Table of Contents

List of Tables


WITH this issue the “New Zealand Official Year-Book” has attained its 44th year of publication. It is trusted that, in the tradition established by its predecessors, the present edition will fulfil its object of providing a useful, authoritative, and comprehensive work of reference.

The whole of the contents have been thoroughly revised and brought up to date. Special mention may be accorded as follows : In view of the difficult position of the farming industry and the importance which attaches to it, Section XVIIA has been expanded to give an account of gross farming income, of export and consumption of farm-produce, and of recent developments in agricultural policy and in other aspects of farm economy. A new article on New Zealand flora (by Dr. W. R. 13. Oliver, D.Sc.) is contained in Section I. Section XIX, relating to fisheries, has been recast and additional information added. The establishment of air-transport services and the growth of interest in aviation generally have rendered desirable the concentration of brief references contained in former issues into a special section dealing with aviation and air transport

It is of service also to mention an important change in respect of figures given for the import trade. In previous editions import values were shown in terms of sterling, as they were, and are, recorded for Customs purposes. Difficulties in connection with their conversion to New Zealand currency have now been overcome, and import values, both for 1934 (and 1934–35) and earlier years, are now expressed throughout in our own currency. Summaries and totals of importance are given also in sterling values for convenience of reference.

In a work of the compass and magnitude of the Year-Book it would be futile to anticipate that an occasional error had not intruded nor an omission of significance been permitted. Headers who may observe any such blemishes are cordially invited to bring them under notice.

I wish to record my appreciation of the assistance rendered by other Government Departments and by officers of the Census and Statistics Office. My special thanks are due to Mr. D. J. Cruickshank, LL.B., Chief Compiler, who has supervised the preparation of the volume and carried out the editorial duties under considerable difficulties, occasioned by pressure of work and shortage of staff.


Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Office, Wellington, New Zealand, 14th December, 1935.


POPULATION :—Males.Females.Total.
    Estimated (inclusive of Maoris but exclusive of residents of Cook and other Pacific islands) at 30th September, 1935795,847 7136,2821,562,129
MIGRATION :—Males.Females.Total.
    Passenger arrivals, 1st April to 31st October, 19356,3405,74712,087
     Corresponding period of 19345,2034,7849,987
    Passenger departures, 1st April to 31st October, 19357,3767,12014,496
      Corresponding period of 19317,5567,27414,830
VITAL STATISTICS :—Males.Females.Total.
    Births, 1st January to 30th September, 19359,1748,63817,812
      Corresponding period of 19349,3748,73018,104
    Deaths, 1st January to 30th September, 19355,0374,1229,159
      Corresponding period of 19345,1824,1949,376
      Corresponding yearly rates per 1,000, 1935   Births, 15.99;deaths, 8.22
      Corresponding yearly rates per 1,000 1934   Births, 16.35;deaths, 8.47


Summary—£ (Stg.)£ (N.Z.)£ (Stg.)£ (N.Z.)
  Excess of exports12,891,00016,114,1526,972,0008,680,512
Exports: Principal items (New Zealand produce) :— Quantity.Value.
  1934.1935.1934. £ (N.Z.)1935. £ (N.Z.)
Beef, frozen (including chilled)cwt.711,902742,516754,108870,985
Lamb, whole carcasses, frozencwt.2,387,0212,377,0637,269,1417,426,711
Mutton, whole carcasses, frozencwt.858,797968,6831,515,7551,731,801
Pork, frozencwt.327,815393,054867,7031,057,365
Veal, frozencwt.61,44890,73675,747113,557
Milk, driedlb.14,450,11411,739,272275,501217,212
Hides, cattle and horseNo.422,016446,792391,806370,101
Sheep-skins, with
Sheep - skins, without woolNo.8,720,17911,218,984696,210851,223
Timbersup. ft.26,618,89933,331,953245,772306,837
Imports : Principal items :—1934 £ (N.Z.)1936 £ (N.Z.)
Raisins and sultanas146,957196,306
Boots, shoes, and slippers380,908427,021
Drapery n.e.i.272,296280,244
Carpeting, matting, and linoleum.347,438414,126
Cotton piece-goods1,380,7691,432,169
Silk and artificial silk piece-goods.808,864852,245
Woollen piece-goods609,925576,437
Crude petroleum, fuel oil, &c.276,868250,652
Paints, colours, and varnishes224,723312,841
Iron and steel—Galvanized plate and sheet273,644317,932
Iron and steel—Tubes, pipes, and fittings235,276340,961
Hardware, cutlery, and metal manufactures n.e.i.389,431511,672
Electrical machinery and equipment736,4901,036,160
Wireless apparatus325,819279,729
Paper, printing419,843442,802
Paper, other441,575478,421
Books, papers, and music, printed.325,916351,651
Fancy goods138,403177,810
Medicinal preparations n.e.i.244,940239,421
Rubber-tires, &c, for motor-vehicles611,003612,790
    Inwards, 1st January to 31st October, 19355072,090,097
     Corresponding period of 19344822,142,662
    Outwards, 1st January to 31st October, 19355142,127,335
     Corresponding period of 19344792,143,123
     Operating revenue, 1st April to 12th October, 19353,028,934
     Corresponding period of 19342,879,220
    Operating expenditure, 1st April to 12th October, 19352,831,641
    Corresponding period of 19342,747,928
 1934.1935.1934. £1935: £
Town and suburban properties7,84210,0933,299,4254,418,204
Country properties3,1493,6984,173,5734,918,638
AGRICULTURE : AREAS SOWN :—Actually sown, 1934–35. Acres.Estimate, 1935–36. Acres.
    New buildings, 1st January to 31st October, 19352,8602,780,983
     Corresponding period of 19341,9222,261,250
    Alterations, 1st January to 31st October, 19355,655831,361
    Corresponding period of 19344,892663,170
Receipts, 1st April to 30th September, 193510,198,828
Corresponding period of 19349,900,125
Expenditure, 1st April to 30th September, 193511,738,428
Corresponding period of 193412,860,571
    Net amount collected, 1st January to 31st October, 19351,942,161
     Corresponding period of 19341,708,934
 Number.Annual Value.
PENSIONS :—Oct., 1934.Oct., 1935.Oct., 1934. £Oct., 1935. £
Military (Maori War)74513,6262,499
Boer War53561,9022,160
Family allowances12,26811,987153,299147,090
MORTGAGES :—Number.Amount. £
    Registered, 1st April to 31st October, 193511,26410,465,148
     Corresponding period of 19348,6146,582,537
    Discharged, 1st April to 31st October, 193510,97710,721,332
     Corresponding period of 19348,3947,481,738
BANKRUPTCIES, JANUARY-OCTOBER :—North Island.South Island.Total.
    Persons, &c, adjudged bankrupt, 193515250202
     Corresponding period of 193419369262
    Deeds of assignment, 1935533689
     Corresponding period of 1934582987
 Number.Amount. £
    1st January to 31st October, 19354,47014,705,160
     Corresponding period of 19344,29913,025,022
INDEX NUMBERS OF PRICES :—Oct., 1934.Oct., 1935.
    Export prices : General index number (base :1909–13 = 1000)10421197
    Wholesale prices: General index number (base: 1909–13 = 1000) 13381446
    Retail prices, all groups: Dominion index number (base : 1926–30 = 1000)806853
Share prices : All Groups (base : 1926 = 1000)10041014
Dominion index number (base : Year, 1914 = 1000)13651418
    Number reported178
    Number of workers affected3,1611,329
    Approximate loss in wages£5,578£10,250
    Number of unemployed males, 26th October, 1935 39,681
    Number of unemployed males, 27th October, 1934 39,738


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

*£1 Is. per annum (post free).

† No Census taken In 1931.

‡ Out of print.

New Zealand Official Year-Book1936Jan., 19367610
Annual Statistical Reports—     
  Population and Buildings1934–35Aug., 1935262
  Vital Statistics1933Oct., 1934508
  Justice1934Sept., 1935262
  Trade and. Shipping (Part I)1934Sept., 193520010
  Trade and Shipping (Part II)1933Oct., 1934362
  Agricultural and Pastoral Production1934–35Nov., 1935261
  Factory and Building Production1933–34Mar., 1935364
  Insurance1933Feb., 1935201
Miscellaneous (Prices, Wage-rates and Hours of Labour, Unemployment, Industrial Accidents, Tramways, Banking, Building Societies, Bankruptcy, Commercial Afforestation, Statistical Summary)1933Feb., 1935404
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand (published annually)1935July, 1935768
Monthly Abstract of Statistics ..2 6*1 
Volumes of Census Results (published quinquennially     
  Geographical Distribution1926May, 1927464
  Dependencies1920Feb., 1927161
  Ages1920Nov., 1928202
Conjugal Condition1926Feb., 1929262
  Orphan Children and Dependent Children1926Mar., 1929202
  Race Aliens1926Feb., 1929202
  Native-born and Foreign-born1926May, 1929202
  Religious Professions1926Nov., 1928200
  Industrial and Occupational Distribution1926Mar., 1930303
  Unemployment from Sickness and other Causes1926Sept., 1930202
  Incomes1926May, 1930302
  Families and Households1926April, 1931202
  Dwellings1926Feb., 1931302
  Maori and Half-caste Population1926Mar., 1929303
  Public Libraries and Places of Worship1926Mar., 1927161
  Poultry1926Mar., 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 principal 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 1901 :—

Cook Islands (area, 150 square miles)—

Mangaia,Mauke (or Parry).
Mitiaro.Manuae and Te-Au-o-Tu (Hervey Islands).

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

Niue (or Savage).Rakahanga (or Reirson).
Palmerston (or Avarau).Pukapuka (or Danger).
Penrhyn (or Tongareva).Suwarrow (or Anchorage).
Manihiki (or Humphrey).Nassau.

The total area of the above is 104,015 square miles. Elsewhere in this issue the aggregate area appears as 66,390,196 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 Sth degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 17th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 170th degree of south latitude and the 170th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 170th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; and thence due east to the point of intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich.

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

By Imperial Order in Council of the 30th July, 1923, the coasts of the Ross Sea (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 Sth 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 the higher mountains occupy approximately one- tenth of the surface; but, with the exception of the four volcanic peaks of Egmont (8,260 ft.), Runpehu (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. Others include Mount Tarawera and White Island, each of which has, upon one occasion, 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— 
Dampier Silberhorn11,287
David's Dome10,443
Malte Brun10,421
Elie de Beaumont10,200
Douglas Peak10,107
La Perouse10,101
De la Beche10,058
The Minarets10,058
Glacier Peak9,865
Aiguilles Rouges Nazomi9,731
Southern Alps— 
Le Receveur9,562
Big Mae9,511
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 hydro thermal 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, 1880, the neighbourhood was deprived of attractions unique in character and of unrivalled beauty; but the natural features of the country — the numerous lakes, geysers, and hot springs, some of which possess remarkable curative properties in certain complaints —are still very attractive to tourists and invalids. The importance of conserving this region as a sanatorium for all time has been recognized by the Government, and it is dedicated by Act of Parliament to that purpose.

There are also several small hot springs in the South Island, the best known being those at Hanmer. In addition to the major spas of Rotorua and Te 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, Te 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, M.B., Ch.B. (Edin.), Member of the International Society of Medical Hydrology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society:—


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

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

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

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


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

In the Main Bathhouse are a series of private bathrooms, slipper and step down, each with its dressing-room attached, and a couch for packing purposes. The baths are arranged for either “Priest” or “Rachel” waters, with under current 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” 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, Te 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, M.B., Ch.B. (Edin.), Member of the International Society of Medical Hydrology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society:—


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

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

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

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


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

In the Main Bathhouse are a series of private bathrooms, slipper and step down, each with its dressing-room attached, and a couch for packing purposes. The baths are arranged for either “Priest” or “Rachel” waters, with under current 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. There are two pools, set in T form with a colonnade between. 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 twenty 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. Both pools are lined with white tiles. Convenient dressing and shower rooms surround the pools. At the entrance a luxurious lounge provides a resting- place for bathers, and above this an attractive tea-room serves refreshments to its patrons.


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 those cases of fibrositis where the condition requires a softening effect; and in the types where pain is a manifest symptom these baths are invaluable as soothing and sedative agents.


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

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

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

The very strong “Postmaster” waters are 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, those patients are given graduated baths, at temperatures ranging from 102° to 104° F,, from ten to fifteen minutes daily. Most of the baths are fitted with a subaqueous douche having a pressure of 25 lb. to the square inch, which is directed under water on the affected tissues. The bath is usually followed by a light or hot pack, according to the needs of the case.

The subthermal “Old Priest” waters (temperature 84° F.), containing a high degree of free carbonic-acid gas, are particularly valuable in the treatment of functional nervous disease, and the methods of administration are similar to those obtaining at Nauheim (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 hyperæmic reaction is most marked, and in many of the cases where pain is a predominant symptom there is a temporary paralysis of the surface nerves, as well as a strong reflex excitation of the heart. For this reason these baths are not given to patients suffering from cardiac weakness.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

From sixty thousand to eighty thousand baths are given annually, and about thirty thousand special treatments—massage, electrical therapy, &c.—are administered each year at the Rotorua Spa. The usual course of treatment lasts from four to six weeks, and the high percentage of cures and improvements testifies to the value of the thermal, mineral waters and the hydro-therapeutic treatments obtaining in this Dominion.


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—Miles.
Waihou (or Thames)90
Flowing into Cook Strait— 
Flowing into Cook Strait—contd.Miles.
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-Miles.
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean- 
Waimakariri (low water 80,000; normal flood 500,000)93
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean—ctd. Mies. 
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 Jakes 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.       
Tarawera1575 1,032285
South Island.       
Rotoiti5286 1,997228
Te Anau3361321,32012,660694906


The following article on the geology of New Zealand was prepared by Dr. J. Henderson, M.A., F.R.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 Palæzoic or earlier. Long periods during which gentle regional oscillations and warpings, aided by the slow-acting forces of denudation, brought about gradual changes were interrupted by great revolutions, when earth-stresses ridged the crust into mountains and quickly altered the whole configuration of the land and sea-floor. For New Zealand the important geological periods are those that followed the two latest mountain-building movements—the Kaikoura deformation of late Tertiary time, and the Hokonui deformation of the early Cretaceous. The deposits laid down in the intervening period of relative crustal stability cover a large proportion of the land, and contain all the coal and most of the limestone of the Dominion. The soils on which grow the forests, pastures, and crops are of post-Tertiary age, and the great bulk of the gold has been won from deposits formed during the same period.


The oldest known fossiliferous rocks in New Zealand are the Ordovician slates and greywackes of west Nelson and south-west Otago. Lower unfossiliferous beds of the same great system extend southward from the northern area and outcrop in the Westport, Reefton, Greymouth, Ross, and Okarito districts. Above the fossil- bearing beds, but probably 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 Archaean 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 Archaean to the Triassic. They are certainly Palaeozoic or older, since they grade upward into greywackes that, at Clinton, contain Permian fossils.

Devonian rocks are certainly known only in the Baton, Wangapeka, and Reefton districts. These beds, fossils from which have lately been examined in England, cover only small areas. Rut 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 Ray, is usually referred to the Trias-Jura. Similar rocks outcrop in the centre of the North Island and at many points in North Auckland. There are Upper Triassic molluscs in these beds at several localities, and the vertebra of a saurian with Triassic rather than Permian affinities was found near Wellington. Lithologically the greywackes and argillites of this vast series differ somewhat from the rocks of similar type belonging to the Jurassic and Maitai series; they are therefore thought to be of older Triassic age, but may well range into the Permian. The schists occurring with them in the Kaimanawa, Kaikoura, Moorhouse, and Kirkliston Ranges are probably older.

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

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

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

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

Miocene strata cover large areas in both islands, and also outcrop in the Wanganui, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay regions. In north Taranaki, the Murchison basin, and parts of the West Coast thick coal-measures of this age contain workable scams of brown coal.

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

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

The deposits of Pleistocene and Recent age are in New Zealand of greater economic importance than those of all other ages. The plains, river-flats, and low lands 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 now largely altered to serpentine, occur in Nelson, Westland, Otago, and, to a less extent, in North Auckland.

Though volcanoes are known to have existed in Mesozoic and 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 Dr. J. Henderson, Director of the Geological Survey.

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

The South Island of New Zealand and the eastern part of the North are on the crest of the great mountain ridge or crustal fold which forms a portion of the real border of the Pacific. This ridge maintains a relatively straight course north- north-east for 1,600 miles 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 earth quake 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 north- westward, 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 fiats are over a foot lower than before the earthquake. In 1929 movement along a north-trending fault seven' miles west of Murchison raised the ground east of the fault about l5 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 1855, and probably the Awatere earthquake of 1848.* There is also definite evidence of geologically recent differential movement of earth-blocks at several widely separated points in both Islands.

* 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 now 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 those outside it experience occasional shocks only.


The following list gives all the important New Zealand earthquakes in the year 1934. The list includes (1) earthquakes of high intensity, (2) earthquakes felt over a wide area.

New Zealand Mean Time.Approximate Position of Epicentre.Maximum R.-F. Intensity as felt.Places reporting Maximum Intensity
South Lat.East Long.
† This earthquake was widely felt in the southern part of the South Island, but was not sufficiently well recorded on seismographs to enable the position of the epicentre to be determined.
Mar.5231640.95176.89South.east portion of North Island.
Mar5232741.1176.63Masterton, Paraparaumu.
Mar702340.6176.65South-east portion of North Island.
Mar10655....5.6Awarua Radio.
Mar15221639.65177.67Northern Hawke's Bay.
May9151540.8172.55Collingwood, Havelock.
May22165038.8176.55Taupo, Rakauroa.
Dec.982245.4167.46South Otago.
Dec14194441.3174.26Paraparaumu, Martin-borough.

The most important seismic event in the year 1934 was the severe earthquake which occurred on the 5th March at 23 h. 16 m. N.Z.M.T. This earthquake was felt as far as Auckland in the north and Dunedin in the south. Considerable damage resulted, and the face of the country was slightly disturbed in the districts around Pahiatua and to the eastward. Coastal districts from Porangahau to Castlepoint also suffered damage, and slips occurred on the coastal cliffs. Fall of chimneys occurred over a wide area, commencing in the Wairarapa and extending into Southern Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, and in a north-westerly direction as far as Wanganui. It appears that a maximum intensity of 9 on the Rossi-Forel scale was probably reached at points in the disturbed area. The revised position of the epicentre places the origin of the earthquake about thirty miles off the east coast. of the North Island in latitude 40.95° south and longitude 176.° east, and the time of the earthquake, at the origin 1934 March 5 d. 23 h. 16 m. 12 s. N.Z.M.T.

* 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.

Several strong after-shocks occurred, but these soon decreased in number and strength.

Instrumental Records. —During the year 1934 Milne-Jaggar seismographs were installed at the East Cape Lighthouse and at the. Observatory. Stratford, Taranaki. The remaining thirteen stations in New Zealand and the surrounding islands have continued in operation, with the exception of the Suva station, which was closed at the end of July on account of the difficulties of maintaining a satisfactory time service.

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, Christchurch, 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 Centrale Sismologique, Strasbourg, France, and to the principal observatories of the world.

Non-instrumental Records. —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 1934.—

 Number of Earthquakes reported.  
Month.North Island.South Island.Both Islands.Total for New Zealand.Maximum Intensity R.-F. Scale.Locality of Maximum.
January560115Napier, Takaka.
February1150165Taupo, Nightcaps.
March40104469South-east part of North Island.
June1651204Many places.
September860144Karamea, Murchison.
November1150166Napier, Waipawa.
December1373176Napier, Cook Strait, Otago.
Totals17072122309South-east part of North Island.

The next table gives the number of earthquakes in the year 1934 in which the maximum intensity as reported reached the various degrees of the Rossi Forel scale.

Month.Rossi-Forel Intensity.Totals.
February 2653     16
March1721732311 46
April 25511    14
May148741    25
June125111    20 
July 56421    18
August 14821    16
September..383    14  
October 25631    17
November 455 2    16
December 56213    17
Totals. 43983652212311230

The total number of earthquakes felt each of the years 1921 to 1934 (inclusive) are as follows —

Year.Number of Shocks.maximum intensity R.-F Scale.:—


The following table gives what is believed to be the total number of deaths recorded as due to earthquakes which have occurred since 1847 :—

Date of Earthquake.Locality.Resulting Deaths.
1848, October 19th.Wellington3
1855, January 23rdWellington3
1855, January 23rdWairarapa4
1901, March 16thCheviot1
1913, April 12thMasterton1
1914, October 17th.Gisborne1
1929, June 17thBuller17
1931, February 3rd.Hawke's Bay.255
1934, March 5thWairarapa1
Total 284

An important factor in considering the have wrought by an earthquake is the position of the epicentre with regard to the centres of population. For example, the Buller earthquake, and the Hawke's Bay earthquake were both major disturbances, but owing to the different localities in which they occurred the damage and destruction wrought by each was vastly different.


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 annually 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. Koppen, New Zealand has the climatic formula Cfb, 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.

Tables 1 to 10 appearing in the following pages relate to varying, but usually lengthy, periods. In Table 11 the duration covered by the respective averages is given.


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. Maps showing the distribution of mean annual rainfall appear in Year-Books prior to 1934.

Its control by topography in New Zealand is very conspicuous. Areas exposed to the westerly winds have heavier rains than those 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 those 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 Diemen1.712.882.033.864.824.623.993.732.842.561.611.6536.31
Tolaga Bay3.214.424.735.497.716.386.706.003.603.262.963.0357.55
Riversdale, Inglewood7.566.
Waitatapia, Bulls2.432.502.463.003.533.183.252.682.783.633.222.7135.37
Ditton, near Masterton3.142.903.583.675.454.985.594.783.714.363.583.0148.79
Marshlands, Blenheim2.
Peel Forest4.844.054.383.542.512.753.422.573.773.854.014.8544.54

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 country 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 those 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.

Table Table 2. DAYS WITH RAIN

New Plymouth12.710.411.013.317.717.618.818.41.7018.410.314.2188.0
Marshlands, Blenheim7.
Half.moon Bay18.516.217.818.020.419.919.71.9018.020.220.818.2227.3

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 days, but the latter is not directly proportional to the rainfall. There are considerable areas on the west coast of the South Island, for instance, which have ten or more times as much rain as the driest portions of the interior, but only about double the number of rain days. Marlborough seems to have a small number of wet days compared with its rainfall. To the south of New Zealand there is a rapid increase in cloudiness, showers fall with great frequency, and the number of rain days becomes high. 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 effect* 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 those 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 this 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 Plymouth62.962.901.257.854.451.449.750.

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.

Table Table 4. AUCKLAND (ALBERT PARK, 160FT.).

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 Ugliest max.81.585.079.077.471.
Mean daily minimum59.760.458.555.351.348.
Mean lowest minimum51.853.051.540.442.789.538.139.1141.744.347.149.437.3
Absolute lowest min.
Days of frost in screen........................0.0
Days of ground frost..........

Table Table 5. TAIHAPE (2,157 FT.).

Mean daily maximum68.067.364.659.952.848.547.448.852.857.459.664.357.6
Mean highest maximum78.077.374.469.
Absolute highest max.87.381.078.075.569.865.061.061.867.073.475.882.087.3
Mean daily minimum5.0049.848.244.940.737.630.430.039.14.2144.047.043.0
Mean lowest minimum39.539.538.234.631.929.228.028.730.03.2034.437.026.4
Absolute lowest min.31.932.034.830.027.020.424.025.425.525.031.430.220.4
Days of frost in screen......
Days of ground frost0.


Mean daily maximum69.369.366.962.958.354.853.l54.357.560.463.266.761.3
Mean highest maximum78.177.774.970.265.361.359.661.564.568.
Absolute highest max.
Mean daily minimum55.755.854.251.347.24.4142.442.845.748.450.353.84.91
Mean lowest minimum46.446.744.141.237.434.533.333.436.238.440.944.732.3
Absolute lowest min.39.440.539.135.731.929.928.
Days of frost in screen........ 
Days of ground frost0.

Table Table 7. HOKITIKA(12 FT.).

Mean daily maximum66.466.564.761.256.853.352.653.656.458.760.663.859.5
Mean highest maximum73.572.571.367.763.759.558.659.562.364.767.070.975.9
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 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 daily minimum52.852.549.745.039.936.035.136.340.544.047.150.844.3
Mean lowest minimum41.240.937.232.328.620.126.026.729.432.135.439.024.7
Absolute lowest min.34034.230.425.621.321.522.723.025.526.030.833.021.3
Days of frost in screen....  
Days of ground frost0.

Table 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 max.
Mean daily minimum49.749.547.844.841.038.637.438.240.642.944.948.043.6
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 Table 10. GORE (245 FT.).

Mean daily maximum69.068.960.153.747.747.151.750.860.963.166.459.3 
Mean highest maximum84.984.380.273.864.958.457.162.068.673.077.680.987.9
Absolute highest max.93.091.589.
Mean daily minimum46.740.044.040.435.732.431.633.237.540.842.244.939.6
Mean lowest minimum35.134.932.929.225.923.522.924.628.230.832.635.021.4
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 as observed each day, the second the average of the highest temperatures observed in each month and the year, and the third the highest yet recorded. Corresponding information regarding minimum temperatures follows. Next comes the average number of days on which the minimum temperature in the thermometer screen falls 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.


-Number of yearsJan.Feb.Mar.April.May.June.July.Aug.Sept.Oct.Nov.Dec.Year.
New Ply mouth17.19253.2224.1222.9165.7158.7133.0142.5172.9167.1177.3214.6244.12,276.7
Lincoln College25.28213.3190.4177.2146.6135.9113.3117.4149.1174.1196.4214.0209.52,043.2
Lake Tekapo8.10268.5234.2236.1189.7103.3125.9143.7167.3193.9224.2249.8273.42,470.0


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 fig 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 da3's 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 be, especially 1.1 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 500 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 cold and stormy month. The distribution of rainfall was irregular. Most of Canterbury had very heavy rains, which did much good to crops and pastures. Nelson and Marlborough, which had been suffering from a prolonged drought, again had a very dry month. In the North Island also, apart from Taranaki and the South Taranaki Bight, the rainfall was much below average. There were numerous thunder and had storms, the latter being responsible for much local damage in Canterbury. A frost on the 23rd also did considerable damage, particularly in Nelson.

February was another cold month. Most of the North Island experienced very heavy rains, floods occurring in North Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, and Hawke's Bay. In the South Island, Nelson and Marlborough continued to experience the most severe drought on record. On the West Coast the month was a particularly dry and fine one. Elsewhere, though in some parts the rainfall was low, conditions were very humid.

March.—Towards the end of this month the drought was broken in Nelson and Marlborough. In the remainder of the South Island the rainfall was erratic in distribution, but generally fairly high. The North Island had very much less than usual. Temperatures remained below normal, but there was little wind.

April was a mild month, with an absence of strong winds. Though rainfall was below average in most districts, the atmosphere was damp and cloudy. A severe frost occurred on the 13th. On the 25th the mountain ranges received a considerable snowfall.

May.—Rainfall was below average over most of the North Island, while in most of the South, and especially Canterbury, the month was a very wet one. Temperatures were below normal, and in the. South Island there was much cloudy weather. Though most of the month was quiet, there were two rather severe storms. Between the 3rd and the 5th a deep cyclone moved southward from Cape Maria van Diemen across the North Island to Banks Peninsula. It caused north easterly gales and heavy general rains. There was much flooding in the Auckland Province, and Little River (on Banks Peninsula) had a flood of catastrophic proportions. During the second storm, from the 15th to the 17th, there were very severe north-westerly gales. Southerly gales followed, and there were very widespread snow and had storms. A tornado was experienced at New Plymouth on the 17th.

June was a rather cold and sunless month, but until the last few days there was little wind. Rainfall was, on the whole, somewhat above normal. The wet conditions interfered with farming operations in Canterbury. Stormy weather was experienced on the 27th and 28th, culminating in a very cold spell with wide spread snow and had storms.

July.—North Auckland, Otago and Southland, and districts about Cook Strait, had more than the average rainfall. Elsewhere there was less than usual, the deficits being particularly large in Canterbury. Temperatures were below normal. There were further heavy and extensive falls of snow on the 3rd and 4th.

August.—Apart from two severe cold snaps, accompanied by widespread snow falls, the month was mild and springlike. Rainfall was much above the average in the South Island, but, on the whole, rather below it in the North.

September.—A rather severe cold spell occurred from the 10th to the 12th, but otherwise the weather was mild and pleasant. The greater part of it was dry, but practically all parts of the country received good rains at some period. There was vigorous growth of vegetation, and the spring season was unusually far advanced.

October.—The first two days were cold, but after that the weather was fairly mild and equable, with less westerly wind than usual. The rainfall distribution was rather irregular, but except in eastern districts of the North Island there was no shortage of moisture. On the whole, October was one of the best spring months the country has experienced. There was a wonderful flush of growth of grass and vegetation.

November was a remarkable month. It was almost continuously warm, and resembled a summer rather than a spring month. There was little wind, and sunshine was much above the average. It was the driest November experienced for many years, especially in the South Island.

December was even more remarkable than November. Not only was it the warmest December on record, but the average departures from normal over the country have never previously been equalled in any month. Again there was continuous warmth and an absence of wind. Many places had the greatest amount of sunshine hitherto recorded in December. North Auckland, which had had a wet month in November, also had some exceptionally heavy rains and severe floods. Almost everywhere else the month was drier even than November.

Year.— Rainfall was much above the average in North Auckland, but below it over almost the whole of the remainder of the North Island. In the South Island, districts which get most of their rain in winds from a westerly quarter had a dry year, but in the eastern half the totals were generally above average. On the whole, as regards rainfall, it was a better year than the preceding four.

Mean temperatures for the year were almost everywhere above normal, though departures from normal were very slight on the cast coast and in the Bay of Plenty area. In parts of the western districts and the interior of the South Island they amounted to just over 1° F. The relatively high means were, however, completely accounted for by the very high temperatures which prevailed in November and December. With the exception of April, the first seven months were cold. The warmth in April was extremely important, since it ensured supplies of winter feed for stock, prospects for which, in parts of the South Island at any rate, had previously appeared very uncertain. The spring was mild and the growth of pasture luxurious. Stock had a good year, though at the end dairy cattle were falling away and the milk-yield decreasing. The lambing season was excellent. Crops generally were fair. The 1934–35 season was one of small numbers and large fruit so far as apples were concerned, while the wheat crop was short through the wet ground in winter preventing a certain amount of sowing. The white butterfly spread farther over the South Island and was responsible for much damage.


(The observations were taken at 9 a.m., mean time.)

Station.Temperatures in Shade. Rainfall.
Mean Daily MaximumMean Daily minimumApprox. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1934Absolute MaximumAbsolute MinimumHours of Sun. shine.Total Fall.Number of Days.Maximum and monthMinimum and month
 °°°°  °°° Inches 
Te Paki65.151.858.477.5Feb.3O.0Aug.....2,282.361.43187
Waipoua65.549.657.679.0Dec.32.0July  1,370.771.19183
To Aroha67.648.958.288.0Dec.25.0June95.021.0..49.71159
Ruakura Farm, Hamilton66.845.156.085.4Dec.23.8July92.022.0..40.75145
New Plymouth63.550.150.878.4Nov.32.1May89.027.02,326.852.19171
Palmerston North63.947.455.784.0Dec.20.0June91.023.0..30.37148
Massey College; Palmerston North63.040.954.981.8Dec.21.2Aug.....2,023.635.53148
Golden Downs62.440.851.680.0Feb.19.3July......48.5097
Hanmer Springs61.539.250.488.0Jan.8.2July97.08.22,029.749.05131
Lake Coleridge61.542.552.087.0Dec.19.0July93.012.0..25.80113
The Hermitage, Mt. Cook56.038.247.482.0Nov.15.0July....1,612.9230.20160
Lake Tekapo57.9....83.5Dec.11.9July....2,407.727.3389
Manorburn Dam53.434.944.280.0Feb.1.6July......21.09142
     Dec June     

For 1934 the mean pressure at 9 a.m., in inches, reduced to sea-level and standard gravity, was: Waipoua, 29.991; Auckland, 30.052; Rotorua, 30.029; Wellington, 30.023; Nelson, 30.026; Hokitika, 30.035; Christchurch, 29.982; Dunedin, 29.977.


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. F.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' east of Greenwich—which is exactly 11 ½ 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 2h., New Zealand mean time, on the last Sunday in September in any year, and ending at 2h., 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 those purposes. The times stated in this article are N.Z.M.T. and are in accordance with the 24h. system: Oh. and 24h. = midnight; 12h. = noon.

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, Zikawei, Monte Grande, and Annapolis. The error in outgoing time signals can be judged from the following table of corrections for the year 1933 :—

Number of times correction did not exceed 0.25 seconds.. 416

Number of times correction between 0.26 and 0.50 seconds.. 47

Number of times correction between 0.51 and 1.00 seconds.. 1

Number of times correction exceeded 1.00 seconds.... 0

Number of time signals sent out...... 464

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


These signals are transmitted daily at 10h. 30m., and on Tuesdays and Fridays at 20h. 30m.

The signals are transmitted in the following manner:—

At l0h. 28m. 0s. a dash of two seconds duration is sent, followed by “ZMO” (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 1Oh. 29m. 50s.

At l0h. 30m. Os. 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 l0h. 31m., l0h. 32m., l0h. 34ru., and l0h. 35m. There is no time signal at l0h. 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 l0h. 31m., l0h. 32m.. l0h. 34m., or l0h. 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 20h. 30m. are similar in form to those just described.

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 station 2YA from the Observatory three times daily (at l0h. 30m., l0h. 30m., and 19h. 30m.). The signals consists of dashes of three seconds duration, transmitted at l0h. 30m.. l0h. 31m., l0h. 32m.; at l0h. 30m., l0h. 31m., 15h. 32m.; and at 19h. 30m., 19h. 31m., 19h. 32m. respectively.

At l0h. 30m., intermediate signals are also transmitted as described for ZLW in the preceding section. Intermediate signals are also transmitted at 15h. 30m., except on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The beginning of the dash represents the exact minute in every case.

The signals above described are broadcast by station 2YA daily, except Sundays, when only the l0h. 30m. signal is sent out. Station 3YA rebroadcasts the signals from station 2YA. The signals are regularly supplied from the Observatory, but their actual broadcast is controlled by station 2YA. At 19h. 30m. the stations only broadcast the first of the three signals supplied.


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 20h. 10m., the red at 20h. 20m., and the white at 20h. 25m. Simultaneous extinction of all the lights at 20h. 30m. 0s. 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 19h. 40m., the red at 20h. 20m., and the white at 20h. 25m. Simultaneous extinction of all the lights at 20h. 30m. 0s. 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 20h. 35m.


This time signal which was given by dropping the time-ball by direct signal from the Observatory at l0h. 30m. 0s., on Tuesdays and Fridays, has been discontinued. See the New Zealand Gazette No. 1, 10th January, 1935, and in Admiralty Notices to Mariners, 2nd March, 1935 (No. 351).


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 9h. and 15h. 30m. 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 9h. 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 9h. 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 15h. 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 taken as the time.


The following article on the New Zealand flora is by Dr. W. R; B. Oliver. D.Sc, F.R.S.N.Z., Director of the Dominion Museum:—

Though the unique features of (he flora of New Zealand are frequently emphasized, it should not be thought that there are not other floras which might be described as having equally peculiar characteristics. Taking the plants of the whole world, differentiation has proceeded in all areas so that each is unique in some respects, and as a general rule the quality of uniqueness is most impressed in those areas which for a long time have been isolated, thus giving evolution the opportunity to proceed unhampered by intercrossing with adjacent floras. The peculiar features of a flora are consequently an expression of its past history; and so those regions, such as South Africa, Western Australia, South America, and New Zealand, which, for considerable periods in their history, have been cut off from the remainder of the world, developed floras with many characteristics of surpassing interest. New Zealand is far distant from any continental mass and has maintained such a relation for a long period, probably throughout the whole of the Tertiary Era. Briefly, the peculiar features of the plants of New Zealand are a high degree of endemism; great development of certain genera such as the koromikos (hebe), karamus (Coprosnut). wild Spaniards (Aciphylla), daisy trees (Olearia), mountain daisies (Celmisia), and native brooms (Carmicliaelia); the absence or poor development of many of the largest genera of plants, such as Astragalus, Acacia, Eucalyptus, Euphorbia, Mesembryantheinum, Sclaginclla, although some are highly developed in Australia; the presence of an element, known as Antarctic, containing species related to those in South America and the islands of the Southern Ocean : certain peculiar life-forms, such as the dense cushion plants, known as vegetable sheep : and the high proportion of species with persistent juvenile stages considerably different from the adult forms.

In the following account a select number of species are mentioned for their interest in one way or another. Among the many important discoveries of the late Dr. L. Cockayne, however, was the fact that many of the individual plants in the vegetation are in reality hybrids between the ordinary “species” of the taxonomist. The prevalence of hybrids is, in fact, much more general than is apparent to the untrained eye. In a list recently published. Cockayne and II. H. Allan record nearly five hundred native hybrids. Some, such as the crosses among the beeches (Nothofagus) and tutus (Coriaria), take, in places, a prominent part in the vegetative covering.

Taking the vascular plants—that is, flowering-plants, conifers, ferns, and lycopods —as a whole, by far the larger portion show affinities directly or indirectly with the plants of the Malayan region. coming under this head are most of the conifers, especially the kauri (Agathis) and the two principal genera of podocarps (Lacrydivm, Podocarpus), and practically all the endemic genera for which the flora is so justly famed. It is necessary to mention only such important examples as Carmicliaelia, Anistrfome, Aciphylla, Haaslia, Jlaoulia, Stilbocarpa, Entelea, and Myosotidium. The presence of this element is justification for stating that the basis of the New Zealand flora is Malayan, and that it came to the country by way of an ancient land connection. Supporting evidence of such a land bridge is found in the presence in New Zealand of some flightless species of birds and the tuatara lizard; also, in former times, of the large wingless moas.

Another important element in the New Zealand flora may be described as Australian, as it includes species either identical with or related to those found in Australia or Tasmania. Some belong to endemic genera, some are odd species belonging to large and characteristic Australian genera such as Phrbalhim, Persoonia, Myoporuni, and Epacris; and there are over 250 species common to both sides of the Tasman Sea. About a fourth of these are widely distributed in many other parts of the world. Some of the Australian species may have come to New Zealand with the Mala}an element; others may have been accidentally carried by ocean currents, wind, or birds.

Of exceptional interest is the element in the New Zealand flora known as Antarctic because of its remarkable distribution and the fact that it has given rise to much controversy among biologists. Taking any of the southern continental lands, we find a considerable number of species related to those in the other cold temperate regions. Thus, in the New Zealand region there are about 70 species of vascular plants whose relations are with those in South America and the islands of the Southern Ocean. The most conspicuous of the Antarctic plants in New Zealand are the beeches (Nothofagus), fuchsias, broadleafs (Griselinia), wild irishman (Disraria), pukatea (Laurelia), and ourisias. Some botanists explain the presence of the Antarctic element in New Zealand by an ancient southern land connection : others think that equally ancient dispersal from the north and accidental dispersal overseas are sufficient to account for them. All of these methods may have played their part.

The internal distribution of the plants of New Zealand deserves brief notice. Some species occupy quite limited areas even on the mainland. Examples are Cdssinia amoena in the North Cape Peninsula, Pittosponim near boulder Lake. Hebe oblusata north of Manukau Harbour, Copiosma obcoyika in the Wairoa Gorge, and several species in the mountains of the South Island. More often, species of limited distribution are confined to islands: in fact, most of the islands at some distance from the coast have one or more species peculiar to them. Conspicuous examples are« Homolantlms polyandrus in the Kermadec Islands. Davallia Tasniani at the Three Kings. Xeronema Callistetnon on the Poor Knights and Hen Island, Myosotidium horlensia in the Chatham Islands, and species of Pleurophyllum and Slilbocarpa in the Subantarctic Islands.

Perhaps of more importance than these cases of isolated distribution is the circumstance that on the main islands considerable numbers of species have their southern or northern limits at about the same latitude. Two critical boundaries in this connection an; 38° S. Lat. in the North Island, and 42° S. bat. in the South Island. On this basis New Zealand may be divided into three botanical districts; and if other evidence be taken into account a number of provinces may be defined. The northern botanical province, which extends from the Three Kings Islands to 38° S. bat., is especially well-marked, having nearly 100 species which are confined to it or extend but a short distance beyond its southern border. Of especial interest are the kauri (Agathi-s auslralis), taraire (Beilschmiedia taraire), makamaka (Ackama rosaefolia), mangrove (Avicennia officinal is), pohutukawa [Metrosideros excelsq), and mairelmu (Phebaliuni nudum).

A brief review may now be made of the principal groups of plants found in New Zealand. The vascular plants, which comprise ferns, lycopods, and their allies, conifers, and flowering-plants, almost entirely form the land vegetation of physiognomic importance. It is these which clothe the ground and are thus of so much importance to the beauty of the landscape. Lichens are dominant in certain rocky situations, especially near the coast, and these plants, together with mosses and liverworts, are conspicuous members of the interior of scrub and forest in humid climates. Algae take undisputed possession of rocky coasts below tide marks, but on muddy bottoms a flowering-plant, the sea wrack (Zostcra), covers wide areas in sheltered situations.

Beginning with the flowering-plants, of which there are over 1,600 species, we find that the daisy family. Compositae. generally placed in the highest position in the flora, contains about 2010 species. This is a world-wide family of over 13,000 species. The New Zealand species show some peculiar features and include some exceedingly interesting kinds. The leathery-leaved Pachystegia insignis, the purple-flowered species of Pleiirbphyllum, and the edelweiss-like Leucogenes, -form a remarkable series. Raoulia and Ilaastia include the wonderful cushion-like species known as vegetable sheep,. characteristic of the drier mountains of the South Island. Smaller species of similar growth extend as far north as the Tararuas, and as far south as Stewart Island. The mountain daisies, Celmisia, run into over 60 species; and there are over 40 species of daisy-trees, Olearia. Notable members of this genus are the holly-leaved daisy-tree (0. ilicifolia) and the tete-a-weka (0. angustifolia). Senecio includes about 35 species belonging to New Zealand, several being trees of considerable height. The puheretaiko or mutton-bird shrub (S. rotundifolius) forms a coastal scrub in. Stewart Island and the fiord district.

The Australian family, Stylidiaceae, includes only a few New Zealand species, but among them are the bog cushion plants Donatio and Pliyllachne.

The blue-bell family, Campanulaceae, which comprises about 1,000 species found in all parts of the world, is represented in New Zealand by” species, one of which (Wahlenbergia cartilaginea) is a fleshy plant characteristic of mountain shingle slips, and another (If. Matlhewsii) has rather large pale lilac flowers.

The madder family, Rubiaceae, of over 5,000 species, mainly tropical and subtropical, includes the genus Ooprosma, of about 90 species, of which 40 are found in New Zealand. The species of this genus range from forest trees of moderate height to creeping shrubs, and have inconspicuous flowers but bright berries of different colours. The best-known species are the taupata (C. repens). a coastal plant much used for hedges, the karamu (C. robusta), and the kanono (C. australis).

A characteristic Australian family is Myoporaceae, with one representative only in New Zealand, the well-known coastal tree, ngaio (myoporum laetum).

The speedwell family, Scrophulariaceae, comprises over 2,600 species, mainly found in temperate climates. In New Zealand it has developed chiefly in the four genera : Hebe, 66 species; Veronica, 13 species; Ourisia, 10 species : and Euphrasia, 13 species. The Hebes or koromikos are shrubs with handsome racemes of pale-lilac to white flowers and are conspicuous in all the natural scrubs of the Dominion, but are especially in evidence in mountainous localities. The willow-leaved koroiniko.(H.salicifolia), in one or other of its forms, is found throughout New Zealand in lowland forests and scrub. Several species of Hebe, known as whip-cord koromikos, are remarkable for the fact that the leaves are reduced and scale-like, resembling those of the cypress. The large floewering-heads of Ourisia are conspicuous objects in the mountains. The mangrove, Avicennia officinalis, is found in tidal estuaries throughout the eastern hemisphere. In New Zealand it occurs from the North Cape to Kawhia and Opotiki. Another member of this family, Verbenaceae, is the puriri (Vitcx lucens), a handsome tree with extremely hard wood.

The borage family, Boraginaceae, of 1,600 mostly north temperate species, is represented in New Zealand by 31 species of forget-me-not (Alyosolis), and by Myosotidium hortensia. This last species is confined to the Chatham Islands, and is remarkable for the large reniform leaves, sometimes a foot across, and the large heads of blue flowers.

There are 24 species of gentians, family Gentianaceae, in New Zealand. They are mainly mountain plants, and many have show}' flowers, mostly white with radiating purple veins. Elsewhere the genus, which comprises some 350 species, is mainly north temperate, but extends all along the Andes.

The four species of olive, family Oleaceae. found in New Zealand, include the black maire, Oka Gunnirighamii, and the white maire, 0. lanceolata, notable for their hard timber.

The heath family, Ericaceae, widely spread in temperate regions, is poorly represented in Australia and New Zealand. Qaullheria, with 100 species in America, has but 8 in New Zealand. Instead of Ericaceae, however, there is present in Australia and New Zealand, and almost confined thereto, an allied family, Epacridaceae, containing some 300 species. The most conspicuous members in New Zealand are the various kinds of grass trees, Dracophyllum, of which there are over 30 species. Some are trees, but mostly they are shrubs and take a prominent part in subalpine scrubs. The leaves are grass-like and the flowers are borne in racemes or panicles. Two of the largest members are the neinei (D. lalifolium) of the North Island, and D. Traversii of the South Island.

The cornel family, Cornaceae, contains two species of the genus Griselinia, other- wise Chilean. They have large, shining, dark-green leaves, and one, the broadleaf (O, littoralis), produces a durable timber.

The world-wide carrot family, Umbelliferae, is represented in New Zealand by over 80 species, but over half of them belong to the genera Aciphylln and Anisotome. The species of Aciphylla have branched, sword-like leaves arising at ground-level as a dense tuft. Some are 2 ft. in length, and, being rigid, are formidable objects to man or beast. From the centre rises an equally armoured spike of small flowers. Anisotome includes unarmed herbs, more or less aromatic, with compound leaves and conspicuous compound umbels. With the exception of a few species in Australia, Aciphylla and Anisotome are confined to New Zealand.

The ivy family, Araliaceae, mainly tropical in distribution, is represented in New Zealand by 25 species, all but three being trees. The three herbs belong to the remarkable genus Slilbocarpa. and have leaves 1½ ft. in diameter. The trees include the large-leaved puka, Meryta Sinclairii, of tropical affinities. Those belonging to the genus Pseudopanax, some of which are known as lance-woods, pass through juvenile forms with straight, unbranched stems bearing narrow and deflexed, toothed leaves up to 3 ft. in length.

The evening primrose family, Onagraceae, found in many temperate climates, is represented in New Zealand by about 40 species of willow-herbs and three species of Fuchsia. The latter is an American genus of over 60 species, and by what method the New Zealand forms reached New Zealand is a. question of great interest to biologists. The common New Zealand kotukutuku, Fuchsia excorticata, is a tree, usually deciduous, with papery bark.

The myrtle family, Myrtaceae, is widespread, but most abundant in South America and Australia. In New Zealand there are 17 species of shrubs and trees belonging to this family. The most common are the manuka, Leptospermum scojwrium, and the kanuka, L. ericoides. One or both of these cover extensive areas in situations ranging from swamps to sand-dunes. They form dense thickets and, in some places, forest. The various species of rata (Metrosidcros) produce an abundance of brush-like red or white flowers. Most conspicuous along the shores of the northern portion of the Dominion is the pohutukawa, M. exedsa, which, in midsummer, is covered with crimson flowers. Equally conspicuous are the northern and southern ratas, M. robusta and M. umberlata, lofty forest trees producing durable timber. The northern rata begins life as a seedling high up on another tree, such as a rimu, and, reaching the ground with its roots, clasps the stem of its host, finally killing and replacing it. Some of the species of Meirosideros are climbers. Their woody, cable-like stems, sometimes 6 in. in diameter, enable the foliage to expand among the tops of the tallest trees.

The mallow family, Malvaceae, of tropical and subtropical distribution, includes a few trees inhabiting New Zealand. They are known as lace-barks and ribbon-woods on account of the lattice-like strands of the bast. The Maori used this bark for textile work. The species of Hoheria or lace-barks bear, in late summer, a profusion of white flowers. One species is deciduous.

The small tropical family Elaeocarpaceae contains two species of Klacocarpus, a large Malayan genus, one of them being the hinau, which bears large clusters of pendant flowers. The makomako, Aristotclia scrrata, is a common tree which springs up in abundance in forest clearings.

The karaka, Corynocarpus laevigata, is a handsome tree with shining dark-green foliage and large orange drupes. The kernel contains a virulent poison, but the flesh is edible. The Maori treated the kernel so as to render it innocuous. The family, Corynocarpaceae, contains one genus of three species, two of which are natives of New Caledonia.

The small tropical family, Coriariaceae, is represented in New Zealand by about five species of Goriaria, one of which is the well-known tutu, C. arborea, the leaves of which are poisonous to stock. The tutu appears abundantly in clearings and on bracken-covered hills.

Although the family Meliaceae contains GOO species, mainly tropical, only one, the kohokohe, Dysoxylon spectabile, is found in New Zealand. The flowers are borne during mid-winter on the trunks and branches. The timber is easily worked, and on account of its brown colour is responsible for the name “New Zealand cedar”being given to this species.

The bean family, Leguminosae, one of the largest in the world, contains a number of New Zealand species, but, as in the carrot family, most of them belong to general highly peculiar to the Dominion. There are over 20.species of Carmichaelid and a few of some related genera, all of broom-like habit—that is. having leafless twigs and paniculate flowers. Some of the species bear large clusters of blooms of great beauty. Notable members of this family are the three species of kowhai. Edwardftia. The irenus is tropical and subtropical; but the New Zealand species have South American affinities. All the species have showy yellow flowers much sought after by honey-sucking birds. and the common kowhai, E. microphylla. produces a durable timber known to saw- millers as New Zealand lignum vitae.

The rose family. Hosaccae, is in New Zealand chiefly noted for its species of Acaena, of infamous reputation. The plant flourishes in pastures, and its burrs collect in great clots on the wool of sheep, causing much loss to sheep-fanners.

The subtropical family. Cunoniaeeae. is represented in New Zealand by three species of trees. One, the kainahi, Weiwmannia ructmosa, is excessively abundant in forests south of the Waikato district, and its ally, the tawhero, If. sylvicola, replaces it in the north.

Pittosporaceae is a family of trees and shrubs which, with the exception of Piltosporum, is confined to Australia. This genus is well represented in New Zealand. where it includes 23 species. Some, such as the kohuhu, P. tenuifolium, and karo. P. crassifolium, are extensively used as hedge plants. A remarkable and beautiful species is P. Dattii. It is distinguished by its serrated leaves and large white flowers.

The large family of saxifrages, Saxifragaceaeæ. with numerous herbaceous genera in northern temperate regions, is represented in New Zealand by three genera only, each containing one or two species of trees. Carpodetus, the putaputaweta, is the most common. In early summer the trees are covered with large clusters of small white flowers.

The cress family, Cruciferae. is of world-wide distribution and of numerous species. It is. however, little in evidence in New Zealand but contains the peculiar genera of mountain plants, Pitch ycltidon and Nololhlaspi. A species of Lepidium, now almost eaten out by stock, was formerly abundant along the seashore, and was used as a vegetable by the crews of Captain Cook's ships.

Another world-wide family of plants, that of the buttercups, Ranunoulaceae, contains in New Zealand !) species of Clematis, over 40 of Ranunculus, and a few others. The species of Ranunculus are especially characteristic of the subalpine and alpine zones and contain some very peculiar forms. Some are found only on mountain screes and some reach almost the upper limit of vegetation. The mountain buttercup, R. Lyallii, possesses large, circular, peltate leaves, and the largest flowers of any species belonging to the genus. During the summer months the puawhananga (Clematis indivisa) displays masses of large white, flowers over the surrounding foliage.

A tropical family of root parasites, Balanophoraceae, has in New Zealand a single member, the pua-reinga (Daclylanthus Taylori). The host tree responds by forming rosettes with radiating flutings and considerably wider than the diameter of the roots themselves.

Of woody parasites, New Zealand possesses 11 members of the mistletoe family, Loranthaceae. Members of the genus Elylranthe are conspicuous objects among the tops of beech-trees on account of their clusters of scarlet or yellow flowers.

The large Australian and South African family of proteas, Proteaceae, is represented in New Zealand by only 2 members. One is the torn (Persoonia torn), a small tree belonging to an Australian genus of 60 species, and the other is the rewarewa (Knightia exciha). a lofty tree with relatives in New Caledonia. The wood of the rewarewa is beautifully variegated and is much used for inlaying and cabinet work.

The mulberry family, Moraceae, widely represented in the tropics, extends to New Zealand only in three species of Paratrophis. Most common is the turepo or milk-tree, P. microphylla, and all exude a white latex when bruised.

The beech family, Fagaceae. which is best represented in the northern temperate zone, has in New Zealand 5 species of small-leaved species of beech, referred to the genus Nothofagus, a very close ally of the northern Fagus. The other members of Notthofagus are found in Australia, Tasmania, and temperate South America. The New Zealand beeches are the dominant members of large areas of upland forest in the main islands. They provide a considerable proportion of the timber milled in the Dominion. The species are the red beech (N. fusca), silver beech (N. Menziesii), black beech (N. Solnndri). mountain beech (N. cliffortioides), and hard beech (N. truncata).

Of monocotyledonous plants the orchids, family Orchidaceae, are among the most specialized, and may be mentioned first. New Zealand is relatively poor in species there being only 66 known kinds, whereas the world total is about 8,000. Most of tin New Zealand forms are ground species, some inconspicuous. The large epiphytic genera Demi robium and Bulbophyllum are represented by 1 and 2 species respectively, and there are 3 species of the Polynesian Earina and 1 of the Australian Sarcochilus. All New Zealand epiphytes occasionally grow on rocks or even on the ground.

The world-wide lily family, Liliaceae, extends to New Zealand in a comparatively small number of genera, but. like other cosmopolitan families, some of these are note- worthy. Phormium contains the celebrated New Zealand flax. P. teriax, and another smaller species, P. Colensoi. The larger species is found in swamps and wet places. It is a noble plant with sword-like leaves from 6 ft. to 10 ft. long, overtopped by the erect flower-heads. It is now extensively cultivated for its fibre. Xeroncma Calliste.mon, with red. brush-like flowers and iris-like leaves, is confined to islands off the coast of the North Auckland Peninsula. Its only relative is found in New Caledonia. Conspicuous in swamps, scrub, and low forest are the species of Gordyline, palm-like plants bearing clusters of small white flowers. The most plentiful is the ti-rahau or cabbage-tree, C. australis; but the most remarkable, on account of its wide, elastic leaves, is the toii, C. indivisa, found on the forest border or in the more open parts of cool forests. Perched in great clusters on tall forest trees are various species of Aslelia and Cottospermum, in habit like large tussock grasses.

Palms constitute an immense family, Palmaceae, of over 1,100 species, and are essentially tropical or subtropical. Only 2 species are found in New Zealand, one. the nikau (lihopolostylia sapida), extending as far south as Banks Peninsula and Hokitika, and the other (R. Cheesemanii) confined to the Kermadec Islands.

The grasses, family Gramineae. of which there are over 120 species in New Zealand, include the large pampas-like toetoe, Arundo conspicua. As its specific name implies. it is a conspicuous species. It is especially abundant in swamps and in coastal localities. Other notable grasses are the various species of Danthonia which, over wide areas in the mountains, form the dominating feature—namely, large tussocks of narrow waving leaves. The smaller species of Danthonia, notably D. pilosa and D. scmiannularis. are important pasture grasses. Many of the New Zealand grasses are also found in Australia, and among them the spinifex. is. hirsutus, abundant as a sand-binding species along the outer dunes.

Many of the sedges, family Cyperaceae, of which there are over 120 species in New Zealand, form large tussocks with tall brown panicles. Unlike the grasses, they are conspicuous in scrubs and forests. Chief among these are the various species of Galium. A beautiful species. Gladium Sinclairii, has flat, shining leaves and adds much to the beauty of wet cliffs. The genus L'licinia, with 14 species in New Zealand, must be mentioned on account of the fact that it is found in south temperate regions and islands generally, and because the fruit is furnished with peculiar hooks enabling it to become entangled in the hair or wool of animals. There are 55 species of the genus Carex in New Zealand, some, such as C. temaria, forming dense thickets in swamps.

The class of cone-bearing trees, or gymnosperms, is represented in New Zealand by two families, one, Araucariaccae, containing two genera of truly cone-bearing trees, Agathis and Libocedrus, and the other, Podocarpaceae, containing 17 species with nut- like fruits surrounded more or less by the fleshy scales.

The kauri (Agathia australis) for more than a century has been world-famed for its timber. A straight role, up to SO ft. or more in height, carries an immense rounded head of dark-green, shining leaves. The kauri is found only in the northern part of the North Island, and only a few areas of considerable extent now exist. The timber is still an important product. The resin, which is obtained from the living tree and also dug from the ground where kauri forests formerly existed, is of value in making varnishes and for other purposes. Informer times the value of the resin exported was greater than that of the timber.

Libocedrus contains two cypress-like trees with brown bark which falls in long, thin strips. One species, the kawaka (L. pllunom), is more northern in distribution than the other, the pahautea (L. Bidwillii).

Of the podocarps, the three New Zealand genera extend to Malaya and other regions. They include the rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum), which is cut for timber more than is any other species of tree in New Zealand; the totara (Podocarpus fotara). a handsome tree with pungent leaves and producing a useful timber, the favourite of the Maoris for canoes and house carvings; the matai (P. spicatus), the miro (P. ferrugineus), and the kahikatea (P. dacrydioides). all producing valuable timber; the tanekaha [Phylloclaius trichomanoides), a tall tree with leaf-like branches, the true leaves being fully developed only in the seedlings; and the silver pine (D. Colensoi), and yellow pine (D. intermedium), of bog-forests.

Ferns are the glory of the New Zealand forests. They are, of course, most in evidence in damp forests. Here the undergrowth in places may consist mostly of ferns. In addition, they may clothe most of the tree trunks and branches, and, as tree-ferns, take a part in the upper canopy of foliage. There are 145 species, distributed over 12 families, found in New Zealand.

The filmy ferns, family Hymenophyllaceae, are included in the genera Hymenophyllum, Trichomanes, and Cardiomanes. In moist forests a dozen or more species often may be obtained in a single locality. Their delicate leaves cover ground, logs, and trunks alike. They vary from the broad-leaved H. dilahdum, which may reach a height of 2 ft., to the minute H. minimum, less than 1 in. tall. One species, the kidney fern, Cardiomanes reniforme. has undivided, reniform leaves fringed with the spore- producing organs.

A single species, Loxsoma Cunninghamii, with the leaves whitish below, represents the family Loxsomaceae in New Zealand, where it is confined to the Auckland Province. The only other members of the family are found in tropical America.

The family Dicksoniaceae has three representatives in New Zealand, all belonging to the genus Dicltsonia. All are tree-ferns, but in one species, D. lanata, the trunk usually lies along the ground. The wheki, D. sqnarrosa, is perhaps the most common tree-fern in New Zealand.

Another family of tree-ferns is Cyatheaceae. It includes the tall and stately black tree-fern or mamaku (Cyathca medxdlliris), and the smaller silver tree-fern or ponga (C. dealbata). In one species, Alsophila Colensoi, the trunk almost always is prostrate.

Most ferns belong to the family Polypodiaceae, which is represented in New Zealand by about 90 species. All the ordinary ferns, including the bracken, Pteridium esculenhtrn, belong to this family. The most prevalent genera are Polystichum, Dryopleris. Asphnmm, Blechnum, Hypolepis, Adiantum, Pteris, and Polypodium, all widely distributed. Only one genus of Polypodiaceae Leptohpia, is confined to New Zealand.

The king fern, Todea barbara, and two species of Leptopteris, with finely-divided filmy leaves, and hence called crape ferns, represent the family Osmundaceae in New Zealand. The horse-shoe ferns, family Marattiaceae, have a single representative, the para (Marattia fraxinea), in the North Island.

The lycopods, family Lycopodiaceae, include the New Zealand and Australian genus Phylloglossum containing only a single species, P. Drummondii, and twelve species of Lycopodium. A related family, Psilotaceae, contains the two species Tmesipteris tannensis and Psilotum triquetrum.

In a country with a greatly diversified land surface and considerable range in climatic conditions, one may expect a great variety in the nature of the plant covering. Such actually is the case in New Zealand, where the plant formations range from warm, temperate rain forest to alpine rock associations at the limit of plant growth.

When organized European settlement first began in New Zealand, about 1840, it has been estimated that 60 per cent, of the land surface was under forest. The forest, has now been reduced to under 20 per cent., mainly by the clearing of kauri, podocarp, and broad-leaved lowland forests. The mountainous regions, where there is a pre- ponderance of beech forests, naturally have suffered the least.

In a broad sense the forest may be divided into three main types: (1) Coniferous forests; (2) broad-leaved forests; (3) beech forests.

The coniferous forests fall into two groups—kauri and podocarp. Kauri forests are confined to the northern portion of the North Island. The occurrence of kauri resin in the ground in places now occupied by swamp or scrub indicates that in pre- European times this formation covered an area considerably greater than it does at the present day. Kauri forest occurs in patches, some of considerable size, among the broad-leaved forests, mainly taraire. The kauri is dominant and determines the physiognomy of the formation. Its immense heads of foliage in clumps and its greater height make the stands of kauri easily recognizable from a distance. The large trees associated with the kauri include the taraire, tawa, tawhero, northern rata, rimu, totara, hinau, and others. Underneath are tree-ferns, nikau palms, and various small trees, including the mairehau, neinei, kanono, and Alseuosmia macrophylla, while the large tussock sedge, Gahnia xanthocurpa, and especially the liliaceous tussock, Astelia irinervia, are conspicuous plants in the undergrowth.

Of the podocarp forests, that in which rimu is dominant or extremely common is the most frequent. A considerable mixture of trees, including other podocarps, such as matai and miro, and many kinds of broad-leaved trees, make up the main tier of the forest. Small trees, often with large leaves laxly disposed, form a second tier, while ferns often dominate the undergrowth. The totara, sometimes occurring as immense trees, dominates smaller areas than docs the rimu, and prefers drier soil. At higher levels its smooth-barked ally, Podocarp us Hallii, replaces it. On wet ground, often growing in water, the principal podocarp is the kahikatea. Its straight mast-like trunks impress the visitor to-day as they did when viewed by Captain Cook and his botanists in 1769. In boggy places other podocarps, such as the silver pine or the yellow pine, may be dominant.

Broad-leaved forest covers wide areas in the North Island. In the north the taraire is the dominant tree. Elsewhere its congener, the tawa, takes the principal place. These forests in their interior are much like the podocarp forests, the associated trees, shrubs, and ferns being mostly the same species. Taraire forest interdigitates with kauri forest and the associated species are identical. Tawa forests south of 38° S. lat. lack many species which do not extend farther south than the taraire forest region. Other widely-distributed types of broad-leaved forests are those in which the kamahi and the southern rata are the principal trees. Southern rata forest is essentially a South Island community, and generally contains a considerable proportion of kamahi. In damp situations, as in deep gullies, the pukatea is the principal tree; on drier hill- sides the northern rata is sometimes most in evidence. Its habit of strangling its host has the effect of its gradually replacing rimu forest.

The beech forests are characterized by the dominance of one or more species of Xothofagus. They are poorer in species than the coniferous or broad-leaved forests, while ferns and epiphytes are not such conspicuous features. They occur over wide areas of mountainous country in both the main islands, though curiously enough are absent from Mount Egmont, and from Westland between the Taranmakau and Paringa Rivers. The mountain beech forms a rather dry type of forest, which occurs on both the wet but cold mountains and on the drier foothills, especially those east of the Southern Alps. The silver beech forms a distinctly moist forest, and mixes freely with podocarps, other species of beech, and broad-leaved trees. In appearance and in variety of associated species silver beech forest much resembles podocarp forest. The red beech, black beech, and hard beech occur mixed or individually dominating in extensive areas in both islands.

Taking the meaning of scrub in the ordinary sense—namely, a closed formation of shrubs—there are in New Zealand several kinds differing in both floristic and ecological composition. The most widely distributed of the scrubs is that in which manuka or kanuka is dominant, and, in places, almost the only shrub present. It occurs in swamps, bogs, poor pumice and clay lands; also on good fertile soil. Its ubiquity is due to the readiness of these two species quickly to take possession of unoccupied land, and its presence in the better-class soils is without doubt due to the fact that these areas were formerly occupied by forest which has disappeared before Maori or European. Given time, forest will again supersede the manuka or kanuka scrub. Sometimes species of Dracophyllum—for instance, D. subulalum on the Hangitaiki plains—are dominant in a scrub much resembling dwarf manuka scrub.

Coastal scrubs are best developed on islands, where some characteristic species form almost pure associations. Such are the pohutukawa and taupata in the north, the puheretaiko and tote-a-weka in the south, and Olearia Lyallii in the Southern Islands.

Above the forest-line on all the higher mountains a belt of scrub is found between forest and tussock. It is usually dense to the point of being impenetrable. The dominant species varies with exposure and district, but usually one or more of the following are conspicuous : Olecnia Collusoi, Senecie claegnifolius, various species of Coprosma, Dracophyllum, and Hebe, Phyllocladus alpiniis, Cassinia Vauvilliersii, Aristotelia frulicosa, and Sullonia divaricata.

On the mountain-sides above the dense scrub and tussock only scattered plants, both shrubs and herbs, occur in sheltered places. Here and in other open places a highly peculiar type of shrub is found. It takes the form of a dense cushion, the outer surface of which is the truncated tips of abbreviated tightly-packed branches with their dense clothing of woolly, scale-like leaves. The large species, some of winch are 3 ft. or 4 ft. in diameter, are known as “vegetable sheep “(Baoulia cximia, Haastia Sinclairii).

Leaving aside the various associations of plants in water, bogs, swamps, near fumaroles, on sand-dunes, shingly river-beds, and so on, this account may be closed by a reference to the tussock-grass lands of the Dominion. The area under tussock is now considerably larger than at the period of early European settlement, owing to the burning-off of scrub. Tussock occurs on all high mountains above the scrub-line, and also over vast areas east of the main divide in the South Island. Two main divisions may be recognized : one is dominated by Festuca Novae Zcalandiae and Poa caespitosa, the other by the large tussocks of Danthonia Raoulii. With these are associated a few shrubs, various herbs, and here and there a fern. At the higher levels are grass- lands composed of mat-forming species (Danthonia australis, Poa, aciculanfolia, Triodia cxigua, and others) and various low-growing herbs.

Plants introduced to New Zealand during the period of European occupation now take such a prominent part in the plant covering that a few remarks must be made about them. About Good species are sufficiently well established to be considered naturalized. They occur mostly in settled districts, but in clearings and along tracks far in the native forest a few exotic species are occasionally found. The introduced plants cannot establish themselves in unbroken forest, but, in the area under settlement, especially in the scrubs, grassland, and swamps, many have become permanent members of these formations, and, in places, certain exotic species such as gorse, broom, lupin, blackberry, and some others, dominate new communities.

For the guidance of those desiring further information on the flora and plant covering of New Zealand, the following works should be consulted : “Plants of New Zealand,” by 11. M. Laing and E. W. Blackwcll. ed. 3, 1927; “Manual of the New Zealand Flora,” by T. F. Cheeseman, ed. 2, 1925; “The Trees of New Zealand,” by L. Cockayne and E. Phillips-Turner, 1928; “The Forest Flora of New Zealand,” by T. Kirk, 1889; “New Zealand Trees and Shrubs and how to identify them,” by H. H. Allan, 1928; “New Zealand Ferns,” by H. B. Dobbic, ed. 3, 1931; “New Zealand Plants and their Stoiy,” by L. Cockayne, ed. 3. 1927: “The Vegetation of New Zealand,” by L. Cockayne, ed. 2, 1928: “The Cultivation of New Zealand Plants,” by L. Cockayne, 1923; “The New Zealand Nature Book,” Vol. 2, by W. Martin, 1929;- and numerous articles published in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute and of the Royal Society of New Zealand.


The following brief article on the fauna of New Zealand originally prepared by Mr. James Drummond, E.L.S., F.Z.S., has been revised by him for this edition:—

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.

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 hat, belongs to a genus (Chalinolobus) which is found in the Australian and Ethiopean 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 luberrulalus), belongs to a genus peculiar to this Dominion.

At one time it was believed that the Maori dog (Oanis familiaris, variety maorium, the “kuri” of the Maoris) and the Maori rat (Mus nxvlans, the Maori “kiore”) were indigenous to New Zealand, but it is now generally believed that these two animals were introduced by the Maoris when they made their notable migrations from their legendary Hawaiki. The dog was highly prized as a domestic pet, and the rat as food. Both could easily be taken across the sea in the large canoes used in those days. The dog, without doubt, is extinct. 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 bad long hair, short legs, a short bushy tail, and no loud bark, but only a whine. The Maoris lavished upon it an abundance of affection. When dead its flesh was used for food, its skin for clothing, and its hair for ornaments. Opinions differ in regard to the approximate date of its extinction, and investigations in this respect are made somewhat difficult by the fact that for some years “wild dogs,” as they were called— probably a cross between the Maori dog and dogs brought by Europeans infested several districts in both the North Island and the South Island, and were confused with the Maori dog. It is probable that the pure Maori dog became extinct about 1885. The Maori rat, a forest-dweller, is not as plentiful as it was when Europeans first came to New Zealand, but it still lives in the forests.

The long-tailed species of bat was once fairly plentiful, especially in the forests, where it makes its home hi 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 eaves. The short-tailed species probably is not extinct, but rare. 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 an effort was made to revive the industry, but was not encouraging. Only two whaling-stations are established hi New Zealand at present: both are on a small scale, and the catches have a low average. The older of the two stations is at Whangamumu, Bay of Islands; it takes hump-back whales near^-the coast. Southern right whales are taken there occasionally; these and blue or fin whales are rare at that station. The more modern station is in Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound, where during the three months of Winter hump-backs are taken and a few southern right whales.

By its strange behaviour a Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) became famous under the title of “Pclorus Jack.” It made a practice of following steamers through Pelorus Sound. So much interest was taken in this dolphin by the public, zoologists, and learned societies that it was protected by an Order in Council issued in 1904 under the Sea-fisheries Act. Pelorus Jack has not been seen since 191G. It was the only member of the genus Grampus recorded in 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, rats, cats, stoats, and weasels, and the ruthless use of the gun 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 (Qallirallus), the kakapo parrot (Strigops), and the takaho (Notoniis Hochstelleri)* cannot use their wings for flight, while a duck belonging to the Auckland Islands (Nesonetta) is practically in the same plight. There are several species of birds whose wings are so weak that they can make only short flights.

* Better known to the public as Notornis Manlelli.

Other notable birds are the kea (Nestor notabilis), which is accused of killing sheep on stations in the South Island; the tui (Prosthemadera Novae Zealandiae), which affords one of the most beautiful sights in the New Zealand forests, and charms visitors with its silvery notes; the huia (Heteralocha acutirostris), the only species known in which there is a wide divergence in the shape of the bills in the two sexes, the male's being short and straight, while the female's is curved, pliant, and long; and the wry-billed plover (Anarhynchus frontalis), the only bird known to possess a bill turned to one side. Cormorants or shags (Phalacrocorax) and penguins (Impennes) are exceptionally well represented in the avifauna. New Zealand 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 shore-birds make remarkable migrations to New Zealand from regions around the North Pole. They nest there, but spend the spring and summer in New Zealand, leaving the Dominion for their northern homes in the autumn. A few miss the general migration and stay in New Zealand all winter. They probably join the outward-bound flocks in the following autumn. The most famous of these migrants, the bar-tailed or Pacific godwit (Limosa lapjjonica) known in New Zealand by its Maori name kuaka, nests on the tundras of Eastern Siberia and in Kamchatka and Western Alaska. The Hudsonian godwit (Limosa hacmastica), the Pacific golden plover (Plurialis dominicus), the knot (Canulus camilus) and several species of sandpipers are on the list; and the parasitic jaeger or Arctic skua, which nests as far north as Greenland, Spitzbergen, and Franz, Josef Land, sometimes spends the summer in New Zealand. Two species of cuckoos—the shining cuckoo (Lamprococcyx luddvs) and the long- tailed cuckoo (Urodynamis tailensis)—arrive in New Zealand from unknown northern homes, probably on Pacific islands, in the spring, and leave the Dominion about April. Both are parasitical, imposing on small birds the duties of hatching and rearing young cuckoos. In some respects the kiwi is the most remarkable bird in New Zealand. It is the only bird known with nostrils at the tip of the bill, instead of at the base. Its plumage is hair-like in appearance. It lays an immense egg compared with the size of its body. Its structure is very generalized. Sir Richard Owen once suggested that it seemed to have borrowed its head from one group of birds, its legs from another, and its wings from a third.

The takahe (Notornis), a large, heavily built rail, is one of the rarest birds. Only four individuals have been recorded. Two of the skins are in the British Museum, one is in the Dresden Museum, and one remains in New Zealand in the Otago Museum, Dunedin. The fourth Notornis was caught by two guides (Messrs. D. and J. Ross) at Notornis Bay, Lake Te Anau, in 1898. There is reason to believe that this species still exists in the wild country of the southern sounds.

An eagle, a goose, and a large rail are amongst New Zealand's extinct birds. In this class are the moas. Dr. W. R. B. Oliver has divided them into twenty one species. The tallest stood 12 ft. high. Their remains show that they were very plentiful. The cause and time of their extinction are still subjects of controversy. A mass of knowledge has been collected about them; all this with theories and Maori traditions has been recorded in Mr. T. Lindsay Buick's “The Mystery of the Moa” (1931). It should be read with Dr. Oliver's erudite essay on the moas in “New Zealand Birds” (1930).

Reptilian life is restricted to about fifteen species of lizards and to the tuatara (Sphenodon punctalvs). This is a lizard-like creature, the only surviving representative of the order Rhynehocephalia. The tuatara is found in no other country. It has been destroyed to a large extent by wild pigs, cats, and dogs, and is now seldom found except on a few islands off the coast of the mainland.

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

About 310 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 (Chry so planus), 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-colon red beetles, and representatives of other orders of insects. The katipo spider, which lives mostly on or near the sea-beach, is well known locally. Amongst the mollusea there is a large and hand- some land-snail (Paryphunla) 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 many species in the marine shells, including the paper nautilus (Argonauta).

Perhaps the most interesting of all the invertebrates is 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.

On the arrival of Europeans the whole face of the fauna changed. The first European animal introduced was the pig, liberated by Captain Cook in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1773. With settlement, sheep, cattle, horses, and other domestic animals were brought, some for utility, some for pleasure, such as song birds, and some for sport, such as deer, trout, pheasants, and quail.

Twenty-four species of introduced birds have established themselves. Some succeeded so well that they created a small-bird nuisance. In 1906 the German owl, little owl, or brown owl (Athene noclua) was successfully introduced to help to check the small introduced birds. It is accused of killing native small birds. New Zealand farmers regard the starling as the most useful introduced bird. They condemn the house-sparrow as the most destructive, and next to it the skylark. Many species of injurious insects have been accidentally introduced. The small cabbage white butterfly (Picris rapae) appeared in 1930. It spread rapidly, and in 1935 a chalcid (Ptcromahis puparum), which parasitises the butterfly's pupas, was introduced to control it.

Acclimatization in New Zealand is marked by several great and irretrievable mistakes. The worst of these are the introduction of rabbits, stoats, and weasels.



THE history of New Zealand prior to the seventeenth century is shrouded in mythology and tradition. When the country was discovered by Europeans in 1642 it was found to be inhabited by a race of Polynesians called Maoris, who had discovered these islands many centuries previously. At what time the discovery of New Zealand was made by the Maoris, and from what place they came, are matters of tradition only, much having been lost in the obscurity enveloping the history of a people without letters. Nor is there anything on record respecting the origin of the Maori people themselves, beyond the general tradition of the Polynesian race, which seems to show a series of successive migrations from west to east, probably by way of Malaysia to the Pacific. Little more can now be gathered from their traditions than that they were immigrants, and that they found inhabitants on the east coast of the North Island belonging to the same race as themselves—the descendants of a prior migration whose history is lost. The tradition runs that, 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 those traditional accounts the descent of the numerous tribes has been traced. The position of the legendary Hawaiki is unknown, but many places in the South Seas have been thus named in memory of the motherland. The Maoris speak a very pure dialect of the Polynesian language, the common tongue, with more or 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 “Heemskereq,” 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 Cape Farewell on the 31st March, 1770, for Australia. He visited New Zealand again in 1773, in 1774, and in 1777.

Several other explorers also visited New Zealand during the latter portion of the eighteenth century, amongst whom may be mentioned M. do Surville (December, 1769), M. Marion du Fresne (1772), Captains Vancouver and Broughton (1791), Captain Raven (1792–93), Alejandro Malaspina and José de Bustamente y Guerra (1793), Lieutenant Hanson (1793).


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

The next few years saw the establishment of whaling-stations at several points on the coast, and in 1814 the first missionaries—Messrs. Hall and Kendall—arrived in New Zealand. After a short stay they returned to New South Wales, and on the 19th November of that year again embarked in company with Mr. Samuel Marsden, chaplain to the New South Wales Government. 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 those was successful, and for some years the only settlements were those round the principal whaling-stations. A number of Europeans gradually settled in different parts of the country, and many of these married Native women.

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

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


As early as 1833 a British Resident (Mr. Busby) was appointed, with headquarters at Kororareka (adjacent to the present Russell), on the Bay of Islands. Seven years later—namely, on the 29th January, 1840—Captain William Hobson, R.N., arrived at the Bay of Islands, empowered, with the consent of the Natives, to proclaim the sovereignty of Queen Victoria over the Islands of New Zealand, and to assume the government thereof. Hobson formally read his commissions at Kororareka on 30th January, 1840, and on 6th February of the same year a compact called the Treaty of Waitangi was entered into, whereby all rights and powers of sovereignty were ceded to the Queen, all territorial rights being secured to the chiefs and their tribes. Originally signed by forty-six chiefs, the treaty (or copies of it) was taken to various parts of the country and signed by other chiefs, so that in a period of less than six months 512 signatures were affixed.

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

New Zealand remained a dependency of New South Wales until the 3rd May, 1841, when it was created a separate colony by Royal Charter dated the 16th November, 1840.


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

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

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

By Order in Council dated 9th September, 1907, and by Proclamation issued 10th September, 1907, the style and designation of the Colony of New Zealand was altered to “The Dominion of New Zealand,” the change taking effect from Thursday, the 26th September, 1907.

By Letters Patent dated 11th May, 1917, the designation of Governor and Commander-in-Chief which had hitherto been 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. In view of the constitutional importance of the Statute of Westminster, the text of this resolution is given in full:—


Most Gracious Sovereign:

WE, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives of New Zealand in Parliament assembled, humbly approach Your Majesty praying that you may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be laid before the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to give effect to certain declarations and resolutions set forth in the Reports of Imperial Conferences holden at Westminster in the years 1920 and 1930, which declarations and resolutions we do hereby approve, the said Act being expressed as follows or to the following effect:—


Whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it. would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:

And whereas it is in accord with the established constitutional position that no law hereafter made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall extend to any of the Dominions as part of the law of that Dominion otherwise than at the request and with the consent of that Dominion:

It is hereby declared and enacted that the Parliament of a Dominion has full power to make laws having extra territorial operation.

The Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865, shall not apply to any law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a Dominion.

No law and no provision of any law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a Dominion shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England, or to the provisions of any existing or future Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, or to any order, rule, or regulation made under any such Act, and the powers of the Parliament of a Dominion shall include the power to repeal or amend any such Act, order, rule, or regulation insofar as the same is part of the law of the Dominion.

No Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act shall extend or be deemed to extend to a Dominion as part of the law of that Dominion unless it is expressly declared in that Act that that Dominion has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof.

Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to confer any power to repeal or alter the Constitution or the Constitution Act of the Commonwealth of Australia or the Constitution Act of the Dominion of New Zealand otherwise than in accordance with the law existing before the commencement of this Act.

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this Act, sections seven hundred and thirty-five and seven hundred and thirty-six of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, shall be construed as though reference therein to the Legislature of a British Possession did not include reference to the Parliament of a Dominion.

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this Act, section four of the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890 (which requires certain laws to be reserved for the signification of His Majesty's pleasure or to contain a suspending clause), and so much of section seven of that Act as requires the approval of His Majesty in Council to any rides of Court for regulating the practice and procedure of a Colonial Court of Admiralty, shall cease to have effect in any Dominion as from the commencement of this Act.

Notwithstanding anything in the Interpretation Act, 1889, the expression “Colony” shall not, in any Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act, include a Dominion or any Province or State forming part of a Dominion.

No provision of this Act shall extend to the Dominion of New Zealand as part of the law thereof unless that provision is adopted by the Parliament of that Dominion, and any Act of the said Parliament adopting any provision of this Act may provide that the adoption shall have effect either as from the commencement of this Act or as from such later date as may be specified by the adopting Act.

All of which we humbly pray Your Majesty to take into your favourable and gracious consideration.


The powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Governor - General and the Executive Council under the present system of responsible government are set out in Royal Letters Patent and Instructions thereunder of the 11th May, 1917, published in the New Zealand Gazelle of the 24th April, 1919 (p. 1213). In the execution of the powers and authorities vested in him the Governor-General must be guided by the advice of the Executive Council, but, if in any case he sees sufficient cause to dissent from the opinion of the Council, he may act in the exercise of his powers and authorities in opposition to the opinion of the Council, reporting the matter to His Majesty without delay, with the reasons for his so acting.

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

The 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.

Under the Civil List Act, 1920, His Excellency the Governor-General receives an honorarium of £5,000 per annum, an allowance of £2,000 per annum for the salaries and expenses of his establishment (exclusive of the Official Secretary), and an allowance of £500 per annum for travelling-expenses.

The Civil List Act, 1908, authorized salaries of £1,600 for the Prime Minister, £1,300 for the Minister of Railways, and £1,000 to each of six (increased in 1915 to eight and in 1917 to ten) other members holding portfolios. The Civil List Act, 1920, authorized salaries of £2,000 for the Prime Minister, and £1,300 to each of ten other members holding one or more ministerial offices. Reductions of 10 per cent. in 1922, 10 per cent, in 1931, and 15 per cent, in 1932, were followed by a restoration of 5 per cent, in 1934. Present honoraria are: Prime Minister (provided with residence), £1,428 per annum: Ministers provided with residence, £922 per annum; Ministers not provided with residence, £939 17s., plus £180 house-allowance.


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 he 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, 1935) is 28.

An Act of the Imperial Parliament in 1868 provided that future appointments of Councillors should be made by the Governor (not by the Sovereign). Until 1891 members were appointed for life, but since that year appointments have been made for seven years only, members, however, being eligible for reappointment. Prior to 1891 the Speaker was appointed by the Governor, but the Council now elects its own Speaker, who holds office for five years. The Chairman of Committees was formerly elected every session, but in 1928 the standing orders were amended to provide for a three years' term of office. Speaker and Chairman are both eligible for re-election.

Provision for an elective Legislative Council is contained in the Legislative Council Act, 1914, which 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., in 1932 to £255 3s., and in 1934 was raised to £267 l9s. The Speaker now receives £612 8s. per annum, and the Chairman of Committees £382 15s. 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 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 a new 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 33⅓ 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. The Electoral Amendment Act, 1934, provided for a permanent extension to four years.

Under the Electoral Act, 1927, every registered elector of either sex but no other person, is qualified to be a candidate. It is provided, however, that a person shall not be so elected who is disqualified as an elector under any of the provisions of the Act, or is an undischarged bankrupt, or is a member of the Legislative Council, or is a public servant, or is a contractor to the public service of New Zealand to whom any public money above the sum of £50 is payable, directly or indirectly (but not as a member of a registered company or incorporated body), in any one financial year.

The payment made to members of the House of Representatives is £382 15s. 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 cent. reductions, however, being made in 1922, 1931, and 1932, with a restoration of 5 per cent, in 1934.

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 £744 4s. per annum, plus sessional allowance of £82 14s. and free sessional quarters, and that of the Chairman of Committees £574 2s. per annum.

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


The three cardinal principles of the franchise in New Zealand are (1) one person 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:—

  1. An alien:

  2. A mentally defective person:

  3. 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.

Maoris are qualified to vote only at elections of the four members representing the Maori race. A Maori half-caste may register on the roll of a European electoral district; and if so, may not then vote at an election of Maori members.


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, 1870, when they were abolished by an Act of the General Assembly, and re-created as provincial districts.


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

Wellington, which had been the first borough in the country, also became the first town district, with a form of government not differing greatly from that of a municipality. Gradually the more important towns adopted the status of boroughs, while the less important remained town districts. In Otago, however, between 1865 and 1875, several small towns 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 63 (now 129) 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.



THE population of the Dominion of New Zealand and its dependencies and the mandated territory of Western Samoa at the 1st April, 1935, was 1,630,433. The Ross Dependency is uninhabited.

Population (exclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper755,961729,0851,485,046
Maori population of New Zealand proper38,84435,73474,578
Population (inclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper794,805764,8191,559,624
Population of Cook Islands and Niue8,2847,91916,203
Population of Tokelau Islands (June, 1934)5935861,179
Population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa27,60525,82253,427
Totals 1st April, 1935831,287799,1461,630,433


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 minutiaeæ of the distribution of population, together with analyses of various population characteristics, compiled from census data will he found in the census publications listed at the front of this volume. 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 tie fail, all persons being counted as at the place of enumeration, irrespective of habitual residence, legal domicil, and so forth.

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

  • Population = Population (census) of 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 estimates based upon a variety of data collected annually.

Residents of the Cook Islands, Nine, Western Samoa, and the Tokelau Group are not included in the population statistics quoted throughout this section, except in the first table. Further information will he found in the section relating to dependencies.

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


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 the later section of tins edition entitled “Statistical Summary.”

Date of Census.Population (excluding Maoris).Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.Average Annual Percentage Increase.
*See letterpress.
December, 185126,707......
December, 185859,41332,706122.4612.14
December, 186199,02139,60860.6718.70
December, 1864172,15873,13773.8620.54
December, 1867218,60846,51027.028.15
February, 1871256,39337,72517.255.11
March, 1874299,51443,12116.825.32
March, 1878414,412114,89838.368.43
April, 1881489,93375,52118.225.58
March, 1886578,48288,54918.073.39
April, 1891626,65848,1768.331.61
April, 1896703,36076,70212.242.33
March, 1901772,71969,3599.861.91
April, 1906888,578115,85914.992.79
April, 19111,008,468119,89013.492.60
October, 19161,099,44990,9819.021.57
April, 19211,218,913119,46410.872.32
April, 19261,344.469129,792*10.692.05

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

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 arrivals 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, while for the next six years (1928–34) the average per annum was only 13,000. The population gain for 1934 was 9,429, compared with 10,450 during the previous year. Apart from war years, which were affected by movements of troops, 1934 shows the lowest absolute increase since 1891, and the lowest relative increase 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.

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

Period.Excess of Births over Deaths.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.Total Increase.
Males.FemalesBoth Sexes.Males.Females.Both Sexes.Males.Females.Both Sexes.


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

Totals, 1861–1934443,988491,093935,081300,341200,220300,561744,329691,3131,435,642

* Decrease.

t Departure and return of troops of Expeditionary Force not included In migration figures.

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 trend of population movement in past decades has been in the direction of a decline in the rate of population increase, the decline quickening in recent years. There appears no indication at present of any radical alteration in the trend, and it has become of the greatest moment to consider, in general terms at least, what a continuance of this trend would mean. Baldly stated, it implies that New Zealand is facing at only a few years' distance a stationary and even a declining population. Remarks under this head apply, it should be observed, to population other than Maori.

This prospect would present entirely novel features to New Zealand, where unbroken growth has been recorded in every year from the settlement of 1840. There have been, it is true, variations in the rate of increase;—for example, from the high levels of the gold rushes in the “sixties “and the assisted immigration and public-works measures of the “seventies” to the lower strata reached in the depression-caused outflow of 1888–91—yet the numbers of the population at the end of the year have always been some thousands, at least, in excess of those at the year's beginning.

It is inevitable that much of the economy of New Zealand has been planned on the assumption of steadily increasing numbers, and it is unnecessary to indicate the vast and widespread effect of the removal of the “safety-valve” which continued growth affords. A secondary yet highly important factor is the redistribution of the population in major age divisions, reference to which is made later in this section(vide “ Ages of the Population “).

Apart from the question of annexation of territory, or alteration of nationality, or other laws affecting the determination of population, there are only two sources from which increase in the population of the State is possible—viz., excess of births over deaths (natural increase) and excess of overseas arrivals over departures (net migration increase). Except in the earliest stages of a country's development, or in exceptional circumstances—such as those of the recent vast immigration of Chinese into Manchuria—the former is naturally the more important source. It is also, for numerous reasons, the more desirable source.

Since 1875, 73 per cent, of the increase in New Zealand's population (other than Maori) has come from excess of births over deaths, and 27 per cent, from the net migration increase. In the post-war era (1921–34) the percentage furnished by natural increase has risen only to 76, and such rise even is due to the conversion of a moderate inflow through migration to a small outflow in the last four years.

The natural increase ratio was formerly unusually high in New Zealand, the annual average, for instance, reaching 29–41 per 1,000 of mean population in the quinquennium 1876–8O (see the immediately following subsection relating to “Births"). Comparison with the 1934 figure of 7–99 per 1,000, the lowest point yet reached in the long decline, is sufficiently striking.

The erstwhile favourable ratio of natural increase in New Zealand was due to its exceptionally low death-rate, now and for very many years the lowest in the world. It is out of the question to expect further considerable falls in the death- rate; in fact, with the less favourable age-constitution of the population as now developing, a potential rise must be envisaged. The birth-rate, which, for instance, averaged annually 4T21 per 1,000 of mean population in 1870–80, has fallen to 18–80 in 1930, 18–42 in 1931, 17–09 in 1932; 16–59 in 1933; and 10–47 in 1934.

That the decline in the birth-rate over the. last four years is partly, even mainly, due to conditions caused by the depression and therefore, it may be assumed, temporary in nature seems clear. It is equally clear, however, that depression conditions merely intensified a long-persisting decline. This decline is not peculiar to New Zealand.

The nominal natural increase ratio of the past year (7–99 per 1,000 of mean population in 1934) gives the impression of a still substantial margin of increase in population. While this is correct it yet obscures the more important aspect, which is that the proportions at reproductive ages are not being maintained. Based on expectation-of-life figures calculated for 1931, an “equilibrium” birth- rate of over 15 per 1,000 of mean population is required to maintain even a stationary population, and should the death-rate increase (as it has, for instance, in 1,934 as compared with 1931) a higher birth-rate would be necessary. It is clear that the margin of increase is precariously low, and will vanish in a few years if the present trend continues. With the lifting of the depression some improvement will probably take place. Possibly other measures will be taken with the object of arresting the decline. It may be noted that action taken by the authorities in certain overseas countries does not yet appear to have been attended with great success.

That the net migration increase has for the last four years been a debit to the population does not in itself appear of great significance. A backwash of the depression, it will probably disappear with the depression. The question of the resumption of immigration has many problems which need not be discussed here. No serious attempt has every been made to calculate an “optimum “population for New Zealand. It is not, in fact, practicable within the limits of our present knowledge. It is, however, a very generally accepted proposition that New Zealand can ultimately' maintain with benefit a considerably larger population than she has at present. Concepts are necessarily either vague or without serious foundation : A common tendency, particularly of those who work from the dubious territory of comparisons of population and gross area, is to exaggerate the potential population capacity.

In the past the population of New Zealand has been derived almost wholly from the British Isles, whether directly or indirectly, and upon resumption of immigration the same preferences would undoubtedly exist. It has, however, become clear that this source of recruitment of additional population—upon anything over a small scale—may within a few years be no longer available.

In Britain, as in New Zealand and, indeed, in many other countries, the rate of growth of population has slackened, and, unless some drastic changes in migration occur, a declining population is imminent. Statisticians agree that, subject to certain qualifications, the population of England and Wales is now almost at its peak and must decline. One authority* places the population of England and Wales in 1976 as 28,500,000 (it is now 40,500,000); another has placed the 1970 figure several millions in excess of the former estimate. These estimates are admittedly subject to the maintenance of certain conditions, and long-term forecasts of population indeed serve only limited purposes, and as a rule are to be deprecated. That the population of England, however, will decline in the near future, possibly to a considerable extent, seems inevitable. The consequences to New Zealand, both from the viewpoint of a failure as a recruiting source of population (for migration from England is probably unlikely to receive encouragement if the population falls) and from that of declining consumption by the principal export customer of New Zealand, are sufficiently obvious in their more immediate implications.


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

* Dr. G. Leybourne.

† Dr. E. C. Snow.

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 wore such as to deter female immigration to a greater extent than male. This was accentuated by the character of the early industries. Gold-mining and coal-mining, for instance, would attract large numbers of men, but few women.The effect of this early preponderance of males no doubt still exists, but in an ever-diminishing degree, its gradual elimination being effected by the passing of the earlier settlers. In recent years there has been a considerable approach towards equality in the increase of males and females by migration, and in some years the female increase from this source has exceeded the male.

Of the two sources from which the Dominion's population has been recruited— viz., migration and natural increase—the effect of the former has hitherto been to give in the aggregate a considerable preponderance of males, and of the latter to give a regular preponderance of females. In the period 1801–1934 the gain of males by migration (excluding movements of troops between 1914 and 1919, and also excluding crews prior to 1921) totalled 100,121 more than that of females. This excess was only partly offset numerically by a female surplus of 47,105 in the figures of natural increase, but the net excess of 53,016 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 000 to 700 per annum.


The following table contains estimates of the ages of the poulation (other than Maori) as at 1st April, 1935. They have been compiled from the results of the 1920 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. The 1926 census figures, also given, furnish an indication of the striking changes in the age constitution of the population during recent years.

 Numbers (excluding Maoris), Census of 1926*Numbers (excluding Maoris), 1st April, 1935.
Age (last Birthday) in Years.Males.Females.Total.Males.Females.Total.
* Ages unknown or unspecified: Males. 1,854; females, 1,495.
Under 568,65465,777134,43162,69159,815122,506
85 or over1,7481,5363,2841,4921,6103,102
Totals, under 14191,358183,845375,203183,330175,713359,043
Totals, under 16217,479208,912426,391210,931202,138413,069
Totals, minors under 21280,113268,980549,093278,006266,924544,930
Totals, adults (21 and over)404,417387,610792,027477,955462,161940,116
Totals, all ages680,384658,0851,344,409755,961729,0851,485,046

The effect of the declining birth-rate has become clearly manifest. For instance, the numbers at ages below ten years are actually 16,000 below the 1926 census level, despite a total increase of population of 141,000 in the nine years which have elapsed. Conversely, persons aged sixty years or over numbered 40,000 more in 1935 than in 1926. It is true that these figures are estimates only, and may either overstate or understate the position. Previous experience has, however, proved the reasonable accuracy of the system, while school-age records confirm the results obtained at the younger ages. Apart from minor inaccuracies, which do not affect conclusions to be drawn from the data, the story told is striking. With a continued decline in the birth-rate, further changes in age-distribution are inevitable. Age-distribution is vital to the question of future population. To will be fairly obvious that increasing proportions at ages above the reproductive ages and diminishing proportions at younger ages herald lower population increases at the least : at the most, the result is a declining population. Apart from this aspect, the radical changes resulting from the redistribution in age which is now proceeding merit, from their enormous and widespread effects, much more public attention than has hitherto been received.


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, relatively accurate. The post- census revision of intercensal Dominion figures has hitherto been unnecessary in New Zealand, apart from the later war years, 1910–19, when exact records of military movements were not always available.

 Population (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year. 
Calendar Year.Males.Females.Total.Numerical.Per Cent.Mean Population tor Year.
Vide references to half-castes on second page of this section

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 tor Year.
 Males.Females.Total.Numerical.Per Cent. 
Vide references to half-castes on second page 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 at December.  
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, 79,175 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1935, which, compared with 1933–34, shows an increase of 9,584. During the same period 82,212 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1933–34, shows an increase of 10,587.

In addition to the above, there were also—(1) 7,506 “through passengers” who called at a port of New Zealanden route to their destination; and (2) 4,546 “tourists on cruising liners.” These latter, as the term indicates, were persons who' visited New Zealand in the course of a cruise, the length of stay being only a few days.

Migration in 1934–35, therefore, continued to show the unusual feature of an excess of departures, amounting to 3,037, compared with 2,034 in 1933–34.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last ten years p-re 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 excess of “crew “arrivals over “crew “departures, neither of which are included above, provides an annual increment of several hundred to the population of New Zealand.

The monthly figures for 1933–34 and 1934–35 are as follows, the excess of passenger arrivals or of passenger departures for each month being also shown :—

Month.ArrivalsDepartures.Excess of Arrivals.Excess of Departures.

In general, arrivals exceed departures in the spring and summer months, while, he 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 conies a steady increment of population. The average annual excess of crew arrivals over departures in the five years 1930–31 to 1934–35 was 359, and in the preceding five years, 431.

In these tables, as has been noted above, “through “passengers and tourists on cruising liners have not been included.

Immigrants intending permanent residence6,6772,2881,4941,4281,579
New Zealand residents returning from abroad13,8568,6309,1398,42012,091
Persons on commercial business1,5721,0789481,0341,137
Persons visiting the Dominion in connection with entertainments, sports, &c.335295353297392
Others (officials, &c, of other countries)258435258316371
Persons in transit483422488711895
No information available5911504058

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. There was only 1 assisted immigrant in 1934–35, as against 4 in 1933–34 and 11,239 in 1926–27; while the numbers of those who migrated to New Zealand without State assistance amounted to 1,578, 1,424, and 6,898 for the years 1934–35, 1933–34, 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 permanently2,2842,8442,9503,1603,592
New Zealand residents departing temporarily11,2168,8228,7179,29313,531
Visitors to the Dominion departing12,0779,3099,5409,53110,884
No information available55881013844


The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31st March, 1935 :—

Age, in Years.Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.
* Excess of departures.
60 or over5755112111125236−124*
Total including unspecified7887911,5791,7881,8043,592−2,013*


Of the 1,579 new immigrants during the year 1934–35 intending to settle in the Dominion, the vast majority, 1,398, or 89 per cent., came from British countries,mainly from the British Isles, Australia, Canada, Fiji, and India. The majority of immigrants from foreign countries came from Yugoslavia, Italy, 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.1930–31.1931–32.1932–33.1933–34.1934–35.
British Isles2,610856449468491
Union of South Africa311121145
Other British countries22212013111193
United States of America6862424451
Other foreign countries and unspecified14552723642

Of the New Zealand residents who left the Dominion permanently, the great majority (95–0 per cent.) went to British countries. Foreign countries, other than China and the United States of America, recorded only very small figures.


During the twelve months ended 31st March, 1935, 13G persons (males 71, females 65) of foreign nationality, out of the total of 1,579, arrived as new immigrants intending permanent residence in the Dominion. The chief nationalities represented among the alien immigrants were as follows (figures for the five years preceding being given in parentheses): United States, 27 (120); Yugoslavia, 27 (198); Italy 2(T(141); China, 9 (19): Germany, 25 (31); Poland, 7 (56); and France, 8 (16).

The number of foreign nationals among New Zealand residents departing permanently during the year ended March, 1935, was 113 (77 males and 36 females), or 3–1 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 52 per cent, were males and 48 per cent, females, whereas of the departures 68 per cent, were males and 32 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 1934–35 comprised 32 Indians, 10 Chinese, and 10 of other races. Departures were 0 Indians, 39 Chinese, and 11 of other races. In the last ten years permanent arrivals have aggregated 150 Chinese, 386 Indians, and 240 others; and the permanent departures 315 Chinese, 38 Indians, and 131 others.

It should be noted that the figures quoted above include all 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,Arrivals.Departures.

At the 31st March, 1935, the approximate numbers of the principal alien races present in New Zealand were: Chinese, 2,594; Indians, 1,154; and Syrians, 998.


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. 1934, is 226,229, 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 Immigrants.Immigrants not Governmentally assisted.Total Net Migration Increase.



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

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

Certain exceptions are made with respect to persons coming to New Zealand from the Cook Islands and 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 there from.

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

Under the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act, 1931, restrictions upon the landing in New Zealand of persons of British birth and parentage may be imposed, on account of any economic or financial conditions affecting trade and industry in New Zealand, or any other conditions which render it expedient to impose such restrictions. Under present (August, 1935) 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.


The British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Act, 1928, which was reserved for Royal assent, came into force on the 1st July, 1929. This Act made important alterations in the naturalization law of New Zealand, and made provision for the adoption of Part II of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914 (Imperial). A fairly detailed account of its effects will be found on pp. 92–95 of the 1931 Year-Book.

The British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Amendment Act. 1934–35, was assented to on 26th March, 1935. This Act does two things : In the first place, it brings the New Zealand law into conformity with the law of the United Kingdom by the formal adoption as part of the law of New Zealand of section 10 of the Imperial Act of 1914 (as re-enacted by the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1933).

The provisions of section 10, as re-enacted in 1933, and containing modifications incidental to its application in New Zealand, are quoted :—

“10. (I) Subject to the provisions of this section, the wife of a British subject shall be deemed to be a British subject, and the wife of an alien shall be deemed to be an alien.

“(2) 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.

“(3) 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.

“(4) 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.

“(5) Where, after the end of the year nineteen hundred and thirty-four, 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.

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

In the second place, the New Zealand Act referred to goes further than the British Act. It allows to a woman, who has lost her British nationality by reason of her marriage to an alien, the right while she remains in New Zealand to claim the same privileges as if site had remained a British subject. The legislation does not seek to alter the fact that such a woman has in law ceased to be a British subject : it merely says that upon making the prescribed declaration she is, while she remains in New Zealand, entitled to all the rights and privileges and is subject to all the duties and obligations of a natural-born British subject.

During the year 1934 letters of naturalization in New Zealand were granted to 61 persons of the undermentioned birthplaces, as compared with 04 in the previous year. In addition, 22 children were included in the certificates of their parents, and certificates under the 1928 legislation were issued to 3 males previously naturalized in New Zealand. The birthplaces of these were Denmark, Norway, and Siberia (1 child included).

Country of Birth.Males.Females.Total.Children.*
* Children included in certificate of parent; additional to proceeding figures.
United States5..5..
New Zealand..22..

In the ten years 1925–34, 1,434 subjects or citizens of other nations obtained letters of naturalization in New Zealand. The following table exhibits the principal countries involved.

Country of Birth.No.
United States45
Western Samoa29
Other countries69



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

Census Year.Population (excluding Maoris).Proportions per Cent.
 North Island.South Island.*Total.North Island.South Island.*
* Including Stewart Island and Chatham Islands.

The natural increase of population (i.e., excess of births over deaths) for the South Island in 1934 was 3,957, but the total net increase was only 1,983. For the North Island the natural increase was 7,838, and the total net increase only 7,446.


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 :—

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

Of the 121,665 passengers from the South Island in 1934–35, 121,623 landed at Wellington, including 89,256 from Lyttelton, 17,057 from Nelson, and 15,305 from Picton.

The 118,022 passengers who landed in the South Island for the same period included 85,887 at Lyttelton, 1G.827 at Nelson, and 15,308 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:—

Provincial District.Area (Square Miles)Census Population.Estimated Population as at 1st April, 1935.
* Including certain Maori wives of Europeans, provincial district not specified.
Hawke's Bay4,26039,60453,09863,62870,35377,600
Otago portion14,050125,782132,881137,062149,921156,450
Southland portion11,17048,01659,34962,43965,52970,050


On 20th April, 1926, somewhat over one-third (38.5 per cent.) of the population of the Dominion (excluding Maoris) was included in the four principal urban areas— Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and over one-half (51–6 per cent.) in these and in the ten secondary urban areas.

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

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


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

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

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

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

Urban and rural communities are not evenly distributed. The South Island, for example, contains proportionately more rural population than does the North Island. Of the Northern provincial districts Taranaki is the only one in which rural population predominates.

New Zealand is not alone in experiencing the modern tendency towards urban aggregation : it is, in fact, occurring in almost all countries.


Estimates of population for the administrative or geographical units of the Dominion fall into a different category from those previously given for the Dominion as a whole or for the North and South Islands. Figures given for all lesser districts are literally estimates.

The distinction now acquires special significance. Never before has a period of more than five years elapsed since a census was taken; and, probably, never before has such a widespread depression (with its inevitable reactions on population distribution) been experienced in New Zealand.

Care has been taken with the resources available, and it is believed the results are sufficiently near the truth to servo 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:—


Urban Area.1st April, 1930.30th April, 1931.1st April, 1932.1st April, 1933.1st April, 1934.1st April, 1935.
Palmerston North21,92022,80023,20023,50023,85024,200
New Plymouth17,63018,20018,65018,75018,95019,200

The population of each county, borough, and town district as at 1st April, 1935, is given in the schedules which follow.


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

County.Population (Including Maoris).
North Island—  
Bay of Islands8,2208,860
Great Barrier Island440440
Hauraki Plains4,5004,500
Hawke's Bay15,75047,280
Waimate West3,0703,840
Wairarapa South3,3305,300
South Island—  
Mount Herbert540540
Chatham Islands650650
Stewart Island510510
Grand total605,8701,553,830


Borough.Population (including Maoris).
North Island— 
New Lynn3,210
Auckland (City)108,650
Mount Eden20,550
Mount Albert21,350
One Tree Hill8,250
To Awamutu2,020
Te Kuiti2,600
Te Aroha2,550
Te Puke1,050
New Plymouth16,800
Wanganui (City)24,850
Palmerston North (City)22,250
Upper Hutt3,780
Lower Hutt15,000
Wellington (City)114,950
South Island— 
Nelson (City)11,300
West port4,090
Grey mouth7,750
Christchurch (City)92,900
New Brighton5,040
Port Chalmers2,560
West Harbour2,100
Dunedin (City)70,450
St. Kilda8,390
Green Island2,450
Invercargill (City)21,500
South Invercargill1,070
Grand total913,450


Town District.Population (Including Maoris).
* Parent County shown parentheses.
(a) Town Districts not forming parts of counties
North Island— 
Glen Eden1,330
Havelock North1,170
South Island— 
Pleasant Point570
Grand total34,510
(b) Town. Districts forming parts of counties*
North Island— 
Kohukohu (Hokianga)520
Rawene (Hokianga)430
Russell (Bay of Islands)410
Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)390
Onerahi (Whangarei)550
Mercer (Franklin)350
Raglan (Raglan)370
To Kauwhata (Waikato)..500
Ohaupo (Waipa)250
Kihikihi (Waipa)340
Kawhia (Kawhia)230
Turua (Hauraki Plains)290
Mt. Maunganui (Tauranga)500
Te Karaka (Waikohu)400
Patutahi (Cook)290
Norsewood (Dannevirke)170
Ormondville (Dannevirke)290
Kaponga (Eltham)450
Normandby (Hawera)310
Rongotea (Manawatu)270
South Island— 
Havelock (Marlborough)240
Southbridge (Ellesmere)430
Outram (Taieri)330
Clinton (Clutha)360
Edendale (Southland)470
Grand total9,590


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

 Population (including Maoris).
Little Barrier123
Motuihi4 163 167 32
Great Mercury3..3

As a result of section 5 of the Local Legislation Act, 1934–35, seven islands (population, 214) formerly included in this list are now part of Sounds County, and have therefore been deleted.


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 1935 may be quoted as 14.36 persons to the square mile, or, if Maoris be included, 15.08 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 (at most, the total is possibly much less), which may be considered as the utmost total inhabitable or usable land, carries a population of 17–57 (or, including Maoris, 18–46) 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 (1935) had a density of 1,881 persons per square mile, and the rural population a density of 6 persona per square mile.

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


A record of early statistics of Maoris is given in Vol. XIV of the 1926 Census Results. The first official general census was taken in 1857–58, and others occurred in regular sequence from 1874 onwards. Owing to inherent difficulties the earlier census records make no pretence towards complete accuracy, and even some later enumerations hardly claim to be more than approximations which approach the truth as nearly as possible.

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

* Includes half-castes, vide second page of section.
1935 (estimate, 1st April)74,578*

The estimated number of Maoris at 1st April, 1935, was 74,578 of which 71,374 were in the North Island. Auckland Provincial District contains the bulk (53,674), particularly in the Auckland Peninsula and Poverty Bay regions. Hawke's Bay contains some 5,600; Taranaki, 4,300; and Wellington, 7,800. In the South Island Maoris do not attain any numerical significance During 1934–35 the Maori population increased by 1,095.

For some years now 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 1920 was—males, 23.88; females, 22.95 years. The Maori population is a younger one than the European, and possesses higher ratios at all ages up to twenty-five years.

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

Counted in the Maori population
Full Maori45,429
Maori-European, n.o.d303
Counted in the non-Maori population


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

North America134,000,000172,000,000
South America56,000,00087,000,000

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

Country.Population (000 omitted).Year.Index of Population (New Zealand = 1).

According to the Chinese Ministry of the Interior. Some authorities consider the population is probably not in excess of 350,000,000, and is stationary.

† Recent estimate.

England and Wales40,467193426
Northern Ireland1,28019340.8
Irish Free State2,99319342
India (including Native States)359,4001933230
Union of South Africa8,48819345
New South Wales2,63619352
South Australia58419350.4
Western Australia44519350.3
New Zealand1,56019351
Russia (Soviet Union)168,0001934108
United States126,425193481




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

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 now 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 60 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1924), empowered the making of regulations to provide for the registration of births and deaths of Maoris. Regulations were made accordingly, and Maori births and deaths became registrable as from the 1st March, 1913. The number of Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths in the Dominion is over 200, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Native settlement of any size is within easy reach of one of these Registrars. Maori registrations are entered in a separate register, and the figures of births given in the following pages do not include those of Maoris, which are dealt with at the end of this subsection.


The births of 24,322 children were registered during 1934, a decline of twelve on the numbers for 1933. To convey a simple impression of the position, it may be said that the births of fewer children were registered in 1934 than in any year since 1906 (when the population was less than two-thirds of the present-day figure). The rate per 1,000 of mean population (16.47) is the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand—a statement which it has been possible to make in turn for each of the last ten years.

Numbers and rate for 1934 are very little below 1933 levels. The decline for the time being at least, has almost been arrested, a feature not entirely unexpected, in view of the increase in the number of marriages in the preceding year. As marriages again increased in 1934, it is possible that some little recovery may be made from the low levels of the last three years.

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

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.

There is a most noticeable fall in the rate in the later years of the period covered by the table, as compared with the earlier. The fall of 8.86 per 1,000 of population between 1915 and 1934 is equivalent to a decline of 35 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.

 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 7.99 in 1934. It has been noted in the previous section (vide pp. 48 and 51) that acceptance of this figure without consideration of the effect of the changing age-constitution will give an erroneous view of the present margin of increase and 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 now 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 Africa1929–3325.216.0
New Zealand1930–3417.59.2
United States*1928–3218.67.1
Northern Ireland1929–3320.25.7
Irish Free State1929–3319.45.1
England & Wales1929–3315.63.3


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.

Number of Births of
Year.Males.Females.Male 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 1916–26 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 81,231 legitimate first births registered during the ten years 1925–34 (excluding plural births), 41,820 were of males and 39,411 of females, the proportion of males per 1,000 females being 1,061.

The sexes of first-born for various age-groups of the mother for the aggregate of the ten years 1925–34 are as follows:—

Age of Mother, in Years.Males.Females.Males per 1,000 Females.
Under 203,6763,4791,057
20 and under 2516,88515,8111,068
25 and under 3013,34612,7141,050
30 and under 355,4765,0861,077
35 and under 401,9341,8011,074
40 and over503520967

In the ten years covered there were 687 twin first births, and in 226 cases the children were both males, in 246 both females, and in the remaining 215 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 1925–34 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 19,461 families covered, in 10,065 the first child was a male and in 9,396 a female, the number of males per 1,000 females being thus 1,071. 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 first-born 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 1925–34 was 1,069 males per 1,000 females— a rate considerably above that for all births (1,061) 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 258 cases of twin births (516 children) registered in 1934. There were also two cases of triplets.

The number of accouchements resulting in living births was 24,060, and on the average one mother in every 93 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, however, the total number of accouchements for the year 1934 is increased to 24,712, and the number of cases of multiple births to 295. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 84.

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 1925–31 there were twenty cases of triplets. In two cases all three children were males, in five cases all were females, in five cases there were two males and one female, and in eight cases two of the three children were females.


On 6th March. 1935, quadruplets were born in Dunedin, one child being a male and the remaining three females. A previous case of quadruplets occurred at Ngaruawahia, in 1919, all being males. In this case, however, one child died seven days after birth, a second ten days after birth, a third forty-seven days after birth, and the fourth in the following year. In earlier years no specific note would have been made of such instances, and it is impossible to state whether the above represents all quadruple births.


Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1934 is shown in the following table :—

 Age of Father, in Years.
Age of Mother, in Years.Under 21.21 and Under 25.25 and Under 30.30 and Under 35.35 and Under 40.40 and Under 45.45 and Under 50.50 and Under 55.55 and Under 65.65 and Over.Total.
* Including thirty-one cases where plural births would have been registered had not one child been still-born.
  Single Births.           
Under 2115470051514218662221,547   
21 and under 25631,1142,3278851995624126..4,086   
25 and under 30112973,0822,70584326598421057,358   
30 and under 351305852,1291,395618206912945,088   
35 and under 40..1413461,0388134051286342,839   
40 and under 45..17351083643151405471,031   
45 and over......2294033..16102   
  Multiple Births.           
Under 21..5211..........9   
21 and under 251151391..........39   
25 and under 30..33430961......83   
30 and under 35....6351543......63   
35 and under 40....111178641..48   
40 and under 45........1632....12   
Grand totals2302,1666,6136,3303,6472,1551,1074541812222,905   


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 overTotal.
* This number represents 22,651 single cases and 254 multiple cases.
Under 211,227277439..........1,556
21 and under 252,6781,3245331453663....4,725
25 and under302,5982,2961,35466232812677....7,411
30 and under 351,0401,3171,67272743027628095,15 
35 and under 40300468551445358237480482,887 
40 and under 4579911341321321162707941,043
45 and over3557151326262102
Totals7,9255,7783,6922,1271,2997741,142162 6,22,905*

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 1934 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 over1027837.68

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 1934) 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: 1930; 2.78; 1931, 2.77; 1932, 2.75; 1933, 2.75; and 1934, 2.69. This falling trend in the average issue of mothers giving birth to children is a measure of the tendency towards smaller families.


Of a total of 119,386 legitimate births registered during the five years 1930–34, no fewer than 40,738, or 34 per cent., were of first-born children, and of these 19,114, or 47 per cent., were born within twelve months, and 29,975, 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:—

    First Cases within One Year after Marriage.First Cases within Two Years after Marriage.
Year.Total Legitimate Cases.Total Legitimate First Cases.Proportion of First Cases to Total Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.
   Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
Totals for five years119,38640,73834.1219,11446.9229,97573.58

During the five years there were 9,131 cases of legitimate births within seven months after marriage. Also 6,191 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 15,322 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 years40,7386,1919,13122.4132.65


The births of 1,161 children (592 males, 569 females) registered in 1934 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 1,161 illegitimate births in 1934 were 6 cases of twins, the number of accouchements being thus 1,155, including 2 cases registered with the Registrar-General. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,155 mothers 413, or 36 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:—

 Number of Children legitimized.
year.Previously registered.Not previously registered.Total.
1929 26166327
Totals to 19345,1542,5817,735


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 1934 the registration of 338 adopted children (134 males and 204 females) was effected, as compared with 332 in 1933, 337 in 1932, 329 in 1931, and 385 in 1930.


The registration of still-births was made compulsory in New Zealand as from the 1st March, 1913. A still-born child is denned 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:—

      Percentage of Still-births to
Year.Male.Female.Not stated.Total.Male Still-births per 1,000 Female still-births.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 1,249 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 1934 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 (7.86) was higher than among infants born alive (4.77).

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1934, 34 per cent, were first births, while of legitimate still-births no less than 43 per cent, were first births. It would thus appear that there is a considerably greater probability of still-births occurring 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 1930–34, 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 a 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.


 All Births.First Births.Percentage of Still to Living.
Age of Mother, in Years.Living.Still.Living.Still.All Births.First Births.
Under 204,2911013,604962.352.66
20 and under 2528,62261416,5164282.152.59
25 and under 3037,45094913,2475112.533.80
30 and under 3526,7598255,1232743.085.35
35 and under 4015,8446511,7661384.117.81
40 and over6,420400482646.2313.28

The next table shows the percentage of still-births to living births according to nativity order of legitimate births registered in the five years 1930–34. 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.


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

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


The number of births of Maoris registered with Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths during 1934 was 2,863 (1,522 males, 1,341 females). The births of fifty-four males and sixty-four females were registered under the main Act, and the total of 2,981 represents a rate of 41 per 1,000 of Maori population, a figure 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 :—

 Number of Births. 
Year.Males.Females.Total.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. (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 at the close of this subsection.


The movement of the marriage-rate since 1855 is shown by the diagram on p. 71. 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 probably reflects an acceptance of the unlikelihood of an early return to full prosperity and an adjustment to new standards of living. The building-subsidy scheme, promulgated by the Unemployment Board, no doubt assisted towards overcoming one barrier to marriage. The recovery continued in 1934, accompanying an improving trend in economic conditions, extending in many instances to complete or partial restoration of wage or salary “cuts.”


Since the age-constitution of the population alters considerably over a period of years the actual marriage-rate based on the total population does not cover the whole ground. A complementary method 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.

  Rate per 1,000 Unmarried Females aged 15 and over.
Year.Rate per 1,000 of Total Population.Actual.Standardized.


A comparison of the latest available rates in various countries is given in the next table.

Country.Quinquennium.Average Yearly Rate.
United States1928–329.50
Union of S. Africa1928–329.04
England and Wales1929–337.82
New Zealand1930–347.23
Northern Ireland1929–335.85
Trish Free State1929–334.55


Annual averages for the decade 1925–34 give marriages as follows: March quarter, 2,495; June quarter, 2,960; September quarter, 2,305; December quarter, 2,804.

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, Easier would appear to predominate slightly.

The marriages contracted in each month of 1934, commencing with January, were as follows: 855, 801, 1,153, 1,129, 783, 1,111, 775, 833, 736, 868, 750, 1,462; total for year, 11,256.

The 1934 proportions per cent, of the total marriages for the various days of the week were: Sunday, 0.3; Monday, 13.2; Tuesday, 11.3; Wednesday, 35.7; Thursday, 12.7; Friday, 4.6; Saturday, 22.2.


The total number of persons married during the year 1934 was 22,512, of whom 20,647 were single, 1,106 widowed, and 759 divorced. The figures for each of the last ten years, but showing the sexes separately, are given in the table following :—

Year.Bridegroom.Bride.Bridegroom.Bride.Bridegroom.Bride.Total Persons married.

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 1925–34 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 28 per 1,000 persons married to 34, an appreciable 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 49 per 1,000 in 1934—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:—

 Marriages between Bachelors andMarriages between Widowers andMarriages between Divorced Men and
Year.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 3,169 divorced men remarried, the corresponding number for women was 3,581. In the case of widowed persons, however, in spite of the fact that widows greatly exceed widowers, only 4,616 widows remarried, as compared with 6,854 widowers. It would appear that in the case of divorced persons women are more likely to remarry than men, while in the case of the widowed the converse holds.

Included amongst the widows in 1934 were twenty-one women, and amongst the widowers eight 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 234, comprising 75 men and 159 women.


Of the 22,512 persons married in 1934 2,303, or 10 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 7,121, or 32 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 7,402, or 33 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 3,868, or 17 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 1,818 or 8 per cent., as forty years of ago or over. The following table relates to the year 1934:—

 Age of Bride, in Years. 
Age of Bridegroom, In Years.Under 2121 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.Total Bridegrooms.
Under 21234961731....351
21 and under 259131,47542140..1..2,850
25 and under 305911,9441,530226321014,334
30 and under 35159550704326811681,844
35 and under 4033138240152882411686
40 and under 45125075104815931412
45 and over10188186118130336779
Total brides1,9524,2713,06893740124038711,256

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 10O marriages in quinquennia from 1900 to 1934 :—

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

A perusal of the above table reveals the fact that greater proportions of marriages are now being celebrated at both the younger and the older age-groups.

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 1934 without alteration, but in the ease of bridegrooms the most popular age is now 25.


Of every 1,000 men married in 1934, 31 were under twenty-one years of age, while 173 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 234 marriages in 1934 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 1,718 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 117 marriages the bridegroom was a minor and the bride an adult.

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


Of the 11,256 marriages registered in 1934, Church of England clergymen officiated at 2,873, Presbyterians at 2,992, Methodists at 1,182, and Roman Catholics at 1,294, while 2,024 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

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

 Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England27.2027.5327.6827.0327.1826.9325.8225.5425.4725.52
Roman Catholic11.3311.6811.1911.4511.3411.0610.7310.8111.0611.50
Other denominations4.635.075.575.264.845.165.535.846.287.92
Before Registrars20.6919.7319.0619.5819.3220.4922.6220.9119.9417.98

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, 1935) 2,091, and the denominations to which they belong are shown here-under :—

Church of England480
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand426
Roman Catholic Church350
Methodist Church of New Zealand294
Salvation Army109
Associated Churches of Christ31
Congregational Independents32
Seventh-day Adventists12
Latter-day Saints16
Lutheran Church2
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia 
Churches of Christ5
Hebrew Congregations4
Catholic Apostolic Church3
Liberal Catholic Church5
Assemblies of God12
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand7
Ratana Church of New Zealand137
Ringatu Church39
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 532 marriages in which both parties were of the Native race were received during the year 1934. The figures for each of the last ten years are as follows :—

YearUnder 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.


The provisions as to dissolution of marriage are contained in the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act, 1928, which consolidated and amended the then existing legislation on the subject.

A brief historical account of divorce legislation will be found in the Year-Book for 1931; the present position is outlined in the following resume.

Any married person, domiciled in New Zealand for two or more years at the time of filing the petition, may obtain a divorce on one or more of the following grounds :—

  1. Adultery.

  2. Wilful desertion for three years.

  3. Habitual drunkenness for four years, coupled with (wife's petition) failure to support or habitual cruelty, or with (husband's petition) neglect of, or self -caused inability to discharge, domestic duties.

  4. Sentence of seven years' imprisonment for attempting to murder, or for wounding or doing actual bodily harm to petitioner or child.

  5. Murder of child of petitioner or respondent.

  6. Insanity and confinement as a lunatic for seven out of ten years preceding the petition.

  7. Insanity for seven years, and confinement for three years preceding the petition.

  8. Failure to comply with a decree of Court for restitution of conjugal rights.

  9. Parties have separated under an agreement, written or verbal, which has been in force for three years.

  10. Parties have been separated by a decree of judicial separation or a separation order which has been in force for three years. (An amendment in 1930 removed the restriction imposed by the principal Act (which permitted only New Zealand decrees or orders) and extended the provision to cover similar decrees or orders made in any country.)

  11. Husband guilty of rape, sodomy, or bestiality since marriage.

A deserted wife whose husband was domiciled in New Zealand at the time of desertion is considered, for the purpose of the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act, 1928, as retaining her New Zealand domicile. Where a wife petitions on grounds (i) and (j) above, her New Zealand domicile is retained if her husband was domiciled in the Dominion at the date of the agreement, decree, or order.

The amending Act of 1930 establishes a New Zealand domicile for a wife petitioning for divorce where she has been living apart from her husband for three years, has been living in New Zealand for three years preceding the petition, and has the intention of residing in New Zealand permanently.

Figures showing the operations of the Supreme Court in its divorce jurisdiction during each of the last ten years are as follows:—

 Dissolution or Nullity of Marriage.Judicial Separation.Restitution of Conjugal Rights.
Year.Petitions filed.Decrees Nisi.Decrees Absolute.Petitions filed.Decrees for Separation.Petitions Filed.Decrees for Restitution.

In 751 of the 839 cases covered by divorce petitions filed during 1934 the parties had been married in New Zealand.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petition. Decrees may relate to petitions filed prior to 1934.

 Petitions filed.Decrees Nisi granted.Decrees Absolute granted.
Grounds.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Drunkenness, with cruelty, failure to maintain, &c.171526
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights532761255126
Separation for not less than three years141260121247113219

The figures shown for decrees nisi include cases where both nisi and absolute decrees wore granted during the year, and those for decrees absolute cover all such granted during the year whether the antecedent decree nisi was granted in 1934 or in a previous year.

In 277 of the 839 cases where petitions for dissolution were filed during 1934 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 234 cases, 2 in 172 cases, 3 in 74 cases, and 4 or more in 82 cases.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all cases for which petitions for dissolution were filed in the last five years:—

 Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Duration of Marriage, in Years.1930.1931.1932.1933.1934.1930.1931.1932.1933.1934.
Under 566415849564239405350
5 and under 10111104103106114154135128126128
10 and under 1587908095999685124102116
15 and under 2046583756646568546379
20 and under 3059585464407461736557
30 and over21161714141711171122

The ratio of divorces to marriages in divers countries is illustrated by the following table comprising the latest year available in each instance.

Divorces per 100 Marriages.
United States16.3
New Zealand7.5
South Africa6.4
E1ngland and Wales1.3


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

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

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

The law does not impose any limit of time after which a death may not be registered as it does in the case of a birth. It is not necessary to effect a death-registration entry in the case of a still-born child, though an entry must he 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. 71.

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 of the Dominion was recorded. It should be noted as a probable contributing factor that epidemics of the principal infectious diseases were conspicuously absent during those years. The low level of immediately preceding years was not maintained in 1934, owing chiefly to increases in deaths from epidemic diseases, cancer, and degenerative diseases.

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 death-rate figures.

The death-rates of males and females for the last ten years are shown ; separately in the next table.

Deaths per 1,000 of Population.
Year.Males.Females.Total.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 1925–34 gives the following annual averages: March quarter, 2,000 ; June quarter, 2,841 ; September quarter, 3,464; and December quarter, 2,963.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1934 the most deaths occurred during August, July, June, and November, with totals of 1,314, 1,193, 1,173, and 1,113 respectively. Excluding December (a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January), February had the least number of deaths (769), followed by March and April, with 907 and 932 respectively.

The least number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 17, this number occurring on the 23rd January. The greatest number (60) occurred on the 14th August.


The deaths occurring during 1934 are tabulated below by age:—

Under 1 month331225556
 1–2 months462672
 3–5 months343569
 6–11 months453984
 1 year4956105
 2 years462571
 3 years29938
 4 years311647
 5–9 years7872150
10–14 years7057127
15–19 years12791218
20–24 years135122257
25–29 years151135286
30–34 years122127249
35–39 years169155324
40–44 years194192386
45–49 years312278590
 50–54 years470334804
 55–59 years556380936
 60–64 years6404671,107
 65–69 years7155631,278
 70–74 years7256091,334
 75–79 years7416011,342
 85–89 years320318638
 95–99 years322759

Some remarkable changes in the age-distribution of persons dying have occurred during the last fifty years. The total deaths in 1934 were more than twice as numerous as in 1884, but the number of deaths under one year in 1934 was less than half of the corresponding number recorded in 1884. 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 23 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 1884, deaths in this group numbered only 137 or approximately 2 per cent. of the total of 5,740, while in 1934, 2,097 deaths of persons over 80 years of age were recorded, this number representing nearly 17 per cent. of the total deaths in that year. In 1914 the corresponding percentage was only 11. 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 1934 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 1884, 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 of Total.
Ages in Years.1884.1894.1904.1914.1934.1884.1894.1904.1914.1934.
Under 11,5731,5071,6161,45678127.4522.0219.9814.356.24
 1 and under 562149735846026110.847.264.434.532.08
 5 and under 102482241492021504.333.271.841.991.20
10 and under 151641591561181272.852.321.931.161.01
15 and under 201912522341872183.323.682.891.841.74
20 and under 252352943242882574.094.304.012.842.05
25 and under 302563043653542864.464.444.513.492.28
30 and under 352512583404042494.373.714.203.981.99
35 and under 402792963084523244.864.223.824.452.59
40 and under 453092532874273865.383.603.554.213.08
45 and under 502992823364295905.
50 and under 553043763684758045.295.394.554.686.42
55 and under 602293963985439363.995.694.925.357.47
60 and under 651814545565811,1073.156.536.885.738.84
65 and under 702013776477511,2783.495.418.007.4010.20
70 and under 751372856811,0241,3342.384.068.4210.0910.65
75 and under 801163294508771,3422.014.715.568.6410.71
80 and over1373025141,1202,0972.384.316.3611.0416.74
Unspecified 973......0.151.06......

The next table shows that the fall in the death-rate during recent years has been common to all ages, except age 85 and over, and to both sexes.

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


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

The average (arithmetic mean) age at death of persons of either sex in each of the last ten years was as follows :—



For reference to, or records of, the various series of life-tables constructed on New Zealand's 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 :—

Period.Males. Years.Females. Years.


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 Zealand1930–348.3
Union of South Africa1930–349.6
United States*1928.3211.5
England and Wales1929–3312.3
Irish Free State1930.3413.9
Northern Ireland1929–3314.5


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 recorded and standardized rates.

 Recorded Rotes.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.Recorded 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 this method in New Zealand is that the male standardized rate has now for a number of years been actually lower than the corresponding recorded rate. In 1934 the standardized death-rate for females also reached for the first time a lower level than the recorded rate.


The table following shows the number of living issue left by married men or widowers whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1925–34, the information being given according to age of father and of issue.

 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.
Age of Issue, in Years—        
Under 55421,5391,43051511113..4,150
 5 and under 101131,5722,6841,43838874126,281
10 and under 1547723,2122,9541,031242348,249
15 and under 2141313,1355,6433,31398516113,372
21 and over121,14710,40727,03243,15235,294117,035
  3   Totals6644,02011,62620,96031,87544,46635,503149,114
Married men or widowers who died—        
 Leaving issue4021,6763,5855,7567,8189,1636,89235,292
 Without leaving issue1754107711,1561,4101,3979266,245

Taking all deaths of married men or widowers, whether leaving issue or not it is found that the average living issue is 3.59, as compared with 3.90 for the period 1915–24.

Average numbers of issue left by married men or widowers during the decade 1925–34 were: Fathers aged under 30, 1.15; aged 30–39, 1.93; 40–49, 2.67; 50–59, 3.03 ; 60–69, 3.45; 70–79, 4.21 : 80 or over, 4.54. Averages are universally lower than in the preceding decade.

In 1934, among men who left any issue under age 16, the average number of such issue was 2.11. The average for all married men or widowers who died during the year was, however, only 0.39.

Of 854 cases where issue under 16 years of age was left by married men or widowers during 1934, a widow was also left in 803 cases, the aggregate children under 16 in these 803 cases being 1,707 and the average per widow 2.06. By the deaths of their fathers, children under 16 to the number of 44 were left without either parent, and for 7 children there was no information as to whether the mother was alive or dead.


Of the 41,537 married men or widowers whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1925–34, 10,637 were shown to have been widowers, and 30,368 to have left widows; while in the remaining 532 cases there was no information on the point. Of the married men leaving widows, 26,003 had living issue also at time of death, and 4,365 had no living issue. In 8,999 cases widowers left issue, and in 1,638 cases no issue. In 290 of the 532 cases where no information was given as to whether a widow was left there was living issue, in 235 cases there was no living issue, and in 7 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 Zealand1930–3432
United States*1929–3362
England and Wales1930–3463
South Africa1930–3464
Irish Free State1930–3467
Northern Ireland1930–3475
British India1929–33176

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 :—

 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 on p. 102). An extremely low (although slightly higher than in 1932 and 1933) level of 32.11 per 1,000 live births was recorded for 1934. The female rate has exhibited rather more fluctuation than the male rate.

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

Quinquennium.1 and under 5.5 and under 10.
Number of Deaths.Rate*Number of Deaths.Rate.*
* Per 10,000 children at ages shown.
1909–1913. J 4474919318

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.

Normally 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 1925–34 is found to be 133; between one and three months, 144; between three and six months, 123; between six and twelve months, 114; and for the whole of the first year, 131.

The rates for the two sexes in conjunction are now 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 months—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 1934 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 a little more than 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 1934 only nine.

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

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.


YearUnder 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.

Nearly half (221) of the 550 deaths under one month in 1934 occurred within twenty-four hours of birth, and four-fifths (456) 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 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 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.


 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 rata for all infant deaths, including still-births. Although the number of infant deaths showed a slight increase for 1934 compared with 1933, the comparatively heavy decline in the number of still-births more than counteracted this influence upon the total rate, which for 1934 shows an appreciable fall. Whereas, however, the rate computed on the usual method indicates a decrease of 20 per cent. during the period covered by the table, the inclusion of still-births reduces the improvement to 14 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 1934, 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.

 Number of Deaths.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population.
    I. Infectious and parasitic diseases5954831,0787.916.667.30
   II. Cancer and other tumours8929051,79711.8612.4812.16
  III. Rheumatic diseases, diseases, of nutrition and of endocrine glands, and other general diseases1342784121.783.842.79
  IV. Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs69541230.920.740.83
   V. Chronic poisonings and intoxications10..100.13..0.07
   VI. Diseases of the nervous system and of organs of special sense4975291,0266.617.306.94
    VII. Diseases of the circulatory system2,0631,6883,75127.4423.2825.40
   VIII. Diseases of the respiratory system5283628907.024.996.02
   IX. Diseases of the digestive system3642335974.843.214.04
   X. Diseases of the genito-urinary system4453117565.924.295.12
   XI. Pregnancy, labour, and the puerperal state..118118..1.630.80
  XII. Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue1913320.250.180.22
 XIII. Diseases of the bones and of organs of locomotion187250.240.100.17
 XIV. Congenital malformations83691521.100.951.03
   XV. Early infancy2621754373.492.412.96
 XVI. Senility2562004563.412.763.09
 XVII. Violence or accident6691748438.902.405.71
XVIII. Causes not determined195240.250.070.16

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.

 Number of Deaths.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Typhoid fever7811610.
Scarlet fever16116480.
Infantile paralysis5519820.
Tuberculosis of respiratory system5295014884764913.713.473.353.243.32
Other forms of tuberculosis1201161271351300.840.800.870.920.88
Anæmia, chlorosis38505149510.270.350.350.330.35
Exophthalmic goitre51545262670.360.370.360.420.45
Meningitis (all forms)70413927300.490.
Apop1exy, cerebral hæmorrhage6596346116777294.624.394.204.624.94
Convulsions of children under 5 years of age1314310170.
Diseases of the heart2,8972,8172,9353,0983,34820.3319.5020.1521.1222.67
Diseases of the arteries4324204444113793.032.913.072.802.57
Diarrhœa and enteritis77746760580.540.510.460.410.39
Hernia, intestinal obstruction958494111960.670.580.640.760.65
Cirrhosis of liver44433733470.310.300.260.220.32
Simple peritonitis35261918160.
Nephritis, Brighter's disease5675795805615603.984.013.983.823.79
Diseases and accidents of puerperal state1361271011081180.960.880.690.740.80
Congenital debility53322428270.370.
Premature birth3072912252562672.152.011'551.751.81
Injury at birth62786475650.440.540.440.510.44
Other diseases of early infancy90779486780.630.530.650.590.53
Violence (1) suicide1932262402001811.351.561.651.361.23
Violence (2) accident7739266636096425.426.414.554.154.35
Violence (3) homicide11132514200.
Other causes1,3621,3291,3321,3281,3879.559.

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 1934, ranking after heart-disease, cancer, cerebral hæmorrhage 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; the 1934 figure (3.32 per 10,000) is below that of any year except 1933.

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

Of the 491 persons who died from tuberculosis of the respiratory system in 1934, 360, or 73 per cent., were known to have been born in the Dominion. In 2 cases the country of birth was not known or not stated, and in the remaining 129 cases the deceased person had been born outside New Zealand. Two of the last-mentioned had been in New Zealand less than three years, and 5 less than five years.

In addition to the 491 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1934, there were 130 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, including—

Tuberculosis of meninges and central nervous system54
Tuberculosis of intestines and peritoneum17
Tuberculosis of vertebral column15
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system9
Disseminated tuberculosis29

Tuberculosis claims its victims at a comparatively early age. Of those dying from this cause in 1934, persons under the age of twenty years formed 14 per cent., and those under forty-five years 60 per cent.


Ages, in Years.Males.Females.Total.
Under 5201030
 5 and under 105611
10 and under 155611
15 and under 20122537
20 and under 25243862
25 and under 30335386
30 and under 35343670
35 and under 40292150
40 and under 45312051
45 and under 50321749
50 and under 55361854
55 and under 6031738
60 and under 6519423
65 and under 70141024
70 and under 758614
75 and under 806410
80 and over..11

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 Zealand1930–344.3
Union of South Africa1929.334.4
United States*1928.327.2
England and Wales1929–338.8
Northern, Ireland1929–3312.1
Irish Free State1929–3312.7


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 1934 there were 1,699 deaths from cancer in the Dominion, a proportion of 11.50 per 10,000 of population. The standardized cancer death-rate for 1934 shows an increase of 0.14, while the recorded death-rate shows an increase of 0.43 per 10,000.

Year.Number of Deaths from Cancer.Recorded 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 Population.
* Registration area.
Union of South Africa1929–338.6
United States*1928–329.8
New Zealand1930–3410.6
Irish Free State1929–3311.0
Northern Ireland1929–3312.1
England and Wales1929–3314.8

The following summary shows the types of cancer returned in the death entries for the year 1934.—

Scirrhus cancer..1919
Rodent ulcer527
Malignant ulcer112
Malignant tumour8715
Malignant papilloma448
Malignant disease336
Malignant growth..33

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 1934 gives results as under:—

Seat of Disease.Males.Females.Total.
Buccal cavity and pharynx701080
Digestive tract and peritoneum513375888
Respiratory organs512071
Other female genital organs..7474
Urinary organs and male genital organs14221163
Other or unspecified organs543993

Ninety-one per cent. of the deaths from cancer during 1934 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 62 per cent. at ages 60 years and upwards. Females predominate generally at the younger, and males at the older, ages.

Exhaustive statistical inquiry covering the period from 1872 to date tends to show that in New Zealand death from cancer is, on the average, now 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 now older than the average citizen of ten, twenty, or fifty years ago.


Ages, in Years.Males.Females.Total.
Under 5325
 5 and under 10516
10 and under 15112
15 and under 20314
20 and under 25527
25 and under 30358
30 and under 3541317
35 and under 40122335
40 and under 45194968
45 and under 503877115
50 and under 558596181
55 and under 6091105196
60 and under 65118119237
65 and under 70134114248
70 and under 75136103239
75 and under 809274166
80 and over10659165


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 :—

YearProportion 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 septicæmia, peritonitis, nephritis, &c. (without qualification), with the result that in each year several of such cases are found to be puerperal, and are now 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 4.85 in 1934 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 118 deaths from puerperal causes during 1934 included 47 from abortion, of which 42 became septic cases. Including these 42 deaths from septic abortion there were 59 deaths from puerperal septicæmia in 1934.

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 septicæmia, exclusive of septic abortion, show a definite fall. The death-rate for all puerperal septicæmia cases (including septic abortion) was 2.43 per 1,000 live births in 1934 as against 1.64 per 1,000 in 1933. Over the last five years puerperal septicæmia, including septic abortion, was responsible for 26 per cent. of the total deaths from puerperal causes.

 Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Abortion with septic conditions30292626421.
Abortion without septic conditions specified678750.220.260.320.290.20
Ectopic gestation463540.
Other accidents of pregnancy....611....
Puerpeal hæmorrhage1168990.410.230.320.370.37
Puerperal septicæmia27181314171.010.680.520.570.70
Puerperal albuminuria and eclampsia28321720151.051.200.680.820.62
Other toxæmias of pregnancy8669150.300.230.240.370.02
Puerperal phlegmasia alba dolens, embolus, sudden death15116660.560.410.240.250.25
Other accidents of childbirth4471140.
Other conditions of the puerperal state381....0.110.300.05....

A table showing the rate per 1,000 births of deaths from puerperal septicæmia (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 now occupies a more favourable position in international comparison than was the case a few years ago.


  Death-rate per 1,000 Births from
Country.Period.Puerperal Septicæmia.Other Puerperal Causes.All Puerperal Causes.
* Registration area.
England and Wales1929–331.762.554.31
Irish Free State1929–331.343.244.58
New Zealand1930–341.902.744.64
South Africa1929–332.672.405.07
Northern Ireland1929–331.573.655.22
United States*1928–322'524.326.84


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.

 Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000,000 of Mean Population.
Causes of Death.1919.1924.1929.1934.1919.1924.1929.1934.
Accidental causes—        
  Burns and scalds3136352627282518
  Died under anæsthetic, asphyxia, &c.213010161823711
  In mines and quarries1413171812101212
  Injuries by animals11114510833
Fractures (causes not specified)482589421966

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1934 was 642, corresponding to a rate of 4.35 per 10,000 of population. Although this represents, by comparison with 1919, an increase of 66 in the number of deaths, the death-rate has declined by 0.69 per 10,000 of population. Noticeable decreases are shown for drowning, deaths under anæsthetic, asphyxia, &c, and fractures (causes not specified). Part of the large increase between 1919 and 1934 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.

 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 1934 there were 11 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor-vehicle was an agent up to 163. The corresponding figure for 1933 was 130. Further data regarding accidents will be found elsewhere in this volume (see Index). A later section is devoted wholly to statistics of industrial accidents.


The suicidal deaths in 1934 numbered 181—males 142, females 39—the death-rate per 10,000 of mean population being 1.23.

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