Table of Contents

List of Tables

Chapter 1. PREFACE.

Table of Contents

FEATURES of special interest in this, the fifty-fourth issue of the Official Year-Book, are mentioned below.

The Section on vital statistics has been expanded by the addition of two Subsections dealing with vital occurrences in the Maori population and the whole population (including Maoris). In the Section on land tenure and settlement the Subsection on surveys, which last appeared in the 1942 issue of the Year-Book, has been restored. The Miscellaneous Section includes an analysis of the 1946 general-election results and a note on the National Film Unit. An analysis of New Zealand's external trade during the war years is included in the Section on external trade.

The Appendices to this issue include an analysis of results of the 1945 census of population; while the general bibliography has been extended to include all the more notable works published since 1912. A special article on the Alexander Turnbull Library is included.

Owing to unavoidable delays in the issue of the Year-Book, later information has become available on a variety of subjects since the earlier Sections were printed off. To meet this position a special section (Appendix F) is included wherein recent statistics on the more important social and economic subjects are included and discussed, with appropriate references to the earlier material in the body of the book. The present issue thus covers, in essentials, the material which would be included in the 1946-48 issues; and it is hoped to resume a normal publishing programme with the next issue of the Year-Book.

My thanks are due to Mr. J. Gilchrist, Editor of the Year-Book, and to the editorial staff for the manner in which their duties have been carried out in difficult circumstances. The assistance of officers of this and other Government Departments who have revised material for inclusion in the Year-Book is also acknowledged.

Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Department,
Wellington C. 1, 4th June, 1948.


Table of Contents

Page 81, Maori Birth-rates:—

The rates per 1,000 of mean population in respect of the years 1926-1933 (column 5) should be amended to read as follows:—


Page 82, Total Natural Increase:—

The figures in the table relating to the first three years (1926-28) have been corrected. Amend to read as follows:—


In addition, the figures appearing in the second line below the table should be amended to read as follows:—


Page 83, Total Deaths:—

The figures in respect of the years 1926-28 should be amended to read as follows:—


Page 93, Summary of Principal Diseases treated in Public Hospitals during 1943:—

Figures relating to the three specified diseases should be amended as follows:—

External causes1,01318,56035434.951.91
Other diseases2,06854,02188542.791.64

Page 151, Criminal Charges dealt with in Magistrates' Courts:—

The line of figures relating to the year 1945 should be amended to read as follows:—


Page 229, Civil Aviation Statistics:—

The figure for miles flown (internal services) in respect of the year 1941-42 (1,045,305) should be amended to read "849,260."

Page 414, Gross Indebtedness:—

The amount of indebtedness per head of population as at 31st March, 1946, (£365 8s. 3d.), should be amended. The correct figure is £355 4s. 9d.

Page 435, Revenue of Social Security Fund:—

The following figures in respect of the year ended 31st March, 1946, require adjustment:—

Charge on company income (£1,948,684) should read “£1,935,180.” Charge on other income (£3,447,558) should read "£3,461,062."

Page 831, Exports:—

The figures relating to the commodity Hops should be quoted as follows:—

Unit of quantity (Ib.)114,541181,7275,35810,358190


Table of Contents

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

* Incorporating the years 1943, 1944, and 1945.

† Previously included in Miscellaneous Report.

‡ £1 Is. per annum (post free).

§ Other volumes to follow.

   s. d.d.
New Zealand Official Year-Book1946Sept., 19487 66
Annual Statistical Reports—    
  Population and Buildings1946-47Jan., 19482 61
  Vital Statistics1943Sept., 19475 03
  Social Statistics1943, 1944, and 1945Aug., 19472 61
  Trade and Shipping (Part I)1944May, 194810 03
  Trade and Shipping (Part II)1943 and 1944July, 19485 02
  Agricultural and Pastoral Production1946-47Aug., 19483 61
  Factory Production1943-44June, 19473 62
  Insurance1943, 1944, and 1945Aug., 19472 01
  Miscellaneous (Prices, Wage-rates and Hours of Labour, Unemployment, Industrial Accidents, Tramways, Cinematograph Theatres, Banking, Building Societies, Bankruptcy, Statistical Summary)1942Aug., 19455 03
  Prices, Wages, and Labour Statistics1946*Mar., 19482 61
  Industrial Accidents1943 and 1944June, 19482 61
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand (published annually)1944-45Sept., 19477 65
Pocket Compendium of New Zealand Statistics1947Aug., 19471 01
Monthly Abstract of Statistics  2 61
Volumes of 1945 Census Results§    
  Increase and Location of Population1945Dec. 19474 62
  Poultry1945May, 19482 61
  Island Territories1945June, 19482 61
Volumes of 1936 Census Results—    
  Increase and Location of Population1936Sept., 19374 62
  Dependencies1936Sept., 19371 61
  Maori Census1936April, 19403 01
  Ages and Marital Status1936April, 19404 02
  Orphan Children and Dependent Children1936June, 19402 61
  Religious Professions1936June, 19402 61
  Birthplaces1936July, 19452 61
  Duration of Residence of Overseas-born1936July, 19452 61
  Race1936Aug., 19452 61
  Industries and Occupations1936Feb., 19467 62
  Unemployment1936Aug., 19454 01
  Incomes1936Sept., 19457 62
  Dwellings and Households1936May, 19466 02
  Poultry1936Sept., 19371 61
  War Service1936June, 19381 61
  Census of Libraries1936May, 19401 61
  Life Tables1936Dec., 19441 61

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


Table of Contents

LOCATION, AREA, AND BOUNDARIES.—Consisting of two large and several smaller islands, the Dominion of New Zealand lies in the South Pacific Ocean some 1,200 miles to the eastward of Australia. With South America some 6,000 miles distant to the east and the Antarctic Continent 1,600 miles distant to the south, the Islands are, for their size, among the world's most isolated. For statistical purposes, the following classification of the administrative area is the most convenient:—

  1. Islands forming the Dominion proper (total area, 103,416 square miles):—

     Square Miles.
    North Island and adjacent islets44,281
    South Island and adjacent islets58,093
    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. It should be noted also that statistics for “the Dominion” and for “New Zealand” refer to the above group of islands, unless it is expressly stated that the outlying islands, group (b), and/or the annexed islands, group (c), are included.

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

     Square Miles Square Miles
    Three Kings Islands3Bounty Islands0 1/2
    Auckland Islands234Snares Islands1
    Campbell Island44Solander Island0 1/2
    Antipodes Islands24  

    None of the outlying islands is regularly inhabited.

  3. Islands (total area, 212 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, 84 square miles)—

    • Rarotonga.

    • Mangaia.

    • Atiu.

    • Mitiaro.

    • Aitutaki.

    • Mauke (or Parry).

    • Takutea.

    • Manuae (or Hervey Islands).

    Islands outside the Cook Group (area, 115 square miles)—

    • Niue (or Savage).

    • Palmerston (or Avarau).

    • Penrhyn (or Tongareva).

    • Manihiki (or Humphrey).

    • Rakahanga (or Reirson).

    • Pukapuka (or Danger).

    • Suwarrow (or Anchorage).

    • Nassau.

The total area of the foregoing groups is 103,935 square miles. Elsewhere in this issue (viz., in the section on land tenure, settlement, &c.) the aggregate area of the Dominion appears as 66,390,677 acres—i.e., 103,735 square miles. The latter area does not include the Cook and other Pacific Islands annexed in 1901. 1—Ybk.

As well as exercising jurisdiction over the areas already mentioned, the Dominion also administers the Union Islands, the Ross Dependency, and Western Samoa (which is held on a mandate from the League of Nations). Jointly with the Imperial Government and the Government of Australia, New Zealand is responsible for the mandate over the Island of Nauru. The administrative appointments for Nauru are made by the Australian Government, but New Zealand appoints a representative to the British Phosphates Commission, which controls the working of the phosphate deposits.

The Island Territories Act, 1943, provides for the appointment of a member of the Executive Council as Minister of Island Territories. This Minister is charged with the administration of the government of any territory out of New Zealand which may at any time be a dependency or mandated territory of the Dominion, or otherwise be under the jurisdiction of the Government or Parliament of the Dominion.

The relevant Proclamations, defining from time to time the administrative area of the Dominion, are briefly referred to in the following paragraphs.

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 1847, 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 Kermadee Islands, lying between the 29th and 32nd degrees of south latitude and the 177th and 180th degrees of west longitude, were declared to be annexed to and to become part of the then colony of New Zealand.

By Proclamation of the 10th June, 1901, the Cook Group of islands, and all the other islands and territories situate within the boundary-lines mentioned in the following schedule, were included as from the 11th June, 1901:—

A line commencing at a point at the intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich, and proceeding due north to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 17th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due west to the point of intersection of the 17th degree of south latitude and the 170th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence due south to the point of intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 170th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; and thence due east to the point of intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich.

The territory of Western Samoa is administered pursuant to a mandate conferred upon His Britannic Majesty, to be administered on his behalf by the Government of the Dominion of New Zealand, and confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 17th December, 1920. Western Samoa is comprised of two large islands, Upolo and Savai'i, and the small islands of Manono, Apolima, Fanuatapu, Namua, Nu'utele, Nu'ulva, and Nu'usafe'e, and is contained within latitudes of 13° to 15° south and longitudes 171° to 173° west.

By Imperial Order in Council of the 30th July, 1923, the coasts of the Ross Sea (in the Antaretic regions), with the adjacent islands and territories between the 160th degree of east longitude and the 150th degree of west longitude, and south of the 60th degree of south latitude, were declared a British settlement within the meaning of the British Settlements Act, 1887. This region was named the Ross Dependency, and placed under the administration of the Governor-General of New Zealand. 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.

GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES—Coast-line.—Since the combined length of the North and South Islands extends just over a thousand miles, and since the width of neither Island exceeds 280 miles at its broadest point, New Zealand possesses a very lengthy coast-line in proportion to its area. With the exception of the low-lying North Auckland peninsula, the New Zealand land-mass lies along a south-westerly and north-easterly axis, parallel to the direction of its mountain-chains.

By reason of the latter fact the coast-line is, on the whole, not greatly indented; and, as a consequence, New Zealand is not well endowed with natural harbours. In the North Island, Auckland and Wellington are the only two safe natural harbours of which the fullest commercial use can be made. On the east coast of the North Auckland peninsula several deep and sheltered harbours exist, but as the surrounding country is comparatively undeveloped and the area somewhat remote they are of little economic consequence at present. In the South Island the Marl-borough Sounds and the West Coast Sounds form perfect land-locked harbours, but owing to their situations and to the rugged nature of the terrain they have—with the exception of Queen Charlotte Sound—little or no commercial utility. Where vital localities have not been endowed with ideal harbours it has been necessary to improve existing facilities by dredging and by breakwater-construction, &c. In this manner efficient ports, capable of accommodating overseas vessels, have been formed in Lyttelton, Otago, and Bluff harbours. On the west coast of both Islands the strong ocean-drifts and high seas cause shoaling at river-mouths and harbour-entrances, while on the east coast of the South Island similar circumstances prevail, due to the large quantities of shingle brought down by the rivers being spread along the coast by ocean currents. The mountainous nature of the country makes the haulage of goods to and from the better-equipped natural harbours both costly and difficult, and the construction and maintenance of further ports at various points along the coasts of both Islands has been necessary, either by dredging river-mouths or by harbour-construction work.

Mountains.—The mountainous nature of New Zealand is one of its most striking physical characteristics, less than one-quarter of the land surface lying below the 650 ft. contour. 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 (8,260ft.), 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. Commencing early in March and continuing throughout the year, Ruapehu was particularly active during 1945, violent eruptions alternating with quieter periods. Although not a dangerous type of volcano of the pumice class, this activity resulted in considerable deposits of volcanic ash over a very wide area. Other volcanoes include Mount Tarawera and White Island, each of which has, upon one occasion within historical times, erupted with disastrous consequences. Closely connected with the volcanic system are the multitudinous hot springs and geysers.

The South Island is much more mountainous than the North, but shows fewer manifestations of recent volcanic activity. Along almost the entire length of the Island runs the massive chain known as the Southern Alps, which attains its greatest height in Mount Cook (12,349 ft.), while no fewer than seventeen peaks exceed 10,000 ft.

As might be expected, the higher mountains of the South Island have exerted a greater influence on the economic development of the country than those of the North Island. For many years the Southern Alps were an effective barrier to communication by land between the east and west coasts, while their climatic effects on the Canterbury plains and Otago plateaux determined the types of cultivation undertaken. Moreover, the existence of much elevated open country led to the development of pastoral holdings on a large scale. While the mountains in the North Island are not as high nor as extensive as those of the South Island, in the early days they effectively isolated various portions of the coastal plains and valleys. Their effect on climatic conditions, however, is considerably less, the rainfall being more evenly distributed. Owing to this more even distribution of the rainfall, and to the existence of considerable areas of lower relief, the foothills of the mountain systems were heavily wooded, and so proved a hindrance to agrarian development.

In the 1931 issue of the Year-Book was given a list, not claimed as exhaustive, of 223 named peaks of 7,500 ft. or more in altitude. Below is a list of the peaks restricted to the three largest volcanic cones in the North Island and to mountains of a minimum height of 9,000 ft. in the South Island. The list has been compiled from various sources, and does not purport to be free from omissions.

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

Glaciers.—In keeping with the dimensions of her mountain system, New Zealand possesses, in the South Island, a glacial system of some magnitude. Of the glaciers the largest is the Tasman, which, with others of comparable size, rises in the more elevated area surrounding Mount Cook. Flowing down the eastern slope of the range, the Tasman glacier has a length of 18 miles and a width of 1 1/2 miles. In common with other glaciers on the eastern slope, of which the more important are the Murchison (11 miles), the Mueller (8 miles), the Godley (8 miles), and the Hooker (7 1/2 miles), its rate of flow is slow, while its terminal face is at an altitude of somewhat over 2,000 ft. On the western slope of the range, owing to the greater snow precipitation, the glaciers are more numerous and descend to lower levels, while the steeper slope gives them a more rapid rate of flow. The two largest of these are the Fox and the Franz Josef, with lengths of 9 1/2 miles and 8 1/2 miles respectively, and terminal faces at altitudes of 670 ft. and 690 ft.

As will be realized, these glaciers are an important tourist attraction, and as such have definite economic significance. Moreover, those glaciers on the eastern slopes which feed rivers utilized for irrigation and hydro-electric purposes are valuable in that they help to ensure a steady volume of water throughout the year.

Rivers.—Of the numerous New Zealand rivers few are of sufficient length or volume to be navigable. Moreover, owing to the high relief of the country, they are mostly swift-flowing, while, as mentioned previously, nearly all are obstructed at their mouths by bars. For the purpose of internal communication, therefore, they are of little economic utility, and only in two or three isolated instances have they been thus consistently used. With improved reading conditions, however, their traffic has become negligible even in these cases.

As sources of hydro-electric power, New Zealand rivers are of considerable importance, since their rapid rate of flow and dependable volume of ice-free water make them eminently suitable for this purpose. At the present time the Waikato and the Mangahao in the North Island and the Waitaki and Waipori in the South are used for major hydro-electric schemes. The characteristics just mentioned are also important for purposes of irrigation, but, owing to the country's reliable rainfall, there are few areas other than in Canterbury and Otago where the rivers are so utilized.

In the 1932 Year-Book appears an account of the rivers of New Zealand, but space in this issue is, however, available only for a list of the more important ones, with their approximate lengths.


Flowing into the Pacific OceanMiles.
  Waihou (or Thames)90
Flowing into Cook Strait
Flowing into the Tasman Sea


Flowing into Cook StraitMiles.
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean
Flowing into Foveaux Strait
Flowing into the Tasman Sea
  Cleddau and Arthur20

The discovery in 1861 that the beds of numerous rivers in the South Island contained extensive deposits of alluvial gold was of considerable importance in the economic development of the country. Not only did it lead to an increase in population and in wealth, but, through the following of the numerous streams to their sources, it also led to the rapid exploration of large tracts of remote country. The exploitation of these deposits has been carried on with varying degrees of success up to the present time by both manual and mechanical means.

A further factor in connection with the rivers is that, owing to the very successful acclimatization of fresh-water fish, notably trout, many of them now provide exceptionally fine fishing.

Lakes.—In considering New Zealand's numerous lakes, a distinction can be made, especially from the scenic viewpoint, between the lakes of the two Islands. Surrounded by extremely rugged country the larger lakes of the South Island are distinguished by the grandeur of their alpine settings, while those of the North Island, situated on a volcanic plateau, are of interest by reason of the neighbouring thermal activity. Owing to the excellence of their fishing, the North Island lakes possess an added tourist attraction. In both Islands the larger lakes are situated at high altitudes, and their consequent remoteness renders them unsuitable as a means of communication. In their functions as reservoirs the lakes of both Islands are of vital importance for the maintenance of the streams draining them and as a means of flood-prevention. More especially is this the case where hydro-electric schemes are involved, Lakes Waikaremoana and Taupo in the North Island, and Lakes Coleridge, Pukaki, and Tekapo in the South Island, being of particular significance in this respect.

An article on the lakes of New Zealand will be found in the 1932 Year-Book. Some particulars of the more important are given in the following table.

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.
Rotorua7 1/263215842091584
Rotoiti10 3/42 1/41426500913230
Tarawera6 1/26 1/21575 1,032285
Waikaremoana126 1/2211287722,015846
Wairarapa104271,250  64
Rotoiti522 3/486 1,997228
Rotoroa72 1/28146 1,470 
Brunner5416145 280357
Kanieri51 3/4811 422646
Coleridge1131870 1,667680
Wanaka30475960 922 
Te Anau3361321,32012,660694906
Poteriteri17217162 96 
Waihola4 1/21 1/83 1/32,200 (Tidal)52
Ellesmere1610107 1/2745 (Tidal)45

GEOLOGY.—An article on the geology of New Zealand prepared by Dr. J. Henderson, M.A., F.R.S.N.Z., Director of the Geological Survey, is contained in the 1940 and earlier editions of the Year-Book. For more detailed information the reader is referred to the treatises of Professors Park and Marshall, 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).

EARTHQUAKES.—An article on earthquakes. in New Zealand appeared in the 1943 and earlier issues of the Year-Book. The information given below has been supplied by Mr. R. C. Hayes, Acting-Director of the Dominion Observatory.

Seismicity and Earthquake Distribution.—A comparison between the records of destructive earthquakes in New Zealand and those in other seismic countries shows that the seismicity of New Zealand, on the whole, is surprisingly high. However, this is due to the occurrence of a large number of earthquakes of the semi-destructive type (R.-F. 8) with comparatively few major destructive shocks (R.-F. 9, 10).

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). Of the remainder, fourteen were of intensity 9, and six of intensity 10.

The total number of earthquakes of all intensities, and the maximum intensity, reported felt in New Zealand in each of the years 1922 to 1944 were as follows:—

Year.Number of Earthquakes reported felt.Maximum Intensity of Heaviest Shock.Year.Number of Earthquakes reported felt.Maximum Intensity of Heaviest Shock.
R.-F. Scale.M.-M.* Scale.R.-F. Scale.M.-M* Scale.

* Modified Mercalli Scale of 1931, which is now used for recording earthquake effects in New Zealand.


The abnormally large number of earthquakes reported in the year 1922 was due to the swarm of local shocks in the Taupo region in the latter half of that year, Abnormally large numbers of shocks also occurred in 1929-30, due to aftershocks of the Buller earthquake of 17th June, 1929.

Summary of Seismic Activity in New Zealand, 1944.—During 1944 seismic activity showed a general decline as compared with previous years. No destructive shocks occurred; the maximum intensity reported felt being 5+ on the Modified Mercalli Scale. There was some concentration of activity in the region south of Lake Taupo, but many of the shocks originated at considerable depth, and were not perceptible.

The total number of earthquakes reported felt in 1944 was ninety-five. Of these, sixty-one were reported felt in some part of the North Island, and forty in some part of the South Island. Six were felt in both Islands.

Regional Distribution.—New Zealand earthquake statistics over the past hundred years or so show that certain parts of the country are subject to almost continuous seismic activity with occasional destructive shocks, while other parts are more or less free from seismic disturbances. By combining early earthquake records with the more precise data of recent years it is possible to divide the country roughly into four seismic regions. These regions are classified below, in order of seismicity.

  1. All areas of the North Island east and south of an approximate line from the vicinity of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty to the vicinity of Hawera in South Taranaki, and all areas of the South Island north of an approximate line from the vicinity of Hokitika on the west coast, through the region of Lake Coleridge, to Banks Peninsula:

  2. South Auckland, western Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Taranaki (except the Southern portion):

  3. Areas of the South Island, south of the boundary of region I:

  4. Areas north of Auckland.

The following table shows the average frequency of earthquakes in each of the four regions defined above.

Region.Average Number of Earthquakes per Year (1921-1940).Average Number of Destructive Shocks per Decade (1835-1940).Relative Seismicity based on Destructive Shocks.
Minor Shocks (R.-F. 8).Major Shocks (R.-F. 9, 10).
II23.01.1 1.1
III12.10.1 0.1
IV1.1  0.0

The boundaries between the seismic regions are not well defined, since one region generally merges more or less imperceptibly into another. Further, seismic frequency is not uniform. This leads to the number of shocks being considerably above the average in some years and below it in others. The normal irregularity is increased by the occasional occurrence of earthquake swarms in certain regions. Probably the most notable swarm in New Zealand was that which occurred in the Taupo region in the latter half of 1922. The number of minor local shocks in this swarm was so great that only the stronger ones, or those affecting the adjacent region, were used in determining the average frequency of region I. Major earthquakes occur chiefly in the eastern and southern parts of region I.

Deaths due to Earthquakes.—During the period 1848-1944 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.

CLIMATE.—An article on the climate of New Zealand, supplied by Dr. M. A. F. Barnett, O.B.E., M.Sc., Ph.D., F.Inst.P., Director of Meterological Services, was included in the 1942 and earlier editions of the Year-Book, but considerations of space preclude its repetition in this issue.

The following table, however, suffices to give some indication of the chief climate-logical elements, average values being given for a selection of stations throughout the country based on records over a varying number of years. The temperature figures shown relate to the whole year and also to January and July, which are, for most places, the warmest and coldest months respectively.


Station.Altitude of Station.Average Annual Rainfall.*Average Number of Rain-days.Average Bright Sunshine.Temperatures in Shade, Degrees Fahrenheit.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.

* Normals relate to present site.

† Temperature records for less than ten years.

 Ft.In. Hours.      
Te Paki, To Hapua20057.031692,13872.257-965.556-944.751.7
Hamilton East13146.591592,08675.656.466.352.137.345.1
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana2,11074.8018307.645.957.552.336.545.1
New Plymouth16060.281872,24769.754.962.855.442.749.4
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North11039.801691,03070.552.
Hanmer Springs1,22545.041341,87371.547.502.047.929.039.2
Lake Coleridge1,22031.45109 70.648.461.449.230.440.9
Milford Sound20251.45187103.747.250.849.733.142.6

A Brief Review of 1944.—The year started with sunny conditions, but during the late summer and autumn unsettled weather became fairly widespread. The winter, however, was mild, but cool temperatures in the spring, especially in the south, made the season late. Continued cool, unsettled conditions during December made farming operations difficult.

For most places the annual rainfall was heavier than usual, but slight deficiencies occurred in scattered parts of the east coast of Auckland, North Taranaki, Manawatu central Wairarapa, eastern Marlborough, and near Invercargill. Areas where rainfalls showed an excess of at least 25 per cent. included the Urewera, south-eastern Hawke'e Bay, Lower Hutt, Central Westland, and considerable portions of Canterbury and Otago. The excess amounted to 56 per cent. at Winchmore, near Ashburton. Over the year, mean temperatures were slightly warmer than normal for the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, and from Westport to Hokitika. In other districts it was cooler than normal, and by 1° iF in inland Canterbury. The sunshine total was above average throughout the Auckland Provincial District, at Blenheim, and from Ashburton to Oamaru. Elsewhere the total was below average, and from the McKenzie country southward to Gore there were deficiencies of over 200 hours.

Seasonal Notes.—During January the weather was, on the whole, sunny and settled, suitable for harvesting and shearing, but the dryness adversely affected the milk-yield. Except for the Wairoa - East Cape region, the rainfall at most places was well below half the normal. Heavy rains and high humidities made February conditions difficult for harvesting but dairy production benefited. The Taupo - Bay of Plenty region was twice as wet as usual, and much of Westland, Canterbury, and Central Otago had treble the average rainfall. Further heavy rains in March made the late harvests difficult to complete. On the whole, the period was dull, and towards the end of the month numerous frosts damaged garden growth. Some flooding occurred in the far north and between Waipukurau and East Cape. April was mild and rather cloudy, with frequent rain in most districts. Near Dunedin heavy rains occurred on the 5th and 6th. May was cool and fairly dry, with better sunshine than usual in northern and central districts. Frosts severely checked growth except in the far north. June was a month of cool south-westerly conditions, showery weather often being followed by clear, frosty conditions. Hail was fairly frequent, and the ranges, as well as some lower levels in the South Island, received snow on several occasions. Sunshine was above average. July was dull, but not excessively wet, and there was less snow than usual. August had no very severe weather, though there was more cloud than usual. Lambing commenced under favourable conditions, but, in places, wet ground hindered cultivation. Until the close of September cool temperatures and frosts retarded growth in most areas, but bad spells were too brief to affect lambing. October and November were cool and unsettled, with very changeable westerly conditions. In the main dairying districts, except around Auckland, which was dry, pasture growth was good. Elsewhere cultivation was backward, and in the south the season continued late. The final month of the year was the coldest December experienced for a number of years, being unsettled and dull. These unfavourable conditions delayed shearing and ruined much hay. Rainfall was heavy in most areas, and on two occasions thunder activity, with damaging hail, was very conspicuous.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.—The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1944 were taken at 09.30 hrs., N.Z. civil time—i.e., 9 a.m. New Zealand mean time.

Station.Temperatures in Shade, Degrees Fahrenheit.Hours of Bright Sun-shine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Dally MinimumApprox. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1944.Previous Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Wet Days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.Absolute Max.Absolute Min
Auckland64.253.358.881.8 Jan.37.4 Aug.86.533.
Tauranga65.648.150.882.1 Jan.30.4 July00.722.52,438.250.82156
Hamilton East64.946.165.582.5 Jan.23.0 July94.421.32,104.651.78194
Rotorua64.345.955.182.7 Jan.27.0 July98.021.02,178.861.92178
Gisborne66.447.857.187.4 Dec.28.8 July  2,439.044.26141
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana58.145.051.578.6 Jan.28.8 July88.027.1 100,11203
New Plymouth61.549.455.573.8 Mar.31.0 July80.
Napier65.548.457.089.5 Feb.28.4 June96.527.52.336.238.86136
Taihape58.142.950.579.9 Feb.26.8 July87.820.4 35.54202
Wanganui62.548.755.683.1 Jan.20.0 June  2,190.934.34161
Plant Research Bureau. Palmerston North62.346.854.581.7 Jan.27.5 July Aug.
Masterton62.843.453.185.0 Jan.22.0 Aug.95.420.02,005.235.17140
Wellington59.548.053.878.8 Mar.34.0 July92.025.02,392.341.40135
Blenheim63.742.753.285.4 Feb.16.1 June97.98.21,846.449.60152
Hokitika60.145.452.870.4 Mar.27.4 June84.525.01,788.4131.34203
Lake Coleridge59.740.149.988.3 Jan.17.5 June97.721.31.893.132.35156
Timaru59.342.230.787.2 Jan.25.0 June99.011.5 41.84144
Christchurch60.443.852.185.1 Feb.24.3 June7.721.81,893.132.35156
Timaru59.342.250.787.2 Jan.25.0 June99.019.81.893.132.35156
Milford Sound 42.3 79.2 Mar28.0 June79.223.1 237.18218
Queenstown58.540.749.683.2 Jan.23.2 July89.219.21,002.836.93151
Alexandra60.340.550.489.5 Jan.21.2 July91.211.01.899.516.56126
Dunedin56.042.619.382.5 Jan.27.6 Aug.
Invercargill67.041.549.780.0 Mar.25.0 July Aug.90.019.01,590.043.50218

For 1944 the mean sea-level pressure at 09.30 hrs. N.Z.C.T., in millibars, was: Auckland, 1015-1; Wellington. 102-6; Nelson, 1012-3; Hokitika, 1012-6; Christ-church, 1010-8; Dunedin, 1016-0.

PLANTS OF NEW ZEALAND.—Those desiring information on the flora and plant covering of New Zealand are referred to the article by Dr. W. R. B. Oliver, D.Sc., F.R.S.N.Z., which appeared in the 1940 and previous issues of the Year-Book, while a brief reference to the geographical distribution of the forest trees is made in the section of this Year-Book dealing with Forestry (Section 18). For more detailed information the following works may also be consulted: “Plants of New Zealand,” by R. M. Laing and E. W. Blackwell, ed. 4, 1940; “Manual of the New Zealand Flora,” by T. F. Cheeseman, ed. 2, 1925; “The Trees of New Zealand,” by L. Cockayne and E. Phillips-Turner, 1928; “The Forest Flora of New Zealand,” by T. Kirk, 1889; “New Zealand Trees and Shrubs and how to Identify Them,” by H. H. Allan, 1928; “New Zealand Ferns,” by H. B. Dobbie, ed. 3, 1931; “New Zealand Plants and their Story,” 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, ed. 2, 1944; and numerous articles published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

FAUNA.—A brief article on the fauna of New Zealand, originally prepared by the late Mr. James Drummond, F.L.S., F.Z.S., and revised by him in 1935, is contained in the 1940 and earlier editions of the Year-Book.


Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL.—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 11th May, 1917, published in the New Zealand Gazette of 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 in the minutes of the Council the grounds of any advice or opinion that he may give upon the question.

At present (July, 1946) the Executive Council consists of thirteen members in addition to the Governor-General, and one member of the Legislative Council holding a special war portfolio. Two members, exclusive of His Excellency or the presiding member, constitute a quorum.

Under the Civil List Act, 1920, as amended by the Finance Act, 1946, His Excellency the Governor-General receives an honorarium of £5,000 per annum, an allowance of £4,500 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 fixed the number of paid Ministers (exclusive of the Prime Minister) at ten, but an amendment in 1936 increased the number to eleven, with a proviso that the total amount paid in any one year was not to exceed the aggregate amount specified in the principal Act. Part V of the Finance Act (No. 3), 1944, further increased the number of Ministers of the Crown (other than the Prime Minister) who may be paid to twelve, and also abolished the provision regarding the aggregate payment. The Prime Minister's salary is now at the rate of £1,800 per annum and that of each other Minister £1,170 per annum, in addition to which Ministers who do not occupy a Ministerial residence receive an allowance in lieu thereof at the rate of £200 per annum.

Authority is also given in the Civil List Act for the appointment of either one or two Maoris or half-castes as members of the Executive Council representing the Native race. One such appointment is at present extant, the salary attaching thereto being £990 per annum, plus house allowance of £200 per annum.

The Civil List Amendment Act, 1936, made provision for the appointment of Parliamentary Under-Secretaries, an innovation in executive control in New Zealand. The rate of salary attachable to such a position, formerly £600, was increased to £800 by Part V of the Finance Act (No. 3), 1944, plus house allowance of £200 per annum. At the present time (July, 1946) four such appointments are current.

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 shared a portion of their authorized salaries with other Government parliamentary representatives.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.—The Imperial Act under which the earliest appointments were made to the Legislative Council under a system of responsible government provided that the first appointees should be not less than ten in number. The number actually summoned for the first session (held at Auckland from 24th May, 1854) was sixteen, of whom only fourteen attended. The number increased irregularly for thirty years. In 1885 and 1886 it stood at fifty-three, but has not since reached that limit. The number of members at present (July, 1946) is thirty-six.

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

Provision for an elective Legislative Council is contained in the Legislative Council Act, 1914, which may be brought into operation at a date to be specified by Proclamation.

The qualifications for membership of the Legislative Council are the same as for the House of Representatives (see post), with the proviso that a person may not at the same time be a member of both Houses. Prior to 1941 women were not eligible for appointment to the Legislative Council, but this restriction was removed by section 40 of the Statutes Amendment Act, 1941. There were no women appointees until February, 1946, when two were included in a list of four new members.

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. There have been several alterations since that date and the rate, prior to the passing of the Finance Act (No. 3), 1944, had for several years been £315 per annum. The Act in question raised the honorarium to £375. This Act also increased the honorarium of the Speaker from £720 to £800, and that of the Chairman of Committees from £450 to £500 per annum. The Speaker also receives free sessional quarters. Besides the honorarium, members receive certain privileges in respect of railway and other forms of travel, &c.

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

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.—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.

The basis upon which the Dominion is divided anew into seventy-six European electorates after each population census was substantially altered by the Electoral Amendment Act, 1945. Prior to the passing of this Act the allocation of electorates was according to the distribution of the total population. An addition was also made to the rural populations, so that the number of rural electorates, in proportion to their population, was higher than urban electorates. The “country quota,” as this allowance was called, was computed on the basis that 28 per cent. was added to the rural population, which for electoral purposes meant population other than that contained in a city or borough of over two thousand inhabitants or in any area within five miles of the chief post-offices at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, or Dunedin. The “country quota” first appeared in 1881, to the equivalent of an addition of 33 1/3 per cent., to the country population. It was reduced in 1887 to 18 per cent., but was increased in 1889 to 28 per cent.

The 1945 amendment abolished this “country quota” and in addition, changed the basis on which the electorates were allocated from the distribution of the total population to that of the “adult” population. The definition of the “adult” population, according to the Act, excludes Maoris, persons under twenty-one years of age and persons detained in mental institutions, prisons, or military defaulters' detention camps. Provision is made for an allowance by way of addition or subtraction of adult population not exceeding five hundred where districts containing the exact quota cannot be formed consistently with considerations of topography, communications, community of interest, and (except in making the first division under the 1945 Act) existing boundaries of electoral districts.

A population census was taken on 25th September, 1945, and on receipt of the necessary information concerning the distribution of the adult population, the Representation Commission appointed under the Act proceeded to divide the Dominion into electoral districts on the amended basis. It was found that the adult population for electoral purposes was 1,069,149, of whom the North Island contained 700,477 and the South Island 368,072. On this basis the North Island became entitled to 50 electoral districts and the South Island to 26, as compared with 48 and 28 previously.

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 a few exceptions. The term of the nineteenth Parliament was during the 1914-18 War extended to five years by special legislation, and that of the twenty-fourth (1931-35) and subsequent Parliaments to four years under the Electoral Amendment Act, 1934. By the Electoral Amendment Act, 1937, the three-year term was restored, but on account of war conditions the term of the twenty-sixth Parliament was extended to four years by the Prolongation of Parliament Act, 1941. The Prolongation of Parliament Act, 1942, extended the term still further to one year from the termination of the war, but with a proviso for a motion to be moved in the House of Representatives each year after the year 1942 either approving the continuation of the House or fixing an earlier date for its expiry. During the 1943 session a motion in favour of dissolution was carried, and Parliament was dissolved on 30th August, 1943.

Under the Electoral Act, 1927, every registered elector of either sex, but no other person, is qualified to be a parliamentary 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 (see under “Franchise” post); 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. Though women's suffrage has been operative since 1893, women were not eligible as parliamentary candidates until the passing of the Women's Parliamentary Rights Act, 1919, the provisions of which are now embodied in the Electoral Act, 1927. Under the Electoral Act public servants were prohibited from being elected, but this prohibition was removed by the Political Disabilities Removal Act, 1936, which provided that if elected they immediately cease to be public servants.

The honorarium paid to members of the House of Representatives is £500 per annum. They are also paid an allowance at the rate of £250 per annum for expenses incurred in connection with parliamentary duties. Payment to members is subject to certain deductions for absence not due to sickness or other unavoidable cause. In addition to the honorarium, members are entitled to certain privileges in respect of railway and other forms of travel, &c.

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 afterwards 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 £1,000 per annum, in addition to which he receives a sessional allowance of £100 and free sessional quarters. The honorarium of the Chairman of Committees is £750, and an allowance of £150 per annum to cover expenses incurred in connection with his parliamentary and official duties is also paid.

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

FRANCHISE.—Since the abolition of plural voting in 1889 and the introduction of women's suffrage in 1893 every person twenty-one years of age or over has had the right to exercise a vote in the election of members for the House of Representatives. 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, but for Maori electors a Proclamation is necessary before registration becomes operative. Up to the present this Proclamation has not been made.

There are, of course, slight exceptions to the foregoing, for, if a person is classified as one of the following, he or she is not entitled to register as an elector 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.

The Electoral Emergency Regulations 1943 prescribed the following additional classes of persons who were not entitled to be registered as electors or to vote:—

  • A person who has been committed to military defaulters' detention and has not been discharged therefrom:

  • A person who has been taken into custody under the Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940 and has not been released therefrom.

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.

By the Electoral Amendment Act, 1937, which made provision for a secret ballot in Maori elections, Maori electors were granted the same privileges, in the exercise of their vote, as European electors.

For the system of local-government administration a modified form of franchise exists, a ratepaying qualification being necessary for the exercising of votes on financial issues. Further reference to this aspect of franchise will be found in Section 25 of this Year-Book.


Table of Contents

POPULATION censuses were taken as for the night of Tuesday, 25th September, 1945, in New Zealand and in all its island territories. The Administration of the Mandated Territory of Western Samoa conducted the census for its own territory and also for Tokelau (Union Islands); otherwise, the work was carried out by, or on behalf of, the Census and Statistics Department.

The outlying islands (vide page 1) other than the Campbell Islands were uninhabited at the date of the census, as was also the Ross Dependency, situated in Antarctic regions.

The summary below sets out the position disclosed by the several censuses. Further 1945 census figures will be found later in this Section, but for details it will be necessary to refer to the census volumes to be published separately.

New Zealand proper (exclusive of Maoris)25th Sept., 1945782,602820,9521,603,554
Totals, New Zealand proper"832,877869,4211,702,298
Kermadec Islands"23 23
Campbell Islands"9 9
Cook Islands and Niue"9,2399,10218,341
Tokelau Islands"6737151,388
Mandated Territory of Western Samoa"35,10733,09068,197
      Totals 877,928912,3281,790,256

Compared with the position disclosed by the census of 1936, the population of the Dominion proper showed an increase of 128,488, or 8.2 per cent. If the Maori population is excluded, the increase is 112,070, from 1,491,484 at the 1936 census to 1,603,554 at the 1945 census. The intercensal gain of 128,488 does not take into account 45,381 (44,715 males and 666 females) members of the Armed Forces overseas at the time of the census. Their inclusion would bring the total population to 1,747,679 and make the inter-censal gain 173,869, or 11 per cent. The population of the Cook Islands and Niue at the 1945 census showed an increase of 1,991, or 12.2 per cent., above the total at the 1936 census, while the increase in the case of the Mandated Territory of Western Samoa was 12,251, or 21.9 per cent.

METHOD OF COMPILATION.—In common with almost all countries, the chief instrument in compiling population data in New Zealand is the census, which in this country in normal times 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 official publications compiled after each census.

The basis adopted for the census, and virtually throughout population statistics in New Zealand, is that of the population present, which may be defined as the population present at the place of enumeration at the time of the enumeration.

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

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

The first interruption in the sequence of New Zealand censuses was caused by the abandonment, for reasons of financial stringency resulting from the world-wide economic depression, of the census proclaimed for 21st April, 1931. Owing to the outbreak of war and its subsequent effect on population no census was taken in 1941, the necessary legislative sanction being provided by section 36 of the Finance Act, 1940. The section authorized the census due in 1941 to be taken in any year not earlier than 1941 nor later than 1945. As this census was taken on 25th September, 1945, authority was granted for the abandonment of the census which was due in 1946.

The comparative shortness of the interval between the census enumerations in normal times, combined with New Zealand's insular position and the completeness of her registration system, prevents serious intercensal errors in statements of the total population of New Zealand.

The distance of the Dominion from other countries, combined with the fact that overseas migration centres in a few ports or air-ports, facilitates the compilation of accurate statistics of external migration.

Population figures for war years and for the 1945 census are exclusive of New Zealand soldiers, &c., overseas, and of members of forces of overseas countries who may be in New Zealand. New Zealand troops within the Dominion are counted in the population totals.

Residents of the Kermadee Islands, Campbell Islands, 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. Separate statistics of the Maori population are given towards the end of this section.

INCREASE OF POPULATION.—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 long-term comparison shown in a later section of this Year-Book entitled "Statistical Summary."

Date of Census.Population (excluding Maoris).Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.Average Annual Percentage Increase.

* See letterpress.

NOTE.—The census due to be taken in 1931 was abandoned owing to financial stringency; the census due in 1941 was postponed, and the enumeration took place in 1945.

December, 185126,707   
" 185859,41332,706122.4612.14
" 1861*97,90438,49164.7918.26
" 1864171,00973,10574.6720.74
" 1867217,43646,42727.158.20
February, 1871254,92837,49217.245.11
March, 1874297,65442,72616.765.29
" 1878412,465114,81138.578.49
April, 1881487,88975,42418.295.60
March, 1886576,52488,63518.173.41
April, 1891624,45547,9318.311.60
" 1896701,09476,63912.272.33
March, 1901770,30469,2109.871.91
April, 1906885,995115,69115.022.79
" 19111,005,585119,59013.502.60
October, 19161,096,22890,6439.011.57
April, 19211,214,677118,44910.812.31
" 19261,344,469129,79210.692.05
March, 19361,491,484147,01510.931.05
September, 19451,603,554112,0707.510.77

Commencing with the 1926 census all half-caste European-Maoris were included with the Native population in lieu of the previous practice of treating as Europeans such half-castes as were living in European fashion, and as Maoris those half-castes who were living in Native fashion. The figures in the preceding table have been corrected from 1861 onwards, to accord with the present practice. Lack of data prevents adjustment for years prior to 1861. The increase from 1858 to 1861 is, therefore, very slightly understated.

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 the three years 1888, 1890, and 1891, emigrants exceeded immigrants, these being the only such occasions in the history of the country, until the depression years following 1930, when departures exceeded arrivals in the five years 1931–35. A small decrease was also recorded in 1943.

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. Figures for years later than 1920 have not been adjusted consequent upon the censuses. While there thus exist discrepancies with total population increases given elsewhere, such discrepancies do not invalidate the use of the table.

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

* Decrease.

† Members of Armed Forces, &c., are not included in migration figures.

      Totals, 1861–1945526,354581,4661,107,820307,561205,151512,712833,915786,6171,620,532

Trend of Population.—While the population of New Zealand has been growing, the rate of increase has declined substantially, the lowest point being reached in 1935. The next four years showed steady improvement until 1939, when the percentage increase recorded was the highest since 1927. Since the outbreak of war, however, the check on migration and the movement of members of the Armed Forces, &c., have introduced abnormal features.

Immigration now contributes relatively small increments to the population; indeed, in the five depression years 1931–35 there was a net exodus from New Zealand of 9,918. With the passing of the depression the net inward flow resumed, but, largely owing to war conditions, the excess of arrivals for the ten years 1936–45 was only 14,434.

In recent years natural increase (excess of births over deaths) reached a critical position. The natural increase rate (per 1,000 of mean population) reached a low point of 7.89 in 1936. It is obvious that this meant that the population was still increasing at a moderate rate, but owing to the time-lag it was less obvious to many that a rate as low as this meant, in the near future, a stationary or, more probably, a declining population. In other words, the population was failing to reproduce itself in sufficient numbers for growth and even for the maintenance of a stationary population.

One method of measuring the status of a population is that of the net reproduction index, which is based on female children born and probably surviving. Gross and net reproduction rates in recent years are:—

Year.Gross Rate.Net Rate.Year.Gross Rate.Net Rate.

Though economic factors are not the only, and possibly not even the most important cause of the decline in the birth-rate, the immediate cause of the low level reached in 1935 was almost certainly the economic depression from 1931 onwards. As economic conditions recovered there was some improvement in the birth-rate (though accompanied by higher death-rates), and the net reproduction index returned to a level of 1.274 in 1941, indicating a modest margin of growth. Decreases were recorded for the two following years, but both 1944 and 1945 have shown substantial improvements, with the result that the rate for the latter year exceeds that of 1941. This index is not and cannot be, an exact measure, but it does afford a close and fairly reliable approximation in normal circumstances. In its use it is necessary to remember, inter alia, that the probability of survival of the children born is calculated on past mortality experience in more or less normal conditions; no allowance is made for wars, major epidemics, or other factors which may result in abnormal losses of population.

The foregoing observations necessarily omit any forecast of the trend of external migration; also they do not take into account the Maori section of the population, which is increasing fairly rapidly.

SEX PROPORTIONS.—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.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.

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.

The 1945 census results—for the first time in the history of the Dominion—recorded an excess of females. The figures were, however, affected by the absence from New Zealand of a large number of Armed Forces at census date. Their inclusion would restore an excess of males, the number of females per 1,000 males being 995 if allowance is made for Forces serving overseas. Deaths of members of the Forces during the war period would still further accentuate the position as disclosed by the 1945 census.

INTERCENSAL RECORDS.—As already noted, the intercensal statements of total 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 1945 census results, despite abnormal conditions due to the war, afforded a satisfactory demonstration of this. The same degree of accuracy does not persist, however, for Maori and European elements. Results for the censuses of 1921 and 1926 suggested 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 had been slightly understated, and the European population overstated to a corresponding degree. The 1936 census results afforded further support to this view. Accordingly the statements of population at intercensal dates, 1921–36, were revised. It should be noted that the 1936–45 figures have not been revised.

Year ended 31st MarchPopulation (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year.Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Totals.Numerical.Per Cent.

* Minus sign (—) signifies a decrease.


As population figures for the calendar year are in demand for numerous purposes, figures are given also for years ending 31st December.

Year ended 31st DecemberPopulation (excluding Maoris) at End of Year.Increase during Year.Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Totals.Numerical.Per Cent.

* Minus sign (—) signifies a decrease.


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

Population (including Maoris) at End of Year.Mean Population for Year.
Years ended 31st March
Years ended 30th June
Years ended 31st December

EXTERNAL MIGRATION.—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 was to avoid 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, 49,346 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1946, which, compared with 1944–45, shows an increase of 12,453. During the same period 44,750 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1944–45, shows an increase of 7,946.

Wartime restrictions on migration, diversion of ships, and use of passenger-liners as troop-carriers and hospital ships have inevitably led to a considerable decrease in the migration figures, which during the last five years have reached their lowest ebb for over eighty years.

In addition to the figures just quoted there were also 3,071 “through” passengers who called at a port of New Zealand en route to their destination.

The excess of total arrivals over total departures for 1945–46 was 4,596, compared with a similar excess of 89 during 1944–45.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last eleven years are given in the table following. Crews of vessels, “through” passengers, tourists on cruising liners, and members of the Armed Forces, &c. (1939–40 to 1945–46), have not been taken into account in this table.

Year ended 31st MarchArrivals.Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.

* Excess of departures over arrivals.


Classes of Arrivals and Departures.—The following table gives an analysis of all classes of arrivals during the last five years, including “through” passengers, and crews.


* Includes only cases where persons were definitely stated to be evacuees for the duration of the war. Figures are probably understated.

Immigrants intending permanent residence1,0628577481,7044,645
Permanent residents returning2,7178911,1711,8633,404
  Polish refugees   837 
  Evacuees from United Kingdom7*    
  On business512283349611966
  Theatrical, entertaining, &c.45435887
  Others, official, &c.120139150288859
In transit840329352421772
Not stated1    
Through passengers4,3508451,8125763,071

The succeeding table gives a similar analysis of departures.

Permanent residents departing—     
  Not stated21    
Temporary residents departing3,5021,3361,3872,5293,728
Through passengers4,3568451,8125763,071

Ages.—The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31st March, 1946.

Age, is Years.Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.

* Excess of departures over arrivals.

60 and over6291153117197314—161*

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

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 eleven years were as follows:—

Year ended 31st March,Number.

The total to 31st March, 1946, was 226,274, of which number all came from the United Kingdom with the exception of 3,909 from the Continent of Europe, spread over the five years 1874 to 1878 (inclusive).

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

For persons from the Cook Islands, Niue, and Western Samoa the only requirement is a permit to visit New Zealand granted by the Resident Commissioner of the Cook Islands or Niue or by the Administrator of Western Samoa, as the case may be. The regulations, further, do not apply to a British subject who is the master or a member of the crew of the vessel in which he arrives, or to a British subject arriving from Australia.

Departure from New Zealand.—All persons sixteen years of age or over travelling overseas require a permit from the Minister or Under-Secretary of Internal Affairs.

British subjects travelling between New Zealand and Australia do not require passports, but permits are necessary.

IMMIGRATION RESTRICTION.—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 permit, and is returned on the departure of the visitor if the conditions of the temporary permit have been 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.

Restricted Immigrants.—When persons who are lunatic, idiotic, deaf, dumb, blind, or infirm, arrive in New Zealand 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 came 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.

Declaration by Persons arriving in New Zealand.—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.

NATIONALITY AND NATURALIZATION.—The naturalization of aliens in New Zealand is governed mainly by the British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Act of 1928, of which the main substance is provided by Part II of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914 (Imperial). The principal conditions governing the grant of naturalization are that an applicant shall satisfy the Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs (a) that he has resided in His Majesty's dominions for a period of not less than five years, and in New Zealand for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the application; (b) that he is of good character and has an adequate knowledge of the English language; and (c) that if his application is granted he intends to reside permanently in His Majesty's dominions. It follows that applications for naturalization cannot be entertained from persons resident outside New Zealand. A fuller account of this Act will be found in the 1931 Year-Book, pp. 92–95.

The British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Amendment Act, 1934–35, adopting the relevant portion of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1933 (Imperial), brought the nationality law of New Zealand into conformity with that of the United Kingdom relative to the nationality of married women (see p. 70 of the 1940 Year-Book). In addition, this Act enables a woman who has lost British nationality through her marriage to an alien to retain the rights (though not the status) of a British subject while resident in New Zealand.

A further amendment passed in 1943, adopting the corresponding Imperial Act of the same year, brought the nationality laws of New Zealand into conformity with the United Kingdom in the matters of declarations of alienage and the British nationality of persons born abroad. The Act also makes provision for the naturalization of aliens serving in His Majesty's Forces during the period of the 1939–45 war.

As a war measure, naturalization was suspended between June, 1940, and September, 1945, the only exceptions being servicemen naturalized under the Amendment Act of 1943. Latterly applications for naturalization have again been accepted from civilians, but priority is still being given to ex-servicemen and to others who have taken some active part in the national war effort.

In the period between 1st January, 1944, and 31st March, 1946, a total of forty-nine certificates of naturalization have been granted, two of the grantees being females and the remainder males. Thirty-five of these certificates were granted to ex-servicemen under the Act of 1943. In addition, one Imperial certificate was granted to a person naturalized in New Zealand prior to the Act of 1928. Children included in their parents certificates numbered five. Two persons of dual nationality made declarations of alienage. Declarations of desire to acquire British nationality were made by the wives of ten men naturalized, and declarations of desire to retain while in New Zealand the rights of a British subject were made by forty-seven women married to aliens.

The following table shows the country of birth of the forty-nine persons naturalized (birth-places being stated according to the European frontiers of 1937):—

Syria and Lebanon1
New Zealand1

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION—North and South Islands.—In 1858 the North Island had a larger population than the South, but this position was reversed at the succeeding enumeration and the South Island had the larger population (exclusive of Maoris) at each census from 1861 to 1896. In 1901 the North Island was found to have slightly the larger total and since then has steadily increased its lead. 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, by Europeans, 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.

The following table gives the population of the North and South Islands as disclosed by each census since 1881.

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

* Includes Maori half-castes (total, 4,236), living as Europeans.


Among the factors that should be taken into account in any consideration of increase or decrease of population for the various districts as disclosed by the 1945 census are the location of servicemen's camps, the concentration of wartime industries in certain localities, and the absence overseas of 45,381 members of the Armed Forces at the census date.

At 31st March, 1946, the North Island population was estimated as 1,185,187, inclusive of 97,804 Maoris; and the South Island population as 572,817, inclusive of 3,494 Maoris.

The natural increase of European population (i.e., excess of births over deaths) for the South Island during the 1936–45 intercensal period was 45,692, but the total net increase was only 25. For the North Island the natural increase was 106,317, and the total net increase 112,045. The existence of a northward drift of population is still evident, doubtless being accentuated by factors associated with the war. It should be remembered in this connection that there were 45,381 members of the Armed Forces overseas at the date of the 1945 census, and the total net increase would be affected accordingly.

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

Provincial District.Area (Square Miles).Census Population.

* Including 196 Maori wives of Europeans, provincial district not specified.

Hawke's Bay4,26039,60465,08070,35376,96879,084
  Otago portion14,050125,782137,062149,921151,213144,035
  Southland portion11,17048,01662,43965,62972,85670,178

The foregoing table illustrates the wide disparities in the size of the provincial districts, whether measured by area or by population. The growth of population during the interval between 1936 and 1945 is given below both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the 1936 totals. The figures include Maoris.

 Numbers.Per Cent.

* Decrease.

Hawke's Bay2,1162.75
 Numbers.Per Cent.

Urban and Rural Population.—On 25th September, 1945, somewhat over two-fifths (41.4 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 (55.0 per cent.) in these or in the ten secondary urban areas. In the following table urban population means the population in cities and boroughs, while rural population covers counties, all town districts, and extra-county islands. It will be observed that there was a marked slackening in the rate of the urban drift between 1926 and 1936, but the 1945 figures, due, no doubt, to wartime influences, disclose a substantial increase in the urban population, whereas the rural population, for the first time, recorded a decrease.

Census.Population.Per Cent.

* Figures exclude military and internment camps.

† Figures include Armed Services in New Zealand at census date and internment camps, but exclude members of the United States Forces present in New Zealand and also enemy prisoners of war.

Excluding Maoris—
Including Maoris—

Another conception of urban and rural population is presented in the next table, which covers the period 1901–1945. Maoris are omitted, as data are not available over the whole period. The great bulk of Maoris inhabit rural communities. In the case of the larger centres there are numerous suburban boroughs and town districts; consequently, as regards the fourteen urban areas the centre has been taken as including all cities, boroughs, and town districts within the territory of the present urban area. In other instances the “centre” is a borough or town district.

Centres of1901.1911.1916.1921.1926.1936.1945.
1,000– 2,49941,81454,89565,70680,12084,79282,51674,752
2,500– 4,99933,47837,19246,15956,48749,59451,77970,985
5,000– 9,99936,83451,32644,83823,30632,07348,29259,519
25,000 and over214,098302,943349,271401,710472,603531,588636,389
  Totals, urban336,861509,071588,744690,607794,167887,0601,010,130
  Grand totals (excluding migratory)768,9481,003,4561,087,2621,213,6821,337,3841,486,8121,600,389
Per Cent.
1,000. 2,4995.445.476.046.606.345.554.67
2,500– 4,9994.353.714.254.653.713.484.44
5,000– 9,9994.795.114.131.922.403.253.72
25,000 and over27.8530.1932.1233.1035.3335.7539.76
  Totals, urban43.8150.7354.1556.9059.3859.6663.12
  Grand totals (excluding migratory)100.00100.00100.00100.00100.00100.00100.00

The comparison is not an exact one, but is sufficiently accurate to indicate the general trend of urbanization. For instance, it is noticeable that in 1901 29 per cent. of the population were in towns of 10,000 population or over; by 1945 the proportion had become 50 per cent.

An important characteristic of the distribution of urban population in New Zealand is what may be termed its decentralization. In place of one great metropolis containing a huge proportion of the population, as in the case of the Australian States—e.g., Victoria, whose capital city (Melbourne) contains over one-half 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. An interesting feature is the wide gap which has long existed between the four major centres and the next largest towns.

Urban and rural communities are not evenly distributed. The South Island, for example, contains proportionately more rural population than does the North Island.

RECENT MOVEMENTS IN TOWNS AND COUNTIES.—Urban Areas.—Urban areas afford the best basis of comparison of population-growth in the case of the largest towns, since their boundaries are stable and, of greater significance, they include the suburbs as well as the central city or borough. The following table excludes Maoris—data being lacking in earlier years—but their numbers are too small to exercise any significant effect.

Urban Area.1916.1921.1926.1936.1945.
New Plymouth9,79512,64515,93118,19420,229
Palmerston North14,00616,88519,70923,95327,091

The next table presents the population as enumerated at the 1945 census for the component cities, boroughs, and town districts included in the relevant urban areas. Maoris are included on this occasion.

Urban Area.Population (including Maoris).

* Excludes a small area which, though part of the borough, is not within the urban area.

Auckland City123,457
  Birkenhead Borough3,806
  Northcote Borough2,651
  Takapuna Borough*10,035
  Devonport Borough11,662
  New Lynn Borough4,277
  Mount Albert Borough24,416
  Mount Eden Borough20,167
  Newmarket Borough2,980
  Ellerslie Borough3,119
  One Tree Hill Borough11,648
  Onehunga Borough13,872
  Otahuhu Borough7,161
  Remainder of urban area24,119
Wellington City123,771
  Lower Hutt City*30,998
  Petone Borough10,877
  Eastbourne Borough*2,552
  Johnsonville Town District2,474
  Remainder of urban area2,848
Christchurch City112,681
  Riccarton Borough7,632
  Lyttelton Borough*3,133
  Remainder of urban area26,601
Dunedin City65,771
  Port Chalmers Borough2,165
  West Harbour Borough1,995
  St. Kilda Borough7,353
  Green Island Borough*2,618
  Remainder of urban area3,449
Hamilton Borough21,982
  Remainder of urban area4,419
  Urban Area.Population (including Maoris).
Gisborne Borough14,765
  Remainder of urban area2,219
Napier Borough17,243
  Taradale Town District1,765
  Remainder of urban area1,289
Hastings Borough14,623
  Havelock North Town District1,458
  Remainder of urban area4,249
New Plymouth
New Plymouth Borough18,558
  Remainder of urban area2,084
Wanganui City23,842
  Remainder of urban area2,620
Palmerston North
Palmerston North City25,277
  Remainder of urban area2,017
Nelson City13,030
  Tahunanui Town District1,146
  Remainder of urban area2,401
Timaru Borough18,305
  Remainder of urban area1,291
Invercargill City23,470
  South Invercargill Borough1,161
  Remainder of urban area2,952

Counties.—The next table gives the population (including Maoris) of individual counties as disclosed by the 1945 census, together with the approximate area of each. It should be noted that “Administrative Counties” do not include boroughs or town districts independent of county control, but include dependent town districts.

Administrative County.Population (including Maoris).Approximate Area, in Square Miles.
North Island—
  Bay of Islands10,40824
  Great Barrier Island191110
  Hauraki Plains4,795233
  Hawke's Bay14,7071,673
  Waimate West2,81483
  Wairarapa South2,784440
South Island—
  Mount Herbert48866
  Chatham Islands505372
  Stewart Island343670
      Grand totals641,374102,799

Boroughs.—Similar information as in the case of counties is now given for boroughs.

Borough.Population (including Maoris).Approximate Area, in Acres.
North Island—
  New Lynn4,2771,392
  Auckland (City)123,45718,253
  Mount Albert24,4162,430
  Mount Eden20,1671,476
  One Tree Hill11,6482,430
  Te Awamutu3,0171,162
  Te Kuiti2,7201,668
  Te Aroha2,4262,783
  Mount Maunganui989935
  Te Puke1,1441,047
  New Plymouth18,5584,132
  Wanganui (City)23,8425,726
  Palmerston N. (City)25,2774,851
  Upper Hutt5,4942,165
  Lower Hutt (City)31,2547,688
  Wellington (City)123,77116,289
South Island—
  Nelson (City)13,0304,966
  Christchurch (City)112,68116,540
  Port Chalmers2,165500
  West Harbour1,9952,020
  Dunedin (City)65,77115,286
  St. Kilda7,353462
  Green Island2,697877
  Invercargill (City)23,4705,914
  South Invercargill1,1612,257
      Grand totals1,024,292279,441

Town Districts.—As stated earlier, the population of independent town districts—i.e., those contained in section (a) of the following table—is not included with that of the counties in which the town districts are located, but the population of dependent town districts—section (b)—is included with that of the respective parent county.

Town District.Population (including Maoris).Approximate Area, in Acres.

* Parent country shown in parentheses.

(a) Town Districts not forming Parts of Counties
North Island—
  Glen Eden1,5691,267
  Havelock North1,458835
South Island—
  Pleasant Point483730
      Grand totals31,58330,726
(b) Town Districts forming Parts of Counties*
North Island—
  Kohukohu (Hokianga)2371,020
  Rawene (Hokianga)401280
  Russell (Bay of Islands)4411,066
  Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)587280
  Onerahi (Whangarei)490990
  Mercer (Franklin)2901,000
  Te Kauwhata (Waikato)4441,290
  Ohaupo (Waipa)2491,283
  Kihikihi (Waipa)401523
  Kawhia (Kawhia)261470
  Te Karaka (Waikohu)371700
  Patutahi (Cook)2031,275
  Kaponga (Eltham)395558
  Normanby (Hawera)313260
South Island—
  Havelock (Marlborough)244210
  Takaka (Takaka)512585
  Southbridge (Ellesmere)375531
  Outram (Taieri)347886
  Clinton (Clutha)401930
  Edendale (Southland)456696
  Grand totals7,41814,833

Extra-county Islands and Migratory Population.—The census of the 25th September, 1945, recorded a migratory population (i.e., crews on board vessels, &c.) of 3,185 persons, of whom 2,566 were enumerated at ports in the North Island and 619 in the South Island.

Details are given below of population of a number of islands which are not included within the boundaries of any county, borough, or town district.

Extra County Island.Population (including Maoris).
North Island—
  Little Barrier4
  Great Mercury12
South Island—
      Grand total1,864

AGE DISTRIBUTION.—The following table shows the estimated age distribution of the population at 31st December, 1944. The figures are based on the 1936 Census data and brought up to date from statistics of births, ages of persons dying, and ages of persons arriving in or departing from New Zealand. The age distribution of the population as disclosed by the 1945 census had not been compiled at the time this Section was prepared.

Age-group.Excluding Maoris.Maoris.
Under 581,71677,985159,7019,7279,33319,060
80 and over6,6507,85014,500100100200
Total under 14194,000186,100380,10022,55021,75044,300
" 16219,900211,200431,10025,12524,27549,400
" 21284,200275,700559,90030,62529,57560,200
Totals 21 and over478,366537,1851,015,55120,37720,25840,635
  Total population762,566812,8851,575,45151,00249,833100,835

DENSITY OF POPULATION.—The total area of the Dominion of New Zealand is approximately 103,935 square miles. Omitting the annexed islands and certain uninhabited outlying islands, the area of the land-mass remaining is 103,416 square miles. This calculation, it should be explained, includes all inland waters—viz., lakes, rivers, harbours, estuaries, &c. It should be noted also that there is a great deal of high mountainous country in New Zealand, particularly in the South Island, while there are also great areas of broken, swampy, or hilly country which is either incapable of effective use or which can be used profitably only for pastoral purposes, afforestation, or the like.

The density of population at the 1945 census may be quoted as 16.46 persons to the square mile. This figure would be higher if members of the Armed Forces serving overseas were included in the population.

The area and population of individual towns and counties will be found in preceding tables in this section. At the 1945 census density of population in the various provincial districts was:—

 Persons per Square Mile.
Hawke's Bay18.56

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

MAORI POPULATION.—A record of early statistics of Maoris is given in Vol. III of the 1936 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.

Available statistical evidence points to a decline in the numbers of the Native race following the advent of Europeans, but this decline was commonly exaggerated by early writers. Of later years an unmistakable and now fairly rapid 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 25th September, 1945, was 98,744, which is an increase of 16,418 on the 1936 total. The percentage increase was 19.94, equivalent to an average annual increase of 1.93 per cent. These percentages, it will be noted, are considerably higher than the corresponding figures for the non-Maori population—viz., 7.51 per cent. and 0.77 per cent. Movements of troops have tended to invalidate this comparison; the natural increase ratios for the year 1944–45 afford a better illustration. These are:—

Natural-increase rate11.6028.97

The census record of Maori population is as follows:—


Of the 98,744 Maoris at 25th September, 1945, 95,308 were in the North Island. Auckland Provincial District contains the bulk of the Maoris, particularly in the Auckland Peninsula and Poverty Bay regions. In the South Island Maoris do not attain any numerical significance.

The records of the 1926 and 1936 censuses permit of a statement of the total numbers wholly or partly of Maori blood. Figures for the 1945 census are not yet available showing numbers according to this classification.

Counted in the Maori population—

Full Maori45,42955,915
  Three-quarter caste6,63211,397
  Degree not specified303123

Counted in the non-Maori population—

Maori-European quarter-caste6,05311,508
Maori-Chinese 38
Maori-Syrian 26
Maori-American Indian 3
Cook Island Maori 103

In 1936 there were recorded in New Zealand some 94,156 persons wholly or partly of Maori origin. Of these, some 59 per cent. were recorded as of unmixed Maori descent. There is some reason to believe that the degree of miscegenation is understated, and it is unlikely that the proportion of pure Maori descent is more than 50 per cent.



REGISTRATION.—Registration of births in New Zealand dates from 1848, consequent upon the passing, in 1847, of a Registration Ordinance which made provision for a record of births and deaths being kept by the State. Under this Ordinance many registrations were effected, some of births as far back as 1840. Compulsory registration did not, however, come into force until 1855. Registration of still-births, previously not provided for, was made compulsory from the 1st March, 1913.

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 a statutory declaration, of the particulars required to be registered, has been made before the Registrar by the parent or some person present at birth and on payment of a fee of 5s. When six months have elapsed, and a conviction for neglect to register has been entered against the persons responsible, a birth may be registered with a Registrar of Births within one month after conviction, and in this case no fee is payable. An information for such neglect must be laid within two years of date of birth.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, 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. Satisfactory evidence on oath, and such other proof as the Registrar-General may deem necessary, are required, together with the payment of a fee of 5s. This provision does not, however, relieve any person from liability to prosecution for failure to register in the proper manner.

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, nor is his name entered in the register unless at the joint request of the mother and himself, or unless he subsequently marries the mother (see pp. 46-47). A child born out of New Zealand but arriving before attaining the age of eighteen months may be registered within six months of arrival.

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 still-births, except in the special classification on page 48.

Registration of Maori Births.—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 250, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Native settlement of any size is within easy reach of one of these Registrars. Maori registrations are entered in a separate register, and the figures of births given in the following pages do not include those of Maoris, which are dealt with in Subsection D.

NUMBERS AND RATES.—The numbers and rates of births (children born alive) for each of the last twenty years are given in the following table. The appropriate information for the year 1945 is included, but at the time the section was prepared the detailed tabulation for that year had not been completed. Consequently, subsequent tables and discussion have, in the main, been limited to 1944 and earlier years.

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

The year 1936 witnessed the first yearly increase in the number of births since 1930, and also an actual increase in the birth-rate after a continuous downward movement during the previous fifteen years. From 1936 until 1941 a further continuous rise in both the number of births registered and the birth-rate was recorded. This followed the rapid rise in the marriage-rate, which began in 1933 and continued until 1940. With the advent of the war both the marriage-rate and the birth-rate during the following years have been affected by varying influences.

Fairly sharp falls were experienced during the next two years, but the figure for 1944 increased by 3,288, or 10.8 per cent., over the 1943 total, and in 1945 the record established in 1941 was eclipsed. In addition, the birth-rate for 1945 was the highest since 1921.

Various factors, mostly connected with war influences, have been responsible for the high rates experienced In recent years. At the same time, owing to carrier fluctuations in the birth-rate, the proportion of the female population at the child-bearing ages has increased considerably, and in 1945 contained several thousand more potential mothers than was the case ten years earlier.

Birth statistics for all countries have not been available during the war period, and the rates in some cases are rather uncertain owing to the difficulty of computing them with reference to a strictly corresponding population. These factors should be borne in mind in any considerations of the following rates per 1,000 of population which have been taken from the "Statistical Year-Book of the League of Nations, 1942-44": Union of South Africa, 26.2 (white population); Northern Ireland, 24.2; Canada, 24.0; Netherlands, 23-0; Spain, 22.8; Eire, 21-8; Denmark, 21.4; New Zealand, 21.2; United States of America, 21.2 (white population); Bulgaria, 21.1; Australia, 20.7; Finland, 20.2; Hungary, 19.7; Sweden, 19.3; Switzerland, 19.2; Scotland, 18.4; England and Wales, 16.3; Germany, 16-2; France, 15-9; Belgium, 14.8.

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, inspective 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 of 15 and under 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 1936.

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

* Per thousand married women.


The legitimate rate per 1,000 married women between the ages of 15 and 45 is seen to have fallen by 60 per cent. between 1878 and 1936, 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 smaller than in the earlier years covered.

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.

NATURAL INCREASE.—The decline of the birth-rate in New Zealand has been accompanied until recent years 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 13-15 in 1945. 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 Rates per 1,000 Population.Period.Annual Rates per 1,000 Population.
Births.Deaths.Natural Increase.Births.Deaths.Natural Increase.

The movements that have taken place since 1875 are well illustrated in the accompanying diagram, which shows the rates at five-yearly intervals.

SEXES OF CHILDREN BORN.—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 exhibited violent fluctuations in the proportion of males, which showed a tendency to disappear as the total of births grew larger. The masculinity rate was comparatively low during the four years 1936-39, the average for that period being 1,039. This was followed by a particularly uniform rate on a somewhat higher scale during the next three years, with a sudden rise to 1,079 in 1943, giving an average of 1,059 for the four years 1940-43. The extreme range since 1870 has been from 1,016 male per 1,000 female births in 1878 to 1,081 in 1923.

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

The masculinity rate from 1856 to 1945 is expressed in the following table in average ratios for successive decennial periods.

Period.Male Births per 1,000 Female Births.Period.Male Births per 1,000 Female Births.

MULTIPLE BIRTHS.—The number of cases of multiple births and the proportion per 1,000 of the total (living births only) during the last five years were:—

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

Counting only cases where both children were born alive, there were 430 cases of twin births (860 children) registered in 1944. There were also seven cases of triplets.

The number of accouchements resulting in living births was 33,155, and on the average one mother in every 76 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, the total number of accouchements for the year 1944 is increased to 33,911, and the number of cases of multiple births to 480. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 71.

The incidence of multiple births varies considerably, as may be seen from the following summary for the last seventeen years for which full details are available.

Year.Cases of Twins.Cases of Triplets.Total Multiple Cases.Rate per 1,000 Confinements.
Both born alive.One born alive, one still-born.Both still-born.Total.All born alive.One born alive, two still-born.Two born alive, one still-born.All still-born.Total.

* Includes one case of quadruplets, all born alive.

19282732163004   430411.0
19292753793211   132211.8
193030420163402 1 334312.6
19312883673311   133212.3
19322602652913   329411.6
19332503192902 1 329311.8
19342583142932   229511.9
19352752443031   1305*12.5
19362253482672   226910.6
19372762673091 1 231111.8
19382962643262   232811.9
19392992473303   333311.3
194034444113991  1240112.0
194139851144633   346613.1
194240024134372 2 444113.0
1943332411138432 1639012.7
19444304034737   748014.2

The proportion of multiple births has been consistently high during the last five years, that experienced in 1944 being a record figure. The number of cases of triplets recorded in 1944 was also exceptional, especially as four out of the seven cases were first births.

The likelihood of still-births occurring is much greater in cases of multiple births than in single cases. This is exemplified in the following table. The figures in respect of multiple cases include all cases where one or more of the children were still-born.

Year.Still-birth Cases per 100 of Total Cases (including Still-births).
Single Cases.Multiple Cases.
    Average of ten years2.6511.40

The following table shows the sexes in individual cases of twin births for the years 1939–41, 1943, and 1944. The detailed statistics for this and certain other tabulations were not compiled for the year 1942.

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

During the ten years 1935-44 there were twenty-five cases of triplets. In nine cases all three children were males, in nine cases all were females, in six cases there were two males and one female, and in one case two of the three children were females. Of quadruplets born in 1935, three of the children were females.

AGES OF PARENTS.—Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1944 is shown in the following table.

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

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

Single Births
Under 21217791357102197521 1,501
21 and under 251081,7112,7481,097260942510416,058
25 " 3083703,4273,8091,368378105391449,522
30 " 352266803,3472,657900265944748,022
35 " 40 5635051,7971,28443313782114,317
40 " 45  53918350732910359151,240
45 and over   111635186380
Age of Mother, in Years.Age of Father, In Years.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and under 50.50 and under 55.55 and under 65.65 and over.Totals.

* Including seven cases of triplets.

Multiple Births
Under 212531      11
21 and under 25116311221    63
25 " 30 836471671 11117
30 " 35 2115147104121129
35 " 40  1621281421 73
40 " 45   117661 22
45 and over     1    1
      Grand totals3382,9347,3629,0186,3723,2401,2224122184031,156

PREVIOUS ISSUE OF PARENTS.—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 conjunction with (1) age of mother and (2) duration of marriage. The table under the first heading for the year 1944 is here summarized.

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

* This number represents 30,740 single cases and 410 multiple cases.

Under 211,233228474     1,512
21 and under 253,4901,6686792135411   6,121
25 " 302,8433,2462,07891837211765  9,639
30 " 351,4062,2272,1431,22757728627312 8,151
35 " 405168181,05176649229240946 4,390
40 " 451291442192111681182205211,262
45 and over3441411141812181

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 1944 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.

Age of Mother, in Years.Total Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.Age of Mother, In Years.Total Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.
Under 211,5121,8581.2340-441,2625,9024.68
21-246,12110,1221.6545 and over815256.48

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 1944) born up 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 include issue born to the existing marriages only. The averages for recent years were as follows: 1939, 2-33; 1940, 2.30; 1941, 2.29; 1943, 2.56; and 1944, 2.61. In 1915, the earliest year for which reliable comparative figures are available, the average issue was 3.11. This falling trend is the average issue of women giving births to children is a measure of the tendency towards smaller families. The 1943 average, for the first time since these figures were compiled, reverses the trend, and a further increase was recorded in 1944. The increases recorded during the last two years are a reflection of the sharp decline in the proportion of first births referred to under the next heading.

FIRST BIRTHS.—Of a total of 151,654 accouchements resulting in legitimate births during the five years 1939, 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1944, the issue of no fewer than 56,606 or 37 per cent., were first-born children. In 20,979, or 37 per cent., of these cases the birth occurred within twelve months, and in 38,546, or 68 per cent., within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 32 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 each of the six years 1935 to 1940, it is not surprising to find the proportion of first births for these years showing a definite increase. In fact, the proportion of first births to total births from 1936 to 1941 was phenomenal, and in each year up to 1940 established a new record.

Following a steady decline in the annual number of marriages celebrated during the years 1941-43, a substantial reversal of the trend in the proportion of first births was to be expected, and it is necessary to go back as far as 1925 to find a lower proportion than that recorded for 1944.

The proportion of first births occurring within one year of the marriage of the parents during 1941 and 1943 (1942 figures are unavailable) was particularly low, no doubt mostly due to war conditions, where parenthood in many wartime marriages was postponed. The figures for 1944 shows an appreciable rise.

Year.Total Legitimate Cases.Total Legitimate First Cases.Proportion of First Cases to Total Cases.First Cases within One Year after Marriage.First Cases within Two Years after Marriage.
NumberProportion to Total First Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.
   Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
Totals for five years151,65456,60637.3320,97937.0638,54668.10

During the five years there were 7,482 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 7,123 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 (e) to (a). (d)Proportion of (b) + (c) to Total of (a) + (b). (e)
193911,3471,1201,832Per Cent. 16.16Per Cent. 23.68
Totals for five years56,6067,1237,48213.2222.92

After several years of a continuous and substantial decrease in the proportion of extra maritally conceived cases, the figures for 1943 and 1944 show a considerable move upwards. The proportion is still comparatively low, however, as ten years ago the figure was 32.06 per cent.

Apart from the tendency to restrict the size of families (already commented upon), it would appear that postponement of the birth of the first child is becoming a feature of modern times. Statistics of first births over a number of years indicate that the proportion occurring within one year after marriage is rapidly declining, although there was a slight increase in 1943 followed by a more substantial increase in 1944, as compared with the immediately preceding years. The following table compares the 1944 figure with that for earlier years, and illustrates the movement in the duration of marriage factor in first births.

Duration of Marriage, In Years.Proportion per cent. of Total First Births.
Under 1 year52.9550.0646.2538.47
1 and under 2 years28.6226.6426.7926.30
2 " 3 "9.0210.4310.2411.28
3 " 4 "3.435.516.167.88
4 " 5 "1.882.033.967.18
5 " 10 "3.263.365.497.36
10 years and over0.840.971.111.53

For the years covered by the foregoing table the average duration of marriage before the birth of the first child was-1914, 1.63 years; 1924, 1.76 years; 1934, 1.85 years; and 1944, 2.22 years.

An item of interest extracted from the 1944 birth statistics is a table of first births occurring to mothers in different age-groups, expressed as a proportion per cent. of the total first births. A comparison has also been computed on the same basis for the years 1914, 1924, and 1934.


Age of Mother.First Births, Proportion per cent. at each Age-group to Total First Births.
Under 206.737.558.907.33
20 and under 2535.8938.1640.3941.79
25 " 3035.0132.5932.7929.54
30 " 3515.6114.6813.1014.61
35 " 405.525.333.795.36
40 " 451.161.590.991.34
45 and over0.

The figures of average ages of mothers at the birth of their first children are as follows for the above years: 1914, 26.55; 1924, 26.39; 1934, 25.90; and 1944, 25.18.

ILLEGITIMACY.—The numbers of illegitimate births registered during each of the years 1935–45, with the percentages they bear to total births registered, were as follows:—

Year.Number.Percentage of Total Births.

War influences, resulting in unusual movements of the population and the influx of servicemen to the more heavily populated centres, no doubt are responsible for the high figures recorded during the last two years.

The long-term trend in the rate of illegitimate births is indicated 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 year from 1891 to 1936 are as follows:—

Census Year.Unmarried Women 15 and under 45 Years of Age.Illegitimate Births.Illegitimate-birth Rate per 1,000 Unmarried Women.

Included in the total of 2,020 illegitimate births in 1944 were twenty-one cases of twins, the number of accouchements being thus 1,999. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,999 mothers 633, or 32 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age.

Years. Years. Years. 

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.

The Legitimation Act.—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 intermarried was deemed to be legitimized by such marriage on the birth being registered in the manner prescribed by the Act. For legitimation purposes a Registrar was required to register a birth when called upon to do so by any person claiming to be the father of an illegitimate child; but such person was required to make a solemn declaration that he was the father, and was also required to produce evidence of marriage between himself and the mother of the child.

Prior to the passing 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 provided 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 was heard by a Magistrate, and upon his certifying that it had been proved to his satisfaction that the husband of the applicant was the father of the child, the child was registered as the lawful issue of the applicant and her husband.

Important changes were made by the Legitimation Act of 1939, which stipulates that every illegitimate person whose parents have intermarried, whether before or after the passing of the Act, shall be deemed to have been legitimated from birth by reason of such marriage. The Act requires the parents or surviving parent of any person legitimated under the Act to register with the Registrar-General the particulars of the birth of that person, showing that person as the lawful issue of the parents. Application for registration was required to be made within six months after the date of the passing of the Act in cases where the marriage took place prior to that date. In future, application for registration must be made within three months after the date of the marriage.

Where the Registrar-General has reason to believe that any person has been legitimated under the terms of the Act, and no application for registration has been made within the prescribed time, he may require the responsible parents or parent to make an application within a specified period of not less than seven days after receiving notice to do so. Any failure to comply with the notice requiring application for registration within the time specified renders the person or persons responsible liable on summary conviction to a fine of £5. If no application for registration is made within the appropriate time specified in the Act or in the notice received from the Registrar-General, application for registration of the particulars of the birth of any legitimated person may be made by that person, or by one of his parents, or by any other person.

The number of legitimations registered in each of the last eleven years, and the total since the Act of 1894 came into force, are shown in the following table. The effect of the Legitimation Act of 1939 is evident in the figures for 1940.

 Number of Children legitimized.
Year.Previously registered.Not previously registered.Total.
Totals from 1894 to 19448,7073,26311,970

ADOPTIONS.—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. An entry is made in the proscribed form in the register of births, particulars of the adopting parents being given in lieu of those of the natural parents. If the child's birth has previously been registered in New Zealand a note of the adoption order is made on the original entry. An amendment to the Infants Act in 1939 extended the age at which a child might be legally adopted from under fifteen years to under twenty-one years.

The following table shows the number of adoptions which have been registered during the eleven years ended in 1945, together with the proportion per 1,000 births registered in each year.

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 Births.

Statistics of adoptions registered are available in New Zealand only since 1919, and these indicate that the numbers are considerably influenced by the economic condition of the country, the lowest total (329) being recorded in 1931, followed by 332 in 1933 and 337 in 1932. The highest total prior to 1940 occurred in 1921, when 584 adoptions were registered, this, no doubt, being the result of post-war influences. Possibly various factors arising out of the late war have had a bearing on the high totals for recent years, but the extension of age provisions mentioned earlier is also of importance in this connection. It should also be noted that the unprecedented totals in 1944 and 1945 were associated with the extremely high number of illegitimate births occurring in those years.

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

The registrations of still-births during each of the years 1935-1945 were as follows:—

Year.Males.Females.Totals.Male Still-births per 1,000 Female Still-births.Percentage of Still-births to
Living Births.All Births.

Masculinity is in general much higher among still-births than among living births, the rate for still-births in 1944 being 1,207 males per 1,000 females as compared with 1,049 for living births.

The percentage of illegitimates among still-born infants was 7.51, and among infants born alive 6-01.

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1944, 31 per cent. were first births, while of legitimate still-births 42 per cent. were first births. Statistics over many years indicate that there is a considerably greater probability of still-births occurring to mothers having their first accouchement than those having subsequent accouchements.


MARRIAGE may be celebrated 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 may be celebrated only between 8 o'clock in the morning 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 celebrated. 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 8 provides for dispensing with the consent of one party if this cannot be obtained by reason of absence, inaccessibility, or disability. In similar cases where the consent of only one person is necessary, consent may be given by a Judge of the Supreme Court. Consent of the Court may also be given in cases of refusal by any person whose consent is required.

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

The system of notice and certificate has operated in New Zealand since 1855. Officiating ministers and Registrars are required to send to the Registrar-General returns of all marriages celebrated, 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 the marriage has taken place.

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 amendment to the Marriage Act in 1939, which repealed a similar provision passed in 1933, stipulates that a Registrar may not issue a certificate of marriage where either of the intending parties is under sixteen years of age. No marriage shall be deemed to have been unduly solemnized, however, by reason only of this provision. The 1933 amendment made provision enabling women to become officiating ministers for the purposes of the Marriage Act.

The Marriage Emergency Regulations 1944 provided for the keeping in New Zealand of a special register of Service marriages solemnized out of New Zealand between parties, one or both of whom were members of the New Zealand Armed Forces. These regulations were replaced by the Marriage Amendment Act, 1946, which, in addition, provides for the validity of Service marriages, thus replacing the United Kingdom Act of 1823, upon which their validity hitherto depended.

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

NUMBERS AND RATES.—The movement of the marriage-rate over a lengthy period of time may be observed from the statistical summary appearing towards the end of this Year-Book. The numbers and rates of marriages during each of the last twenty years are here given.

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

The 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, or an adjustment to, the changed conditions. Following an improving trend in economic conditions the marriage-rate then showed a continuous increase, culminating in a record high rate in 1940, when the figure attained was 11.28 per 1,000 of population. The number of marriages during 1940 also created a new record for the Dominion. A continuous decline was recorded during the next three years, and the rate for 1943 was the lowest since 1933. A moderate rise, both in the number of marriages and in the marriage-rate, took place in 1944, and this was followed by a more substantial increase in 1945. With the return from overseas of many thousands of men in the most prolific marriage age-groups, together with the fact that the-population in these age-groups is passing through a period of swollen numbers, should see a further rise in the marriage-rate in the near future.

Changes in the available marriageable population, together with other factors-arising out of the war, have affected the marriage-rate in recent years. From the time of arrival of American Forces in New Zealand in 1942 up to the end of the year 1944, a total of 1,396 marriages between American servicemen and New Zealand women was celebrated in the Dominion.

Statistics of marriages for certain countries during the war period are not available, but the rates per thousand of population for the year 1943 for some of the-more important countries are given below. These particulars have been taken from the “Statistical Year-Book of the League of Nations, 1942-44” (in some cases the figures-are marked "provisional or approximate"): Bulgaria, 12.5; United States of America; 11-8; Union of South Africa, 10.8 (white population); Sweden, 9.6; Australia, 94; Canada, 9.4; Denmark, 9.3; Northern Ireland, 7.8; New Zealand, 7.5; Scotland,. 7-4; Germany, 7-3; Portugal, 7.3; England and Wales, 7-1; Spain, 6-6; Belgium, 6.3; Eire, 5.9; France, 5.7.

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

This has been done for each census year from 1881 to 1936, the year 1911 being taken as the standard. The course of the standardized rates as shown in the following: table varies materially from that of the crude rates.

Year.Marriage-rate per 1,000.Index Numbers of Marriage-rates. (Base: 1911-100.)
Total Population.Unmarried Female Population 15 and over.Total Population.Unmarried Female Population 15 and over.

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

The standardized rate for 1936 is considerably higher than that recorded for any other census year subsequent to 1881.

Owing to staff difficulties arising out of the war situation, no detailed marriage statistics have been compiled since 1940. The statistics and information contained in the following pages relate in most cases to 1940 and previous years.

CONJUGAL CONDITION.—The total number of persons married during the year 1940 was 34,896, of whom 32,088 were single, 1,356 widowed, and 1,452 divorced. The figures for each of the five years 1936-40, showing the sexes separately, are given in the table following.

Year.Single.Widowed.Divorced.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 ten years 1931–40 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 31 per 1,000 persons married to 42, an appreciable advance. On the other hand, the number of widowed persons remarrying fell from 53 per 1,000 persons married to 39 per 1,000 over the same period.

The relative conjugal condition of bridegrooms and brides for each of the five years 1936-40 is next given.

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

Taking the whole period covered by the foregoing table, it is found that, while 3,054 divorced men remarried, the corresponding number for women was 3,268. In the case of widowed persons, however, in spite of the fact that widows greatly exceed widowers in the population, only 2,567 widows remarried, as compared with 3,971 widowers.

Included amongst the widows in 1940 were twenty-three women, and amongst the widowers eleven men, who elected to go through the form of marriage with other persons under the protection of the provisions of section 224, subsection (5), of the Crimes Act, which reads: "No one commits bigamy by going through a form of marriage if he or she has been continually absent from his or her wife or husband for seven years then last past, and is not proved to have known that his wife or her husband was alive at any time during those seven years."

AGES OF PERSONS MARRIED.—Of the 34,896 persons married in 1940, 4,046, or 12 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 11,847, or 34 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 10,417, or 30 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 6,052, or 17 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 2,534, or 8 per cent., as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1940.

Age of Bridegroom, In Years.Age of Bride, in Years.Total Bride-grooms.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.
Under 213961442631  570
21 and under 251,7492,6706886384 5,182
25 " 301,0472,8361,94234057846,234
30 " 352167479895161242682,626
35 " 404519734432921574181,222
40 " 4514391231291186943535
45 and over932711371641914751,079
      Total brides3,4766,6654,1831,51768737254817,448

There have been some considerable changes in the proportions of persons marrying at the various age-periods. To illustrate the extent to which these figures have varied since the beginning of the century, 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 1940.

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.Totals.

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 1935-39 figures, however, illustrate the postponement of a number of marriages in the earlier years of the depression, resulting in a proportion of marriages falling in later groups than would normally have been the case, while the 1940 figures are probably affected by the war situation inducing earlier marriages in a number of cases.

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 recorded a slight but fairly constant decline during the next decade, since when it has fluctuated within narrow limits. The figures for each of the years-1930-40 are as follows:—


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 for which the information is available were:—


The foregoing figures give the average ages 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 1940 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age has varied, and for 1940 was 24.

Marriages of Minors.—Of every 1,000 men married in 1940, 33 were under twenty-one years of age, while 199 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 396 marriages in 1940 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 3,080 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 174 marriages the bridegroom was a minor and the bride an adult.

The proportion of minors among persons marrying declined continuously from 1932 to 1936, probably a result of the depression. Each year subsequent to 1936 recorded: an increase in the actual numbers of minors marrying, particularly in 1939 and 1940, but it was only in the latter year that the increase was sufficient to have any appreciable effect on the proportion. The following table illustrates the increase that, has taken place during the five years 1936-40.

Year.Age in Years.Totals. per 100' Marriages.
1936 4431182053702.68
1938 13441222193982.60

MARRIAGES BY MINISTERS OF VARIOUS DENOMINATIONS.—Of the 17,448 marriages registered in 1940, Church of England clergymen officiated at 4,787, Presbyterians at 4,554, Methodists at 1,776, and Roman Catholics at 2,134, while 2,968 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the principal denominations in each of the years 1931-40.

Denomination.Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England25-8225.5425.4725.5226.0726.1026.5226.9327.1627.45
Roman Catholic10.7310.8111.0611.5011.4011.6511.7411.5812.6012.23
Other denominations5.535.846.287.928.397.617.
Before Registrars22.6220.9119.9417.9816.9217.1516.8717.1217.3817.01

The foregoing figures must not be taken as an exact indication of the religions professions of the parties married, as it does not necessarily follow that both (or even one) 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. Of the population (exclusive of Maoris) at the general census of 1936 who stated their religious profession, 42-7 per cent. were adherents of the Church of England, 26-2 per cent. Presbyterian, 13-9 per cent. Roman Catholic, 8-6 per cent. Methodist, and 8-6 per cent. other denominations.

NUMBER OF OFFICIATING MINISTERS.—The number of names on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act is (January, 1946) 2,432, and the denominations to which they belong are shown hereunder.

Church of England481
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand450
Roman Catholic Church475
Methodist Church of New Zealand315
Salvation Army124
Associated Churches of Christ32
Congregational Independent32
Seventh-day Adventist42
Latter-day Saints28
Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi5
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference4
Apostolic Church11
Commonwealth Covenant17
Evangelistic Church of Christ8
Churches of Christ7
Hebrew Congregations4
Liberal Catholic Church10
Assemblies of God10
Spiritualist Churches of New Zealand9
Ratana Church of New Zealand133
Ringatu Church39
Te Maramatanga Christian Society7
Covenant Mission4

The Ringatu Church, the Te Maramatanga Christian Society, the Ratana Church of New Zealand, and the Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi are Maori denominations.

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

A brief historical account of divorce legislation is given in the 1931- issue of the Year-Book; 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 since the celebration of the marriage.

  2. Wilful and continuous desertion for three years or more.

  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 to imprisonment for seven years or more 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 immediately 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 full force for not less than 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), her New Zealand domicile is retained if her husband was domiciled in the Dominion at the date of the agreement, decree, or order.

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

The Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Emergency Regulations 1946 make special provisions in respect of war marriages—i.e., marriages celebrated on or after 3rd September, 1939—where one of the parties was domiciled outside New Zealand.

Figures showing the operations of the Supreme Court in its divorce jurisdiction during recent 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.
19358677426531 9480
19371,1541,0089174 138107
19401,1891,0421,0593 112106

The substantial increase in the number of divorce petitions filed and decrees granted during the last three years no doubt reflects the disturbing influence of wartime factors upon the social life of the community. A further arresting feature is the greatly increased number of petitions and decrees for restitution of conjugal rights, in which connection it may be pointed out that failure to comply with an order for restitution has, in recent years, become relatively much more common as grounds for divorce.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petitions. Decrees may relate to petitions filed prior to 1945.

Grounds.Petitions filed during Year.Decrees Nisi granted.Decrees Absolute granted.
Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives-Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Drunkenness, with cruelty, failure to maintain, &c.27 313
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights29510728010426485
Separation for not less than three years422533353509291451
Non-consummation131 21
Rape 1 1  

The figures shown for decrees nisi include cases where both nisi and absolute decrees were granted during the year, while those for decrees absolute cover all such granted during the year whether the antecedent decree nisi was granted in 1945 or in a previous year.

The principal grounds on which petitions were filed during 1945 showed the following increases as compared with 1942, in which year wartime influences had not commenced to affect the divorce figures: Adultery, 329 (140.6 per cent.); desertion, 61 (30.8 per cent.); non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights, 316 (367.4 per cent.); and separation for not less than three years, 317 (49.7 per cent.).

In 823 of the 2,211 cases where petitions for dissolution were filed during 1945 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 624 cases, 2 in 408 cases, 3 in 165 cases, and 4 or more in 191 cases.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all cases for which petitions for dissolution were filed in the five years 1941 to 1945.

Duration of Marriage, in Years.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Under 5789119428021873568491113
5 and under 10131161220354476135181211257320
10 " 15117114184186232125125169160186
16 " 20968812216414780104122118149
20 " 301071021161161389891121155142
30 and over40335956503528364040
Not stated 327   18 

The number of children affected by the divorce petitions of their parents during each of the last five years was as follows: 1941, 1,753; 1942, 1,732; 1943, 2,439; 1944, 2,696; and 1945, 2,903.


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

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

Every death occurring in New Zealand in 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 responsible 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. Although it is necessary to effect a birth-registration entry in the case of a still-born child, no entry is made in the register of deaths. Section 15 of the Statutes Amendment Act, 1946, amending the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1924, stipulates, however, that a medical practitioner or a midwife in attendance at a confinement where a still-birth occurs must furnish a certificate stating to the best of his or her knowledge and belief the cause of the still-birth.

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 Register certificate of registration of the death, renders himself liable to a fine of £10.

Prior to 1937 it was incumbent upon a medical practitioner to give the certificate of cause of death to the person required to supply information for the purpose of registering the death (the undertaker or other person in charge of the burial). By section 11 of the Statutes Amendment Act, 1936, however, the medical practitioner is now required to deliver the certificate forthwith direct to the Registrar of the district in which the death occurred. It is also the duty of the medical practitioner, on signing a certificate of cause of death, to give written notice of the signing to the undertaker or other person having charge of the burial.

In the new form of medical certificate introduced by this amendment, provision is made for an additional statement to be filled in by the medical practitioner in any case where, in his opinion, the death has occurred in any circumstances of suspicion. The practitioner is required to report such case forthwith to the Coroner, and an indication that this has been done must be made in the space provided on the certificate.

Section 3 of the Statutes Amendment Act, 1944, makes provision for the correction of the register of deaths in cases where it is subsequently determined, as a result of a post-mortem examination or by any other means, that the causes of death as stated in the certificate are found to be materially incorrect. This may be effected by the Registrar on receiving a statement correctly setting out the causes of death and signed by a medical practitioner appearing to the Registrar to have a knowledge of the circumstances.

DEATHS OF SERVICEMEN OVERSEAS.—Under the Registration of Deaths Emergency Regulations 1941, which superseded 1940 regulations of similar title, the Registrar-General is required to compile a War Deaths Register of all persons of New Zealand domicile who have died while out of New Zealand on service in some capacity in connection with the 1939–45 war. Members of the New Zealand Naval Forces are excluded from these regulations, special provision having previously been made in their case.

The Registrar-General is also required to compile a Provisional War Deaths Register, to contain the names of those persons of New Zealand domicile who are officially reported to be missing and believed killed while on war service out of New Zealand, but whose deaths have not been proved to the satisfaction of the Registrar-General.

Where the death of any person in respect of whom an entry has been made in the Provisional War Deaths Register is registered (whether in the War Deaths Register or otherwise), or where such person has subsequently been proved to be alive, a note to this effect is required to be made in the appropriate entry in the Provisional War Deaths Register.

Deaths registered in either the War Deaths Register or the Provisional War Deaths Register are not taken into account in arriving at the number and rate of deaths for New Zealand. Deaths of New Zealand servicemen which occur in New Zealand are included. Deaths of visiting overseas servicemen and of prisoners of war in New Zealand are, however, excluded.

Registration of the deaths of Maoris are effected with the Maori Registrars in the various districts set up for this purpose. Statistics relating to the deaths of Maoris are not included in this subsection, and may be found treated fully in Subsection D.

NUMBERS AND RATES.—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.

New Zealand has been noted for many years for its favourable death-rate. In the early history of the country the high proportion of immigrants to total population contributed very materially towards the establishment of a comparatively low death-rate, while the favourable climate also was, and still is, an important factor. The effect of immigration in causing a high ratio of persons in the early adult ages—at which ages mortality experience is most favourable—more than counterbalanced the effect on the death-rate of the hazards inherent in the pioneering activities typical of the economy of the country in those days. The influence of immigration on vital statistics has, however, waned very considerably in the later decades.

The fact that the death-rate is still comparatively very low, despite the fact that the country's age-constitution is now much more mature, is due to the high efficiency of the health services. The progress of the health service has been reflected, inter alia, in a relatively low incidence of serious outbreaks of the more important epidemic diseases (which were much more prevalent in the early years of colonization), and in a remarkably low infant mortality rate.

As observed in the subsection on Births, the general trend of the birth-rate in New-Zealand has been downwards for several decades. The initial effect of a falling birthrate on the mortality experience of a population is to lower the death-rate, the age constitution becoming more favourable towards a low death-rate, since there are fewer infants and a relatively higher ratio of persons of the younger adult ages. That this has been a very material factor contributing to New Zealand's low death-rate is obvious; for a death-rate of 7.99 per 1,000—the low point which was reached in 1933—would connote an expectation of life of almost 125 years if it applied to a population of stable age-distribution. The increase in the crude death-rate in recent years has accompanied an upward movement in the birth-rate. It is, however, mainly due to the fact that, through an increasing proportion of people at the higher ages, the age constitution of the population has passed the optimum distribution from the viewpoint of maintaining a very low level of death-rates. This trend may be expected to continue, since the present death-rate is still lower than could be regarded as possible in a population stable in respect of age constitution.

A factor contributing to the increase in the death-rates during the earlier war period, particularly the male rates, has been the absence overseas of considerable numbers of men of early adult years, which, as stated earlier, are the age-groups at which mortality experience is most favourable. The decline in the death-rate during 1943 and 1944 is largely accounted for by the absence of any outbreak in epidemic diseases several of which had been particularly virulent during 1942.

The death-rates of males and females for each of the years 1935–45 are show 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).

The detailed tabulation of death statistics for 1945 had not been completed by the time this Section was prepared. Consequently, subsequent tables and comment are restricted to 1944 and earlier years.

DISTRIBUTION OF DEATHS OVER THE YEAR.—An examination of the total number of deaths registered in each quarter of the decade 1935–44 gives the following averages: March quarter, 3,099; June quarter, 3,557; September quarter, 4,198; and December quarter, 3,593.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1944 the months during which the greatest number of deaths occurred were June, July, and August, with totals of 1,478, 1,547, and 1,503 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths (1,000), followed by January and March, with 1,092 and 1,095 respectively.

The lowest number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 22, this number occurring on the 24th January and also on the 23rd February. The greatest number (67) occurred on the 3rd June.

AGES AT DEATH.—The deaths registered during the year 1944 are tabulated below according to age.

Under 1 month384308692
1–2 months5846104
3–5 "6734101
6–11 "6946115
1 year7349122
2 years432871
3 "223254
4 "231336
5–9 "5944103
10–14 "594099
15–19 "9763160
20–24 "131102233
25–29 "111115226
30–34 "128140268
35–39 "133136269
40–44 "185171356
45–49 years245252497
50–54 "416348764
55–59 "6384821,120
60–64 "9475941,541
65–69 "1,1468221,968
70–74 "1,1378912,028
75–79 "1,0078881,895
80–84 "7276641,391
85–89 "416383799
90–94 "136160296
95–99 "203151
100 " 11
101 " 11
102 "112

The following table indicates the changes that have occurred over a period of fifty years in the age-distribution of persons dying. The movement in the proportions of deaths occurring at the different age-groups is very striking. The results of three main factors are illustrated—viz., health measures, which have achieved an immense saving of young life; the heavy fall in the birth-rate over the period; and the great increase in the proportion of old people in the community.

Ages, in Years.Number of Deaths.Percentage to Total.
Under 11,5071,6161,4561,1271,01222.0219.9814.3510.476.59
1 and under 54973584604282837.264.434.533.981.84
5 " 102241492021851033.271.841.991.720.67
10 " 15159156118135992.321.931.161.250.64
15 " 202522341872181603.682.891.842.021.04
20 " 252943242882862334.304.012.842.661.52
25 " 303043653542822264.444.513.492.621.47
30 " 352583404043452683.714.203.983.201.74
35 " 402963084523742694.223.824.453.481.75
40 " 452532874274893563.603.554.214.542.32
45 " 502823364295514974.
50 " 553763684756347645.394.554.685.894.97
55 " 603963985436271,1205.694.925.355.827.29
60 " 654545565817861,5416.536.885.737.3010.03
65 " 703776477519451,9685.418.007.408.7812.81
70 " 752856811,0241,0192,0284.068.4210.099.4613.20
75 " 803294508778941,8954.715.568.648.3012.34
80 and over3025141,1201,4422,5414.316.3611.0413.3916.54
Unspecified73    1.06    

During the earlier period covered by the next table the fall in the death-rate was common to all ages and to both sexes. In comparison with 1931, however, the 1944 figures reveal increases in the rates for some of the groups, particularly those of later life. The female rate for the various age-groups is almost invariably lower than the male rate. The rapid increase in the death-rate (per 1,000 of population) 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 55.56 and under 65.65 and under 75.75 and under 85.85 and over.

* Per 1,000 live-births in this case.

Both Sexes

The average (arithmetic mean) age at death of persons of either sex in each of the years 1934–44 was as follows:—


EXPECTATION OF LIFE.—Life tables based on the mortality experience of New Zealand, ranging from 1880 to 1922, have been published at various times in previous issues of the Year-Book. In addition, two tables have been constructed by L. I. Dublin, Ph.D., and A. J. Lotka, D.Sc., of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of New York, from the following data supplied by the Census and Statistics Department: (1) the 1926 population figures, together with the deaths for the years 1925–27; (2) the 1931 intercensal population age-estimates, together with the deaths for the year 1931. The 1931 census was not taken, and the latest investigation was based on the 1936 census combined with the deaths for the years symmetrically disposed about the census year—namely, the five years 1934–38. It should be understood that the New Zealand life tables do not take into consideration the Maori population. The following table-shows the (complete) expectation of life at various ages according to the periods for which the life tables have been compiled.


The effect of the lowered infant-mortality rate and the efficacy of the health services generally is clearly demonstrated by the figures. The expectation of life at age 0 has risen by 10.17 years in the case of males and by 10.36 years in the case of females during the period covered by the table. Again, the expectation of life at age 5 in the earlier periods was actually greater than at age 0, the difference in the case of males amounting to 3.00 years in 1891–95, whereas in 1934–38 it was less to the extent of 1.76 years. Even at age 20 there has been an increase in the male expectation of 4.42 years between the first and the latest period, and an increase of 4.83 years in the case of females.

A comparison of the expectation of life at age 0 for various countries is now given. In selecting comparable tables from the experience of other countries due regard was had to securing the most recent figures available. The countries selected are for the most part those of similar racial stock. It is unfortunate that for the Netherlands, which in the period immediately preceding the war years surpassed New Zealand in the lowness of its death-rate, the most recent tables available are for the period 1921–30, but it has nevertheless been included, as it compares favourably with that shown by later tables for many countries.

New Zealand (1934–38)65.4668.45
Australia (1932–34)63.4867.14
South Africa (1935–37)58.9563.06
England and Wales (1930–32)58.7462.88
United States of America (1937)60.7565.08
Netherlands (1921–30)61.963.5
Denmark (1931–35)62.063.8
Sweden (1931–35)63.2265.33
Belgium (1928–32)56.0259.79

STANDARDIZATION OF DEATH-RATES.—Except where specifically stated, all death-rates quoted throughout this section are crude rates—i.e., those ascertained by applying the mean population for the year to the total deaths registered during the year.

In New Zealand the age and sex constitutions of the people have changed very materially within a comparatively short span of years, so that death-rates for recent years relate to a differently constituted population than do death-rates for earlier years. This factor has had a marked influence on the risks—and causes—of dying. In order to eliminate the effect of a changing age constitution from other causes influencing the death-rate, the device of standardization is resorted to. The principle of this method is to compute death-rates on the assumption that the sex and age composition of the population has not varied. A “standard” population is selected, and the mortality experience of any particular year is weighted according to the age-distribution of that standard population.

The standardized death-rates thus calculated for each of a number of countries, or for a number of years for the same country, may then be regarded as indexes of the relative mortalities free from the distortion which might arise through differences in their respective sex or age constitutions. New Zealand can no longer be regarded as immature as far as the age-constitution of the population is concerned. A comparison of the relative proportions of population in various age-groups between New Zealand and England and Wales, for instance, shows this country to be very similarly constituted to the relatively much older countries.

A system of standardization of death-rates was introduced some years ago in New Zealand, the age and sex constitution of the population as disclosed at the Census of 1911 being taken as the basis. The following table gives both recorded and standardized death-rates per 1,000 of population (on the 1911 standard population) for each fifth year from 1875 to 1940 and for the year 1944.

Year.Recorded Rates.Standardized Rates.

Standardized death-rates are computed for New Zealand for a number of causes, and details covering a ten-yearly period are included in the annual Report on Vital Statistics. The standard population used is that of England and Wales at the census of 1901, in order that the death-rates so calculated may be comparable with those published for those countries.

ORPHANHOOD.—Information concerning the numbers of living issue left by persons dying was regularly compiled by the Census and Statistics Department over a long period of years, but owing to wartime difficulties this activity was suspended after the 1940 tabulation. Data in this connection are contained in the 1945 and previous issues of the Year-Book.

INFANT MORTALITY.—Over a long period of years, New Zealand has been renowned for its low rate of infant mortality, 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 conducted by the State as well as by various organizations. A great deal of the success achieved in this direction has been due to the activities of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children. Founded in 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.

Particulars of deaths of infants under one year of age for each of the years 1935–45 are shown in the following table.

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.

For many years past New Zealand had the enviable record of having the lowest rate of infant mortality in the world, but, according to the “Statistical Year-Book of the League of Nations, 1942–44,” Sweden took pride of place in 1943, with a rate of 28–6 per 1,000 live births, as compared with New Zealand's rate of 31.4. In 1944 the rate was 30.1 for each country. The Swedish figure for 1945 is not available, but New Zealand established a new low record of 28.0. The astonishing feature of the Swedish rate is that it has fallen from an average of 59.7 for the quinquennium 1921–25, and even as late as 1937 it was 45.2. The New Zealand rate in 1937 was 31.2. The following are the infant-mortality rates per 1,000 live births for certain countries for the year 1943, the latest year for which comparable figures are available. The countries selected are those which are comprised largely of “European” population, and in the case of the United States of America and the Union of South Africa the white population only has been taken into account: Sweden, 29; New Zealand, 31; Australia, 36; United States of America, 37; Netherlands, 40; Switzerland, 40; Denmark, 45; Union of South Africa, 48; England and Wales, 49; Canada, 54; Scotland, 65; Germany, 72; France, 75; Northern Ireland, 78; Eire, 80; Spain, 99; Hungary, 131; Portugal, 133. These rates have been taken from the source mentioned above—viz., the "Statistical Year-Book of the League of Nations"—and in some cases are provisional or approximate figures.

The male rate of infant mortality is considerably above the female rate and this holds for each of the four divisions of the first year of life shown in the next table.

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 by comparing the respective rates for the two sexes, the number of male deaths per 100 female deaths in the first month of life during the five years 1940–44 is found to be 124; between one and three months, 137; between three and six months, 144; between six and twelve months, 152; and for the first year as a whole, 130.

The rates per 1,000 births 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.Totals under 1 Year.

Infants who die in the first year of life may be grouped roughly into two main classes—viz., those dying within one month of birth and those surviving the first month of life but dying before the first anniversary of their birth. Deaths among the first class are due principally to causes operating before the actual birth of the infant. The second group, generally speaking, covers infants who have succumbed to causes arising from post-natal influences, such as the various epidemic diseases, faulty feeding, diseases of the respiratory system, &c. The first group naturally presents the greater problem to the infant-welfare worker, while the history of the comparatively rapid decline of the infant-mortality rate in New Zealand is largely an illustration of the effective measures adopted towards combating the post-natal causes of death in infancy.

The next table shows that, whereas in the period 1941–44 the death rate for children under one month of age was 32 per cent. lower than in the quinquennium 1881–85, the rate for children who had survived the first month of life was only approximately one-sixth as high as in the “eighties.” In other words, whereas formerly over sixty children out of every 1,000 who survived the first month of life died before reaching one year of age, now only ten such deaths occur. A remarkable feature of the four-yearly period 1941–44, however, has been the very appreciable decline in the rate for infants under one month, while for infants who survived the first month of life the rate recorded a definite increase.

Period.Deaths per 1,000 Births.Deaths between 1 and 12 Months per 1,000 Children who survive 1 Month.
Under 1 Year.Under 1 Month.Between 1 and 12 Months.
1941–1944 (four years)29.9920.159.8410.04

The accompanying diagram further illustrates the reduction in the infant-mortality rate that has taken place during the last sixty years.

It would appear 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. Four out of every five deaths during the first month of life occur within the first week, and two out of every five on the first day. The following table shows the infant death rate for subdivisions of the first month.

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

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 Mouth.1 Month and under 2 Months.2 Months and under 3 Months.3 Months and under 6 Months.6 Months and under 9 Months.9 Months and under 12 Months.Totals.
Both Sexes

Some remarkable changes are disclosed by the next table, which gives the infant mortality rates for various groups of causes in quinquennial periods commencing with the years 1872–76. If a comparison be made between the averages of the first and last five-yearly periods given—1872–76 and 1937–41—it is found that the general infant mortality rate shows a decline of 71 per cent., while even greater decreases are recorded for tuberculosis (96 per cent.), convulsions (98 per cent.), gastric and intestinal diseases (95 per cent.), epidemic diseases (90 per cent.), and respiratory diseases (76 per cent.). The rate for diseases of early infancy shows a decrease of only 30 per cent. in 1937–41 as compared with 1872–76, but of 33 per cent. as compared with 1917–21, and the figures indicate that some measure of success has already attended the steps taken in recent years to cope with ante-natal conditions.

The increase shown for malformations and the decrease for tuberculosis are probably somewhat less than is indicated by the figures. In the earlier years covered by the table the latter heading included all deaths from hydrocephalus, many of which were no doubt due to congenital hydrocephalus, which is now included among the malformations. A proportion of the deaths from hydrocephalus in the earlier years would also probably be due to meningitis. The following table shows quinquennial average death-rates of infants under one year of age, per 1,000 live births.

Period.Epidemic Diseases.Tuberculosis.Infantile Convulsions.Respiratory Diseases.Gastric and Intestinal Diseases.Malformations.Early Infancy.Other Causes.Totals.
1942–44 (3 years)

Two out of every three deaths of infants under one year of age are due to causes coming within the groups “Early Infancy” and “Malformations,” and premature birth alone is usually 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 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 value to compute rates per 1,000 total births for neo-natal mortality (deaths of infants under one month of age) 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.Still-births.Neo-natal Deaths.Neo-natal Deaths plus Still-births.

Recent years have shown a definite trend towards improvement in the combined rate, and the figure for 1944 is indeed remarkably low.

The pronounced fall in New Zealand's infant mortality rate during the last three 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 improvement in the death-rate at these ages.

CAUSES OF DEATH.—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.

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 later on in this subsection.

The following table shows the numbers of deaths and the death-rates per 10,000 of mean population from certain principal causes, following the abridged international list of causes of death (Fifth Revision, 1938).

Cause of Death.Numbers.Rates per 10,000.
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever678330.
Scarlot fever1212270.
Tuberculosis of the respiratory system5014914924754853.
Other forms of tuberculosis99106115971080.640.690.750.630.69
Malaria1    0.01    
Other infective and parasitic diseases1131432031821240.730.931.311.180.80
Cancer and other malignant tumours1,8582,0282,0292,1312,18212.0213.1813.1313.8514.02
Non - malignant tumours and tumours of unspecified nature58606460600.350.390.420.390.39
Chronic rheumatism and gout27294223390.
Diabetes mellitus3063423523323271.982.
Avitaminoses, other general diseases, diseases of the blood, and chronic poisoning2222492642522671.441.621.701.641.72
Meningitis, and diseases of the spinal cord928610787710.590.560.690.570.46
Intracranial lesions of vascular origin1,3071,3771,5301,5071,4458.458.959.909.799.28
Other diseases of the nervous system and organs of special sense1672072332192141.081.351.511.421.38
Diseases of the heart4,5654,8545,6255,1825,21329.5231.5536.4133.6833.49
Other diseases of the circulatory system2182272392312411.411.481.551.501.55
Pneumonia and bronchopneumonia5245325614744883.393.463.633.083.14
Other diseases of the respiratory system1812322502252041.171.511.621.461.31
Diarrhœa and enteritis77837889990.500.540.500.580.64
Diseases of the liver and biliary passages1201251351411110.780.810.870.920.71
Other diseases of the digestive system3183703602763042.062.402.331.791.95
Other diseases of the genitourinary system2282372712332251.471.541.751.511.45
Puerperal infection30564632380.230.360.300.210.24
Other diseases of the puerperal state60623935530.390.400.250.230.34
Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue, and of the bones and organs of locomotion67516167400.430.330.390.440.26
Congenital debility, malformations, premature birth, and other diseases of early Infancy8137697087167715.265.004.584.654.95
Automobile accidents1991751381331381.281.140.890.860.88
Other accidental deaths5055345756495283.273.473.724.223.39
Cause of death not specified or ill-defined713131040.

The incidence of epidemic diseases has a considerable bearing on the general death rate. While New Zealand is generally comparatively free from violent outbreaks of the principal epidemic diseases, sporadic recurrences are not uncommon. The year 1942 witnessed severe incidences of meningococcal meningitis and influenza, with a minor outbreak of measles. These diseases were definitely on the wane during 1943, and as no other epidemic disease exhibited an unusually fatal trend, the effect was reflected in the total death-rate for that year. An appreciable drop in the number of deaths from heart-disease was also a contributory factor in that year. Although 1944 witnessed a slight rise in the number of deaths from scarlet fever, whooping-cough, and tuberculosis, this was not sufficient to offset an overall decrease in the death-rate from other diseases.

TUBERCULOSIS.—The death-rate from tuberculosis of the respiratory system has been decreasing gradually during recent years, with occasional upward fluctuations. The rate for 1944, 3.12 per 10,000 of population, was slightly below the average of the preceding five years.

In addition to the 485 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1944, there were 108 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, comprising—

Tuberculosis of meninges and central nervous system42
Tuberculosis of intestines and peritoneum6
Tuberculosis of vertebral column19
Tuberculosis of bones and joints3
Tuberculosis of genito-nrinary system9
Tuberculosis of the lymphatic system1
Tuberculosis of other organs2
Disseminated tuberculosis26

The following table shows the number of deaths from tuberculosis in 1944, classified according to sex and age-groups. Of those dying from this cause in 1944, persons under the age of 45 years formed 58 per cent.

Age, in Years.Males.Females.Totals.
Under 516925
5 and under 10325
10 " 15437
15 " 20141832
20 " 25183351
25 " 30263460
30 " 35343569
35 " 40292655
40 " 45212041
45 and under 50261238
50 " 5536642
55 " 6037744
60 " 65401050
65 " 7028533
70 " 7520525
75 " 807411
80 and over325

CANCER.—Cancer is annually responsible for more deaths in New Zealand than can be assigned to any cause other than diseases of the heart.

One factor contributing towards the recorded increase in deaths from cancer is the increasing proportion of persons reaching the ages where cancer largely claims its victims. This position has been brought about principally by the gradual amelioration of the one-time scourges of certain epidemic diseases which exacted a heavy toll of human life at the earlier ages.

Tuberculosis may, perhaps, be classified in the group mentioned, as the progressive decline in the death-rate from tuberculosis for very many years is practically uniform with the rise in the cancer death-rate. This is illustrated by the following figures of average death-rates from tuberculosis and cancer for decennial periods.

Period.Average Death-rates per Tuberculosis.10,000 of Population. Cancer.

The relative movements in the death-rates from cancer and tuberculosis are further illustrated in the following diagram, which shows the rates at five-yearly intervals since 1875 and for 1944. The fall in the tuberculosis rate due to the progress of the health service, and the rise in the cancer rate owing to the increasing age-constitution of the population are clearly portrayed.

In 1944 there were 2,182 deaths from cancer in the Dominion, a proportion of 14.02 per 10,000 of population. The recorded cancer death-rate for 1944 shows an increase of 0.17, and the standardized death-rate a decrease of 0.02, per 10,000 as compared with the previous year.

Year.Number of Deaths from Cancer.Recorded Death-rate.Standardized Death-rate.*

*On basis of age distribution in 1911.


The following summary shows the types of cancer returned in the death entries for the year 1944.

Scirrhus carcinoma11314
Melanotic sarcoma314
Osteo-sarcoma 22
Myo-sarcoma2 2
Rodent ulcer459
Medulloblastoma4 4
Lymphadenoma1 1
Malignant glioma448
Malignant teratoma3 3
Malignant melanoma459
Malignant adenoma 11
Malignant tumour10919
Malignant papilloma718
Malignant disease8513
Astroblastoma 22
Lymphoblastoma 11
Meningioma 11
Neuroblastoma2 2
Neurocytoma 11
Seminoma4 4
Cancer (undefined)19120

Full details of the location of the disease are published annually in the Report on Vital Statistics. A summary of deaths from cancer during 1944 is as follows:—

Seat of Disease.Numbers.Rates per 10,000 of Population.
Buccal cavity and pharynx6315780.840.190.50
Digestive organs and peritoneum6434571,1008.595.667.07
Respiratory system122291511.630.360.97
Uterus 123123 1.520.79
Other female genital organs 8181 1.000.52
Breast 235235 2.911.51
Male genital organs116 1161.55 0.75
Urinary organs6332950.840.400.61
Other or unspecified organs60571170.800.710.75

The standardized figures for recent years suggest that cancer, while undoubtedly increasing in numerical incidence, is not doing so out of proportion to the population exposed to the cancer risk. Improvement in diagnosis has been responsible for some of the numerical increase in the recorded deaths from cancer, though this factor has now become more stabilized. A classification according to sex and age-groups is now given.

Age, in Years.Males.Females.Totals.
Under 5549
5 and under 10   
10 " 15 22
16 " 20336
20 " 25347
25 " 3061016
30 " 3591625
35 " 40122032
40 " 45243660
45 " 503870108
50 and under 5566106172
56 " 60125147272
60 " 65163139302
65 " 70206152358
70 " 75180124304
75 " 80162125287
80 and over12498222

Ninety - two per cent. of the deaths from cancer during 1944 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 53 per cent. at ages 65 years and upwards.

PUERPERAL CAUSES.—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 1872–1915 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 was 5.14 per 1,000 recorded in 1922. The rate for 1943 is the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand. That a new low level appears to have been reached is evidenced by the average death-rate for the latest five years (1940–44), when the remarkably low figure of 2.75 was recorded. The rate for each of the last twenty years is as follows:—

Year.Proportion per 1,000 Live Births.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 septicæmia, peritonitis, nephritis, &c. (without qualification), with the result that in each year several of such cases are found to be puerperal, and are now so classed. In 1928 the system of investigating possible puerperal cases was still further extended.

The number of women who lost their lives through some cause connected with pregnancy or childbirth fell from 118 in 1941 to 85 in 1942, and to 67 in 1943, but rose to 91 in 1944. The relatively low level to which the death-rate from puerperal causes has fallen in recent years is all the more remarkable in view of the abnormal proportion of first births in the total of births upon which the death-rate for these years is based. It is a well-established fact that puerperal mortality is higher in first confinements than in subsequent confinements.

The rate of deaths from puerperal causes is frequently, though inaccurately, 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 be made, but it may be mentioned that the 91 deaths from puerperal causes during 1944 included 24 from abortion, of which 19 became septic cases. Including these 19 deaths from septic abortion there were 27 deaths from puerperal septicæmia in 1944.

Septic abortion claims a comparatively high total of deaths in New Zealand. The highest total ever reached in one year in this country was 42, recorded in 1934.

Deaths from diseases and accidents of childbirth for the five years 1940–44 are shown in the following summary.

Group.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Post-abortive infection14242715190.430.680.800.490.57
Abortion without mention of infection843550.
Ectopic gestation352520.
Hæmorrhage of pregnancy 3134
Toxæmias of pregnancy17161212210.520.450.360.400.62
Other diseases and accidents of pregnancy2  1 0.06  0.03 
Hæmorrhage of childbirth10149590.310.410.270.160.27
Infection during childbirth22321917190.670.910.560.570.57
Puerperal toxæmias13107240.400.
Other accidents of childbirth693270.
Other and unspecified conditions of childbirth112 0.03

Full details of puerperal deaths classified according to the Fifth Revision of the International List are contained in the annual Report on Vital Statistics.

DEATHS FROM EXTERNAL CAUSES.—Deaths from external causes, apart from suicide, claim approximately 4 per cent. of the total deaths. Deaths from external causes in each of four years at quinquennial intervals are given in the next table.

Cause of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per Million of Mean Population.
Accidental causes—        
  Burns and scalds3526212725181417
  Anæsthesia, asphyxia, &c.1016141271198
  In mines and quarries171818131212128
  Transport accidents244193265229173131172147
  Injuries by animals45523331
  Fractures (causes not specified)89836652

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1944 was 666, corresponding to a rate of 4.27 per 10,000 of population. By comparison with 1929, there is a decrease of 59 in the number of deaths, and the death-rate has decreased by 0.88 per 10,000 of population.

In classifying deaths attributable to transport accidents under the various subheadings shown in the following table, 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.

The number and rate of deaths resulting from railway, tramway, motor-vehicle, and aircraft accidents during each of the last eleven years are as follows:—

Year.Deaths due to Accident.Rate per 10,000 of Population.
Railway.Tramway.Motor vehicle.Aircraft.Railway.Tramway.Motor vehicle.Aircraft.

As might be expected under present conditions, deaths arising out of aircraft accidents have greatly increased in recent years, but it will be noted that there was a substantial fall in 1944. The figures include Air Force accidents in New Zealand as well as civilian casualties. The sharp increase in 1943 in deaths due to railway accidents is accounted for by one serious accident near Hyde in Central Otago, which resulted in twenty-one deaths.

Deaths from motor-vehicle accidents recorded 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 roads during that period. With the advent of more prosperous times, the toll of the motor-vehicle again mounted, although, fortunately, not in proportion to the tremendous increase in motor-vehicular traffic on the highways of the Dominion. The 1938 total was the highest ever recorded in New Zealand. An appreciable drop, however, has been experienced since 1938 on account of there being less traffic on the roads owing to wartime restrictions in the use of petrol and rubber tires.

The figures given for deaths from motor-vehicle accidents (which do not include deaths of Maoris) are exclusive of accidents where persons have been killed in collisions between motor-vehicles and trains or trams, these, as stated above, being assigned to the heavier vehicle. For 1944 there were 9 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor-vehicle was involved up to 138. The corresponding figure for 1943 was 133. Further data regarding accidents will be found elsewhere in this volume (see Index). A later section is devoted wholly to statistics of industrial accidents.

SUICIDES.—Suicidal deaths in 1944 numbered 155—males 109, females 46—the death-rate per 10,000 of mean population being 1.00.

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

The following table presents, for annual averages of various quinquennia, the suicide-rate per 10,000 of mean population.

Annual Average duringMales.Females.Both Sexes.


IN each of the preceding subsections, Maoris have been excluded from the statistical tables presented. The standard of registration of Maoris is very much below that of the non-Maori section of the population of New Zealand. This is due partly to difficulties of language, educational status, &c., and partly to problems of access. This latter difficulty arises from the fact that the greater portion of the Maori population is resident in country districts not so well served with modern facilities as regards transport, medical and nursing services, &c. Consequently, registration of vital facts regarding the Maori race as a whole cannot be maintained at the same high level of accuracy as obtains for the non-Maori population.

MAORI BIRTHS.—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 1st March, 1913. The number of Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths in the Dominion is over 250, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Native settlement of any size is within reach of one of these Registrars. Maori registrations are entered in a separate register, which does not, however, make provision for as many particulars as is the case with registrations of non-Maoris. The births of a few Maoris are registered with the non-Maori Registrars, and these are included in the statistics relating to Maori births contained below.

The number of births of Maoris registered with Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths during 1945 was 4,523 (2,325 males, 2,198 females). In addition, 121 births (64 males and 57 females) recorded as of Maori race were registered with non-Maori Registrars, making a total of 4,644 Maori births for the year. This number represents an increase of 136 as compared with the previous year. The Maori birth-rate in 1945 was almost twice the non-Maori birth-rate (23.22 per 1,000), but, unlike the non-Maori rate, during the war years the Maori rate has shown little variation, with an average level only slightly above that for the preceding five years. Registrations of Maori births in each of the last five years were as follows:—

Year.Number of Maori 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).

MAORI MARRIAGES.—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 comping with the other requirements of the Marriage Act. Ministers solemnizing either class of marriages must send returns to the Registrar-General.

A marriage between a Maori and a European must be celebrated under the provisions of the Marriage Act, and does not rank as a Maori marriage.

Returns of 533 marriages in which both parties were of the Native race were received during the year 1945. The figures for each of the last five years are as follows:—

Year.Under Native Land Act.Under Marriage Act.Totals.

The number of Maori marriages declined considerably during the earlier war years, reaching a low point in 1943, and although there was some improvement in 1944 and 1945, it is still well below pre-war proportions.

MAORI DEATHS.—Registrations of Maori deaths during each of the last five years have been as follows:—

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

The rates for the two sexes are much more nearly equal for Maoris than for the rest of the population, the female rate being indeed higher than the male in some years. The total Maori death-rate has shown a steady improvement during the last three years.

Apart from mere numbers by sex, statistics of Maori deaths are not available prior to 1920. Annual tabulations are now made on the bases of age and cause of death, and the detailed statistics may be found in the annual Report on Vital Statistics. The ages of Maoris whose deaths were registered during the year 1944 were as shown in the following table. Details for 1945 and subsequent tables were not complete when the Section was prepared.

Age, in Years.Males.FemalesTotals.Age, in Years.Males.FemalesTotals.
Under 126319846160 and under 65314071
1 and under 51147919365 " 70462975
5 " 1042357770 " 75273461
10 " 1531285975 " 80242347
15 " 2043418480 " 85211738
20 " 2540337385 " 90121022
25 " 3025497490 " 9561218
30 " 3520305095 " 1003811
35 " 40163551100 and over2810
40 " 45162440Unspecified224
45 " 50183250    
50 " 55203454      Totals8618251,686
55 " 60392463    

With the exception of diphtheria and scarlet fever, epidemic and infectious diseases generally exact a much heavier toll proportionately among Maoris than among the non-Maori population, the most noteworthy examples being tuberculosis, particularly of the respiratory system, and typhoid fever. 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 rate among Maoris from certain diseases which rank high as causes of death among the non-Maori population. Principal among these are cancer, heart-disease and other diseases of the circulatory system, nephritis, the group of general diseases which includes diabetes and exophthalmic goitre, and the group of diseases of the nervous system which includes apoplexy and cerebral 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 Maori infants may be partly responsible, as the figures of deaths from malformations and the group “early infancy” taken in conjunction indicate a much higher rate for Maoris from these causes as a whole than for the non-Maori population.

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

Cause of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 10,000 of Mean Maori Population.
Typhoid fever12710991.320.761.060.930.91
Measles 11512  0.111.591.24 
Whooping-cough110237 470.1111.053.91 4.73
Pulmonary tuberculosis29030131726729031.8732.6033.5627.5329.15
Other forms of tuberculosis861059991919.4511.3710.489.389.15
Cerebral hæmorrhage39241841254.292.601.914.232.51
Convulsions (under five years)1812911131.981.300.961.131.31
Diarrhœa and enteritis58685465776.377.375.726.707.74
  Homicide315 50.330.110.53 0.50
Ill-defined or not specified35511761123.855.521.806.291.21
Other causes28231828428233130.9834.4430.0629.0833.27

From 1925 onwards information has been obtained as to whether the cause of death has been certified by a medical practitioner or a Coroner's inquest. As an indication of the improvements achieved in the specifying of the causes of deaths of Maoris, it may be said that in 1925, out of a total of 867 deaths, 446 or 51 per cent. were definitely shown to have been certified, while in 1944 the number so certified was 1,441 out of 1,686 registrations, equivalent to 85 per cent.

Maori Infant Mortality.—As regards infant mortality, the Maori rate is much higher than the non-Maori, principally owing to the ravages of epidemic diseases, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhœal diseases. The infant mortality rate for the first year of life was, for the five years 1940–44, 100 per 1,000 births in the case of Maoris, as compared with 30 per 1,000 among non-Maori infants.

The numbers and rates per 1,000 live births for the last eleven years are given in the next table.

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

The next table shows for the year 1944 the principal causes of deaths of Maori infants under 1 year, classified according to age.

Cause of Death.Under 1 Day.1 Day and under 2 Days.2 Days and under 1 Week.1 Week and under 2 Weeks.2 Weeks and under 3 Weeks.3 Weeks and under 1 Month.1 Month and under 2 Months.2 Months and under 3 Months.3 Months and under 6 Months.6 Months and under 9 Months.9 Months and under 12 Months.Totals.
Influenza        33612
Dysentery        1  1
Tuberculosis    1   25412
Infantile convulsions 1     124 8
Bronchitis      2351415
Broncho-pneumonia   1  7728361796
Pneumonia    2 5223171564
Diarrhœa and enteritis    112418161254
Congenital malformations2444111155129
Congenital debility, &c.3 1 1 1321214
Injury at birth41 11 2    9
Premature birth149332    1133
Other causes peculiar to early infancy 11211112 111
Accident       11114
Other defined causes11144491218251897
Unspecified or ill-defined        1 12

The great achievement in reducing the infant mortality rate for the non-Maori population has been accomplished during the period after the first month of life up to the end of the first year. Conversely, the causes of the extremely high Maori mortality rates are to be found in the same period of life. This is indicated in the next table, which contrasts the mortality rates per 1,000 live births for non-Maori and Maori infants respectively for the two periods mentioned. Statistics are available for this purpose only from 1930 onwards.

Under One Month.One and under Twelve Months.Total under One Year.Under One Month.One and under Twelve Months.Total under One Year.

The principal causes of death of Maori infants responsible for the high mortality rates after the first month of life are diarrhœa and enteritis, broncho-pneumonia, pneumonia, and other diseases of the respiratory system.


THE principal reasons for excluding Maoris from the published vital statistics of the Dominion have already been outlined in the preceding subsection. Late registration is another important factor which prohibits the publication in general of Maori data in conjunction with vital statistics for the non-Maori population. It is, however, desirable that a complete coverage of the vital statistics of the Dominion should be available. Furthermore, the introduction of the medical and related benefits under the social security legislation, which covers Maori and non-Maori alike, renders it more important that a health picture of the whole population of the Dominion in a single category should be presented. It is probable, also, that, as a result of certain information being essential for the claiming of social security benefits, the standard of Maori registration may be expected to show a gradual improvement.

The statistical data presented in this subsection contains details concerning vital statistics covering the entire population of the Dominion (including Maoris).

TOTAL BIRTHS.—As mentioned previously, registrations of Maori births are considerably less accurate than those of the non-Maori population. Consequently, in considering the birth statistics of the whole population of the Dominion, allowance must be made for the element of inaccuracy and incompleteness affecting a proportion of the figures.

For instance, owing to the extensive time-lag in the receipt by the Registrar-General of a considerable number of registrations, the statistics of Maori births relate to the number of registrations received during the year, whereas the non-Maori figures cover actual registrations effected during the year. The following table shows the numbers and rates of non-Maori, Maori, and total births for each of the last twenty years.

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

The inclusion of Maoris raises the level of the birth-rate all through the period covered, but in no case does it reverse the trend of the rate on the normal published basis—i.e., the birth-rate of New Zealand, exclusive of Maoris. In an international comparison for the quinquennium 1935–39, the latest period for which reliable figures are available, the inclusion of Maoris raises New Zealand's position from twenty-seventh to twenty-fourth in a total of thirty-seven countries covered.

Total Natural Increase.—The birth and death rates of the non-Maori population are not subject to violent fluctuation, and consequently the natural-increase rate for this section of the population—i.e., excess of births over deaths—follows an even trend in the twenty years covered by the next table, with a gradual decline from 1925 to 1936, followed by a steady rise from 1937 to 1941. The Maori population, on the other hand, evinces sudden changes in both birth and death rates, with a resultant considerable fluctuation in the natural-increase rate, especially in some years where the respective rates exhibit violent changes in opposite directions. The effect of combining the two sections of the populations is to smooth out the variations in the Maori rate of natural increase, and occasionally to reverse the trend of the non-Maori rate. The following table shows the numbers gained by natural increase, together with the rate per 1,000 of mean population for each of the years 1926–45.

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

In the twenty years, 1926–45, New Zealand has gained by natural increase of the population a total of 339,513, comprising 302,289 non-Maoris and 37,224 Maoris.

In an international table covering some thirty-seven countries for the quinquennium 1935–39, New Zealand occupies nineteenth position as regards the natural-increase rate for the total population. This is the same position as when only the non-Maori natural-increase rate is considered.

TOTAL MARRIAGES.—The following table shows the numbers of non-Maori, Maori, and total marriages celebrated during each of the last twenty years.

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

The fluctuations in the Maori marriage-rate, and hence, to a lesser extent, in the total marriage-rate, cannot be taken at their face value, as elements of Maori psychology play no small part on occasions in influencing the number of Maori marriages registered as distinct from the number actually celebrated. Apart from these factors, the differences observed in the movements of the respective rates are, of course, considerably affected by variations in the application of social and other legislation to the Maori race and the non-Maori population respectively.

TOTAL DEATHS.—The effect of including Maoris is to increase slightly the total death-rate for New Zealand, as is seen in the following table.

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

Although the Maori death-rate is consistently and appreciably higher than the non-Maori rate, the inclusion of Maoris does not raise the general death-rate to a substantially higher level. International death-rate figures since 1939 have been generally unavailable, and in most countries considerably distorted by war influences. For the quinquennial period 1935–39, New Zealand had the second lowest death-rate in the world (exclusive of Maoris), with the Netherlands in first position and Australia in third position. The inclusion of Maoris in New Zealand's death-rate for that period places New Zealand on the same level as Australia—i.e., second equal—as regards the lowest death-rate.

Numbers and rates for principal causes of death over the five years 1940–44 are given in the following table. A comparison of these figures, which include Maoris, with similar tables for the non-Maori and the Maori population separately may be made by reference to page 69 of Subsection C and page 79 of Subsection D respectively.

Causes of Death.Numbers.Rates per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever18141812120.
Scarlet fever121227 0.01 0.010.16
Tuberculosis of the respiratory system7917928097427754.834.864.944.544.68
Other forms of tuberculosis1852112141881991.131.291.311.151.20
Other infective and parasitic diseases1351882332241540.821.151.421.370.93
Cancer and other malignant tumours1,9062,0822,0852,2092,23111.6412.7612.7213.5013.47
Non-malignant tumours63656864660.390.400.410.390.40
Chronic rheumatism and gout27334425420.
Diabetes mellitus3143483583373311.922.
Avitaminoses, other general diseases, diseases of the blood, and chronic poisonings2432702882732961.491.661.761.671.79
Meningitis, and diseases of the spinal cord1069511799860.650.580.710.610.52
Intracranial lesions of vascular origin1,3461,4011,5501,5481,4738.228.599.459.468.90
Other diseases of the nervous system and organs of special sense1992292542452501.221.401.551.501.51
Diseases of the heart4,7525,0605,8605,4155,44229.0231.0235.7433.1132.87
Other diseases of the circulatory system2212362432402451.351.451.481.471.48
Pneumonia and broncho-pneumonia7608048677637554.645.305.294.664.56
Other diseases of the respiratory system1992542692432271.221.561.641.491.37
Diarrhœa and enteritis1351511321541760.820.930.810.941.06
Diseases of the liver and biliary passages1251361391491170.760.830.850.910.71
Other diseases of the digestive system3373933812953332.062.412.321.802.01
Other diseases of the genito-urinary system2332442792412361.421.501.701.471.43
Puerperal infection45615433430.280.370.330.200.26
Other diseases of the puerperal state71735144630.430.450.310.270.38
Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue, and of the bones and organs of locomotion84627283500.510.380.440.510.30
Congenital debility, malformations, premature birth, and other diseases of early infancy9208887978018805.625.444.864.905.32
Automobile accidents2121951451401451.291.200.890.860.88
Other accidental deaths5766006517205873.523.683.974.403.55
Cause of death not specified or ill-defined42643071160.260.390.180.430.10

Although the incidence of different diseases as causes of death varies considerably as between the Maori and non-Maori sections of New Zealand's population, the only important disease to show a marked influence on the general death-rate by the inclusion of Maoris is tuberculosis. The average death-rate from tuberculosis (all forms) for the five years covered by the above table was 6.0 per 10,000 of mean population, as against 3.8 for the non-Maori death-rate. New Zealand has for many years had a comparatively low tuberculosis death-rate for the non-Maori section of its population, but when Maoris are included the latest quinquennial international figures available (1935–39) show New Zealand to be seventh out of a total of thirty-one countries. With Maoris excluded, New Zealand's position would be third for the same period.

Total Infant Mortality.—The establishing of the vital statistics of the Dominion on a total basis by the inclusion of Maoris has the greatest influence upon the infant-mortality rate. The infant-mortality rate of the non-Maori population of New Zealand held pride of place in the world for many years, and recently has declined to a particularly low level. The Maori rate, on the other hand, always a high one, has not shown any noticeable improvement in recent years. It is also subject to violent fluctuations owing to the ravages of certain epidemic diseases, which have relatively very little effect on the non-Maori rate. The non-Maori, Maori, and total infant-mortality figures for the last twenty years are given in the next table.

Year.Numbers.Rates per 1,000 Live Births.

The inclusion of Maoris not only places the infant-mortality rate for New Zealand on a considerably higher level, but also replaces the general downward movement by a much more fluctuating trend.

It also has a considerable effect on the position occupied by New Zealand among the countries of the world. In the quinquennium 1935–39, New Zealand's infant-mortality rate (exclusive of Maoris), with an average of 32, was the lowest of forty-three countries for which reliable figures were available, whereas the inclusion of the Maori population relegated it to fourth place.


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

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

Of recent years much attention has been devoted in different countries to the possibility of obtaining reliable statistics of morbidity. Already in England, United States of America, and Canada a preliminary morbidity code has been devised for the classification of diseases and conditions treated in hospitals, and the possibility of compiling a satisfactory international code for the compilation of morbidity statistics is receiving considerable attention. In New Zealand certain diseases are notifiable, but beyond this and the statistics of industrial accidents, given in Section 41, practically the only record other than that of fatality is the information ascertainable from the returns of patients treated in public hospitals. Information regarding benefits granted under the Social Security Act is given in Section 24, and the sickness experience of friendly societies' members is mentioned briefly in Section 29. In the absence of full statistics of sickness, information from the sources mentioned is of considerable value.

NOTIFICATIONS OF DISEASES.—Eleven thousand five hundred and nineteen cases of notifiable diseases were reported in 1944, an increase of 5,689 over the previous year's figure of 5,830. This increase was more than accounted for by an epidemic of scarlet fever. Other diseases showing an increase were pneumonic influenza, puerperal fever, including septic abortion, tetanus, undulant fever, and actinomycosis. Other diseases—malaria and dengue—contracted outside New Zealand, but developing after arrival, numbered 397 and 6 respectively. The number of cases reported in 1945 was 9,325, a decrease of 2,194 as compared with 1944. Notifications of notifiable diseases during 1944 are shown for each month of the year in the following table.

Scarlet fever2132664905196907239999406808496565877,612
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever55424114114335
Pulmonary tuberculosis16314716379172124104147107110118671,501
Other tuberculosis161613112319141924291116211
Meningococcus meningitis91615788142317927135
Acute poliomyelitis1981151      145
Pneumonic influenza 1 1 4  2   8
Puerperal fever—             
Following abortion11101514121171416101621157
Tetanus7 1 1 31 22118
Hydatids52 61231122328
Trachoma 11 1   1 2 6
Ophthalmia neonatorum 1    3 11  6
Lethargic encephalitis   1        1
Food poisoning143741   1  131
Bacillary dysentery113428161352152552147
Amœbic dysentery  1  2      3
Undulant fever332656133 4137
Actinomycosis2  12 1     6
Lead poisoning 1       11 3
Malaria     33977567544130397
Leprosy1           1
Dengue3 11      1 6
Phosphorus poisoning   1        1
Ankylostomiasis        12  3
Beriberi   1        1

The following were the notifications of principal diseases among Maoris during 1944 and 1943, the latter being shown in parentheses: Diphtheria, 20 (15); typhoid and paratyphoid fever, 50 (27); pulmonary tuberculosis, 476 (518); other tuberculosis, 66 (60); meningococcus meningitis, 20 (65); lethargic encephalitis, nil (12); hydatids, 11 (6); trachoma, 39 (42); bacillary dysentery, 14 (37); other, 39 (22): total, 735 (804).

The relative immunity of the Maori race to scarlet fever is shown by the figures of notifications for this disease during the years 1943 and 1944. In the former year there was only 1 case of scarlet fever reported in the Maori population, as compared with 1,196 in the remainder of the community, and in 1944, with no less than 7,612 cases in the non-Maori population, only 10 Maoris were reported as having contracted this disease.

A quinquennial summary of notifications (exclusive of Maori notifications) of certain principal diseases is now given.

Scarlet fever3573384571,1967,612
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever5956667235
Pulmonary tuberculosis1,0931,1971,4181,7491,501
Meningococcus meningitis19163852434135
Acute poliomyelitis2243017845
Puerperal fever and septic abortion255224218208230

Meningococcus Meningitis.—While the number of notifications of meningococcus meningitis during 1944 was still comparatively high, there was no recrudescence of the severe epidemic which became evident about August, 1941, and reached its peak in August, 1942, when 192 notifications were recorded. After that month the incidence remained high but with a falling tendency, the number of cases in 1942 being 852, as compared with 434 in 1943 and 135 in 1944. The average number of cases for the five years 1936–40 was 18.

Scarlet Fever.—A severe epidemic of scarlet fever was experienced in the latter half of 1943 and throughout 1944, the number of cases in 1944 (7,612) being the highest yet recorded in New Zealand. The epidemic first became evident in July, 1943, when 66 notifications were received, and reached its peak in July, 1944, the number of cases reported in that month being 999. August showed little variation, but there was a sudden drop to 680 in September. The fall was not sustained, and there were 849 notifications in November, after which month there was a gradual decline. The last epidemic of scarlet fever occurred in 1928, when 6,127 cases were notified. During the period 1932–42 notifications did not exceed 1,000 in any year except 1936 (1,153 cases); and in 1941 reached a low level of 338 cases. Deaths in 1944 numbered 25, giving a case fatality rate of 0.33 per cent.

Diphtheria.—Although not of epidemic proportions, notifications of diphtheria showed a considerable increase in 1943, the number recorded in that year being 830, as compared with 542 in 1942, but there was a decrease to 693 in 1944. The last major epidemic of this disease occurred in 1917 (5,458 cases) and 1918 (5,539 cases). There were 30 deaths from diphtheria in 1944, giving a case-fatality rate of 4.3 per cent. The incidence of diphtheria is much greater in the North Island than in the South Island. At 31st December, 1944, the South Island contained approximately 34 per cent. of the total population (37 per cent. at the 1936 Census), whereas during the thirteen years ended in 1944, only 858 (10.5 per cent.) of a total of 8,180 cases of diphtheria occurred in that Island.

Venereal Disease.—The incidence of venereal disease, which increased considerably during the earlier war years, has fallen away considerably since 1941. The following table shows the number of persons seen for the first time at the venereal-disease clinics in the four main centres of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, during each of the years 1940–44, and found to be suffering from gonorrhœa or syphilis.


Tuberculosis.—In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the number of notifications of pulmonary tuberculosis. Certain factors, however, would appear to show that this movement does not necessarily indicate an increase in the incidence of the disease. A significant feature is an increase in the notification of males of the age-groups from which the members of the Armed Forces were drawn. X-ray examinations of the chest were carried out as part of the routine medical examination of all recruits, and the presence of the disease, hitherto unsuspected in many cases, would be detected in this way. A reorganization of tuberculosis work in connection with the medical inspection of schools may also be a contributing factor. Contact supervision previously done in the schools is now carried out in the homes. School medical officers arrange X-ray examinations of all household contacts and such other measures as may be necessary for full diagnosis and treatment of incipient disease in contacts, while much valuable work has been carried out in this connection by district health nurses. Also, as part of its programme of case-finding, the Health Department has encouraged Hospital Boards to establish miniature radiographic machines. Group X-ray examination of certain sections of the community has been undertaken, but an insufficiency of radiologists and equipment has limited its scope. Efforts in this connection have therefore been concentrated upon family contacts and other groups exposed to infection, such as nurses in public hospitals, dental nurses, training-college entrants, school-teachers, medical students, and laboratory workers. A limited number of factory workers have also been examined.

The following figures reflect the work performed by the district nursing service and school medical officers in this connection during 1943 and 1944:—

New tuberculous homes brought under control2,0501,535
      Total number of homes under control6,8656,164
Number of new contacts examined and brought under control4,6113,243
      Total number of contacts under supervision to be brought up for revision18,09416,119
Number of Mantoux tests1,822417
Number of positive reactors474129
Number of contacts X-rayed5,5225,994
Number of cases found among contacts as active from Mantoux testing and X-ray examination377238

The Department of Health has established a Tuberculosis Register, which attempts to classify all known cases, and a clearer conception of the type, form, and extent of the disease is being obtained as workers become more accustomed to provide the necessary information. The number of cases on the Register (inclusive of Maoris) at 31st December, 1944, was 7,731, of which 6,760 were pulmonary, 766 non-pulmonary, 75 mixed pulmonary and non-pulmonary, and in the remaining 130 cases the classification was not stated. The number of new cases notified in 1944 was 2,254, of which 1,712 were non-Maori and 542 Maori. Of the non-Maori cases, 1,501 were pulmonary and 211 non-pulmonary, and in the Maori cases the figures were 476 and 66 for pulmonary and non-pulmonary respectively. Some of these cases have proved non-tuberculous and have been deregistered.

The known incidence for the non-Maori population is 3.47 per 1,000 of population, while for the Maori population it is 23.24 in the North Island and 25.48 in the South Island.

Information as to case-fatality in regard to the first three diseases mentioned in the table on page 87 is now given for each of the last eleven years.

Year.Scarlet Fever.Diphtheria.Typhoid and Paratyphoid Fever.
Cases notified.Deaths.Case-fatality.Cases notified.Deaths.Case-fatality.Cases notified.Deaths.Case-fatality.
   Per Cent.  Per Cent.  Per Cent.

In diseases of this nature, comparatively wide year to year fluctuations in the numbers affected are inevitable.

PUBLIC HOSPITALS: PATIENTS TREATED.—The public hospitals to which the following statistics relate include all hospitals under the control of the various Hospital Boards; several hospitals which are also old people's homes; five special infectious diseases hospitals; the various tuberculosis institutions and special sanatoria; and such public maternity hospitals as also have provision for emergency general cases. Special military hospitals, and additions made to hospitals to accommodate military patients only, are also included. All St. Helens Hospitals, private hospitals, and solely maternity hospitals, are excluded. Out-patients are not covered by the statistics, which, however, relate to all in-patients—whether European or Maori. Inmates of old people's homes or infirmaries controlled by the Hospital Boards, for whom hospital benefits under the Social Security Act are payable for treatment received in such homes, are included in the statistics of patients treated.

During the year 1944 the total admissions to public hospitals in New Zealand numbered 151,991. There were 8,999 patients in hospital at the beginning of the year, the total cases dealt with during the year thus being 160,990, equal to 972 per 10,000 of mean population, including Maoris. In other words, the equivalent of one person out of every ten in the Dominion received some degree of treatment in public hospitals in 1944, although, of course, the total of cases mentioned includes an unknown number of multiple admissions of the same persons.

The following table shows for each of the last eleven years the total number of patients treated, and the proportion of population.

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

From 1932 to 1942 there was a continuous and substantial increase in the number of patients treated, with the one exception of 1937, when a small decrease of 200 was recorded. In 1938 the epidemic of measles with its accompaniments of ear troubles and respiratory diseases (chiefly broncho-pneumonia and pneumonia) accounted for nearly 6,000 of the 9,000 increase of that year. The further gain of 5,000 in 1939 cannot be attributed specifically to any disease or group of diseases, and it seems probable that some of this increase may have had its origin in the introduction of the hospital benefit under the social security scheme. This benefit, particulars of which may be found in Section 24, came into operation on 1st July, 1939.

The tremendous increases during the next three years can probably be attributed partly to the same cause, but the great majority of these increases are due to the admissions of Armed Services personnel, particularly in 1942, when the numbers of persons under arms in New Zealand was greatly increased consequent upon the entry of Japan into the war. In general, all military personnel ill over forty-eight hours were transferred to hospital, and outbreaks of such minor epidemic diseases as measles, chicken-pox, mumps, &c., commonly associated with military camps, would result in a great number of persons entering hospital who, in normal times, would be treated in their own homes. The great bulk of such cases were transferred to emergency wards of public hospitals adjacent to the camps.

The figures would also include a substantial number of patients who entered hospital for remedial treatment to enable them to be passed fit for military service. Members of the Services returned from overseas who have been admitted to public hospitals for further treatment are also included. The decrease in the total for 1943 no doubt reflects the beginning of the decline in the numbers of mobilized forces in New Zealand.

It is probable that there would have been a further decrease in the number of hospital patients in 1944 but for the severe epidemic of scarlet fever experienced in that year.

Information concerning the members of the Armed Forces treated in public hospitals was not collected in 1940 (the first year of the war), but in each of the following three years the number discharged from, or dying in, these hospitals was as follows: 1941, 13,660; 1942, 44,435; 1943, 22,989. Seventy-two females were included in the total for 1941, 523 in 1942, and 1,278 in 1943.

Condition on Discharge.—Of the 160,990 persons treated as in-patients in public hospitals in 1944, 91,029 were discharged as recovered, 44,752 as relieved, and 8,216 as unrelieved. Deaths in hospital numbered 7,478, and 9,515 patients were still in hospital at the end of the year.

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

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

The following percentage analysis of total cases dealt with during each of the five years is of interest.

Year.Discharged asDied.Remaining at End of Year.

Sexes of Patients.—For many years males considerably outnumbered females among hospital patients. In 1932, for the first time, and in each of the three following years, females were in the majority. From 1935 onwards, however, the proportion of males again showed a tendency to increase. This excess of male patients became especially pronounced in the figures for 1940 and the succeeding three years, reflecting the large number of military patients admitted to hospital during these years. The peak in this connection was reached in 1942, in which year 101,279 males and 62,487 females were discharged from, or died in, public hospitals. By 1944, the number of males had fallen to 76,306, a decrease of 24.7 per cent., but the number of females involved had risen to 75,169, an increase of 20.3 per cent. The death-rate is invariably higher among male than among female patients, chiefly due to a higher average incidence of serious types of diseases and of accident cases among male patients. The large number of military personnel admitted to hospital for comparatively minor complaints, however, resulted in a greatly decreased male death-rate during the four years ended in 1943, and in 1942 the female death-rate exceeded that for males. The decline of the numbers of men in the Armed Forces stationed in New Zealand from 1943 onwards would result in the proportion of minor cases treated in hospital falling considerably. This factor, combined with a greater number of seriously wounded men returning from overseas, probably accounts for the increase of the male case-fatality rate in later years as compared with 1942.

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

Ages of Patients.—The ages of patients who were discharged from or who died in public hospitals during 1944 were as shown in the following summary. The proportions of the population at each group which the discharges and deaths represented are also given.

Ages of Patients, in Years.Males.Females.Total.Proportion per Cent. of Total Population.
Under 59,2167,03216,24810.248.149.21
5 and under 107,3806,20113,58110.659.189.92
10 " 155,4354,4189,8537.936.717.33
15 " 2512,96816,32929,29710.7711.6711.26
25 " 3511,48415,57127,05511.4311.5611.50
35 " 458,5519,09217,6437.827.927.87
45 " 556,1355,76611,9016.795.996.38
55 " 656,7845,07511,8598.156/177.17
65 and over8,2775,62913,90612.278.1410.18
      Totals (including unspecified)76,30675,169151,4759.558.779.15

In normal years there is a pronounced excess of females over males in the age-groups 25–34 and 35–44. This is attributable to the fact that these two age-groups contain the majority of the very large numbers of women admitted to public hospitals for normal confinement or for treatment of diseases and accidents of pregnancy, labour, and the puerperal state. This disproportion disappeared in 1942, owing to the influence of the numbers of military patients referred to earlier, and the ratio was still far from normal in 1943. In 1939 the number of male patients in the 25–34 age-group was 7,854 and the proportion per cent. of the total male population of those ages 5.78, as compared with 11,484 and 11.43 per cent. respectively in 1944. The corresponding figures for female patients in 1939 were 11,442 and 8.85 per cent., and in 1944, 15,571 and 11.56 per cent.

Principal Diseases.—A summary is now given of the principal diseases treated in public hospitals during the year 1943. All figures given (including deaths) are inclusive of Maoris. Prior to 1943, a modification of the International List of Causes of Death was used for the classification of diseases and conditions treated in the public hospitals of the Dominion. This has never been entirely satisfactory for morbidity purposes, and for the classification of the 1943 morbidity statistics, an adaptation of the “Manual for Coding Causes of Illness according to a Diagnosis Code for Tabulating Morbidity Statistics,” issued by the Public Health Service of the United States of America, has been used in New Zealand. This diagnosis code follows fairly closely the general arrangement of diseases as set out in the International List of Causes of Death, but makes special provision for the multitude of variations that occur as between diseases that have a fatal termination and those that cause sickness and disability without death ensuing.

It should be noted that the disease or condition for the treatment of which a patient is admitted to hospital is not necessarily that which would rank as the cause of death in the death statistics. Cystitis, for instance, ranks comparatively high in hospital cases as the condition immediately affecting the patient, but is frequently only the consequence of some more important disease, which would take precedence over cystitis in the statistics of causes of death. Generally speaking, the hospital returns show only the immediate or final disease or condition for which the patient is treated, and classification for statistical purposes is generally made regardless of the primary cause of that disease or condition. In the death statistics, on the other hand, the primary cause of decease is of paramount importance. In the hospital statistics a case admitted on account of the fracture of any bone is treated and classified as “fracture.” Should the patient die, however, the death would be classified in the mortality statistics according to the cause of the fracture—e.g., motor-car accident, accidental fall, &c. Although in the following table the figures relating to total deaths registered in the Dominion are taken from the tables based on the International List of Causes of Death, the figures are strictly comparable with those taken from the hospital tables, as the Diagnosis Code for Morbidity statistics is sufficiently elaborate to allow a complete adjustment to the mortality statistics.


Diseases.Total Deaths registered in the Dominion.Total Cases in Public Hospitals.Deaths in Public Hospitals.
Number.Proportion of Total Deaths in Dominion.Proportion of Total Cases in Public Hospitals.

* See letterpress ante.

    Per Cent.Per Cent.
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever1274541.676.76
Meningococcus meningitis924548390.2218.28
Scarlet fever28602100.000.23
Acute poliomyelitis261952492.3112.31
German measles 204   
Mumps 591 1.69
Pulmonary tuberculosis7423,25642056.6012.90
Tuberculous meningitis72736894.449.32
Other forms of tuberculosis116884716.128.03
Venereal diseases1119443531.533.71
Septicæmia (non-puerperal)197040*57.14
Non-malignant tumours641,7822945.311.63
Exophthalmic goitre797432430.383.23
Leukæmia and aleukæmia59763254.2442.11
Diseases of the spinal cord571121831.5816.07
Cerebral hæmorrhage, apoplexy9601,21471674.5858.98
Diseases of the heart5,4154,3341,65930.6438.28
Diseases of the arteries1913097740.3124.92
Ulcer of the stomach and duodenum1471,6288457.145.16
Diarrhœa and enteritis1542,0385435.062.65
Hernia, intestinal obstruction1153,27010591.303.21
Diseases of the liver (excluding hydatids)452642351.118.71
Diseases of the gall-bladder and biliary passages641,8544062.5021.57
Urinary calculi197271368.421.79
Diseases of the bladder61,00827*2.68
Diseases of the prostate1488691067.1612.20
Diseases of the female genital organs134,63117*0.37
Septic abortion162011275.005.97
Other puerperal diseases and accidents (including normal childbirth)6111,5272540.980.22
Diseases of the skin388,5373694.740.42
Congenital malformations2151,0437032.566.71
Diseases of early infancy58658713322.7022.66
External causes1,01318,86035434.951.88
Other diseases2,06853,72163930.901.19

Armed Forces: Patients treated.—In an endeavour to obtain some measure of the influence on the hospital population statistics of the admission of Armed Services personnel, figures have been extracted for 1941, 1942, and 1943 of the numbers of such patients discharged from or dying in the public hospitals of the Dominion during those years, according to disease treated and the age of the patient. The figures for 1943 are given in the following table, while those for 1941 and 1942 were published in the 1944 and 1945 editions of the Year-Book respectively.

Diseases.Under 25.25 and under 35.35 and under 45.45 and under 55.55 and over.Totals.*Military Patients Per Cent. of Total Patients treated.

* Includes 1,278 females; also 107 Japanese prisoners, the ages of whom were not specified.

I. Infectious and parasitic diseases1,5027242265572,51421.31
II. Neoplasms9696593382925.54
III. Rheumatic fever, diseases of the endocrine glands and nutrition, and other general diseases97130432022947.98
IV. Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs141164 357.06
V. Chronic poisoning and intoxication331211526322.18
VI. Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs including mental disorders58965736971151,70116.11
VII. Diseases of the circulatory system234331211861687810.52
VIII. Diseases of the respiratory system2,2361,331553144164,28016.23
IX. Diseases of the digestive system1,6001,203641242413,72718.68
X. Diseases of the genitourinary system31628514250208137.72
XI. Deliveries and complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium3792  480.41
XII. Diseases of the skin9285312586401,79020.97
XIII. Diseases of the bones and organs of movement39543822365101,13424.40
XIV. Congenital malformations32297  686.52
XVI. Other and ill-defined diseases45143824356151,20526.11
XVII. Injuries and poisonings1,7741,58650493174,07421.95
XVIII. Other enumerated conditions, without sickness49167 1731.77
Percentage at each Age-group
I. Infectious and parasitic diseases59.7428.808.992.100.28100.00 
II. Neoplasms32.8832.8820.2011.302.74100.00 
III. Rheumatic fever, diseases of the endocrine glands and nutrition, and other general diseases32.9944.2214.636.800.68100.00 
IV. Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs40.0031.4317.1411.43 100.00 
V. Chronic poisoning and intoxication52.3819.0517.467.943.17100.00 
VI. Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs including mental disorders34.6338.6321.694.170.88100.00 
VII. Diseases of the circulatory system26.6537.7024.039.801.82100.00 
VIII. Diseases of the respiratory system52.2431.1012.923.370.37100.00 
IX. Diseases of the digestive system42.9332.2817.206.491.10100.00 
X. Diseases of the genitourinary system38.8735.0517.476.152.46100.00 
XI. Deliveries and complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium77.0818.754.17  100.00 
XII. Diseases of the skin51.8429.6614.423.580.50100.00 
XIII. Diseases of the bones and organs of movement34.8338.6319.675.730.88100.00 
XIV. Congenital malformations47.0642.6510.29  100.00 
XVI. Other and ill-defined diseases37.4336.3520.174.651.24100.00 
XVII. Injuries and poisonings43.5438.9312.372.280.42100.00 
XVIII. Other enumerated conditions, without sickness67.1221.929.59 1.37100.00 

The total of 22,989 Armed Forces personnel treated in hospital in 1943 represents 15 per cent. of the total hospital population for that year, corresponding figures for 1942 being 44,435 and 27 per cent. respectively. Of the total military patients treated in 1943 21,711 were males, this figure being 26 per cent. of the total male patients treated in hospital during the year. In the previous year, the number of male military patients was 43,912, and the proportion to total male patients was 43 per cent. It should be noted that the figures include members of the services returned from overseas who have been admitted to public hospitals for further treatment.

Summary of Diseases, &c.—As explained in the preceding subsection, the international classification of diseases and causes of death is used in New Zealand. The following table covers all patients discharged from or dying in public hospitals during the year 1943, which is the latest year for which such figures are available at present.

Class.Discharges.Deaths.Total Discharges and Deaths.
I. Infectious and parasitic diseases5,2454,8578624753566,7285,067
II. Neoplasms1,4611,8438456604612,5662,704
III. Rheumatic fever, diseases of the endocrine glands and nutrition, and other general diseases1,5081,761184631411,4652,192
IV. Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs108314233516228268
V. Chronic poisoning and intoxication17210012  25727
VI. Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs, including mental disorders4,0204,3341,1705145206,1744,384
VII. Diseases of the circulatory system2,5403,6463641,1076884,8883,457
VIII. Diseases of the respiratory system20,5184,72143744226115,22711,152
IX. Diseases of the digestive system13,8895,01361625917511,9528,000
X. Diseases of the genito-urinary system6,2593,363555263934,0246,509
XI. Deliveries and complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium10,63697184 37 11,728
XII. Diseases of the skin6,1832,2269217195,5802,957
XIII. Diseases of the bones and organs of movement1,6362,66430520233,2211,427
XIV. Congenital malformations3205521013832665378
XV. Diseases peculiar to the first year of life3697876667313274
XVI. Other and ill-defined diseases2,3991,71832890802,8021,813
XVII. Injuries and poisonings10,6807,05247424610813,9794,581
XVIII. Other enumerated conditions, without sickness1,9061,715511  2,0312,101



THE law relating to public health in New Zealand is contained in the Health Act, 1920, and its amending Act of 1940. A full account of the 1920 Act was given in the 1927 issue of the Year-Book.

For the administration of the Act there is established a Department of Health, with a Director-General of Health as chief administrative officer. The Department comprises Divisions of Public Hygiene, Hospitals, Nursing, School Hygiene, Maternal Welfare, Tuberculosis, and Dental Hygiene, each of which is under the supervision of a Director.

For purposes of local administration the country is divided into health districts, each of which is under the charge of a Medical Officer of Health, who must be a Medical practitioner with special qualifications in public health. These officers are entrusted with wide powers, and act as advisers of the local governing bodies in matters pertaining to public health.

In addition to being charged with the administration of the Health Act, the Department controls the registration of medical practitioners, dentists, nurses, midwives and maternity nurses, psychiatric nurses, opticians, masseurs, and plumbers. It supervises the sale of food and drugs (including poisons and “dangerous” drugs), and protects the public against exploitation by fraud in connection with alleged remedies. The Department also administers the law covering the control of cemeteries and crematoria, and has certain responsibilities in connection with the administration of the Pharmacy Act, reference to which is made at a later stage of this section.

A further function of the Department is the administration of that part of the Social Security Act, 1938, which deals with medical, hospital, and other related benefits. This matter is treated in detail in Section 24.

The Director-General of Health is Chairman of the Medical Research Council set up in 1938. The functions of the Council are—

  1. To correlate, as far as may be practicable, medical research work in New Zealand.

  2. To recommend what researches and investigations should be undertaken.

  3. To appoint separate ad hoc committees to take charge of each investigation.

  4. To recommend what amount of money should be allocated for medical research each year, and to suggest an apportionment of the amount to separate investigations.

The dental inspection and treatment and the medical inspection of school-children are carried out by special divisions of the Department.

A publicity committee engages in health educational activities by means of the radio, press, exhibits, visual aids, posters, and literature.

NOTIFIABLE DISEASES.— The system of notification of certain diseases has been in force in New Zealand for many years, and the list of notifiable diseases has undergone several alterations. The list at present is as follows:—

  1. Notifiable infectious diseases mentioned in Part I of First Schedule of Health Act, 1920:—

    • Anthrax.

    • Cerebro-spinal fever (cerebro-spinal meningitis).

    • Cholera. Dengue. Diphtheria.

    • Enteric fever (typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever).

    • Erysipelas.

    • Leprosy.

    • Plague (bubonic or pneumonic).

    • Puerperal fever (puerperal septicaemia and puerperal saprsemia).

    • Scarlet fever (scarlatina). Smallpox (variola, including varioloid, alastrim, amaas, Cuban itch, and Philippine itch).

    • Typhus. Yellow fever.

  2. Infectious diseases declared notifiable by Gazette notice:—

    • Dysentery (amoebic and bacillary).

    • Encephalitis lethargica.

    • Fulminant influenza.

    • Pneumonic influenza.

    • Septicaemia influenza.

    • Ophthalmia neonatorum.

    • Acute poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis).

    • Trachoma (granular conjunctivitis, granular ophthalmia, granular eyelids).

    • Undulant fever.

    • Septicaemia consequent on abortion or miscarriage.

    • Puerperal fever, involving any form of puerperal sepsis other than or in addition to puerperal septicaemia and puerperal sapraemia.

    • Any form of sepsis or sapraemia following abortion or miscarriage.

  3. Notifiable diseases, other than infectious, mentioned in the Second Schedule to the Act:—

    • Actinomycosis.

    • Ankylostomiasis (hookworm disease).

    • Bilharziosis (endemic haematuria, Egyptian haematuria).

    • Beriberi. Hydatids.

    • Food poisoning (botulismus, ptomaine poisoning).

    • Chronic lead poisoning. Phosphorus poisoning. Tetanus.

  4. Notifiable diseases, other than infectious, declared by Gazette notice:—

    • Eclampsia. Malaria.

    • Tuberculosis (all forms).

SOCIAL HYGIENE REGULATIONS.—In November, 1924, syphilis, gonorrhoea, and soft chancre were declared to be infectious diseases within the meaning of the Health Act, 1920, and in July of the following year provision was made for the compulsory notification of these diseases in certain circumstances, and for the treatment of those affected by venereal disease in a communicable form. In the Health Amendment Act, 1940, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and soft chancre were added to the list of other infectious diseases included in Part II of the First Schedule to the Act, thus strengthening the position in regard to the control of these diseases.

In December, 1941, amended regulations in connection with the more stringent control of venereal disease came into force, revoking the Social Hygiene Regulations 1925. Under the present regulations it is incumbent upon a medical practitioner, or a medical officer of a hospital, who has been treating any person suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, to notify the Medical Officer of Health if such person fails for two weeks after the date fixed in that behalf by the medical practitioner or medical officer to attend for further treatment, or fails on two or more successive occasions to attend for treatment as directed by the medical practitioner or medical officer, unless he is known in the meantime to have placed himself under treatment by another medical practitioner.

If the Medical Officer of Health has reason to believe (either from a notification as provided for above or otherwise) that a person is suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, he may require such person to submit himself for examination to some medical practitioner and to supply a medical certificate, in the form specified, as to the state of his health in relation to venereal disease. If a medical certificate is not supplied within the time specified, or if the certificate does not definitely disclose whether or not the person to whom it relates is suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, the Medical Officer of Health may require the person to submit himself for examination to a medical practitioner nominated by the Medical Officer of Health, and to obtain a certificate from such medical practitioner.

In cases where a certificate is not obtainable, or where the certificate shows the person to be suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, or where a notice has been received from a medical practitioner of failure to attend for treatment as set out above, the Medical Officer of Health may, if he thinks it expedient so to do in the interests of the public health, make an order under section 84 of the Health Act, 1920, for the removal of such person to a hospital or other place where he may be effectually isolated. The medical officer in charge is required to admit such person and make any necessary examination to determine whether the patient is suffering from any venereal disease, and if so, he may detain the patient for a period not exceeding six weeks for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. The Medical Officer of Health may, however, on the recommendation of the medical officer of the hospital or institution, extend the period of detention for not more than six weeks at any one time unless he is satisfied that the person detained is no longer suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form. A detained person may, with the consent of the Medical Officer of Health, be released by the medical officer of the hospital or place where he is detained, but must follow out the directions of the medical officer as to further treatment or investigation. Provision is made for the right of appeal by a detained person to a Magistrate, who may order an examination by two medical practitioners, and if it appears from the evidence brought before him that the person concerned is free from venereal disease in a communicable form, the Magistrate may make an order for his release.

Where treatment is not conveniently obtainable at a public hospital or public clinic the Director-General of Health may authorize a registered medical practitioner to administer free treatment if the patient is unable to pay. In such cases fees for services are paid by the State according to a scale laid down.

It is an offence for any person, while suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form and while not being treated to the satisfaction of a medical practitioner, to engage in any employment or act in any capacity in or about any factory, shop, hotel, restaurant, house, or other place if, by reason thereof, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health, any food intended for consumption by any other person or any food utensil is exposed to infection from venereal disease, or is likely to be so infected. Any person who, while suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, is employed for hire or reward in any occupation involving the care of children under five years of ago also commits an offence. If any person suffering from venereal disease knowingly infects, or does or suffers any act likely to infect, any other person, he is liable to imprisonment for twelve months, together with a fine of £100.

It is the duty of every medical practitioner who is consulted by any person, sixteen years of age or over, suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form, to give such person a notice setting forth the requirements for treatment and for not infecting others, and expressly warning him or her against marrying until medically certified as cured.

Every precaution is taken for the maintenance of secrecy and the avoidance of publicity in the carrying-out of the regulations.

HYDATID PREVENTION.—In January, 1939, an amendment to the Dogs Registration Act, 1908, came into force requiring local authorities to keep a supply of approved remedies for the care or prevention of disease in dogs caused by infection from the parasite Echinococcus granulosus. At the time of registration every person registering a dog receives a sufficient amount of an approved remedy to enable him to treat the dog every three months until the ensuing date of registration, and also printed instructions for the use of the remedy. The approved remedy at present supplied is arecoline hydrobromide. The Act is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.

DIPLOMAS IN PUBLIC HEALTH.—In addition to the powers of conferring degrees of Bachelor and Master of Surgery and Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine, the Senate of the New Zealand University has power to grant diplomas in public health, and to make regulations for the examination of candidates for such diplomas. The examination for the diploma in public health is held in two parts, which may be taken separately or at the same time.

REGISTRATION OF MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS.—Under the Medical Practitioners Act, 1914, as amended by the Medical Practitioners Amendment Act, 1924, is constituted the Medical Council of New Zealand, consisting of the Director-General of Health and six other registered medical practitioners. One of the six members is appointed on the recommendation of the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association.

The Council deals with all applications for registration under the Act, which enacts that every person shall be entitled to registration who satisfies the Council that he is a graduate in medicine and surgery of the University of New Zealand; or registered on the register kept in accordance with the provisions of the Acts regulating the registration of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom, or eligible for registration on such last-mentioned register; or the holder, after a course of not less than five years' study, of a foreign diploma approved by the Council. The Council may, however, refuse to approve any diploma (even in the case of persons registered or eligible for registration in the United Kingdom) unless it appears that New Zealand graduates are, without further examination, entitled to registration in the country granting the diploma. It may also require the holder of a foreign diploma to pass an examination in medicine and surgery to be prescribed and conducted by the Senate of the New Zealand University.

An applicant who is refused registration as a medical practitioner has the right of appeal to the Supreme Court. The fee for registration is £2, payable on deposit of evidence of qualification. Under the Finance Act, 1932-33 (No. 2), an annual practising certificate (fee 5s.) is required.

The Medical Council is vested with disciplinary powers, including the suspension of a medical practitioner from practice. Right of appeal to the Supreme Court is provided. The Supreme Court, on the motion of the Medical Council, may order the removal of a name from the register in cases where a medical practitioner is guilty of grave misconduct, or is convicted of an indictable offence punishable by imprisonment with hard labour for a term of two years or upwards. The number of medical practitioners on the register at 31st August, 1946, was 2,012. During the year 1945-46 the names of 20 practitioners were removed and 104 added, 84 of the latter having New Zealand qualifications.

REGISTRATION OF DENTISTS.—The Dentists Act, 1936, provides for the constitution of a Dental Council consisting of—

  1. The Director-General of Health.

  2. Two dentists appointed on the recommendation of the Minister of Health.

  3. One dentist, being a member of the Faculty of Dentistry in the University of Otago, appointed on the recommendation of the Minister.

  4. One dentist appointed upon election by postal vote of those dentists whose registered addresses are in the North Island.

  5. One dentist appointed upon election by postal vote of those dentists whose registered addresses are in the South Island.

  6. One medical practitioner, being a member of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Otago, appointed on the recommendation of the Minister.

  7. One medical practitioner nominated in that behalf by the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association and appointed on the recommendation of the Minister.

Every adult person is entitled to be registered as a dentist who satisfies the Dental Council that he is the holder of a qualification in dentistry obtained from the University of New Zealand; or that he is the holder of a qualification approved by the Dental Council and obtained from a university or other institution in the United Kingdom or in some other part of His Majesty's dominions (in the latter case, however, the Council may require a further examination); or the holder of an approved foreign qualification, but the Council may refuse to approve any foreign qualification if New Zealand graduates in dentistry are not accepted for registration without further examination in the country concerned, or the Council may require the applicant to pass a further examination.

Application for registration should be made to the Director-General of Health. The fee for initial registration is £2. If a provisional practising certificate is required there is a further fee of 5s. A fee of £1 per annum is payable for an annual practising certificate.

The number on the register at 31st October, 1946, was 823.

NURSES, MIDWIVES, AND MATERNITY NURSES.—The Nurses and Midwives Act, 1945, which came into force on 1st January, 1946, incorporated the provisions of the Nurses and Midwives Registration Act, 1925, and amendments, which were repealed, and also made provision for the training, examination, and registration of male nurses. The Act provides for a Nurses and Midwives Board consisting of the Director-General of Health or his Deputy; the Director-General of Mental Hospitals or his Deputy; the Director of the Division of Nursing (who is Registrar of the Board); a registered medical practitioner; one person to be nominated by the Hospital Boards' Association; and two registered nurses, one registered midwife, and one registered psychiatric nurse to be nominated by the New Zealand Registered Nurses' Association.

Every person who has attained the age of twenty-one years and is certified as having undergone training for not less than three years and three months in a hospital approved by the Board as a training-school under the Act, and who has passed the prescribed hospital and State examinations, is entitled to registration. The Board has power to grant an applicant for registration credit for training received elsewhere than in New Zealand. The Act made provision for the awarding of post-certificates for special courses approved by the Board.

The number on the register of nurses in active practice at 30th June, 1945, was 3,302.

There are thirty-nine hospitals recognized as training-schools for nurses. The following table shows the number of occupied beds in training schools, registered nurses, and pupil nurses for each of the last five years.

Number of occupied beds in training schools6,2866,8097,6038,4938,550
Number of registered nurses9841,1721,3661,5001,347
Number of pupil nurses2,7982,9743,1243,3903,280

Private hospitals complying with certain specified conditions, public mental hospitals, and hospital ships may be approved by the Board as training-schools for nurses.

Maternity Nurses and Midwives.–The Act also provides for the registration of midwives and maternity nurses. The requirements for training are as follows:—

Maternity Nurses.—In the case of a person who is a registered nurse the period of training is six months, and in the case of any other person is a period of eighteen months. At the end of this time the candidate is eligible to sit for the State Maternity Examination.

Midwives.—No person may be accepted for training as a midwife until such person has been registered as a maternity nurse; the duration of the course of training will then be a period of six months, at the end of which the candidate is eligible to sit for the State Midwifery Examination.

The number on the register of midwives in active practice on the 30th June, 1945, was 979, and the number of registered maternity nurses on the active list was 1,361.

Nursing Aids.—The Nurses and Midwives Act, 1945, provides for the registration and training of “nursing aids.” There were 84 on the register at 31st March, 1945.

Psychiatric Nurses.—The registration of psychiatric nurses was first provided for by the Nurses and Midwives Amendment Act, 1944, the provisions of which are incorporated in the Nurses and Midwives Act, 1945. The period of training is two years in the case of a registered nurse and three years in the case of any other person, and applicants are required to have passed the prescribed examination. Applicants who prior to 1st January, 1945, had passed the Senior Examination for Mental Nurses conducted by the Mental Hospitals Department are entitled to registration. The Board has power to grant an application for registration credit for training received elsewhere than in New Zealand, or for training received as a psychiatric nurse while a member of the Forces.

Male Nurses.—Provision is also made by the Nurses and Midwives Act for the registration of male nurses who have undergone the prescribed course of training and have passed the necessary examination. The Board has power to grant an applicant for registration credit for training received elsewhere than in New Zealand, or for training received as member of the Forces.

Hospital Dietitians.—A State course for training hospital dietitians has been established. The course is of one year's duration for graduates of the Home-science School, University of Otago, and two years for approved registered nurses. Fifty-two have qualified as hospital dietitians since the course was introduced in 1942.

District Health Nurses.—There are 18 departmental Nurse Inspectors and 166 District Health Nurses stationed throughout the Dominion. These include School Nurses.

Post-graduate Training.—Selected registered nurses periodically undergo a postgraduate course of training for administrative positions. The Department of Health has established at Wellington a school for this purpose in charge of specially trained tutor sisters. Forty-three nurses attended this course in 1945.

REGISTRATION OF OPTICIANS.—The Opticians Act, 1928, provides for the constitution of an Opticians Board, consisting of the Director-General of Health (the Registrar), three persons engaged in practice as opticians in New Zealand (one of whom must be practising as an employee of another registered optician), and a registered medical practitioner with special knowledge of diseases of the eyes.

The Board deals with all applications for registration under the Act. On payment of the prescribed fee (£5), every person is entitled to registration as an optician who satisfies the Board that—

  1. He has received satisfactory training qualifying him to practise as an optician, and is the holder of a certificate of qualification recognized by the Board, or

  2. He has passed an examination under the Act, both theoretical and practical, after a course of not less than three years' training in New Zealand as prescribed by regulations.

Under the Finance Act, 1932-33 (No. 2), an annual practising certificate (fee 10s.) is required.

Regulations pursuant to the Opticians Act, 1928, prescribe the conditions and period of training and the syllabus for the examination conducted by the Opticians Board.

The number of opticians on the register at 31st March, 1946, was 279.

REGISTRATION OF MASSEURS.—Under the Masseurs Registration Act, 1920, and the Masseurs Registration Amendment Act, 1924, there is constituted the Masseurs Registration Board of New Zealand, consisting of the Director-General of Health, a registered medical practitioner, and two persons engaged in the practice of massage in New Zealand.

The Board deals with all applications for registration (fee £3) under the Act. It is necessary for applicants to be in possession of approved certificates for the three branches of massage: (1)Massage; (2) medical electricity; (3) remedial exercises and other branches of physiotherapy.

Under the Finance Act, 1932-33 (No. 2), an annual practising certificate (fee 10s.) is required.

The number of masseurs on the register at 31st March, 1946, was 330.

REGISTRATION OF PLUMBERS.—The Plumbers Board of New Zealand, constituted under the Plumbers Registration Act, 1912, consists of five members—viz., the Director-General of Health or his deputy (Chairman); the Director of Education; a city or borough engineer nominated by the Municipal Association of New Zealand; a master plumber and a journeyman plumber elected by their respective associations.

The functions of the Board are to decide what persons may be registered under the Act, and in what districts sanitary plumbing may be performed only by registered plumbers. It also decides the scope of the examinations to be held as a part of the process of securing registration.

Under the Finance Act, 1932-33 (No. 2), an annual license fee of 5s. is payable by registered plumbers doing sanitary plumbing. A registered plumber is not required to pass any examination or to pay any license fee under local authority by-laws.

The total of names on the register at 31st March, 1946, was 3,043.

SALE OF FOOD AND DRUGS.—In order to make better provision for the sale of food and drugs in a pure state the Sale of Food and Drugs Act was passed by the Legislature, and came into force on 1st January, 1908. The Act is administered by the Department of Health, and provides for the analysis, by analysts appointed under the Act, of any article of food or drink, or of any drug, which may be sold, offered for sale, or exposed for sale, and for the inspection of any place where there is any food or drug intended for sale. If any such article be proved to be unfit for human consumption, or likely to cause injury to health if consumed, heavy penalties may be inflicted on the person or persons responsible. Stringent measures are provided for the prevention of adulteration of food, drink, or drugs, and for the inspection of places where such goods are manufactured or packed. The Sale of any vessel or utensil made of enamelware of such a nature as to be capable of imparting any poisonous or deleterious properties to any foodstuff is prohibited. The selling of light-weight bread is an offence under the Act, as is also the taking back of bread after it has been in the possession of the purchaser for more than an hour.

Considerable progress has been made in implementing the purposes of the Act. All the commonly used foodstuffs are standardized, and the labelling of packages is controlled by regulations which are revised and added to as the necessity arises.

An amendment of the Act in 1924 marked a noteworthy advance in legislation of this kind, and has been used to good effect in controlling all kinds of publicity concerning any food or drug whereby a purchaser is likely to be deceived in regard to the properties of such food or drug, whether it is dealt with by a regulation or not. This matter is also covered by the Medical Advertisements Act, 1942, which is referred to under the next heading.

The definition of “drug” includes medicines used externally or internally by man; it also includes anaesthetics, soaps, ointments, disinfectants, and tobacco.

Any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, together with the cost of the sample, require any authorized officer to purchase a sample of any food or drug and to submit it for analysis.

The administration of the Weights and Measures Act is among the functions of the Department of Labour; the correct weight of bread, butter, and other foodstuffs coming within the scope of this Act.

MEDICAL ADVERTISEMENTS ACT, 1942.—This Act, which superseded and repealed the Quackery Prevention Act, 1908, came into force on 1st January, 1943. An advertisement is described as any words, whether written or spoken, or any picture, drawing, or figure which may be inserted in any newspaper or other periodical or brought to the notice of the public in any other manner. The term does not, however, include any advertisement or scientific matter which is distributed only to members of the medical or pharmaceutical professions, or of any other profession concerned with the health of the human body, or which is published only in a publication which in the ordinary course circulates only among, or is distributed only to, such persons. The control of all advertisements is in the hands of an authority, called the Medical Advertisements Board, which consists of the Director-General of Health as Chairman, an analyst under the Food and Drugs Act, 1908, a medical practitioner, and two other persons.

The Board may serve on the proprietor of any drug, cosmetic, dentifrice, article, substance, preparation, instrument, or apparatus to which any medical advertisement relates, or on any person for whom or on whose behalf a medical advertisement has been published, a notice requiring the proprietor or other person to prove to the satisfaction of the Board any claim or statement which is contained or implied in the advertisement. Persons served with a notice are entitled to appear before the Board and submit evidence. Advertisements which are the subject of a notice must not be published after the expiration of seven days from the service of the notice and until the Board has notified its decision.

With the prior authority of the Board, the Chairman may, for the purpose of protecting the public, publish statements relating to any matter contained or implied in medical advertisements. All such statements will be privileged. All medical advertisements are to contain the true name of the advertiser. Provision is also made for the control of testimonials appearing in advertisements.

Regulations issued under the Act list a schedule of diseases in two parts. Concerning those in Part I, no claim to be able to diagnose, prevent, alleviate, treat, or cure may be made, but a claim to be able to treat or alleviate those in Part II is allowed provided no indication or suggestion of prevention or cure is made. Advertisements may not state that any article or method of treatment is used or recommended by medical practitioners, dentists, chemists, nurses, or masseurs, or by any person using the description or title of “doctor,” "scientist," or “professor” unless the person named is or was a medical practitioner registered by law in some part of the British Empire. Inter alia, the regulations also prohibit any claim or statement which is false, or likely to mislead or deceive, or indecent, or intended to suggest the fear of serious consequences from some trivial or minor complaint. No person may invite correspondence from the public for diagnosis of or consultation concerning any complaint. The regulations also cover the issuing of directions concerning dosage, and precautions concerning glandular preparations, dangerous drugs, and poisons.

Every person who infringes the provisions is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding £50, and for a continuance of the offence to a further fine not exceeding £5 for every day during which the offence continues. In the case of a corporate body the penalty is a fine not exceeding £200, and up to £20 a day for continuing offences.

DANGEROUS DRUGS AND POISONS.—In order to carry out New Zealand's obligations under the Geneva Convention (League of Nations), the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1927, was enacted. The dealing in and the use of prepared opium are prohibited, and the production, manufacture, sale, and distribution of other dangerous drugs are subject to a license granted by the Director-General of Health or by some other lawful authority. Provisions are made to prevent illicit traffic in drugs of a habit-forming nature. Suitable regulations are in force to give effect to the provisions of the Act, and follow lines similar to the regulations in England and Australia.

The Poisons Act, 1934, is aimed principally at preventing deaths from misadventure arising from two main causes: first, the careless use of industrial and farm poisons through loose packing or handling in bottles commonly used for foodstuffs, beverages, or harmless medicines; second, the increasing tendency by the public to use certain of the newer drugs having hypnotic or pain-reducing properties, or supposed to be effective for slimming, &c. Regulations providing machinery for carrying out the Act have been passed on the lines of the provisions in force in Great Britain.

PHARMACY.—The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, constituted by the Pharmacy Act, 1939, consists of about 900 members. These are known as “registered chemists,” and all pharmacies are required to be under the immediate supervision and control of one of these.

The affairs of the Society are managed by the Pharmacy Board, set up by the Act. This Board consists of twelve members, one of whom is appointed by the Minister of Health, nine are elected on a district basis by members of the society, and two by persons (other than members of the society) employed in pharmacies. The main function of the Pharmacy Board is to administer the Pharmacy Act and its amendments in the interests of the public and of the members of the society, and also to watch such other legal provisions generally as may have a bearing upon pharmacy.

The Society has reciprocal agreements with the societies of Great Britain and all the Australian States—that is to say, a member registered after passing the full examinations of a reciprocating country may be registered in any of the others on complying with prescribed formalities and on payment of the necessary fees.

The Pharmacy Board holds examinations annually for those who wish to obtain the necessary qualifications entitling them to registration. Candidates must also serve four years' apprenticeship. The College of Pharmacy in Wellington was taken over as a function of the Board at the beginning of 1944. For the preceding period of eleven years the College had been conducted privately, but the Board had always evinced a keen interest in the welfare of the College. Apprentices may be required to attend for certain periods at this college as a compulsory part of their technical training.

The Society has a Benevolent Fund, which is used for the relief of members who may be in needy circumstances, or of their relatives who may be unprovided for.

In addition to the statutory organization set up by the Pharmacy Act, members of the Pharmaceutical Society have another organization known as the Chemists' Defence Association, Ltd., which provides an indemnity guarantee for its members, deals with matters of general interest not covered by the Act, and governs ethical questions as between pharmacists and medical men and the public generally. There is also a Chemists' Service Guild governing purely business matters.

Pharmacy is now subject to the provisions of the Industrial Efficiency Act, 1936, every open shop being under license: no company or individual may open a pharmacy or change his premises without consent from the licensing authority. There are 560 pharmacies at present open under license.

CEMETERIES.—The Cemeteries Act, 1908, which was amended in 1912, 1922, and 1926, constitutes the legislation governing burial and cremation in New Zealand. The Cemeteries Amendment Act, 1926, transferred the work of administration from the Minister of Internal Affairs to the Minister of Health, one of the objects being to utilize the services of Inspectors of Health in giving closer attention to matters for which a field staff is essential.

Widespread provision for cemeteries has been made in the past by the reservation of areas of Crown land for this purpose, but apart from this the Cemeteries Act makes it clear that local authorities are charged with ensuring that in their districts there exists adequate provision for the disposal of the dead.

In most rural areas and in the smaller centres the local authority either acts as trustee or else has been delegated the power of appointing individual trustees to carry out the provisions of the Act. For some cemeteries established on Crown reserves trustees are appointed by the Governor-General. In the larger centres local authorities have acquired land for the establishment of cemeteries.

In regard to cremation, the law provides that this method of disposal may be carried out subject to the prior condition that the deceased was not known to have left any written direction to the contrary and also subject to the condition that the cremation is effected in conformity with the regulations. The latter impose stringent precautions against cremation being used for any criminal purpose. Crematoria have been established in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hastings, and Nelson.

MEDICAL INSPECTION OF SCHOOLS.—The Division of School Hygiene is responsible for medical inspection of school-children throughout New Zealand. The School Medical Service was placed on a definite basis in 1912 with the appointment of three full-time School Medical Officers. The staff now consists of a Director and 13 full-time and 5 half-time school Medical Officers. The nursing work of the Division of School Hygiene, originally carried out by specialized school nurses, is now done by a staff of 166 district nurses as part of their general programme, and 2 Plunket nurses doing part-time duties. Eighteen Nurse Inspectors give part of their time to school duties, while a further 22 nurses employed by Hospital Boards and the Public Works Department carry out the school nursing work of their respective areas.

The School Medical Service aims at securing for each child three physical examinations during his primary-school life. These examinations are made as the child enters school, half-way through, and at leaving. In between these times special examinations are carried out when requested by teachers, parents, or district nurses, or when considered necessary by School Medical Officers. Parents are notified of defects found, the choice of medical attendance or public hospital treatment being left to the parents. The district nurse follows up the doctor's work by visiting homes and encouraging parents to have defects remedied.

The following summary furnishes particulars of children medically examined in schools in 1945.

Children examined70,387 5,207 
Children found to have defects28,15840-002,40346-14
Children with defects other than dental22,42231-851,69732-59

The size of the existing staff does not permit of medical supervision of non-Maori secondary. schools as a routine measure, but annual inspections are carried out where circumstances permit. Maori scholarship-holders are examined annually, and routine inspections with X-ray examinations are made at Maori secondary schools.

Kindergartens are inspected as a routine. Some 7,357 pre-school children were medically examined in pre-school clinics operating in co-operation with the Plunket Society. Advice is given as necessary, and return visits are arranged for in cases where the child's health shows need of continued supervision. The mother is referred to her own medical adviser or the public hospital when this course of action is deemed necessary.

The annual report of the Department of Health for the year 1944 stated that statistics of the medical examination of school-children indicated that there had been a distinct falling off in their nutritional state since 1940. The effects of the war in 1940 were negligible, all essential foods being in plentiful supply. Thereafter rationing and periods of shortage in regard to a number of commodities had a cumulative effect. In 1940, 4-23 per cent. of European children and 1.36 per cent. of Maori school-children examined were found to have subnormal nutrition, whereas in 1944 the proportions had risen to 9.35 per cent. and 6.33 per cent. respectively. The 1945 report noted that the level of nutritional defect remained high, the proportions being 9.49 per cent. for European children and 7.94 per cent. for Maori children. Confirmation of the unsatisfactory child nutrition is found in the pre-school figures, 10.34 per cent. of those examined in 1944 and 8.86 per cent in 1945 being found malnourished.

Entrants to the teaching profession are medically examined before admission to training colleges. Dental trainees of the Dental Hygiene Division are also medically examined before entrance to Dental School. These examinations include chest X-ray.

The milk-in-schools scheme was inaugurated at the beginning of 1937. In 1945, 235,941 pupils representing some 85 per cent. of school population were receiving free bottled, pasteurized, malted milk, or milk for cocoa-making. During the last four winters, however, shortages of supply have resulted in school milks being stopped or rationed for greater or lesser periods. In 1944 school milks reached less than half the children in the winter months, and in some districts ceased early in the autumn term.

The supply of apples free of cost during the apple season to pupils attending all types of schools has been continued. The supply continued for a period of twelve weeks during 1944 and involved the distribution of approximately 103,000 cases of apples, but for various reasons the quantity was limited in 1945, only 44,481 cases being supplied. This scheme was inaugurated in 1941.

The health-camp movement has progressed steadily since the formation of the National Federation of Health Camps in 1936, and the inauguration of the King George V Memorial Fund Board in 1938. Permanent camps are established at Roxburgh, Glenelg, Gisborne, and are in course of establishment in other areas, and summer camps are operating in some districts. The sale of health stamps through post-offices is one source of revenue towards their maintenance, the amount raised in this manner in 1945 amounting to £75,000.

Diphtheria immunization is being steadily offered by the School Medical Service, and the following numbers of children had this protective course in 1945: Pre-school, 9,445; school-children, 8,768: total, 18,213. The figures for 1944 were 15,456, 15,754, and 31,210 respectively. The scope of immunization work has been widened to include whooping-cough. Vaccine has been obtained in quantity, and free treatment is available through pre-school clinics, for children between the ages of six months and two years. In 1944, some 1,460, and in 1945, 990 pre-school children were given the full course of innoculation. Tuberculosis work has been entirely re-organized, the family being taken as the unit for preventive work. Contact supervision, previously done in schools, is now carried out in the homes. District nurses see that the tuberculosis case is under proper care and treatment, arrange the X-raying of all household contacts, also such base hospital, sanatorium, and specialist visits as may be needed for full diagnosis and treatment of incipient disease in contacts. Backward children, or children with defects of speech and hearing, are referred to special classes or schools.

The sanitary condition of school buildings is inspected, and defects are reported to the Education Authorities for remedial action.

DENTAL TREATMENT OF SCHOOL-CHILDREN.—The New Zealand School Dental Service, instituted in 1921, is conducted by the Dental Division of the Department of Health. By the end of 1945 school dental clinics had been established at 447 centres in the Dominion, and further expansion was being continued. Each clinic deals with the children of certain specified schools in its vicinity, and these are organized into a “dental group.” Local administration of clinics is in the hands of a dental clinic committee, composed of parents and other local residents. Treatment of the children in the clinics is carried out by school dental nurses specially trained for this work by the Department. For this purpose there is a modern well-equipped training school at Wellington.

At the end of March, 1946, the staff of the School Dental Service numbered 641, including 167 student dental nurses in training. At the same date, 210,920 children belonging to 2,348 schools were under systematic treatment at the various clinics. With the consent of their parents, children are brought under treatment while they are in the primer classes, but the attendance of pre-school children is also encouraged. Children who attend are kept dentally fit until they leave primary school. For this purpose they are re-examined at six-monthly intervals and necessary treatment is carried out. The number of children of pre-school age included in the total quoted above was 24,364.

Particular attention is given to instructing children in the principles of dental hygiene, and the Department aims at securing the co-operation of both the children and their parents in the endeavour to reduce the prevalence of dental disease.

During the year 1944-45 the staff of the Dental Division gave 11,579 talks, addresses, and other forms of educational activity.

The following is a summary of the treatment performed in the Service during the year 1945: Fillings, 1,066,117; extractions, 68,656; other operations, 437,383: making a total of 1,572,156 operations.

Plans for the extension of the Government's dental services to provide for children beyond primary-school age are now under way, and it is intended that the scheme will eventually embrace adolescents up to the age of eighteen years.

NATIONAL PHYSICAL WELFARE AND RECREATION.—Probably no other country in the world has better natural facilities than New Zealand for popular recreation. The Dominion has also had the benefit of much organization by sports bodies for the promotion of various games, but it was not until 1937, with the passing of the Physical Welfare and Recreation Act, that the cult of physical fitness became a definite part of a national policy, in line with movements in other British countries, several countries of the Continent of Europe, and the United States of America. The purpose is tersely set out in the Act—" to provide for the development of facilities for, and the encouragement of, physical training, exercise, sport, and recreation, and to facilitate the establishment of centres for social activities related thereto."

The following programme for the development of recreation in the post-war years was contained in a parliamentary paper presented in December, 1944, by the Minister of Internal Affairs, and unanimously approved by Parliament:—

  1. The provision of facilities for holidays for industrial workers:

  2. The development of the Group Travel Service on a national basis:

  3. The construction of mountain track systems and encouragement of youth hostels and tramping clubs:

  4. The establishment of holiday camps where desirable:

  5. The provision of greater opportunities for recreation at tourist resorts:

  6. The improvement of the beaches of New Zealand and encouragement of surfing and swimming:

  7. Co-operation with the New Zealand Council of Sport to encourage sport:

  8. Encouragement of local authorities to equip and maintain community centres:

  9. The publication of up-to-date information on sport and recreation through a magazine, pamphlets, and sports manuals:

  10. Extension of the services rendered by District Physical Welfare Officers.

The Group Travel Scheme, whereby parties were introduced not only to the splendid scenery of New Zealand but also to the industries of New Zealanders in other parts of the country, is to be developed as fully as possible. In this development first attention is given to the needs of mothers of large families, who will have a low-cost trip to a scenic resort, the holiday which had always seemed beyond the family's means.

Another portion of the programme is designed to provide a system of mountain tracks throughout New Zealand which will provide for the holiday recreation of many thousands from New Zealand's cities. These tracks are to cater for not only the seasoned tramper, but also for an ordinary family, including women. The programme set out was:—

  1. To make easy, well-defined tracks in interesting but safe country:

  2. To build accommodation huts at places, not too far apart, so that the tracks will be accessible to most people:

  3. To build slightly more elaborate huts giving reasonable comfort in all weathers, and to maintain them in good order:

  4. To organize the mountain track system so that whole families can go out for an ideal holiday at suitable cost and in reasonable comfort:

  5. To publish a reliable guide booklet to each track, including route notes, maps with full recreation legend, photographs, and notes on mountain flowers, trees, birds, geology, animals, insects, weather, and history of the locality, including the story of its pioneer exploration.

Physical Welfare Officers who have been appointed throughout New Zealand to encourage the promotion of recreation are to provide the following services:—

Information Service.— In each district the Physical Welfare Officers will maintain full information on the recreational clubs and facilities of the district in order that any person desiring this information may call at the district office and be correctly informed. This policy means that any person desiring to participate in a particular recreation may obtain the necessary information about clubs and conditions. The coaching necessary for taking part in any chosen sport will be arranged through the local Council of Sport and respective sports organizations.

Fitness Campaigns.—The Physical Welfare Officers will take such steps as may be desirable from time to time to promote the physical fitness of the community and to inculcate an active interest in healthy recreation by means of lectures, demonstrations, pictorial displays, and films.

Holiday Recreation.—An adequate, up-to-date knowledge of the recreation facilities of holiday resorts and camping areas will be maintained for the benefit of the public. This will include full records and notes of the tramping tracks in mountain areas and recognized camping sites. Every effort will be made to meet the needs of the community in holiday recreation, including the arranging of suitable programmes at resorts and camps.

Group Travel.—The Physical Welfare Officers will contact industrial workers, women's organizations, and other people who desire to participate in group-travel tours and pass such organized groups on to the Group Travel Service for transport and accommodation.

Industrial Recreation.— There is a notable trend in industrial concerns overseas to provide recreation for their staffs during the working-day. The services of the Physical Welfare Officers will be available to managements of industrial concerns interested, to advise, to assist, and to train staff leaders in organizing suitable recreation.

Community Centres.— The Physical Welfare Officers will assist local controlling committees of community centres in beginning such activities, in designing programmes for later use by the centres, and in training staff.

Playgrounds.—It is very important that all large centres of population should be equipped with proper playgrounds on which there will be qualified supervision and planned programmes during the periods when children are free to play. The Government favours the establishment of municipal or local playgrounds associations. Where these are formed the services of the Physical Welfare Officers will be available to advise the associations, to draw up programmes for them if required, and generally help with the organization of playground recreation.

Leaders.—It is apparent that Physical Welfare Officers themselves will not usually have time to give direct instruction to groups, as this would involve a very large staff. Consequently, where organizations desire their leaders to be trained in recreational work, the Physical Welfare Officers will train groups of leaders on a 100-hour course for a special Recreation Certificate, the syllabus of which is designed to meet all needs. Awards of these certificates by examination now total 24, and it is anticipated that there will be a big increase in due course. Apart from these specially trained leaders, about 5,000 persons have been instructed sufficiently to qualify them for certain tasks in leadership.

Liaison.—One of the duties of Physical Welfare Officers will be to provide suitable liaison not only between the Government and the local recreation associations, but also between those associations themselves, the local authorities, and other interested societies and clubs. The officers will assist the local Councils of Sport in every possible way and help all sporting clubs and societies requiring assistance.


PRIOR to the abolition of the provinces in 1876 hospital maintenance was left to the care of the several Provincial Councils, each of which had a system of its own. On the change-over to the county form of government in the following year all of these diverse systems came under the charge of the Central Government, and many difficulties and incongruities arose. Gradually there grew up a system of excessive demands upon the Government, and in 1885 an attempt to reduce a somewhat chaotic state of affairs to some semblance of. order and uniformity took shape in the Hospitals Act of that year, which provided for the constitution of special hospital districts and Boards. several amendments, based on the result of experience, were passed in later years, and the present law relating to the subject is embodied in the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act, 1926, to which a number of amendments have since been made.

HOSPITAL BOARDS.—The management of affairs in each hospital district is entrusted to a Hospital Board, consisting of not more than twenty and not less than eight members representing the contributory local authority districts comprising the hospital area. Members are elected at the ordinary general election of the contributory authorities.

Subject to the consent of the Minister of Health, a Hospital Board has power to establish, control, and manage any of the following institutions: Hospitals, charitable institutions, maternity homes, convalescent homes, sanatoria, habitual inebriates' homes, reformatory institutions for the reception of women and girls, and any other institutions for any purpose which the Governor-General by Order in Council may declare to be a public charitable purpose. It may grant charitable aid to indigent, sick, or infirm persons; may provide medical, surgical, and nursing attention for persons not inmates of an institution; and may grant financial assistance to medical and nursing associations and private philanthropic institutions approved by the Minister.

It is the duty of every Hospital Board to provide and maintain such hospitals as the Director-General of Health considers necessary in any part of the district for (a) the reception, relief, &c., of any persons suffering from infectious diseases; (b) the reception, &c., of persons suffering from other than infectious diseases. Hospital Boards are also required to provide for the removal to hospital of these classes of persons. In addition, Boards must provide maternity hospitals.

Provision of Finance.—No rating-powers are given to Hospital Boards, but under the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act the estimated net expenditure (excluding Government subsidy) of a Board is apportioned by the Board among the contributory local authorities within its district in proportion to the capital value of the rateable property in each contributory district. On levies from local authorities for maintenance purposes a scale of subsidy is in operation ranging from 14s. to 26s, per £1, and averaging throughout the Dominion £1 for £1. The principle of the scale is to give relatively greater assistance where the requirements are high in proportion to the rateable capital value of the hospital district.*

Prior to the coming into operation of the Social Security Act, 1938, patients' fees and other recoveries from those assisted formed about a third of the total maintenance receipts of Boards.

Under Part III of the Social Security Act, however, Hospital Boards now receive payments from the Social Security Fund in respect of hospital treatment and examinations (including out-patient treatment), pharmaceutical requirements, and district nursing services. These payments provide free treatment for all persons entitled to benefits under the Act. The only exception to the foregoing is in respect of the dental treatment of out-patients. (Details of hospital and other benefits appear in the section dealing with "Social Security, Pensions, Superannuation, &c.")

Receipts from the Social Security Fund are now the major source of Boards' revenue for maintenance purposes. Levies on local authorities and Government subsidy thereon are each about one-fourth of the total maintenance receipts.

* The provisions in regard to Hospital Board finance were amended by the Finance Act (No. 2), 1946, the new basis to operate from 1st April, 1947.

As regards capital works, the net requirements are met by levy and by subsidy in equal amounts; in other words, the subsidy is at the rate of £1 for £1. Where Boards may have recourse to borrowing, loan repayments are financed in the same way as ordinary capital expenditure, and interest charges in the same manner as in the case of maintenance expenditure.

A Government subsidy was formerly payable on voluntary contributions and bequests, but this has been discontinued since March, 1932.

Receipts.—The following is a summary of the receipts of Hospital Boards for the years ended 31st March, 1943 and 1944.

Voluntary contributions and bequests12,76211,248
Payments from Social Security Fund, patients' payments, and charitable-aid recoveries1,761,0832,384,274
Rent, interest, and dividends31,61130,391
Sale of capital assets1,7983,439
Miscellaneous receipts113,90092,760

Expenditure.—Although the figures in the preceding statement relate to receipts, the official returns of Hospital Boards have since 1916-17 been supplied on the basis of an Income and Expenditure Account and Balance-sheet.

Commencing with the year 1940-41, the expenditure only (not the income) has been tabulated. The following summary for the years ended 31st March, 1943 and 1944, gives the total expenditure by Hospital Boards, with the addition of expenditure on Government hospitals other than mental hospitals. Particulars of expenditure on mental hospitals are contained in the next subsection:—

Amount.Percentage of Total.Amount.Percentage of Total.
 £ £ 
Hospital maintenance3,324,85786.13,669,52787.7
Charitable relief —    
Medical associations7,4130.27,2140.2
District nursing27,0540.728,0950.7
Miscellaneous maintenance expenditure82,9502.137,1800.9
Interest on loans110,9012.9127,6973.0
National Provident Fund40,6921.040,0621.0

Capital expenditure for the year 1943-44 totalled £1,449,588, this amount including £163,896 in respect of amortization of loan-money. The total expenditure for the year, excluding amounts paid from one Board or departmental institution to another, was thus £5,635,224.

Hospital Maintenance Expenditure.—The average annual cost of maintenance of general hospitals per occupied bed in the years shown was as follows:—

Year.Provisions.Surgery and Dispensary.Domestic and Establishment.Salaries and Wages.Miscellaneous.Totals, Maintenance,

Charitable-aid Expenditure.—Charitable-aid expenditure during the last five years has been as follows:—

Year.Indoor Relief.Outdoor Relief.Totals.

The increase in rates of various existing pensions, the introduction of invalidity pensions in 1936, and the introduction of social security benefits in 1939, have relieved Hospital Boards of an appreciable amount of expenditure under the heading of “Outdoor Relief,” the decrease between 1935-36 and 1943-44 amounting to 80 per cent. The reduction in “Indoor Relief” between 1939-40 and 1940-41 accounted for mainly by the reclassification of certain institutions which are now included with hospitals.

Cost to Government and Local Authorities.—The following shows, for triennial periods, the average annual net maintenance requirements of Hospital Boards—i.e., the average estimated deficit to be met by levies on the local authorities and the Government subsidy thereon.

Triennium.Average Annual Amount.Triennium.Average Annual Amount.
 £ £
1931-32 to 1933-341,075,1461937-38 to 1939-401,711,469
1932-33 to 1934-351,086,4791938-39 to 1940-411,697,051
1933-34 to 1935-361,100,2281939-40 to 1941-421,733,178
1934-35 to 1936-371,173,5811940-41 to 1942-431,838,279
1935-36 to 1937-381,306,2061941-42 to 1943-442,036,843
1936-37 to 1938-391,495,3351942-43 to 1944-452,111,933

Loans.—During the year 1943-44 twenty-one new loans aggregating £937,325 were authorized for terms ranging from fifteen to thirty years.

The amount of loans outstanding at the 31st March, 1944, was £3,762,785. This amount, however, is reduced by a sum of £95,540 standing to the credit of sinking funds, making the net amount of loan-money £3,667,245.

PUBLIC HOSPITALS.—Subsection F of the preceding section contains statistics 'of in-patients treated at public hospitals other than purely maternity hospitals. In the following table the figures are inclusive of maternity hospitals, sanatoria, &c., and relate to the financial year instead of to the calendar year.

YearIn-patients treated.Average Number of Occupied Beds.Beds available.
Total Number.Proportion per 1,000 of Population.Number.Proportion per 1,000 of Population.Number.Proportion per 1,000 of Population.

The number of institutions coming under the heading of public hospitals for the year ended 31st March, 1944, was 153, comprising 75 general hospitals (6 of which were also old people's homes, and 2 special hospitals), 1 chronic hospital, 4 convalescent hospitals, 61 maternity hospitals, 5 tuberculosis sanatoria, 1 tuberculosis prevention institution, 2 chronic-tuberculosis hospitals, 2 tuberculosis dispensaries, and 2 infectious-diseases hospitals. A comparison of beds and patients for the last five years is as follows:—

Number of institutions1939-40. 1301940-41. 1391941-42. 1431942-43. 1451943-44. 153

* In addition, dental cases treated during the year and attendances were: Auckland, 1,867, 6,802; Wellington, 23,393, 42,724; Christchurch, 5,619,18,677; and Timaru, 872, 3,001.

Number of beds—     
  Children's cots1,2511,3221,3291,3901,457
  Infectious disease1,0321,0721,153870935
Average number of occupied beds per diem7,3068,8089,37810,22510,753
In-patients treated during year123,540143,291152,563184,644171,828
Deaths during year5,5976,3086,7517,4007,281

PRIVATE HOSPITALS.—The Private Hospitals Act, which came into force on 1st January, 1907, is now embodied in the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act, 1926, Part III of which provides for the licensing, management, and inspection of private hospitals. All such institutions must be licensed, and every application for a license must be accompanied by a full description and plan of the building it is proposed to use, together with a statement showing the number and class of cases it is proposed to receive. The license shall state whether it is in respect of a private maternity hospital or a surgical and medical private hospital, or if for both classes of cases: no private hospital may be used for any purpose other than that in respect of which the license is granted and purposes reasonably incidental thereto.

For every private hospital there must be a resident manager, either the licensee or some person appointed by the licensee, and in every case the manager must be a legally qualified medical practitioner or a registered nurse in the case of a surgical and medical hospital, or a registered midwife in the case of a lying-in hospital, or a registered nurse and midwife, or a registered nurse having as resident assistant a registered midwife, in the case of a hospital licensed for both purposes. No license may be granted in respect of a house not previously licensed until such house and annexed buildings have been approved by the Director-General of Health, and no addition may be made to any private hospital until it has been so approved. No license may be granted unless the character and fitness of the applicant are deemed to be satisfactory. The license must be renewed on 1st January of each year.

In every private hospital there must be kept a register of patients showing particulars as to name, age, abode, and date of reception of each patient, date when such patient left (or, in the event of death, the date thereof), name of medical practitioner attending, and such other details as may be prescribed. Inquiry may be made at any time as to the management, conduct, and equipment of any private hospital, and if such inquiry discloses an unsatisfactory state of affairs the license may be revoked. Provision is made for the inspection of private hospitals in the same manner as for public institutions.

The Social Security Act, inter alia, provides for the payment to licensees of private hospitals (who have entered into contracts under the Act) of prescribed amounts in respect of hospital treatment afforded by them. Particulars are contained in Section 24, "Social Security, Pensions, Superannuation, &c."

The total number of private hospitals licensed in the Dominion as at 31st March 1944, was 292, with 1,009 maternity beds and 1,784 beds for general cases.

HOSPITAL ACCOMMODATION.—In view of the greatly increased demand in recent years for hospital treatment, the adequacy or inadequacy of the available hospital accommodation in New Zealand has received considerable attention from the Department of Health, and the following information has been extracted from the annual report of the Director-General for the year ended 31st March, 1945.

The report stresses the difficulties encountered in laying down a definite figure as a standard of hospital-bed establishment owing to the varying circumstances encountered in different districts or countries. Among the factors which influence the demand for hospital accommodation are the habits of the population in seeking to enter hospitals for various types of illness, the availability of medical practitioners and their habits in sending patients to hospitals or retaining them for home treatment. Housing facilities, the availability of domestic assistance, and private nursing or district nursing assistance, and the efficiency of the out-patient department are other determining factors. Dangerous industries, scattered populations, and the prevalence of certain diseases also have a bearing on the matter, while the efficiency and attitude of the hospital medical staffs are of importance. The following table gives particulars of the numbers of beds in public and private hospitals at 31st March in each of the years shown. The figures include maternity, tuberculosis, and infectious-diseases beds, but do not include beds in mental hospitals, or in private or religious charitable homes.

Number of beds in—        
  Public hospitals8,8769,0859,2349,81611,18211,61712,11812,497
  Charitable institutions under Hospital Boards1,9141,9071,9181,7971,1021,063977933
  Private hospitals2,5382,6332,6432,7652,8752,8202,9832,842
  Temporary hospitals (average of occupied beds)      410341
      Per 1,000 of population8.

Recent figures for most overseas countries are not available, but in 1935 it was stated that the average beds per 1.000 of population was 3.5, Japan being the lowest with 1.5 and Sweden the highest with 5.8. Other countries included were Germany, 5.6; United States of America, 3.9; England and Wales, 5.3; and Scotland, 3.7.

Later information shows that in 1940 thirty States of the United States of America had from 1.5 to 3.9 beds, seventeen States from 4 to 5.6, one 6.2, and one had 10 beds per 1,000 of population, the latter including large Army and veterans' hospitals.

In the same year bed capacities per 1,000 of population in the various provinces of the Dominion of Canada ranged from 3.0 in Prince Edward Island to 7.5 in British Columbia. These figures exclude 8,902 tuberculosis beds in special hospitals, and 9,493 beds in Dominion hospitals, which would give an addition of 1.6 beds per 1,000 of population to the average for the Dominion.

The various classes of hospitals and institutions in England and Wales in 1939 provided some 273,000 beds, which gave a rate of 6.8 beds per 1,000 of population. The emergency scheme provided an additional 50,000 beds during the war period, but some of this accommodation was regarded as temporary.

Apart from New Zealand, the countries which appear to have the highest ratio of beds to population are Norway, with rather over 8 beds per 1,000, and Australia with 8 beds per 1,000. The position in the various Australian States is as follows: New South Wales, 7.9; Victoria, 7.5; Queensland, 8.7; South Australia, 7.9; Western Australia, 9.6; Tasmania, 8.7; Australian Capital Territory, 17.6; and Northern Territory, 14.6. In 1944 a Medical Survey Committee set up by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia prescribed the following standard of hospital-bed establishment, excluding tuberculosis requirements:—

 Beds per 1,000 of Population.
General beds5.0

If the tuberculosis requirements are taken as 1 bed per 1,000 of population, the Australian recommendation for all purposes except mental diseases becomes 10 beds per 1,000 of population, which closely approximates the New Zealand establishment of 10.2.

MATERNITY SERVICES.—Benefits under the Social Security Act, 1938.—The Social Security Act, inter alia, makes provision for payments from the Social Security Fund to hospitals, medical practitioners, and nurses for services in connection with maternity cases.

Particulars of maternity benefits provided under the Act will be found in Section 24, "Social Security, Pensions, Superannuation, &c."

State Maternity Hospitals.—There were formerly seven State maternity (St. Helens) hospitals, but in 1933 two—Wanganui and Gisborne—were handed over to the control of the Wanganui and Cook Hospital Boards respectively, and at the end of 1937 the St. Helens Hospital, Dunedin, was closed. Prior to the advent of the maternity benefits under the Social Security Act, the use of these hospitals was restricted to cases where the husband's income did not exceed £5 per week, and in cases of large families £6 per week. There are now no restrictions in this respect, and all service is free to the patient. The main function now served by these hospitals is to provide extended training for maternity nurses, so that they may qualify for the more responsible work of midwives.

This service is given under the supervision of the Medical Superintendent, who is also responsible for the conduct of all abnormal cases and for the supervision of the ante-natal and post-natal care of all patients attending. There is also an out-patient department attached to each hospital, which provides nursing services for patients not entering the institution.

The statistics given below give the essential particulars for the four State maternity (St. Helens) hospitals for the year 1944, together with the corresponding totals for 1943.

Hospital, and Year of Opening.Number of Beds.Confinements in Institution.Confinements attended Outside.
Total Live Births.Total Still-births.Deaths of Mothers.Deaths of Infants In Hospital.
Auckland (1906)3270919113 
Wellington (1905)3363512 8 
Christchurch (1907)153024155
Invercargill (1918)172062   
      Totals, 1944971,852372265
      Totals, 1943971,5255232522

Public Maternity Hospitals.—There were at 31st March, 1944, 92 public maternity hospitals or maternity wards attached to public hospitals under control of Hospital Boards. These maternity hospitals and wards had 861 beds available. These institutions admit all residents of their respective districts, irrespective of income. At most of them patients may be attended by the midwives in charge of the institution, under the supervision of the medical superintendent of the hospital, or in some instances may engage their own medical attendants.

For the reception of single girls there are special charitable institutions at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, in addition to those established by the Salvation Army at the four chief centres and at Napier and Gisborne.

District Midwives and Maternity Nurses.—Twenty-two Hospital Boards have district nurses, who in most cases carry out some obstetrical work in conjunction with other health work. In addition, there are Health Department district nurses appointed for the purpose of attending the Maori population, part of their work being attendance on Maori women during confinement.

Ante-natal Services.—Since maternity benefits have been provided free to patients under the Social Security Act and medical men have been paid a fee under that Act for giving ante-natal, neo-natal, and post-natal attention, the bulk of the ante-natal attendance has been provided by the patient's own medical attendant, this being one part of the service for which he receives a fee. The doctor's attendance, if desired, is supplemented by that of the midwife in charge of an ante-natal clinic. These free ante-natal clinics are established in connection with the four St. Helens Hospitals, the ninety-two public maternity hospitals or maternity wards, and a number of clinics conducted by the Plunket Society. In the case of women living far from the main centres of population, the work is also supplemented by the District Nurses who are employed by the Health Department or by Hospital Boards.

The majority of women now realize that ante-natal care is as essential to their welfare as attendance during their delivery and lying-in period by a doctor and trained maternity nurse or midwife. The Department has supplemented the service by the free distribution of a pamphlet “Suggestions to Expectant Mothers,” which has served its purposes as propaganda for ante-natal care.

Every effort is being made to impress the public with the importance of parental hygiene and systematic ante-natal care throughout pregnancy. Addresses and lectures are delivered by Medical Officers of the Department of Health to nurses and societies interested in this subject. So that there will be definite co-operation between the midwife and the ante-natal clinic, and in order that the midwife may be informed of the clinical methods adopted by the Health Department, refresher courses of lectures, particularly on ante-natal work, are available to all registered midwives and maternity nurses.

BENEVOLENT INSTITUTIONS AND ORPHANAGES.—One hundred and twenty institutions classed under the heading of benevolent and orphan institutions furnished returns to the Census and Statistics Department for the year 1944. These institutions, which are conducted by Hospital Boards, religious bodies, and other public or semi-public organizations, are alike in that they provide accommodation on a benevolent or charitable basis, but differ largely in the classes of persons to whom they afford assistance. The generic name covers old people's homes, maternity and refuge homes for women and girls, orphanages, homes for the infirm or afflicted, “prison gate” homes, and an institute for the blind. Some of the orphanages deal with cases similar to those dealt with by the special schools under the control of the Education Department, and a few of the women's institutions receive offenders committed to them by the Courts.

The following table gives particulars of admissions, discharges, &c., during each of the last five years.

Number of InstitutionsAdmissions during Year.Births in Institutions during Year.Discharges during Year.Deaths in Institutions during Year.Inmates at 31st December.Total Inmates during Year.

The foregoing figures reveal a substantial decrease in the number of inmates of charitable institutions during the last three years, but the actual position is obscured by the fact that certain inmates of institutions under the control of Hospital Boards are now supported by hospital benefits from the Social Security Fund, and are no longer counted in these statistics. Such inmates are now included in the statistics relating to public hospitals.

The next table gives similar information for the year 1944, classified according to the class of authority controlling the institutions.

Controlling Authorities.Number of Institutions.Inmates at 1st January.Admissions during Year.Births in Institutions during Year.Discharges during Year.Deaths in Institutions during Year.Inmates at 31st December.Total Inmates during Year.
Hospital Boards22861672 4961638741,533
Church of England15606262342982602902
Roman Catholic Church171,627770417251031,6102,438
Presbyterian Church16460148 13313462608
Methodist Church5228141 1237239369
Baptist Church15717 10 6474
Salvation Army279441,9601942,181238943,098
Brethren12735 36 2662
Undenominationalssociations, &c.165594965855875481,113

In many cases there is a variation in the class of inmate provided for by the different controlling bodies. For instance, none of the homes under the supervision of the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, or the Brethren are maternity homes of any description. The four churches mentioned control children's homes and orphanages only, while the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church provide chiefly for children, although some maternity cases are dealt with. The Hospital Boards concentrate chiefly upon old people's homes, while the Salvation Army deals with all types, and is the only body that conducts extensively the “prison-gate” or industrial type of institution. Factors such as these affect the demands made upon the different institutions for accommodation or relief.

The ages and sexes of all inmates in the institutions at 31st December, 1944, were as follows:—

Under 5 years199225424
5 and under 10 years519454973
10 " 156735471,220
15 " 1789184973
17 " 2541210251
25 " 354576121
35 " 457573148
45 " 5512373196
55 " 6520197298
65 years and over8085901,398

Some remarkable differences in the sex proportions at the various age-groups are apparent in the foregoing table. In the first group there is naturally little relative disparity, but in the groups covering ages 5 and under 15 years, there is a considerable preponderance of males. The next three groups, covering ages 15 and under 35 years, show a large excess of females. The number of females in these groups, of course, is greatly increased by the inclusion of girls and women entering maternity homes. From age 45 onwards a distinct male excess is observed.

The overwhelming majority of males dependent upon charitable aid at these later ages is indeed remarkable, although the “prison-gate” and industrial type of home no doubt swell the numbers at this stage.

The next table contains information concerning inmates of orphanages and of a few other institutions which provide for both children and older people. The figures relate to inmates under the age of twenty-one who were admitted to the institutions during 1944.

Age, in Completed Years.Legitimate.No Information as to Legitimacy.Illegitimate.Totals.
Father and Mother both Alive.Father Dead, Mother Alive.Father Alive, Mother Dead.Father and Mother both Dead.No Information as to Orphanhood
019 3   6890
1362    947
23911 1 547
36249   479
463210    75
573611   191
673615    94
77189    88
86581821 397
97481441 3104
104161731  68
11302102  246
1226963   44
13201066  244
141264   325
15633    8
162131   7
173 11   5
182   1  3
192      2
202      2
Not stated        
      Totals71581140255 1001,066

Contrary to what might generally be expected, the above figures reveal that children both of whose parents are alive constitute a substantial majority of those admitted to homes. Cases where both parents are dead are comparatively few.


THERE are eight public mental hospitals in the Dominion maintained wholly or in part out of the public revenue. There is also one private hospital licensed for the reception of the mentally afflicted.

The patients on the register at the end of 1944 were distributed as shown below. Numbers given throughout this subsection are inclusive of Maoris. Figures for Maoris are also given separately toward the end of the subsection.

Mental Hospital.Males.Females.Totals.
Kingseat (Papakura)446335781
Seacliff and Waitati6104131,023
Ashburn Hall (private mental hospital)82230

The number of patients remaining at the end of each of the last five years is shown in the following table.

Year.Patients remaining at 31st December.Proportion per 10,000 of Population.
  Average of five years4,3853,7618,14654.9144.7949.72

The total number of patients under supervision, care, or control during 1944 was 9,485 (4,976 males, 4,509 females), as against 9,285 in 1943. The average number resident in mental hospitals was 7,871 in 1944 and 7,694 in 1943.

ADMISSIONS.—The total admissions to mental hospitals during the year 1944 was 1,363 (600 males and 763 females), this number not including 165 transfers from one institution to another. The principal causes of insanity as assigned on admission were as follows:—

Previous attack229
Puberty and adolescence11
Puerperal state15
Mental stress, prolonged189
Organic brain disease18
Physical disorders36

Of the 1,363 persons admitted to mental hospitals during 1944, those admitted for the first time to any mental hospital in New Zealand numbered 1,109 (487 males 622 females), and those readmitted 254 (113 males, 141 females).

The figures for 1944 represent one first admission for every 1,493 persons of the mean population of the Dominion. The number of first admissions and the rate per 10,000 of mean population for each of the last five years were as follows:—

Year.Number of First Admissions.Proportion per 10,000 of Mean Population.
  Average of five years4705269965.856.286.08

The number of males admitted to mental hospitals has not shown any appreciable increase since the outbreak of war, the average for the four years 1936-39 being 560, as compared with an average of 574 for the period 1940-44. Female admissions, on the other hand, rose from an average of 574 in the former period to 660 in the latter, an increase of 15.2 per cent. These figures are inclusive of readmissions.

VOLUNTARY INMATES.—A person labouring under mental defect, but capable of understanding the meaning of the procedure, may seek admission to a mental hospital as a voluntary boarder. At the beginning of 1944 there were 349 such patients on the books (161 males, 188 females), and during the year 488 (216 males, 272 females) were admitted. If a voluntary boarder should after admission show mental defect sufficiently pronounced and sustained to render it improper to classify him any longer as such, application for a reception order is made to a Magistrate. During the year 1944, 11 (4 males, 7 females) were transferred from the voluntary to the ordinary register, and 11 males and 10 females died, while 415 (172 males, 243 females) were discharged, leaving 390 (190 males, 200 females) on the records at the end of the year.

PATIENTS FROM THE ARMED FORCES.—The following table shows the position in regard to servicemen suffering from psychiatric disorders admitted to mental hospitals from the commencement of hostilities up to 31st December, 1944. These figures possess added interest in view of the fact mentioned previously that there has been practically no increase in the total male admissions since the outbreak of war.

Admitted after Overseas Service.
Admitted 190
Discharged recovered82 
Discharged not recovered26 
Remaining at 31st December, 1944 78
Admitted from Camps, &c., in New Zealand.
Admitted 167
Discharged recovered78 
Discharged not recovered25 
Remaining at 31st December, 1944 56

AGES OF INMATES.—A summary is given showing the ages of patients in mental hospitals at the end of 1944.

Age, In Years.Males.Females.Totals.
1 and under 5331750
5 " 107961140
10 " 1511884202
15 " 20219143362
20 " 306524741,126
30 " 407466081,354
40 " 507816711,452
50 and under 607557981,553
60 " 706476711,318
70 " 80286317603
80 " 905470124
90 and over2810

DISCHARGES AND DEATHS.—The next table gives the average number resident, those who were discharged as recovered, and those who died, during the period 1940-44.

Year.Average Number resident.Discharged as recovered.Died.
Number.Percentage of Number admitted.Number.Percentage of Average Number resident.
  Average of five years7,70234327.855667.34

The table following shows the duration of residence in mental hospitals of patients who died and of patients who were discharged as recovered during the year 1944. Of those discharged as recovered, 68 per cent. had been inmates for less than one year.

Duration of Residence.Patients who died.Patients discharged as recovered.
Under 1 month344680369
1 month and under 3 months383270273158
3 months and under 6 months343367203555
6 " 9 "171330274471
9 " 12 "13821202747
1 year and under 2 years202646214061
2 years and under 3 years19133262127
3 " 5 "26103661016
7 " 10 "16925314
10 " 12 "12618112
12 " 15 "131124   
15 years and over582482   
Died during absence13619   

Old age and diseases of the circulatory system are the principal causes of death among mental hospital patients. The figures for the principal causes and groups of causes for the year 1944 are as follows:—

Other general diseases19
General paralysis of the insane10
Other diseases of the nervous system63
Diseases of the circulatory system168
Diseases of the respiratory system86
Diseases of the digestive system14
Diseases of the genito-urinary system4
Old age101
External causes9
Died during absence23

A table is added showing for all admissions since 1876 the percentages of patients who were discharged (as recovered and relieved, separately), who died undischarged, or who still remained at the end of 1944.


* Includes a small number of patients discharged whose condition was not improved.

Discharged—Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.
Remaining at end of 194415.7117.3816.46
      Total admissions, 1876-1944100.00100.00100.00

PRIVATE MENTAL HOSPITAL.—A license may be granted to enable a private mental hospital to receive patients for treatment. Stringent conditions are attached to the issue of such a license, which may be revoked at any time. The Director-General of Mental Hospitals has wide powers in the regulation and control of private institutions, which are placed practically on the same footing as public mental hospitals in regard to inspection and other matters.

There is only one licensed private mental institution in the Dominion, that at Wakari (Ashburn Hall), near Dunedin, established in 1882. Particulars of admissions, discharges, deaths, and patients remaining, for the last five years, are as follows. These figures are included in preceding tables.

Year.Admissions.Discharges.Deaths.Patients remaining at End of Year.

MAORIS IN MENTAL HOSPITALS.—The number of Maoris admitted as patients to mental hospitals is small. The figures for the last five years were:—

Year.Admitted during Year.Remaining at End of Year.

The above figures are also included in the tables covering all inmates of mental hospitals.

The number of Maoris remaining in mental hospitals at the end of 1944 represented a rate of only 20-00 per 10,000 of the Maori population, as compared with a rate of 52.46 in the case of the non-Maori population.

EXPENDITURE, ETC.—The total expenditure on maintenance of public mental hospitals (not including the cost of new buildings and additions) and particulars of receipts during the last eleven financial years are shown in the next table. As from 1st April, 1939, free maintenance and treatment have been provided in all public mental hospitals in accordance with the provisions of the Social Security Act, 1938. The consequent loss of revenue through the operation of the Act was recoverable from the Social Security Fund, but as from 1st April, 1945, such recoveries ceased, and from that date all maintenance expenditure has been borne by the Consolidated Fund. The amounts shown as receipts on account of patients' fees for the years subsequent to 1938-39 represent the recovery of accounts outstanding at 31st March, 1939.

Year ended 31st March,Total Expenditure.Receipts.Net Expenditure.Gross Average Cost per Patient.
Patients' Fees.Sale of Produce, &c.Social Security. Fund.
1935427,417128,07846,667 252,6725864
1936462,318137,66145,074 279,5846199
1937524,310141,29548,553 334,46268131
1938608,328155,80358,071 394,45478189
1939641,053162,13561,436 417,4838359

During the period covered by the foregoing table, total expenditure increased by £399,711, or 93-5 per cent., while the gross average cost per patient rose by £41 19s. 9d. per annum, or 72-0 per cent.

As already stated, the expenditure included in the foregoing table does not include amounts spent on new buildings, additions, &c., the cost of which is met by the Public Works Account. The sums spent in this connection fell away considerably in the later war years, but, in the ten years ended with the financial year 1944-45 the amount totalled £967,141, while the aggregate expenditure from 1st July, 1877, to 31st March, 1945, was £2,863,653.


Table of Contents

THE education system of New Zealand can be understood only when it is seen against its historical background. The first settlements in the new colony were relatively isolated units which had each to make its own provision for the education of its children. In some places the provision of schools was left to the churches, in some to private enterprise, and in others to public associations. When the provinces were established in 1852, the Provincial Councils took over education as one of their functions, but this brought no degree of uniformity to New Zealand schools, for each province tended to foster the type of school organization already established in its area. The provinces varied considerably in the efficiency of their school systems; but, in spite of some success in the face of difficulties in certain areas, at the end of the provincial period in 1876 not more than half the children between the ages of five and fifteen were attending school at all.

The present national system of free, secular, and compulsory* education is based on the Education Act of 1877. This Act followed upon the abolition of the provinces, but the provinces, though dead as political units, left their mark upon the school system. A fierce struggle between the protagonists of central and of local control ended in a victory for the provincialists, and the public schools were placed under the control of District Education Boards, which were for the most part the same bodies as the old Provincial Education Boards. The Colonial Government, however, had to provide all the finance in the form of capitation grants, and a small Department of Education was set up in Wellington, very largely for the purpose of distributing the grants. For every school district constituted under the Act there was a School Committee, elected by householders, which, subject to the control of the Board, had “the management of educational matters within the school district.” The School Committees elected the members of the Education Board.

As far as mere structure is concerned, this still remains the pattern of the system of school administration in New Zealand, but there have been, in the intervening sixty-odd years, great changes in the relative functions of the three authorities. The general tendency has been for final power and responsibility to shift from the Committees to the Boards and from the Boards to the Department. The Committees, in fact, through lack of professional executive officers and independent sources of revenue, from the very beginning were unable to take over the full powers that the 1877 Act obviously intended them to have, and for the first twenty years of national education the Education Boards were the predominant authorities in the system.

From just before the beginning of this century the Education Department began to play an increasingly important part in educational administration, partly as a result of improved means of communication. Under the Act of 1877 the Boards had been given wide powers: to administer funds from endowments and departmental grants, to appoint and remove teachers, to pay teachers' salaries according to their own scales, to establish scholarships and provide for secondary education in district high schools, and to control the inspectorate. Legislation, beginning with the establishment of a national scale of primary school salaries and staffing in 1901 and culminating in the Education Act of 1914 (still the basic measure under which the education system is administered), concentrated these powers more and more in the hands of the Department, which began to take a more detailed interest in expenditure by the Boards. The original freedom of the Boards in the expenditure of building grants was taken away, and the present system, requiring special departmental authorization for each new building, gradually became established. From 1901 onwards the Department paid over to the Boards the exact sum required for teachers' salaries, thus leaving a much-reduced capitation grant to be used by the local authorities at their own discretion. In 1914 the Department took over the control of the primary-school inspectorate.

* Every child (with certain statutory exemptions) between the ages of seven and fifteen years has to be enrolled as a pupil of either a public or a registered school.

The centralization of the inspectorate made possible a further change affecting the powers of the Boards. In 1920 a Dominion grading scheme was instituted under which all primary-school teachers were annually awarded grading marks by the Inspectors. A teacher's total marks give him a place on a numerically graded list*. Since all ordinary appointments are decided on the basis of this list, the system of appointment is in effect a national one, and the Boards have very limited powers of discretion although they make the appointments and the teachers are servants of the Boards. In 1940 biennial grading was substituted for annual grading, thus freeing the inspectors of schools in alternate years to give more time to schools. The provision of an annual grading number for teachers was, however, retained.

It does not follow, however, that, since the Boards and the School Committees have lost many of their original powers, they have ceased to play an important part in the system. The Committee's primary function is the care of school buildings, grounds, and equipment, but, in addition to this, many interest themselves very keenly in the general activities of the school and provide in each district a focusing-point for local opinion on educational matters. The Education Boards are still the initiating bodies on matters of buildings, sites, conveyance of pupils, consolidation, and provision of school facilities generally; and, although the final word often lies with the Minister of Education or the Department, the Boards have no small influence in the fixing of policy within their districts. The schools are legally their schools and the teachers their teachers, and, although in general the Boards' choices of applicants are limited by the grading system, they have much more discretion in the selection of applicants for special or key positions. The teachers' class-room activities are under the control of the Inspectors, but their general responsibility is to the Boards, and their professional life tends to centre on the Boards rather than on the Department. In spite of the apparent clumsiness of the administrative structure and of periods of strong feeling in the past, the system at present functions remarkably smoothly, and has achieved a balance, workable if not ideal, between the claims of local initiative and national efficiency.

Post-primary education, with the exception of that given in the district high schools, was not brought by the Act of 1877 within the province of the Education Boards. Several secondary schools had been established in various ways before 1877, and these continued under their own Boards of Governors, which were in no way related to the Education Boards. The Education Reserves Act, 1877, set aside one-fourth of the educational reserves for secondary education, vesting the remainder in the Education Boards for primary-school purposes. Thus there was introduced into the colony that cleavage between elementary and secondary education that was characteristic of the English system. In the years immediately following the Act of 1877, a series of Acts set up a number of local High School Boards, each in control of its own land endowments. No effective provision was made for the inspection of these schools by any outside authority or for the co-ordination of their work with any other part of the school system.

Further secondary schools, and, from 1902 onwards, technical high schools, were from time to time established. Before 1901, fees had been charged even in district high schools. In that year free places were instituted in district high schools, and in 1902 secondary schools were offered special capitation grants if they would provide free places for deserving scholars. Under the Education Act of 1908 free places at the technical schools were granted on a more liberal basis, and by 1914 all State post-primary schools were obliged to give free places for two years at least to any pupil who had passed the Proficiency examination. In 1936 the Proficiency examination was abolished and free post-primary education to the end of the year in which he reached nineteen years of age became available to every child completing a primary-school course or on attaining fourteen years of age.

* A teacher's salary was determined by his grade. In 1938 new regulations for the purpose of raising the salaries and stabilizing the staffs of public-school teachers fixed a basic salary dependent on years of service, plus a possible position salary depending on the position held.

† The Education Board Grants Regulations 1946, which came into force on 1st January, 1946, fixed the amount payable to an Education Board for general purposes at £2,900, increased by £200 for every 1,000 or part of 1,000 pupils in excess of 7,000 on the rolls of all public schools within the Board's district. A sum sufficient to pay the grants to School Committees for incidental expenses is also payable.

A direct effect of this movement towards free post-primary education was that the Department began to exercise an increasing degree of control over the schools. The Education Amendment Act, 1920, authorized the establishment of Dominion staffing and salary scales for post-primary schools, and instituted the system—already operative in the case of the Education Boards—of paying over to the schools the exact sum required for salaries plus a capitation grant for incidental expenses, less the amount received from local secondary-school endowments. This, in effect, nationalized these endowments, and spread more evenly the benefits resulting from the foresight of the early settlers. The annual amount payable to the controlling authority of any post-primary school for incidental purposes and administration was fixed by the Post-primary School Grants Regulations 1946 at £250 plus 20 per cent. of the gross amount paid for the salaries of principals and teachers employed.

THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.—Perhaps the best method of sketching the outline of the school system as it now stands is to trace the career of a child as he passes through the system. He may at the age of three enter a free kindergarten. The kindergartens are under the control of the Free Kindergarten Association, subsidized by the Government. At the age of five he may enter, and at seven he must enter, either a primary school organized under one of the nine Education Boards, or a registered private primary school. All State primary schools are co-educational. The child passes through the infant classes and Standards I, II, III, and IV. At this point he will in most places go straight on to Forms I and II in the same school, but since 1922 there have been established a number of intermediate schools (under the control of Education Boards) and intermediate departments (most of them under post-primary school Boards), which take Form I and II pupils from contributing schools in their areas. Prior to 1932 these schools were called junior high schools.

On satisfying the requirements of his headmaster in Form II the child is granted a Primary School Certificate, on the receipt of which, or on reaching the age of fourteen, he becomes entitled to free post-primary education until the age of nineteen is reached. The Education Amendment Act, 1920, made provision for the raising of the school-leaving age from fourteen to fifteen years, but this change was not brought into operation until February, 1944, and all children are now required to attend school until the new leaving-age is reached. This means, in effect, that some period of secondary education is now compulsory for nearly all children. The only provision for exemption is inability to profit from the further period of education. Most children enrol for the additional compulsory period at post-primary schools, but the Correspondence School is called upon to cater for some pupils in the more remote country districts.

When a country child leaves the primary stage he may have no alternative but to enter Form III of a district high school (which is really a secondary top to a primary school and is under the same control), or enrol in the Correspondence School. In more thickly populated areas there will be either a secondary school or a technical high school available. In some towns a secondary school and a technical high school have amalgamated to form a combined school. To those not understanding the peculiar character of the New Zealand technical high school this may seem a strange union, but the differences between schools of the two types are, except in the larger centres, relatively slight.

The technical schools, combined schools, and a few of the secondary schools run evening classes, particularly in practical and vocational subjects, which an adolescent may attend after he leaves full-time day school. Apprentices in some trades are required to attend evening classes as a part of their trade training.

Prior to 1944 all pupils desiring to undertake a University course were required to sit and pass the University Entrance Examination conducted by the University of New Zealand. In 1944 a system of accrediting came into operation. Under this system pupils attending certain approved schools may be accredited for matriculation purposes provided they have completed a four years' post-primary-school course. The University Entrance Examination is still conducted by the University of New Zealand, and pupils not accredited for entrance to University may qualify in this manner. The standard of the present entrance examination is somewhat higher than that maintained prior to the introduction of the accrediting system. The effect of the accrediting system may be gauged from the fact that the number of candidates for the University Entrance Examination in 1944 was only 543, as compared with 5,152 in 1943.

Pupils who have been accredited for, or who have passed the University Entrance Examination, may, without further post-primary education, receive tuition fees to the extent of £20 per annum for a period of four years at a University college.

The School Certificate Examination conducted by the Education Department is now regarded as the accepted test of a completed post-primary education for the great bulk of the pupils who do not desire to proceed to University. The School Certificate Examination is normally taken at the end of the third year of the post-primary course, and the School Certificate is awarded to pupils who pass the examination and, in other respects have complied with the regulations governing the award of the certificate.

Provision is contained in the Education (Post-primary Instruction) Regulations 1945 for endorsement of School Certificates on satisfactory completion of an advanced course of instruction for one year. Provision is also made in the regulations for the award of Higher School Certificates. In general this certificate is awarded after a five years' course to pupils who have been awarded a School Certificate and satisfactorily complete an advanced course of two years; and to pupils who have been accredited for or have passed the University Entrance Examination and satisfactorily complete an advanced course of one year.

The University of New Zealand, whose controlling body is the University Senate, is constituted of University colleges in Auckland, Wellington, and Canterbury, and the University of Otago (which does not itself grant degrees). The School of Agriculture, consisting of Massey and Canterbury Agricultural Colleges and governed under one Council in connection with the University of New Zealand, is open to students specializing in agricultural studies.

The four teachers' training colleges, although they work in conjunction with the four University colleges, are organically related to them only through the recently formed Boards of Studies. The Education Boards in the four main centres are the controlling authorities of the training colleges.

The State system also caters for the needs of certain special groups of children. Maori children may attend the public schools, but there are also Native village schools provided for their primary education.* There are also a few mission schools remaining from the pre-Maori War system established with the help of Government subsidies. For his post-primary education the Maori child may go free to any available secondary school; but in remote areas he will go to a denominational Maori secondary school. Some of these denominational secondary schools are financed in part from public endowments specially provided, and all of them receive funds from special State scholarships.

Children living in isolated areas or prevented in other ways from attending school may be enrolled in the Correspondence School for both primary and post-primary work.

Finally there are several special schools and smaller homes, administered by the Education Department's Child Welfare Branch, to take care of deaf-and-dumb, backward, or delinquent children.

In addition to the various State schools described, a parent may send his child to a private school, either primary or secondary, conducted by either religious bodies or private individuals. No Government free place is tenable at these schools, but a Secondary School Bursary (referred to on p. 136) may be tenable at a private school, while assistance in the matter of conveyance on the railways and a boarding-allowance under certain conditions may also be given to pupils attending private schools, whether primary or post-primary. All private schools must be registered, and are subject to an annual inspection by the Department's Inspectors. The majority of the private schools are conducted by the Roman Catholic Church. Amongst the private schools are two endowed secondary schools modelled after the English public school.

To complete the above sketch it should be added that co-education exists only in certain stages of the system. In the public, Native, technical, and some of the secondary schools (particularly those in the country), in the teachers' training colleges, and in the University colleges, pupils and students of both sexes attend together. The principal State secondary schools in the larger centres, however, and—with three exceptions—all the registered private secondary schools, are single-sex schools.

* Established under the Native Schools Act, 1867, and administered by the Education Department since 1880.

† Except for Maori “Government pupils” In the denominational secondary schools.

‡ Education Amendment Act, 1921-22.

During 1944 consideration was given to the report of the Consultative Committee on the post-primary curriculum. This report is probably the most important contribution over made to secondary education in the Dominion. In October, 1944, the Minister of Education called a conference in Christchurch to consider pre-school education, youth services, adult education, religion in education, and rural education. It was the first widely representative conference on education held in New Zealand, and valuable reports were made on the topics under consideration. Some of the recommendations of the conference were put into effect in 1945.

PUPILS AND STUDENTS.—The number of pupils and students receiving instruction in the educational institutions of the Dominion is shown in the following summary. The table refers to roll numbers as at the end of the year (except in the case of technical classes, which are as at 1st July).

Class of Institution.1940.1941.1942.1943.1944.

* Exclusive of children kindergartens (2,483 in 1944). taking part-time courses.

† There were also 1,362 students taking part-time courses.

Primary Education
Public (State) schools203,951204,050203,912204,060205,927
Intermediate schools and departments
Native village schools10,73010,91611,00911,27411,793
Native mission schools736720641614646
Registered private primary schools27,71827,89427,82628,71429,071
Lower departments of secondary schools186155160187185
Correspondence classes (primary)1,7271,7931,9161,9411,920
Chatham Islands schools139127128125108
      Totals, primary*245,187245,655245,592246,915249,650
Post-primary Education
Secondary schools14,30313,60913,52314,77416,903
Combined schools2,7932,7802,6602,9013,233
Secondary departments of district high schools5,2535,0334,8525,1976,187
Technical high schools8,0097,3717,9238,43610,233
Maori secondary (boarding) schools419400346371487
Registered private and endowed secondary schools5,6375,7295,8666,5727,378
Correspondence classes (secondary)644665554559672
      Totals, post-primary37,05835,48735,72438,81045,093
Technical Classes (excluding Technical High Schools and Technical Day Schools)
Conducted by Education, Secondary School, or High School Boards5,3994,9962,2932,4893,567
Conducted by Technical School Boards9,8979,2338,0779,00210,264
Conducted by University colleges302313295368412
      Totals, technical15,59814,54210,66511,85914,243
University Education
University colleges4,7394,5553,7564,9215,840
Canterbury Agricultural College8113647120382
Massey Agricultural College24916634140362
Students exempt from lectures4594095367721,146
      Totals, University5,5285,2664,3735,9537,730
      Totals, scholars and students*303,371300,950296,354303,537316,716

The transfer of young men to the Armed Forces and the demand for wartime labour are clearly reflected in the foregoing table. Between 1939 and 1942 students attending post-primary schools decreased by 2,341 (6-2 per cent.), part-time students attending technical classes by 6,563 (38.1 per cent.), and University students by 1,606 (26-9 per cent.). This trend was arrested in 1943, and the figures for that year recorded increases under practically all headings as compared with 1942, a contributing factor being the partial demobilization of home-service personnel of the Armed Forces, many of whom were under twenty years of age.

A phenomenal rise took place in 1944 under nearly all headings, the only group which failed to exceed the 1939 figures being technical classes, which for the most part consist of students taking part-time courses. The increase of 6,283 (13.9 per cent.) in the number of full-time post-primary students in 1944 as compared with 1943, is mainly the result of the raising of the school-leaving age to fifteen years. Further releases of men from the Armed Forces have contributed to the increased numbers of University students in 1944. The figures for the agricultural colleges include 280 at Canterbury and 183 at Massey taking short courses of less than one year's duration, many of these students being ex-servicemen holding bursaries awarded by the Rehabilitation Board.

ANNUAL EXAMINATIONS.—The number of candidates who actually presented themselves for the various examinations conducted by the Education Department during the last five years is given below.


* Final grade only.

Public Service Entrance2,5583,0382,8852,9022,784
Teachers' Certificate169185174184233
School Certificate5,0405,1724,9425,4706,052
London University 1 64
Handicraft Teachers' Certificate966412
Homecraft Teachers' Certificate    34
Technological127108 6*15*
Naval Cadetships4871112

The University of New Zealand conducted examinations in 1943 in the faculties of arts, science, medicine, public health, dentistry, home science, law, engineering, commerce, agriculture, and music; for diplomas in journalism, in banking, and in fine arts; and for admission to the legal and accountancy professions. There were 8,829 entrants for the degree and professional examinations in 1944, compared with 6,757 in 1943. The number of candidates for the University Entrance Examination in the last five years has been: 1940, 5,191; 1941, 5,255; 1942, 4,947; 1943, 5,152; 1944, 543. The system of accrediting for entry to the University referred to on page 125 accounts for the falling-off in the number of candidates for this examination in 1944.

PUBLIC EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION.—Out of public funds £6,216,947 was spent on education for the financial year ended 31st March, 1945. This sum included amounts paid from reserves revenue, but not revenues received by certain secondary schools and University colleges from endowments, fees, &c., which are available for educational purposes. Direct income of post-primary schools and University colleges in 1944-45 from reserves vested in them amounted to approximately £50,000. The following shows the expenditure from public funds for each branch or service of education for each of the last five years.


* No subsidy paid to the New Zealand Institute for the Blind in 1944-45 owing to its improved financial position.

General administration46,93350,56546,71048,91956,503
Primary education3,275,8343,146,7653,067,7383,148,8063,704,958
Secondary education and technical instruction1,023,1711,029,970917,839941,3141,264,665
Training colleges, &c.195,700198,724219,286267,833260,833
Higher education166,920174,343179,917187,016252,309
Native schools241,932227,491193,390191,481230,509
Physical instruction5,3297,32412,10312,06017,828
School for the deaf10,94813,45912,21513,46718,543
Education of the blind5,2606,6955,8624,619325*
Schools for the mentally backward26,71726,35125,37924,48526,709
Child welfare182,965170,945179,334198,080208,420
Material and stores1,165  2,4952,012
Country library service9,78811,55413,42116,38419,215
Vocational guidance   12,03517,319
Miscellaneous services162,731154,432165,201152,395136,799

There is now given a series of comparative figures which shows the cost of education during the period 1934-35 to 1944-45.

Year ended 31st March,Expenditure from Public Funds.Expenditure per Head of Mean Population.Year ended 31st March,Expenditure from Public Funds.Expenditure per Head of Mean. Population.
 ££ s. d. ££ s. d.
19352,871,1671 16 1119415,355,3933 5 6
19363,256,6702 1 719425,218,6183 3 10
19373,975,7252 10 419435,038,3953 1 5
19384,619,1342 17 1119445,221,3893 3 9
19395,099,5233 3 419456,216,9473 14 8
19405,563,3263 8 1   

From the foregoing table it will be seen that public expenditure on education, both as regards the total amount and the amount per head of population, has more than doubled during the last ten years.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS.—The primary-school system consisted in December, 1944, of 2,076 public schools (including district high schools and intermediate schools or departments), 156 Native village and 10 mission schools for Maoris, 301 registered private primary schools, and 5 lower departments of secondary schools. There were also 53 free kindergarten schools.

Lower departments of secondary schools may be run for pupils who have not passed Form II, provided that no part of the cost of instruction or of the maintenance of the department is met out of the income from endowments of the school or from Government grants. At the end of 1944 the total number of pupils in the five departments mentioned in the preceding paragraph was 185 (123 boys, 62 girls), with 7 teachers.

The curriculum of the primary school, as set out in the syllabus of instruction, includes English, arithmetic, geography, history and civics, drawing and handwork (including needlework), nature-study and elementary science, physical education, moral instruction and health, and singing. Elementary science, agriculture, and, in some schools, dairy work are taught by the regular staff under the supervision of specialist itinerant instructors. Woodwork and metal-work instruction is given to the older boys at manual-training centres, and the older girls are taught domestic subjects, including cookery and hygiene.

The whole of the curriculum is being systematically revised by a number of committees representative of the Education Department and of teachers' organizations. The report of the Arithmetic Syllabus Revision Committee was the first to be adopted, and during 1944 a series of arithmetic text-books was issued to primary schools. The English text-books are the next to be issued, but shortages of labour and materials have retarded progress. These and other text-books produced under the scheme are to be issued free of charge to pupils in all schools, both State and private.

Emphasis has recently been placed on the more extensive use of broadcasting, visual aids, art-work, the school library, and physical education.

At the end of the primary course a pupil may receive from the headmaster a Primary School Certificate to the effect that he has satisfactorily completed the work of Form II as prescribed in the Public Schools Syllabus. This certificate replaces the proficiency certificate which was abolished in 1936.

Kindergartens.—Children below the age of five are not enrolled in the State primary schools. They may be enrolled, however, at free kindergartens maintained by local branches of the New Zealand Free Kindergarten Association. Since 1935 the Government has substantially increased its total grant to the kindergartens. In 1939 three women advisers to infant departments and kindergartens were appointed, and in 1942 grants were provided for the training of kindergarten teachers. The number of trainees to whom the Government paid allowances in 1944 was seventy-two.

At the end of 1944 there were 2,483 children on the rolls of fifty-three free kindergartens. As yet the system is far from universal.

Public (State) Schools.—The figures tabulated below refer to pupils in public schools —i.e., all pupils in primary schools and intermediate schools and departments. Pupils in the secondary departments of district high schools are not included.

Year.Population at 31st December (excluding Maoris).Number of Schools (Including Intermediate Schools and Departments).Pupils at End of Year.Mean of Average Weekly Roll.Average Attendance, Whole Year.Average Attendance as Percentage of Weekly Roll.

Of the 2,076 schools shown above for 1944, 1,439 had rolls of not more than seventy, and of these 767 had rolls ranging from one to twenty-four.

In each of the education districts are located Inspectors of Primary Schools, who form part of the staff of the Department of Education. The total number of Primary-school Inspectors on the 31st March, 1944, was 38, allocated as follows: Auckland, 12; Hawke's Bay, 3; Taranaki, 2; Wanganui, 3; Wellington, 4; Nelson, 2; Canterbury, 6; Otago, 4; Southland, 2.

The following table relates to pupils on the rolls of the public primary schools and Forms I and II of intermediate schools and departments at the 1st July, 1944.

Age, in Years.1944.Percentage of Total Pupils.
5 and under 610,94310,51221,4559.39.510.010.411.0
6 " 711,99211,49923,49110.710.811.011.412.0
7 " 811,48310,96322,44610.910.910.911.011.5
8 " 911,12910,59221,72111.211.010.910.911.1
9 " 1011,02510,28121,30612.011.210.910.910.9
10 " 1110,95310,44321,39611.612.
11 " 1210,84110,32621,16711.711.612.011.210.8
12 " 1310,88210,02520,90711.611.411.511.510.7
13 " 148,2646,62014,8847.
14 " 153,4672,2585,7252.
15 165033478500.
16 and over58531110.

In 1944 a total of 18,136 pupils (9,257 boys and 8,879 girls) left public primary schools, as against 19,571 (9,903 boys and 9,668 girls) in 1943, the decrease being no doubt due to the raising of the school-leaving age from fourteen to fifteen years. Of those leaving in 1944, 16,597, or 92 per cent., had gained the Primary School Certificate, as compared with 16,988 or 87 per cent. in 1943. The effect of the raising of the school-leaving age is also evident in the numbers of pupils leaving primary schools in 1944 who proceeded to full-time post-primary schooling, the proportions per cent. being 84 for boys and 88 for girls, as compared with 74 and 78 respectively in 1943. In the case of intermediate schools and departments, the corresponding percentage for 1944 was 88 for both boys and girls, whereas in 1943 it was 83 for boys and 82 for girls.

Primary Schools for Maoris.—A little over one-half of the Maori children in New Zealand are educated in the public schools. At the end of 1944 there were 14,328 attending public schools out of a total of 25,091 Maori children receiving primary education in State schools.

The language of instruction in the Native schools is English, but the schools are not completely English in outlook, for Maori arts and crafts, song, legend, and history are taught.

Methods of teaching are becoming increasingly practical, and objectives more closely related to the special needs of the Maori people. In many of the Native schools, such equipment as woodwork-rooms, cookery-rooms, model cottages, baths, hot and cold showers, and laundries is supplied. Elementary agriculture and health are essential centres of activity in every Native school.

The number of pupils on the rolls of the 156 Native village schools at the end of 1944 was 11,793 (including 1,030 non-Maori children), while the total roll number of the ten Maori mission schools was 646.

The following table gives the principal statistics of Native village schools during the last five years.

Year.Number of Schools at End of Year.Roll at 1st July.Average Attendance, Whole Year.Average Attendance as Percentage of Weekly Roll.Number of Teachers.

Three Inspectors of Schools attached to the Education Department are engaged in the inspection of Native schools, mission schools, and secondary schools for Maoris.

Intermediate Schools.—The intermediate school (formerly termed junior high school) was first initiated as an experiment in New Zealand in 1923. By the end of 1944, twenty-three intermediate schools or departments had been established, of which twelve are separate schools, six are attached to secondary schools, four to district high schools or departments, and one to a technical school. A child may transfer to an available intermediate school after passing Standard IV of the primary school or, with special permission of the Director of Education, on reaching the age of thirteen. Since 1932 the regular course has been two years, though in a few schools, particularly where pupils are not proceeding to a post-primary school, a third-year course is available. The main purpose of the intermediate school is to secure the benefits of consolidation for the elder children and, through the provision of varied and enriched courses, to help them decide on their lines of further education.

Pupils on the rolls of intermediate schools or departments at the end of 1944 numbered 8,622, or 19 per cent. of all children in Forms I and II of public primary and intermediate schools. The average attendance during the year was 8,034. The ages of pupils on the roll at 1st July, 1944, were:—

Age, in Years.Boys.Girls.Totals.
Under 114472116
11 and under 128158561,671
12 " 131,5371,5023,039
13 " 141,3861,1542,540
14 " 156764921,168
16 " 1612172193
16 and over16622

Private Schools.—By the Education Amendment Act, 1921-22, every private school was required to apply for registration before the 13th July, 1922, and no private school can now be established unless application is first made to the Department of Education for registration. Certain standards of efficiency and suitability of staff, premises, equipment, and curriculum have to be fulfilled.

The following table contains the principal statistics of private primary schools for each of the last five years. The figures include Native mission schools which are shown separately in the summary table on p. 127.

Year.Number of Schools.Roll at End of Year.Average Yearly Attendance.Teachers.

The majority of the schools included in the preceding table are Roman Catholic, the figures for Roman Catholic schools for 1944 being—Schools, 230; scholars on roll at end of year, 25,120 (12,157 boys, 12,963 girls); average yearly attendance, 21,882; teachers, 746 (63 males, 683 females). The remainder consisted of 54 church schools of other denominations, such schools having 181 teachers and 3,804 scholars, and 17 undenominational schools with 48 teachers and 793 scholars.

POST-PRIMARY SCHOOLS.—Over a lengthy period of years, one of the most striking features of New Zealand education has been the proportion of pupils who proceed to some form of post-primary schooling at the conclusion of the primary course. In 1943, approximately 77 per cent. of the children leaving public primary schools and intermediate schools and departments went on to full-time post-primary schooling. As a result of the raising of the school leaving-age referred to below, this percentage in 1944 rose to 87. The movement towards free secondary education for all began in 1901, when free places were introduced in the district high schools. In 1903 it became obligatory on all State post-primary schools to provide some free places, and from 1914 every child who had passed the Proficiency Examination was entitled to free education for at least two years in any State post-primary school. The final step was taken in 1936, when the Proficiency Examination was abolished and free post-primary education to the end of the year in which he is nineteen was offered to every child gaining a Primary School Certificate or attaining the age of fourteen years. As mentioned earlier in this section, every child as from 1st February, 1944, must attend school until the age of fifteen years is reached. Free places are available to those who have reached this age and who have not been awarded a Primary School Certificate. Extension beyond the age of nineteen is allowable in special cases approved by the Minister.

Post-primary schools are either public (State) or private. The following table shows the number and types of post-primary schools in existence during each of the last five years.

Year.State Secondary Schools.Combined Schools.Secondary Departments of District High Schools.Technical high Schools.Maori Secondary Schools.Endowed and Private Secondary Schools.Totals.

A combined school is an amalgamation of a secondary and a technical school under a single governing body. District high schools are public primary schools with a secondary “top.” The basic course is academic, as in the normal secondary school; but, where staffing and equipment allow, special courses are provided in agriculture, commercial work, and domestic science. Technical schools are described later in this section.

Until 1904, secondary schools were established by special (local) Acts of the General Assembly, and the majority of schools giving post-primary education have been established in this manner. At the present time the provisions of the 1914 Education Act allow the Minister of Education to establish such schools. State secondary schools and combined schools are controlled by Boards of Governors, and district high schools by the Education Boards.

The inspection of State secondary schools is regularly carried out by four Inspectors and of technical schools by three Inspectors, attached to the Education Department. Combined schools are inspected by both secondary and technical Inspectors. In addition, there is a woman Inspector of home science.

The number of pupils at the end of each of the last five years is shown in the following table. No account is taken of lower departments of secondary schools, and in the case of district high schools only the secondary departments are included.

Year.State Secondary Schools.Combined Schools.District High Schools.Technical High Schools.Maori Secondary Schools.Endowed and Private Secondary Schools.Correspondence School.Totals.

In addition to the foregoing, there were, in July, 1944, 14,243 part-time students attending technical classes and 1,362 students receiving part-time tuition from the Correspondence School.

At the end of 1944, of the total scholars attending State secondary schools, 8,716 were boys and 8,187 girls; combined schools, 1,781 and 1,452; secondary departments of district high schools, 2,773 and 3,414; technical schools, 5,915 and 4,318; endowed and registered private secondary schools, 3,344 and 4,034; and Maori secondary schools, 167 and 320.

Technical Schools.—The technical schools fall roughly into two types: (a) Those in the small centres, which provide for all the post-primary needs and are distinguishable from secondary schools only by having in general a rather more strongly developed practical side; and (b) the large technical schools in the main centres, in which there is less evidence of the generalized academic curriculum, since this is adequately provided by the city secondary schools.

However, even in the latter type most of the courses in the day schools are still designedly pre-vocational and not genuinely “technical” in character. Technical schools are controlled either by a Board of Managers or by the Education Board of the district acting in a similar capacity.

There were twenty-one technical schools in 1944. The following table shows the number of pupils taking the different courses available (as at 1st July in each of the last five years).

Commercial and general4,6144,1993,9774,1404,497

Technical Classes.—The number of centres at which technical classes for part-time day and evening students are given was 59 in 1944. These technical classes, on the whole, are more in the nature of trade classes than the usual technical-school course, but many of the pupils attend in order to continue their general post-primary education, and a great number to be trained only in shorthand, typing, and book-keeping.

The number of individual students in 1944 was:—

Classes conducted by Education or High School Boards3,084
Classes conducted by Technical School Boards or by Managers10,747
Classes conducted by University colleges412

Of the above number, 8,665 (5,975 males and 2,690 females) held free places.

Probable Destination of Post-primary Pupils.—An indication of the vocations intended to be followed by pupils leaving public post-primary schools during 1944 is contained in the next table. Of the totals, 7-8 per cent. of boys and 3.1 per cent. of girls intended to proceed to full-time university studies, while a further 2.0 per cent. of boys and 6.7 per cent. of girls stated their intention of entering the teaching profession. Clerical occupations (including typing) claimed 14.3 per cent. of boys and 7.3 per cent. of girls, shops warehouses, 8.9 per cent. and 14.9 per cent.; manual trades, 28.2 per cent. and 4.6 per cent.; farming 21.7 per cent. and 3.1 per cent; and 21.0 per cent. of girls intended to stay at home.

Occupation.Secondary Schools.Combined Schools.Technical High and Day Schools.District High Schools.Totals.
University college38615601205285111550195
Teaching or training college79232224021472197143416
Professional engineering, surveying, architecture3713 22311 734
Clerical (including typing)—Government and local authority189136382369977277368333
Banks, insurance, legal, commercial houses, &c.4095297789114528422286421,374
Shop and warehouse assistants261351396222930995-210024932
Manual Trades—          
Government and local authority42320 55223814013
Building79 38 215164 3901
Motor engineering87 37 174 48 346 
General engineering64 40 345 31 480 
Printing1314 42771669
Other trades152715242861857612566272
Factory operatives32246268551824124105
Other occupations150430486521820552120468820
Not known711155112421152532343273

Duration of Post-primary Course.—The following table gives particulars of pupils who left public post-primary schools in 1944 according to the length of school life at such schools. The approximate average length of stay at the various types of school was: secondary schools, 2 years 11 months; combined schools, 2 years 9 months; technical high and day schools, 2 years 3 months; secondary departments of district high schools, 2 years 4 months; all post-primary schools, 2 years 7 months.