst experienced for main- years, and, in the north-eastern portion of the North Island, probably the worst known. The frequent hailstorms caused much damage to crops in Canterbury.

Year.—The year as a whole, though the average departure was rather less than half a degree, was rather warmer than normal. This effect was shown fairly uniformly throughout the country, but at coastal stations the differences from normal were generally very small, and on the east coast of the South Island chiefly negative. The relatively high temperatures were a welcome change after the preceding four years, each of which had been cold.

The distribution of rainfall was very irregular. On the average the year was a dry one, especially in the more densely settled areas. Most of the Thames, Waikato, southern Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury districts had considerably loss than normal. It was a particularly dry year in southern and eastern Marlborough. In places the totals were the lowest ever recorded, and in some cases amounted to less than half the average. The majority of the Auckland Peninsula, the northern Hawke's Bay. and the Poverty Bay districts, parts of the South Taranaki Bight, and most of Otago and Southland had falls rather above the average. On the west coast of the South Island conditions varied greatly. In most places more than usual was recorded, but in Southern Westland the reverse was the case. At Lake Kanieri there was an excess of almost 100 in., while Milford Sound had a total of nearly 314 in. Though the year was not so dry as its three predecessors, the only really wet months were February and May.

Once more the year, meteorologically speaking, was a good one for the primary producer. The winter was exceptionally mild, with an absence of severe conditions of all kinds.


The observations were taken at 9 a.m.

Station.Temperatures in Shade.Hours of Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1933.Absolute Maximum.Absolute Minimum.Total Fall.Number of Days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.
* Some data missing.
 ° F.° F.° F.° F. ° F. ° F.° F. Inches 
Te Aroha68.249.458.887.0Jan.24.0June95.021.0..44.40161
New Plymouth63.650.457.080.1Mar.32.2Aug.89.027.02,305.751.64188
Palmerston North63.447.655.587.5Jan.27.0July92.023.0..34.53170
Massey Agricultural College, Palmerston North62.647.354.985.8Jan.23.7June....1,981.936.03164


Kapiti Island60.950.555.782.0Jan.36.5Aug.......38.27127
Research Orchard, Appleby, Nelson62.845.954.479.9Mar.27.8June.. ..28.6297
Golden Downs61.940.050.084.2Jan.20.0June......40.5187
Hanmer Springs62.138.850.592.2Jan.16.3June97.09.22,027.432.21123
Lake Coleridge61.
Rudstone, Methven59.443.151.386.0Jan.20.9June......34.02125
The Hermitage, Mt. Cook55.338.046.682.0Jan.17.0July....1,642.6186.37172
Lake Tekapo*56.938.747.884.0Jan.18.0July....2,589.023.5182
Fairlie........ .. ....1,829.7....
Manorburn Dam53.434.644.080.0Jan.11.0June......20.16119

For 1933 the mean pressure at 9 a.m., in inches, reduced to sea-level and standard gravity, was: Waipoua, 29.952; Auckland, 30.054; Rotorua, 29.966; Wellington, 29.959; Nelson, 29.967; Hokitika, 29.976; Christchurch, 29.916; Dunedin, 29.909.


The following article on New Zealand mean time and the time-service arrangements was prepared by Dr. C. E. Adams, F.R.A.S. Hon., P.N.Z.I.A., Dominion Astronomer and Seismologist.

One uniform time is kept throughout New Zealand, called New Zealand mean time (N.Z.M.T.).

The following extract from the New Zealand Gazette of 31st October, 1868, contains the Government announcement regarding the standardizing of mean time for New Zealand:—

“Colonial Secretary's Office,”

“Wellington, 30th October, 1868.”

In accordance with a resolution of the House of Representatives to the effect that New Zealand mean time be adopted throughout the colony, it is hereby notified for public information that the time corresponding to the longitude 172° 30' cast of Greenwich—which is exactly 11½ hours in advance of Greenwich time—has been adopted as the mean time for the colony; and that from and after the second day of November the public offices of the General Government will be opened and closed in accordance therewith.


The meridian 172° 30' east is the approximate mean longitude of the Islands of New Zealand, and corresponds to a time 11 hours 30 minutes fast on Greenwich mean time (G.M.T.).

The use of Summer Time in New Zealand is governed by the Summer Time Act, 1929, and its amendment of 1933. For general purposes in New Zealand the clock is advanced thirty minutes during the period beginning at 2 a.m., New Zealand mean time, on the last Sunday in September in any year, and ending at 2 a.m., New Zealand mean time, on the last Sunday in April in the following year. Nothing in the Summer Time Act shall affect the use of New Zealand mean time for purposes of astronomy, meteorology, or navigation, or affect the construction of any document mentioning or referring to a point of time in connection with any of these purposes.

The time throughout New Zealand is controlled by the Dominion Observatory, Wellington. The Observatory signal clock is kept as accurate as possible by means of astronomical observations, and by comparison with wireless time signals from Bordeaux, Nauen, Honolulu, Malabar, and Annapolis. The error in outgoing time signals seldom amounts to a quarter of a second of time.

The following time signals are sent from the Dominion Observatory:—


These signals are transmitted daily at 10.30 a.m. N.Z.M.T., and on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8.30 p.m. N.Z.M.T.

The signals are transmitted in the following manner:—

At 10h. 28m. 0s. a dash of two seconds duration is sent, followed by “ZLY”* (the call sign of the Observatory). This signal is repeated three times at 15 second intervals. At 10h. 29m. 10s. a series of G's (__ __ .) is sent, ending at 10h. 29m. 50s.

At 10h. 30m. 0s. the time signal (a dash of three seconds duration) is sent automatically from the Observatory clock—the beginning of the dash representing the exact minute. The automatic time signal is repeated at 10h. 31m., 10h. 32m., 10h. 34m., and 10h. 35m. There is no time signal at 10h. 33m. Between the automatic time signals, series of one-second dashes are sent in groups of one, two, four, or five, according as they precede the time signals at 10h. 31m., 10h. 32m., 10h. 34m., or 10h. 35m. respectively. Each set of dashes ends exactly at the 50th second. The intermediate dashes are for tuning purposes only, and must not be used as time signals. The signals sent on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8.30 p.m. are similar in form to these just described.

* On 1st July, 1934, the call sign of the Observatory was changed from ZLY to ZMO.

Special care is taken to ensure the accuracy of all the signals transmitted through station ZLW, and corrections to these signals are published monthly.


Time signals are supplied to 2YA from the Observatory three, times daily (at 10.30 a.m., 3.30 p.m., and 7.30 p.m., N.Z.M.T.). The 10.30 a.m. signal consists of a dash of three seconds duration, transmitted at 10.30, 10.31, and 10.32. Intervening signals are also transmitted as described for ZLW in the preceding section. The 3.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. signals consist merely of three-second dashes at 3.30, 3.31, 3.32, and at 7.30, 7.31, and 7.32 respectively. The beginning of the dash represents the exact minute in each case. These signals are regularly supplied to 2YA from the. Observatory, but their actual broadcast is controlled by station 2YA.


At the Dominion Observatory (Wellington) these time signals are given daily, the lights being exhibited on a flagstaff, 6 ft. apart, white uppermost, 42 ft. above the ground, red in the centre, and green below. The green light is switched on at 8h. 10m. p.m., N.Z.M.T., the red at 8h. 20m. p.m., and the white at 8h. 25m. p.m. Simultaneous extinction of all the lights at Sh. 30m. 0s. p.m. is the time signal. The green light is used only on Tuesdays and Fridays, when an officer is on duty supervising the time signals. On other evenings only the red and white lights are used.

Time-signal lights are also exhibited on the Ferry Buildings at Auckland on Tuesday and Friday evenings as follows: The green light is switched on at 7h. 40m. p.m., N.Z.M.T., the red at 8h. 20m. p.m., and the white at 8h. 25m. p.m. Simultaneous extinction of all the lights at 8h. 30m. 0s. p.m. is the time signal. The lights are extinguished by direct signal from the Dominion Observatory, Wellington. If the signal fails, the red light continues burning until 8h. 35m. p.m.


This time signal is given by dropping the time-ball at 3h. 30m. 0s. p.m., N.Z.M.T., on Tuesdays and Fridays. The ball is dropped by direct signal from the Observatory.


In addition to the above time signals, the Dominion Observatory also supplies time signals to the Telegraph Office and the Railways Department, by telegraph, daily at 9 a.m. and 3.30 p.m., N.Z.M.T. The telegraph office transmits the Observatory time signals by telegraph-lines to some 2,300 telegraph-offices in both Islands, to Stewart Island, and to the Railways Department. Telegraphic signals are also sent at 9 a.m. to all railway offices in New Zealand, including 221 offices by telegraph, and 257 stations by telephone.

The Dominion Observatory controls the Government Buildings (Wellington) clock, which is checked at 9 a.m. each day by means of a special circuit between the clock and the Observatory.

The chimes of the Wellington General Post Office clock are broadcast several times every day by station 2YA. At 3 p.m., N.Z.M.T., the clock is checked by comparison with the Dominion Observatory signal clock, and the correction is published monthly. This clock may therefore be used as a time signal where very high accuracy is not required, experience having shown that it is always within a few seconds of the correct time. In using the General Post Office clock as a time signal, the first stroke of the hour should be read as the exact time.


The following article on the flora and vegetation of New Zealand is by the late 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, Carpodeius, 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; Onibelliferae(carrot family), 89; Orchidaceae(orchids), 71; Ranunculaceae(buttercup family), 61; Rubiacpac(coprosma family), 55; Onagraceae(willowherb family), 45; Epacridaeeae(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(karamtis), 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 gonera 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.p., Arundo(toetoe grass), 2 species; Desmosclioemis(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, Leucogense by Raoulia(edelweiss Χ vegetable-sheep), and Nothepavax by psevdojjanax. How widespread in New Zealand is wild hybridism appears from the fact that hybrids are new 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,310; semi-wood; plants(including 10 ferns with short trunks), 241; herbaceous plant (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 05, and belong to 21 families and 34 genera, some of them of immense proportions and quite hard, as in the vegetable-sheep (species of liaoulia and Haastia); leafless shrubs, tall or dwarf, with flattened or “round” stems (mostly species of Carmichaclia); the cypress form, the leaves reduced to scales, as seen in various species of Hebe and Helichrysvm, but a form to be expected in the podocarps; trees with leaves bunched together on long trunks, as in the liliaceous cabbage-trees (Cordylive) and certain species of the Australian-heath family (Dracopliyllum); 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 (Klaeocarpus Hookerianus), the lance-wood (Pseudopanax crass ifoliuni), 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 these which extend continuously from the north of the North Island to Stewart Island to these found in only one limited area (e.g., Gassinia amoena, near the North Cape; Xeronema Callistemon, on the Poor Knights; Drucophyllum Townsoni, on the Paparoa Range), or these 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 Now-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; Itubiaceae, 34; Gompositae, 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; Biechnum, 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 (Nothefagus—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.

Nothefagus 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 mere 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 crassifoliitm), the haekaro (P. umbellatum), the karaka (Corynocarpus laevigata), the akeake {Dodovaea 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 these 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 (Danthonian Raoulii var. rubra), or snow-grass (D. Raoulii var. flavescens), and the numerous hybrids between them. Taking lowland and montane low tussock-grassland together, and excluding tall tussock-grassland, since they occupy a far more extensive area, and leaving out of the estimate the 74 or so exotic species new 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 j 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. virgata); toetoe grass (Arundo conspicua); cabbage-tree (Cordyline australis); common koromiko (Hebe salicifolia); karamu (Coprosma robusta); common coprosma (C. propinqua); and many hybrids between the last two. When, as frequently happens, the swamp gradually dries up, the number of shrubs increases and an early stage of semi-swamp forest is produced.

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

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

Though the high mountains contain only 16 genera which do not descend to the lowlands, 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 0. caespitosa, may form mats on stony ground bearing multitudes of delicate blossoms; the eyebrights—true alpine gems—their flowers white with a yellow eye or purple throat, or yellow altogether; forget-me-nots, yellow, bronze, purplish, or white; the snow-groundsel, its large marguerite-like flowers produced in such profusion that the mountain-meadow glistens like a snowfield; the two kinds of edelweiss, far surpassing their Swiss elder sister in beauty, the flowers of the “everlasting” kind, their outer leaves flannelly and snow-white. But above all other plants of the mountains, not only for their beauty of flower, leaf, and form, but for their abundance in all situations, come the various species of Celmisia.“Go where you will”—to quote from “The Vegetation of New Zealand ” (ed. 2, p. 238)—“on sub-alpine and alpine herb-field and their silvery foliage strikes the eye, it may be in stately rosettes of dagger-like leaves, in circular mats trailing over the ground, or in dense cushions. Their aromatic fragrance fills the air; from early till late summer some of their white heads of blossom may be seen, while in due season, gregarious species clothe both wet herb-field and dry, stony slopes with sheets of white.”

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

There are many plant-communities composed of combinations of tussock-grasses, herbaceous plants, semi-woody plants, dwarf or creeping shrubs, and cushion-plants which are sometimes dense enough, and sometimes so open that there is more stony ground than vegetation. The most surprising community is that of unstable stony debris—the “shingle-slips” of the shepherds—which covers the slopes of certain dry mountains for some thousands of feet, particularly in Marlborough and Canterbury. No less than 33 species occupy this inhospitable station, 25 of which are confined thereto. So far apart do the species grow—frequently many yards— that they bear no relation to each other. Their life-forms are clearly in harmony with the peculiar environment. All have thick fleshy or leathery leaves, frequently of the grey colour of the stones. In 16 species the part above the ground is annual; the shoots nearly always lie close to the stones, but if buried they have the faculty of growing upwards again. One species, Copula strata, 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, Olearia semideutata. There are two remarkable endemic genera, Coxella and Myocardium, the former belonging to the carrot family, and the latter a huge forget-me-not, new 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 these 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. These 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, 1920; “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; “Now 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; “The New Zealand Nature Book,” Vol. 2, by W. Martin, 1929; “New Zealand Ferns,” by H. B. Dobbie, ed. 3, 1931. Also (but new 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”) wore indigenous to New Zealand, but it is new 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 these day 3. 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, whore 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 (lying insects, and even drinking on the wing. But the short-tailed species of New Zealand possesses peculiarities of structure which enable it to creep and crawl with ease on the branches and leaves of trees, and probably it seeks its food there as well as in the air. Few naturalists, however, have had opportunities to observe it, and little is known of its habits.


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

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

In contrast with the species of land-mammals, the members of the next class, Aves, were remarkably plentiful when settlement began. Bush and grass fires, cats, stoats, and weasels, and the ruthless use of the gun have reduced their numbers, but they still stand as probably the most interesting avifauna in the world. They include a comparatively large number of absolutely flightless birds. No living birds in New Zealand are wingless, but the kiwi (Apteryx), the weka (Gallirallus), the kakapo parrot (Strigops), and the takahe (Notornis hochsletteri)* 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 nolabilis), which is accused of killing sheep on stations in the South Island; the to (Prosthemadera novae-zealandiae), winch 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 canonical 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 canning) 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 Cuculidae 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.

* This bird is better known as Notornis manteilli.

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

Reptilian life is restricted to about fifteen species of lizards, and to the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus). This is a lizard-like creature, the only surviving representative of the order Rhynchocephalia, otherwise extinct. The tuatara is found in no other country. Its nearest ally is Homceosaurus, 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 new 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, Ooperipatoides, contains only one species, viridimaculatus. The Peripatus is viviparous. It is claimed that one New Zealand genus, Ooperipatus, is oviparous, but that has not been fully proved.* Professor A. Dendy, F.R.S., has made special investigations in regard to the'New Zealand species.

With the arrival of Europeans the whole face of the fauna was changed. The first European animal introduced was the pig, liberated by Captain Cook in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1773. With settlement, sheep, cattle, horses, and other domestic animals were brought, some for utility, some for pleasure, such as song-birds, and some for sport, such as doer, 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 Encyclopoedia 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 new 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 “Heemskercq,” 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 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 cast anchor in Poverty Bay. After having coasted round the North Island and the South and Stewart Islands”which last he mistook for part of the South Island” he took his departure from Capo 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 (December, 1769), M. Marion du Fresne (1772), Captains Vancouver and Broughton (1791), Captain Raven (1792–93), Alejandro Malaspina and Jose de Bustamente y Guerra (1793), Lieutenant Hanson (1793).


So far as is known, the first instance of Europeans being left in New Zealand lo 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. Marsden 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 head quarters 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 Bun bury.

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 l6th 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.

*The historic site of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, together with 3,000 acres (with an additional 1,400 acres subsequently) of the adjoining estate, was purchased and presented to the nation as a national monument by Their Excellencies Lord and Lady Bledisloe in May, 1932.

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 hold by the Royal representative in New Zealand was altered to “Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief.”

Definition was given to the status of New Zealand (and other Dominions) by the Imperial Statute of Westminster, of 11th December, 1931, the draft of which had received the antecedent approval of all Dominion legislatures, that of New Zealand being given by resolution passed by both Houses on 23rd July, 1931.


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 ten 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 in 1931, and the 15 - per - cent, reduction in 1932 (National Expenditure Adjustment Act, 1932), the Prime Minister receives £1,377 per annum, other Ministers with portfolios receiving £895 1s. per annum. House allowance of £180 per annum is paid in addition in cases where a Government residence is not provided.

The Civil List Act, 1920, provides for His Excellency the Governor-General to receive £5,000 per annum, and £2,500 per annum allowance. His Excellency has elected voluntarily to subject these amounts to an annual deduction of £2,250.


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 (August, 1934) is thirty.

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 new 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 may be brought into operation at a date to be specified by Proclamation.

The qualifications for membership of the Legislative Council are the same as for the House of Representatives, 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, in 1931 to £283 10s., and in 1932 to £255 3s. The Speaker new receives £583 4s. per annum, and the Chairman of Committees £364 10s. Besides the honorarium, members are allowed travelling-expenses actually incurred in going to and from Parliament at the opening and closing of each session.

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 new 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 Electoral Act, 1927, 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, Christ-church, or Dunedin. The “country quota” first appeared in 1881, to the equivalent of an addition of 33£ 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, and that of the twenty-fourth Parliament to four years. A Government Bill at present before the Legislature provides for a permanent extension to four years.

Every registered elector of either sex who is free from the disqualifications mentioned in the Electoral Act, 1927, 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 £364 10s. per annum, subject to certain deductions for absence not due to sickness or other unavoidable cause. Travelling-expenses to and from Wellington at the opening and closing of each session 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, 10-per-cont. reductions, however, being made in 1922, 1931, and 1932.

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 £708 15s. per annum, plus sessional allowance of £7S 15s. and free sessional quarters, and that of the Chairman of Committees £540 15s. 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.

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 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 Minister, local government had its inception, Wellington having been created a borough in 1842 under the authority of the Municipal Corporations Ordinance of that year. The Ordinance was disallowed by the 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 1875 and 1875, several small towns wore created boroughs under the authority of an Ordinance of the Otago Provincial Council.


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.

Information concerning the origin, development, constitution, functions, &c, of local governing bodies will be found in the 1932 edition of the Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand. The reader is also referred to the section of this book dealing with local government.



IN common with almost all countries, the chief instrument in compiling population data in New Zealand is the census, which in this country is taken quinquennially. The minutiae of the distribution of population, together with analyses of various population characteristics, compiled from census data will be found in the census publications listed at the front of this volume. 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 arc-both 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 fail, all persons being counted as at the place of enumeration, irrespective of habitual residence, legal domicile, and so forth.

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

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

The comparative shortness of the interval between the census enumerations, combined with New Zealand's insular position and the high standard of her registration system, 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. Further information will he found in the section relating to dependencies. Figures are new given inclusive of Maoris where possible, in accordance with a decision of Cabinet.

For the 1920 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, 1934, was 1,615,087. The Ross Dependency is uninhabited.

Population (exclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper751,454724,5721,476,026
Maori population of New Zealand proper37,91934,96472,883
Population (inclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper789,373759,5361,548,909
Population of Cook Islands and Niue8,1037,74915,852
Population of Tokelau Islands (June, 1934)5935861,179
Population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa25,65823,48949,147
    Totals 1st April, 1934823,727791,3601,615,087


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, and by the fifty years' record shown in Section XLIV.

Date of Census.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......
December, 185859,41332,706122.4612.44
February, 1871256,39337,72517.255.11
March, 1874299,51443,12116.825.32
March, 1878414,412114,89838.368.43
April, 1881489,93375,52118.225.58
March, 1886578,48288,54918.073.39
April, 1891626,65848,1768.331.61
April, 1896703,36076,70212.242.33
March, 1901772,71969,3599.861.91
April, 19111,008,468119,89013.492.60
October, 19161,099,44990,9819.021.57
April, 19211,218,913119,46410.872.32
April, 19261,344,469129,792*10.692.05

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 economic depression and, consequently, comparative stagnation in population. In 1888, 1890, and 1891 emigrants exceeded immigrants, these being the only such occasions in the history of the country until the present depression, when departures exceeded arrival in 1931 and subsequent years.

From 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 provided a substantial foundation for increasing numbers.

The average annual population increment during the ten post-war years, 1919–28, exceeded 30,000. The population gain fell to 16,071 in 1928, showed slight rises to 17,442 in 1929 and 19,325 in 1930, and fell to 14,508 in 1931 and 10,283 in 1932, with a slight increase to 10,450 in 1933. Apart from war years, which were affected by movements of troops, 1933 shows with the exception of 1932 the lowest absolute increase since 1891, and the lowest relative increase (except 1888 and 1932) ever recorded.

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.

Over the whole period 1861–1933 migration accounted for 35 per cent, of the total increase, excess of births over deaths accounting for 65 per cent. Form 1901 to 1933 the former is responsible for 28 per cent, and the latter for 7 per cent, of the increase of population.

The still considerable natural increase of population tends to obscure realization of the actual position of population increase. The true rate of natural increase is much lower than the apparent. The equilibrium birth-rate—i.e., the birth-rate necessary to hold the population stationary, apart from migration, may be assumed to be the reciprocal of the mean length of life—at present, upon this basis, a rate of about 15.6 per 1,000. The declining birth-rate has reached an observed level of 16.6 per 1,000, and although this figure has not been corrected to the same life-table population it is clear that the margin has shrunk to a very low level

A table is appended showing for each five-yearly period from 1861 the e of births over deaths and of immigration over emigration. Maoris are not included nor, prior to 1921, are crews of vessels.

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, 1861–1933438,357484,929923,286301,077201,850502,927739,434686,7791,426,213

The table shows clearly the irregularity of the migration increase and the comparative steadiness of the natural increase. 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.


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, arid of the latter to give a regular preponderance of females. In the period 1861–1933 the gain of males by migration (excluding movements of troops between 1914 and 1919, and also excluding crews prior to 1921) totalled 99,227 more than that of females. This excess was only partly offset numerically by a female surplus of 40,572 in the figures of natural increase, but the net excess of 52,655 males is not 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 27,000. The effect of the natural increase of population is in the direction of eliminating this surplus at the rate of some 600 to 700 per annum.


As already noted, the intercensal statements of Dominion population prepared from the records of vital statistics and of migration have been by virtue of the favourable position of the Dominion in this respect, remarkably accurate. The post-census revision of intercensal Dominion figures has hitherto been unnecessary in New Zealand, apart from the later war years, 1916–19, when exact records of military movements were not always available.

Calendar Year.Population (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year. Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Total.Numerical.Per cent.
*Vide references to half-castes on first page of this Section.

The “European” population gain for the (March) year 1933–34 was abnormally low. Although a favourable death-rate was experienced, the further decline in the birth-rate was sufficient to cause a diminished natural increase ratio; while the small migration exodus of the preceding year was continued. The Maori natural increase recorded is new much higher than the “European,” but less confidence can he placed in the accuracy of the data in the ease of the former.

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

Year ended 31st March,Population (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year.Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Total.Numerical.Per Cent.
* Vide references to half-castes on first pace of this section.

The figures given in the two preceding tables show the population exclusive of Maoris. The following table shows the population inclusive of Maoris:—

 Population (including Maoris) at End of Year).Mean Population for Year.
Years ended 31st December.
1924 700,033670,3701,370,4031,352,618
Years ended 31st March.


Statistics of external migration have been recorded in New Zealand since 1860. Since 1st April, 1921, they have been compiled from individual statements obtained from each person entering or leaving the Dominion.

Commencing with the year 1933–34, the year ending 31st March has been adopted as a standard for the statistical expression of external migration in place of the calendar year formerly in use. The principal reason for the change is the avoidance of the partition of a season's migration movement into two statistical years as was inevitable with the calendar year ending in the middle of the summer flow of tourists and immigrants.

Including crews of vessels, 69,591 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1934, which, compared with 1932–33, shows an increase of 1,380. During the same period 71,(52”) persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1932–33, shows an increase of 821.

Migration in 1933–34, therefore, continued to show the unusual feature of an excess of departures, amounting to 2,034 compared with 2,593 in 1932–33.

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.

Year ended 31st March,Arrivals.Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.
* Excess of departures.

The monthly figures for 1932–33 and 1933–34 are as follows, the excess passenger arrivals or of passenger departures for each month being also shown:—

 Arrivals.Departures.Excess of Arrivals.Excess of Departures.
April11,7471,1342,6092,243.. 8621,109

In general, arrivals exceed departures in the spring and summer months, while the contrary holds for the autumn and winter periods.


The following table gives an analysis of the various classes of passenger arrivals during the last five years. It is, therefore, exclusive of crews of vessels, a source from which comes a steady increment of population. The average annual excess of crew arrivals over departures in the five years 1929–30 to 1933–34 was 630, and in the preceding five years, 730.

Immigrants intending permanent residence6,2916,6772,2881,4941,428
New Zealand residents returning from abroad14,83613,8568,6309,1398,420
Persons on commercial business1,9011,5721,0789481,034
Persons visiting the Dominion in connection with entertainments, sports, &c.640335295353297
Others (officials, &c, of other countries)314258435258316
Persons in transit487483422488711
No information available3759115040

The New Zealand Government temporarily suspended from early in 1927 the major portion of its scheme of granting assisted passages to migrants from the British Isles, and this is largely responsible for the decreases shown in regard to immigrants. The number of assisted immigrants for 1933–34 is 4 as against 56 in 1932–33 and 11,239 in 1926–27: while the numbers of those who migrated to New Zealand without State assistance amounted to 1,424, 1,438, and 6,898 for the years 1933–34, 1932–33, and 1926–27 respectively.

The succeeding table gives an analysis of passenger departures, and thus furnishes the reverse of its predecessor:—

New Zealand residents departing permanently3,1592,2842,8442,9503,160
New Zealand residents departing temporarily14,41011,2168,8228,7179,293
Visitors to the Dominion departing13,83012,0779,3099,5409,531
No information available55558810138


The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the fifteen months ended 31st March, 1934:—

Age in Years.Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.
* Excess of departures.
0–14186177363356366722- 359*
15–24151136287372300672- 385*
25–341922444365595121,071- 635*
35–44132153285327331658- 373*
45–59133163296266306572- 276*
60 or over4676122132133265- 143*
  Total including unspecified8429501,7922,0141,9483,962- 2,170*


Of the 1,428 new immigrants during the year 1933–34 intending to settle in the Dominion, the vast majority, 1,308, or 91.6 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 and the United States of America.

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.1920–30.1030–31.1931–32.1932–33.1933–34.
British Isles3,3692,610856449468
Union of South Africa2931112114
Other British countries193222120131111
United States of America10568624244
Other foreign countries and unspecified72145527236

Of the New Zealand residents who left the Dominion permanently, the great majority (95.8 per cent.) went to British countries. The only foreign countries of any importance were China and the United States of America.


During the fifteen months ended 31st March, 1934, 106 persons (males 43, females 63) of foreign nationality, out of the total of 1,792, arrived as new immigrants intending permanent residence in the Dominion. The chief nationalities represented among the alien immigrants for the last fifteen months were as follows (figures for the five years preceding being given in parentheses): United States, 23 (131); Yugoslavia, 16 (266); Italy, 10 (184); Denmark, 6 (68); China 6 (18); Switzerland, 5 (42); and Russia, 2 (45).

The number of foreign nationals among New Zealand residents departing permanently during the fifteen months ended March, 1934, was 109 (90 males and 19 females), or 2.8 per cent, of the total.

A noticeable feature in regard to foreign nationals is the relative disparity of the sexes as between arrivals and departures. Of the arrivals 41 per cent, were males and 59 per cent, females, whereas of the departures 83 per cent, were males and 17 per cent, females.


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 Chinese, Indians, and Syrians, and the first two 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.”

Permanent arrivals of race aliens in 1933.34 comprised 23 Indians, 7 Chinese, and 7 of other races. Departures were 2 Indians, 30 Chinese, and 13 of other races. In the last ten years permanent arrivals have aggregated 219 Chinese, 409 Indians, and 284 others; and the permanent departures 302 Chinese, 33 Indians, and 131 others.

It should be noted that the figures quoted above include persons of mixed blood.

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

Year ending 31st March,Chinese.Indians.Others.Totals.Chinese.Indians.Others.Totals.

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 were found to be somewhat greater than the departures, and in 1896 an Act was passed raising the poll-tax on Chinese immigrants to £10 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, 1934, the approximate numbers of the principal alien races present in New Zealand were: Chinese, 2,549; Indians, 1,128; and Syrians, 1,000.


The general scheme of Governmental assistance to immigrants, which has been restricted in varying degrees since May, 1927, 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.

Various systems of assisted immigration have been in force since 1871, with the exception of the period 1892 to 1903 (inclusive). The numbers of assisted immigrants during each of the last ten calendar years are as follows:—


The total to 31st December. 1933, is 226,228, 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).

In the following analysis of migration increase the figures given are annual averages for the periods quoted:—

Period.Governmentally assisted ImmigrantsImmigrants not Governmentally assisted.Total Net Migration Increase.



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 visit by the British Ambassador or a British Consul in that country, and in the case of a person coming from any part of the British dominions the issue or vise 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 unless specially endorsed for that country.


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

  2. Idiots or insane persons.

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

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

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

  6. Aliens of the 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 he 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. Under present legislation the Act ceases to be in force after the 31st December, 1935.


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


Every person of and over the age of fifteen years who lands in New Zealand must, unless exempted by the Minister of Customs, make and deliver to an officer of Customs a declaration giving the following particulars: Name, age, nationality, race or people to which he belongs, residence, particulars of children under fifteen years of age arriving with him, and (if not domiciled in New Zealand) occupation, and places of birth of himself and father.

Where, after the end of the year nineteen hundred and thirty-three, a certificate of naturalization is granted to an alien, his wife, if not already a British subject, shall not be deemed to be a British subject, unless, within the period of twelve months from the date of the certificate, or within such longer period as the Minister of Internal Affairs may in special circumstances allow, she makes a declaration that she desires to acquire British nationality.

Where an alien is a subject of a State at war with His Majesty, it shall be lawful for his wife, if she was at birth a British subject, to make a declaration that she desires to resume British nationality, and thereupon the Minister, if he is satisfied that it is desirable that she be permitted to do so, may grant her a certificate of naturalization.



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 numbflrs of miners.

Census Year.Population (including Maoris).Proportions per Cent.
North Island.South Island.*Total.North Island.South Island.*
Including Stewart Island and Chatham Islands.
1891281,474345,184026,658 144.9255.08
1921741,255477,6581,218,913 i60.8139.19

The natural increase of population (i.e., excess of births over deaths) for the South Island in 1933 was 4,302, but the total net increase was only 3,868. For the North Island the natural increase was 8,331, and the total net increase only 0,582.


Statistics of passenger migration between the North and South Islands are compiled from returns supplied by Collectors of Customs and are of use in the compilation of population estimates. The following table shows inter-island migration for ten years ending 31st March :ߞ

Year.Arrivals in North Island.Arrivals in South Island.Excess in favour of North Island.

Of the 109,544 passengers from the South Island in 1933-34, 109,504 landed at Wellington, including 79,932 from Lyttelton, 16,005 from Nelson, and 13,504 from Picton.

The 108,754 passengers who landed in the South Island for the same period included 79,031 at Lyttelton, 16,272 at Nelson, and 13,410 at Picton, the passengers in these instances all arriving from Wellington. One-day inter-island excursion (return) trips are not included in the above figures.


The approximate areas and the populations, inclusive of Maoris, of the various provincial districts are as follows:ߞ

Provincial District.Area (Square Miles).Census Population.Estimated Population as at 1st April, 1934.
* Includes certain Maori wives of Europeans, provincial district not specified.
Hawke's Bay4,26039,60453,09863,62870,35376,950
Otago portion14,050125,782132,881137,062149,921156,400
Southland portion11,17048,01659,34962.43965,52969.750


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 areasߞ Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedinߞand over one-half (51-6 per cent.) in these and in the ten secondary urban areas.

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 :ߞ


The approximate areas and the populations, inclusive of Maoris, of the various provincial districts are as follows:ߞ

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 tho 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 :ߞ

Census.Rural Population: Per Cent.Urban Population: Per Cent.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 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 tho population as in the case of the Australian States ߞ e.g., Victoria, whose capital city, Melbourne, contains over 50 per cent, of the total population of the Stateߞthe more highly urbanized portion of the community is localizod in four widely separated centres. These four centres have always existed more or less on tho 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 tho modern tendency towards urban aggregation : it is, in fact, occurring in almost all countries.

Care has been taken with the resources available, and it is believed the results are sufficiently near the truth to serve usefully the many administrative, commercial, and statistical purposes to which they are put; but, nevertheless, the possibility of occasional serious variations from fact must not be overlooked.


The population of each of the fourteen urban areas (cities or boroughs, plus their suburbs) as estimated annually is as follows:ߞ

Urban Areas.ߞEstimated Population (including Maoris), 1929-34.
Urban Area.1st April, 19291st April, 193030th April, 1931.1st April, 1932.1st April, 1933.1st April, 1934.
Auckland209,800 213. 330217.000218,400219,800221,300
Palmerston North21,28021,92022,80023,20023,50023,850
Napier19,060 19,22019.30019,30019,45019,550
New Plymouth17,21017,03018,20018,65018,75018,950

The population of each county, borough, and town district as at 1st April, 1934, is given in the schedules which follow.


(Note.ߞThe column headed "Administrative" does not include boroughs or town districis 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).County.Population (including Maoris).
North IslandߞNorth Islandߞcontd.
Mongonui7,8308,430 Franklin12,15010,280
Whangaroa2,2102,210 Raglan8,4208,420
Hokianga7,6707,670 Waikato10,29030,200
Bay of Islands8,1108,710 Waipa10,90014,710
Whangarei11,06021,300 Otorohanga4,6505,360
Hobson0,3008,310 Kawhia2,0902,090
Otamatea4,5404,540 Waitomo7,2909,860
Rodney4,3104,810 Taumarunui3,2405.790
Waitemata10,61040,S20 Matamata8,06010,200
Eden9,260184,020 Piako8,40012,730
Great Barrier420420Total377,490993,850
Ohinemuri3,0908,260South Island-ߞ
Hauraki Plains4,4504,450 Sounds940940
Thames2,7707,470 Marlborough7,89014,590
Coromandel2,1402,140 Awatere1,7301,730
Tauranga9,21013,440 Kaikoura2,2202,220
Rotorua4,0609,310 Amuri2,2202,220
Taupo2,6302,030 Cheviot1,4901,490
Whakatane6,4607.990 Wainiea. .9,72024,540
Opotiki4.3005,090 Takaka2,2102,210
Matakaoa1,7001,700 Collingwood1,1401,140
Waiapu5,0305,030 Buller6,31010,380
Wava1,8201,820 Murchison1,7001,700
Waikohu3,0803.0S0 Inangahua3,0003,000
Cook7,28021,830 Grey5,02015,850
Wuiroa5,3007,780 Westland4,4407,880
Hawke's Bay15,01040,740 Waipara2,5702,570
Waipawa3,6004,810 Kowai2,0302,030
Waipukurau1,0703,100 Ashley690690
Patangata2,8602,860 Ratigiora2,8705,070
Dannevirke5,1009,740 Eyre1,9003,710
Woodville1,8703,000 Oxford1,0201.020
Weber490490 Tawera750750
Ohura2,5103,010 Malvern..2,9502,950
Whangamomona1,3301,330 Paparua5,5005,500
Clifton2,7002,700 Waimairi13,45018,800
Taranaki0,91025,380 Heathcote5,740109,940
Inglewood3.2104,480 Halswell1,9601,960
Egmont4,2205,270 Mount Herbert520520
Stratford5,4709,110 Akaroa1,8902,490
Eltham3,4905,510 Chatham Islands640640
Waimate West3,0003,830 Wairewa1,1101,110
Hawera5,03010,390 Springs1,9701,970
Patea: 3,0005,500 Ellesmere3,3904,000
Kaitiake3,1804,000 Sehvyn1,7301.730
Waimnrino4,0006,820 Ash burton12,89019,170
W'aitotara3,55028,400 Geraldine5,8008,820
Wanganui4,0504,050 Levels5,09023,120
Rangitikei110,10017,030 Mackenzie3,0703,070
Kiwitea2,3502,350 Waimate7,3509,080
Pohangina1,3401,340 Waitaki. .9,75017,070
Oroua3,8808,400 Waihcmo1,5102,320
Manawatu5,2106,950 Waikouaiti4,4209,700
Kairanga5,43027,380 Peninsula3,0203,020
Horowhenua7.30012,920 Taieri6,21089,050
Pahiatua2,9104,470 Bruce4,0107,560
Akitio1,1001,100 Clutha7,2108,860
Eketahuna2,0002,800 Tuapeka5,1200,500
Mauriceville840840 Muniototo3,2103,410
Masterton3.89012,720 Vincent3,8705,180
Castlepoint630630 Lake1,7902,960
Wairarapa South3,3305,290 Southland25,76057,550
Featherston4,0407,300 Wallace9,32011,460
Hutt8,87040,580 Fiord4040
Makara4,490120,220 Stewart Island530530
   Grand total602,6901,542,120
Boroughs.ߞEstimated Population (including Maoris), 1st April, 1934.
Borough.Population (including Maoris).Borough.Population (including Maoris).
North Islandߞ 1North Islandߞcontinued.  
Whangarei Martinborough1,050 
Dargaville Upper Hutt3,760 
Birkenhead Lower Hutt14,650 
Northcote Petone11,190 
Takapuna Eastbourne2,110 
Devonport Wellington (City)114,100 
New Lynn Total584,710 
Auckland (City)South Islandߞ  
Newmarket Picton1,330 
Mount Eden Blenheim5,370 
Mount Albert Nelson (City)11,200 
One Tree Hill Richmond1,210 
Onehunga Motueka1,630 
Otahuhu Westport4,070 
Pukekohe Brunner1,100 
Huntly Runanga1,450 
Ngaurawahia Greymouth6,400 
Hamilton Kumara420 
Cambridge Hokitika2,590 
Te Awamutu Ross430 
Te Kuiti Rangiora2,200 
Taumarunui Kaiapoi1,750 
Morrinsville Riccarton5,350 
Te Aroha Christchurch (City)92,150 
Paeroa New Brighton4,990 
Waihi Sumner3,290 
Thames Lyttelton3,770 
Tauranga Akaroa600 
Rotorua Ashburton5,560 
Whakatane Geraldine1,020 
Opotiki Teniuka1940 
Gisborne Timaru17,450 
Wairoa Waimate2,330 
Napier Oamaru7,680 
Hastings Hampden240 
Waipawa Palmerston810 
Waipukurau Waikouaiti610 
Dannevirke Port Chalmers2,570 
Woodville West Harbour2,100 
Waitara Dunedin (City)69,900 
New Plymouth St. Kilda8,370 
Inglewood Green Island2,450 
Stratford Mosgiel2,120 
Eltham Milton1,600 
Hawera Kaitangata1,350 
Patea Balclutha1,650 
Ohakune Tapanui300 
Raetihi Lawrence650 
Taihape Roxburgh430 
Wanganui (City) Naseby200 
Mrton Alexandra690 
Feilding Cromwell620 
Palmerston North (City) Arrowtown280 
Foxton Bluff1,720 
Shannon Riverton940 
Levin Queens town890 
Otaki Gore4,340 
Pahiatua Mataura1,300 
Ekatahuna Winton920 
Masterton Invercargill (City)21,200 
Carterton South Invercargill1,000 
FeatherstonGrand total901.360 
Town Districts.ߞEstimated Population (including Maoris), 1st April, 1934.
Town District.Population (including Maoris).Borough.Population (including Maoris).
* Parent county shown in parentheses.
(a) Town Districts not forming Parts of Counties.
North Islandߞ North Islandߞcontinued. 
Kaitaia600 Ohura500
Kaikohe600 Opunako1,050
Hikurangi1,250 Manaia770
Kamo510 Rangataua300
Warkworth500 Mangaweka350
Heleusville1,000 Hunterville660
Henderson1,120 Waverley90
Glen Eden1,330 Bulls550
Ellerslie2.S30 Johnsonville1,030
Howick670 Total31,050
Manurewa1,500South Islandߞ 
Papakura1810 Tahunanui780
Waiuku880 Cobden1280
Tuakau690 Leeston670
Leamington590 Tinwald720
Otorohanga710 Pleasant Point580
Manunui820 Wyndham670
Putaruni900 Lumsden520
Matamata1,240 Otautau650
Te Puke1,040 Nightcaps550
Taradale1190 Total6,420
Havelock North1,140 Grand total38,070
(b) Town Districts forming Parts of Counties.*
North Islandߞ North Islandߞcontinued 
Kohukohu (Hokianga)520 Ormondville (Dannevirke)320
Ravens (Hokianga)420 Kaponga (Eltham)430
Russell (Lay of Islands)430 Normanby (Hawera)320
Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)390 Rongotea (Manawatu)280
Onerahi (Whangarei)550 Total7,250
Mercer (Franklin)350  
Raglan (Raglan)350South Islandߞ 
Te Kauwhata (Waikato)4S0 Havelock (Marlborough)240
Ohaupo (Waipa)250 Takaka (Takaka)450
Kihikihi (Waipa)330 Southbridge (Ellesmere)440
Kawhia (Kawhia)230 Outram (Taieri)340
Turua (Hauraki Plains)270 Clinton (Clutha) Edendale (Southland)370 4S0
Mt. Maunganui (Tauranga)470  
Te Karaka (Waikohu)400Total2,320
Patutahi (Cook)280  
Norsewood (Dannevirke)180Grand total9,570


New Zealand has many townships with considerable population, but without local self-government as boroughs or town districts. Details will be found in Volume I of the 1926 Census Results.

Adjacent Islands.

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 1920 :ߞ

Island.Population (including Maoris).Island.Population (including Maoris).
Pakatoa12526Great Mercury3..3
Littlo Barrier123White22224


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 1934 may be quoted as 14.27 persons to the square mile, or, if Maoris be included, 1498 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 17.47 (or, including Maoris. 1833) persons to the square mile.

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 (1934) had a density of 1,864 persons per square mile, and the rural population a density of 6 persons per square mile.

Attention must bo 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. Many boroughs contain within their boundaries large reserves which, with farming and other unbuilt-on iand, tend to disguise the actual relation of population to area.


The following are estimates of the ages of the population (other than Maori) as at 1st April, 1934. They have been compiled from the results of the 1926 census (revised as required by the passage of time), the birth registrations, and the ages recorded in the case of deaths and of external migration.

Town Districts.ߞEstimated Population (including Maoris), 1st April, 1934.
Age (Just Birthday) in Years.Numbers (excluding Maoris) at the Age specified, 1st April, 1934.
Under 563,81761,147124,964
85 or over145815863,044
Totals, under 14186,099178,209364,308
'' under 16212,226203,436415,662
'' minors (under 21)280,917269,275550,192
'' adults (21 and over)470,537455,297925,834
'' all ages751,454724,5721,476,026

The effect of the declining birth-rate has become clearly manifest. For instance, the numbers at ages below ten years are actually 12,000 below the 1920 census level, despite a total increase of population of 132,000 in the eight years which have elapsed. The comparatively rapid changes in the age-constitution of the population have important reactions in many administrative, commercial, industrial, social, and other fields.


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 some later enumerations hardhy 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 :ߞ

x* Includes half-castes, vide introduction to section.
189639,$541934 (estimate, 1st April)72,8S3*

The estimated number of Maoris at 1st April, 1934, was 72,883, of which 09,734 were in the North Island. Auckland Provincial District contains the bulk (52,384), particularly in the Auckland Peninsula and Poverty Bay regions. Hawke"s Bay contains some 5,500; Taranaki, 4,200; and Wellington, 7,650. In the South Island Maoris do not attain any numerical significance. During 1933-34 the Maori population increased by 1,752.

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 entirely beyond suspicion.

The (arithmetic) mean age of Maoris in 1926 wasߞmales, 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 number of Maoris of pure Maori descent is unlikely .to exceed 50 per cent, of the total. The 1926 census analysis is as follows :ߞ

Counted in the Maori populationߞCounted in the non-Maori populationߞ
Full Maori45,429 IQuarter-caste6,053
Maori-European, n.o.d.303Maori-Chinese9


The sources of the data quoted heroin comprise official publications, bulletins issued by the League of Nations, publications of the International Tnstituto of Statistics, and the Statesman's Year-Book. So far as eun be ascertained with some pretension to comparative accuracyߞthe various estimates of the population of the Chinese Empire, for instance, vary to the extent of considerably over 100 millionsߞthe world population is now over 2,000 millions. The inhabitants of the Dominion therefore comprise about one thirteen-hundredth part of the population of the world. Details for continents as given in the Statistical Year-Book of the League of Nations are :ߞ

North America..134,000,000171,000,000
South America..56,000,00085,000,000
OceaniaS, 000,00010,000,000

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

Country.Population (000 omitted).Year.Index of Population (New Zealand = 1).Country.Population (000 omitted).Year.Index of Population (New Zealand - 1).
ߞ According to the Chinese Ministry of the Interior. Some authorities consider the population is probably not in excess of 850,000,000, and is stationary.
England and Wales40,350193326France41,950193227
Northern Ireland1,27219330.8Greece6,56719334
Irish Free State2,97319322Hungary8,78419336
India (including Native States)355,8001932230Italy42,217193427
Ceylon5,4271933 Latvia1,92019321
Union of South Africa8,36919334Lithuania2,42219332
Newfoundland2821932 Norway2,845'19322
New South Wales2,02019340.2Portugal6,45719324
Queensland95219342Russia (Soviet Union)105,7681933107
South Australia58319341Sweden6,19019334
Western Australia44219340.6Switzerland4,09519323
New Zealand1,54919340.3Turkey14,70019329
Denmark3,02319334United States125,093193381


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, 1920. 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 1933 letters of naturalization in New Zealand were granted to 64 persons of the undermentioned birthplaces, as compared with 70 in the previous year. In addition, 13 children were included in the certificates of their parents.

Country of Birth.Males.Females.Total.Children.*
* Children included in certificate of parent; additional to preceding figures.
Sweden7. .7..
United States3..3..
England. .11. .
Australia. .22. .
Tokelau Islands1. .1. .
At sea1. .1. .

In the ten years 1924–33, 1,579 subjects or citizens of other nations obtained letters of naturalization in New Zealand. The following table exhibits the principal countries involved. For the last nine years concerned the basis is the country of birth, for the remaining year the previous nationality.

United States50
Western Samoa30
Other countries63


A Government Bill at present (August, 1934) before the Legislature make provision for the adoption, as part of the law of New Zealand, of section 1 of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1933 (Imperial), which is a re-enactment of legislation of 1914.

While declaring the general principle that the wife of a British subject is deemed herself a British subject, and the wife of an alien is deemed herself an alien, certain exceptions are made:—

Where a woman has (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) married an alien, and was at the time of her marriage a British subject, she shall not, by reason only of her marriage, be deemed to have ceased to be a British subject unless, by reason of her marriage, she acquired the nationality of her husband.

Where a man has. during the continuance of his marriage, ceased (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) to be a British subject, his wife shall not, by reason only of that fact, be deemed to have ceased to be a British subject unless, by reason of the acquisition by her husband of a new nationality, she also acquired that nationality.

Where a man ceases, during the continuance of his marriage, to be a British subject and, by reason of his acquisition of a new nationality, his wife also acquires that nationality, she may, whether her marriage is still continuing or not, at any time within the period of twelve months from the date on which she so acquired that nationality, or at such later time as the Minister of Internal Affairs may in special circumstances allow, make a declaration that she desires to retain British nationality, and thereupon she shall be deemed to have remained a British subject.

Where, after the end of the year nineteen hundred and thirty-three, a certificate of naturalization is granted to an alien, his wife, if not already a British subject, shall not be deemed to be a British subject, unless, within the period of twelve months from the date of the certificate, or within such longer period as the Minister of Internal Affairs may in special circumstances allow, she makes a declaration that she desires to acquire British nationality.

Where an alien is a subject of a State at war with His Majesty, it shall be lawful for his wife, if she was at birth a British subject, to make a declaration that she desires to resume British nationality, and thereupon the Minister, if he is satisfied that it is desirable that she be permitted to do so, may grant her a certificate of naturalization.




REGISTRATION of births in New Zealand dates from 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 law as to registration of births is new 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.

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.

Particulars new required to be registered are: Date and place of birth: name and sex of child; names, ages, and birthplaces of parents; occupation of father; maiden name of mother; date and place of parents' marriage: and ages and sex of previous issue (distinguishing living and dead) of the marriage. The father of an illegitimate child is not required to give information or to be registered. A child born out of New Zealand but arriving before attaining the age of eighteen months may be registered within six months of arrival.


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 GO of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1924), empowered the making of regulations to provide for the registration of births and deaths of Maoris. Regulations were made accordingly, and Maori births and deaths became registrable as from the 1st March, 1913. The number of Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths in the Dominion is over 200, most of these being in the North Island, whore 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 at the end of this subsection.


The number of births registered in 1933 (24,334) is 550 less than the total for 1932 and 3,001 less than the figure for 1913, in spite of an increase of over 398,000 in population during the twenty years. The rate per 1,000 of mean population (16.59) is the lowest ever recorded in the Dominion, being 0.50 per 1,000 lower than in 1932, which represented the previous lowest level. The acceleration in the rate of decline observed in the last three years is probably a reflection of the sudden loss of prosperity. It would be incorrect, however, to ascribe similar reasons to the general decline, long manifested, for which complex social and economic changes appear largely responsible.

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

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.
191428,33825.99 192428,01421.57

There is a noticeable fall in the rate in the later years of the period covered by the table, as compared with the earlier. The fall of 940 per 1,000 of population between 1914 and 1933 is equivalent to a decline of 36 per cent, in the birth-rate. The following diagram shows, inter alia, the huge decline in the birth-rate since about 1880:—

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. This was done in the computation of index-numbers of birth-rates published in the 1933 (page 80) and earlier issues of the Year-Book.


The decline of the birth-rate in New Zealand has been partially compensated for by a decrease in the death-rate. Nevertheless, the nominal rate of natural increase of population has fallen from 31.19 per 1,000 of mean population in 1870 to 8.61 in 1933. It has been noted in the previous section that acceptance of this figure without consideration of the effect of the changing age-constitution may give an exaggerated view of the probable trend of population growth in the future.

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

In spite of the fact that the birth-rate in New Zealand is new low compared with most other countries, yet so low is the Dominion's death-rate that New Zealand still ranks midway among the nations as regards the rate of natural increase.


Country.Quinquennium.Annual Rates per 1,000.
Births.Natural Increase.
* Registration area.
South Africa1928.3225.716.0
New Zealand1929.3318.09.7
United States*1920.3019.47.6
Northern Ireland1928.3220.56.0
Irish Free State1928.3219.65.2
England & Wales1928.3216.13.9


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 81.292 legitimate first births registered during the ten years 1924–33 (excluding plural births), 41,770 were of males and 39,522 of females, the proportion of males per 1,000 females being 1,057.

The sexes of first-born for various age-groups of the mother for the aggregate of the ten years 1924–33 are as follows:—

Age of Mother, in Years.Males.Females.Males per 1,000 Females.
Under 203,6043,4531,044
20 and under 2516,77115,7761,063
25 and under 3013,32412,7361,046
30 and under 355,5395,1521,075
35 and under 401,9881,8731,061
40 and over5445321,023

In the ten years covered there were 685 plural first births, and in 217 cases the children were both males, in 242 both females, and in the remaining 226 of opposite sex. Three cases of triplets (in two cases two females and one male, and in 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 1924–33 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 the following statement showing the sex-nativity order up to the fourth child families in which plural births occurred among the first four children have been excluded.

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

Of the 19,851 families covered, in 10,249 the first child was a male and in 9,602 a female, the number of males per 1,000 females being thus 1,067. The proportion is reduced for subsequent births. The figures are as follows:—

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

The fact that there is a higher masculinity rate among first-born children than among later issue 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 1924–33 was 1,068 males per 1,000 females— a rate considerably above that for all births (1,057) for the same period.


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.

Counting only cases where both children were born alive, there were 251 cases of twin births (502 children) registered in 1933. There were also two cases of triplets.

The number of accouchements resulting in living births was 24,079, and on the average one mother in every 95 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, however, the total number of accouchements for the year 1933 is increased to 24,760, and the number of cases of multiple births to 293. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 85.

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 1924–33 there were twenty-one cases of triplets. In two cases all three children were males, in five cases all were females, in six 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 1933 is shown in the following table:—

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 5555 and under 65.65 and under.Total.
* Including thirty cases where plural births would have been registered had not one child been still-born.
Single Births.
Under 2114167447312435831....1,459
21 and under 25621,2382,364898197682893..4,867
25 and under 3093033,1692,633751277106321527,297
30 and under 35..254892,0671,403621230823824,957
35 and under 40..1553561,0648334011715952,945
40 and under 45......241074163011495871,062
45 and over........319533615..126
Multiple Births.
Under 21..311............5
21 and under 25..15198............42
25 and under 30..319261361......68
30 and under 35....113913852....78
35 and under 40......78187..1..41
40 and under 45........17422..16
    Grand totals2122,2626,6006,1833,5952,2811,1394841911622,963


Information as to the previous issue of the existing marriage, 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.


Number of Previous Issue.
Age of Mother. and under 10.10 and under 15.15 and over.Total.
* This number represents 22,713 single cases and 250 multiple cases.
Under 211,113307422..........1,464
21 and under 252,7031,39359016744111....4,909
25 and under 302,5982,2981,28262335214963....7,365
30 and under 359301,2691,07870644524534319..5,035
35 and under 403374575024653672965055522,986
40 and under 4576101127151134933058831,078
45 and over9671091445251126

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 1933 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.


Age of Mother, in Years.Total Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.
45 and over1269257.34

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 1933) 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. Furthermore, they represent issue born to the existing marriage only. The averages for the last five years were as follows: 1929,2.84; 1930; 2.78; 1931, 2.77; 1932, .2 75; and 1933, 2.75. This falling trend in the average issue of mothers giving birth to children in each successive year is a measure of the tendency towards smaller families.


Of a total of 121,636 legitimate births registered during the five years 1929–33, no fewer than 41,018, or 34 per cent., were of first-born children, and of these 19,486, or 4S per cent., were born within twelve months, and 30,435, or 74 per cent., within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 26 per cent, of cases where there was any issue to the marriage, two years or more 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 little variation in recent years. The figures for each of the last five years are:—

Year.Total Legitimate Cases.Total Legitimate First Cases.Proportion of First Cases to Total Cases. First Cases within One Year after Marriage. First Cases within Two Year after Marriage.
Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.
   Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
Totals for five years121,63641,01833.7219,48647.5130,43574.20

During the five years there were 9,248 cases of legitimate births within seven months after marriage. Also 6,351 cases of illegitimate births were registered, and if these latter are all regarded as first births (which is not entirely the case) a total of 15,599 extra-maritally conceived cases 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 (c) to (a).Proportion of (b) + (c) to Total of (a) + (b).
    Per Cent.Per Cent.
Totals for five years41,0186,3519,24822.5532.93


The births of 1,119 children (562 males, 557 females) registered in 1933 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 from 1891.

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

Included in the total of 1,119 illegitimate births in 1933 were 3 cases of twins, the number of accouchements being thus 1,116, including 2 cases registered with the Registrar-General. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,116 mothers 370, or 33 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age.



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 19334,8702,4877,357


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 1933 the registration of 332 adopted children (1G5 males and 167 females) was effected, as compared with 337 in 1932, 329 in 1931, 385 in 1930, and 402 in 1929.


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:—

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

Masculinity is in general much higher among still-births than among living births, though an exception to the rule occurred in 1928. The figures for the ten years covered by the above table show the rate- for still-births to have been 1,262 males per 1,000 females. The rate for individual years has ranged between 1,726 (in 1914) and 1,022 (in 1928).

Tabulation of the relative ages of the parents of the still-born children in 1933 does not appear to disclose any significant features. The median age of the mothers was 30, as compared with 28 in the case of living births. The percentage of illegitimates among still-born infants (5.54) was higher than among infants born alive (4.60).

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1933, 34 per cent, were first births, while of legitimate still-births no less than 41 per cent, were first births. It would thus appear that there is a considerably greater probability of still-births occurring to mothers having their first accouchement than to the average of those having subsequent accouchements.

The following table, based on the figures for the five years 1929–33, 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 2½ per cent, for all births and little higher for first births, for women over forty it was over 6 per cent, for all births and over 13 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 204,3391073,6511022.472.79
20 and under 2529,01064416,6664402.222.68
25 and under 3037,64899413,2255392.644.08
30 and under 3527,3678425,1202893.085.64
35 and under 4016,5267081,8431434.287.76
40 and over6,746435507666.4513.02

The next table shows the percentage of still-births to living births according to nativity order of legitimate births registered in the five years 1929–33. 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 lie 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 still-birth rate for first accouchements is relatively high.


The number of births of Maoris registered with Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths during 1933 was 2,831 (1,482 males, 1,349 females). The births of fifty-four males and sixty-three females were registered under the main Act, and the total of 2,948 represents a rate of 41 per 1,000 of Maori population, a rate more than twice as high as the general (i.e., non-Maori) birth-rate for the year. Registrations in each of the last five years were as follows:—

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



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 Registrars' 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.

An amendment to the Marriage Act in 1933 prohibited the marriage of persons under the age of sixteen years, and also made provision enabling women to become officiating ministers for the purposes of the Marriage Act.

Particulars regarding divorce will be found in Section VII.


The movement of the marriage-rate since 1855 is shown by the diagram on p. 66. 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 number of marriages celebrated in 1920 still easily holds the record, while the rate for that year is the highest experienced since 1864. The low rates for 1931 and 1932 are indicative of the effect of the period of financial stringency and depression. The recovery of 1933 is noticeable. Possibly many couples who had been postponing marriage in the hope of improved conditions in the near future have adjusted themselves to a new standard of living and found it possible to marry. The building-subsidy scheme, promulgated by the Unemployment Board, no doubt assisted towards overcoming one barrier to marriage in times of economic depression.


In 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. 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.

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.


A comparison of the latest available rates in various countries is given in the next table. The highest marriage-rate is that of the United States of America, which has also a high ratio of divorces (in 1932, 16.3 per 100 marriages, compared with 6.4 in New Zealand).

Country.Quinquennium.Average Yearly Rate.
United States1928–329.68
Union of S. Africa1927–319.22
England and Wales1928–327.79
New Zealand1929–337.26
Northern Ireland1928–325.85
Irish Free State1928–324.54


Annual averages for the decade 1924–33 give marriages as follows: March quarter, 2,449; June quarter, 2,955; September quarter, 2,299; December quarter, 2,751.

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:—


The 1933 proportions per cent. of the total marriages for the various days of the week were: Sunday, 0.3; Monday, 11.1; Tuesday, 13.1; Wednesday, 34.3; Thursday, 13.5; Friday, 5.4; Saturday, 22.3.


The total number of persons married during the year 1933 was 21,020, of whom 19,229 were single, 1,056 widowed, and 735 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 1924–33 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 28 per 1,000 persons married to 35, a considerable advance, and one probably in sympathy with the more liberal trend of divorce legislation. The fall in the number of widowed persons remarrying—from 64 per 1,000 persons married in 1924 to 50 per 1,000 in 1933—is due probably to the high figure in the earlier year having been an indirect 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 3,082 divorced men remarried, the corresponding number for women was 3,478. In the case of widowed persons, however, in spite of the fact that widows greatly exceed widowers, only 4,791 widows remarried, as compared with 6,880 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 1933 were twenty women, and amongst the widowers fourteen 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 231, comprising 75 men and 156 women.


Of the 21,020 persons married in 1933 2,317, or 11 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 6,755, or 32 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 6,677, or 32 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 3,528, or 17 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 1,743 or 8 per cent., as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1933:—

Age of Bridegroom, In Years.Age of Bride, in Years.Total Bridegrooms.
Under 2121 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.
Under 212468572......340
21 and under 259631,419383356232,811
25 and under 305951,7871,37720730654,007
30 and under 35133481588318721671,615
35 and under 40211081911521003711620
40 and under 4510416174766025347
45 and over92363114107129325770
    Total brides1,9773,9442,67090239125037610,510

There have been some considerable changes in the proportions of men and women marrying at the various age-periods. To illustrate 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 years 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933:—

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 new being celebrated at both the younger and the older age-groups.

For many years the average age (arithmetic mean) 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. 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 naturally 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 1933 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age is new 25.


Of every 1,000 men married in 1933, 32 were under twenty-one years of age, while 188 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 246 marriages in 1933 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 1,731 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 94 marriages the bridegroom was a minor and the bride an adult.

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


Of the 10,510 marriages registered in 1933, Church of England clergymen officiated at 2,077, Presbyterians at 2,809, Methodists at 1,106, and Roman Catholics at 1,162, while 2,096 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

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

Denomination.Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England27.6827.2627.5327.6827.0327.1826.9325.8225.5425.47
Roman Catholic10.7911.3311.6811.1911.4511.3411.0610.7310.8111.06
Other denominations4.964.635.075.575.264.845.165.535.846.28
Before Registrars19.7320.6919.7319.0619.5819.3220.4922.6220.9119.94

The foregoing figures must not be taken as an exact 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 or none of the denominations.


The number of names on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act is (July, 1934) 1,958, and the denominations to which they belong are shown hereunder:—

Church of England472
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand404
Roman Catholic Church343
Methodist Church of New Zealand291
Salvation Army87
Associated Churches of Christ43
Congregational Independents31
Seventh-day Adventists11
Latter-day Saints14
Lutheran Church3
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference5
Churches of Christ3
Hebrew Congregations5
Catholic Apostolic Church3
Liberal Catholic Church7
Assemblies of God12
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand5
Ratana Church of New Zealand94
Ringatu Church20
Church of the Seven Rules of Jehovah2

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, and re-enacted in 1931, 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 557 marriages in which both parties were of the Native race were received during the year 1933. 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.


COMPULSORY registration of deaths was instituted in New Zealand in 1855. As in the ease 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.

A long-range review of the death-rate is afforded by the graph at p. 66.

The death rate has been maintained at an exceedingly low level for the last decade. It gradually climbed higher during the three years 1927 to 1929. reaching its maximum since 1923 in the latter year. The years following have witnessed a distinct reversal of that trend, until in 1933 the lowest death-rate in the history (if the Dominion was recorded. It should be noted as a probable contributing factor that epidemics of the principal infectious diseases have been conspicuously absent, during the last few 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 also partly 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.

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 decade 1924–33 gives the following annual averages: March quarter, 2,576; June quarter, 2,785; September quarter, 3,411; and December quarter, 2,925.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1933 the most deaths occurred during July, August, September, and October, with totals of 1,109, 1,092, 1,078, and 1,073 respectively. Excluding December (a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January), February had the least number of deaths (810), followed by March and January, with 845 and 851 respectively.

The least number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 17, this number occurring on the 6th February. The greatest number (51) occurred on the 25th September.


The deaths occurring during 1933 are tabulated below:—

Under 1 month334221555
1–3 months463682
3–6 months333568
6–12 months422365
1–2 years564298
2–3 years363167
3–4 years271946
4–5 years192039
5–10 years8565150
10–15 years6353116
15–20 years12283205
20–25 years128128256
25–30 years146145291
30–35 years126135261
35–40 years161173334
40–45 years196189385
45–50 years325233558
50–55 years435315750
55–60 years481377858
60–65 years6254591,084
65–70 years6944871,181
70–75 years6945521,246
75–80 years6945351,229
80–85 years518443961
85–90 years281266547
90–95 years108114222
95–100 years202141
100 years..11
101 years112
102 years112
103 years1..1

Some remarkable changes in the age-distribution of persons dying have occurred during the last fifty years. The total deaths in 1933 were nearly twice as numerous as in 1883, but the number of deaths under one year in 1933 was less than half of the corresponding number recorded in 1883. 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 27 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 1883, deaths in this group numbered only 135 or approximately 2 per cent, of the total of 6,061, while in 1933, 1,777 deaths of persons over 80 years of age were recorded, this number representing just over 15 per cent, of the total deaths in that year. In 1913 the corresponding percentage was only 10. 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 1933 the number of deaths in individual age-groups shows a gradual increase for almost every consecutive group from “10 and under 15” to “80 and over,” where the maximum is recorded. The experience of 1883, on the other hand, is very different, the number showing a falling trend after the “40–45” age-group till the minimum is attained at the penultimate age-group.

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

 Number of Deaths.Percentage to Total.
Ages, in Years.1883.1893.1903.1913.1933.1883.1893.1903.1913.1933.
Under 11,9951,6001,7701,65377032.9523.6620.7516.346.58
1 and under 570077157644625011.5611.406.754.412.14
5 and under 102292832191861503.774.172.571.841.28
10 and under 151261911511341162.072.811.771.320.99
15 and under 202012492412052053.313.672.832.021.75
20 and under 252333023712882563.844.464.352.852.19
25 and under 302402803503622913.954.134.103.582.49
30 and under 352662233144472614.383.293.684.422.23
35 and under 402842563344533344.683.783.924.482.86
40 and under 453692313254203855.093.413.814.153.29
45 and under 502692833004345584.444.183.524.294.77
50 and under 552703673764527504.455.424.414.476.41
55 and under 601753284005158582.894.854.695.097.33
60 and under 652213995515781,0843.655.906.465.719.26
65 and under 701652616797251,1812.723.877.967.1610.09
70 and under 751372796008881,2462.
75 and under 801002094369041,2291.653.095.118.9310.50
80 and over1352484961,0291,7772.243.675.8210.1715.19

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 6565 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 last ten years was as follows:—



For reference to. or records of, the various series of life-tables constructed on New Zealandșs mortality experience, ranging from 1880 to 1922. recourse may be had to Official Year-Books for 1915, 1926, and 1927, and to the General Report on the Census of 1921. The following data on (complete) expectation of life or average after-lifetime, which are quoted by courtesy of the compilers, are from a life-table constructed by L. I. Dublin, Ph.D., and A. J. Lotka, D.Sc. of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of New York. U.S.A., and published in the Statistical Bulletin of that company. The table is based upon New Zealand experience of the year 1931, data regarding deaths and age-constitution of the population having been supplied by the Census and Statistics Office. As the 1931 census was not taken, details of age-distribution were derived from the annual inter-censal age-estimates with a consequent potentiality of error.


Expectation of life at age 0 is steadily increasing in New Zealand, and is, so far as is known, higher than that of any other country. Brief figures are quoted:—



Examination of data of universal character shows that New Zealand has the lowest death-rate in the world, Australia ranking second in this respect. Rates for certain of the principal countries are quoted below.

Country.Quinquennium.Average Rate per 1,000.
* Registration area.
New Zealand1929–338.3
Union of South Africa1928–329.7
United States*1926–3011.8
England and Wales1928–3212.2
Irish Free State1928–3214.4
Northern Ireland1928–3214.5


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 both crude and standardized rates.

Year.Crude Rates.Standardized Rates.

For purposes of international comparisons, 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 used in the following table of New Zealand rates.

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 is new less favourable to low death-rates.


The table following shows the number of living issue left by married men or widowers whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1924–33, the information being given according to age of father and of issue.

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.
Under 55561,6641,4865231181114,359
5 and under 101021,6142,7151,47339669106,379
10 and under 1557883,2242,9241,025241318,238
15 and under 2141313,1555,5163,29798816013,251
21 and over121,1399,97626,50842,62434,575114,825
Married men who died—        
  Leaving issue4031,7363,6235,5377,5868,8946,66034,439
  Without leaving issue1794167771,1221,3291,3519206,094

Taking all deaths of married men or widowers, whether leaving issue or not, it is found that the average living issue is 3.63, as compared with 3.93 for the period 1914–23.

Average numbers of issue left by married men or widowers during the decade 1924–33 were: Fathers aged under 30, 1.15; aged 30–39, 1.95; 40–49, 2.67; 50–59, 3.07; 60–69, 3.52; 70–79, 4.21); SO or over, 4.59. Averages are universally lower than in the preceding decade.

In 1933, among men who left any issue under age 16, the average number of such issue was 2.06. The average for all married men or widowers who died during the year was, however, only 0.42.

Of 882 cases where issue under 16 years of age was left by married men or widowers during 1933, a widow was also left in 828 cases, the aggregate children under 16 in these 828 cases being 1,733 and the average per widow 2.09. By the deaths of their fathers, children under 16 to the number of 51 were left without either parent, and for 3 children there was no information as to whether the mother was alive or dead.


Of the 40,533 married men or widowers whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1924–33, 10,358 were shown to have been widowers, and 29,038 to have left widows; while in the remaining 537 cases there was no information on the point. Of the married men leaving widows, 25,421 had living issue also at time of death, and 4,217 had no living issue. In 8,730 cases widowers left issue, and in 1,628 cases no issue. In 289 of the 537 cases where no information was given as to whether a widow was left there was living issue, in 224 cases there was no living issue, and in 24 cases no information as to issue was given.


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 Zealand1929–3333
England and Wales1928–3266
South Africa1927–3167
United States*1926–3068
Irish Free State1928–3269
Northern Ireland1927–3176
British India1926–30177

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 last ten years are shown in the following table:—

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 Births.

The infant mortality rate in New Zealand has exhibited a rapid decline (as is illustrated by the graph shown post) and the extremely low level of 31.64 per 1,000 live births was recorded for 1933. The male rate has maintained an almost uninterrupted improvement throughout the period, but the female rate has fluctuated considerably from time to time.

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 DeathsRate.*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.

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 which 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 years 1930 and 1933, 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.

 Male Deaths per 1,000 Male Births.Female Deaths per 1,000 Female Births.
Year.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.

Even when the effect of the male excess among infants born is eliminated, the number of male deaths per 100 female deaths in the first month of life during the ten years 1924–33 is found to be 132; between one and three months, 146; between three and six months, 127; between six and twelve months, 116; and for the whole of the first year, 130.

The rates for the two sexes in conjunction are new given for each of the last five years.

Year.Under 1 Month.1 and under 3 Months.3 and under 6 Months.6 and under 12 Months.Total under 1 Year.

If the deaths under one year of age are divided into two groups—viz., those occurring during the first month of life and those during the remainder of the twelve mouths—it will be found that the decrease disclosed for recent years when compared with earlier is very much heavier for the latter class; the explanation being that, with premature birth, congenital debility, and other causes of death due to pre-natal influences (which are responsible for the great majority of deaths during the first month), it has not been found possible to effect even an approach to the great improvements which have been brought about in regard to complaints arising from post-natal causes.

The next table shows that, whereas in 1933 the death-rate under one month of age was 23 per cent, lower than in the quinquennium 1881–85, the rate for children who have survived the first month of life was only one-seventh as high as in the “eighties.” In other words, where the Dominion formerly lost between the ages of one month and one year more than sixty children out of every thousand it lost in 1933 only nine.

Period.Deaths per 1,000 Births.Deaths between 1 and 12 Months per 1,000 Children who survive 1 Month.
Under 1 Year.Under 1 Month.Between 1 and 12 Months.

The decrease by two-thirds in the general rate, and by nearly six-sevenths in the rate between one and twelve months, and the relatively lower movement of the rate under one month, are well indicated in the accompanying diagram.

As stated above, the death-rate for infants under the age of one month has shown little improvement in recent years, while a heavy reduction has taken place in the mortality-rate after the first month of life. It would appear, therefore, that on the one hand the diseases that can be combated openly, such as epidemic diseases, respiratory diseases, and diseases due to faulty nourishment, &c. (i.e., diseases of the digestive system), have shown a definite response to the strenuous campaigns launched against them; while, on the other hand, many infants are evidently non-viable at birth. This point is accentuated by the following table, which shows the rates for further divisions of the first month of life.


Year.Under 1 Day.1 Day and under 2 Days.2 Days and under 1 Week.Total under 1 Week.1 Week and under 2 Weeks.2 Weeks and under 3 Weeks.3 Weeks and under 1 Month.Total under 1 Month.

Over one-third (195) of the 555 deaths under one month in 1933 occurred within twenty-four hours of birth, and four-fifths (435) within one week. The following table gives, for each of the last five years, detailed information as to the number of deaths at various periods of the first year of life:—


Year.Under 1 Day.1 Day and under 2 Days.2 Day and under 1 Week.1 Week and under 2 Weeks.2 Week and under 3 Weeks.3 weeks and under 1 Month.1 Month and under 2 Months.2 Months and under 3 Months.3 Months and under 6 Months.6 Months and under 9 Months.9 Months and under 12 Months.Total.
Both Sexes.

Some remarkable changes are disclosed by the next table, which gives the infant mortality rates for various groups of causes in quinquennial groups over a period of sixty years. If a comparison be made between the averages of the first and last quinquennia given—1872–76 and 1927–31—it is found that the general infant mortality rate shows a decline of 68 per cent., while even greater decreases are recorded for tuberculosis (95 per cent.), convulsions (95 per cent.), gastric and intestinal diseases (93 per cent.), epidemic diseases (89 per cent.), and respiratory diseases (71 per cent.). The rate for diseases of early infancy shows a decrease of only 22 per cent, in 1927–31 as compared with 1872–76. but of 26 per cent, as compared with 1917–21, and the figures indicate that some measure of success has already attended the steps taken in recent years to cope with ante-natal conditions.

The increase shown for malformations and the decrease for tuberculosis are probably somewhat less than is indicated by the figures. In the earlier years covered by the table the latter heading included all deaths from hydrocephalus, many of which were no doubt due to congenital hydrocephalus, which is now included among the malformations. A proportion of the deaths from hydrocephalus in the earlier years would also probably be due to meningitis. The most striking features of the figures for the years 1927–31 in the table are the continuation of the upward trend in the death-rate for malformations, and a further drop in the rate from diseases peculiar to early infancy.


Period.Epidemic Diseases.Tuberculosis.Infantile Convulsions.Respiratory Diseases.Gastric and Intestinal Diseases.Malformations.Early Infancy.Other Causes.Totals.

Two out of every three deaths of infants under one year of age are due to causes coming within the groups “Early Infancy” and “Malformations,” and premature birth alone is responsible for approximately one-third of the total infant mortality.

In accordance with international practice, New Zealand's infant mortality rate represents the number of deaths of infants actually born alive expressed as a proportion per 1,000 live births. This method, however, takes no account of still-births. Reference has been made in an earlier paragraph to the effect on the infant mortality rate of efforts made towards the reduction of those ante-natal influences which generally cause death to ensue during the early weeks of the first year of life. The fact that still-births are also the result of such ante-natal influences should not be lost sight of, and for this and other reasons it is of interest to compute rates for infant mortality and still-births in conjunction, as in the following table. In the computation of the rates for numbers inclusive of still-births, the latter are taken into account in both births and deaths.


Year.Exclusive of Still-births.Inclusive of Still-births.

The still-birth rate in New Zealand has shown a falling tendency in recent years, and this, combined with the falling infant mortality rate, has resulted in a steady improvement in the rate for all infant deaths, including still-births-Although the number of both infant deaths and still-births showed a slight decrease for 1933 compared with 1932, this was not sufficient to maintain the falling tendency of the total rate, which for 1933 indicates a very small increase. Whereas, however, the rate computed on the usual method indicates a decrease of 21 per cent. during the period covered by the table, the inclusion of still-births reduces the improvement to 13 per cent.


Since 1908, the classification of causes of death in New Zealand has been on the basis of the international classification initiated by Dr. Jacques Bertillon and used by the principal European and American countries and the Commonwealth of Australia.

A comparison of the causes of deaths in 1933, arranged according to an abridged classification, and the proportion per 10,000 of population of each sex, are given in the following table. The classification adopted is in accordance with the Fourth Revision (1929) of the International List of Causes of Death.

Class.Number of Deaths.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population.
I. Infectious and parasitic diseases5024119136.725.716.22
II. Cancer and other tumours8748401,71411.7011.6711.68
III. Rheumatic diseases, diseases of nutrition and of endocrine glands, and other general diseases1412433841.893.382.62
IV. Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs54531070.720.740.73
V. Chronic poisonings and intoxications91100.120.010.07
VI. Diseases of the nervous system and of organs of special sense4854709556.496.536.51
VII. Diseases of the circulatory system1,9481,5903,53826.0822.0924.12
VIII. Diseases of the respiratory system4753147896.364.365.38
IX. Diseases of the digestive system3102475574.153.433.80
X. Diseases of the genito-urinary system4663077736.244.275.27
XI. Pregnancy, labour, and the puerperal state..108....1.500.74
XII. Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue1616320.210.220.22
XIII. Diseases of the bones and of organs of locomotion2211330.290.150.22
XIV. Congenital malformations92641561.230.891.06
XV. Early infancy2681774453.592.463.03
XVI. Senility2031343372.721.862.30
XVII. Violence or accident6142098238.222.905.61
XVIII. Causes not determined198270.250.110.19

Class VII, diseases of the circulatory system, the principal of which—diseases of the heart—rank easily first among individual causes of death in New Zealand, is the most important as regards numerical strength. Next in order comes Class II (cancer and other tumours).

The next table shows the number of deaths from certain principal causes.

Cause.Number of Deaths.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Typhoid fever22781160.
Scarlet fever271611640.
Infantile paralysis7551980.
Tuberculosis of respiratory system5245295014884763.723.713.473.353.24
Other forms of tuberculosis1181201161271350.840.840.800.870.92
Anaemia, chlorosis49385051490.350.270.350.350.33
Exophthalmic goitre55515452620.390.360.370.360.42
Meningitis (all forms)59704139270.420.490.280.270.18
Apoplexy, cerebral haemorrhage6346596346116774.514.624.394.204.62
Convulsions of children under 5 years of age1313143100.
Diseases of the heart2,5332,8972,8172,9353,09818.0020.3319.5020.1521.12
Diseases of the arteries4284324204444113.043.032.913.072.80
Diarrhoea and enteritis82777467600.580.540.510.460.41
Hernia, intestinal obstruction1079584941110.760.670.580.640.76
Cirrhosis of liver36444337330.260.310.300.260.22
Simple peritonitis45352619180.320.
Nephritis, Bright's disease5375675795805613.823.984.013.983.82
Diseases and accidents of puerperal state1291361271011080.920.960.880.690.74
Congenital debility59533224280.420.370.220.160.19
Premature birth2783072912252561.982.152.011.551.75
Injury at birth82627864750.580.440.540.440.51
Other diseases of early infancy81907794860.580.630.530.650.59
Violence (1) suicide2211932262402001.571.351.561.651.36
Violence (2) accident7257739266636095.155.426.414.554.15
Violence (3) homicide9111325140.
Other causes1,5091,3621,3291,3321,32810.719.559.199.149.06

Detailed information concerning the various causes of death is given in the “Annual Report on Vital Statistics.” The statistics for tuberculosis, cancer, puerperal causes, and violence—causes which are of special interest and significance—are discussed in the following pages.


Tuberculosis of the respiratory system takes sixth place in point of the number of deaths resulting therefrom during 1933, ranking after heart-disease, cancer, cerebral haemorrhage and apoplexy, accidents, and nephritis, in that order. The remarkably low level of 3.24 per 10,000 was reached in 1933, the lowest ratio yet attained in this country.

A graph on the succeeding page illustrates the decline in the tuberculosis death-rate since 1875.

Of the 476 persons who died from tuberculosis of the respiratory system in 1933, 346, or 73 per cent., were known to have been born in the Dominion. In 4 cases the country of birth was not known or not stated, and in the remaining 126 cases the deceased person had been born outside New Zealand. Four of the last-mentioned had been in New Zealand less than two years, and 8 less than five years.

In addition to the 476 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1933, there were 135 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, including—

Tuberculosis of meninges and central nervous system43
Tuberculosis of intestines and peritoneum12
Tuberculosis of vertebral column19
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system20
Disseminated tuberculosis36

Tuberculosis claims its victims at a comparatively early age. Of those dying from this cause in 1933. persons under the age of twenty years formed 14 per cent., and those under forty-five years 64 per cent.


Ages, in Years.Males.Females.Total.
Under 5101222
5 and under 106410
10 and under 1531013
15 and under 20132942
20 and under 25254166
25 and under 30345286
30 and under 352754 
35 and under 40272451
40 and under 45252348
45 and under 50382462
50 and under 55391150
55 and under 60321140
60 and under 6516824
65 and under 7015621
70 and under 7510515
75 and under 80235
80 and over12 

The average annual death-rate from tubercular diseases in certain of the principal countries of the world during the latest available period of five years is next shown.

Country.Period.Death-rates (per 10,000).
* Registration area.
New Zealand1929–334.4
Union of South Africa1927–314.8
United States*1926–307.9
England and Wales1928–329.0
Northern Ireland1928–3212.6
Irish Free State1928–3213.1


Cancer is annually responsible for more deaths in New Zealand than can be assigned to any cause other than diseases of the heart. The increasing prevalence of cancer is causing no little concern in the Dominion, as indeed it is throughout the civilized world.

The following diagram illustrates, on the one hand, the increase in the cancer death-rate, and, on the other, the decrease in the rate of deaths from tuberculosis:—

In 1933 there were 1,624 deaths from cancer in the Dominion, a proportion at 11.07 per 10,000 of population. The standardized cancer death-rate for 1933 shows an increase of 0.57, while the crude death-rate shows an increase of 0.96 per 10,000.

Year.Number of Deaths from Cancer.Crude Death-rate.Standardized Death-rate.*
* On basis of age distribution in 1911.

The following table shows the proportion of deaths from cancer to the 10,000 of mean population in some of the principal countries of the world. The rates are an annual average of the latest available period of five years.


Country.Period.Death-rate per 10,000 of Country. Population.
* Registration area.
Union of S. Africa1927–317.9
United States*1920–309.6
New Zealand1929–3310.4
Irish Free State1928–3211.0
Northern Ireland1,928,33212.0
England and Wales1928–3214.0

The following summary shows the types of cancer returned in the death entries for the year 1933:—

Melanotic sarcoma448
Scirrhus cancer11112
Rodent ulcer369
Malignant ulcer224
Malignant tumour3811
Malignant papilloma1..1
Malignant disease8412
Malignant growth..1 

The parts of the body most commonly attacked in New Zealand are the stomach and liver. Among females the genital and mammary organs rank high as the seat of the disease. Full details of location are published in the “Annual Report on Vital Statistics.” A summary for 1933 gives results as under:—

Seat of Disease.Males.Females.Total.
Buccal cavity and pharynx641680
Digestive tract and peritoneum514345859
Respiratory organs602080
Other female genital organs..6060
Urinary organs and male genital organs12521146
Other or unspecified organs513586

Ninety-one per cent, of the deaths from cancer during 1933 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 63 per cent, at ages 60 years and upwards. Females predominate generally at the younger, and males at the older, ages.


Ages, In Years.Males.Females.Total.
Under 5l..1
5 and under 10..23
10 and under 15l23
15 and under 20l12
20 and under 255510
25 and under 307512
30 and under 3541721
35 and under 4072936
40 and under 45243357
45 and under 503768105
50 and under 558786173
55 and under 608394177
60 and under 65130102232
65 and under 70150116266
70 and under 7512298220
75 and under 809467161
80 and over7967146

Exhaustive statistical inquiry covering the period from 1872 to date tends to show that in New Zealand death from cancer is, on the average, new occurring later in life than formerly. It would seem that this is the case even if allowance be made for the fact that the age-constitution of the Dominion is increasing—i.e., that the average citizen of New Zealand is new older than the average citizen of ten, twenty, or fifty years ago.


In point of numbers of deaths, puerperal accidents and diseases do not rank high among causes of death. Nevertheless, deaths from puerperal causes are of special importance and significance.

During the 44-year period from 1872 to 1915 the death-rate from puerperal causes exceeded 5 per 1,000 live births on only 14 occasions, but after 1915 did not fall below this figure until 1925. The rate for 1920 (when the proportion of first births was high) was the third highest on record, having been exceeded only in 1884 and 1885, but the highest rate since 1920 has been 5.14 per 1,000 recorded in 1922. The rate for each of the last twenty years is as follows:—

Year.Proportion per 1,000 Live Births.

Commencing with 1916, special inquiry has been made in all cases where a woman of child-bearing age has been returned as having died of such causes as septicaemia, peritonitis, nephritis, &c. (without qualification), with the result that in each year several of such cases are found to be puerperal, and are new so classed. During 1928 the system of investigating possible puerperal cases was still further extended, and this would tend to maintain the death-rate from these causes on the high level recorded in 1927. The rate of 4.06 in 1932 was the lowest since 1913, and the somewhat higher rate of 4.44 in 1933 still compares very favourably with those for most of the years covered by the table.

The rate of deaths from puerperal causes is frequently, though not quite accurately, referred to as “the maternal death-rate.” It should be noted, however, that the class provided for puerperal causes in the international classification covers all deaths from accidents and diseases of pregnancy and parturition, and is not limited to deaths resulting from accouchements of normal women after more or less normal pregnancies. If it were possible to exclude certain types of puerperal cases a true maternal death-rate would result—considerably lower than that shown for all puerperal accidents and diseases. Full distinction cannot, however, be made, but it may be mentioned that the 108 deaths from puerperal causes during 1933 included 33 from abortion, of which 26 became septic cases. Including these 26 deaths from septic abortion there were 40 deaths from puerperal septicaemia in 1933.

The next table shows the deaths from puerperal causes during each of the last five years, classified in the divisions into which such causes are divided in the international classification. In recent years there has occurred a marked increase in the number of deaths from septic abortion, whereas deaths from puerperal septicaemia, exclusive of septic abortion, show a definite fall. The death-rate for all puerperal septicaemia cases (including septic abortion) was 1.64 per 1,000 live births in 1933 as against 1.56 per 1,000 in 1932. Over the last five years puerperal septicaemia, including septic abortion, was responsible for 39 per cent. of the total deaths from puerperal causes.

Group.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Abortion with septic conditions193029260.711. 
Abortion without septic conditions specified767870.
Ectopic gestation446350.
Other accidents of pregnancy5....610.19....0.240.04
Puerperal haemorrhage6116890.230.410.230.320.37
Puerperal septicaemia30271813141.121.010.680.520.57
Puerperal albuminuria and eclampsia27283217201.
Other toxaemias of pregnancy786690.260.300.230.240.37
Puerperal phlegmasia alba dolens, embolus, sudden death141511660.520.560.410.240.25
Other accidents of childbirth3447110.
Other conditions of the puerperal state7381..

A table showing the rate per 1,000 births of deaths from puerperal septicaemia (including septic abortion) and other puerperal causes separately in some of the principal countries of the world is given in the following table. New Zealand new occupies a more favourable position in international comparison than was the case a few years ago.


Country.Period.Death-rate per 1,000 Births from
Puerperal Septicemia.Other All PuerperalAll Puerperal Causes.
* Registration area.
England and Wales1928–321.762.544.30
New Zealand1929–331.792.844.63
Irish Free State1928–321.413.274.08
South Africa1927–312.522.485.00
Northern Ireland1928–321.543.655.19
United States*1920–302.674.547.21


Deaths from violence, apart from suicide, claim approximately 5 per cent, of the total deaths. Violent deaths in each of four years at quinquennial intervals are given in the next table.

Causes of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000,000 of Mean Population.
Accidental causes— 
  Burns and scalds4225332238202415
  Died under anaesthetic, asphyxia, &c1025247920175
  In mines and quarries8141614711129
  Fractures (causes not specified)393215123524118

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1933 was 609, corresponding to a rate of 4.15 per 10,000 of population. Although this represents, by comparison with 1918. an increase of 65 in the number of deaths, the death-rate has declined by 0.78 per 10,000 of population. Noticeable decreases are shown for drowning, deaths under anaesthetic, asphyxia, &c, and fractures (causes not specified). Part of the large increase between 1918 and 1933 in the death-rate from accidental falls is due to fuller information being obtained in a proportion of cases formerly classified under the heading of “fractures (causes not specified).”

In view of the steady rise in the number of deaths attributable to transport accidents, it is advisable to reduce the figures and rates to their respective headings. In classifying deaths under these various subheadings the rule of assignment is that in fatalities due to collisions of railway-trains and electric tram-cars with motor-vehicles the death is assigned to the railway-train or electric tram-car as being the heavier and more powerful vehicle. In the case of collisions between motor-vehicles and horse-drawn vehicles the death is assigned to the motor-vehicle.

In the following table the number and rate of deaths from traumatism by railways, tramways, and motor-vehicles during each of the last ten years are given.

Year.Deaths from Traumatism byRate per Million of Population.

Deaths from motor-vehicle accidents record an appreciable increase up to 1930, but this trend has been reversed in subsequent years. The figures are exclusive of accidents where persons have been killed in collisions between motor-vehicles and trains or trams. For 1933 there were 10 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor-vehicle was an agent up to 130. The corresponding figure for 1932 was 168. Probably the diminished use of vehicles as a result of the economic depression has been an important factor in reducing the fatality rate from motor-vehicles in the last three years.


The suicidal deaths in 1933 numbered 200—males 156, females 44—the death-rate per 10,000 of mean population being 1.36.

Year.Number of Suicidal Deaths.Rate per 10,000 of Population.

The rate for 1933 is appreciably lower than that for 1932, and also that for the average of the last five years—1.50 per 10,000.

A comparison of the average annual rates for the latest quinquennial periods available for the undermentioned countries is as follows:—

Country.Quinquennium.Rate per 10,000 of Population.
* Registration area.
Irish Free State1928–320.35
Northern Ireland1928–320.53
South Africa1927–311.15
England and Wales1928–321.30
United States*1926–301.39
New Zealand1929–331.50


Deaths of Maoris are not included in the statistics quoted in preceding pages of this subsection. Their omission is due principally to the fact that a considerably lower standard of accuracy and completeness of data exists in the case of Maori registrations than in the general death records. Registrations of Maori deaths during each of the last five years have been as follows:—

 Numbers.Rates per 1,000 of Maori Population.

The average annual rate over the last five years was 15 per 1,000 as compared with 8 per 1,000 in the case of the non-Maori population.

The rates for the two sexes are much more nearly equal for Maoris than for the rest of the population, the female rate being indeed higher than the male in three of the five years shown above.

Until recently, the only statistics available concerning Maori deaths were merely numbers of deaths according to sex. A tabulation was, however, made in 1925 for the five years 1920–24 on the basis of age and cause of death, and summarized statistics were prepared and published in the 1926 and 1927 numbers of the Year-Book. Annual tabulations are new made, and the summarized statistics for the years 1925–33 are given below. The ages of Maoris whose deaths were registered during the nine years are as follows:—

Age, in Years.Males.FemalesTotal.
Under 11,0468911,937
1 and under 55865721,158
5 and under 10222222444
10 and under 15194234428
15 and under 20297310607
20 and under 25209245454
25 and under 30209190399
30 and under 35132137269
35 and under 40143164307
40 and under 45155131286
45 and under 50145130275
50 and under 55167130297
55 and under 60190110300
60 and under 65186138324
65 and under 70208137345
70 and under 75202142344
75 and under 80154108262
80 and under 85143118261
85 and under 907151122
90 and under 956460124
95 and under 100223254
100 and over364177

With the exception of diphtheria and scarlet fever (only 4 deaths of Maoris from this disease being recorded during the last ten years), epidemic and infectious diseases generally exact a much heavier toll proportionately among Maoris than among the general population, the most noteworthy example being tuberculosis, particularly of the respiratory system. Other diseases of the respiratory system also show much higher rates for Maoris than for Europeans, and the same state of affairs is disclosed for diarrhoeal diseases and stomach complaints.

On the other hand, there is a much lower mortality among Maoris from certain diseases which rank high as causes of death among the European population. Principal among these are cancer, heart-disease and other diseases of the circulatory system, nephritis, the group of general diseases which includes diabetes and exophthalmic goitre, and the group of diseases of the nervous system which includes apoplexy and cerebral haemorrhage. Malformations show lower rates for Maoris than for Europeans, but the indefinite nature of the data in the registration entries covering the deaths of many infants may be partly responsible. The figures of deaths from malformations and the group “early infancy” taken in conjunction (the pre-natal causes) indicate a much higher rate for Maoris from these diseases as a whole than for Europeans.

A summary is here given showing deaths from the principal causes and groups of causes.

Causes of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Typhoid fever20121410113.031.782.041.431.54
Pulmonary tuberculosis19319122224020429.2528.3832.4034.3528.51
Other forms of tuberculosis39382951555.915.654.237.307.69
Cerebral haemorrhage1061415161.520.891.902.152.23
Convulsions (under five years)8152312181.212.233.301.722.51
Diarrhoea and enteritis26372533223.945.503.054.723.07
Cold, cough, chest trouble, &c.5314820.760.451.461.140.28
Stomach trouble, internal trouble, &c.2....150.30....0.140.70
Ill-defined or not specified37155738295.612.238.325.444.05
Other causes14618517619424222.1327.4926.4227.7633.82

As stated earlier, the records of Maori births and deaths are not nearly so accurate and complete as those covering the non-Maori population. This is particularly the case as regards causes of deaths, in spite of the fact that considerable improvement has been effected in the last few years.

From 1925 onwards information has been obtained as to whether the cause of death has been certified by a medical practitioner or Coroner's inquest. As a further indication of the improvements achieved in the specifying of the causes of deaths of Maoris, it may be said that in 1925, out of a total of 867 deaths, 446 or 51 per cent, were definitely shown to have been certified, while in 1933 the proportion so certified was 701 out of 1,161 registrations, equivalent to 60 per cent.

As regards infant mortality, the Maori rate is much higher than the European, principally owing to the ravages of epidemic diseases, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhoeal diseases. The infant mortality rate for the first year of life was, for the nine years 1925–33, 106 per 1,000 births in the case of Maoris, as compared with 35 per 1,000 among European infants, and this in spite of the fact that for the first month of life the Maori rate (23) was lower than the European rate (21). Among Maori infants who survived the first month, the death-rate during the succeeding eleven months was 81 per 1,000, as compared with only 10 per 1,000 in the case of Europeans.

The numbers and rates per 1,000 live births for the last nine years are given in the next table, together with a comparison with the European figures.

Number of Deaths under One Year.Rate per 1,000 Births.Number of Deaths under One Year.Rate per 1,000 Births.

The next table shows for the last decade principal causes of deaths of Maori infants under 1 year, classified according to age.


Cause of Death.Under 1 Day.1 Day and under 2 Days.2 Days and under 1 Week.1 Week and under 2 Weeks.2 Weeks and under 3 Weeks.3 Weeks and under 1 Month.1 Month and under 2 Months.2 Months and under 3 Months.3 Months and under 6 Months.6 Months and under 9 months.9 Months and under 12 MonthsTotal.
Typhoid fever........l......11..3
Venereal disease..11..........2116
Infantile convulsions..13124661132874
Other respiratory diseases....18312479944
Diseases of the stomach..........113691131
Diarrhoea and enteritis..112251112382939140
Hernia, intestinal obstruction......1....3243..13
Congenital malformations..534414152130
Congenital debility, &c1417121416102512292315187
Injury at birth6..42..12......217
Premature birth633436181778252..192
Other causes peculiar to early infancy1010107334111151
Other defined causes2....221109203920105
Unspecified or ill-defined13..32241179547



DEATH-RATES are of great value as indicating the relative healthiness of different countries or for different years. The statistics of causes of registered deaths are of further use as showing the incidence of fatal diseases or accidents, and as indicating in a general way the relative rise or fall of diseases over a series of years. For instance, the fall in the incidence of tuberculosis and the increase in cancer (discussed in Subsection C of this section) can be readily traced from the records of deaths attributed to these causes in different years.

In comparisons of healthiness based on death-rates, however, the effect of the advance of medical science in recent years is not taken into account. It is common knowledge that many diseases regarded a few decades ago as incurable now give a fair percentage of recoveries. Similarly, the death-rates in epidemics are in general much lower now than formerly, owing partly to the steps taken to prevent the spread of the disease, partly to the necessity of early notification in most countries, and partly to increased medical knowledge. Again, many diseases seldom or never result fatally.

Of recent years much attention has been devoted in different countries to the possibility or otherwise of obtaining reliable statistics of sickness. In New Zealand certain diseases are notifiable, but beyond this practically the only record other than that of fatality is the information ascertainable from the returns of discharges from public hospitals. The sickness experience of friendly societies' members is mentioned briefly in Section XXVIII. In the absence of full statistics of sickness, however, information from the sources mentioned is of considerable value, and gives a fair indication of the prevalence of the more important diseases.

Notifications Of Diseases.

Notifications of notifiable diseases during 1933 are shown for each month of the year in the following table:—

Scarlet fever525849869076727569416550783
Enteric fever11221986134261410106
Pulmonary tuberculosis858478676561578665867977890
Cerebro-spinal meningitis12........3213....12
Acute poliomyelitis1041592..1..1....143
Pneumonic Influenza1..242..444103741
Puerperal fever— 
  Following abortion141113196117108853115
Ophthalmia neonatorum..4212132422225
Lethargic encephalitis14174..1431....26
Food poisoning..262........20....1242
Undulant fever12..31212121218
Lead poisoning....................1..1
Phosphorus poisoning..1....................1

A quinquennial summary of notifications of certain principal diseases is now given. With the exception of diphtheria, all the diseases covered by the table show appreciable decreases in incidence during the year 1933.

Scarlet fever4,8482,2441,304829783
Enteric fever278149161195106
Pulmonary tuberculosis1,3741,2441,109904890
Cerebro-spinal meningitis2830221612
Acute poliomyelitis55122514843
Puerperal fever and septic abortion290319293252220

Information as to case-fatality in regard to the three first-mentioned diseases above is given in the next table for each of the last ten years:—

Year.Diphtheria.Scarlet Fever.Enteric Fever.
Cases notified.Deaths.Case-fatality.Cases notified.Deaths.Case-fatality.Cases notified.Deaths.Case-fatality.
   Per Cent.  Per Cent.  Per Cent.

Although diphtheria was more prevalent in 1933 than in 1932, its virulence was reduced by approximately 50 per cent, according to the case-fatality rate.

Public Hospitals: Patients Treated.

The public hospitals to which the following statistics relate include all those hospitals under the control of the various Hospital Boards; two hospitals which are also old people's homes (Greytown and Reefton); five special infectious diseases hospitals; the various tuberculosis institutions and special sanatoria (including Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer, and King George V Hospital, Rotorua); and such public maternity hospitals as have also provision for emergency general cases. All St. Helens Hospitals, private hospitals, and solely maternity hospitals, are excluded.

During the year 1933 the total admissions to public hospitals in New Zealand numbered 79,336. There were 4,481 patients in hospital at the beginning of the year, the total cases dealt with during the year being thus 83,817, equal to 545 per 10,000 of mean population, including Maoris; or, in other words, an equivalent to one person out of every eighteen in the Dominion receiving some degree of treatment in public hospitals in 1933.

A table is appended showing for each of the last five years the total number of patients treated, and the proportion of population:—

Year.Total Patients treated.Rate per 10,000 of Mean Population.

The figures of patients treated in public hospitals disclose the extent to which the public generally are taking advantage of the facilities for medical treatment which are placed at their disposal by the various public hospitals.

The above figures relate only to indoor patients treated in public hospitals, and if there be added the number of out-patients (vide Section VB) treated by the public hospitals (97,639 during the twelve months ended 31st March, 1933), the number of patients treated in private hospitals, and those persons receiving medical treatment in their own homes, &c, it will probably he found that at least one out of every ten persons in the population was under medical treatment during the year. These figures do not cover the whole field of sickness, as there is also to be considered the large number of minor complaints the condition of which did not warrant the calling-in of a medical practitioner.

Up to the close of 1929 patients (i.e., in-patients) treated in public hospitals had shown marked increases annually, not alone in numerical totals but also in ratio to population. The three years subsequent to 1929 reversed this position by recording successive declines in both number and ratio to population.

Some part of this decline may be attributed to a diminution in the incidence of the principal epidemic diseases, in particular scarlet fever, and, though in lesser extent, diphtheria. The special fever hospitals in the large centres have been virtually empty during the last three years, and in one case actually closed. Another partial explanation may be in changes of administration policy by some controlling authorities.

The significance of the coincidence of the downward movement with the progress of the depression commencing in 1930 suggests that the major cause is inherent in the direct and indirect phenomena of the depression. The latter may include the possibility that some of the enforced changes in living conditions (e.g., change to outdoor work) may have resulted in improved health.

Comparative impoverishment may in some instances have acted as a deterrent where normally such persons would have entered hospitals for treatment. For similar reasons others might become out-patients instead of in-patients.

Whatever the validity of the explanations suggested, there have occurred the remarkable increase of 11,000 in the out-patients treated at public hospitals in 1932 and a further similar increase in 1933. Many hospitals, especially in large centres, have assisted in examinations connected with unemployment relief, &c, and this may have had considerable effect in increasing the number of out-patients. The decline between 1929 and 1932 in the number of in-patients, it will be observed, is due chiefly to males, their numbers in 1932 being exceeded by females for the first time. The fall was checked in 1933, which recorded a rise of over 4,000 in the number of in-patients treated, the increase being spread over the majority of the most important diseases treated.

From figures given in the Appendix to the Annual Report of the Department of Health, it would appear that the average duration in hospital in respect of each admission was approximately 24 days. On this basis, sickness as represented by treatment in the public hospitals alone aggregated approximately 287,000 weeks for the year 1933. This aggregate, however, represents only a little more than one day for each person in the Dominion.

Condition On Discharge.

Of the 83,817 persons treated as in-patients in public hospitals in 1933, 50,737 were discharged as recovered, 20,907 as relieved, and 3,525 as unrelieved. Deaths in hospital numbered 4,036, and 4,612 patients were still in hospital at the end of the year.

The numbers of admissions, discharges, and deaths for each of the last five years are—

Year.Admissions.Discharges.Deaths.Total Discharges and Deaths.

The following table gives the percentages of recovered, relieved, unrelieved, and deaths to total cases dealt with during each of the five years:—

Year.Discharged asDied.Remaining at End of Year.

Generally speaking, the percentage of patients recovered shows a downward trend in recent years, while the proportions discharged as relieved and unrelieved record an upward tendency. The proportion of deaths among patients remains fairly constant.

Sexes Of Patients.

From the following table it will be seen that, while for the earlier years males considerably outnumber females among hospital patients, the proportion has been gradually reduced until in 1932, for the first time, and again in 1933, females were in the majority. The death-rate is invariably higher among male than among female patients.

Year.Discharges and Deaths.Deaths.Death-rate per 1,000 Cases.
Males.Females.Males per 100 Females.Males.Females.Males per 100 Females.Males.Females.