Table of Contents


THE fifty-fifth issue of the New Zealand Official Year-Book covers the years 1947 to 1949, the purpose of issuing the volume in this form being to overtake the arrears which have cumulated over the war and post-war years in the date of presentation of the Year-Book.

New features in the present issue include a Section on the national income of New Zealand; and a report (Appendix (e)) on the course of retail prices, with special reference to the consumers' price index compiled on a post-war base. The Section on labour laws and allied legislation has been completely revised, including much new material, while the set up of this Section has been rearranged to facilitate easy reference. The latest statistical data available on a number of important subjects are given in the introductory letterpress, with appropriate references to corresponding portions of the Year-Book. The object of this innovation is to make available in a convenient form for easy reference the most recent statistics on important subjects.

My thanks are due to Mr. J. Gilchrist, Editor of the Year-Book, and to the Editorial Staff for the manner in which they have carried out their duties. The co-operation of officers of this and other Government Departments is also gratefully acknowledged.

G. E. WOOD, Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Department, Wellington C. 1, 15th February, 1950.


Table of Contents

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

* With a summary for the year 1946–47.

† £1 1s. per annum (post free).

‡ Other volumes to follow.

§ Out of print.

   s.  d.d.
New Zealand Official Year-Book1947–49April, 19507 68
Annual Statistical Reports—    
  Population and Buildings1947–48May, 19492  61
  Vital Statistics1944Aug., 19495  02
  Social Statistics1943, 1944, and 1945Aug., 19472  61
  Trade and Shipping (Part 1)1944May, 194810  04
  Trade and Shipping (Part II)1943 and 1944July, 19485  02
  Agricultural and Pastoral Production1947–48Dec., 19493  61
  Factory Production1944–45 and 1945–46*May, 19495  04
  Insurance1943, 1944, and 1945Aug., 19472  01
  Miscellaneous (Banking, Bankruptcy, Building Societies, Cinematograph Theatres, Tramways)1943, 1944, and 1945Jan., 19492  61
  Prices, Wages, and Labour Statistics1947Jan., 19492  61
  Industrial Accidents1943 and 1944June, 19482  61
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand1945–46Oct., 19487  64
Pocket Compendium of New Zealand Statistics1948–49Aug., 19491  01
Monthly Abstract of Statistics  2 61
  Retail Prices in New ZealandSpecial Spplmnt. (Oct.-Nov. Abstract)Dec., 19492  01
Volumes of 1945 Census Results    
  Increase and Location of Population1945Dec. 19474  62
  Poultry1945May, 19482  61
  Island Territories1945June, 19482  61
  Ages and Marital Status1945July, 19495  02
  Interim Returns of Ages, Marital Status Religious Professions, Birthplaces, Duration of Residence of Overseas-born, Race, War Service, Industries, Occupations, Occupational Status and Travelling Time1945Jan., 19492  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 Libraries§1936May, 1940  
  Life Tables1936Dec., 19441  61

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


FOR some of the statistical series included in this issue of the Year-Book later information is available than is included in the body of the book. This later information is given in the following paragraphs, with references to the appropriate portion of the Year-Book containing more detailed information for earlier periods.


Inter-censal and Estimated Populations (pp. 23–38).—A further analysis of some of the more important results of the 1945 population census is included in Appendix (a), pp. 950–971. Recent population changes are given in the following table.


Year EndedMales.Females.Total.Mean Population for Year.
Total Population (Including Maoris)
30th September, 1948926,785922,2331,849,0181,832,029
31st December, 1948934,329927,5941,861,9231,841,531
31st March, 1949940,507932,7941,873,3011,851,291
30th June, 1949944,228936,2771,880,5051,861,183
30th September, 1949947,632940,4911,888,1231,871,087
Maori Population
30th September, 194857,11653,868110,984109,018
31st December, 194857,54954,220111,769109,948
31st March, 194958,01654,653112,669110,866
30th June, 194958,35355,033113,386111,762
30th September, 194958,81955,431114,250112,610

These figures exclude the population of Cook Islands and Niue (18,983 at 31st March, 1949), Tokelau Islands (1,434 at 31st March, 1949) and Western Samoa (75,381 at 31st March, 1949).

Population of Urban Areas.—Following are statistics of population (including Maoris) in the urban areas as at 1st April, 1949.

Urban Area.Total Population (Including Maoris).
New Plymouth23,300
Palmerston North31,100

Natural Increase.—Owing to the substantial increase in births in the last few years and the relative stability in the number of deaths (which will be referred to later), population gains from natural increase—i.e., excess of births over deaths—have been particularly marked in recent years, the excess of births over deaths increasing from 23,965 in 1945 to 32,362 in 1947 (a record level) with a slight recession to 31,864 in 1948. The annual average population gain from this source in the quinquennium 1941–45 was 20,925.

Migration.—The total number of arrivals in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1949, was 75,714, while the total number of departures in the same year was 71,687. Excluding crews and through passengers, arrivals totalled 35,946 and departures 31,765, making the net excess of arrivals 4,181, as compared with 5,756 in 1948, 3,038 in 1947, and 2,343 in 1946 (March years). A classification of total arrivals and departures gives the following results.

—–Year Ended 31st March,
Migration: Arrivals
Immigrants intending permanent residence9,64811,387
Permanent residents returning11,98712,840
Through passengers5,1363,073
Not stated31 
    Total arrivals72,45675,714
Migration: Departures
Permanent residents departing—  
Temporary residents departing10,89411,520
Through passengers5,1363,073
    Total departures65,84371,687

Recent statistics of the number of immigrants intending permanent residence show considerable increases; the arrivals under this heading having increased during the last five March years as follows: 1945, 1,704; 1946, 4,645; 1947, 8,106; 1948, 9,648 and 1949, 11,387. The resumption of assisted passages for certain classes of immigrants is reflected in the statistics. In the last two years the number coming under this heading totalled 1,137 in 1948 and 1,522 in 1949.


Vital statistics for the calendar years 1947 and 1948 are shown, in summary form, in the following table. Statistics in more detail for earlier years are given on pages 41–102.

Number.Rate per 1,000 of Mean Population.Number.Rate per 1,000 of Mean Population.
* Infant mortality rates per 1,000 live births.
    Total population49,80427.6349,14926.69
    Total population17,4429.6817,2859.39
Marriages (European population)18,52510.9217,1929.93
Infant deaths under one year—    

Births.—The total number of births registered in 1948 (49,149) has been exceeded only once in the history of the country, this occurring in 1947 when the registrations numbered 49,804. The birth-rate for 1947 (27.63 per 1,000 of total population) is the highest on record in recent years; and, in fact, it is necessary to go back to 1912 to find a higher rate recorded in New Zealand. The high rate of marriages and the extension of family benefits under the Social Security Act may be mentioned as two factors contributing to the recent high level of births. The decrease in the number of births in 1948 is a reflection of the decrease in marriages, which have shown considerable decreases since the peak year of 1946. Another factor is the considerable decline in the proportion of first births to total births in 1948. Figures from 1939 to 1948, with the exception of 1942, for which year figures of first births are not available, are given below.


Year.Total Legitimate Cases.Legitimate First Cases.Proportion of First to Total Births.
   Per Cent.

During the early war years, for obvious reasons, the rate of first births rose to a high level. During the later war years this proportion dropped heavily, but a definite rising trend commenced in 1945 and continued until 1947. It would thus appear that the major factor in the rising birth-rate of these years can be attributed to the increase in the first-birth rate, which is in itself a natural accompaniment of the steep rise in the marriage-rate from 1944 to 1946.

Deaths.—For the third year in succession the death-rate has fallen, the rate for the total population in 1948 being 9.39 per 1,000 of population (9.13 per 1,000 for Europeans). The absence of any widespread fatal epidemic and an exceptionally low infant-mortality rate are probably the two major factors responsible for keeping the death-rate down during 1948.

Infant Mortality.—New Zealand's infant-mortality rate—i.e., the number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births—in respect of its population other than Maori is normally the lowest of any country in the world. The figure for 1948, 21.95 per 1,000, again sets a new low record for this country. This achievement is all the more satisfactory when it is considered that New Zealand has enjoyed the reputation of remarkably low infant-mortality rates for very many years, and has nevertheless succeeded in further lowering the level by over 8 per 1,000 live births in the short space of the five years 1944–48. At the same time, there is no room for complacency in this respect, as other countries are also achieving appreciable improvements in their infant mortality, and, indeed, Sweden has during two out of the last three years succeeded in equalling New Zealand's rate.

Still-births and Neo-natal Deaths.—The principal factors in infant mortality are antenatal influences which 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 1 month of age) and still-births in conjunction, as in the following table, which relates to the population exclusive of Maoris. In the computation of the rates for numbers inclusive of still-births, the latter are taken into account in both births and deaths.

Still-births.Neo-natal Deaths.Neo-natal Deaths plus Still-births.

For a number of years the still-birth and neo-natal death-rates counterbalanced one another, but the trend of more recent years has been towards a steady reduction in both of these rates, as well as in the combined rate. The latter rate for 1948 creates a new low record.

Maternal Mortality.—The maternal-mortality rate—i.e., the number of deaths of women from the diseases and accidents of pregnancy and child-birth (excluding septic abortion)—per 1,000 live births for the year 1947 was 0.85. This easily constituted a record for New Zealand. The rate for 1948 indicated a slight rise, but the figure of 1.06 is still well below the average rate for the last ten years.


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

It is generally conceded that in years of unusually high birth-rates the maternal-mortality rate tends to rise, but the reverse has been the experience in recent years in this country. Even with the addition of deaths from septic abortion, the total death-rate from puerperal causes was only 1.26 per 1,000 live births in 1948.

Marriages.—The annual number of marriages celebrated in New Zealand gradually rose as the country emerged from the depression years until a very high peak was attained in the early war years, 1939 and 1940. With the recruitment into overseas war service of eligible young men, this total declined considerably to 11,579 in 1943. From then on successive annual increases in both number and rate were experienced until a new record was established in 1946 with a total of 20,535 marriages and a rate of 12.38 per 1,000 of mean population. The figures of the immediate post-war period contain a high proportion of delayed marriages, and the reduction in 1947 to 18,525, and in 1948 to 17,192 has resulted in a rate for 1948 of 9.93 per 1,000 of mean population, which is lower than that recorded in 1938 and 1939. As has already been pointed out in these notes, the effects of the falling marriage rate are reflected in the decrease in the birth-rate.


Farm Production

Crops (pp. 899–914).—Following is a summary of the principal crop statistics for the production year 1948–49.


Name of Crop.Areas, 1948–49.Yields.
  For threshing146,707Bushel5,958,026
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage868Ton1,852
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.1,078  
  For threshing78,300Bushel3,718,597
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage67,492Ton122,518
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.49,058  
  For threshing58,707Bushel2,256,362
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage671Ton1,140
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.11,429  
  For threshing6,588Bushel357,270
  For ensilage67Ton284
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.5,793  
Peas for threshing49,152Bushel1,195,196
Rye-grass harvested for seed—   
  Italian (including western wolths)4,095lb.1,818,747
  Short rotation (HI)8,629lb.3,015,314
Cocksfoot harvested for seed6,680lb.1,193,364
Chewings fescue harvested for seed19,436lb.5,264,611
Crested dogstail harvested for seed7,913lb.1,770,377
Red clover (including cowgrass) harvested for seed21,299lb.3,569,818
White clover harvested for seed27,303lb.3,544,789
Fodder crops—   
  Grasses and clovers cut for hay533,471Ton1,077,198
  Grasses and clovers cut for ensilage67,913Ton283,127
  Lucerne cut for hay or ensilage47,224Ton110,937

The yield of wheat in the 1949 harvest season was 5,958,026 bushels, an increase of 1,419,009 bushels above the total yield in the previous season. The acreage harvested rose from 123,751 acres in 1947–48 to 146,707 acres in 1948–49—a rise of 18.6 per cent. Moreover, the yield per acre (40.41 bushels) was the highest on record, the next highest yield being in the 1944–45 season (38.02 bushels). The acreage under oats for grain also showed an increase—in this instance from 63,159 acres in 1947–48 to 78,300 acres in 1948–49—while the aggregate yield rose from 2,853,517 bushels to 3,718,597 bushels The acreage of barley threshed showed a considerable decrease (from 63,159 acres in 1947–48 to 58,707 acres in 1948–49), although the yield rose from 2,087,900 bushels in the former year to 2,256,362 bushels in the latter year.

The potato crop in 1948–49 totalled 109,644 tons, a very large reduction of 45,374 tons or 29.3 per cent. on the 1947–48 harvest; while a decrease was also recorded in the onion crop (10,674 tons in 1948–49, compared with 13,585 tons in 1947–48).

The area under tobacco increased from 3,402 acres in 1947–48 to 3,484 acres in 1948–49—a new record acreage under this crop. In addition to this area, a quite considerable acreage is grown within borough boundaries. Acreages of grasses and clovers harvested for seed in 1948–49 also increased when compared with those of the previous year. The acreage of perennial rye-grass rose from 44,738 acres in 1947–48 to 51,226 acres in 1948–49—the yield rising from 16,784,436 lb. to 17,159,333 lb.

Live-stock (pp. 914–928).—In the following table the numbers of live-stock on holdings at 31st January, 1948 and 1949, are given.


  Dairy stock—  
    Breeding-bulls, two years old and over57,46457,527
    Dairy cows and heifers, two years old and over—  
      Cows in milk at any time during season1,713,5321,746,753
      Heifers not yet in milk68,07162,918
      Cows not in milk during season, but intended for milking in future40,51643,080
      One and under two years old356,507365,851
      Under one year old369,289373,432
    Bulls and bull calves under two years old intended for dairy breeding32,91031,867
        Totals, dairy stock2,638,2892,681,428
  Beef stock—  
    Breeding-bulls, two years old and over22,87422,129
    Beef cows and heifers, two years old and over (including culls from dairying herds)775,654756,354
      One and under two years old194,143197,930
      Under one year old190,804185,756
    Steers, two years old and over (including bulls intended for slaughter)463,686446,689
    Steers and bulls, one and under two years old198,563202,788
    Bulls and steer calves under one year old232,274229,762
        Totals, beef stock2,077,9982,041,408
        Totals, all cattle4,716,2874,722,836
  Under six months old330,914333,056
  Six months and under one year old136,133130,649
  Boars, one year old and over12,77612,831
  Sows, one year old and over68,35468,305
        Totals, pigs548,177544,841
  Draught and three-quarter draught81,87174,004
  Spring-cart or light artillery (including half draught)32,34631,380
  Hacks and light working-horses73,88273,709
  Thoroughbred and other horses15,78616,962
        Totals, horses203,885196,055

The total number of cattle in New Zealand on 31st January, 1949, was 4,722,836, compared with the previous record total of 4,716,287 in 1948. Dairy stock rose from 2,638,289 in 1948 to 2,681,428 in 1949, while beef stock fell slightly from 2,077,998 in the former year to 2,041,408 in the latter year.

The number of dairy cows in milk during the season rose slightly (from 1,713,532 in 1947–48 to 1,746,753 in 1948–49), while butterfat production increased from 420,000,000 lb. in the 1947–48 dairying season to 460,000,000 lb. in the 1948–49 season, better climatic conditions prevailing during the latter season.

Sheep.—A collection of statistics of sheep population is made through Inspectors of Stock on 30th April. Following are the results (in summarized form) of the last two collections of this data.


Dry ewes635,242635,242
    Total sheep population32,483,13832,844,918

The foregoing statement shows the position at 30th April of each year, and at this stage the meat-slaughtering season is well advanced, consequently the figures do not represent maximum sheep population. Estimates of lambing made from reports furnished by Inspectors of Stock show the total production of lambs in the 1949 season to amount to 20,744,150 lambs, as compared with 19,805,885 lambs actually tailed in the 1948 season.

Farm Machinery (pp. 895–898).—Statistics of farm machinery on holdings in 1948 and 1949 are given in the following table.


Electric motors—  
Internal combustion engines—  
Rotary hoes and garden tractors—  
Agricultural tractors—  
  Cow capacity118,548123,511
Cows in milk on holdings employing milking-machines1,574,3391,616,265

Persons engaged on Farms.—Statistics were collected of the number of persons engaged in farm-work on holdings of 1 acre and over outside borough boundaries on 31st January, 1949. The figures include occupiers and those members of the occupier's family over school age who actually work on the farm; but exclude temporary workers (such as those engaged in harvesting or shearing operations), domestic servants or cooks, and workers engaged in flax-mills or other registered factories which may happen to be situated on a holding. Wives and daughters of farmers are not included unless the greater part of their time is spent in farm-work.

The following table shows a comparison of changes in the number of persons engaged on farms, statistics not being collected during the period 1931–46.

Persons engaged on Farms.

It will be seen that the total number of persons engaged on farms has fallen by 16,735 between 1930 and 1949, the fall in the case of males being 10,075 and in the case of females 6,660. There was a considerably greater relative fall in female employment on farms, although of recent years the number of females has shown a slight but steady increasing tendency. It should be borne in mind that this collection covers only those permanently engaged in farm-work and does not cover seasonal employees.

The following statistics afford some indication of the principal changes in the volume of farm-work since 1930, and, as such, are of interest when taken in conjunction with the change in the number of persons engaged on farms.

Unit.1930.1949.Percentage Increase.

* Decrease.

†1948 year.

Number of farm holdingsNumber85,16787,076+2.2
Total area cultivatedAcres19,156,07420,128,199+5.1
Area under cropsAcres1,283,9471,176,716-8.4*
Area under sown grassesAcres16,872,94817,842,399+5.7
Area top-dressedAcres2,650,7485,062,412+91.0
Dairy cows in milkNumber1,368,9561,746,753+27.6
Sheep shornNumber26,999,41030,277,551+12.1
Lambs tailedNumber14,887,59919,805,885+33.0

It is clear that there has been, in the aggregate, a considerable increase in farming activity between 1930 and 1949, despite the fall in the number of persons engaged. Statistics of farm machinery on holdings in the two years indicate greatly increased mechanization of New Zealand farming. This is illustrated by the following figures.

1930.1949.Percentage Increase.
Electric motors16,45694,047+471.5
Internal-combustion engines19,16926,199+36.7
Agricultural tractors3,89127,447+605.4
Milking plants20,41534,114+67.1

It will be seen that the increase in various types of farm machinery has been most substantial.

The changes in the regional distribution of persons engaged on farms (males only) between 1930 and 1949 show some interesting features. Following are the figures.


Land District.1930.1949.Increase (+), Decrease (-), per Cent.
North Auckland16,06716,275+1.3
South Auckland21,21323,685+11.7
Hawkes Bay7,5177,461-0.7
    Totals, New Zealand119,321109,246-8.4
    Totals, North Island76,17175,352-1.1
    Totals, South Island43,15033,894-21.5

It will be seen that a considerable increase in the numbers of male persons engaged in farming has taken place in the South Auckland Land District, slight increases in North Auckland and Gisborne, while in the southern portion of the North Island and in the South Island considerable decreases have taken place.

Top-dressing.—The improvement in the area top-dressed shown in the statistics for 1947–48 continued in 1948–49, when 5,062,412 acres were top-dressed, as compared with 4,684,225 acres in 1947–48. The highest acreage top-dressed hitherto recorded was in the 1940–41 season, when 4,649,000 acres were treated. Owing to wartime shortages of fertilizers, top-dressing fell away in the next three seasons, the 1943–44 area being 3,370,000 acres. Since 1943–44 a very substantial improvement has taken place, the latest figure being the highest on record.

Estimated Areas of Principal Crops, 1950 Season.—Estimates of areas sown under wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes were collected in the spring of 1949 by inquiry from growers of these crops. Following are the estimates.

Acreages under Principal Crops.
1948–49 (Final Acres).1949–50 (Estimated Acres).
Peas for threshing49,15243,000

Factory Production

Following are the principal statistics of factory production in the years 1938–39, 1946–47 and 1947–48. It should be noted that the 1946–47 figures of “cost of materials” and “value of output” have been amended since the Section on Factory Production (pp. 360–390) and the Statistical Summary (p. 940) were printed off.

Production Year
Number of—   
  Persons engaged—   
Salaries and wages paid—   
  To males £(000)19,48638,84044,761
  To females £(000)2,7846,4977,372
        Totals £(000)22,27045,33652,133
Cost of materials £(000)75,635138,534181,773
Other expenses £(000)10,00218,24721,241
Value of output £(000)114,447218,106272,155
Added value £(000)38,81279,57290,332
Value of assets—   
  Fixed, including rented assets—   
    Land and buildings £(000)27,20238,06142,593
    Plant and machinery £(000)49,29675,45990,220
Floating assets—   
  Stocks of materials, &c. £(000)15,22038,08752,895
  Cash, debtors, &c. £(000)15,18035,05337,163
        Total investment £(000)106,898186,659222,871
Motive power—   
  Total H.p.(000)8481,2151,320
  Excluding electric supply industry H.p.(000)263406431
Averages per person engaged—   
  Salary or wage—   
    Males £254384421
    Females £108194216
    Both sexes £217337372
Added value £379591644

The quantities of some of the more important factory products in 1938–39, 1946–47, and 1947–48 are given in the following table.

* Carcase weight.
Food and drink—    
  Aerated waters and cordialsGallons2,803,0004,330,0004,312,000
  Ale and stoutGallons17,394,00029,941,00030,499,000
  Canned and pulped fruitCwt.88,00037,00051,000
  Canned vegetablesCwt.21,000114,000124,000
  FlourShort tons145,000155,000172,000
  Frozen beef*Cwt.1,102,0002,079,0002,080,000
  Frozen lambCarcases9,462,00011,454,00012,209,000
  Frozen muttonCarcases2,651,0003,072,0002,825,000
  Ham and bacon (cured)Cwt.164,000305,000282,000
  Ice-cream and ice-cream productsGallons808,0002,554,0002,714,000
  Jam and jelliesCwt.56,000137,000133,000
  Oatmeal, rolled oats, &c.Short tons7,00011,0009,000
  Preserved meatsCwt.82,000184,000183,000
  Sauces and picklesDoz. bot.166,000398,000343,000
  Tweed and clothYards1,251,0002,184,0002,247,000
  Boots and shoesPairs1,978,0003,152,0003,396,000
  HosieryDoz. pairs363,000571,000647,000
  Knitted outerwearDozen15,00077,00090,000
  Men's trousersNumber683,000647,000747,000
  Men's and boys'Number69,000222,000196,000
  Women's and girls'Number149,000396,000405,000
  Pyjamas and nightwearDozen57,000115,000111,000
  Agricultural limeTons481,000897,0001,012,000
  Chemical fertilizersTons475,000602,000619,000
  Soap (including toilet)Tons8,00013,00010,000
  Electricity generatedMillion kW.h.1,4142,5212,590
  Gas madeMillion cub. ft.4,1555,3295,457
  Radio receiversNumber25,00052,00049,000

Classification of Industries.—In the following table the principal factory statistics are classified according to four significant industrial groups. Group I comprises industries concerned with processing pastoral products; Group II, public utility industries (electricity generation and supply, gasworks); Group III, further industries closely associated with primary or extractive production (e.g., sawmilling); and Group IV, the remainder of factory industries, being those falling generally within the economic classification of “secondary” production. (For a detailed explanation see pages 376–377 of this Year-Book.)

Group and Industry.Persons engaged.Salaries and Wages paid.Cost of Materials.Value of Output.Added Value.
* Large increase due to incorporation of subsidies on guaranteed prices paid to dairy factories, previously paid direct to farmers.
Group I13,3913,83744,05251,0627,010
Group II5,6811,5585,5827,8402,258
Group III10,5792,5832,4097,0154,606
Group IV72,88414,29223,59248,53024,938
Group I17,2917,42866,20180,20314,002
Group II6,1992,4709,12912,4573,328
Group III11,5334,3854,33712,1107,773
Group IV99,41231,05458,867113,33654,469
Group I17,8778,16487,168*101,785*14,617
Group II6,1202,5489,29812,7683,469
Group III12,5235,3625,23914,9269,687
Group IV103,74736,05980,068142,67762,609

In the following table index numbers of the value and volume of production in each of the four classes and for all factory production are shown.


Production Year.
* Large increase due to incorporation of subsidies on guaranteed prices paid to dairy factories previously paid direct to farmers.
Group I (processing pastoral farm products)—   
  Added value178200209
  Value of products141157199*
  Volume of production124128128
Group II (public utility industries)—   
  Added value152147154
  Value of products149159163
  Volume of production147154158
Group III (processing natural resources)—   
  Added value158169210
  Value of products160173213
  Volume of production112113131
Group IV (“secondary” industries)—   
  Added value195218251
  Value of products206234294
  Volume of production134146159
Total, all groups—   
  Added value185205233
  Value of products171191238
  Volume of production131140151


Urban Districts.—Statistics of building permits issued in cities, boroughs, and town districts (to which are added four counties and two road districts in which the population is predominantly urban) during the year ended 31st March, 1949, are given below, together with (for purposes of comparison) statistics for the previous year.


Year ended 31st March,
Private dwellings—  
  New buildings—  
  Value of alterations and additions£1,613,063£1,937,576
Other buildings—  
  New buildings—  
  Value of alterations and additions£1,533,228£2,521,275
  New buildings—  
  Value of alterations and additions£3,146,291£4,458,851
      Grand total, value£21,426,625£26,430,453

Rural Districts.—Building-permit statistics for rural districts have been collected from counties and certain Road Boards, but in some few instances the statistics are incomplete or reliable estimates could not be supplied. In the latter cases, the Building Controller's authorizations have been used. The total value of building operations in the rural districts in the year ended 31st March, 1949, was £9,578,244 (£7,888,516 in 1947–48). The total number of new private dwellings in the rural districts covered by the collection was 5,034 in 1948–49 and 4,194 in 1947–48.

All Districts (Urban and Rural).—The total value of building operations represented by permits or authorizations issued in the year ended 31st March, 1949, in both urban and rural districts was £36,008,697 (£29,315,141 in March year, 1948). Included in this total were permits for 16,136 private dwellings (14,048 in March year, 1948). These totals include State building operations commenced in the years quoted, as do the statistics under the separate headings, urban and rural.


Statistics of external trade in the calendar year 1948, in continuation of the statistics included in pp. 202–261 of this Year-Book, are given below.

Total Commodity Trade.—Following are statistics of exports and imports in 1936–38 (yearly average), 1939, 1947, and 1948.

Calendar Year.Exports.Imports.Excess of Exports over Imports.
New Zealand Produce.Total Exports.
1936–38 (average)60,09160,61451,9478,667

Commodity-trade statistics for the calendar year 1948 show some interesting features. The value of exports during 1948 was the highest on record, while the value of imports was exceeded only once previously—i.e., in 1947. The total trade per head of mean population in 1948 was £149 17s. 11d. (exports £80 5s. 6d. and imports £69 12s. 5d.), a figure substantially higher than any recorded previously.

Although price changes have contributed materially to the high values of commodity trade—both exports and imports—compared with the pre-war years 1936–38, there has also been a considerable upward movement in the volume of trade. The following table illustrates this fact.


Calendar Year.Exports.Imports.
Value Index.Value at 1936–38 Prices.Value Index.Value at 1936–38 Prices.
£(m.)Volume Index.£(m.)Volume Index.
Total.Per Head.Total.Per Head.
1936–38 (average)10060.610010010051.9100100

Comparing the 1948 figures with the pre-war averages, it will be found that exports have increased by 144 per cent. in value and imports by 147 per cent. in value. The average level of export prices in 1948 was approximately 109 per cent. above the prewar level (1936–38), while import prices were 134 per cent. higher than pre-war. The total volume of imports in 1948 was 14 per cent. above the pre-war (1936–38) volume, while the volume of imports per head was one per cent. below the pre-war figure. The volume of exports in 1948 was 23 per cent. above the 1936–38 level.

Exports.—As indicated earlier, New Zealand's export commodity trade reached a record level in 1948, an increase of 14 per cent. in value being recorded between 1947 and 1948. The increase was almost wholly accounted for by the higher returns from wool (£(m.) 12.6) and butter (£(m.) 5.0). Items of some importance in which decreases in exports were recorded were cheese, rabbit-skins, and canned meat. An indication of the progress of exports in the main groups of commodities is afforded by the following table.


Calendar Year.Butter.Cheese.Frozen Meat.Wool.Hides, Pelts, and Skins.

Apart from the question of values, a special interest attaches to progress in the volume of our export trade in major export commodities. In the following table the fluctuations in the quantities of exports of butter, cheese, meat, and wool since 1937 are shown.

Calendar Year.Butter.Cheese.Frozen Meat.Wool.
* Record.
 Tons (000)Tons (000)Tons (000)Tons (000)

Quantities of meat and wool exported in 1948 were materially above the pre-war totals; while exports of butter, though more than 6 per cent. above the 1947 figure were still considerably below the record figure for 1937. The figures do not include wartime supplies to Allied Forces under mutual-aid arrangements, a factor of particular importance in 1943 and 1944.

Imports.—Imports for the year 1948 were valued at £128,200,692, almost equalling the record figure for 1947. The quantum of imports while still greatly in excess of the pre-war level, also receded slightly from the 1947 figure.

The following table shows values of the principal statistical classes of imports for the years 1947 and 1948.

Class.Calendar Year.Increase (+) or Decrease (-)
Food, drink, and tobacco15,416,35414,279,805-1,136,549
Textiles, fibres, and yarns26,651,16624,704,029-1,947,137
Oils, fats, and waxes7,247,4219,678,433+2,431,012
Metals and manufactures12,909,63216,918,550+4,008,918
Paper and stationery7,468,5766,940,829-527,747
Drugs, chemicals, and manures6,026,4725,330,475-695,997
Vehicles and accessories13,162,53411,669,752-1,492,782
Other classes16,080,29214,334,452-1,745,840
    Total imports128,724,841128,200,692-524,149

Direction of Trade.—Details are given below showing for the year 1948 the value of exports to and imports from each of the principal countries trading with New Zealand. The balance of trade has also been shown.

Country.Total Exports.Imports—Country of Shipment.Balance (+ = Excess of Exports; - = Excess of Imports).
United Kingdom107,912,43067,421,283+40,491,147
India and Pakistan791,9823,499,383-2,707,401
Ceylon37,4582,319,228- 2,281,770
Malaya and Singapore297,780897,203-599,423
British West Africa3,226633,806-630,580
Union of South Africa89,103753,936-664,833
Western Samoa320,183251,180+69,003
Other British Common-wealth countries819,1702,089,710-1,270,540
      Totals, British Commonwealth countries117,632,080101,687,386+15,944,694
Belgium1,496,2941,454,788+ 41,506
Denmark512,40027,721+ 484,679
Finland56,367239,421- 183,054
France8,308,189894,001+ 7,414,188
Italy753,111261,993+ 491,118
Netherlands2,848,838340,012+ 2,508,826
Russia (U.S.S.R.)2,544,38218,411+ 2,525,971
Switzerland253,524447,314- 193,790
Bahrein Islands1,7581,278,930- 1,277,172
Iran632,092,127- 2,092,064
United States of America7,272,63913,485,755-6,213,116
Tuamotu Archipelago52,533564,794- 512,261
Other countries4,822,2963,914,265+ 908,031
      Totals, other countries29,592,64326,513,306+ 3,079,337
Ships' stores598,139 + 598,139
    Totals, all countries147,822,862128,200,692+ 19,622,170

The visible balance of trade for 1948, an excess of exports amounting to £19,622,170, reflects the upward trend in export prices for New Zealand produce, the value of imports during the year varying little from the 1947 figure.

The substantial excess of exports shown in the trade accounts with France, Netherlands, and Russia, is due principally to sales of wool, negotiated by the Wool Disposal Commission, from accumulated stocks built up during the war years.

The trade deficit of £(m.) 14.8 with the United States of America in 1947 was reduced to £(m.) 6.2 in 1948. This was achieved by a drastic reduction of imports from £(m.)23.0 to £(m.)13.5. Exports at £(m.)7.3 fell only slightly from the previous year's figure of £(m.)8.2.

Trade with British Commonwealth countries in 1948 accounted for 80 per cent. of the total exports and 79 per cent. of the total imports. Approximately 78 per cent. of the exports were destined for sterling countries, while 73 per cent. of imports were shipped from sterling countries.

The following table shows for the years 1947 and 1948 the percentage of total exports to and imports from each of the principal countries trading with New Zealand. Ships' stores have been excluded from exports.

 Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.
United Kingdom76.6573.3042.7652.33
India and Pakistan0.380.543.662.78
Other British Commonwealth countries1.
    Totals, British Commonwealth countries84.1679.9072.4678.69
Bahrein Islands  0.851.00
Iran  1.461.64
United States of America6.354.9418.1210.78
Other countries2.896.103.174.49
    Totals, other countries15.8420.1027.5421.31


Banking and Currency

Reserve Bank (pp. 511–513).—The weekly averages of liabilities and assets of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand during the calendar year 1948 are shown below, together with the position as at the end of June, 1949.

Weekly Average, Calendar Year 1948.As at the end of June, 1949.
  Total liabilities (including other)125,359,132149,868,191
  Demand liabilities—  
  Total assets (including other)125,359,132149,868,191
  Sterling exchange reserve (in New Zealand currency)65,090,05358,963,306
  Advances to State—  
    Marketing organizations1,698,0553,875,191
    Other purposes37,619,25229,522,285
Net reserve ratio56.4043.04

Trading Banks (pp. 514–519).—A statement of the principal statistics of the operation of trading banks during the calendar year 1948 (weekly average statistics), together with the position as at the end of June, and September, 1949, is given below.

Weekly Average, Calendar Year 1948.As at the end of June, 1949.As at the end of September, 1949.
* During last week in month.
Bank debits—£££
Bank clearings25,253,55130,569,203*30,194,161*
Advances, including notes and hills discounted88,159,76479,948,95181,652,838
  Not bearing interest130,940,692147,913,067142,409,417
  Bearing interest42,690,25741,008,01042,292,917
Coin held1,393,1971,558,3061,382,832
Reserve Bank notes—   
  Notes held by trading banks8,133,7538,045,9148,198,070
  Net note circulation40,796,34442,264,02442,693,207
Ratio of advances to deposits50.1941.8543.80

An analysis of advances of the trading banks at quarterly intervals is published by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and the classification as at the last Wednesday in March of 1948 and 1949, is contained in the following table. Figures for earlier years will be found on page 518.

Advances toAs at last Wednesday in March,
Industries allied to primary production14,231,00017,178,000
Other manufacturing and productive industries14,183,00015,037,000
    Total advances92,520,00088,745,000

Overseas Assets of Banks (p. 521).—In the following table the overseas assets of banks (on account of New Zealand business only) are shown.

Overseas Assets at
End of March, 1949.End of June, 1949.End of September, 1949.
Trading banks' overseas assets—£ (N.Z.)£ (N.Z.)£ (N.Z.)
  In London20,163,41517,311,69014,917,218
Reserve Bank's holdings of sterling exchange50,826,39158,963,30647,570,597
Total gross overseas assets74,081,75380,935,93368,567,914
Overseas liabilities of trading banks6,506,5938,349,4929,831,336
Overseas liabilities of Reserve Bank129,11040,69712,069
Net overseas assets67,446,05072,545,74458,724,509

Savings-banks (pp. 522–525).—A summary of statistics of savings-banks at 31st March, 1949, is given below.

Post Office Savings-bank.Trustee Savings-banks.National Savings Accounts.
* War gratuities transferred to credit of depositors as from 1st April, 1949, and not included in the total given, amounted to £11,447,755.
Number of depositors1,311,292350,353 
Total amount of deposits during year70,690,64015,994,1307,032,119
Total amount of withdrawals during year67,722,72415,748,2233,943,079
Excess of deposits over withdrawals2,967,916245,9073,889,040
Interest credited to depositors3,438,790746,8241,037,921
Total amount to credit of depositors at end of March154,849,010*32,770,67740,197,218

During the calendar year 1949, deposits with the Post Office Savings-bank totalled £75,654,367 and withdrawals £70,626,571, resulting in an excess of deposits of £5,027,796. Deposits with trustee savings-banks in the same period totalled £17,142,616 and withdrawals £15,843,374, the excess of deposits amounting to £1,299,242. Deposits in national savings accounts in 1949 amounted to £8,436,994 and withdrawals to £4,041,439, leaving an excess of deposits of £4,395,555.

Overseas Receipts and Payments (p. 207).—The following statement, in continuation of that published on page 207 of this Year-Book, gives statistics of exchange-control transactions for the calendar year 1948, and for the years ended 31st March and 30th September, 1949. This statement is compiled by the Reserve Bank.

Year Ended 31st December, 1948.Year Ended 31st March, 1949.Year Ended 30th September, 1949.
  Interest, dividends, legacies, immigrants' funds, repatriated capital, and private debts due in New Zealand17,36414,52712,208
  Trade debts due in New Zealand, including overseas earnings of New Zealand firms8,4238,1875,823
  Commissions, royalties, and insurance931828869
  Donations and allowances1,0691,0801,139
  Travellers' expenses813787843
  Receipts by High Commissioner in London937577870
    Total receipts174,808169,882160,436
  Imports, excluding payments in respect of Government imports108,189105,329104,287
  Interest, dividends, legacies, emigrants' funds, repatriated capital, and private debts due overseas12,25413,29013,792
  Trade debts due overseas, including earnings in New Zealand of overseas firms5,6665,5935,783
  Government debt and other services, including payments in respect of imports46,57939,80626,890
  Local-body-debt services1,6551,8161,183
  Commissions, royalties, and insurance1,3831,4412,051
  Donations and allowances1,2751,2251,242
  Film hire and entertainments569627686
  Travellers' expenses2,4322,6453,773
    Total payments180,000171,773159,688


Consolidated Fund (pp. 405–408).—The following table contains a summary of the receipts of the Ordinary Revenue Account of the Consolidated Fund for the financial years ended 31st March, 1948 and 1949.

* Includes £20,000,000 stock issued on account of exchange adjustment as from 20th August, 1948.
Interest on capital liability—  
Post and Telegraph746,316659,045
Other accounts2,017,9342,784,808
Interest on Public Debt Redemption Fund300,724 
Interest on other public moneys1,937,7531,771,936
Profits on trading undertakings2,171,7552,197,300
Departmental receipts13,840,71013,047,757
Other receipts1,77020,001,330*

The Ordinary Revenue Account of the Consolidated Fund covers the ordinary revenue and expenditure of the General Government—i.e., apart from capital items, commercial and special undertakings, advances, &c. Until comparatively recent years its operation afforded an excellent comparison of State revenue from year to year, hut successive changes in system have largely destroyed the comparability of the figures. This applies particularly to the last few years, in which certain amounts previously shown as credits in reduction of expenditure have been treated as receipts. This change in the mode of presentation of the public accounts was not brought into full operation until 1946–47, but the figures for 1945–46 and previous years shown in Section 24A have been adjusted to bring them into line with present practice.

The next table contains a summary of payments from the Consolidated Fund for the financial years 1947–48 and 1948–49.

Permanent appropriations—££
  Civil list101,72498,923
  Debt services26,612,33926,029,077
  Transfer to War Expenses Account2,055,0002,000,000
  Superannuation (subsidy and contribution)200,0002,530,000
  Payment to Reserve Bank (liability alteration in exchange rate) for 20,576,207
    Totals, permanent appropriations29,321,25251,761,942
Annual appropriations—  
  Prime Minister's Department156,966221,449
  External Affairs673,909621,151
  General Administration7,060,4055,986,211
  Law and Order1,536,6791,693,627
  Maintenance of Public Works and Services6,405,2346,759,475
  Maintenance of Highways3,404,0813,920,772
  Development of Primary and Secondary Industries5,596,5806,235,335
  Social Services—  
    Mental Hospitals1,243,332
    War and other Pensions4,688,3124,926,081
    Payment to Social Security Fund16,000,00015,000,000
  Other Services not provided for68,845127,800
    Totals, annual appropriations86,009,15187,131,212
    Grand totals115,330,403138,893,154

Taxation credited up to the year 1945–46 to the War Expenses Account was in later years paid to the Consolidated Fund, and, per contra, certain expenditure previously charged to the War Expenses Account was met from the Consolidated Fund. Votes coming within this category are Stabilization (£11,687,137 in 1948–49 and £14,621,917 in 1947–48), included under the heading of Finance in the above table, and Defence (£10,385,341 in 1948–49, and £9,382,091 in 1947–48). Also, the amounts transferred to the Social Security Fund were £15,000,000 in 1948–49 and £16,000,000 in 1947–48, as compared with only £7,000,000 in 1945–46. Again, there were transfers to the War Expenses Account of £2,000,000 in 1948–49 and £2,055,000 in 1947–48 with no corresponding amount in 1945–46.

Taxation (pp. 414–430).—Particulars of revenue from taxation for the financial years 1946–47, 1947–48, and 1948–49, are contained in the following table.

Item of Revenue.1946–47.1947–48.1948–49.
* Abolished from 1st April, 1947 and shown in former years under war taxation.
Consolidated Fund—£££
  Customs revenue15,718,98324,390,88119,111,486
  Beer duty4,251,5094,404,0514,555,374
  Motor-vehicles taxation2,972,0363,543,9543,613,743
  Death duties5,951,6765,666,1726,032,390
  National security tax*9,404,221772,029 
Social security taxation—   
  Social security charge22,383,88426,176,63429,378,385
  Registration fee, &c.19,769124125
    Grand totals113,119,046122,275,911130,440,249

Taxation receipts of the Consolidated Fund were augmented during 1946–47 and later years by the crediting to that Fund of receipts formerly included under the heading of war taxation and credited to the War Expenses Account.

A summary showing the amounts received from direct taxes on income and from all sources during the last ten years is now given.

Year.Direct Taxes on Income (including War and Social Security Charges on Income).Total Taxation.
Amount.Per Head of Mean Population.Percentage of Total Taxation.Amount.Per Head of Mean Population.
 ££s.d. ££s.d.

Stale Indebtedness (pp. 430–444).—The public debt as at 31st March, 1949, amounted to £614,985,632, an increase of £16,110,202, as compared with a year earlier. New issues during the year amounted to £52,250,860, made up of £1,330 for purchase of Bank of New Zealand shares, £28,284,425 for the National Development Loans Account, renewal of loans falling due £964,850, exchange adjustment £20,000,000, repayments in London £3,000,000, and miscellaneous £255. Redemptions during the year from the Loans Redemption Account amounted to £12,192,993.

The following table shows for each of the ten years ended 31st March, 1949, the amount of debt outstanding according to country of domicile. The amounts shown are exclusive of £(N.Z.)26,191,109 debt due to the Imperial Government, on which interest payments have been suspended by agreement since 1931.

As at 31st March,Amount domiciled inTotal Debt.
London.Australia.New Zealand.Amount.Per Head of Population.
 £(N.Z.)£(N.Z.)£(N.Z.)£ (N.Z.)£s.d.

The annual interest charge on the public debt as at 31st March, 1949, was £16,716,404, and the average rate of interest was £2 14s. 4d. per cent.


Information concerning the various benefits under the Social Security Act, 1938, is contained in Section 25 of this Year-Book. The increases granted during 1949 and effective from the 1st June of that year have been incorporated in the text.

A summary showing particulars of the various social security benefits and war pensions in force at the end of March, 1949, together with total payments during the financial year 1948–49 is as follows:—

Class of Benefit or Pension.As at 31st March, 1949.Payments during Year Ended 31st March, 1949.
Number in Force.Annual Value.
* Exclusive of £63,429 recoveries under maintenance orders, widows' benefits.
Social security benefits— ££
  Universal superannuation65,8391,975,1701,850,079
  Maori War  10
  Sickness4,426 911,107
  Unemployment30 8,948
  Emergency2,031 251,409
War pensions—   
  1914–18 War19,3202,042,3232,104,627
  1939–45 War27,1872,253,4211,906,232
  War veteran's allowance3,367613,458562,634
  South African War413,7683,892
  Mercantile-marine pensions232,1842,700
  Emergency Reserve Corps101,4631,447
Sundry pensions and annuities15926,30027,301
    Grand totals513,37838,454,61839,001,162

Payments from the Social Security Fund on account of medical benefits, &c., for the year ending 31st March, 1949 are as follows:—

Benefits.Payments during 1948–19.


Retail Prices (pp. 620–623).—The consumers' price index, base: 1st quarter, 1949 (= 1000) was 1002 in quarter ended June, 1949, 1014 in quarter ended September, 1949, and 1018 in quarter ended December, 1949. A description of this index number, together with figures for previous periods, is given in Appendix (e) of this Year-Book. Details for the quarter ended 30th September, 1949, are given below together with the indices for the June, 1949 quarter.


Base: Weighted average twenty-one towns, first quarter, 1949 (= 1000)

Food.Housing.Fuel and Lighting.
Meat and Fish.Fruits, Vegetables, and Eggs.Other Foods.All Food.Rent.Other Housing.All Housing.
Quarter ended—        
  1949—March 31st10001000100010001000100010001000
    June 30th1006978102010071000100010001001
    September 30th110199210271037999100010001028
    December 31st1116106110111047999100010001039
Clothing and Footwear.Miscellaneous.All Groups.
Clothing.Footwear.Clothing and Footwear.Household Durable Goods.Other Commodities.Services.All Miscellaneous.
Quarter ended—        
  1949—March 31st10001000100010001000100010001000
    June 30th10001003100199899810009991002
    September 30th10051018100799599710019981014
    December 31st99610221000993996101510021018


Base: Weighted average twenty-one towns, first quarter, 1949 (= 1000)

Quarter Ended 30th June, 1949.Quarter Ended 30th September, 1949.
Food.Housing.Fuel and Lighting.Clothing and Footwear.Miscellaneous.All Groups.Food.Housing.Fuel and Lighting.Clothing and Footwear.Miscellaneous.All Groups.
* In calculating these all-groups index numbers, the missing aggregates for the Clothing and Footwear and Miscellaneous groups were supplied from the first ten towns.
  Four chief centres999102395099999710011033102298210049971014
New Plymouth10349531092101398810071045951111010239881013
Palmerston North1036964102010371010101810559811039104710141030
  Six provincial towns1032958106710111004101010509621086101810021018
Whangarei10139301250  1003*10589331252  1020*
Tauranga10429741004  1005*10739841031  1022*
Rotorua10219721099  1002*10639621218  1022*
Gisborne9999431343  1006*10279401369  1016*
Wanganui10069461140  1010*10309441144  1019*
Masterton10299501202  1012*10509541221  1021*
Blenheim10319711266  1020*10419771280  1025*
Greymouth10149321051  990*10139231068  990*
Ashburton10159101389  997*10399011411  1005*
Timaru1004970984  988*10189761004  990*
Oamaru9999291040  985*10369261157  1004*
  Eleven other towns10149491141  1001*10379481169  1012*

Wholesale Prices (pp. 623–625).—Index numbers of wholesale prices for the year 1948 and for November, 1949, are shown below:—


Group.1948.November, 1949.
1. Foodstuffs, &c., of vegetable origin—  
    A. Agricultural produce17352025
    B. Fresh fruit and vegetables1646 
    C. Milled agricultural products869900
    D. Other foods and groceries of vegetable origin21422064
    A–D. Four sub-groups combined17891813
2. Textile manufactures20242004
3. Wood and wood products17721865
4. Animal products—  
    A. Meats16911667
    B. Semi-manufactured animal products (not foods)8781100
    C. Leather17321790
    D. Other foods and groceries of animal origin12161198
    A–D. Four sub-groups combined14681465
5. Metals and their products24012399
6. Non-metallic minerals and their products—  
    A. Mineral oils16911656
    B. Coal13381470
    C. Other non-metallic minerals and their products15251678
    A–C. Three sub-groups combined15221584
7. Chemicals and manures18211502
        All groups combined18371840


1948.November, 1949.
Consumers' goods—  
  Class I: Foodstuffs16511625
  Class II: Non-foods19521949
Producers' materials. &c.—  
  Class III: Materials for building and construction19682036
  Class IV : Materials for other industries18701867
Classes I and II combined17731760
Classes III and IV combined18921905
Locally produced commodities15011549
Imported commodities20892053
    All classes combined18371840

Share Prices (pp. 629–633).—Index numbers of share prices in 1948 together with the average for the ten months ending October, 1949, are given below.

Group.Index Numbers Base Average for each Group, 1938 (= 1000).
Average for 1948.Average for 10 Months Ended October, 1949.
Frozen meat20922002
Miscellaneous (including breweries)14041305
    All industrial groups14301362
Loan-agency companies17151705
    All finance, &c., groups16091558
    All groups combined15201460

Monthly statistics for 1948 and 1949 are given below:—


Industrial Groups.Finance Groups.All Groups.Industrial Groups.Finance Groups.All Groups.
* Month of December interpolated.


Employment (p. 712).—Statistics of numbers of notified vacancies, placements, and disengaged persons as reported by the National Employment Service are given below.

Average for YearOctober, 1949.
Vacancies at end of month—   
Placements during month—   
Disengaged persons at end of month—   

Statistics of employment in industry are now compiled by the Department of Labour and Employment. In the following table the distribution of employees in the main industrial groups in April, 1949, is shown. The figures cover units in which at least two persons (including working proprietors) are engaged.

Industry.Number of Establishments.Employment in April, 1949. (Excluding Working Proprietors.)Number of Working Proprietors (Both Sexes).
Primary industry73716,05824816,306681
Food, drink, and tobacco1,5419,0274,79613,8231,632
Textiles, clothing, and leather1,99712,69621,40834,1041,585
Building-materials and furnishings1,74317,1561,02418,1801,310
Engineering and metalworking3,98641,6603,84645,5063,482
Miscellaneous manufacturing1,17614,5725,69120,263763
Building and construction3,42233,84881834,6663,712
Transport and communication2,13848,1616,43354,5941,575
Domestic and personal services3,8199,86713,29623,1633,946
Administration and professional3,06837,89232,80570,697571
Power and water supply2238,1945878,7816
Distribution and finance11,88055,60930,66786,2768,408
Seasonal industries67720,8191,34122,160119

The following notes on the composition of various groups are necessary towards an understanding of the coverage of the figures. The figures quoted for “Primary industry” exclude farming, fishing, hunting, and trapping. In this connection it is of interest to record that the number of persons engaged on farms, including occupiers, on 31st January, 1949, was: males, 109,246; females, 12,140; total, 121,386. The figures given above for the “Food, drink, and tobacco” group exclude meat-processing, fruit and vegetable preserving, and dairy factories, which, with threshing, chaffcutting, and wool-stores, are included under the group “Seasonal industries.” Loading and unloading of ships are excluded from the group “Transport and communication.”

Wage-rates (pp. 634–645).—Index numbers of nominal wage-rates of adult male wage-earners in 1948 and at 30th September, 1949:—

Industrial Group.Average for Year 1948.As at 30th September, 1949.
Base: All Groups 1926–30 (= 1000).Base: Each Group 1926–30 (= 1000).Base: All Groups 1926–30 (= 1000).Base: Each Group 1926–30 (= 1000).
Provision of—    
  Food, drink, &c.1678151618451668
  Clothing, footwear, and textiles1601157017531719
  Building and construction1553151316841641
  Power, heat, and light1616147617441592
  Transport by water1797162419391752
  Transport by land1579150417151634
  Accommodation, meals, and personal service1475151815741620
Working in or on—    
  Wood, wicker, sea-grass, and fibre1632151517621635
  Stone, clay, glass, and chemicals1515148016491611
  Paper, printing, &c.1671140418221530
  Skins, leather, &c.1499143416351564
  Mines and quarries1647158017811709
  The land (farming pursuits)1470191216032085
    All Groups combined1588158817241724

Effective Weekly Wage-rates.—The index numbers quoted in Section 38 of this volume relate to nominal wage-rates—that is, they are based on actual or equivalent money rates without any allowance being made for changes in prices during the period under review. It is obvious that this factor is of considerable importance, for a rise in wage-rates may be offset by a fall in the purchasing-power of the monetary unit, while, on the other hand, a fall in money wages may be offset by a rise in the purchasing-power of money. Changes in the index numbers of retail prices are inversely proportional to changes in the purchasing-power of the pound, and index numbers of effective (or “real”) wage-rates can be arrived at by dividing the index numbers for nominal wage-rates by the corresponding index numbers for retail prices covering all groups of domestic expenditure.

The following table compares nominal and effective weekly wage-rates of adult male and female workers in each of the years 1939–49. The year 1949 is incomplete, but the first three quarters are shown. The base of the index numbers is in each case the average of the five years 1926–30 (= 1000).

Year.Retail Prices (All Groups).Nominal Weekly Wage-rates.Effective Weekly Wage-rates.
* Not available.
  1st quarter13241616*1221*
  2nd quarter13271692*1275*
  3rd quarter13431724*1284*

In considering these figures it should not be overlooked that the index number of effective wage-rates (in common, of course, with that of nominal wage-rates) applies only to full-time employment at award rates of pay. The index does not take into account overtime, short time, unemployment, alterations in the standard hours constituting a week's work, or wages-tax. Particulars of the taxes imposed on wages are given on page 636.

Industrial Disputes.—Statistics of industrial disputes in 1948 and for the nine months ended September, 1949, are given below. Figures for earlier years are shown on pages 719–726 of this Year-Book.

Disputes.Calendar Year 1948.Nine Months Ended 30th Sept., 1949.
Total disputes101106
Direct strike9099
Sympathetic strike33
Partial strike84
Number of firms affected8851,228
Number of workers involved28,49451,341
Total duration (clays)608¼618½
Average duration (days)6.025.83
Working days lost93,464205,683
Approximate loss in wages£195,985£364,787

Industrial Accidents.—Statistics of industrial accidents in 1947 are given in the following tables. Figures for earlier years are shown on pages 727–737 of this Year-Book.

Year.Total Accidents.Accidents Per 100,000 Man-hours Worked.Accidents Where Particulars of Compensation Available.Total Compensation or Damages Paid in Such Cases.Compensation Per Case Where Known.

* Excluding scaffolding, mining, and bush working accidents.

† Excluding scaffolding and mining accidents.

‡ Excluding mining accidents.


The distribution of industrial accidents in 1947 according to the source of information (accidents to Printing and Stationery Department employees being included in the Factory group) is indicated in the following table.

Class.Total Accidents.Accidents Per 100,000 Man-hours Worked.Accidents Where Particulars of Compensation Available.Total Compensation or Damages Paid in Such Cases.Compensation Per Case Where Known.

* No information available.

† Excluding scaffolding and mining accidents.

‡ Excluding mining accidents.

Public works9175.07191319,95821.9
State Forest34610.0393464,66213.5
Bush workers47114.34047122,45947.7
Post and Telegraph4361.86443512,55828.9
    All classes14,7833.02911,911311,51126.2

The next table gives accident severity statistics for the calendar years 1946 and 1947.


*Excluding mining accidents.

† Excluding bush working, scaffolding, and mining accidents.

‡ Excluding scaffolding and mining accidents.

Total cases resulting in—  
  Temporary disability14,80414,446
  Permanent disability283291
Calendar days lost per accident*8488
Hours lost per 100,000 man-hours worked (i.e., severity-rate)1,3881,484



Shipping and Cargo Handled (pp. 262–275).—Statistics of entrances and clearances of vessels in the foreign and coastal trade in 1947 and 1948 are shown in the following table.

Calendar Year.
    Number of vessels1,1441,173
    Net tonnage4,966,0004,858,000
    Number of vessels12,80813,333
    Net tonnage4,529,0004,579,000
    Number of vessels1,1451,159
    Net tonnage5,014,0004,815,000
    Number of vessels12,70813,322
    Net tonnage4,447,0004,638,000
Tonnage of cargo handled—  
Total manifest tonnage8,412,0008,622,000

Statistics of shipping movement and cargo handled at New Zealand ports in 1947 and 1948 are given below.

Total Shipping Movement.Total Cargo handled.
1947: Net Tonnage.1948: Net Tonnage.1947: Tons.1948: Tons.
Other ports4,2884,2462,2792,377

In the following table the country of registry of inwards overseas shipping in 1948 is shown.

Country of Registry.Calendar Year 1948.
Number of Vessels.Net Tonnage.
British Commonwealth countries—  
  United Kingdom2511,313,917
  New Zealand99141,188
  Other British Commonwealth countries40130,478
    Totals, British Commonwealth countries3901,585,583
Other countries—  
  United States of America1379,124
  Other countries2399,028
    Totals, other countries56272,242
    Grand totals, all countries4461,857,825

Of the total net tonnage of inwards overseas vessels in 1948 (1,857,825 tons), ships on the United Kingdom registry accounted for 1,313,917 tons—70.7 per cent. of the total—while the distribution between British Commonwealth and other countries was: British Commonwealth, 85.3 per cent.; other, 14.7 per cent.

Railway Transport (pp. 276–284).—Summarized statistics of railway transport in the years ended 31st March, 1947, 1948, and 1949 follow.

Unit.Year ended 31st March,
* Including road motor and other subsidiary services.
Passenger journeys—    
Railway road motor services(000)20,36421,53723,532
Tonnage of goods carried—    
TimberTons (000)588678748
Live-stockTons (000)781758725
Other goodsTons (000)7,9608,0888,193
TotalsTons (000)9,3299,5249,666
Net ton miles runMillions883.7937.4970.8
Railway operation£(000)12,82413,96415,339
Railway operation£(000)13,64515,09016,788

Road Transport (pp. 292–303).—Statistics of motor-vehicles licensed at 31st March, 1948 and 1949, and as at 30th September, 1949, are as follows:—

As at 31st March,As at 30th September, 1949.
Government and local-authority vehicles26,00431,07133,526

Civil Aviation (pp. 304–313).—The principal statistics of civil aviation in the calendar year 1948, and in the year ended 31st March, 1949, are given below.

Year ended 31st March, 1949.Calendar Year 1948.
Internal services—  
  Miles flown (all services)4,411,4314,156,442
  Passengers carried (all services)182,737171,408
  Passenger-miles (scheduled services only)44,323,19941,506,706
  Freight ton-miles (all services)843,528802,827
  Mail ton-miles (scheduled services only)108,579106,713
Overseas services—  
  Miles flown3,145,6172,920,807
  Passengers carried31,82330,736
  Freight carried lb.536,656512,776
  Mails carried lb.388,855384,364

REHABILITATION (pp. 760–768)

The number of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen demobilized from the Forces, as recorded by the Rehabilitation Department, up to the end of March, 1949, was 209,161, of whom 143,696 had returned from overseas service and 65,466 had served with the home Forces.

The following tables give.- particulars of rehabilitation-loan authorizations for the years ended 31st March, 1948 and 1949, and the totals to 31st March, 1949.

Class of Loan.Number.Amount.
1947–48.1948–49.Total to 31st March, 1949.1947–48.1948–49.Total to 31st March, 1949.
Purchase of farm, &c.1,1079635,6795,197,2694,372,20523,609,694
Tools of trade1871341,3225,4014,84843,654

Included in the foregoing figures are 14,072 supplementary housing loans for £2,120,558. These loans, which are not repayable so long as the ex-serviceman or his dependants continue in occupation of the property, are granted to bridge the gap between present-day costs and normal values, and each case is considered on its merits.

In addition to loans for specific purposes, ex-servicemen may receive financial assistance in certain circumstances by way of special grants or rehabilitation allowances. The total amount authorized in this manner to 31st March, 1949, was £469,419.

EDUCATION (pp. 135–162)

The following table shows the number of scholars and students receiving instruction in the educational institutions of New Zealand during the years 1947 and 1948. Registered private schools are included.


* Exclusive of students taking part-time courses with the Correspondence School, 2,376 in 1947 and 1,630 in 1948.

† Includes 890 students taking short courses at the Agricultural Colleges in 1947 and 877 in 1948.

Primary schools274,854281,702
Post-primary schools50,372*50,500*
Technical classes (part-time)18,69720,305

Government expenditure on education amounted to £9,950,818 in the financial year 1947–48 and £11,023,016 in 1948–49.


Radio Licences (p. 325).—The number of radio licences in force on 31st March, 1949, was 432,000, and at 31st March, 1948, 421,000.

Commercial Failures (pp. 578–582).—The number of bankruptcies in the calendar year 1948 was 148 and the number of deeds of assignment 27. Corresponding figures for the calendar year 1917 were: bankruptcies, 74; deeds of assignment, 23.

Horse-racing (pp. 426–427).—The number of racing-days in the calendar year 1948 was 321, as compared with 320 in 1947. Totalizator investments totalled £22,969,000 in 1948 (£22,629,000 in 1947), while Government taxation totalled £2,167,000 in 1948 (£2,163,000 in 1947).

Land Transfers (pp. 852–855),—Transactions under the Land Transfer Act have been on a very heavy scale during the last three financial years, a contributing factor, no doubt, being the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen. Particulars of transfers registered during each of the three years in the period which ended March, 1949, are now given.

Year ended 31st March,
Town and suburban properties—   
  Consideration £27,208,00025,040,00024,803,000
Country properties—   
  Area Acres1,844,0481,756,5881,691,743
  Consideration £17,765,00015,413,00013,607,000
All properties—   
  Consideration £44,973,00040,453,00038,410,000

Mortgages (pp. 569–577).—Particulars of mortgages registered and discharged during the last three financial years, are shown below. For several years during the war period the value of mortgages released exceeded the amount represented by mortgages registered, but from 1946–47 onwards this trend was reversed despite the fact that discharges were on a heavier scale than previously. The substantial increase in registrations has been, no doubt, due to transactions connected with the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen.

Year ended 3lst March,Registered.Discharged.
  £ £


Table of Contents

Page 2, Descriptive:—

The year quoted in the fourth line from the bottom of the page should be 1842.

Page 8, Descriptive:—

Under “Earthquakes,” reference should be to the 1942 and earlier issues of the Year-Book.

Page 389, Statistics of Principal Industries:—

The figures in the table relating to woollen-mills for the year 1946–47 should be amended for certain items as follows:—

Greasy wool used— 
Quantity (lb.)10,101,731
Cost of other materials used (£)187,750


Table of Contents

LOCATION, AREA, AND BOUNDARIES.—Consisting of two large and several smaller islands, 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 New Zealand 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 “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.
    Three Kings Islands3
    Auckland Islands234
    Campbell Island44
    Antipodes Islands24
    Bounty Islands0 1/25
    Snares Islands1
    Solander Island

    At present a meteorological station is maintained on Campbell Island; otherwise none of the outlying islands is regularly inhabited,

  3. Islands (total area, 216 square miles) annexed to New Zealand:—

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

    Cook and other Pacific Islands, annexed in 1901:—

    Niue Island (area, 100 square miles).

    Cook Islands (area, 81 square miles)—

    Mangaia.Mauke (or Parry).
    Mitiaro.Manuae (or Hervey Islands).

    Northern Islands (Area, 15 square miles)—

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

    Tokelau (or Union) Islands, proclaimed part of New Zealand, 1st January, 1949 (area, 4 square miles)—


The total area of the foregoing groups is 103,939 square miles. Elsewhere in this issue (viz., in the section on land tenure, settlement, &c.) the aggregate area of New Zealand appears as 66,390,722 acres—i.e., 103,735 square miles. The latter area does not include the Cook and other Pacific Islands annexed in 1901 or the Tokelau Islands.

As well as exercising jurisdiction over the areas already mentioned, New Zealand also administers the Ross Dependency and Western Samoa. Jointly with the United Kingdom Government and the Government of Australia, New Zealand is responsible for the administration of the Trust Territory of 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 trust territory of New Zealand, or otherwise be under the jurisdiction of the Government or Parliament of New Zealand.

The relevant Proclamations, defining from time to time the administrative area of New Zealand, 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 Kermadec Islands, lying between the 29th and 32nd degrees of south latitude and the 177th and 180th degrees of west longitude, were declared to be annexed to and to become part of the then colony of New Zealand.

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

A line commencing at a point at the intersection of the 23rd degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich, and proceeding duo north to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 156th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence duo west to the point of intersection of the 8th degree of south latitude and the 167th degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence duo 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 was formerly administered pursuant to a mandate conferred upon His Britannic Majesty, to be administered on his behalf by the Government of New Zealand, and confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 17th December, 1920. Following the replacement of the League of Nations by the United Nations, a draft Trusteeship Agreement for Western Samoa was prepared by the New Zealand Government and submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations late in 1946. This draft agreement replaced the original mandate and thus brought the Territory within the framework of the international trusteeship system established under the United Nations Charter. Under the new agreement the New Zealand Government assumed direct responsibility for the administration of Western Samoa. The agreement was approved by the General Assembly on 13th December, 1946. Western Samoa is comprised of two large islands, Upolo and Savai`i, and the small islands of Manono, Apolima, Fanuatapu, Namu`a, Nu`utele, Nu`ulua, 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 Antarctic 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 Tokelau Islands (consisting of the islands of Fakaofo, 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.

By the Tokelau Islands Act, 1948, which came into operation on 1st January, 1949, the Tokelau Islands were declared to form part of New Zealand. This Act emerged as the result of an agreement between the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments.

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 Marlborough 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 cast coast of the South Island similar circumstances prevail, due to the largo 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, Jess 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 (8,260 ft.), Ruapehu (9,175 ft.), Ngauruhoe (7,515 ft.), and Tongariro (6,458 ft.), they do not exceed an altitude of 6,000 ft. Of these four volcanoes only the first-named can be classed as extinct. While Ruapehu was particularly active from March, 1945, to the end of that year, being responsible for considerable deposits of volcanic ash over a very wide area, more recent and spectacular activity has been exhibited by Ngauruhoe, commencing in February, 1949. In both cases violent eruptions alternated with quieter periods. 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 a list was given, 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 the 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 clown the eastern slope of the range, the Tasman glacier has a length of 18 miles and a width of 1¼ 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 (7¼ 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 9¾ miles and 8½ 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 roading 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 and a further major development is now being undertaken on the Clutha. 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 largo 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 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.
Tarawera1575 1,032285
Wairarapa104271,250  64
Rotoiti5286 1,997228
Rotoroa78146 1,470 
Brunner5416145 280357
Kaniere5811 422646
Coleridge1131870 1,667680
Wanaka30475960 922 
Te Anau3361321,32012,660694906
Manapouri12656416 5961,458
Poteriteri17217162 96 
Waihola1 ⅛3⅓2,200 (Tidal)52
Ellesmere1610107½745 (Tidal)45

GEOLOGY.—An article on the geology of New Zealand prepared by Dr. J. Henderson, M.A., F.R.S.N.Z., former 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 1835–47, 72 destructive earthquakes are known to have occurred in New Zealand, 52 of which were of the semi-destructive type (not exceeding intensity R.-F. 8). Of the remainder, 14 were of intensity 9, and 6 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 1947 were as follows:—

Year.Number of Earthquakes reported felt.Maximum Intensity of Heaviest Shock.
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 in 1947.—Most of the year 1947 was a comparatively active seismic period. Numerous shocks originated off the northeast coast of the North Island, a strong one on 26th March being followed by seismic sea-waves which caused damage on parts of the Gisborne coast. The earthquake itself did no damage. Another shock in the same region on 17th May was followed by sea-waves of smaller intensity. Other strong shocks occurred in this region on 13th, 23rd, and 28th August. A shock near Tolaga Bay on 16th June reached intensity M.-M. VII (R.-F. 8) and caused some minor damage. During April seismic activity was unusually widespread, shocks occurring frequently at various points between Morrinsville and the Bluff. The strongest shock during the year occurred in the Jackson's Bay region on 13th October. It reached intensity M.-M. VII + (R.-F. 84) in the epicentral region and was widely felt in the South Island. Other groups of minor activity occurred in the Taupo area, the Lake Coleridge area, and south of Puysegur point.

In all, 233 shocks were reported felt during the year, 150 of which were felt in the North Island and 89 in the South Island. Six were felt in both Islands. The maximum intensities reported were M.-M. VII (R.-F. 8) in the North Island, and M.-M. VII+ (R.-F. 8+) in the South Island.

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. I. 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 Bunks 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 1848–1947 the number of deaths recorded in New Zealand as due directly or indirectly to earthquakes was 284. Of these, 255 were due to the Hawkes 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 Meteorological 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 information on the chief climatological elements. Average values, based on records for varying periods, are included for a selection of climatological stations. More detailed climatological statistics are available in the Meteorological Observations published annually by the Meteorological Office. Publication of the Meteorological Observations has been resumed after being suspended during the war years.


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. Hrs.      
Te Paki, Te Hapua20054.741642,16372.358.665.657.245.451.9
Hamilton East13146.681592,03875.356.366.152.337.345.1
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana2,11076.25184 67.546.757.652.437.245.0
New Plymouth16060.601862,23569.554.962.555.542.749.4
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North11038.001541,81870.552.562.054.638.647.0
Hanmer Springs1,22545.841341,96071.847.760.948.028.739.1
Lake Coleridge1,19532.49113 70.848.
Milford Sound20252.76195 64.248.556.850.034.342.4

1945.—Dull unsettled weather persisted throughout the early part of 1945. A cool autumn was followed by a cold though relatively dry winter. Early spring growth was good, but was not maintained due to the very cold weather of October. The coldest December on record further hindered agricultural work.

From Hawkes Bay to East Cape the annual rainfall was only about 70 per cent. of the normal. Deficiencies were smaller over most of the Auckland and Coromandel Peninsulas, in Bay of Plenty, near Nelson, Masterton, Wellington, and Queen Charlotte Sound. Elsewhere the rainfall was above normal, the excess being greater than 50 per cent. over much of Canterbury and in parts of North and Central Otago. Mean temperatures for the year were below normal, the departure exceeding 1°F. in the interior of both Islands. The duration of bright sunshine was a little above normal over the Auckland and Hawkes Bay provincial districts, in Blenheim, and on the Canterbury Plains. Totals elsewhere were below normal, deficiencies of over 200 hours being recorded in parts of Otago and Westland.

Seasonal Notes.—As in December, 1944, conditions were persistently unsettled during the first two months of 1945, and culminated in severe flooding over South Canterbury on 21st February. Growth was very abundant, but crops suffered from lack of sunshine. The autumn was a cool one. Westerly conditions in both March and April gave low rainfalls to the east coast, but much wet weather elsewhere. In May this rainfall distribution was reversed, and its coldness proved hard on stock. June and July were cold and frosty, with light rainfalls. Canterbury experienced a severe snowstorm in the latter month. A mild August eased the position for stock, although it was cloudy and rather wet. September was also dull, but not very abnormal otherwise. Growth which promised well in August, did not continue strongly. The season was further hindered by an exceptionally cold October, and, although this was followed by a mild November, very dry conditions prevented much improvement. The dryness continued in Auckland and Hawkes Bay throughout December, which was the coldest known in New Zealand.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.—The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1945 were taken at 09.30 hrs. New Zealand civil time—i.e., 180th Meridian Time.

Temperatures in Shade, Degrees Fahrenheit.Hours of Bright Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx, Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1945.Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Rain-days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.Absolute Max.Absolute Min.
Te Paki, Te Hapua64.551.457.977.5 Feb.33.0 July80.027.02,136.454.67147
Auckland63.752.658.178.5 Feb.36.2 June90.433.22,167.145.64190
Tauranga65. Dec.27.7 June90.722.52,470.947.96149
Hamilton East63.945.154.581.2 Jan.14.2 June94.414.22,126.447.75164
Rotorua63.645.454.586.0 Jan.26.7 June98.021.32,212.457.27147
Gisborne66.146.956.588.3 Jan.28.8 June95.826.02,385.728.22138
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana 44.5 82.7 Dec.27.6 Sept.88.027.1 54.90172
New Plymouth61.048.955.079.8 Jan.30.0 July89.027.02,092.969.16156
Napier65.247.856.586.9 Feb.28.3 July96.527.52,418.822.47114
Taihape57.442.850.178.8 Jan.25.2 July87.820.4 39.92184
Wanganui62.148.555.381.6 Feb.29.0 July88.028.82,078.435.69161
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North61.346.153.783.1 Jan.27.0 June87.021.21,790.241.77181
Masterton63.342.252.887.2 Jan.24.0 June95.420.02,034.335.19116
Wellington59.247.653.482.0 Jan.32.2 July88.028.61,975.848.22161
Nelson62.445.654.081.1 Jan.27.9 May92.025.02,334.143.95122
Blenheim63.842.253.089.0 Jan.18.9 June94.616.12,386.426.66120
Hanmer Springs59.239.849.086.3 Jan.10.0 July97.08.21,881.760.45146
Hokitika59. Jan.28.5 July84.525.01,654.1125.08211
Lake Coleridge58.839.849.385.0 Jan.10.0 July92.010.0 41.72144
Christchurch60.343.451.887.2 Nov.19.3 July95.719.32,012.537.75133
Timaru60.241.450.890.2 Feb.22.6 July99.019.81,949.234.25118
Milford Sound56.742.049.379.3 Jan.27.0 June79.323.1 265.78219
Queenstown57.740.248.983.4 Jan.23.6 July90.219.21,940.838.80142
Alexandra59.739.749.787.8 Jan.17.0 July91.511.01,980.519.53129
Dunedin55.642.649.185.0 Feb.28.9 July94.023.01,603.646.77191
Invercargill57. Jan.23.0 July90.019.01,608.545.80215

For 1945 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 09.30 hrs., New Zealand civil time, were: Auckland, 1016.1; Wellington, 1013.4; Nelson, 1013.2; Hokitika, 1013.9; Christchurch, 1011.3; and Dunedin, 1010.5.

1946.—The early part of the year was sunny and dry, with drought conditions in the Auckland and Hawkes Bay districts. The country recovered well following good autumn rains and a mild winter. July was particularly mild, and spring growth got away to a good start. Persistently cold and unsettled weather soon caused the season to become very backward, and by the end of the year farming activities were well behind schedule.

For the greater part of the country the annual rainfall was fairly close to the normal. Over the Auckland Peninsula it was a wet year, especially in the eastern portion, where some places had an excess of 50 per cent. Moderate excesses occurred in northern Wairarapa and the Canterbury Plains. In parts of Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, and Central Otago there was a moderate deficiency. Over the year mean temperatures were slightly above average in the North Island, except in the Wairarapa. In the latter district, and in the South Island there were small negative departures. Sunshine over the North Island was better than average except in portions of the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, and Wairarapa districts. Invercargill, Blenheim, and Westport also enjoyed a little more sunshine than usual, but over the remainder of the South Island totals were deficient.

Seasonal Notes.—During January and February the weather was sunny and dry, except in the South. Rainfall in Hawkes Bay and Auckland was negligible in amount, and dairy-production suffered severely. In these areas the five-monthly period from October, 1945, was the driest for over thirty years. Scrub and forest fires were widespread over the North Island. Beneficial rains fell over the drier areas in the middle of March and were followed by substantial rainfall in April. Pastures and supplementary crops recovered well after the summer drought.

Over the North Island the next month was the mildest of any May since 1928. Winds from an easterly quarter predominated during May and June and rain was frequent in eastern districts, especially in Auckland and Hawkes Bay. Following very heavy rains in the north during the first week of July, the easterly type of situation which had dominated the weather for several weeks gave way to the westerly type. It was the mildest July since 1917. Windy westerly weather continued in August, when many places in the west and north had rain every day. Changeable weather during September further delayed agricultural activities. A wintry spell late in the month caused serious losses among young lambs in Otago and Canterbury. Orchards also suffered some damage. Growth war, slow during the cool changeable weather of October. Temperatures were even colder in November, which was the coldest on record. Fruit and vegetable crops suffered because of frosts and hail. December weather was dull and cool, and the season remained very backward.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.—The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1946 were taken at 09.30 hrs., New Zealand standard time.

Temperatures in Shade, Degrees Fahrenheit.Hours of Bright Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx, Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1946.Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Rain-days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.Absolute Max.Absolute Min.
Te Paki, Te Hapua64.752.758.776.0 Jan.32.0 June80.027.02,176.473.89174
Auckland65.353.859.582.6 Feb.39.5 June90.433.22,118.556.48217
Tauranga66.149.157.691.9 Jan.31.2 June91.922.52,362.159.68173
Hamilton East65. Feb.25.3 June94.414.22,053.850.75206
Rotorua64.746.455.692.9 Jan.28.0 June98.021.32,103.257.45169
Gisborne66.947.657.395.8 Feb.30.4 June95.826.02,302.534.84152
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana58.744.951.887.4 Feb.30.0 Oct.88.027.1 68.47178
New Plymouth61.349.855.574.2 Feb.35.2 Sept.89.027.02,127.272.99208
Napier65.749.257.595.0 Feb.29.4 June96.527.52.418530.04129
Taihape58.443.350.887.8 Feb.27.8 June87.820.4 38.28197
Wanganui62.648.655.684.5 Mar.29.7 June88.028.82,247.634.44172
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North61.847.254.580.6 Mar.27.5 June87.021.21,911.247.17195
Masterton64.142.453.295.1 Feb.19.5 June95.419.51,972.444.36144
Wellington60. Feb.34.8 June88.028.62,112.648.58169
Nelson63.045.954.482.6 Feb.29.5 June92.025.02,464.633.58123
Blenheim64.142.853.491.0 Feb.21.7 June94.616.12,356.121.62120
Hanmer Springs59.939.149.593.0 Feb.11.3 June97.08.21,904.441.57137
Hokitika58.443.651.069.7 Feb.27.5 June84.525.01,870.8120.29214
Lake Coleridge59.440.049.791.3 Feb.18.6 July92.010.0 35.16137
Christchurch60.743.151.992.3 Feb.22.9 June95.719.31,932.038.06146
Timaru60.741.851.291.6 Feb.21.6 July99.019.81,909.131.29133
Milford Sound56.642.249.472.6 Mar.26.8 July79.323.1 285.56207
Queenstown57.940.249.081.8 Jan.22.6 July90.219.21,911.936.37145
Alexandra60.039.149.690.9 Feb.16.2 July91.511.02,091.311.91113
Dunedin55.942.749.388.9 Feb.30.3 Oct.94.023.01,671.738.82195
Invercargill57.140.248.784.5 Jan.19.0 July90.019.01,724.749.98216

For 1946 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 09.30 hrs., New Zealand standard time, were: Auckland, 1014.3; Wellington, 1011.5; Nelson, 1011.5; Hokitika, 1011.8; Christchurch, 1009.7; and Dunedin, 1008.9.

1947.—For a start the season was very backward, but favourable weather throughout the summer and autumn allowed this leeway to be made good. Two violent southerly storms affected southern districts of the North Island, the first in February and the second in June. After a very wet June, the spell of mild dry weather which followed provided ideal conditions for farming. Lambing percentages and milk-yields were very good. A long spell of warm settled weather followed a dull, wet October, and pastures were rapidly drying up towards the end of the year.

Over the greater part of the South Island the annual rainfall was about 20 per cent. below normal. Eastern Marlborough, South Canterbury, and the Waimea Valley (Nelson) had a slight excess. The distribution in the North Island was rather irregular, although the departures from normal were not great. In general, the districts with deficient rainfall were in South Auckland and from Taranaki across to Hawkes Bay. Over the year mean temperatures were near or slightly above normal, the departure amounting to 1° F. on the West Coast. Most places had more sunshine than usual, particularly in Westland and Manawatu. Napier's total was the equivalent of half an hour a day below normal, while small negative departures occurred in New Plymouth, Nelson, Gore, and from Auckland to Tauranga.

Seasonal Notes.—January's weather was cool and unsettled for a start, while crops and glasshouses in South Canterbury suffered considerable damage from hail on the 4th. It became more settled later in the month, enabling farmers to make some progress with their delayed shearing and harvesting. A violent southerly storm in mid-February caused considerable damage in the southern part of the North Island. Hawkes Bay orchards suffered badly, and there were stock losses due to floods and exposure in the Wairarapa. With the above exception, the weather in February and March was predominantly fine, and a number of new sunshine records were established. Favourable weather continued during the remainder of the autumn.

Conditions were very disturbed in June. In parts of the Wellington district it was the wettest month in the last fifty years. Towards the end of the month the southern part of the North Island experienced another severe southerly storm, and stock losses were heavy in South Wairarapa. During July it was wet in the far north, but very dry in the South Island. Mild sunny weather during the next two months was very beneficial for stock and for early spring growth. Substantial rainfall in October provided a good reserve of moisture to offset the effect of the warm, dry weather in November and December. Nevertheless, towards the end of the year pastures were rapidly drying up, and milk-production was on the decline.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.—The observations from winch the following summary was made for the year 1947 were taken at 09.30 hrs. New Zealand standard time.

Temperatures in Shade, Degrees Fahrenheit.Hours of Bright Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx, Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1947.Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Rain-days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.Absolute Max.Absolute Min.
Te Paki, Te Hapua45.851.658.776.7 Dec.32.1 Aug.80.027.02,165.454.44195
Auckland65. Dec.39.0 Aug.90.433.22,055.152.74163
Tauranga 48.5 83.7 Jan.27.3 Aug.91.922.52,362.949.92168
Hamilton East65.144.854.983.2 Feb.22.3 Aug.94.414.22,089.841.22162
Rotorua63.845.154.586.0 Feb.25.0 Aug.98.021.32,143.947.47129
Gisborne65.847.356.688.5 Jan.28.7 July95.826.02,277.536.91150
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana58.844.651.784.6 Feb.29.8 Aug.88.027.1 83.43190
New Plymouth62.049.355.781.6 Feb.33.2 Aug.89.027.02,217.559.04142
Napier64.348.856.589.9 Jan.28.0 Aug.96.527.52,235.028.98124
Taihape58.843.351.079.0 Jan.26.2 Aug.87.820.4 37.81151
Wanganui 48.2 83.0 Feb.30.2 July88.028.82,288.835.27137
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North62.846.454.681.2 Feb.27.1 Aug.87.021.22,001.739.29156
Masterton63.643.353.587.0 Jan.22.4 Aug.95.419.52,128.041.64135
Wellington60.448.254.382.2 Feb.32.3 July88.028.62,077.251.70150
Nelson63.246.654.983.9 Jan.29.6 Aug.92.025.02,470.641.15104
Hanmer Springs61.438.650.088.2 Jan.15.0 July97.08.22,009.742.83124
Hokitika59.644.652.173.2 Mar.25.4 June84.525.01,898.485.78189
Lake Coleridge61.040.750.885.8 Jan.18.0 July92.010.0 30.35125
Christchurch60.944.352.687.7 Dec.23.8 July95.719.32,048.425.12111
Timaru61.242.551.883.4 Dec.24.0 July99.019.81,910.024.44111
Milford Sound58.343.751.075.2 Jan.26.3 July79.323.1 206.56187
Queenstown60.541.350.986.6 Jan.21.4 July90.219.22,011.524.88117
Alexandra62.540.051.289.5 Jan.19.5 July91.511.02,132.410.2191
Dunedin58.843.651.287.5 Dec.27.0 July94.023.01,733.626.02144
Invercargill59.141.350.283.5 Jan.20.0 July90.019.01,715.532.70207

For 1947 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 09.30 hrs. New Zealand standard time were: Auckland, 1017.0; Wellington, 1015.1; Nelson, 1014.9; Hokitika, 1015.4; Christchurch, 1013.6; and Dunedin, 1014.1.

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 19). 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; “The Botanical Names of the Flora of New Zealand,” by A. Wall and H. H. Allan; 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 (February, 1949) the Executive Council consists of fourteen members in addition to the Governor-General and one member of the Legislative Council without a 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 Maori 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 (February, 1949) 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 (February, 1949) is thirty-four.

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 New Zealand 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 33⅓ 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 or prisons. Persons detained as military defaulters in detention camps were also excluded. 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.

The Representation Commission constituted by the Electoral Amendment Act, 1945, determined the adult population for electoral purposes as at the 25th September, 1945, to be 1,069,149, of whom 700,477 were resident in the North Island and 368,672 in the South Island. These figures include allowances made on account of members of the Armed Forces both in New Zealand and overseas, in addition to the civilian figures disclosed by the population census of the 25th September, 1945. 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 hold 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 he 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 a undischarged bankrupt; or is a member of the Legislative Council; or is a contractor to the public service of Now 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 duo 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.

Part V of the Superannuation Act, 1947, introduced a contributory superannuation scheme for members of the House of Representatives, which provided a minimum retiring-allowance of £250 per annum for a member with nine years' service, the allowance increasing by £25 per annum for every year's service in excess of that period until a maximum allowance of £400 per annum is reached after fifteen years' service.

A member must be fifty years of age before he qualifies, on ceasing to be a member, to receive the allowance. The annual deduction, which is compulsory, is £50 per annum, but a member may, if he so desires, receive a refund of his contributions upon ceasing to be a member.

In the case of a male member dying and leaving a widow surviving, she becomes entitled during her widowhood to receive an annuity of two-thirds of the retiring-allowance to which her husband was entitled at the time of his death.

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 New Zealand, 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 was necessary before registration became operative. The Electoral Amendment Act, 1948, however, provides for the preparation of rolls for Maori electoral districts, which, subject to and after notification in the Gazette that these rolls have been formed, shall be for all purposes the electoral rolls of the districts concerned.

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 is entitled to be registered either as an elector of a Maori or a European electoral district, while special provisions govern any changeover of registration.

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 26 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 Trust 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 Campbell Island were uninhabited at the date of the census, as was also the Ross Dependency, situated in Antarctic regions.

The 1945 census population of New Zealand proper was 1,702,298, inclusive of 98,744 Maoris. These figures do not take into account 45,381 members of the New Zealand Armed Forces overseas at the census date; 44,081 of these were Europeans, the remaining 1,300 being Maoris. At the same date there were 9 people on Campbell Island and 23 in the Kermadec Islands. The population of Cook Islands and Nine Island was 18,341, the latter island contributing 4,253 to this total. Tokelau Islands recorded a census total of 1,388, while 68,197 persons were enumerated in the Trust Territory of Western Samoa. If members of the Armed Forces overseas are excluded, the grand total of population in New Zealand and in all its island territories was 1,790,256 at the census date.

Further 1945 census figures will be found later in this Section, or in other portions of the volume, but for details it will be necessary to refer to the census volumes published separately. The summary below gives figures more recent than those of the census.

New Zealand proper (exclusive of Maoris)1st April, 1948863,279861,9881,725,267
Maoris1st April, 194856,00053,003109,003
    Totals, New Zealand proper1st April, 1948919,279914,9911,834,270
Kermadec Islands1st April, 194828 28
Campbell Island1st April, 19485 5
Cook Islands and Niue1st April, 19489,4219,35318,774
Tokelau IslandsDecember, 19476717451,416
Trust Territory of Western Samoa1st April, 194837,58435,35272,936
Totals 966,988960,4411,927,429

Kermadec Islands.—These islands were annexed to New Zealand in 1877 and have had quite a colourful history. They have been occupied intermittently for varying periods from about 1837. This phase may be said to have ended with the repatriation to New Zealand in 1914 of a family which had resided there for many years. Recent settlement, apart from an attempted settlement lasting only a few months from November, 1926, began in July, 1935, while the inhabitation of the principal island (Sunday) has been probably made more permanent by the establishment of an aeradio and meteorological station. Population figures for later years are now given.

As at 1st April,Population.

Campbell Island and Auckland Islands.—Until 1941 these islands were not regularly inhabited, but with the provision of a meteorological station on Campbell Island it is probable that it will be permanently occupied. A review of population present on both the Campbell and Auckland Islands in recent years is given below.

As at 1st April,Campbell Island.Auckland Islands.

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 minutiae 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. Under the existing legislation, the next census is duo to be taken in 1951.

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 New Zealand 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 since 1939 are exclusive of New Zealand soldiers, &c., overseas, and of members of forces of overseas countries who were in New Zealand.

Residents of the Cook Islands, Niue, Western Samoa, and the Tokelau Islands are not included in the population statistics quoted throughout this Section, except in the first table on page 19. 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).Maoris.
Numbers.Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.Average Annual Percentage Increase.

* See letterpress.

† An enumeration taken between September, 1857, and September, 1858.

‡ Inclusive of members of Armed Forces overseas at census date.

December, 185126,707    
December, 185859,41332,706122.4612.1456,049
December, 1861*97,90438,49164.7918.26 
December, 1864171,00973,10574.6720.74 
December, 1867217,43646,42727.158.20 
February; 1871254,92837,49217.245.11 
March, 1874297,65442,72616.765.2947,330
March, 1878412,465114,81138.578.4945,542
April, 1881487,88975,42418.295.6046,141
March, 1886576,52488,63518.173.4143,927
April, 1891624,45547,9318.311.6044,177
April, 1896701,09476,63912.272.3342,113
March, 1901770,30469,2109.871.9145,549
April, 1906885,995115,69115.022.7950,309
April, 19111,005,585119,59013.502.6052,723
October, 19161,096,22890,6439.011.5752,997
April, 19211,214,677118,44910.812.3156,987
April, 19261,344,469129,79210.692.0563,670
March, 19361,491,484147,01510.931.0582,326
September, 19451,603,554112,0707.510.7798,744
September, 19451,647,635156,15110.47 100,044

Commencing with the 1926 census all half-caste European-Maoris were included with the Maori 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 Maori 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 in the European population 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 allowing 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, 1861–1947553,179609,3361,162,515313,486210,202523,688866,665819,5381,686,203

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 cheek 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 fell to very low proportions during the war years. Recovery has again become manifest and during the years 1946 and 1947 the combined inward excess totalled 10,976.

In the years following 1930, natural increase (excess of births over deaths) reached a critical position, falling to a rate of 7.89 per 1,000 of mean population by 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.

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 the years since then have shown substantial improvements, with the result that the rate for the 1947 year is the highest of the entire series. 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 YearMales.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 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 New Zealand—recorded an excess of females. The figures wore, 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 members serving overseas. Deaths of members of the Forces during the war period have still further accentuated the position as disclosed by the 1945 census.

INTERCENSAL RECORDS.—As already noted, the intercensal statements of total population, prepared from the records of vital statistics and of external migration, have been by virtue of the favourable position of New Zealand in this respect relatively accurate, and the 1945 census results, despite abnormal conditions due to the war, afforded a satisfactory demonstration of this.

Year Ended 31st March,Population (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 December,Population (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 New Zealand.

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, 67,320 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1948, which, compared with 1946–47, shows an increase of 10,264. During the same period, 60,707 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1946–47, shows an increase of 6,356.

In addition to the figures just quoted there were also 5,136 “through” passengers who called at a port of New Zealand en route to their destination.

The excess of total arrivals over total departures for 1947–48 was 6,613, compared with a similar excess of 2,705 during 1946–47.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last ten years are given in the table following. Crows of vessels, “through” passengers, tourists on cruising liners, and members of the Armed Forces, &c. (1939–40 to 1947–48), have not been taken into account in this table.

Year Ended 31st March,Arrivals.Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.

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.

Immigrants intending permanent residence7481,7044,6458,1069,648
Permanent residents returning1,1711,8633,4047,94711,988
Polish refugees 837   
On business3496119661,6961,732
Theatrical, entertaining, &c.35887233387
Others, officials, &c.150288859799776
In transit3524217721,625890
Not stated   11231
Through passengers1,8125763,0715,7425,136

The succeeding table gives a similar analysis of departures.

Permanent residents departing—     
Temporary residents departing1,3872,5293,7289,40410,894
Through passengers1,8125763,0715,7425,136

Ages.—The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31st March, 1948.

Age, in Years.Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.
60 and over210385595224256480115

ASSISTED IMMIGRATION.—Various systems of assisted immigration have been in force since 1871, with the exception of the period 1892 to 1903 (inclusive). The scheme that was operating prior to 1948 had been largely suspended since 1927, and only 50 immigrants received financial assistance during the ten years ended 31st March, 1946.

To alleviate the shortage of staffs in mental hospitals, the Government decided to recruit labour in the United Kingdom, and during the year ended 31st March, 1947, the number of arrivals under this system totalled 158 (all females), and a further 36 arrived in June, 1947.

In July, 1947, the scheme now in force was introduced by the Government. Under this scheme financial aid is granted to certain categories of intending immigrants. Elegibility has been confined to single residents of the United Kingdom (with no dependants) between the ages of twenty and thirty-five years who are suitable for, and willing to accept employment in, certain selected occupations. Free passages are provided for those successful applicants who served in the United Kingdom Armed Forces (including Merchant Navy) during the Second World War; all others selected are required to contribute £10 towards the cost of their fares. All assisted immigrants are required to enter into a contract with the Government that they will engage in approved employment for two years after their arrival in New Zealand.

The first party arrived in August, 1947, and during the year ended 31st March, 1948, the total number of arrivals under this scheme was 1,101, which, together with the 36 mental-hospital employees mentioned earlier, made a total of 1,137 immigrants who' received financial assistance from the Government during the year.

The total of 1,137 comprised 600 males and 537 females.

In the preceding migration tables, assisted immigrants are included in the totals of “Immigrants intending permanent residence.”

PASSPORTS.—Authority for the issue of passports in New Zealand and by New Zealand representatives overseas is contained in the Passports Act, 1946, and the Passport Regulations 1946.

Permission to Enter New Zealand.—Apart from British subjects arriving from Australia, no person sixteen years of age or over may land in New Zealand unless in possession of a valid passport or other travel 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 the exception of nationals of those countries with which New Zealand has concluded agreements for the mutual abolition of visas, all aliens require a British visa.

For persons from the Cook Islands, Nine, or Western Samoa the only requirement is a permit to visit New Zealand granted by the Resident Commissioner of the Cook Islands or Niue, or the High Commissioner for 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.

Departure from New Zealand.—British subjects leaving New Zealand, with the exception of those travelling to Australia or making the round trip to New Zealand's island territories, should be in possession of a valid passport or other travel document.

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 country.

  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.

To obtain permits to enter New Zealand as permanent residents, application must be made by the intending immigrants themselves to the Minister of Customs, Wellington. The application must be made in the prescribed form and must be supported by documents duly attested in the country of origin, in which country the applicant must have resided for at least twelve months prior to the date of application. Each application is considered individually on its own merits.

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 of £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.—Brief mention should be made of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Amendment Act, 1946, which was passed since the last issue of the Year-Book and subsequently repealed. This Act, which came into force on the 9th October, 1946, made some fundamental changes in the national status of married women and repealed the British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Amendment Act, 1934–35. The two main provisions were as follows:—

  1. A British-born woman who married an alien did not lose her British nationality. This portion of the Act was retrospective, and those British-born women who had at any time married aliens were deemed never to have lost their British nationality.

  2. If an alien woman married a British subject she did not automatically become British by marriage according to New Zealand law, but could acquire British nationality only by the grant of a certificate of naturalization. This portion of the Act was not retrospective, and any alien-born woman who had already become British by marriage before the 9th October, 1946, remained British.

The British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act, 1948, which came into force on the 1st January, 1949, was enacted following a conference of nationality exports of British Commonwealth countries in February, 1947, when it was agreed that each Commonwealth country should establish its own citizenship status. Citizens of the various Commonwealth countries also possess a common British status as members of the wider association of peoples comprising the Commonwealth.

Upon the commencement of the Act, New Zealand citizenship is automatically conferred on the following classes of British subjects:—

  1. Those born in New Zealand.

  2. Those naturalized in New Zealand.

  3. Those ordinarily resident in New Zealand for at least one year.

  4. Those whose fathers were British subjects born or naturalized in New Zealand.

  5. Women (being British subjects) married before the commencement of the Act to men who become citizens under the various provisions of the Act.

After the commencement of the Act, New Zealand citizenship may be acquired in the following ways:—

  1. By birth in New Zealand.

  2. By descent.

  3. By registration.

  4. By naturalization.

The principal conditions governing the grant of naturalization to aliens under the 1948 Act are that the applicant shall satisfy the Minister of Internal Affairs (a) that he has resided in New Zealand for a period of five years, (b) that he is of good character and has an adequate knowledge of the English language, (c) that if his application is granted he intends to reside permanently in New Zealand, (d) that the applicant gives a year's notice of his intention to apply, and (e) that the applicant possesses a sufficient knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of New Zealand citizenship. There is discretionary provision for the Minister to allow residence in other British Commonwealth countries and service in the Armed Forces to be reckoned for the purposes of the first condition. Conditions (d) and (e) are new.

Certificates of naturalization granted during the year ended 31st March, 1948, under the authority of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Act, 1928, and subsequent amendments of 1943 and 1946, are shown by sex and country of birth in the table below. Totals for the preceding year are also given for comparative purposes.

Country of. Birth.Year Ended 31st March,
Russia (U.S.N.R.)81910
United States of America57310
Other countries38421557

In addition to the numbers given in the table, children shown on the certificates of their parents totalled 116 in 1946–47 and 47 in 1947–48.

REGISTRATION OF ALIENS.—The registration of aliens in New Zealand is provided for by the Aliens Act, 1948, the administration being carried out by the Police Department. This Act repealed earlier enactments relating to aliens, including the Registration of Aliens Act, 1917, and the 1920 amendment; the Registration of Aliens Suspension Act, 1923; and the Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940 and amendments.

The present compilation of statistics under the Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940 and amendments relates to 1st April, 1948, when the number on the register was 6,276, comprising 4,679 males and 1,597 females. This does not purport to be the complete number in New Zealand, as the following classes are not required to register:—

  1. Children under sixteen years of age.

  2. Persons holding diplomatic status, Consuls, or employees of Legations and Consulates who are resident in New Zealand solely for the purpose of performing official duties.

  3. Uniformed members of Allied Forces.

  4. Western Samoans are only required to register in special circumstances.

  5. Persons specially exempted by the Minister on the recommendation of an aliens authority.

The following table shows the numbers on the register at 31st May, 1947, and 1st April, 1948.

Country of Nationality.31st May, 1947.1st April, 1948.
Russia (U.S.S.R.)261440241034
United States of America437135572462147609
Other countries311950291645

A summary follows giving information as to ages of registered aliens as at 1st April, 1948.

16 years and under 21 years197226423
21 years and under 30 years679293972
30 years and under 40 years7043091,013
40 years and under 50 years1,2124001,612
50 years and under 60 years9982151,213
60 years and under 70 years61497711
70 years and over24353296
Not specified32436

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 New Zealand. 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.


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 was 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 Tories overseas at the date of the 1945 census, and the total net increase would be affected accordingly.

At 31st March, 1948, the North Island population was estimated as 1,241,256, inclusive of 105,426 Maoris; and the South Island population as 593,014, inclusive of 3,577 Maoris.

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.Estimated Population, 1st April, 1948.

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

Hawkes Bay4,26039,60465,08076,96879,08485,400
  Otago portion14,050125,782137,062151,213144,035152,200
  Southland portion11,17048,01662,43972,85670,17874,400

The foregoing table illustrates the wide disparities in the size of the provincial districts, whether measured by area or by population.

Urban and Rural Population.—On 25th September, 1945, somewhat over two-fifths (41.4 per cent.) of the population of New Zealand (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
10,000– 24,99910,63762,71582,770128,984155,105172,885168,485
25,000 and over214,098302,943349,271401,710472,603531,588636,889
  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
10,000– 24,9991.386.257.6110.6311.6011.6310.53
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 three-fifths 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 significant, they include the suburbs as well as the central city or borough.

Urban Area.Population (Excluding Maoris).Population (Including Maoris).
New Plymouth9,79512,64515,93118,19420,22920,642
Palmerston North14,00616,88519,70923,95327,09127,294

The next table presents the population (including Maoris) as estimated at the 1st April, 1948, for the component cities, boroughs, and town districts included in the relevant urban areas.

Urban Area.Population (Including Maoris).

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

† City from 21st January, 1949.

‡ City from 5th November, 1948.

Auckland City135,900
  Birkenhead Borough4,140
  Northcote Borough2,820
  Takapuna Borough*11,250
  Devonport Borough11,700
  New Lynn Borough4,970
  Mount Albert Borough26,500
  Mount Eden Borough21,400
  Newmarket Borough3,060
  Ellerslie Borough3,340
  One Tree Hill Borough13,350
  Mount Roskill Borough15,700
  Onehunga Borough15,700
  Otahuhu Borough8,070
  Remainder of urban area11,900
Wellington City131,600
  Lower Hutt City*34,100
  Petone Borough11,600
  Eastbourne Borough*2,650
  Johnsonville Town District3,010
  Remainder of urban area3,140
Christchurch City123,900
  Riccarton Borough8,360
  Lyttelton Borough*3,110
  Remainder of urban area28,630
Dunedin City70,200
  Port Chalmers Borough2,690
  West Harbour Borough2,100
  St. Kilda Borough7,640
  Green Island Borough*2,920
  Remainder of urban area3,250
Hamilton City24,500
  Remainder of urban area4,900
Gisborne Borough16,150
  Remainder of urban area2,350
  Napier Borough18,900
  Taradale Town District1,920
  Remainder of urban area1,380
Hastings Borough16,450
  Havelock North Town District1,580
  Remainder of urban area4,570
New Plymouth 
New Plymouth Borough20,400
  Remainder of urban area2,200
Wanganui City25,400
  Remainder of urban area2,800
Palmerston North 
Palmerston North City27,900
  Remainder of urban area2,200
Nelson City14,400
  Tahunanui Town District1,280
  Remainder of urban area2,520
Timaru Borough19,850
  Remainder of urban area1,250
Invercargill City25,800
  South Invercargill Borough1,220
  Remainder of urban area2,980

Counties.—The following table gives the estimated population (including Maoris) of individual counties at 1st April, 1948, 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 Islands11,220824
  Great Barrier Island190110
  Hauraki Plains5,050233
  Hawkes Bay15,7001,672
  Waimate West2,94083
  Wairarapa South2,880440
South Island—  
  Mount Herbert51066
  Chatham Islands510372
  Fiord 3,035
  Stewart Island350670
      Grand totals658,500102,791

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

Borough.Population (Including Maoris).Approximate Area, in Acres.

*City from 21st January, 1949.

North Island—  
  New Lynn4,9701,392
  Auckland (City)135,90018,253
  Mount Albert26,5002,430
  Mount Eden21,4001,476
  One Tree Hill13,3502,430
  Mount Roskill15,7004,605
  Hamilton (City)24,5003,740
  Te Awamutu3,3001,162
  Te Kuiti2,8901,668
  Te Aroha2,5702,783
  Mount Maunganui1,220935
  Te Puke1,2301,047
  New Plymouth*20,4004,132
  Wanganui (City)25,4005,726
  Palmerston N. (City)27,9004,851
  Upper Hutt6,2202,165
  Lower Hutt (City)38,5007,688
  Wellington (City)131,60016,289
Borough.Population (Including Maoris).Approximate Area, in Acres.

* City from 5th November, 1948.

South Island—  
  Nelson (City)14,4004,966
  Christchurch (City)123,90016,788
  Port Chalmers2,690627
  West Harbour2,1002,382
  Dunedin (City)70,20015,836
  St. Kilda7,640462
  Green Island3,010877
  Invercargill (City)25,8006,399
  South Invercargill1,2202,257
      Grand totals11,143,580293,140

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 Eden1,9101,267
  Havelock North1,580835
South Island—  
  Pleasant Point500730
    Grand totals26,86027,593
(b) Town Districts Forming Parts of Counties*
North Island—  
  Kohukohu (Hokianga)2401,020
  Rawene (Hokianga)430280
  Russell (Bay of Islands)4801,066
  Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)640280
  Onerahi (Whangarei)520990
  Mercer (Franklin)3001,000
  Te Kauwhata (Waikato)4801,290
  Ohaupo (Waipa)2501,283
  Kihikihi (Waipa)420523
  Kawhia (Kawhia)280470
  Te Karaka (Waikohu)380700
  Patutahi (Cook)2001,275
  Kaponga (Eltham)400558
  Normanby (Hawera)310260
South Island—  
  Havelock (Marlborough)240210
  Southbridge (Ellesmere)390531
  Outram (Taieri)360886
  Edendale (Southland)470696
    Grand totals6,79013,318

Extra-county Islands and Migratory Population.—In addition to the populations quoted for administrative counties, cities and boroughs, and independent town districts, the New Zealand totals include migratory population and persons located on islands not within the boundaries of any county. The two latter categories comprised an estimated 5,330 people at the 1st April, 1948.

Of the islands concerned, Waiheke was the only one with a reasonably sized population, which was estimated at 1,130 for 1st April, 1948.

AGE DISTRIBUTION.—The following table shows the estimated age distribution of the population at 31st December, 1947. The figures are based on the 1945 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.

Age-group.Excluding Maoris.Maoris.
Under 593,75489,645183,39910,0549,52119,575
75 and over20,50023,60044,100375375750
Total under 14218,800211,000429,80024,20023,20047,400
Total under 16242,700234,000476,70026,90025,80052,700
Total under 21307,700296,600604,30032,60031,40064,000
Totals 21 and over550,354560,3451,110,69922,92921,14644,075
  Total population858,054856,9451,714,99955,52952,546108,075

DENSITY OF POPULATION.—The total area of New Zealand is approximately 103,939 square miles. Omitting the annexed islands and certain outlying islands, the area of the land-mass remaining is 103,416 square miles. This calculation it should he 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 1915 census, density of population in the various provincial districts was:—

 Persons per Square Mile.
Hawkes 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 Maori 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 latest Maori population figure available, at the 1st April, 1948, is 109,003, which is an increase of 3,304 on the total for the previous year.

The census record of Maori population is given below:—

Year.Maori Population.Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.

NOTE.—Minus sign (-) denotes a decrease.

*Includes members of Armed Forces overseas at census date.


The percentage increase from 1936 to 1945 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 European 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 1947–48 afford a better illustration. These are:—

Natural-increase rate16.5931.48

Of the 109,003 Maoris at 1st April, 1948, 105,426 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 1936 and 1945 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 in each blood division of those counted in the Maori population.

Counted in the Maori population—  
  Full Maori55,91598,744
  Three-quarter caste11,397
  Degree not specified123
Counted in the population other than Maori—  
Maori-European quarter-caste11,50816,902
Maori-American Indian328
Maori-Negro 19
Maori-Filipino 8
Maori-West Indian 11
Maori-Melanesian 10

In 1945 there were recorded in New Zealand some 116,394 persons wholly or partly of Maori origin, compared with 94,053 in 1936.



REGISTRATION.—An ordinance which came into force from 1st January, 1848, made provision for a Government record of births and deaths. While this Ordinance did not precisely make registration of births compulsory, it did make notification of births compulsory and also required registration particulars to be furnished on request made by a Deputy Registrar. Under its provisions many registrations were made, some of births as early as 1840. However, for some years (certainly until 1854 and possibly a year or so later) the requirements of the Ordinance were not fully known or appreciated, and it cannot be said to have been completely enforced during this period. The Registration Act, 1858, operative from 1st January, 1859, provided for compulsory registration of births. 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. 52–53). A child born out of Now 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 54.

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 is over 250, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Maori 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 general long-term history of the birth-rate in New Zealand has been downward. A reference to the diagram on page 45 and to the table on page 44, showing quinquennial average birth-rates, indicates this trend very clearly. After the pioneering days of the nineteenth century, when the population consisted very largely of young immigrants faced with the necessity of raising a largo family, the birth-rate began to decline appreciably. A further migration wave at the turn of the century reversed the trend temporarily, but in 1909 the downward movement was again resumed. With minor fluctuations in the earlier stages and in the years influenced by the 1914–18 war this decline continued until 1936. In that year a slight upward movement began, and by 1940 some of the deficit had been made up by the gradual rise. This was accelerated during the war years (with minor fluctuations) until successive record high totals (as regards the numbers of births) were established in 1945, 1946, and 1947. It is necessary to go back thirty-five years, to 1912, to find a higher birthrate in New Zealand than that of 26.42 recorded for 1947. The numbers and rates of births (children born alive) for each of the last twenty years are given in the following table.

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

Much of the movement in the birth-rate during recent years has been allied to the marriage-rate.

During the depression years there was a cessation of the normal annual increase in the number of marriages expected in a growing country, and correspondingly the first-birth rate remained at a low figure.

When the country emerged from the depression the effect of postponed marriages and child-bearing manifested itself immediately, and the first-birth rate rose rapidly. Again added impetus was given to this rate during the early war years, when, for obvious reasons, there was a decided rise in the marriage-rate. As the war proceeded the number of marriages declined somewhat, with a marked effect on the first-birth rate. With the end of hostilities and the release of men from the Forces the number of births rose rapidly, with first births the major factor in this increase.

A special table has been prepared for the first time illustrating the movements in the birth-rates by order of birth. While first births account for a high percentage of the substantial rise in the number of births and in the crude birth-rate from 1936 to 1947, there is evidence that there has been a simultaneous substantial increase in the proportion of couples having a second and third child. This increase, however, cannot be taken as indicating that the decline in size of the average family has been reversed or even arrested, as it may simply be a manifestation of the gains in one period being offset by the losses in another, the over-all trend being neither upward nor downward. A tendency for couples to marry and have children in prosperous years rather than in depression years is clearly demonstrated in the table, the effect of the depression periods between the two wars being evidenced in the low rates pertaining to those years. The rates, which are per 1,000 of all women aged fifteen to forty-nine, are shown by order of birth. Figures for 1922 and 1942 are not available.

Place.First.Second.Third.Fourth.Fifth.Sixth and Seventh.Eighth and Higher.

The very high levels reached by first-birth rates in recent years, together with the steep rise in the second- and third-birth rates, are the salient features in the above table, while the combined rates for the first three birth orders for 1947 recorded a 39-per-cent. increase over that for 1921. An explanation of the high rates ruling for second and third births is probably the delayed results of the high marriage rates of several years before, but the effect of the family allowance benefits under the Social Security Act may also have been a factor, the extent of which it is impossible to gauge.

The reduction over the period in the size of the family to less than five is clearly demonstrated. This diminution in the average size of the family to the point where one comprising eight or more children is a rarity calls for a change of outlook in what can be correctly designated as a “large” family, anything over six or even perhaps five children now falling into this category. There are, however, indications that the rate of decline in the average size of the family has been retarded somewhat, but a conclusion that there is at present a reversal of the long-term trend towards smaller families cannot be justified at this stage.

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

The “crude” rates do not permit of allowance being made for variations in the proportion of women of the child-bearing ages, and it is advisable and of interest to supplement the table of “crude” rates with a computation of the legitimate birth-rate per 1,000 married women 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 1945.

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 51 per cent. between 1878 and 1945, 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 17.04 in 1947. 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.
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.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.—An international comparison of birth and natural increase rates is made in the following table. New Zealand's position is much higher on the basis of natural increase than it would be on that of the birth-rate. The rates, which are the average of the five years 1943–47 unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations, and cover those countries for which such information is available.

Country.Rates per 1,000 of Population.
Births.Natural Increase.

* 1942–46.

Costa Rica44.830.1
Union of South Africa26.417.3
New Zealand23.213.4
United States of America22.111.7
United Kingdom18.16.3

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. It is a popular idea that the proportion of male births tends to increase considerably in war years, but the experience in this country does little to bear out this theory, the average over the six years 1940–45 being 1,057, as against that of 1,050 for the preceding ten years. Figures taken out some years ago prove that the masculinity rate for first births is distinctly higher than for subsequent births. As the first-birth rate tends to rise during war years, and actually reached a very high peak during the early part of Second World War, the total masculinity rate would also be affected and would give rise to the popular idea that wars result in an increase in the proportion of male children born. The extreme range since 1870 has been from 1,016 male per 1,000 female births in 1878 to 1,081 in 1923.

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

The masculinity rate from 1856 to 1947 is oppressed in the following table in average ratios for successive decennial periods.

Period.Male Births per 1,000 Female Births.
1946–1947 (two years)1,051

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 529 cases of twin births (1,058 children) registered in 1947. There were also four cases of triplets.

The total number of accouchements resulting in living births was 44,279, and on the average one mother in every 83 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, the total number of accouchements for the year 1947 is increased to 45,141, and the number of cases of multiple births to 582. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 78.

The incidence of multiple births varies considerably, as may be seen from the following summary for each of the last twenty years:—

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
194546337115112   251313.7
194651842145747 1 858213.8
194752938115784   458212.9

The proportion of multiple births has been consistently high during the last five years, that experienced in 1944 being a record figure. The numbers of cases of triplets recorded in 1944 and in 1946 were exceptional (7 and 8 respectively).

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 years3.4310.61

The following table shows the sexes in individual cases of live twin births for the years 1943.47.

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

During the ten years 1938–47 there were thirty-four cases of triplets. In ten cases all three children were males, in thirteen cases all were females, in eight cases there were two males and one female, and in three cases two of the three children were females.

AGES OF PARENTS.—Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1947 is shown in the following tables.

Age of Father, in Years.Age of Mother, In Years.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and under 50.50 and under 55.55 and under 60.65 and over.Total Cases.

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

† Including three cases of triplets.

Single Births
Under 212101,0287871894916611 2,287
21 and under 251042,7414,6831,57636590333819,604
25 and under 30107465,7664,9761,7003921502625213,793
30 and under 351419384,0113,2231,021296814989,669
35 and under 40 1786762,1811,51050913087135,185
40 and under 45  5482176413491084671,421
45 and over    61143178287
Multiple Births
Under 21 861      15
21 and under 25 1542223     82
25 and under 30 97461207  1 172
30 and under 35 275953112   134
35 and under 40  31439271311 98
40 and under 45   1311121 19
45 and over           
    Totals 34132158118561633 520
    Grand totals3254,59112,38911,6347,8593,7371,4023692273342,566

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 1947 is here summarized.

Age of Mother, in Years.Number of Previous Issue.Total Legitimate Cases. and under 10.10 and under 15.15 and over.

* This number represents 42,046 single cases and 520 multiple cases.

Under 211,9393193941    2,302
21 and under 256,2972,53162018143104  9,686
25 and under 305,6114,4182,3051,01139415175  13,965
30 and under 352,1562,6042,2621,4606963003187 9,803
35 and under 408521,0081,15288857433342749 5,283
40 and under 451741992452222061272115421,440
45 and over101511111013133187

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 1947 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.

Age of Mother, in Years.Total Mothers.Total Issue.Average Issue.
Under 212,3022,7301.19
45 and over873984.57

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 1947) 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: 1943,2.56; 1944, 2.61; 1945, 2.58; 1946, 2.44; and 1947, 2.34. In 1915, the earliest year for which reliable comparative figures are available, the average issue was 3.11. This falling trend in the average issue of women giving birth to children is a measure of the tendency towards smaller families. The 1943 average, for the first time since these figures were compiled, reversed the trend, and a further increase was recorded in 1944, but with the increase in the proportion of first births in the three following years the average declined to a level in 1947 only slightly above that of 1939.

FIRST BIRTHS.—Of a total of 176,509 accouchements resulting in legitimate births during the five years 1943–47, the issue of no fewer than 62,028 or 35 per cent., were first-born children. In 24,651, or 40 per cent., of these cases the birth occurred within twelve months, and in 42,666, or 69 per cent., within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 31 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.

The annual number of first births registered naturally follows closely the movement in the marriage-rate. With the steady decline in the marriage-rate during the middle war years 1941–43 a fall in the number of first births was to be expected. This was accompanied by a marked downward movement in the actual proportion of first births to total births due in some measure to the sustained figures of total births during those years. It would appear, therefore, that the war period was responsible for at least a temporary trend towards larger families.

With the return of men from service overseas there came a heavy increase in the number of marriages, and correspondingly the proportion of first births rose steeply; and, in 1947, reached a rate very little below the record figure of 41.09 per cent. established in 1940. An interesting feature of the birth statistics for 1947 is the high proportion of first births occurring within two years after marriage—75.62 per cent. of all legitimate first cases recorded in 1947 falling in this class. This is the highest figure recorded since 1929.

The proportion of first births occurring within one year of the marriage of the parents during 1941 and 1943 (1942 figures are not available) was particularly low, no doubt mostly due to war conditions, where parenthood in many wartime marriages was postponed. The figure for 1944 showed an appreciable rise, and further substantial increases were recorded in 1946 and 1947.

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.
Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.
   Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
Totals for five years176,50962,02835.1424,65139.7442,66668.79

Although the period of time elapsing before the birth of the first child has varied considerably during the last few years, mainly as a result of war influences, there would appear to be no evidence to indicate that the long-term decline in the proportion of first births occurring within one year of marriage has been arrested. The following table compares the 1947 figures with those 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 year52.9550.0646.2538.4742.80
1 and under 2 years28.6226.6426.7926.3032.82
2 and under 3 years9.0210.4310.2411.289.24
3 and under 4 years3.435.516.167.883.99
4 and under 5 years1.883.033.967.182.88
5 and under 10 years3.263.365.497.367.07
10 years and over0.840.971.111.531.20

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; 1944, 2.22 years; and 1947, 2.13 years.

An item of interest extracted from the 1947 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, 1934, and 1944.


Age of Mother.First Births, Proportion per Cent. at each Age-group to Total First Births.
Under 206.737.558.907.336.02
20 and under 2535.8938.1640.3941.7942.32
25 and under 3035.0132.5932.7929.5432.93
30 and under 3515.6114.6813.1014.6112.65
35 and under 405.525.333.795.365.00
40 and under 451.161.590.991.341.02
45 and over0.

The figures of average ages of mothers at the birth of their first child are as follows for the above years: 1914, 26.55; 1924, 26.39; 1934, 25.90; 1944, 25.18; and 1947, 26.06.

ILLEGITIMACY.—The numbers of illegitimate births registered during each of the years 1937–47, 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 1943–46.

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 1945 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 1,727 illegitimate births in 1947 were twelve cases of twins and 1 case of triplets, the number of accouchements being thus 1,713. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,713 mothers 494, or 29 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age.


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

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 repealed previous legislation on the subject. This Act 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 cases where the marriage has taken place subsequent to the passing of the Act, 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, while the necessity for prompt registration in order to participate in family benefits under the Social Security Act has accentuated the falling-away of the not previously registered cases to insignificant proportions.

 Number of Children legitimized.
Year.Previously registered.Not previously registered.Total.
  Totals from 1894 to 19479,5873,28912,876

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 prescribed 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 1947, 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 at which a child might legally be adopted is also of importance in this connection. It should also be noted that the unprecedented totals since 1944 are associated with the extremely high number of illegitimate births occurring in these years.

STILL-BIRTHS.—The registration of still-births was made compulsory in New Zealand as from the 1st March, 1913. Although it is necessary to effect a birth-registration entry for 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. Particulars of causes of still-births will be found in Sub-section “C” relating to deaths. 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, 1937–1947 were as follows:—

Year.Males.FemalesTotals.Males Stillbirths per 1,000 Females 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 1947 being 1,222 males per 1,000 females as compared with 1,045 for living births.

The percentage of illegitimates among still-born infants was in 1947, 4.39, and among infants born alive 3.85.

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1947, 40 per cent. were first births, while of legitimate still-births 47 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, in any particular case, a declaration is made that there is no parent or lawful guardian resident in New Zealand, then a certificate may be issued by the Registrar (without the necessity of Court proceedings) fourteen days after 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. In a country with a growing population, the annual number of marriages celebrated naturally shows a rising trend. This has been the experience in New Zealand, with the exception of the periodical interruptions occasioned by war and adverse economic conditions. The numbers and rates of marriages during each of the last twenty years are here given.

Year.Number.Rate per 1,000 of Population

Both the marriage rate and the number of marriages in 1946 were the highest on record. The main reason for this was the return from overseas of many thousands of men in the most prolific marriage age-groups. Although an appreciable decline in both the number of marriages and in the marriage-rate took place in 1947, the number of marriages was the second highest on record, while the actual rate has been exceeded on only three occasions—viz., 1939, 1940, and 1946.

Changes in the available marriageable population, together with 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 this country.

Comparison with Other Countries.—Marriage-rates for certain countries for 1947 are given below (these particulars have been taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, July, 1948, issued by the Statistical Office of the United Nations): United States of America, 14.0; Austria, 10.9; Bulgaria, 10.9; Czechoslovakia, 10.9; New Zealand, 10.9; France, 10.3; Netherlands, 10.2; Australia, 10.1; Canada, 10.1; Hungary, 10.1; Germany (British Zone), 10.0; Belgium, 9.9; Denmark, 9.6; Germany (French Zone), 9.6; Italy, 9.3; United Kingdom, 9.1; Switzerland, 8.7; Sweden, 8.6; Chile, 8.2; Spain, 8.2; Portugal, 8.1; Eire, 5.5; Nicaragua, 3.9; Salvador, 3.5.

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 distribution of the unmarried female population in a basic year.

This has been done for each census year from 1881 to 1945, 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 1,000Index 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.

Between the censuses of March, 1936, and September, 1945, the numbers of unmarried women aged fifteen and under thirty-five (the ages within which most women marry) fell by over 11,000. This decline, which was largely a result of the high marriage-rate in 1937–40 and 1945, appears to be chiefly responsible for the remarkably high standardized marriage-rate of 1945. A contributory cause was the slightly higher ages of 1945 brides, 11.63 per cent. being over thirty-five in 1945, as compared with 9.40 per cent. in 1936.

Owing to staff difficulties arising out of the war situation, no detailed marriage statistics were compiled for the years 1941–14 inclusive. The statistics and information contained in the following pages relate in most cases to the years 1939, 1940, 1945, 1946, and 1947.

CONJUGAL CONDITION.—The total number of persons married during the year 1947 was 37,050, of whom 32,340 were single, 1,785 widowed, and 2,925 divorced. The figures for each of the five years 1939–10 and 1945–47, 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 1938–47 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 45 per 1,000 persons married to 79.

Reference to the divorce statistics at the end of this subsection will show that there has been a marked increase in the incidence of divorce during the last five years; as a matter of fact, the number of decrees absolute in the period 1943–47 was 8,705, as compared with 3,750 in the five years 1933–37, an increase of 132 per cent. The increase in the number of divorced people remarrying is therefore not surprising. The number of widowed persons remarking fell from 46 per 1,000 persons married in 1938 to 39 per 1,000 in 1940, but rose again to 49 per 1,000 in 1947.

The relative conjugal condition of bridegrooms and brides for each of the five years 1939–40 and 1945–47 is next given.

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

The relative proportions of divorced men and divorced women remarrying during the last three years has changed but little compared with the ten years earlier. During the three years 1935–37 the number of male divorcees remarrying was 1,411, as compared with 1,556 females, which gives a rate of 91 males for every 100 females. In 1945–47 the respective numbers were 4,056 males and 3,941 females and the corresponding rate 103 males for every 100 females. In the case of widowed persons remarrying, however, there has been a marked change in the figures. In the three-year period 1935–37, 2,272 widowers remarried but only 1,412 widows, whereas in 1945–47 there were 2,748 widowers and 2,715 widows who remarried, the number of widowers per 100 widows being 161 in the former period and 101 in the latter period. It is probable that the increase in the proportion of widows remarrying is due in some measure to the numbers of young women who were widowed as a result of the war.

AGES OF PERSONS MARRIED.—Of the 37,050 persons married in 1947, 4,468 or 12 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 13,287, or 36 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 9,637, or 26 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 6,492, or 17 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 3,166 or 9 per cent., as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1947.

Age of Bridegroom, In Years.Age of Bride, in Years.Total Bridegrooms.
Under 21.21 and under 25.25 and under 30.30 and under 35.35 and under 40.40 and under 45.45 and over.
Under 214762001721  696
21 and under 251,8843,2796026631 5,835
25 and under 301,0972,7591,625321618 5,871
30 and under 352458759305341693392,795
35 and under 405224940235121664161,350
40 and under 45115813017314511652685
45 and over732601171882326571,293
    Total brides3,7727,4523,7661,56478345473418,525

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 1939 and for the three-year period 1945–47.

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. There is also a decline over the whole period in the 25 and under 30 age-group. This has become very marked in the 1945–47 period, and is mainly due to a large proportion of the male population in this age-group being overseas during the early part of the period. Moreover, the fact that the outbreak of war induced a number of earlier marriages has resulted in fewer unmarried people entering this age-group.

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 1934–40 and 1945–47 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 1947 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age has varied, and for 1947 was 24.

Marriages of Minors.—Of every 1,000 men married in 1947, 38 were under twenty-one years of age, while 207 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 476 marriages in 1947 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 3,296 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 220 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. Since 1936 there have been substantial increases in the actual numbers of minors marrying, although the number of brides coming within this category in 1945 was considerably below the 1940 figure. Figures for the years 1939–40 and 1945–47 are contained in the following table:—

Year.Age in Years.Totals. per 100 Marriages.
1946 12621824767323.56

MARRIAGES BY MINISTERS OF VARIOUS DENOMINATIONS.—Of the 18,525 marriages registered in 1947, Church of England clergymen officiated at 4,914, Presbyterians at 5,236, Roman Catholics at 2,269, and Methodists at 1,775, while 3,371 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the principal denominations in each of the years 1934–40 and 1945–47.

Denomination.Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England25.5226.0726.1026.5226.9327.1627.4527.9427.6826.53
Roman Catholic11.5011.4011.6511.7411.5812.6012.2311.5811.8512.25
Other denominations7.928.397.617.
Before Registrars17.9816.9217.1516.8717.1217.3817.0116.3716.6018.20

The foregoing figures must not be taken as an exact indication of the religious 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 1945 who stated their religious profession, 41.0 per cent. were adherents of the Church of England, 25.5 per cent. Presbyterian, 14.7 per cent. Roman Catholic, 8.8 per cent. Methodist, and 10.0 per cent. other denominations.

The proportion of civil marriages in 1947 was appreciably higher than in 1946 and was the highest recorded since 1931, when it reached 22.62 per cent. The year recording the highest proportion was 1917, when 24.77 per cent. of marriages took place before Registrars.

NUMBER OF OFFICIATING MINISTERS.—The number of names on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act was (January, 1948) 2,471, and the denominations to which they belong are shown hereunder.

Church of England490
Roman Catholic Church489
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand430
Methodist Church of New Zealand320
Ratana Church of New Zealand137
Salvation Army121
Ringatu Church41
Latter Day Saints39
Seventh Day Adventist39
Associated Churches of Christ37
Congregational Independent30
Commonwealth Covenant Church19
Liberal Catholic Church12
Apostolic Church11
Assemblies of God10
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand9
United Maori Mission8
Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi7
Absolute Maori Established Church6
Churches of Christ6
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference6
Evangelistic Church of Christ6
Hebrew Congregations6
Te Maramatanga Christian Society5
Pentecostal Church of New Zealand4
Avondale Mission2
Christian Spiritualist Mission2
Covenant Mission2
Foursquare Gospel Mission2
New Covenant Assembly2
Star of Hope Mission of New Zealand2

The Ringatu Church, the Te Maramatanga Christian Society, the Ratana Church of New Zealand, the Absolute Maori Established Church, the United Maori Mission, 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 New Zealand 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) Act, 1947, makes special provisions in respect of war marriages where one of the parties was domiciled outside New Zealand by: (1) Extension of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to certain marriages irrespective of domicile; (2) recognition of decrees and orders (in relation to such marriages) made in the United States of America; and (3) shortening the period of desertion or separation as ground for divorce in such cases from three years to twelve months.

By authority of the Act, previous legislation on the subject embodied in the Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Emergency Regulations 1946 was revoked, accrued rights being protected.

Figures showing the operations of the Supreme Court in its divorce jurisdiction during recent years are as follows. About 50 per cent. of the decrees granted in any year relate to petitions filed in prior years.

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.
19371,1541,0089174 138107
19401,1891,0421,0593 112106

As was to be expected, the later years of the war witnessed a marked increase in the incidence of divorce. However, it was not anticipated that the high level of decrees absolute granted in 1945 would be exceeded by approximately 400 in each of the two succeeding years. Although a slight falling off, for the first time in six years was recorded during 1947, it is worth noting that for every nine marriages solemnized during that year, one was dissolved.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petitions and decrees during 1946 and 1947.

Grounds.Petitions Filed.Decrees Absolute Granted.
Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Drunkenness, with cruelty, failure to maintain, &c.1 8818 5
Rape  21  11
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights31527910010131130198112
Separation for not less than three years446472527554410393532535
Non-consummation2 471 76

The figures shown for decrees absolute cover all such granted during the year, whether the antecedent decree nisi was granted in the same or in a previous year.

The principal grounds on which petitions were filed during 1947 showed the following increases compared with 1938, a normal peacetime year: Adultery, 193 (95.1 percent.); desertion, 135 (63.7 per cent.); non-compliance with restitution order, 271 (248.6 per cent.); and separation, 391 (61.6 per cent.).

In 793 of the 2,191 cases where petitions for dissolution were filed during 1947 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 605 cases, 2 in 400 cases, 3 in 192 cases, 4 or more in 200 cases, while the number of issue was not stated in one case.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all oases for which petitions for dissolution were filed in the five years 1943 to 1947.

Duration of Marriage, in Years.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Under 51942802182402138491113167158
5 and under 10220354476480404211257320343334
10 and under 15184186232245218169160186204191
15 and under 20122164147166140122118149140122
20 and under 30116116138145141121155142141152
30 and over59565048613640404456
Not stated27   18  1

The number of children affected by the divorce petitions of their parents during each of the last five years was as follows: 1943, 2,439; 1944, 2,696; 1945, 2,903; 1946, 3,120; and 1947, 2,978.


REGISTRATION.—The history of the early legislative requirements in regard to the registration of deaths in New Zealand is similar to that in relation to births, particulars of which will be found on page 41.

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 is required to be registered within three days after the day of the death if in a city or borough, or seven days in any other case. There is a penalty up to £10 for neglect, the undertaker in charge of the funeral being solely responsible for registration. Prior to 1913 the undertaker was primarily 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 Registrar's 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 Members of the Forces while Overseas.—The Registration of Deaths Emergency Regulations 1941, which superseded 1940 regulations of similar title, required the Registrar-General to compile a War Deaths Register of persons of New Zealand domicile who 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 were excluded from the regulations, special provision having previously been made in their case. These Regulations were revoked by the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act, 1947, which made permanent statutory provision in this connection. The amendment requires the Registrar-General to compile a register of all persons who have died while out of New Zealand on service with any of the Armed Forces of His Majesty and who at the time of their deaths were domiciled in New Zealand. Deaths registered in the War Deaths Register were not taken into account in arriving at the number and rate of deaths in New Zealand, nor were deaths of visiting overseas servicemen or prisoners of war in New Zealand. Deaths of New Zealand servicemen which occurred in New Zealand were, however, included.

Registration of Maori Deaths.—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 older age-constitution of the population, is probably due, inter alia, to improvements in medical techniques, expansion of health services, &c. This progress has been reflected for example, 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 birth-rate 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 duo 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. It is possible that the very high rates for deaths in the older age-groups during 1942 may be associated with the wartime tresses of that year. Some validity can be given to this view owing to the sharp rise in deaths resulting from diseases of the heart and nervous system. The return of servicemen from overseas, the absence of any severe outbreak of epidemic diseases, together with exceptionally low infant-mortality rates, are the principal factors responsible for the decline in the death-rate in 1946 and 1947.

The death-rates of males and females for each of the years 1937–47 are shown separately in the next table.

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

DISTRIBUTION OF DEATHS OVER THE YEAR.—An examination of the total number of deaths registered in each quarter of the period 1937–47 gives the following averages: March quarter, 3,304; June quarter, 3,775; September quarter, 4,484; and December quarter, 3,816.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1947 the months during which the greatest number of deaths occurred were June, July, and August, with totals of 1,421, 1,554, and 1,544 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths (1,106), followed by March and April, with 1,156 and 1,171 respectively.

The lowest number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 25, this number occurring on the 15th March. The greatest number (67) occurred on the 9th August.

AGE AT DEATH.—The deaths registered during the year 1947 are tabulated below according to age.

Under 1 month455355810
1–2 months504191
3–5 months6544109
6–11 months5458112
1 year5555110
2 years312354
3 years171734
4 years161329
5–9 years602383
10–14 years372158
15–19 years6952121
20–24 years12178199
25–29 years100103203
30–34 years116104220
35–39 years140126266
40–44 years167134301
45–49 years293234527
50–54 years402304706
55–59 years6184341,052
60–64 years9245951,519
65–69 years1,2728452,117
70–74 years1,2849332,217
75–79 years1,1749872,161
80–84 years7617891,550
85–89 years442440882
90–94 years129168297
95–99 years294271
100 years224
103 years1 1

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.

Age, In Years.Number of Deaths.Percentage of Total.
Under 11,3542,2281,3601,0801,12220.5322.1312.929.307.06
1 and under 53786585193532275.736.544.933.041.43
5 and under 10150201304185832.272.02.891.590.52
10 and under 15154165156166582.341.641.481.430.37
15 and under 202422571902271213.632.551.801.950.76
20 and under 253083722563051994.073.702.432.631.25
25 and under 302834123432892034.
30 and under 352503854043102203.793.823.842.671.38
35 and under 402703594783752664.093.574.543.231.67
40 and under 452733204304483014.
45 and under 503223714576445274.883.694.345.553.31
50 and under 553293875027007064.993.844.776.034.44
55 and under 603904245467451,0525.914.215.196.416.61
60 and under 654435556748691,5196.725.516.407.489.55
65 and under 704307547879772,1176.527.497.488.4113.31
70 and under 753658018481,1292,2175.537.968.059.7213.94
75 and under 803226799611,0812,1614.886.759.3113.59 
80 and over3327381,3131,7302,8055.037.3312.4714.9017.64

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 more recent years, however, there have been some fluctuations in the rates for the higher age-groups, but the 1947 figures again reflect a declining tendency. Of special significance are the low rates recorded in the childhood and early adult life age-groups in 1047 and the high percentage reduction effected during the longer period. 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 55.55 and under 65.65 and under 75.75 and over.

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

Both Sexes

The average (arithmetic mean) age at death of persons of either sex at ten-yearly intervals since 1897 and during each of the last ten years was as follows:—


There was a striking upward movement in the average age at death during the first thirty years covered by the table, particularly between 1907 and 1937. The last ten years, however have been marked by fluctuations within fairly narrow limits, although there has been a slight increase over the decade. A noticeable feature is that in the earlier years the age for females was considerably lower than that for males, the margin gradually narrowing until virtual equality was reached in 1927–28, since when the female average age at death has been higher than the male.

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 clue regard was had to securing the most recent figures available. The countries selected are for the most part those of similar racial stock.


* White population.

New Zealand (1934–38)65.4668.45
Australia (1932.34)63.4867.14
Union of South Africa (1935.37)*58.9563.06
England and Wales (1937)60.1864.40
United States of America, (1939–41)*62.8167.29
Netherlands (1931.40)65.767.2
Denmark (1941.45)65.6267.70
Sweden (1936.40)64.3066.92
Belgium (1928.32)56.0259.79
Finland (1936–40)54.359.5
France (1933–38)55.9461.64
Switzerland (1939–44)62.6866.96

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 1945 and for the year 1947.

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 have been 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 1937–47 are shown in the following table.

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

The infant-mortality rate for 1947 of 25.04 per 1,000 live births again sets a new low record for this country. The success of New Zealand, a country with a reputation for remarkably low rates, in further lowering the level by over 6 per 1,000 in the short space of the five years 1943–47 gives some cause for satisfaction, but it must be remembered that other overseas countries have also experienced record low rates over the last two years, so that the position has not improved relatively. With the distinction of having the lowest infant-mortality rate in the world since the year 1912, it was an unusual experience for this country to occupy second place in 1943 with a rate of 31.4, as compared with 28.6 for Sweden in the same year. In 1944 and 1945 New Zealand again held pride of place, if only by narrow margins, while for the last two years the rates for the two countries have been almost identical. It is important to note that, while the figures for Sweden have been reduced in a spectacular fashion during the last ten years, the rate for 1937 being as high as 45.2, by contrast the New Zealand results have been achieved by a steady decline over a long period.

The following table, the figures for which are taken from the “Monthly Bulletin of Statistics,” issued by the United Nations, shows the favourable position occupied by New Zealand. In the case of the Union of South Africa and New Zealand, the European population only has been taken into account.

Country.Quinquennium.Deaths Under 1 Year Per 1,000 Births.

* Excluding Maoris.

† European population.

New Zealand*1943–4728
United States of America1943–4737
Union of South Africa1943–4743
United Kingdom1942–4649

The male rate of infant mortality is considerably above the female rate, and this holds almost without exception 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 1943–47 is found to be 124; between one and three months, 138; between three and six months, 143; between six and twelve months, 131; and for the first year as a whole, 128.

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 1941–45 the death-rate for children under one month of age was 33 per cent. lower than in the quinquennium 1881–85, the rate for children who had survived the first month of fife 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 period 1941–45, 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. In 1946 and 1947, however, both rates continued to decline.

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

The accompanying diagram further illustrates the reduction in the infant-mortality rate that has taken place during the last sixty-six 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 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.
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 1942–46—it is found that the general infant mortality rate shows a decline of 74 per cent., while even greater decreases are recorded for tuberculosis (98 per cent.), convulsions (99 per cent.), gastric and intestinal diseases (95 per cent.), epidemic diseases (92 per cent.), and respiratory diseases (78 per cent.). The rate for diseases of early infancy shows a decrease of only 36 per cent. in 1942–46 as compared with 1872–76, but the figures for recent years indicate that some measure of success has attended the steps taken 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 ago, per 1,000 live births.

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

Three out of every four 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 1947 is indeed remarkably low.

CAUSES OF STILL-BIRTH.—A still-born child is defined in New Zealand 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.”

The registration of still-births has been effected in New Zealand since 1913, but no information regarding the causes of still-births has hitherto been required for registration purposes. The lack of such information represents a distinct gap in the otherwise excellent records available concerning the loss of infant or potential infant life. Furthermore, as mentioned in an earlier paragraph, the still-birth problem is intimately bound up with that of the neo-natal infant-mortality rate. Any appreciable improvement in New Zealand's infant-mortality rate must almost certainly depend upon the reduction of this neo-natal loss.

To reduce effectively fœtal and maternal losses resulting from still-births, health authorities and medical research workers need considerably more information in regard to the magnitude of the problem and a knowledge of the underlying fœtal and maternal conditions associated with still-births.

In the United States of America, Canada, and a few other countries, statistics are already available concerning the various causes of still-births and throw some interesting light on the problem. While the number of countries that register stillbirths and compile statistics thereof is not great, the number is increasing, and numerous classification lists of causes of still-births have been developed, especially in the United States of America.

The subject received considerable attention at the International Commission for Revision of the International List of Causes of Death in 1938. This Commission recommended that all countries which obtain records of still-births should consider introducing a certificate of the causes of still-births.

To enable New Zealand to make its contribution towards international uniformity in this matter, and also to assist in research work in this country, legislation was introduced in 1946 (section 15, Statutes Amendment Act, 1946) requiring the medical practitioner or, if there was no medical practitioner, the midwife in attendance at a confinement where a still-birth occurs to furnish a certificate stating to the best of his or her knowledge and belief the cause of the still-birth. This requirement came into force as from 1st January, 1947.

Provision was made in the certificate for the insertion of information concerning both fœtal and maternal causes of the still-birth. Of the 911 still-births registered during 1947, in 82 cases (9 per cent.) the cause was not known or not stated. Fœtal causes only were specified in 342 cases (38 per cent.); maternal causes only in 164 (18 per cent.); while for 323 still-births, or 35 per cent. of the total, there were both fœtal and maternal causes present.

The following table shows in broad classification groups for 1947 (a) the total number of still-births in which fœtal causes were present, and (b) the total number of cases where causes determined in the mother were stated on the certificate.

Causes of Still-birth.Number of Cases.
Congenital malformations4359102
Placental state613596
Cord conditions8667153
Birth injury7246118
Syphilis in fœtus 33
Infection, and other causes11281193
Syphilis in the mother 33
Other chronic diseases in the mother11920
Acute disease in the mother538
Abortion induced for non-therapeutic reasons   
Ectopic gestation112
Hæmorrhage, trauma, shock523183
Toxæmias of pregnancy7179150
Infection3 3
Difficult or prolonged labour623799
External causes111223
Other, and ill-defined causes544296

Apart from the group of miscellaneous causes, which includes such statements as “macerated foetus,” the principal causes of still-birth of those arising in the fœtus were conditions in the umbilical cord (23 per cent.). Of causes occurring in the mother, toxæmia of pregnancy was the most prolific (31 per cent.).

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.

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).

The statistics for tuberculosis, cancer, puerperal causes, and violence—causes which are of special interest and significance—are discussed later on in this subsection.

Cause of Death.Numbers.Rates per 10,000.
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever333790.
Scarlet fever227131 
Tuberculosis of the respiratory system4754854974604413.
Other forms of tuberculosis97108106100820.630.690.670.600.48
Measles7 101610.05
Other infective and parasitic diseases1821241081121081.180.800.680.680.64
Cancer and other malignant tumours2,1312,1822,2132,2682,31513.8514.0213.8813.6713.65
Non - malignant tumours and tumours of unspecified nature60605365640.390.390.330.390.38
Chronic rheumatism and gout23392630230.
Diabetes mellitus3323273193383282.
Avitaminoses, other general diseases, diseases of the blood, and chronic poisoning2522672502352251.641.721.571.421.33
Meningitis, and diseases of the spinal cord87716874610.570.460.430.450.36
Intracranial lesions of vascular origin1,5071,4451,6361,5971,6579.799.2810.269.639.77
Other diseases of the nervous system and organs of special sense2192141831601421.421.381.150.960.84
Diseases of the heart5,1825,2135,6555,7835,75233.6833.4935.4834.8633.91
Other diseases of the circulatory system2312412942562581.501.551.841.541.52
Pneumonia and bronchopneumonia4744885055615453.
Other diseases of the respiratory system2252042191902161.461.311.371.151.27
Diarrhœa and enteritis899912573570.580.640.780.440.34
Diseases of the liver and biliary passages101111123115940.660.710.770.690.55
Other diseases of the digestive system3163043532933182.051.952.211.771.87
Other diseases of the genitourinary system2332252492092401.511.451.561.261.41
Puerperal infection32382530160.
Other diseases of the puerperal state35535856320.230.340.360.340.19
Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue, and of the bones and organs of locomotion67403328260.440.
Congenital debility, malformations, premature birth, and other diseases of early infancy7167718178969214.654.955.135.405.43
Automobile accidents1331381211752040.860.880.761.051.20
Other accidental deaths6495284665155004.223.392.923.102.95
Cause of death not specified or ill-defined10475 

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, but the incidence of such diseases during 1947 was unusually low, with the exception of whooping-cough. Diseases of the heart, which account for a high percentage of total deaths, after reaching a record high peak in 1942, have demonstrated a slight declining trend in recent years. The low totals experienced during 1947 in ail the degenerative diseases is a substantial factor in the over-all decrease in the death-rate.

TUBERCULOSIS.—The death-rate from tuberculosis of the respiratory system has been decreasing gradually during recent years, with occasional upward fluctuations. The rate for 1947, 2.60 per 10,000 of population, is a record low rate for this country.

In addition to the 441 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1947, there were 82 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, comprising—

Tuberculosis of meninges and central nervous system17
Tuberculosis of intestines and peritoneum10
Tuberculosis of vertebral column12
Tuberculosis of bones and joints3
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system13
Tuberculosis of the lymphatic system1
Tuberculosis of the skin1
Disseminated tuberculosis25

The following table shows the number of deaths from tuberculosis in 1947, classified according to sex and age-groups. Of those dying from this cause in 1947, persons under the age of 45 years formed 53 per cent.

Age, in Years.Males.Females.Totals.
Under 571219
5 and under 10235
10 and under 15156
15 and under 2051217
20 and under 25192544
25 and under 30183654
30 and under 35233356
35 and under 40241539
40 and under 45211435
45 and under 50271239
50 and under 55291241
55 and under 6034741
60 and under 65361046
65 and under 7025732
70 and under 75241236
75 and under 803710
80 and over213

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.

 Average Death-rates per 10,000 of Population.

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 1947. 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 1947 there were 2,315 deaths from cancer in New Zealand, a proportion of 13.65 per 10,000 of population. Both the recorded and standardized death-rates have shown a slight falling tendency during the last three years.

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 1947.

Cancer (undefined)222143
Chloroma 11
Cystadeno carcinoma 11
Cystadenoma 11
Dysgerminoma 11
Embryoma 22
Fibrosarcoma 22
Granuloma fungoides 22
Hæmangioblastoma 11
Melanoma1 1
Myosarcoma 11
Neuroblastoma 22
Osteosarcoma3 3
Reticular endotheliosis1 1
Rodent ulcer9716
Seminoma5 5
Teratoma3 3

A summary showing the location of the disease in deaths from cancer during 1947 is as follows :—

Seat of Disease.Numbers.Rates per 10,000 of Population.
Buccal cavity and pharynx5917760.700.200.45
Digestive organs and peritoneum6624951,1577.815.836.82
Respiratory system154331871.820.391.10
Uterus 120120 1.410.71
Other female genital organs 7676 0.900.45
Breast 227227 2.681.34
Male genital organs134 1341.58 0.79
Urinary organs78271050.920.320.62
Other or unspecified organs83501330.980.590.78

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 531013
5 and under 10314
10 and under 151 1
15 and under 20415
20 and under 25448
25 and under 3031013
30 and under 3512719
35 and under 40182139
40 and under 45203555
45 and under 504662108
50 and under 556895163
55 and under 60126113239
60 and under 65189157346
65 and under 70244169413
70 and under 75200149349
75 and under 80173139312
80 and over120108228

Ninety-three per cent. of the deaths from cancer during 1947 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 56 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. The rate per 1,000 live births in each of the last twenty years is shown in the following table.

Year.Proportion per 1,000 Live Births.

A survey of the death-rate from puerperal causes since 1872 shows that for a period in the early part of the twentieth century there was a tendency for the rate to decline. Then followed a definite upward movement, culminating in a rate of 6.48 per 1,000 live births in 1920, the third highest on record, this figure having been exceeded only in 1884 and 1885. Comparatively high rates persisted until 1931, since when the decline has been more or less steady. The efficacy of new drugs and methods of treatment is reflected in the extremely low rates recorded in recent years, the figure for 1947 of 1.07 being not only a new record, but a reduction of no less than 48 per cent. from the previous lowest figure of 2.05 in 1946. This extraordinary low rate has been achieved mainly by a reduction in the number of deaths from toxæmias of pregnancy and childbirth, causes which have hitherto been particularly resistant to preventive measures. Deaths from hæmorrhages of the puerperal state were also unusually few during 1947.

It is generally conceded that in years of high birth-rates the maternal-mortality rate tends to rise, probably due to the abnormally high proportion of first births in the total of births, upon which the death-rate for these causes is based. In common with most countries for which recent figures are available, the reverse has been the experience in New Zealand during the last three years. Possibly a contributory factor in this reversal has been the rise in the proportion of births taking place in institutions, more particularly in special annexes attached to the larger hospitals, where every facility for the care of the patient is more readily available.

Deaths from diseases and accidents of childbirth for the five years 1943–47 are shown in the following summary.

Group.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Post-abortive infection15191112100.490.570.300.290.22
Abortion without mention of infection556520.
Ectopic gestation523150.
Hæmorrhage of pregnancy3431 
Toxæmias of pregnancy1221101890.400.620.270.430.20
Other diseases and accidents of pregnancy1 1  0.03 0.03  
Hæmorrhage of childbirth59151140.160.270.410.260.09
Infection during childbirth1719141860.570.570.370.430.13
Puerperal toxæmias24121030.070.120.330.240.07
Other accidents of childbirth278980.
Other and unspecified conditions of childbirth 1 11 0.03 0.020.02

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 scalds323026162220179
  Anæsthesia, asphyxia, &c.1017111271177
  In mines and quarries171310912965
  Transport accidents219269289259151179187153
  Injuries by animals89485635
  Fractures (causes not specified)106817451

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1947 was 704, corresponding to a rate of 4.15 per 10,000 of population. By comparison with 1932, there is an increase of 41 in the number of deaths, but the death-rate has decreased by 0.41 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.

Deaths arising out of aircraft accidents fell off steeply after 1945. This was to be expected, since 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. The 1938 total was the highest ever recorded in New Zealand. An appreciable drop, however, was experienced during the war years on account of there being less traffic on the roads owing to restrictions in the use of motor-spirits and rubber tires. With the gradual resumption of normal traffic since the war, the number of fatalities from motor-vehicle accidents is again tending to increase.

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 1947 there were 17 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor-vehicle was involved up to 204. The corresponding figure for 1946 was 175. 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 1947 numbered 135—males 99, females 36—the death-rate per 10,000 of mean population being 0.80.

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.
1945–47 (3 years)1.350.590.97


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 European 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 European 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 New Zealand is over 250, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Maori 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 Europeans. The births of a few Maoris are registered with the European 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 1947 was 4,961 (2,528 males, 2,433 females). In addition, 27 births (13 males and 14 females) recorded as of Maori race were registered with European Registrars, making a total of 4,988 Maori births for the year. The Maori birth-rate in 1947 was almost twice the European birth-rate (26.42 per 1,000). 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.

The abnormally high birth-rates recorded for Maoris in recent years, particularly in comparison with the remainder of the population, must be attributed partly to late-registrations of hitherto unregistered births. This became particularly noticeable in 1946, and is no doubt attributable in some measure to the extension of family benefits under the social security scheme to cover all children under sixteen years of age, irrespective of the income of the parents. This extension was provided for by the Social Security Amendment Act, 1945, and came into operation on 1st April, 1946. The following analysis of registrations of Maori births in 1946 illustrates this point.

Registrations during Quarter endedDate of Birth.Totals.
Before 1945.During 1945.During 1946.
31st March, 19461184365881,142
30th June, 1946318568821,256
30th September, 1946523211,1381,682
31st December, 1946488201,1881,696
    Totals, 19461,4475333,7965,776

Of the 5,776 Maori births registered during 1946, no fewer than 1,447, or 25 per cent. had actually occurred before 1945—i.e., over a year before registration. 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 Maori 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 Maori Land Act, 1909, and re-enacted in 1931, whereby it was laid down that Maori marriages must be celebrated either under the provisions of the Marriage Act or in the presence of a registered officiating minister, but without complying with the other requirements of the Marriage Act. Ministers solemnizing 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 522 marriages in which both parties were of the Maori race were received during the year 1947. The figures for each of the last five years are as follows:—

Year.Under Maori 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 has been some improvement since, 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 five years.

Apart from mere numbers by sex, statistics of Maori deaths are not available prior to 1920, but annual tabulations are now made on the bases of age and cause of death. The ages of Maoris whose deaths were registered during the year 1947 were as shown in the following table.

Age, in Years.Males.FemalesTotals.
Under 1195170365
1 and under 58379162
5 and under 10252651
10 and under 15233154
15 and under 204064104
20 and under 25383674
25 and under 30321951
30 and under 35282957
35 and under 40304575
40 and under 45262349
45 and under 50292554
50 and under 55252146
55 and under 60322456
60 and under 65452974
65 and under 70452469
70 and under 75322254
75 and under 80282048
80 and under 85161834
85 and under 90121224
90 and under 955813
95 and under 100314
100 and over21012

With the exception of diphtheria and scarlet fever, epidemic and infectious diseases generally exact a much heavier toll proportionately among Maoris than among the European 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 European population. Principal among these are cancer, heart-disease and other diseases of the circulatory system, nephritis, the group of general diseases which includes diabetes and exophthalmic goitre, and the group of diseases of the nervous system -which includes apoplexy and cerebral 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 European 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 fever9977120.930.910.690.681.13
Measles12 42711.24 0.402.640.09
Whooping-cough 478 15 4.730.79 1.41
Pulmonary tuberculosis26729029229327627.5329.1528.9828.6525.93
Other forms of tuberculosis919185102749.380.158.449.986.95
Cerebral hæmorrhage41253314364.232.513.271.373.38
Convulsions (under five years)111311341.131.311.090.290.38
Diarrhœa and enteritis657711486716.707.7411.318.416.67
  Homicide 5233 0.500.200.290.28
Ill-defined or not specified6112114166.
Other causes28233130128128629.0833.2729.8927.4826.86

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 61 per cent. were definitely shown to have been certified, while in 1947 the number so certified was 1,251 out of 1,538 registrations, equivalent to 81 per cent.

MAORI INFANT MORTALITY.—As regards infant mortality, the Maori rate is much higher than the European, principally owing to the ravages of epidemic diseases, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhæal diseases. The infant mortality rate for the first year of life was, for the five years 1943–47, 86 per 1,000 births in the case of Maoris, as compared with 28 per 1,000 among European infants. The decrease in the Maori infant mortality rate during the last two years is more apparent than real as the birth figures on which they are based include a considerable number of late registrations of hitherto unregistered births (see p. 83).

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 1947 the principal causes of deaths of Maori infants under 1 year, classified according to age.

Cause of Death.Under 1 Days.1 Days and under 2 Days.2 Days and under 1 Weeks.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       12227
Tuberculosis        1629
Infantile convulsions       1 124
Bronchitis      1  1 2
Broncho-pneumonia   1116819231877
Pneumonia   1 3231413440
Diarrhoea and enteritis    112511101040
Congenital malformations32 31  111113
Congenital debility, &c.1 2 1   1 27
Injury at birth173421 1    28
Premature birth22698211 2  51
Other causes peculiar to early infancy5272 111 1 20
Accident 1 111236  15
Other defined causes211 1135169746
Unspecified or ill-defined1 11    1 26

The great achievement in reducing the infant mortality rate for the European 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 European 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 New Zealand 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 European population. It is, however, desirable that a complete coverage of the vital statistics for the country as a whole should be available. Furthermore, the introduction of the medical and related benefits under the social security legislation, which covers Maori and European alike, renders it more important that a health picture of the total population in a single category should be presented. There is evidence also, that, as a result of certain information being essential for the claiming of social security benefits, the standard of Maori registration is now showing a gradual improvement.

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

TOTAL BIRTHS.—As mentioned previously, registrations of Maori births are somewhat less accurate than those of the European population. Consequently, in considering the birth statistics of the whole population, 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 European figures cover actual registrations effected during the year. The following table shows the numbers and rates of European, Maori, and total births for each of the last twenty years.

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

The abnormal increase in the number of Maori births shown for the year 1946 is mainly accounted for by the late registration of births which occurred prior to 1946 (see p. 83).

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 1943–47, the inclusion of Maoris raises New Zealand's position from fifteenth to thirteenth in a total of twenty-nine countries covered.

TOTAL NATURAL INCREASE.—The birth and death rates of the European population are not subject to violent fluctuation, and consequently the natural-increase rate —i.e., excess of births over deaths—for this section of the population follows an even trend in the twenty years covered by the next table, with a gradual decline from 1928 to 1936, followed by a steady rise from 1937 to 1941. A temporary decline was experienced during the next two years, with a sharp increase to the end of the period covered. 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 European 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 1928–47;

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

In the twenty years, 1928–47, New Zealand has gained by natural increase of the population a total of 367,459, comprising 324,057 Europeans and 43,402 Maoris.

TOTAL MARRIAGES.—The following table shows the numbers of European, 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 European 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 European rate, the inclusion of Maoris does not raise the general death-rate to a substantially higher level. The October, 1948, issue of the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the Statistical Office of the United Nations contains death-rates for 1947 for thirty-six countries, and of these, Netherlands, 8.1 per 1,000 of population, South Africa (European population only), 8.7, and Panama (excluding jungle population) 9.1, had a lower death-rate than New Zealand (excluding Maoris). Two other countries, Canada and Norway, recorded the same rate as New Zealand (9.4). The inclusion of Maoris raised the New Zealand rate to 9.7 and the only effect of this increase was to place New Zealand on the same level as Australia which ranked next after the six countries named.

Numbers and rates for principal causes of death over the five years 1943–47 are given in the following table. A comparison of these figures, which include Maoris, with similar tables for the European and the Maori population separately may be made by reference to page 76 of Subsection C and page 85 of Subsection D respectively.

Cause of Death.Numbers.Rates per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever12121014210.
Scarlet fever227141 
Tuberculosis of the respiratory system7427757897537174.544.684.664.283.98
Other forms of tuberculosis1881991912021561.
Measles19 144320.12
Other infective and parasitic diseases2241541321311311.376.930.780.740.73
Cancer and other malignant tumours2,2092,2312,2682,3262,38813.5013.4713.3813.2113.25
Non-malignant tumours64665572690.390.400.320.410.38
Chronic rheumatism and gout25423030230.
Diabetes mellitus3373313243473322.062.001.911.971.84
Avitaminoses, other general diseases, diseases of the blood, and chronic poisonings2732962702602501.671.791.591.481.39
Meningitis, and diseases of the spinal cord99868081770.610.520.470.460.43
Intracranial lesions of vascular origin1,5481,4731,6711,6131,6959.468.909.869.169.40
Other diseases of the nervous system and organs of special sense2452502121801561.501.511.251.020.86
Diseases of the heart5,4155,4425,9246,0156,00833.1132.8734.9534.1433.33
Other diseases of the circulatory system2402453002632621.471.481.771.491.45
Pneumonia and broncho-pneumonia7637557208407504.664.564.254.774.16
Other diseases of the respiratory system2432272342042281.491.371.381.161.26
Diarrhœa and enteritis1541762391591270.941.061.410.900.70
Diseases of the liver and biliary passages109117130121980.660.710.770.690.54
Other diseases of the digestive system3353333763063342.
Other diseases of the genitourinary system2412362582152451.471.431.521.221.36
Puerperal infection33432935180.
Other diseases of the puerperal state44636374410.270.380.370.420.23
Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue, and of the bones and organs of locomotion83504237310.510.300.250.210.17
Congenital debility, malformations, premature birth, and other diseases of early Infancy8018809459991,0494.905.325.585.675.82
Automobile accidents1401451321872310.860.880.781.061.28
Other accidental deaths7205875205865664.403.553.073.333.14
Cause of death not specified or ill-defined7116189160.430.

Although the incidence of different diseases as causes of death varies considerably as between the Maori and European 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 5.5 per 10,000 of mean population, as against 3.5 for the European death-rate. New Zealand has for many years had a comparatively low tuberculosis death-rate for the European 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 New Zealand on a total basis by the inclusion of Maoris has the greatest influence upon the infant-mortality rate. The infant-mortality rate of the European 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 European rate. The European, 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 1943–47, New Zealand's infant-mortality rate (exclusive of Maoris), with an average of 28, was the lowest of twenty-two countries for which reliable figures were available, whereas the inclusion of the Maori population relegated it to third place, with Sweden in the lead and Australia in second 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.

For the purpose of classification in the Census and Statistics Department, of data collected from the public hospitals, there has hitherto been no international morbidity classification list in existence. This has probably been due to the fact that no country, other than New Zealand, until recent years has compiled hospital statistics on a national basis at least as regards a detailed analysis of the diseases treated. In the field of mortality statistics, the International List of Causes of Death has been the standard classification code for the majority of countries for a considerable number of years. In order to preserve comparability with the mortality statistics, the Department, prior to 1943, used a modification of this List for the classification of its morbidity statistics. It has always been apparent, however, and increasingly so as the science of statistical analysis of disease has progressed, that a classification designed primarily for recording fatal illnesses must inevitably be inadequate for the multitudinous conditions and minor ailments and injuries that seldom or never have a fatal termination, but nevertheless require hospital treatment. In order to overcome this deficiency as far as possible, 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, was used in 1943 and subsequent years.

Late in 1946 a Committee was set up of representatives of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Census and Statistics Department, and medical officers of the Department of Health to consider how the compilation of morbidity statistics could be further improved.

The Committee realized that the medical officers of hospitals required the assistance of a standard New Zealand nomenclature of disease as a guide in helping them to describe various states of illness in correct and acceptable terminology. This work has now been completed, and has been issued in two parts, Part I comprising an Introduction and Tabular List of Disease and Injury Categories, while Part II consists of a detailed Alphabetical Index of disease entities. This New Zealand classification is being used for the classification of diseases treated in the public hospitals of New Zealand as from 1st January, 1947.

The World Health Organization, at its assembly in July, 1948, adopted a new International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death. This is a combined mortality and morbidity classification and replaces the existing International List of Causes of Death, as well as making provision for the classification of causes of sickness. This new International Classification will be used in New Zealand for morbidity statistics as from 1st January, 1950.

In New Zealand certain diseases are notifiable, but beyond this and the statistics of industrial accidents, given in Section 43, 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 25, and the sickness experience of friendly societies' members is mentioned briefly in Section 30. In the absence of full statistics of sickness, information from the sources mentioned is of considerable value.

NOTIFICATIONS OF DISEASES.—Four thousand and eight cases of notifiable diseases were reported in 1947, a decrease of 2,012 from the previous year's figure of 6,020. The principal diseases showing a decrease were diphtheria, with a decline of 1,071 cases; scarlet fever, 588; food poisoning, 223; and pulmonary tuberculosis, a fall of 134. Notifications of typhoid and paratyphoid fever increased by 57 and puerperal eclampsia by 41. These were the principal increases noted. Notifications of notifiable diseases during 1947 are shown for each month of the year in the following table.

Scarlet fever5755726810571917180746260866
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever23452113238396106
Pulmonary tuberculosis139115125111951061191061291161301051,396
Other tuberculosis353323261423251329252129296
Meningococcus meningitis31425355363242
Acute poliomyelitis312 1 1  117104130
Pneumonic influenza     1   1 13
Puerperal fever—             
Following abortion1012321391011716690
Tetanus2 24 11  21518
Trachoma 111 11     5
Ophthalmia neonatorum1  1   1    3
Lethargic encephalitis        1  12
Food poisoning114   44 6 222
Bacillary dysentery288410455  3453
Amœbi dysentery 1331232132 21
Undulant fever3451 311446 32
Actinomycosis        1   1
Lead poisoning   1   1    2
Malaria431 2  1   112

The following were the notifications of principal diseases among Maoris daring 1947 and 1946, the latter being shown in parentheses: Diphtheria, 40 (106); typhoid and paratyphoid fever, 40 (49); pulmonary tuberculosis, 412 (449); other tuberculosis, 69 (51); meningococcus meningitis, 6 (13); hydatids, 8 (12); trachoma, 11 (16); bacillary dysentery, 78 (25); other, 30 (46): total, 694 (767).

The relative immunity of the Maori race to scarlet fever is shown by the figures of notifications for this disease during the years 1946 and 1947. In the former year there were 11 eases of scarlet fever reported in the Maori population, as compared with 1,454 in the remainder of the community, and in 1947, with 866 cases in the European population, only 5 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 fever1,1967,6125,0331,454866
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever72353149106
Pulmonary tuberculosis1,7491,5011,7221,5301,396
Meningococcus meningitis434135988742
Acute poliomyelitis1784514112130
Puerperal fever and septic abortion208230175142159

Meningococcus Meningitis.—Although epidemics of this disease are common in many countries, New Zealand is singularly free from severe outbreaks. The last noticeable epidemic was in 1943, when 434 cases were reported. In 1944 there were a further 135 cases, but since that year the annual number notified has rapidly decreased, there being only 42 cases in 1947.

Scarlet Fever.—.Scarlet fever no longer causes many deaths, but epidemics of the disease in a non-fatal form are not infrequent in New Zealand. The last severe outbreak commenced in the latter half of 1943, continued right through 1944 with a peak incidence of 999 cases in July. A high level of notifications was maintained during 1945, with a further peak of 655 cases in May. Since then the incidence rate has been comparatively low.

Diphtheria.—The last major epidemic of diphtheria occurred in 1917 (5,458 cases) and 1918 (5,539 cases). Incidence was comparatively high in 1915 and 1946, with 996 and 1,577 notifications respectively, but the 1947 figure of 506 was more in keeping with the average experience. There were 20 deaths from diphtheria in 1947, giving a case-fatality rate of 4.0 per cent. The incidence of diphtheria is much greater in the North Island than in the South Island, and in 1947 the North Island with two thirds of the population, had eight-ninths of the cases.

Venereal Disease.—In the early war years the incidence of venereal disease increased considerably but after 1941 there was an appreciable decrease. This trend was not sustained, however, and a new peak for gonorrhœa was reached in 1946, while the incidence of syphilis also increased substantially. The 1947 figures for both diseases showed some improvement. 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 1943–47, and found to be suffering from gonorrhœa or syphilis.


Tuberculosis.—With an intensification of case-finding by all tuberculosis workers in recent years, the position regarding notification of tuberculosis has improved to a degree that enables a reasonable picture of the disease to be presented as it affects this country. From a study of the returns over the last few years, there is reason to believe that the annual increase in notifications of the disease has reached stability, and that an addition of approximately 250 cases (including Maoris) per year in the national total of notified cases can be expected. The Department of Health is continuing its efforts to reduce both incidence and mortality. The corps of District Health Nurses available for tuberculosis case-finding work has been increased, and hospital clinics in the charge of chest specialists have now been provided to give a wider coverage. The responsibilities of the Department of Health in case-finding and domiciliary care are being co-ordinated with that of the Hospital Boards, who are responsible for diagnosis and treatment.

The medical officers of the Department of Health assist the District Nurses in the examination of contacts and arrange tuberculin tests and x-ray examinations. One mass miniature x-ray unit has been in operation for over two years in Taranaki, and three other units have been ordered. Special investigation by these methods are directed towards those groups of the population which are likely to show a high incidence of the disease, and this type of work is being extended. Cases that are found to be tuberculosis, or suspected of having the disease, are referred to hospital chest clinics, who assess the diagnosis and prescribe treatment. The supervision of “after care” on discharge from a hospital or sanatorium then becomes the joint responsibility of the District Nurse and the hospital clinic staff.

The following figures reflect the work performed by the district nursing service and school medical officers in this connection during the five years 1943–47:—

New tuberculous homes brought under control2,0501,3531,8491,7061,467
Total number of homes under control6,8656,1648,9919,5959,070
Number of new contacts examined and brought under control4,6113,2432,7742,9152,275
Total number of contacts under super vision to be brought up for revision18,09416,11922,54423,70223,104
Number of tuberculin tests1,8224174954761,019
Number of positive reactors47412916340167
Number of contacts x-rayed5,5225,9946,0978,7877,606
Number of cases found among contacts as active from tuberculin testing and x-ray examination377238346240241

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, 1947, was 9,821, of which 8,435 were pulmonary, 1,146 non-pulmonary, and 240 mixed pulmonary and non-pulmonary. The number of new cases notified in 1947 was 2,174 of which 1,693 were European and 481 Maori. Of the European cases, 1,397 were pulmonary and 296 non-pulmonary, and in the Maori cases the figures were 412 and 69 for pulmonary and non-pulmonary respectively. Some of these cases have proved non-tuberculous and have been deregistered.

The known incidence for the European population is 4.36 per 1,000 of population, while for the Maori population it is 23.13 in the North Island and 27.99 in the South Island.

Information as to case-fatality in regard to the first three diseases mentioned in the table on page 94 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.
1947866  506203.9510698.49

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; 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, were also included during the war years. 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 inpatients—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 1947 the total admissions to public hospitals in New Zealand numbered 151,544. There were 8,882 patients in hospital at the beginning of the year, the total cases dealt with during the year thus being 160,426, equal to 890 per 10,000 of mean population, including Maoris. In other words, the equivalent of one person out of every eleven in New Zealand received some degree of treatment in public hospitals in 1947, 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 25, 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 were due to the admissions of Armed Services personnel, particularly in 1942, when the number 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 were 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.

Hospital staff problems necessitating the closing of wards in some cases and the introduction of a system of waiting-lists for non-urgent cases has kept the numbers of in-patients down in the post-war years.

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 four years the number discharged from, or dying in, these hospitals was as follows: 1941, 13,660; 1942, 44,435; 1943, 22,989; 1944, 12,378. Seventy-two females were included in the total for 1941, 523 in 1942, 1,278 in 1943, and 720 in 1944.

Condition on Discharge.—Of the 163,558 persons treated as in-patients in public hospitals in 1946, 90,233 were discharged as recovered, 48,094 as relieved, and 8,639 as unrelieved. Deaths in hospital numbered 7,710 and 8,882 patients were still in hospital at the end of the year. The tabulation for 1947 had not been completed when this section was prepared.

The numbers of admissions, discharges, and deaths for each of the last five years available 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 largo 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. Since 1944 the male total has been fairly consistent, but females have tended to increase in numbers, probably affected to a certain extent by the increased facilities offered by public hospitals for normal maternity cases. 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