Table of Contents

List of Tables


IN this, the 45th issue of the “New Zealand Official Year-Book,” a further measure of expansion has been found possible, though the volume is still appreciably smaller in size than the 1926–31 issues.

The treatment of certain subjects assuming an added importance has been broadened. In particular, the section on Labour Laws and Allied Legislation has been considerably expanded to include a descriptive summary of the principal laws coining under this heading as amended by legislation enacted in the 1936 session of Parliament. The introductory historical comment to this section has also been widened in scope. The Building and Construction Section has been rewritten, a short historical account of progress in this sphere of economic activity being included, while certain new analyses of building costs are given. The references to recent developments in agricultural policy, included for the first time in the 11(36 issue, have been brought up to date by the inclusion of descriptive summaries of recent legislative measures and other Governmental actions of import in this connection.

New sections appearing for the first time are a section on Broad-easting—replacing brief references previously included in the Postal and Telegraphic Section—and a section on Consumption of Commodities. In view of the world-wide attention being directed to problems of nutrition, it was felt that the statistical treatment of the latter subject, previously included in the Miscellaneous Section was no longer adequate.

While every care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the subject-matter presented, the range of subjects covered in the volume is such that occasional lapses may have occurred. Again, the necessity of condensation in order to keep the size of the book within reasonable limits may have caused, in places, obscurities in exposition or inadequacies of treatment. I shall be glad to hear of any such Haws which may have escaped notice in the preparation of the Year-Book.

I wish again to record my appreciation of the assistance rendered by members of my staff and by officers of other Government Departments. In particular, my thanks are due to Mr. G. E. F. Wood, M.A.. who has carried out the exacting editorial duties on this occasion: and, in addition, has personally written most of the new letterpress.


Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Department, Wellington, New Zealand, 15th December. 1936.


[Following are certain important statistical data for later periods than are included in the body of the Year-Book. The page numbers relate to the appropriate pages in this Year-book containing more complete information in respect of earlier periods.]

POPULATION (pp. 830–853):—

Estimated population (inclusive of Maoris but exclusive of Cook and other Pacific Islands)—

As at 30th September—
* Excess of imports.
MIGRATION (pp. 836–842):—1st April to 31st October—
  Passenger arrivals12,08714,944
  Passenger departures14,49616,894
Vital Statistics (pp. 48–102):—1st January to 30th September—
  Infant deaths564578
Corresponding yearly rates—  
  Births (per 1,000 mean population)15·9916·54
  Deaths (per 1.000 mean population)8·228·70
  Marriages (per 1,000 mean population)7·828·94
  Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)31·0631·29
Total Trade (pp. 171–178):—1935.1936.
 Commodity exports— 
  Ten months ended 31st October38,739,17548,608,907
  Twelve months ended 31st October44,148,04356,408,113
 Commodity imports— 
  Ten months ended 31st October30,058,66335,758,312
  Twelve months ended 31st October35,578,38842,016,916
Excess of exports— 
  Ten months ended 31st October8,680,51212,850,595
  Twelve months ended 31st October8,569,65514,391,197

PRINCIPAL EXPORTS (pp. 183–184. 195–196).

 Twelve Months ended 31st October.
  £ £
Butter (cwt.)2,653,86811,892,1002,788,59815,422,572
Cheese (cwt.)1,751,5294,290,7201,644,5204,899,475
Frozen meats— 
  Beef (cwt.)857,924988,230753,3801,015,390
  Lamb (carcasses)2,574,4478,060,9072,661,7198,583,106
  Mutton (carcasses)1,011,8241,811,610906,6121,713,722
  Pork (cwt.)491,6651,328,150607,9951,584,273
Wool (bales)628,2066,764,075907.78612,910,614
Gold (oz.)170,5801,429,807175,5111,463,479
Timber (sup. ft.)41,243,333381,59230,393,097289,497


Twelve months ended 31st October
Tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes694,830756,335
Miscellaneous apparel and ready-made clothing1,111,3541,210,287
Miscellaneous drapery333,484344,851
Boots and shoes480,920482,071
Cotton, silk, and artificial silk piece-goods.2,073,7812,746,209
Woollen piece-goods640,414784,143
Paints and varnishes305,948390,779
Iron and steel: Bar, bolt, and rod271,048367,656
Electrical machinery (including wireless apparatus)1,540,3902,098,699
AGRICULTURE (pp. 344–355):—1935–36.1936–37 (ESTIMATES).
AREAS SOWN (P. 345)—
  OATS.. 363,296295,000
PASTORAL PRODUCTION (pp. 356–378):—1935–36.1936–37. (ESTIMATE).
 Wool production (greasy basis), lb316,500,000295,000,000


Industry. 1934–35.1935–36.
* Excluding establishments exclusively engaged in malting.
Meat freezing and preserving—
  Total persons engagedNo.7,5947,692
  Salaries and wages paid£1,535,5261,634,185
  Value of output£16,856,57717,514,049
   Added value£2,946,9923,058,566
  Total persons engagedNo.756728
  Salaries and wages paid£169,641164,546
  Value of output£2,320,6112,302,061
   Added value ..£544,381493,681
Biscuit, confectionery, and sugar-boiling works—
  Total persons engaged ..No.2,5912,862
  Salaries and wages paid ..£273,078314,717
  Value of output ..£1,481,5751,688,191
   Added value£734,421813,122
Breweries and malthouses*
  Total persons engaged ..No.797868
  Salaries and wages paid ..£201,957218,907
  Value of output (including beer duty) ..£1,708.0221,925,877
   Added value ..£720,376834,053
Soap and candle works—
  Total persons engaged ..No.513492
Salaries and wages paid ..£86,81789,187
  Value of output ..£536,235574,191
   Added value ..£299,695296,128
  Total persons engaged ..No.531543
  Salaries and wages paid ..£100,668104,888
  Value of output ..£492,604519,157
   Added value ..£198,454210,692
Superphosphates and chemical fertilizers—
  Total persons engaged ..No.644690
  Salaries and wages paid ..£138,257149,020
  Value of output ..£1,358,1081,360,123
   Added value ..£511,552539,428
Boot and shoe manufacturing—
  Total persons engaged ..No.2,5412,788
  Salaries and wages paid ..£344,504360,684
  Value of output ..£1,102,9501,140,646
   Added value ..£540,663534,340
Woollen mills—
  Total persons engaged ..No.2,5322,632
Salaries and wages paid ..£345,591360,782
Value of output ..£1,048,8491,005,830
   Added value£588,448592,741
Hosiery factories—
  Total persons engaged ..No.9981,012
  Salaries and wages paid ..£111,551114,379
  Value of output ..£440,089461,653
   Added value ..£214,178248,236
Transport (pp. 235–287):— Twelve Months ended October—
Shipping (pp. 235–242)—1935.1936.
* As at 30th September.
  Overseas inwardsNumber611641
  Overseas outwardsNumber622640
Railways (pp. 243–253)—   
  Net ton-miles runNumber427,000,000476,000,000
  Passenger journeysNumber20,028,86820,918,590
  Operating revenue £ 6,057,7786,616,411
  Operating expenditure £ 5,222,3005,908,103
Road (pp. 261–276)—   
  Motor-vehicles licensed* 192,844217,782
 Six Months ended 30th September
Consolidated Fund (pp. 408–470):—££


Item. 1035.1036.
* Fall due mainly to operation of Dairy Industry Account (see p. 335).
Prices index numbers (pp. 645–665):—   
Retail— Month of October.
Food (1926–30 = 1000) 875892
All groups (1926–30 = 1000) 853876
Wholesale—All groups (1909–13 = 1000) 14341426
Export—All groups (1909–13 = 100O) 11971262
Share prices—All groups (1926 = 1000) 1014957
Mortgages registered (pp. 013–616)£1,574,6621,670,811
Mortgages discharged (pp 613–616)£1,799,2131,777,999
Land-transfers registered (p. 307)£1,520,6791,623,410
Pensions (pp. 509–526):—   
  Number 41,84047,743
  Annual value£1,776,4142,475,000
  Number 22,11723,435
  Annual value£1,352,4741,519,000
 Family allowances—   
  Number 11,98710,316
  Annual value£147,090145,000
 Trading banks—   
  Debits, weekly average (excluding Government), (p. 562)£11,930,13114,782,859
  Ratio of advances to deposits (p. 560)Per cent.77·0075·96
 Reserve Bank— 9th November.
  Net reserve ratio (p. 554)Per cent.99·0978·71*
  Gold (p. 554)£2,801,7322,801,789
  Exchange (p. 554)£16,948,05216,360,745
  Net note circulation (p. 563)£6,453,5427,915,330
  26th October.
Overseas funds of banks (p. 563)£33,976,15731,451,278
  24th October.
Number of unemployed males (p. 709) 58,48146,140


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

* £1 1s. per annum (post free).

† No Census taken In 1931.

‡ Out of print.

Now Zealand Official Year-Book1937Jan., 1937766
Annual Statistical Reports—     
 Population and Buildings1934–35Aug., 1935262
 Vital Statistics1934Dec., 1935505
Justice1935July, 1930262
Trade and Shipping (Part I)1935July, 19362006
Trade and Shipping (Part 11)1935Dec, 1930364
Agricultural and Pastoral Production1934–35Nov., 1935262
Factory and Building Production1934–35Mar., 1930363
Insurance1934Mar., 1930202
Miscellaneous (Prices, Wage-rates and Hours of Labour, Unemployment, Industrial Accidents, Tramways, Banking, Building Societies, Bankruptcy, Commercial Afforestation, Statistical Summary)1934Feb., 1936404
  Appendix (Incomes and Income-tax)1934–35May, 1936101
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand (published annually)1936Aug., 1936766
Monthly Abstract of Statistics  26*1
Volumes of Census Results (published quin-quennially) 
Geographical Distribution1926May, 1927464
Dependencies192GFeb., 1927161
Ages1926Nov., 1928202
Conjugal Condition1920Feb., 1929262
Orphan Children and Dependent Children1920Mar., 1929202
Race Aliens1926Feb., 1929202
Native-born and Foreign-born1920May, 1929202
Religious Professions1926Nov., 1928202
Industrial and Occupational Distribution1926Mar., 1930303
Unemployment from Sickness and other Causes1926Sept., 1930200
Incomes1926May, 1930362
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)—

MangaiaMauke (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 8th degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 17th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 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 8th March, 1926, delegated to the Administrator of Western Samoa.


The mountainous nature 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.), Ruapehu (9,175 ft.). Ngauruhoe (7,515 ft.), and Tongariro (6,458 ft.), they do not exceed an altitude of 6,000 ft. Of these four volcanoes only the first-named can be classed as extinct. 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
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.


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 Tasmanian 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
Manapouri12656416. .3961,458


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 Now 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 Now 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 hyperemia 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 hyperæmia in the patient with an actual absorption of free sulphur, which is present in considerable quantity. Also the radio-activity of this medium (0·185 per c.c.) is possibly an active factor in the therapeutic action of these baths. In some of the cases undergoing mud-bath treatment the effect has been almost miraculous—instant relief from pain; reduction of swelling caused by inflammatory exudates—and such patients have been able to discard crutches or other adventitious aids and to walk with more or less normal comfort.

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


The following 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 Coromandol, 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 deals with earthquakes in New Zealand. The first section of the article has been prepared by Dr. J. Henderson, Director of the Geological Survey, and the remaining sections by Mr. R. C. Hayes, Acting-Director of the Dominion Observatory.


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 Island 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-west 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 fault-zones have been traced for long distances, but a few only have been active since European occupation. The Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931 raised an area sixty miles long in a north-east direction and in parts ten miles-wide. The uplift was greatest along the south-east edge of the area—for miles amounting to 6 ft. or more. Numerous levels on the Heretaunga Plain and along the railway north of Napier show that the uplift decreased 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 flats 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 by about 15 ft., and caused it to shift north-west by 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.


A comparison between the records of destructive earthquakes in New Zealand and similar records in other seismic countries shows that the seismicity of New Zealand in general is surprisingly high. This, however, is due to the occurrence of a large number of earthquakes of the semi-destructive type, with comparatively few of the disastrous type.

During the period 1835–1934 sixty-nine destructive earthquakes are known to have occurred in New Zealand, forty-nine of which were of the semi-destructive-type (not exceeding intensity R.-F. 8). There were fourteen of intensity 9, and six of intensity 10.*

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

† ALEXANDER MCKAY: Reports of Geological Explorations during 1888–80. Wellington, 1890.

New Zealand Government Gazelle, Wellington, Vol. 2, No. 14, 17th October, 1855, p. 116. Sir CHARLES LYELL, “The Principles of Geology?” tenth edition, 1868, Vol. 2, p. 82. London: John Murray.

§ New Zealand Government Gazette. Wellington, Vol. 1, No. 27, 13th November, 18–18, and Vol. 1, No. 20, 20th November, 1848. 11. S. CHAPMAN in Westminster Review, Vol. 51,1849.

The distribution of earthquakes throughout New Zealand itself during the period 1848–1934 shows that the region of intense seismic activity, where earthquakes are frequent and occasionally severe, includes the eastern and southern parts of the North Island and the northern part of the South Island..

The Auckland Peninsula, South Canterbury, and Eastern Otago appear to have been comparatively free from earthquakes during the past hundred years. Although the seismic history of the Fiord region of the South Island is not very well known, there are records of sealers having experienced violent earthquakes in those parts in 1792, 1810, and 1826–27 Also there is some record of violent earthquakes having occurred near Auckland in ] 834–35.§

It is thus evident that, although some parts of New Zealand have experienced no severe earthquakes during the past hundred years, no assurance can he given that such will not occur there in the future.

The following table, compiled for some of the main centres in New Zealand, shows—(1) The mean annual frequency of all earthquakes during the period 1848–1934 and (2) the number of destructive earthquakes during the period 1835–1934:|

Centre.Mean Number of Shocks per Year.Number of Earthquakes of intensity R.-F. 8 or over.
New Plymouth2·70

Although there appears to be no regular annual variation in the frequency of New Zealand earthquakes, the mean monthly numbers over a long period indicate that earthquakes are on the average most frequent in March and least so in January. The mean monthly numbers follow approximately the mean annual variation of atmospheric pressure in New Zealand.


During the period 1848–1935 the number of deaths recorded in New Zealand as due directly or indirectly to earthquakes was 284. Of these, 255 were due to the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3rd February, 1931. A table giving details of the number of deaths due to earthquakes in New Zealand was published in the 1936 issue of the Year-Book.

* L. BASTINGS: “Destructive Earthquakes in New Zealand, 1835–1934,” N.Z. Jour. Sci. & Tech., Vol. 17, No. 1, July, 1035. Dominion Observatory Bulletin 103.

† L. BASTINGS and R. C. HAYES: “Earthquake Distribution in New Zealand, 1848–1934,” N.Z. Jour. Sci. & Tech., Vol. 16, No. 5, March, 1035. Dominion Observatory Bulletin 95.

‡ R MCNAB “Murihiku and (lie Southern islands” (1907). R, TAYLOR: “Te Ika a Maui,“ London, 1855.

§ Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, Vol. 3, 1891, p. 531.

| R. C. HAYES: “The Seismicity of New Zealand Cities and Towns,” N.Z. Jour, of Sci. & Tech., 1936. Dominion Observatory Bulletin 111.

¶ R. C. HAYES: “Earthquake Frequency in New Zealand,” N.Z. Jour. Sci. & Tech., Vol. 10, No. 5, 1935. Dominion Observatory Bulletin 104.


No earthquakes of destructive force occurred in New Zealand during the year 1935. The maximum intensity reported was R.-F. 7, which occurred in an earthquake near Taupo on 15th July. The following table gives some particulars of the most important earthquakes in New Zealand during the year 1935. The table includes—(1) Earthquakes reported to have reached or exceeded an intensity of R.-F. 6; and (2) earthquakes which were felt over a wide area:—

New Zealand Mean Time.Approximate Position of Epicentre.Maximum Intensity as felt, R.-F. Scale.Locality of Maximum Intensity.
South Latitude.East Longitude.
* Geographical position of epicentre not known.
Mar.11250*..6Hicks Bay.
Aug.131145*..6Waipiro Bay.
Sept1222541·6172·76(?)Lake Grassmere (Marlborough) 
Oct.518940·8176·34 +Pahiatua, Foxton.
Nov.2153141·0175·55Paraparaumu, Paekakariki.
Nov277041·3172·84Farewell Spit.


During the year 1935 fifteen seismograph stations were operating in New-Zealand and the surrounding islands. Of these, eleven are directly under the control of the Dominion Observatory. The stations at Apia and Christchurch are controlled by the observatories at those places, whilst two stations are privately owned. In July a new station was established at Lake Monowai Power-house, where a Milne-Jaggar seismograph was installed. The Imamura seismograph at Takaka underwent extensive overhaul, and was out of action during the latter part of the year. The New Zealand subsidiary stations are operated by officers of various Government Departments, by the engineers of some of the Electric-power Boards, and by private individuals.


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.

There are at present 110 of these non-instrumental reporting-stations distributed throughout the Dominion.

The following summary gives the number of earthquakes reported felt in New Zealand for each month during the year 1935, and also the maximum intensities:—

Month.Number of Earthquakes reported felt.Maximum Intensity, R.-F. Scale.Locality of Maximum.
North Island.South Island.Both Islands.Total for New Zealand.
January751115Tokomaru Bay, Hastings.
February1271185Puysegur Point.
March85..136Hicks Bay.
April61..75Wanganui, Milford Sound.
May163 185Farewell Spit.
August76..126Waipiro Bay.
September66..115Whakatane, Lake Grassmere, Cheviot.
October45..96Milford Track (Quinton lints).
November..73..96Wanganui, Paraparaumu, Paekakariki.

The next table gives the number of earthquakes in which the maximum intensity reported reached the various decrees of the Rossi-Forel scale:—

Month.Rossi-Forei Scale.Totals.
February ....2961..... .. ...18
May..1971..... .....18

The total number of earthquakes reported felt, and the maximum intensities reported in each of the years 1921 to 1935 inclusive, are as follows:—

Year.Number of Earthquakes reported felt.Maximum Intensity, R.-F. Scale.

The figures in the above table, giving the number of reported earthquakes. require careful interpretation. In years of major earthquakes, such as 1929 and 1931, many of the numerous after-shocks are liable to be passed unnoticed, while during a period of quiescence there is a tendency for all shocks, however slight, to be reported. This leads to an undue emphasis being placed upon earthquake activity during a comparatively quiet period. The great number of earthquakes reported in 1922 is due to the swarm of local shocks which occurred in the Taupo region in the latter half of that year. Also, although there was no major earthquake in 1930, a large number of shocks occurred in that year, due mainly to the continuation of after-shocks of the Buller earthquake of 17th June, 1929.


The Dominion Observatory, Wellington, and the Magnetic Observatory, Christ-church, publish seismological reports every month, which comprise instrumental data from all the New Zealand stations.

The Dominion Observatory also publishes special bulletins dealing with the results of research work in seismology. By means of the records from New Zealand seismograph stations the Dominion Observatory carries out the determination of the epicentres of the principal New Zealand earthquakes; and with the aid of seismological reports from Apia and Australian stations also undertakes the provisional determination of earthquake origins in the south-west Pacific generally.


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 “Metrological 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 Diemen1·712·882·033·864·834·623·993·732·842·561·611·6536·31
Tolaga Bay3·214·424·735·497·716·386·706·003·603·262·963·0357·55
Riversdale, Inglewood7·566·077·128·099·7410·2910·218·809·0910·399·227·57104·75
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, Blenheim2·192·202·252·27·943·193·582·062·712·502·351·9930·83
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 Plymouth12·710·411·013·317·717·618·818·417·618·410·314·2187·3
Marshlands, Blenheim7·15·80·87·58·58·49·99·08·59·58·27·897·0
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 Plymouth62·962·901·257·854·451·449·750·152·251·256·860·450·2
Hokitika58·858·857·053·448·945·744·545 048·951·553·456·751·9

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 maximum72·672·970·966·962·158·657·057·860·163·266·069·364·8
Mean highest maximum78·678·676·472·267·364·062·562·865·468·672·075·779·7
Absolute highest max.81·585·079·077·471·067·065·067·070·072·076·079·585·0
Mean daily minimum59·760·458·555·351·348·146·246·248·951·754·150·85·31
Mean lowest minimum51·853·051·540·442·789·538·139·1141·744·347·149·437·3
Absolute lowest min.48·048·046·041·038·036·535·036·437·841·041·043·535·0
Days of frost in screen........................0·0
Days of ground frost..........0·10·70·1........1·0

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 maximum78·077·374·469·062·258·25·7157·462·066·669·974·979·5
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......0·21·43·66·04·22·50·50·2..18·6
Days of ground frost0·20·50·62·45·38·512·011·26·02·61·00·651·1


Mean daily maximum69·369·366·962·958·354·853·l54·357·560·463·266·761·3
Mean highest maximum78·177·774·970·265·361·359·661·564·568·071·075·079·8
Absolute highest max.85·088·080·574·071·069·066·066·069·075·580·583·688·0
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.39·440·539·135·731·929·928·029·231·034·035·838·428·6
Days of frost in screen........0·00·20·46·40·0....1·4 
Days of ground frost0·00·10·21·02·65·47·86·73·11·30·50·128·6

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.79·082·484·574·071·563·565·067·167·669·074·179·084·5
Mean daily minimum53·253·151·047·141·938·536·838·042·345·747·951·545·6
Mean lowest minimum43·243·540·636·532·129·929·029·832·235·238·441·928·1
Absolute lowest min.35·037·03·5031·028·526·025·526·527·030·032·033·025·5
Days of frost in screen......0·00·94·06·94·60·70·1....17·2
Days of ground frost0·20·10·52·46·912·416·113·85·92·40·70·261·9

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.95·794·189·882·377·869·370·070·081·187·886·892·395·7
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....0·74·09·210·18·22·60·50·035·4  
Days of ground frost0·30·21·45·412·316·917·717·310·46·53·60·992·9

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.94·090·085·085·072·068·066·070·077·083·086·088·094·0
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.36·037·034·031·029·024·023·027·029·031·032·035·023·0
Days of frost in screen........0·11·41·71·10·2......4·5
Days of ground frost..0·10·00·75·911·012·49·54·71·00·30·145·7

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.93·091·589·082·070·067·062·069·076·079·086·095·095·0
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.30·030·029·025·021·018·020·018·025·027·030·031·018·0
Days of frost in screen0·10·30·51·96·713·115·411·13·71·50·30·154·7
Days of ground frost0·81·43·26·013·022·021·419·911·16·13·21·1109·2

The above 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.


Station.Number of Years.Jan.Feb.Mar.April.May.June.July.Aug.Sept.Oct.Nov.Dec.Year.
* Jordan sunshine·recorder used until February, 1933.
Waipoua State Forest8202·9150·11551129·409·577·095·4125·5113·0129·3137·0158·01,574·0
New Plymouth18–20255·1225·4223·1107·2158·7132·0141·8171·0109·0175·9214·0242·02,275·8
Palmerston N.8202·1173·9170·7130·8132·2105·0104·7138·4130·8148·0179·9211·81,840·3
Hanmer Springs23·20209·0191·9190·0155·8124·9105·0107·8144·8105·9180·4202·8212·11,991·0
The Hermitage, Mount Cook6102·0105·4180·1120·280·O80·291·3103·0141·4152·4178·7199·51.000·2
Lake Tekapo9–11207·1235·1236·8189·1159·5120·0140·2108·7197·4222·1244·7274·12,400·8


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

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

Snow.—Snow is rare at sea-level, especially in the North Island. In the interior and at high altitudes it occurs more frequently. On the summits of the ranges in the whole length of the South Island and on the highest peaks in the North Island snow falls, on the average, on over thirty day per annum. In the interior of the South Island there is a considerable area of settled country which is subject to half that number. Towards the coast, however, the number falls off rapidly. Data regarding snow lying are scanty. In the North Island any snow falling on the low levels almost invariably melts as it falls, but on the high plateaux it may lie, especially in the hollows, for from one to three weeks during the year. In the South Island it practically never lies at low levels on the north or west coasts, but on the east coast does so on a few days in some years. At altitudes between 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, for the Dominion as a whole, was probably the hottest January hitherto experienced. Rainfall was much below average over a large part of the country, and the continued rain-shortage, combined with the very high temperatures, had a detrimental effect on pastures and stock.

Heavy rains were recorded in the western portion of the South Island, and parts of eastern Otago and South Canterbury and of the high country in Taranaki, while Wellington also had beneficial falls. Over the remainder of the Dominion, however, conditions were extremely dry, the position being most acute in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and east coast districts of the North Island, and most of Canterbury and Marlborough.

In February temperatures were as much above normal as in January, but fortunately good rains terminated the drought which had been experienced in most districts. There was a large excess of rainfall over the whole of the North Island, many places having more than double the average. In the South Island most of Nelson and Westland, the Alps, and the eastern foot hills had more than the average, but elsewhere there was still a deficit, which in Marlborough and Southern Otago and Southland was a large one. Although the disturbances ruling were all of slight intensity, they were responsible, in addition to frequent thunderstorms and local downpours, for a number of heavy and widespread rains. At various times severe local flooding was experienced—viz., in Auckland City on the 15th, at Hokitika on the 19th, and in parts of Taranaki and North Auckland on the 22nd.

The warmth and rains caused a good growth of grass, and consequently stock improved in condition, and the milk-yield recovered somewhat.

March was a very satisfactory autumn month. Owing to the continued warmth and lack of strong winds there was again a rapid growth of vegetation. Stock generally maintained good condition, but during the first part of the month, dull, damp weather on the east coast of the North Island north of Hawke's Bay had an adverse effect on sheep, a considerable amount of facial eczema being reported in that area. There was little rain during the first half of the month. except in the Auckland and Hawke's Bay Districts; but, in the latter half, general rains occurred with heavy falls in many places. Totals below normal were experienced in Central and, especially, North Canterbury, and also in Hawke's Bay and parts of the interior of the North Island. Over most of the rest of the Dominion there was an excess, many places in North Auckland, Taranaki, Nelson, Marlborough, and Otago having as much as double their normal quantity. Late in the month Taranaki experienced floods for the third time within five weeks.

In April mild conditions prevailed, and there was again an absence of severe storms. Rainfall was irregularly distributed. Parts of Western Taranaki and most of the Wellington Province had less than the average, but over practically all the remainder of the North Island there was a considerable excess. Many places in the Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay had more than double the average. In the South Island much of Nelson and Marlborough and parts of Southland had more than the average rainfall, but elsewhere it was a dry month. The most general rains occurred during the periods from the 10th to 14-th, 21st to 24th, and 26th to 28th. In the first two periods there were many heavy falls, and considerable flooding was experienced in many parts of the North Island, the Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty, and Waikato districts suffering most.

Except for two periods of fine, mild weather—viz.. between the 11th and the 10th and from the 25th to the 27th—the month of May was a cold, unsettled one, with a predominance of southerly winds. Except in the Far North. temperatures, which in the preceding six months had been above normal, fell below it in May. The total rainfall was below average in parts of the Auckland Province and in the east coast areas. Over the remainder of the Dominion it was above average, the greatest excess being on the west coast of the South Island and in the Wairarapa. A number of intense and extensive depressions occurred, and there was a good deal of stormy weather. On the 5th there was heavy snow on the ranges of both Islands, and considerable falls occurred also on flu-low levels. In Taranaki parts of the plain country had an unprecedented fall for the time of year. On the morning of the 20th a violent north-west gale swept Canterbury and caused widespread damage. Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, and some flooding wore experienced in the Taranaki and Wellington districts on the 21st.

During the first five days of June the weather was fine generally, but otherwise the month was an unsettled one. There were several severe storms accompanied by continued strong winds from between west and south-west, and rain was frequent.

Rainfall was below the average in a small area about Cook Strait- and in parts of the western districts of the South Island, while over the remainder of the Dominion an excess was experienced.

In Canterbury a severe snowstorm occurred on the 9th, and considerable damage to telegraph and power lines resulted. At the same time there were widespread thunderstorms in the North Island. Otago had particularly heavy southerly rains on the 18th, with much flooding in low-lying areas.

In July cold spells occurred between the 7th and 10th and from the 24th to the close, but the remainder of the month was mild for the season of the year. Appreciable growth of pasture was reported. Very heavy rain occurred in North Auckland between the 6th and 8th and again from the 21st to 25th. The total rainfall was above average also over all the North Island except parts of the Taranaki Bight and central areas. The whole of the South Island recorded less than the average. Temperatures did not differ greatly from normal.

The month of August was remarkable for the prevalence of strong and squally westerly winds. On this account the finest, and mildest weather was experienced in districts east of the main ranges. Rainfall was below normal in the east coast districts of the South Island and also, but to a less extent, in those of the North. Most of the remainder of the Dominion had more than the average, the Nelson Province reporting more than double the average.

Temperatures nearly everywhere exceeded the average, the departure being greatest in the eastern half of the North Island. Frosts were less frequent and generally less severe than usual at tin's time of the year.

After a comparatively mild winter, September proved a very cold month. Low temperatures, associated with a prevalence of southerly or easterly winds and extreme dryness, had the effect, in many parts, of retarding growth of pastures. The only districts where rainfall was above the average were the far northern and east coast portions of the North Island, and Marlborough. North Auckland experienced extremely wet conditions with considerable flooding at times.

October was a good spring month, mild conditions and a plentiful rainfall causing a vigorous growth in vegetation. Rains above average were experienced over most of the North Island, deficiencies occurring only in North Auckland and isolated parts of the Gisborne, Hawke`s Bay, and Taranaki districts.

In the South Island an excess was recorded north of Greymouth and Akaroa. Thence southwards totals were generally slightly below average.

There was a reversion to almost wintry weather in November, the outstanding features being its coldness, a deficiency of sunshine, and, in most districts, an excess of rainfall. The month was, in fact, in many parts one of the coldest Novembers on record. Though there was fair growth of pastures and stock remained in good condition, Iambs failed to fatten well, and shearing was interfered with.

In December the weather was remarkably fine, with temperatures much above normal. Rainfall was, in general, considerably below the average; but after a wet, cold, spring this was not a disadvantage. The only periods when general rains occurred were from the 17th to 19th and the 2Sth to 30th. Conditions were most favourable for all farming operations, and there was an abundance of feed for stock.

Year.—The summer of 1934–35 was much the hottest recorded hitherto. With the period from November. 1934, to February, 10.15, there has previously been nothing comparable, and temperatures remained above normal in March and April. Very dry conditions prevailed over most of the country until the end of January, and for the farming community the position was very unsatisfactory. In February the drought was gradually broken, and excellent conditions ruled throughout the autumn. The wheat crop was light, and there were many failures. The grain produced, however, was of a high quality, and there were some excellent individual crops. The milk-yield was poorer than for several years previously. The apple crop also was light, and much of the fruit too large for export.

The winter was, on the whole, mild, with ample feed for stock, which maintained its condition well. Crops were sown under favourable conditions.

Cold and wet weather made the spring a late one, but December was a very fine month, and at the end of the year stock and crops were in very good condition. The lambing season was considerably poorer than in the two preceding years.

The rainfall for the year was considerably above normal over most of the North Island. In the South Island there was usually little departure, but falls less than the average predominated.


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

 Temperatures in Shade.Hours of Sun· shine.Rainfall.
Station.Mean Daily MaximumMean Daily minimumApprox. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1935Absolute MaximumAbsolute MinimumTotal Fall.Number of Days.
Maximum and monthMinimum and month

* Palmerston North: February total for twenty·seven days only; April total for twenty·nine days only.

† Fairlie: January total for twenty·nine days only.

 °F.°F.°F.°F.  °F.°F.°F. Inches 
Waipoua State Forest66·051·258·682·0·Feb.33·0July....1,487·281·35220
     Mar. sept     
Te Aroha68·349·959·194·0Feb.27·2July95·021 0..65·43193
Hamilton East68·246·457·394·4Dec.24·4May94·422·0..51·33196
New Plymouth64·351·157·786·0Feb.32·7May89·027·02,256·777·27183
Palmerston North64·248·750·587·0Feb.26·0July91·023·0..47·27169
Massey College. Palmerston North*63·2....87·0Feb.22·5July....2,019051·13190
Kapiti Island62·051·450·782·0Feb.35·0June......40·18149
Appleby, Nelson63·646·955·284·1Feb.28·2July......54·13120
Golden Downs62·740·851·885·0Feb.18·453·57·21     
Hanmer Springs02·238·850·591·0Feb.17·0Aim.97·08·21,939·345·32148
Lake Coleridge01·142·051·887·0Feb.18·5July93·012·0..20·91124
Christ church60·415·l52·893·1Jan.24·9Aug.95·721·3l,915·122·07129
The Hermitage, Mt. Cook57·337·847·080·0Feb.19·0·1July....1,002·1236·25105
Lake Tekapo58·438·348·480·1Feb.18·8May....2,431·023·3789
Fairlie 00·838·049·788·5Feb.16·0Aug.....1,820·720·27107
Milford Sound58·442·050·579·0Feb.20·1Aug.......232·02175
Manorburn Dam53·835·544·093·0Feb.13·0·jJuly......18·14132

For 1935 the mean pressure at 9 a.m., in inches, reduced to sea-level and standard gravity, was: Waipoua, 29·909; Auckland, 29·957; Rotorua, 29·926; Wellington, 29·936; Nelson, 29·940: :Hokitika, 29·943; Christchurch, 29·914; Dunedin, 29·912.


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 ui those areas which for a long time have been isolated, thus giving evolution the opportunity to proceed unhampered by inter crossing 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. Coining 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 JJallii 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 ar« 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 Tsland. 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 2(i0 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 Tsland. 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. augustifolia). 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 Koromiko. (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 flowering-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 showy 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, Olea 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. QauUheria, 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, otherwise 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. e.ricoides. 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, Saxifragaceæ. 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. microphyUa, 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 Now 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 BulbophyUum 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 CaUiste.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 G'ordyline, 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, Podocarpaccae, 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. In.former 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. pUunom), 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 Hymenophyllaceac, 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 Cyatheaccae. it includes the tall and stately black tree-fern or mamaku (Cyathca medxdUiris), 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 Polypodiaeea% Le.ptohpia, 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, tawhcro, northern rata, rimu, totara, hinau, and others. Underneath are tree-ferns, nikau palms, and various small trees, including the mairehau, neinci, 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 does 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 tarairo 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 Taranmkau 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 CoUusoi, Senecio claegnifolius, various species of Coprosma, Dracophyllum, and Hebe, Phyllocladus alpiniis, Cassinia VauviUiersii, Aristotelia frulicosa, and Sullonia divaricata.

On the mountain-sides above the dense scrub and tussock only scattered plants, botli 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 fumarolea, 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 Eurcmean 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 600 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 guidanco 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 Plora 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 Ethiopian zoological regions, and to a species (morio) found in the south-east of Australia as well as in New Zealand; but the other, the short-tailed bat (Mystacops 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 “Pelorus 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.

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.

* Better known to the public as Notornis Mantelli.

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 ui 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 mollusca there is a large and hand-some laud-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 pupae, 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 these traditional accounts the descent of the numerous tribes has been traced. The position of the legendary Hawaiki is unknown, but many places in the South Seas have been thus named in memory of the motherland. The Maoris speak a very pure dialect of the Polynesian language, the common tongue, with more or loss variation, in all the eastern Pacific islands.


It was on the 13th December, 1642, that Abel Jansen Tasman, a Dutch navigator, discovered New Zealand. Tasman left Batavia on the 14th August, 1642, in the yacht “Heemskercq,” accompanied by the “Zeehaen” (or “Sea-hen”) fly-boat. After having visited Mauritius and discovered Tasmania, 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. de 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, Kendal, and King, who formed the first mission station at Rangihoua, Bay of Islands.

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

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

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


As early as 1833 a British Resident (Mr. Busby) was appointed, with headquarters at Kororareka (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 held 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 1926 and 1930, which declarations and resolutions we de 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 rules 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 Gazette of the 24th April, 1919 (p. 1213). In the execution of the powers and authorities vested in him the Governor-General must be guided by the advice of the Executive Council, but, if in any case he sees sufficient cause to dissent from the opinion of the Council, he may act in the exercise of his powers and authorities in opposition to the opinion of the Council, reporting the matter to His Majesty without delay, with the reasons for his so acting.

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

The present Executive Council consists of thirteen 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, £1,1300 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.

A reduction of 10 per cent. was made in 1922, while Ministerial salaries were again reduced in 1931 (by 10 per cent.), and in 1932, when a further reduction of 15 per cent. was made. Restoration to the 1930 level was effected from 1st July, 1936. The present Government, shortly after assuming office, instituted a scheme whereby the services of all parliamentary representatives of the Government party might be co-opted to assist Ministers in bringing the Government's policy into effect. As part of this plan, Ministers are sharing a portion of their authorized salaries with other Government parliamentary representatives.

It is of service also to mention that, for the first time in the history of the New Zealand Parliament, provision has been made for the appointment of Parliamentary Under-Secretaries. The authorizing statute is the Civil List Amendment Act, 1936, which, inter alia, provides for a salary of £(500 per annum to any person holding office as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary. The Act also provides for the extension of the number of Ministers, other than the Prime Minister, from ten to eleven (without, however, increasing the aggregate amount which may be paid in Ministerial salaries).


The Imperial Act under which the earliest appointments were made, to the Legislative Council under a system of responsible government provided that the first appointees should be not less than ten in number. The number actually summoned for the first session (held at Auckland from 24th May, 1854), was sixteen, of whom only fourteen attended. The number increased irregularly for thirty years. In 1885 and 1886 it stood at fifty-three, but has not since reached that limit. The number on the roll at present (June, 1936) is 39.

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 wore 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. In 1934 the salary was raised to £267 19s., in 1935 to £288 1s., and from 1st duly, 1936, to £315 (the level ruling between 1922 and 1931). The Speaker now receives £720 per annum, and the Chairman of Committees £450. 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 anew into seventy-six European electorates, according to population distribution, with an allowance for rural population. The “country quota” is computed on the basis that 28 per cent. is added to the rural population, which for electoral purposes means population other than that contained in a city or borough of over 2,000 inhabitants or in any area within five miles of the chief post-offices at Auckland, Wellington, Christ-church, or Dunedin. The “country quota” first appeared in 1881, to the equivalent of an addition of 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 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. Under the Electoral Act public servants were prohibited from becoming candidates, but this prohibition has been removed by the Political Disabilities Removal Act, 1936.

The payment made to members of the House of Representatives is £450 per annum, subject to certain deductions for absence not due to sickness or other unavoidable cause. Travelling-expenses to and from Wellington 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 restorations of 5 per cent. in 1934, 7½ per cent. in 1935, the rate being restored to £450—the 1922 level—from 1st July, 1936.

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 £900 per annum, plus sessional allowance of £100 and free sessional quarters, and that of the Chairman of Committees £675 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:—

  • An alien:

  • A mentally defective person:

  • A person convicted of an offence punishable by death or by imprisonment for one year or upwards within any part of His Majesty's dominions, or convicted in New Zealand as a public defaulter, or under the Police Offences Act, 1927, as an idle and disorderly person or as a rogue and vagabond, unless such offender has received a free pardon, or has undergone the sentence or punishment to which he was adjudged for such offence.

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

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

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, 1876, when they were abolished by an Act of the General Assembly, and re-created as provincial districts.


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

Wellington, which had been the first borough in the country, also became the first town district, with a form of government not differing greatly from that of a municipality. Gradually the more important towns adopted the status of boroughs, while the less important remained town districts. In Otago, however, between 1865 and 1875, several small towns were created boroughs under the authority of an Ordinance of the Otago Provincial Council.


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, 1870, 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 less, however, than those formerly enjoyed by the Provincial Councils. The Counties Act specially excluded boroughs from the counties within which they geographically lie, and a similar 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 formed new counties or 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 nineteenth general census of New Zealand was taken for the night of 24th March, 1936, the total population at that date being 1,573,810. The seventh census of Cook Islands and Niue Island was proclaimed for 30th April, 1936; but, owing to infrequency of communication, it was not possible to enumerate several islands of the Northern Group until a later date. The total population was 16,350 (Cook Islands, 12,246: Niue Island, 4,104). The enumeration of Western Samoa (which is mandated territory and not part of New Zealand) and Tokelau Islands (administered from Western Samoa) will probably take place about the end of 1936. The figures shown below for these are the latest available estimates by the Western Samoan Administration. The Ross Dependency is uninhabited.

Population (exclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper756,226735,2581,491,484
Maori population of New Zealand proper42,86339,46382,326
Population (inclusive of Maoris) of New Zealand proper799,089774,7211,573,810
Population of Kermadec Islands2..2
Population of Cook Islands and Niue8,3687,98216,350
Population of Tokelau Islands (August, 1935)6055931,198
Population of the mandated territory of Western Samoa (March, 1936)28,30026,43354,733


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 minutiæ of the distribution of population, together with analyses of various population characteristics, compiled from census data will be found in the census publications listed at the front of this volume.

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

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

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

The comparative shortness of the interval between the census enumerations, combined with New Zealand's insular position and the high standard of her registration system, has hitherto prevented serious intercensal errors in statements of population of New Zealand as a whole. 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 by sea and air between the North and South Islands are also maintained.

Residents of the Cook Islands, Niue, Western Samoa, and the Tokelau Group are not included in the population statistics quoted throughout this section, except in the first table. Further information will be 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 this edition entitled “Statistical Summary.”

Date of Census.Population (excluding Maoris).Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.Average Annual Percentage Increase.
* See letterpress.
December, 185126,707......
December, 185859,41332,706122·4612·44
December, 186199,02139,60866·6718·70
December, 1864172,15873,13773·8620·54
December, 1867218,66846,51027·028·15
February, 1871256,39337,72517·255·11
March, 1874299,51443,12116·825·32
March, 1878414,412114,89838·368·43
April, 1881489,93375,52118·225·58
March, 1886578,48288,54918·073·39
April, 1891626,65848,1768·331·61
April, 1896703,36076,70212·242·33
March, 1901772,71969,3599·861·91
April, 1906888,578115,85914·992·79
April, 19111,008,468119,89013·492·60
October, 19161,099,44990,9819·021·57
April, 19211,218,913119,46410·872·32
April, 19261,344,469129,792*10·692·05
March, 19361,491,484147,01510·931·05

NOTE.—The census due to be taken in 1931 and proclaimed for 21st April of that year was, owing to financial stringency at the time, postponed until 1936.

For the 1926 and 1936 censuses 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 calendar 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 an economic foundation for increasing numbers.

The average annual population increment during the ten post-war years (1919–28) exceeded 30,000, while for the next seven years (1929–35) the average per annum was only 13,000. The population gain for 1935 was 9,364, compared with 9,429 during the previous year. Apart from war years, which were affected by movements of troops, 1935 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.

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

* Decrease.

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

1886–9030,78133,54461,325− 4,911*− 3,791*− 8,702*25,87029,75355,623
Totals, 1861–1935449,579497,250946,829298,653199,524498,177748,232696,7741,445,006

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 if facing at only a few years' distance a stationary and even a declining population. Remarks under this head apply, it should he 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.

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, 74 per cent, of the increase in New Zealand's population (other than Maori) has come from excess of births over deaths, and 26 per cent. from the net migration increase. In the post-war era (1921–35) the percentage furnished by natural increase has risen only to 78, and such rise even is due to the conversion of a moderate inflow through migration to a small outflow in the last five 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 1876–80 (see subsection relating to “Births”). Comparison with the 1935 figure of 7·91 per 1,000, the lowest point 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 41·21 per 1,000 of mean population in 1876–80, has fallen to 18·80 in 1930, 18·42 in 1931, 17·09 in 1932, 16·59 in 1933, 16·47 in 1934, and 16·13 in 1935.

The nominal natural-increase ratio of the past year (7·91 per 1,000 of mean population in 1935) 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” birthrate of over 15 per 1,000 of mean population is required to maintain even a stationary population, and should the death-rate increase 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 may be anticipated.

That the net migration has for the last five 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 ever 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 1976 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.

* Dr. G. Leybourne.

† Dr. E. C. Snow.


The following table is interesting as showing the early excess of males and the gradual equalization of the sexes in New Zealand. The figures quoted are exclusive of Maoris.

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

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

Of the two sources from which the Dominion's population has been recruited—viz., migration and natural increase—the effect of the former has hitherto been to give in the aggregate a considerable preponderance of males, and of the latter to give a regular preponderance of females. In the period 1861–1935 the gain of males by migration (excluding movements of troops between 1914 and 1919, and also excluding crews prior to 1921) totalled 99,129 more than that of females. This excess was only partly offset numerically by a female surplus of 47,671 in the figures of natural increase, but the net excess of 51,458 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 20,968. The effect of the natural increase of population is in the direction of eliminating this surplus at the rate of some 500 to 600 per annum.


As already noted, the intercensal statements of Dominion population prepared from the records of vital statistics and of external migration have been by virtue of the favourable position of the Dominion in this respect relatively accurate, and the 1936 census results have afforded a further demonstration of this. The same degree of accuracy does not persist, however, for Maori and European elements. Results for the censuses of 1921, 1926, and 1936 suggest that numbers of Maori-European children of at least half Maori blood have been counted in birth statistics as Europeans. In consequence, the Maori population has been slightly understated, and the European population overstated to a corresponding degree. Adjustments will be made at a later date, and revised figures incorporated in the next edition of the Year-Book.

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

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

 Population (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year. 
Year ended 31st MarchMales.Females.Total.Numerical.Per Cent.Mean Population for Year.
* 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). 
Males.Females.Total.Mean Population for Year.
Years ended 31st 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, 81,485 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1936, which, compared with 1934–35, shows an increase of 2,310. During the same period 82,653 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1934–35, shows an increase of 441.

In addition to the above, there were also 10,821 “through passengers” who called at a port of New Zealand en route to their destination, and 4,357 “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 1935–36, therefore, continued to show an excess of departures, the excess amounting to 1,168 as compared with 3,037 in 1934–35.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last ten years are given in the table following. Crews of vessels, through passengers, and tourists on cruising liners have not been taken into account.

Year ended 3lst MarchMales.Females.Total.Males.Females.Total.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 1934–35 and 1935–36 are as follows, the excess of passenger arrivals or of passenger departures for each month being also shown:—

 Arrivals.Departures.Excess of Arrivals.Excess of Departures.

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


The following table gives an analysis of the various classes of passenger arrivals during the last five years. It is, therefore, exclusive of crews of vessels, a source from which comes a steady increment of population. The average annual excess of crew arrivals over departures in the five years 1931–32 to 1935–36 was 487, and in the preceding five years, 649.

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

Immigrants intending permanent residence2,2881,4941,4281,5791,915
New Zealand residents returning from abroad8,6309,1398,42012,09112,194
Persons on commercial business1,0789481,0341,1371,267
Persons visiting the Dominion in connection with entertainments, sports, &c.295353297392552
Others (officials, &c, of other countries)435258316371305
Persons in transit422488711895755
No information available1150405821

The New Zealand Government 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 were no assisted immigrants in 1935–36, as against 1 in 1934–35 and 11,239 in 1926–27; while the numbers of those who migrated to New Zealand without State assistance amounted to 1,915, 1,578, and 6,898 for the years 1935–36, 1934–35, 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 permanently2,8442,9503,1603,5924,331
New Zealand residents departing temporarily8,8228,7179,29313,53111,630
Visitors to the Dominion departing9,3099,5409,53110,88412,046
No information available88101384443


The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31st March, 1936:—

 Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures. 
Age, in Years.Males.Females.Total.Males.Females.Total.Excess of Departures over Arrivals.
60 or over375996132152284188
Total, including unspecified9579581,9152,1752,1564,3312,416


Of the 1,915 new immigrants during the year 1935–36 intending to settle in the Dominion, the vast majority (1,720, or 90 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 China, Yugoslavia, the United States of America, and Italy.

The following table shows for each of the last five years the principal countries whence arrived new immigrants who intended permanent residence in the Dominion:—

Country of Last Permanent Residence.1931–32.1932–33.1933–34.1934–35.1935–36.
British Isles856449468491653
Union of South Africa112114510
Other British countries12013111193128
United States of America6242445125
Other foreign countries and unspecified5272364270

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


Of the total of 1,915 new immigrants intending permanent residence who arrived during 1935–36, 180 (males 93, females 87) were of foreign nationality. The chief nationalities represented among the alien immigrants were as follows (figures for the five years preceding being given in parentheses): United States, 26 (117); Yugoslavia, 38 (153); Italy, 19 (104); China, 20 (22); Germany, 8 (44); Poland 20 (49); and France, 7 (20).

The number of foreign nationals among New Zealand residents departing permanently during the year ended March, 1936, was 125 (94 males and 31 females), or 2·9 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 75 per cent, were males and 25 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 1935–36 comprised 54 Indians, 21 Chinese, and 10 of other races. Departures were 33 Indians, 66 Chinese, and 32 of other races. In the last ten years permanent arrivals have aggregated 121 Chinese, 384 Indians, and 217 others; and the permanent departures 354 Chinese, 68 Indians, and 152 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 MarchChinese.Indians.Others.Totals.Chinese.Indians.Others.Totals.


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, 1935, 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 vised by the British Ambassador or a British Consul in that country, and in the case of a person coming from any part of the British dominions the issue or vise must have been by some public official duly authorized in that behalf.

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


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


The legislation respecting the restriction of immigration into New Zealand is contained in the Immigration Restriction Act, 1908, and its amendments, and the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Act, 1919. It is administered by the Customs Department.

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

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

  2. Idiots or insane persons.

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

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

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

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

Provision is made in the law to permit persons covered by clause (1) above to pay temporary visits to New Zealand for the purposes of business, pleasure, or health. Temporary permits are normally restricted to a period not exceeding six months, but may be extended if the proper authorities consider that the circumstances warrant such action. A deposit of £10 is required in respect of such temporary permits, and is returned on the departure of the visitor if the conditions of the temporary permit are complied with. The Collector of Customs may also require, if he so decides, a deed to be entered into by some person or persons resident in New Zealand approved by him guaranteeing to pay all expenses that may be incurred by the Crown or any public body for the visitor&;s maintenance, relief, arrest, or detention in New Zealand or his deportation therefrom.

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

Under the provisions of the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act, 1931, restrictions upon the landing in New Zealand of persons of British birth and parentage may be imposed, on account of any economic or financial conditions affecting trade and industry in New Zealand, or any other conditions which render it expedient to impose such restrictions. The Act ceases to be in force after the 31st December, 1936.


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 (hi 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. (1) 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 his wife, if she was at birth a British subject, to make a declaration that she desires to resume British nationality, and thereupon the Minister 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 Imperial 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 she 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 1935; 36 women took advantage of section 3 of the Act and made the necessary declaration. The nationalities of the husbands were as follows: German, 8; Italian, 6; Danish, 5; Yugoslav, 4; French, 3; Swedish, Norwegian, and United States, 2 each; and Austrian, Polish, Russian, and Finnish, 1 each.

During the year 1935 certificates of naturalization in New Zealand were granted to 116 persons of the undermentioned birthplaces, as compared with 61 in the previous year. In addition, 11 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, United States, and Lithuania.

Country of Birth.Males.Females.TotalChildren.*
* Children included in certificate of parent; additional to preceding figures.
United States3..3..
New Caledonia1..1..
New Zealand..11..

There were also twenty-four cases in which declarations were made by wives of naturalized British subjects who desired to acquire British nationality.

In the ten years 1926–35 1,195 subjects or citizens of other nations obtained certificates of naturalization in New Zealand. The following table exhibits the principal countries involved.

Country of Birth.No.
United States35
Western Samoa15
Other countries65



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

 Population (excluding Maoris).Proportions per Cent.
Census Year.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 1935 was 3,883, but the total net increase was only 2,245. For the North Island the natural increase was 7,865, and the total net increase only 7,119.


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 128,352 passengers from the South Island in 1935–36, 12S.298 landed at Wellington, including 95, S35 from Lyttelton, 17,601 from Nelson, and 14,862 from. Picton.

The 125,935 passengers who landed in the South Island for the same period included 93,020 at Lyttelton, 17,607 at Nelson, and 15,249 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.

In addition to the above sea-borne passengers, a considerable number of persons were carried by two air services operating between the North and South Islands. For the quarter ended 31st March, 1936, the arrivals in the North Island were 1,745 and in the South Island 1,613. A certain number of passengers are carried by aeroplanes belonging to aero clubs, but particulars of these are not available.


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

  Census Population.
Provincial District.Area (Square Miles).1901.1911.1921.1926.1936.
* Including certain Maori wives of Europeans, provincial district not specified.
Hawke&;s Bay4,26039,60453,09863,62870,35376,968
Otago portion14,050125,782132,881137,062149,921151,213
Southland portion11,17048,01659,34962,43965,52972,856


On 24th March, 1936, 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 (51·7 per cent.) in these and in the ten secondary urban areas.

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

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 foregoing table showing the urban and rural population at each census since 1881.


The following table shows the population (excluding Maoris) at the last seven censuses, grouped according to the size of cities, boroughs, and town districts with a population of 1,000 or over. The towns under 1,000 have been included with counties and treated as rural. An increasing proportion of urban population is manifest, rising from 43·1 per cent, hi 1901 to 59·3 per cent, in 1926 and 59·5 hi 1936. The increase between the last two censuses is very small, and it is evident that the recent economic depression has resulted in a slackening-off of the urban drift.

By including the Maori population—which is only available for urban and rural distribution for the last two censuses—the urban population shows a decrease from 57·0 per cent, in 1926 to 56·9 in 1936.

Boroughs and Town Districts with populations of—
1,000– 2,50059,11766,04681,01193,99598,292102,20190,875
2,500– 5,00074,48957,03067,32276,91492,77885,43070,768
25,000 or over77,851182,297199,553248,437295,997337,221373,309
Total urban331,537410,354502,840585,302690,135792,576885,218
Grand total (excluding migratory)768,956884,1061,003,4001,087,2021,213,6821,337,3841,480,812

In comparing the various censuses, allowance should be made for the creation of new boroughs and town districts which would, prior to such creation, have been included with the rural population. Amalgamation of districts has also resulted in rural territory being transferred to urban without any corresponding change in the industries, &c, characteristic of the respective towns or districts.

An important characteristics 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.

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


The population of each of the fourteen urban areas (cities or boroughs, plus their suburbs) at the census of 24th March, 1936, was as follows:—


Urban Area.Population (including Maoris).
* Excludes a small area which, though part of the borough, Is not within the urban area.
Auckland City102,295
  Birkenhead Borough3,397
  Northcote Borough2,369
  Takapuna Borough7,270
  Devonport Borough9,771
  New Lynn Borough3,492
  Mount Albert Borough19,721
  Mount Eden Borough18,515
  Newmarket Borough2,997
  One Tree Hill Borough8,027
  Onehunga Borough11,082
  Otahuhu Borough5,252
  Ellerslie Town District2,690
  Remainder of urban area15,281
Wellington City115,705
  Lower Hutt Borough15,960
  Petone Borough10,933
  Eastbourne Borough2,279
   Johnsonville Town District1,740
  Remainder of urban area3,354
Christchurch City92,189
  Riccarton Borough5,389
  New Brighton Borough5,245
  Sumner Borough3,251
Lyttelton Borough*3,217
Remainder of urban area23,268
Dunedin City64,708
  St. Kilda Borough7,751
  Green Island Borough*2,264
  West Harbour Borough1,862
  Port Chalmers Borough2,165
Remainder of urban area3,211
Hamilton Borough16,150
  Remainder of urban area3,437
Gisborne Borough13,587
  Remainder of urban area2,298
Napier Borough15,302
  Taradale Town District1,206
  Remainder of urban area2,181
Hastings Borough12,750
  Havelock North Town District1,145
  Remainder of urban area4,066
New Plymouth. 
New Plymouth Borough16,653
  Remainder of urban area1,867
Wanganui City23,178
  Remainder of urban area2,617
Palmerston North. 
Palmerston North City22,202
  Remainder of urban area1,865
Nelson City11,214
  Tahunanui Town District862
  Remainder of urban area1,508
Timaru Borough17,397
  Remainder of urban area1,417
Invercargill City21,504
  South Invercargill Borough990
  Remainder of urban area3,278

COUNTIES.POPULATION (INCLUDING MAORIS), CENSUS, 1936. (NOTE.—“Administrative Counties” do not include boroughs or town districts independent of county control, but include dependent town districts.)

Administrative County.Population (including Maoris).
* Area (population 424) included from Motueka Borough from 1st April, 1930.
North Island— 
  Bay of Islands9,921
  Great Barrier Island454
Hauraki Plains4,796
  Hawke&;s Bay15,779
Waimate West2,784
  Wairarapa South3,001
South Island— 
  Mount Herbert447
  Chatham Islands702
  Stewart Island17
Grand total641,009


Borough.Population (including Maoris).
* Area (population 424) included into Waimea County from 1st April, 1930.
North Island— 
  Devon port9,771
  New Lynn3,492
  Auckland (City)102,295
  Mount Eden18,515
  Mount Albert19,721
  One Tree Hill8,027
  Te Awamutu2,224
  To Kuiti2,499
  Te Aroha2,366
  To Puke961
  New Plymouth16,653
  Wanganui (City)23,178
  Palmerston North (City)22,202
Upper Hutt3,871
Lower Hutt15,960
  Wellington (City)115,705
South Island— 
  Nelson (City)11,214
  Christchurch (City)92,189
  New Brighton5,245
Port Chalmers2,165
West Harbour1,862
Dunedin (City)64,708
  St. Kilda7,751
  Green Island2,277
  Invercargill (City)21,504
  South Invercargill990
Grand total892,013


Town District.Population (including Maoris).
* Parent county shown in parentheses.† Merged into Dannevirke County from 1st April, 1930.
(a) Town Districts not forming Parts of Counties
North Island— 
Glen Eden1,296
  Havelock North1,145
South Island— 
  Pleasant Point575
Grand total34,153
(b) Town Districts forming Parts of Counties.*
North Island— 
Kohukohu (Hokianga)386
Rawene (Hokianga)355
Russell (Bay of Islands)388
Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)520
Onerahi (Whangarei)435
Mercer (Franklin)312
Raglan (Raglan)377
Te Kauwhata (Waikato)361
Ohaupo (Waipa)271
Kihikihi (Waipa)322
Kawhia (Kawhia)243
Turua (Hauraki Plains)207
Mt. Maunganui (Tauranga)490
Te Karaka (Waikohu)355
Patutahi (Cook)281
Norsewood (Dannevirke)169
Ormondville (Dannevirke)268
North Island—continued. 
Kaponga (Eltham)406
Normanby (Hawera)356
Rongotea (Manawatu)257
South Island— 
Havelock (Marlborough)269
Takaka (Takaka)471
Southbridge (Ellesmere)410
Outram (Taieri)392
Clinton (Clutha)440
Edendale (Southland)441
Grand total9,248


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 1936:—

Island.Population (including Maoris).
Little Barrier213
Great Mercury3 5
Tata1. .1


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 1000 may be quoted as 14·42 persons to the square mile, or, if Maoris be included, 15·2 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 17·65 (or, including Maoris, 18·62) 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 (1936) had a density of 1,838 persons per square mile, and the rural population a density of 6 persons 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 then- boundaries large reserves which, with farming and other unbuilt-on land, tend to disguise the actual relation of population to area.


A record of early statistics of Maoris is given in Vol. XIV of the 1926 Census Results. The first official general census was taken in 1857·58, and others occurred in regular sequence from 1874 onwards. Owing to inherent difficulties the earlier census records make no pretence towards complete accuracy, and even 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 Maori population recorded at the census of 24th March, 1936, was 82,326. which is an increase of 18,656 on the 1926 total. The percentage increase was 29·30, equivalent to an average annual increase of 2·60 per cent. These percentages. it will be noted, are considerably higher than the corresponding figures for the European population—viz.. 10·93 per cent, and 1·05 per cent.

The census record is as follows:—

* Includes half-castes, vide second page of section.

Of the 82,326 Maoris at the census of 24th March, 1936, 79,097 were hi the North Island. Auckland Provincial District contains the bulk (59,215), particularly in the Auckland Peninsula and Poverty Bay regions. Hawke's Bay contains 6,633; Taranaki, 4,280; and Wellington, 8,969. In the South Island Maoris do not attain any numerical significance. During 1935·36 the Maori population increased by 1,888.

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.d.303
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 Borne 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 2,075 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 America134,000,000174,000,000
South America56,000,00085,000,000

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 Wales40,645193526
Northern Ireland1,28819350·8
Irish Free State2,96619362
India (including Native States)363,6441934231
Union of South Africa8,60019355
New South Wales2,66319362
South Australia58719360·4
Western Australia44919360·3
New Zealand1,57319361
Portugal7, 22219365
Russia (Soviet Union)170,5001935108
United States127,521193581




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 lid 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 those being in the North Island, whore the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Native settlement of any size is within easy reach of one of these Registrars. Maori registrations are entered in a separate register, and the figures of births given in the following pages do not include those of Maoris, which are dealt with at the end of this subsection.

Birth statistics are compiled from the records of the Registrar-General. The births covered by a year's statistics are those registered during the year irrespective of the year of birth. The figures do not include sill-births, except in the special classification on pages 58 and 59.


The progressive fall in the birth-rate was hastened by the depression. The advent of more prosperous times, however, notwithstanding a marked increase in the number of marriages, has failed to check the fall in the birth-rate, the movement being merely slowed down somewhat. For the eleventh year in succession a new low record in the birth-rate occurred in 1935.

The numbers and rates of births (children born alive) for each of the last twenty years are as follows:—

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.Year.NumberRate per 1,000.
191924,48321 ·42192926,74719·01

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 9S1 per 1,000 of population between 1910 and 1935 is equivalent to a decline of 38 per cent, in the birth-rate. The following diagram shows, inter alia, the marked decline in the birthrate since about 1880:—


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

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

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

The legitimate rate Tier 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 accompanied 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 7·91 in 1935. 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. (See section on Population.)

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

New Zealand's position in the following table is much higher on the basis of natural-increase rate than it would be on that of birth-rates.


Country.Quinquennium.Annual Rates per 1,000.Country.Quinquennium.Annual Rates per 1,000.
Births.Nature IncreaseBirths.Nature Increase
* Registration area.
South Africa1930–3424·414·8Denmark1930–3418·07·1
Argentina1930–3425·714·4United States*1929–3317·96·7
Japan1929–3332·413·8Northern Ireland1930–3420·16·0
Rumania1929–3333·713·5Scotland1930–3418 ·65·3
Netherlands1930–3421·712·7Irish Free State1930–3419·35·3
Lithuania1930–3420·111·3England & Wales1930–3415·33·3
Chile1930–3435 · 010·5Estonia1930–3416·81·9
New Zealand1931–3516·98·7France1929–3317·41·1


With the exception of one year (1860), 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 FemaleYear.Males.Females.Male Births per 1,000 Female
192414,29513 7191,042193412,55411,7681,067

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

Period.Male Births to 1,000 Female Births.

It would appear that the proportion of males is somewhat higher for first births than for the general average of all children. Of 81,100 legitimate first births registered during the ten years 1926–35 (excluding plural births), 41,742 were of males and 39,364 of females, the proportion of males per 1,000 females being 1,000.

The sexes of first-born for various age-groups of the mother for the aggregate of the ten years 1920–35 are as follows:—

Age of Mother, in Years.Males.Females.Males per 1,000 Females.
Under 203,7003,4731,065
20 and under 2516,86715,8031,067
25 and under 3013,37612,8071,044
30 and under 355,4245,0521,074
35 and under 401,8801,7311.086
40 and over495498994

In the ten years covered there were 088 twin first births, and in 226 cases the children were both males, in 247 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 1926–35 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-bornSecond-bornThird-bornFourth-bornNumber of Cases.First-bornSecond-bornThird-bornFourth-bornNumber of Cases.

Of the 18,939 families covered, in 9,798 the first child was a male and in 9,141 a female, the number of males per 1,000 females being thus 1,072. The proportion is reduced for subsequent births. The figures are as follows:—

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

The fact that there is a higher masculinity rate among first-born children than among later issue serves to explain the increasing masculinity of births in successive decennia referred to previously, when it is remembered that the average number of children to a family has fallen heavily during the period, and the proportion of firstborn children correspondingly increased.

The sex-proportions of illegitimate births are generally supposed to be more nearly equal than those of legitimate births. However, although little reliance can be placed on the figures for New Zealand by reason of the small numbers represented, it may be stated that the average for the period 1926–35 was 1,064 males per 1,000 females, a rate somewhat above that for all births (1,060) for the same period.


The number of cases of multiple births and the proportion per 1,000 of the total (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.
* Including one case of quadruplets.

Counting only cases where both children were born alive, there were 275 cases of twin births (550 children) registered in 1935. There was also one case of triplets and one case of quadruplets.

The number of accouchements resulting in living births was 23,685, and on the average one mother in every 86 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, however, the total number of accouchements for the year 1935 is increased to 24,395, and the number of cases of multiple births to 305. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 80.

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 1926–35 there were nineteen eases of triplets. In three eases all three children were males, in live cases all were females, in three 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 horn 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 1035 is shown in the following table:—

Age of Mother, in YearsAge of Father, in Years
Under 21.21 and Under 25.25 and Under 30.30 and Under 35. 35 and Under 40.40 and Under 45.45 and Under 50.50 and Under 55.55 and Under 65.65 and overTotal.
* Including twenty-four eases where plural births would have been registered had not one child been still-born
single Births
Under 21132609435131239721. .1,349
21 and under 25581,1072,416876205772452. .4,770
25 and under 3073013,1472,7008862377828937,396
30 and under 351275132,2031,4505452058l4155,071
35 and under 4013513549987303991395242,731
40 and under 45. .. .318114334307136529973
45 and over. .. .. .1112303019. .93
Multiple Births.
Under 21. .451. .. .. .. .1. .11
21 and under 25112147. .. .. .. .. .34 
25 and under 30. .338295111. .. .78
30 and under 35. .1926221431. .. .76
35 and under 40. .. .1921155. .5157
40 and under 45. .. .. .1. .2521. .11
Grand totals2002,0676,6326,3563,7251,9761,0644251832222,650


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 for the year 1035 is here summarized.

Age of Mother.Number of Previous Issue.Total. and under 10.10 and under 15.15 and over.
* This number represents 22,383 single cases and 267 multiple cases.
Under 211,061240536. .. .. .. .. .1,360
21 and under 252 7251,340512184358. .. .. .4.804
25 and under 302,8172,2311,333608200121731. .7,474
30 and under 351,0041,3291,1085724042622999. .5,147
35 and under 403154305274733152304205012,788
40 and under 458384110156122110243642983
45 and over55710783418. .94

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 1035 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.

Age of Mother, in yearsTotal Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.Age of Mother, in Years.Total Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.
Under 211,3601,7351·2840–449835,3505·44
21·244,8047,9341·6545 and over946707·13

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 1035) 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: 1931, 2·77; 1932. 2·75: 1933, 2·75; 1934. 2·60. and 1935.2·64. 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 116,911 accouchements resulting in legitimate births during the five years 1931–35, the issue in no fewer than 40,48, or 34 per cent., were firstborn children, and in 18,705 of these cases, or 47 per cent., the birth occurred within twelve months, and in 29,408 or 73 per cent., within two years after the marriage-of the parents. In the remaining 27 per cent, of cases where there was any issue-to the marriage, two years or more had elapsed before the birth of the first child.

In view of the abnormal conditions operating during the last few years, and particularly as a result of the heavy increase in the number of marriages during 1934 and 1935, it is not surprising to find the proportion of first-births for 1935 showing a definite increase. In fact, the proportion of first-births in 1935 has attained a level definitely in excess of that for any other year. The level recorded in 1934 was only exceeded once previously—in 1921, when, as a result of the post-war marriage influence, the proportion was 34·81, a figure between the 1934 and 1935 levels. The figures for each of the last five years are:—

    First Cases within One Year after Marriage.First Cases within Two Year 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 years116,91140,14834·3418,70546·9029,40873·25

During the five years there were 8,893 cases of legitimate births within seven months after marriage, a period which may be regarded as a minimum in a consideration of extra-marital conception; also 5,863 cases of illegitimate births were registered, and if these latter are all regarded as first-births (which is not entirely the case), the following position is shown:—

Year.Total Legitimate First Cases. (a)Illegitimate Cases. (b)Legitimate Cases within Seven Months after Marriage. (c)Proportion of (c) to (a). (d)Proportion of (b) + (c) to Total of (a) + (b). (e)
    Per Cent.Per Cent.
19347,9251,1551,75622·1032 06
Totals for five years40,1485,8638,89322·1532·07


The births of 1,040 children (521 males, 525 females) registered in 1935 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.Year.Number.Percentage to Total Births.

While the proportion of illegitimate to total births has fluctuated considerably during the last decade, the trend for the latter half of the period appears to be definitely towards a decline, the average proportion for 1931–35 being 4·75 as against an average of 5·06 for the period 1926–30. Probably a better criterion of the trend in the illegitimate birth-rate is afforded by the movement in the proportion of illegitimate births per 1,000 unmarried women—i.e., spinsters, widows, and divorced women—at the reproductive ages. The figures for each census from 1891 to 1920 are as follows:—

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

Included in the total of 1,046 illegitimate births in 1935 were nine eases of twins and one case of triplets, the number of accouchements being thus 1,035, including two cases registered with the Registrar-General. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,035 mothers 348, or 31 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age.

Illegitimate Births, 1935.—Ages of Mothers.

Years. Years. Years. 
13. .25453712

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


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

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

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

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

Year.Number of Children legitimized.
Previously registered.Not previously registered.Total.
Totals to5,4302,6448,074


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 1935 the registration of 340 adopted children (159 males and 181 females) was effected, as compared with 338 in 1934, 332 in 1933, 337 in 1932, and 329 in 1931.


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

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

Year.Male.Female.Total.Male Stillbirths per 1,000 Female Still-births.Percentage of Still-births to
Living Births.All Births.

Masculinity is in genera! 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 1,220 males per 1,000 females. The rate for individual years has ranged between 1,726 (in 1914) and 1,022 (in 192S).

Tabulation of the relative ages of the parents of the still-born children in 1935 does not appear to disclose any significant features. The median age of the mothers was 30, as compared with 28 it: the case of living births. The percentage of illegitimates among still-born infants (6–37) was higher than among infants born alive (4–36).

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1935, 3li 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 1931–35, indicates that this is so, and further demonstrates the effect of the increasing age of the mother in the causation of still-births. While for women between 20 and 25 the proportion of still-births to living births was under 2] per cent, for all births and a little higher for first births, for women aged forty and over it was in excess of 6 per cent, for all births and 11 per cent, for first births.


Age of Mother, in Years.All Births.First Births.Percentage of Still to Living.
Living.Still.Living.Still.All Births.First Births.
Under 204,191943,544882·242·48
20 and under 2528,01758116,1024152·072·58
25 and under 3037,24495113,2315142·553·88
30 and under 3526,1978355,1282793·185·44
35 and under 4015,2066021,6881233·967·29
40 and over6,056378455526·2411·43

The next table shows the percentage of still-births to living births according to nativity order of legitimate births registered in the five years 1931–35. The column for mothers of all ages shows a fairly definite gradation, the second child having the best chance of being born alive, and the probability of a still-birth increasing thereafter.


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

It will be observed that the rates shown in the column for mothers aged 35–40 are, with two exceptions, materially higher than the rates for all mothers. This circumstance in itself suggests that the age of the mother is probably a more important factor contributing to the still-birth rate than the number of previous accouchements. The cause of the steady increase noted in the case of mothers of all ages—from the second child upwards—is to be found in the fact of increasing age rather than the number of previous issue. The special risks that, attend a first birth account for the relatively high figures shown for first births, while the influence of increasing age is particularly assertive in respect of first births to mothers aged 35–40.


The number of births of Maoris registered with Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths during 1935 was 3,139 (1,700 males. 1,439 females). The births of fifty-nine males and fifty-three females recorded as of Maori race were registered under the main Act, and the total of 3,251 represents a rate of 43 per 1,000 of Maori population, a figure nearly three times as high as the general (i.e., non-Maori) birth-rate for the year. Registrations in each of the last five years were as follows:—

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

There is reason to believe that the number of Maori births is somewhat understated, and that both number and rate are actually higher than shown above. For population purposes, half-castes and persons between half and full blood rank as Maoris; but it is not always possible to ensure that this practice is followed in the registration of births (and of deaths).




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 years of age, 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 S provides for dispensing with the consent of one party if this cannot be obtained by reason of absence, inaccessibility, or disability. In similar cases where the consent of only one person is necessary, consent may be given by a Judge of the Supreme Court. Consent of the Court may also be given in cases of refusal by any person whose consent is required.

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Alleges, expressly or by implication, that any persons lawfully married are

      not truly and sufficiently married; or

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

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

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

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

Particulars regarding divorce will be found at the close of this subsection.


The movement of the marriage-rate since 1S55 is shown by the diagram on p. 49. The numbers and rates of marriages during each of the last twenty years are here given:—

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

The low rates for 1931 and 1932 are indicative of the effect of the period of financial stringency and depression. The partial recovery in 1933 probably reflects an acceptance of the unlikelihood of an early return to prosperity and an adjustment to the changed conditions. The recovery continued in 1934, accompanying an improving trend in economic conditions. In 1935 the future outlook was very much brighter, and consequently a further impetus was given to the marriage-rate, the number of marriages celebrated (12 more than in 1920) creating a new record for Nev. Zealand.


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 necessarily provide a proper comparison. 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.

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


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. Africa1929–338·93
England and Wales1930–347·94
New Zealand1931–357·32
Northern Ireland1930–345·94
Irish Free State1930–344·57


Annual averages for the decade 1926–35 give marriages as follows: March quarter, 2,499; June quarter, 3,028; September quarter, 2,325; December quarter, 2,888.

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

The marriages contracted in each month of 1935, commencing with January, were as follows: 901, 847, 817, 1,608, 737, 1,102, 868, 884, 812, 1,018, 918, 1,615; total for year, 12,187.

The 1935 proportions per cent, of the total marriages for the various clays of the week were: Sunday, 0·3; Monday, 12·2; Tuesday, 13·5; Wednesday, 28·7; Thursday, 13·9; Friday, 5·0; Saturday, 26·4.


The total number of persons married during the year 1935 was 24,374, of whom 22,320 were single, 1,184 widowed, and 870 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 1926–35 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 31 per 1,000 persons married to 36, an appreciable advance. The fall in the number of widowed persons remarrying—from 57 per 1,000 persons married in 1926 to 49 per 1,000 in 1935—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-ton years is next given:—

Year.Marriages between Bachelors andMarriages between widowers andMarriages between Divorced Men and
Spinsters.Widows.Divorced Women.SpinstersWidows.Divorced Women.Spinsters.Widows.Divorced Women.
J 9299,478234232477192522243246

Taking the whole period covered by the foregoing table, it is found that, while 3,2S9 divorced men remarried, the corresponding number for women was 3,699. In the case of widowed persons, however, in spite of the fact that widows greatly exceed widowers, only 4,479 widows remarried, as compared with 6,841 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 1935 were fifteen women, and amongst the widowers five 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, winch 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 71 men and 163 women.


Of the 24,374 persons married in 1935 2,423, or 10 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 7,033, or 31 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 8,045, or 33 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 4.390, or 18 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 1,883 or 8 per cent., as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1935:—

Age of Bridegroom, In Years.Age of Bride, in Years.Total Bridegrooms.
Under 2121 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.
Under 212469010. .1. .. .347
21 and under 259801,578442485113,055
25 and under 306392,1261,64925942424,721
30 and under 351545788103741002262,044
35 and under 40371432681841223711802
40 and under 4593290107925024404
45 and over11315590120118389814
Total brides2,0764,5783,3241,06248223243312,187

There have been some considerable changes in the proportions of men and women marrying at the various age-periods. To illustrate the extent to which these figures have varied during the last three decades, a table is given showing the proportions of men and women married at each age-period to every 100 marriages in quinquennia from 1900 to 1934, and also for the year 1935:—

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

A perusal of the above table reveals the fact that greater proportions of marriages are now being celebrated at both the younger and the older age-groups. The 1935 figures, however, illustrate the forced postponement of a number of marriages in the earlier years of the depression, resulting in a transference of a proportion of marriages which would have been included in the under twenty-one and twenty-one and under twenty-live groups to 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. For reasons already mentioned, the average age is tending to increase again in more recent years. 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 covers all parties and is 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 1935 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age has varied, but for 1935 again stands at 26.


Of every 1,000 men married in 1935, 28 were under twenty-one years of age, while 170 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 246 marriages in 1935 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 1,830 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 101 marriages the bridegroom was a minor and the bride an adult.

Year.Age in Years.Total. per 100 Marriages.
1931. .. .1641922093493·55
1932. .. .28441152183873·91
1933. .. .. .438892093403·24
1934. .. .24261162033513·12
1935. .. .. .735992063472·85
1932. .9672064035416731,89919·19
1934. .. .731953985687181,95217·34
1935. .. .862034095837952,07617·03


Of the 12,187 marriages registered in 1935, Church of England clergymen officiated at 3,177, Presbyterians at 3,265, Methodists at 1,271, and Roman Catholics at 1,389, while 2,062 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

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

Denomination.Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England27·5327·6827·0327·1826·9325·8225·5425·4725·5226·07
Roman Catholic11·6811·1911·4511·3411·0610·7310·8111·0611·5011·40
Other denominations5·075·575·264·845·1615·535·846·287·928·39
Before Registrars19·7319·0619·5819·3220·4922·6220·9119·9417·9816·92

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, 1936) 2,127, and the denominations to which they belong are shown here under:—

Church of England464
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand436
Roman Catholic Church360
Methodist Church of New Zealand293
Salvation Army110
Associated Churches of Christ34
Congregational Independents33
Seventh-day Adventists13
Latter-day Saints17
Lutheran Church2
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference4
British Israel Church7
Churches of Christ4
Hebrew Congregations4
Catholic Apostolic Church2
Liberal Catholic Church7
Assemblies of God14
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand8
Ratana Church of New Zealand143
Ringatu Church44
Church of the Seven Rules of Jehovah2

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


In cases where both parties to a marriage are of the Native race there is no necessity under the Marriage Act to comply with the provisions of that Act, though the parties are at liberty to take advantage thereof. Considerable inconvenience, however, was found to exist on account of the non-registration of Maori marriages, and a section was inserted in the Native Land Act, 1909, and re-enacted in 1931, whereby it was laid down that Maori marriages must be celebrated either under the provisions of the Marriage Act or in the presence of a registered officiating minister, but without complying with the other requirements of the Marriage Act. Ministers solemnizing the latter class of marriages must send returns to the Registrar-General.

Returns of 557 marriages in which both parties were of the Native race were received during the year 1935. The figures for each of the last ten years are as follows:—

Year.Under Native Land ActUnder 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, 192S, 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 résumé.

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 Now 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:—

Year.Dissolution or Nullity of Marriage.Judicial Separation.Restitution of Conjugal Rights.
Petitions filed.Decrees Nisi.Decrees Absolute.Petitions filed.Decrees for Separation.Petitions filed.Decrees for Restitution.
19298437186352. .130107
19308397246201. .9679
19338046836481. .11877
1934839762683. .19789
19358677426531. .9480

In 764 of the 867 cases covered by divorce petitions filed during 1935 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 1935.

Grounds.Petitions filed.Decrees Nisi granted.Decrees Absolute granted.
Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Bigamy11. .2. .2
Drunkenness, with cruelty, failure to maintain, &c.151514
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights601652215217
Separation for not less than three years170283134258118211

The figures shown for decrees nisi include cases where both nisi and absolute decrees were granted during the year, and those for decrees absolute cover all such granted during the year whether the antecedent decree nisi was granted in 1935 or in a previous year.

In 277 of the 867 cases where petitions for dissolution were filed during 1935 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 245 cases, 2 in 165 cases, 3 in 91 cases, and 4 or more in 89 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:—

Duration of Marriage, In Years.Husbands' PetitionsWives' Petitions.
Under 541584956503940535045
5 and under 10104103106114123135128126128143
10 and under 15908095998685124102116109
15 and under 2058375664626854637981
20 and under 3058546440526173655775
30 and over16171414301117112211

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 Zealand7·1
South Africa6·4
England 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, ago of widow.

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

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

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


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

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000.

A long-range review of the death-rate is afforded by the graph at p. 49.

The death-rate has been maintained at a remarkably 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 number of deaths registered during 1935, although 310 fewer than the figures for 1934, has been exceeded on only three occasions in the history of New Zealand—viz., 1918 (the year of the great influenza epidemic), 1929, and 1934. On the other hand, the death-rate of 8·22 per 1,000 of mean population has been lower on only two occasions—1932 and 1933.

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.

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


An examination of the total number of deaths registered in each quarter of the decade 1926–35 gives the following annual averages: March quarter, 2,635; June quarter, 2,874; September quarter, 3,492; and December quarter, 2,992.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1935 the most deaths occurred during August, September, July, and October, with totals of 1,222, 1,116, 1,115, and 1,073 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths (855). followed by April and January, with 882 and 931 respectively.

The least number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 13, this number occurring on the 30th April. The greatest number (54) occurred on the 3rd March.


The deaths occurring during 1935 are tabulated below by age:—

Under 1 month299229528
1–2 months582886
3–5 months363874
6–11 months513485
1 year503888
2 years353570
3 years332053
4 years11920
5–9 years8357140
10–14 years5944103
15–19 years12364187
20–24 years155126281
25–29 years152112264
30–34 years120152272
35–89 years151126277
40–44 years178205383
45–49 years282259541
50–54 years424333757
55–59 years.555414969
60–64 years6581861,144
65–69 years7405851,325
70–74 years7435871,330
75–79 years6965931,289
80284 years5864991,085
85–89 years319273592
90–94 years97116213
95–99 years283058
100 years1. .1
101 years1. .1
102 years. .. .. .
103 years. .. .. .
104 years1. .1

Some remarkable changes in the age-distribution of persons dying have occurred during the last fifty years. The total deaths in 1935 were more than twice as numerous as in 1885, but the number of deaths under one year in 1935 was less than half of the corresponding number recorded in 1885. 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 over the fifty-year period the annual number of births increased by 22 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 1885, deaths in this group numbered only 141 or approximately 2 per cent, of the total of 6,081, while in 1935, 1,951 deaths of persons over 80 years of age were recorded, this number representing nearly 15 per cent, of the total deaths in that year. In 1914 the corresponding percentage was only 11. Furthermore, in 1935 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 1885, on the other hand, is very different, the number showing a falling trend after the “45–50” age-group. 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.

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

Ages, in Years.Number of Deaths.Percentage to Total.
Under 11,7561,6371,5991,39477328·9023·8819·8413·996·33
1 and under55895023804742319·687·314·714·76
5 and under 102542031682191404·182·962·082·201·15
10 and under 151551671301491032·552·441·611·500·84
15 and under 202162561891801873·553·722·341·811·53
20 and under 252522883403162814·144·204·223·172·30
25 and under 302923043503632644·804·424·343·642·16
30 and under 352832102854202724·653·053·544·212·23
35 and under 402372742674522773·894·003·314·542·27
40 and under 453012532603833834·953·673·233·843·13
45 and under 503383013174465415·564·383·934·484·43
50 and under 552973683084087574·895·363·824·096·20
55 and under 602143843865209693·515·604·795·227·93
60 and under 652394265016471,1443·936·206·226·499·36
65 and under 702303796666791,3253·785·538·266·8110·84
70 and under 751603367579181,3302·634·909·399·2110·89
75 and under 8O1222895779481,2892·014·227·169·5110·55
8O and over1412795811,0491,9512·324·067·2110·5315·97
Unspecified57. .. .. .0·080·10. .. .. .

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 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.Country.Quinquennium.Average Rate per 1,000.
* Registration area.
New Zealand1931–358·2Czechoslovakia1930–3413·9
Union of South Africa1930–349·6Northern Ireland1930–3414·1
United States*1930–3411·0Bulgaria1929–3316·2
England and Wales1930–3412·0Japan1930–3418·2
Irish Free State1930–3413·9Egypt1929–3326·3


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.

Year.Recorded RatesStandardized 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 1926–35, 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 8O.60 and under 70.70 and under 80.80 and over.Totals.
Age of Issue, in Years—
Under 55321,4451,34551010910. .3,951
5 and under 101121,5262,5851,45339570136,154
10 and under 1547543,1512,9751,067234348,219
15 and under 2141353,0515,8033,40598316813,549
21 and over111,15010,72227,86043,48735,678118,899
Unspecified. .. .1222. .. .16
Married men or widowers who died—
Leaving issue4001,6223,4985,9438,1659,3786,99235,998
Without leaving issue1793957781,2031,4601,4709316,416

Taking all deaths of married men or widowers, whether leaving issue or not it is found that the average living issue is 3·86, as compared with 3·83 for the-period 1916–25.

Average numbers of issue left by married men or widowers during the decade 1026–35 were: Fathers aged under 30, 1·13; aged 30–39, 1·91; 40–49, 2·64; 50·59, 3·00; 60–69, 3·41; 70–79, 4·13; 80 or over, 4·53. Averages are universally lower than in the preceding decade.

In 1935, among men who left any issue under age 16, the average number of such issue was 2·06. The average for all married men or widowers who died during the year was. however, only 0·38.

Of 818 cases where issue under 16 years of age was left by married men or widowers during 1935, a widow was also left in 769 cases, the aggregate children under 16 in these 769 cases being 1,595, and the average per widow 2.07. By the deaths of their fathers, children under 16 to the number of 78 were left without either parent, and for 8 children there was no information as to whether the mother was alive or dead.


Of the 42,414 married men or widowers whose deaths were registered during the ten years 1926–35, 10,868 were shown to have been widowers, and 31,026 to have left widows; while in the remaining 520 cases there was no information on the point. Of the married men leaving widows, 26,516 had living issue also at time of death, and 4,510 had no living issue. In 9,204 cases widowers left issue, and in 1,664 cases no issue. In 278 of the 520 cases where no information was given as to whether a widow was left there was living issue, in 241 cases there was no living issue, and in 1 case 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 densely settled areas, &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 Zealand1931–3530
United States*1930–3460
England and Wales1930–3463
South Africa1930–3464
Irish Free State1930–3467
Northern Ireland1930–3475
Japan 1930–34123
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:—

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 Births.

The infant mortality rate in New Zealand has exhibited a rapid decline (as is illustrated by the graph shown on p. 80). An extremely low level of 32·26 per 1,000 live births was recorded for 1935. 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.Bate.*
* Per 10,000 children at ages shown.

The increase in 1914–18 as compared with 1909–13 is due to the fact that during the latter period New Zealand experienced several minor epidemics, principally of diphtheria. The influenza epidemic in 1918 also somewhat affected the rate.

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

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

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.

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

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 1926–35 is found to be 133; between one and three months, 152; between three and six months, 117; between six and twelve months, 121; 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 the quinquennium 1931–35 the death-rate under one month of age was 25 per cent, lower than in the quiuquennium 1881–85, the rate for children who had 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 1935 only ten.

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

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


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


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

Slightly more than one-third (196) of the 528 deaths under one month in 1935 occurred within twenty-four hours of birth, and four-fifths (429) 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 Month.2 Month and under 3 Month.3 Month and under 6 Month.6 Month and under 9 Month.9 Month and under 12 Month.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 he 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 duo 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 ago are due to causes coming within the groups “Early Infancy” and “Malformations,” and premature birth alone is responsible for approximately one-third of the total infant mortality.

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


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

The still-birth rate in New Zealand has shown a falling tendency in recent years, and this, combined with the falling infant-mortality rate, has resulted in a steady improvement in the rate for all infant deaths, including still-births. In 1935, however, both infant-mortality and still-birth rates increased, the latter substantially, so that the total rate also records an appreciable increase. Whereas, however, the rate computed on the usual method indicates a decrease of 19 per cent, during the period covered by the table, the inclusion of still-births reduces the improvement to 11 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 1935, arranged according to an abridged classification, and the proportion per 10,000 of population of each sex, are given in the following table. The classification adopted is in accordance with the Fourth Revision (1929) of the International List of Causes of Death.

Class.Number of Deaths.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population.
I. Infectious and parasitic diseases4973868836·575·295·94
II. Cancer and other tumours9018411,74211·9211·5311·73
III. Rheumatic diseases, diseases of nutrition and of endocrine glands, and other general diseases1312403711·733·292·50
IV. Diseases of the blood and blood·forming organs66601260·870·820·85
V. Chronic poisonings and intoxications8. .80·11. .0·05
VI. Diseases of the nervous system and of organs of special sense4875561,0436·447·627·02
VII. Diseases of the circulatory system2,1771,7623,93928·7924·1526·52
VIII. Diseases of the respiratory system5193448636·864·715·81
IX. Diseases of the digestive system3522596114·663·554·11
X. Diseases of the genito·urinary system4303097395·694·234·97
XI Pregnancy, labour, and the puerperal state. .101101. .1·380·68
XII. Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue1713300·220·180·20
XIII. Diseases of the bones and of organs of locomotion1812300·240·160·20
XIV. Congenital malformations81711521·070·971·02
XV. Early infancy2451744193·242·382·82
XVI. Senility2011533542·662·102·38
XVII. Violence or accident5752047797·612·805·24
XVIII. Causes not determined207270·260·100·18

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

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

Cause.Number of Deaths.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population
Typhoid fever81161100·060·080·040·010·07
Measles. .. .17461. .. .0·120·310·01
Scarlet fever1164880·080·040·030·050·05
Infantile paralysis5198210·030·130·050·010·01
Tuberculosis of respiratory system5014884764914713·473·353·243·323·17
Other forms of tuberculosis1161271351301050·800·870·920·880·71
Anaemia, chlorosis50514951540·350·350·330·350·36
Exophthalmic goitre54526267580·370·360·420·450·39
Meningitis (all forms)41392730380·280·270·180·200·26
Apoplexy, cerebral hæmorrhage6346116777297214·394·204·624·944·85
Convulsions of children under 5 years of age1431017150·100·020·020·110·10
Diseases of the heart2,8172,9353,0983,3483,45919·5020·1521·1222·6723·28
Diseases of the arteries4204444113794392·913·072·802·572·95
Diarrhoea and enteritis74676058810·510·460·410·390·55
Hernia, intestinal obstruction8494111961000·580640·760·650·67
Cirrhosis of liver43373347500·300·260·220·320·34
Simple peritonitis26191816180·180·130·120·110·12
Nephritis, Bright's disease5795805615605284·013·983·823·793·55
Diseases and accidents of puerperal state1271011081181010·880·690·740·800·68
Congenital debility32242827320·220·160·190·180·22
Premature birth2912252562672592·011·551·751·811·74
Injury at birth.78647565590·540·440·510·440·40
Other diseases of early infancy77948678690·530·650·590·530·46
Violence (I) suicide2262402001811491·561·651·361·231·00
Violence(2) accident9266636096426216·414·554·154·354·18
Violence(3) homicide1325142080·090·170·100·130·05
Other causes1,3291,3321,3281,3871,3599·199·149·069·399·15

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 1935, ranking after heart-disease, cancer, cerebral hæmorrhage and apoplexy, accidents, and nephritis, in that order. The remarkably low level of 3·17 per 10,000 was reached in 1935, the lowest ratio yet attained in this country.

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

Of the 471 persons who died from tuberculosis of the respiratory system in 1935, 3(53, or 77 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 100 cases the deceased person had been born outside New Zealand. One of the last-mentioned had been in New Zealand less than a year, 2 less than two years, and 4 less than five years.

In addition to the 471 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1935, there were 105 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, including—

Tuberculosis ot meninges ana central nervous system40
Tuberculosis of intestines and peritoneum22
Tuberculosis of vertebral column14
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system7
Disseminated tuberculosis18

Tuberculosis claims its victims at a comparatively early age. Of those dying from this cause in 1935, persons under the age of twenty years formed 11 per cent., and those under forty-five years 64 per cent.


Ages, In
Under 510616
5 and under 10448
10 and under 15448
15 and under 20161733
20 and under 25295079
25 and under 30333164
30 and under 35254166
35 and under 40352156
40 and under 45261137
45 and under 50291948
50 and under 55301646
55 and under 60291140
60 and under 6523730
65 and under 7021425
70 and under 757613
75 and under 80336
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 Zealand1931–354·2
Union of South Africa1929–334·4
United States*1930–348·3
England and Wales1930–348·4
Switzerland1930–3411 ·4
Northern Ireland1930–3411·8
Irish Free State.1930–3412·4


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 1935 there were 1,656 deaths from cancer in the Dominion, a proportion of 11·15 per 10,000 of population. The standardized cancer death-rate for 1935 shows a decrease of 0·38, while the recorded death-rate shows a decrease of 0·35 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 Africa1929–338·0
United States*1930–3410·3
New Zealand1931–3510·8
Irish Free State1930–3411·2
Northern Ireland1930–3412·3
England and Wales1930–3415·1

The following summary shows the types of cancer returned in the death entries for the year 1935:—

Fibro-sarcoma. .33
Chondro-sarcoma1. .1
Scirrhus cancer. .77
Myelomata1. .1
Rodent ulcer9312
Malignant ulcer112
Malignant tumour3811
Malignant papilloma314
Malignant disease5510
Malignant growth. .77

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 1935 gives results as under:—

Seat of Disease.Males.Females.Total.
Buccal cavity and pharynx76985
Digestive tract and peritoneum519356875
Respiratory organs481866
Uterus. .104104
Other female genital organs. .6262
Breast. .177177
Urinary organs and male genital organs14120161
Other or unspecified organs603898

Ninety per cent, of the deaths from cancer during 1935 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.MalesFemales.Total.
Under 5224
5 and under 10. .. .. .
10 and under 15. .. .. .
15 and under 20213
20 and under 258412
25 and under 308513
30 and under 35101727
35 and under 40172441
40 and under 45175067
45 and under 50345993
50 and under 555687143
55 and under 60121108229
60 and under 65137111248
65 and under 70135100241
70 and under 7514282224
75 and under 808860148
80 and over8974163


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

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

Year.Proportion per 1,000 Live Births.

Commencing with 1916, special inquiry has been made in all cases where a woman of child-bearing age has been returned as having died of such causes as septicaemia, peritonitis, nephritis, &c. (without qualification), with the result that in each year several of such cases are found to be puerperal, and arc 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. A definite drop in the rate for 1935 is a welcome sign, and in fact, represents the second lowest rate since 1913.

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 101 deaths from puerperal causes during 1935 included 31 from abortion, of which 23 became septic cases. Including these 23 deaths from septic abortion there were 31 deaths from puerperal septicaemia in 1935.

The next table shows the deaths from puerperal causes during each of the last five years, classified in the divisions into which such causes are divided in the international classification. In recent years there has occurred a marked increase in the number of deaths from septic abortion, whereas deaths from puerperal septicaemia, exclusive of septic abortion, show a definite fall. The death-rate for all puerperal septicaemia cases (including septic abortion) was, however, only 1–29 per 1,000 live births in 1935 as against 2 43 per 1,000 in 1934. Over the last five years puerperal septicaemia, including septic abortion, was responsible for 26 per cent. of the total deaths from puerperal causes.

Group.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Abortion with septic conditions29262642231·091·041·071·730·96
Abortion without septic conditions specified787580·260·320·290·200·33
Ectopic gestation635440·220·120·210·160·17
Other accidents of pregnancy. .6116. .0·240·040·040·25
Puerperal haemorrhage689990·230·320·370·370·38
Puerperal septicaemia1813141780·680·520·570·700·38
Puerperal albuminuria and eclampsia32172015211·200·680·820·620·88
Other toxœmias of pregnancy66915130·230·240·370·620·54
Puerperal phlegmasia alba dolens, embolus, sudden death1166630·410·240·250·250·12
Other accidents of childbirth4711460·150·290·450·160·25
Other conditions of the puerperal state81. .. .. .0·300·05. .. .. .

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


Country.Period.Death-rate per 1,000 Births from
Puerperal Septicœmia.Other Puerperal Causes.All Puerperal Causes.
* Registration area.
England and Wales1930–341·802·564·36
New Zealand1931·351·742·734·47
Irish Free State1930–341·423·274·69
South Africa1929–332·672·405·07
Northern Ireland1930–341·713·785·49
United States*1930–342·383·986·36


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

Causes of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000,000 of Mean Population.
Accidental causes—        
 Burns and scalds3531362129232514
 Died under anaesthetic, asphyxia, &c.18292071522145
 Falls45701091153853 537677
 In mines and quarries3171611313117
 Injuries by animals48384625
 Fractures (causes not specified)2622111221781

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1935 was 621, corresponding to a rate of 4·18 per 10,000 of population. Although this represents, by comparison with 1920, an increase of 64 in the number of deaths, the death-rate has declined by 0·56 per 10,000 of population. Noticeable decreases are shown for drowning, deaths under anaesthetic, asphyxia, &c, and fractures (causes not specified). Part of the large increase between 1920 and 1935 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 resulting from railway, tramway, and motor-vehicle accidents during each of the last ten years are given.

Year.Deaths due to Accident—Rate per Million of Population.

Deaths from motor-vehicle accidents record an appreciable increase up to 1930, but this trend was reversed during the depression years, largely due to a great reduction in the number of motor-vehicles on the road during those years. The figures are exclusive of accidents where persons have been killed in collisions between motor-vehicles and trains or trams. For 1935 there were 8 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor-vehicle was an agent up to 174. The corresponding figure for 1934 was 163. 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 1935 numbered 149—males 114, females 35—the death-rate per 10,000 of mean population being 100.

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

The proportion of suicidal deaths is gradually increasing, as is evidenced by the following table presenting, for annual averages of various quinquennia, the suicide-rate per 10,000 of mean population:—

Annual average duringMales.Females.Both Sexes.

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

Country.Quinquennium.Rate per 10,000 of Population.
* Registration area.
Irish Free State1930–340·34
Northern Ireland.1930–340·52
South Africa1929–331·21
England and Wale1930–341·35
New Zealand1931–351·36
United States*1930–341·59


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

Year.Numbers.Rates per 1,000 of Maori Population.

For reasons indicated on p. 60, the number and rate of Maori deaths are probably slightly under-stated.

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

Until recently, the only statistics available concerning Maori deaths were merely numbers of deaths according to sex. A tabulation was, however, made in 1925 for the five years 1920–24 on the basis of age and cause of death, and summarized statistics were prepared and published in the 1926 and 1927 numbers of the Year-Book. Annual tabulations are now made, and the statistics for the year 1935 may be found in the “Annual Report on Vital Statistics.” The ages of Maoris whose deaths were registered during the year 1935 are as follows—

Age, in Years.Males.FemalesTotal.
Under 1212143355
1 and under 594104198
5 and under 10292958
10 and under 15204767
15 and under 20283967
20 and under 25344074
25 and under 30263460
30 and under 35212344
35 and under 40183149
40 and under 45212142
45 and under 50212344
50 and under 55301747
55 and under 60241539
60 and under 65191433
65 and under 70451459
70 and under 75281644
75 and under 80181533
80 and under 85191837
85 and under 90141125
90 and under 95121830
95 and under 1003710
100 and over5712

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

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

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

Causes of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Typhoid fever14101110102·041·431·541·372·53
Measles. .. .14131. .. .1·961·770·13
Pulmonary tuberculosis22224020424124332·4034·3528·5132·8832·40
Other forms of tuberculosis29515554594·237·307·607·377·87
Cerebral hæmorrhage14151616211·902·152·232·182·81
Convulsions (under five years)2312187153·361·722·51