Table of Contents

List of Tables


THE fifty-sixth issue of the New Zealand Official Year-Book follows, in general, the lines of its predecessors.

New features in this issue include a substantial revision of the section on roads and road transport—which now contains a more comprehensive treatment than formerly of such matters as transport-licensing, operation of licensed goods and passenger services, and traffic accidents. The section on wage rates and hours of labour has been expanded to include statistics of actual average award rates for a large selection of occupations. This information is brought up to date in the Latest Statistical Information section by the publication of rates at 31st March, 1951. The Miscellaneous section includes a brief summary of legislation passed it. 1949 and 1950 as well as detailed results of the 1949 elections.

From time to time special articles on topics of considerable public interest have been published in the Year-Book; and, following this practice, an article on Economic Policy and the National Income, contributed by Messrs. J. Baker, M.A., M.Com., and H. Lang, B.A., B.Com., is included as an appendix to this issue.

An innovation in the 1947–49 Year-Book, the Latest Statistical Information section at the beginning of the book, was very well received; this feature being continued in the 1950 issue. It has been possible to include in this section very recent data on a number of subjects, including some preliminary results of the 1951 population census.

While every care is taken to ensure that the information supplied in the Year-Book is accurate, the possibility of an occasional error occurring is always present: and I would be most grateful if such blemishes were drawn to my attention, when noticed by users of the volume. Suggestions for improvement in layout or treatment of subject-matter are also welcomed.

Totals of tables do not invariably agree with the sum of individual items; since in certain tables figures are rounded for convenience in printing to the nearest thousand or some other appropriate unit.

A standard work of reference such as the Official Year-Book draws on a great many sources for the material it contains; and, in these circumstances, detailed acknowledgment of assistance received in its preparation and publication is not practicable. It is, however, fitting that at least occasional reference should be made to the fact that production of a Year-Book is a co-operative effort. In the first place, it would not be possible to produce such a publication without the co-operation of the public in completing the statistical returns from which much of the material included in the Year-Book is compiled. Acknowledgment is due also to many organizations—private and public—for their assistance; to officers of this and other Government Departments for supplying material; and last, but by no means least, to the Government Printer and his staff.

My personal thanks are due to Mr. J. Gilchrist, of this Department, who supervised the editing of the volume: and to his Senior Assistant, Mr. A. A. Teague, M.A., who carried a heavy burden of editorial duties.

Government Statistician.

Census and Statistics Department,
Wellington, 21st June, 1951.


Table of Contents

Title.Latest No.Month of Issue.Price Per Copy.Postage (Extra).

* Out of print.

† With a summary of Building Production for 1947–48.

‡ £1 1s. per annum (post free).

New Zealand Official Year-Book1950Aug., 19511508
Annual Statistical Reports—     
Population and Buildings1949–50June, 1951401
Vital Statistics1945Feb., 1951504
Justice Statistics1946May, 1950262
Trade and Shipping (Part I)1944May, 19481004
Trade and Shipping (Part II)*1943 and 1944July, 1948* 
Agricultural and Pastoral Production1948–49Mar., 1951362
Factory Production1946–47 and 1947–48Jan., 1951504
Insurance Statistics1945,1946, and 1947Mar., 1950202
Miscellaneous (Banking, Bankruptcy, Building Societies, Cinematograph Theatres, Tramways)1943,1944, and 1945Jan., 1949261
Prices, Wages, and Labour Statistics1948Oct., 1950361
Industrial Accidents1945 and 1946April, 1950261
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand1946–47Aug., 1950765
Pocket Compendium of New Zealand Statistics1950–51Sept., 1951261
Monthly Abstract of Statistics  261
Special Supplements—     
External Trade (March Abstract)1948April, 1951201
National Income and Expenditure (July Abstract)1938–39—1949–50Aug., 1950201
Retail Prices in New Zealand (October–November Abstract) Dec., 1949201
New Zealand Production Statistics May, 1951101
Volumes of 1945 Census Results—     
Increase and Location of Population1945Dec., 1947462
Poultry1945May, 1948261
Island Territories1945June, 1948261
Ages and Marital Status1945July, 1949502
War Service1945May, 1950261
Industries and Occupations1945Jan., 1951762
Interim Returns of Ages, Marital Status, Religious Professions, Birthplaces, Duration of Residence of Overseas-born, Race, War Service, Industries, Occupations, Occupational Status and Travelling Time (Other volumes to follow.)1945Jan., 1949261
Volumes of 1936 Census Results—     
Increase and Location of Population1936Sept., 1937462
Dependencies1936Sept., 193161
Maori Census1936April, 1940301
Ages and Marital Status1936April, 1940402
Orphan Children and Dependent Children1936June, 1940261
Religious Professions1936June, 1940261
Birthplaces1936July, 1945261
Duration of Residence of Overseas-born1936July, 1945261
Race1936Aug., 1945261
Industries and Occupations1936Feb., 1946762
Unemployment1936Aug., 1945401
Incomes1936Sept., 1945762
Dwellings and Households1936May, 1946602
Poultry1936Sept., 1937161
War Service1936June, 1938161
Census of Libraries1938May, 1940161
Life Tables1936Dec., 1944161

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.


Census, 1951. —A population census of New Zealand (exclusive of its island territories) was taken as for the night of Tuesday, 17th April, 1951. Preliminary population figures available at the time of going to press are given in the table below, the 1945 census totals (adjusted to correspond with the 1951 boundaries of cities, boroughs, counties, &c.) being also shown for purposes of comparison.


Population, Inclusive of Maoris.
1945 Census.1951 Census (Preliminary Figures).
North Island1,146,2921,314,099
South Island556,006625,604
New Zealand1,702,2981,939,703

NOTE.—Census totals are exclusive of members of the Armed Forces overseas at the census date.


Administrative County.1945 Census.1951 Census (Preliminary Figures).
North Island
Mangonui7, 5767,599
Bay of Islands10,30911,792
Great Barrier Island191275
Hauraki Plains4,7955,184
Hawke's Bay14,67717,199
Waimate West2,8142,788
Wairarapa South2,7843,001
    Totals, North Island408,489471,217
South Island
Mount Herbert488584
Chatham Islands505503
Ash Ashburton10,20410,349
Stewart Island343574
    Totals, South Island209,449241,276
    Totals, New Zealand Counties617,938712,493
City or Borough.1945 Census.1951 Census (Preliminary Figures).
North Island
New Lynn4,2776,007
Auckland (City)123,457128,379
Mount Albert24,41625,955
Mount Eden20,16719,264
One Tree Hill11,64812,438
Mount Roskill12,80319,050
Hamilton (City)24,50129,839
Te Awamutu3,0173,874
To Kuiti2,7203,317
Te Aroha2,4262,664
Mount Maunganui9891,863
Te Puke1,1441,457
Napier (City)17,27319,712
New Plymouth (City)18,55821,763
Wanganui (City)23,84227,266
Palmerston North (City)25,87730,518
Upper Hutt5,4947,443
Lower Hutt (City)31,25444,493
Wellington (City)123,771120,064
Totals, North Island713,276807,650
South Island
Nelson (City)14,23616,824
Christchurch (City)113,515123,433
Timaru (City)18,39521,213
Port Chalmers2,5362,680
West Harbour1,9952,291
South Island
Dunedin (City)65,74069,686
St. Kilda7,3537,415
Green Island2,6973,490
Invercargill (City)23,65526,778
South Invercargill1,1611,299
    Totals, South Island341,418377,283
    Totals New Zealand cities and boroughs1,054,6941,184,933
Town District.1945 Census.1951 Census (Preliminary Figures).

* Constituted a town district from 1st April, 1951.

(a) Town Districts Not Forming Parts of Counties
North Island
Glen Eden1,5692,580
Havelock North1,4581,828
Tawa Flat872*2,459
    Totals, North Island20,11927,979
South Island
Pleasant Point483561
Wyndham Lumsden536,481579,503
Nightcaps Otautau602,601613,737
    Totals, South Island4,4985,192
    Totals, New Zealand independent town districts24,61733,171
(b6) Town Districts Forming Parts of Counties
(Population figures included also under those for parent county shown in parentheses below)
North Island
Kohukohu (Hokianga)237222
Rawene (Hokianga)401454
Russell (Bay of Islands)441579
Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)587639
Onerahi (Whangarei)490829
Mercer (Franklin)290306
Te Kauwhata (Waikato)444621
Ohaupo (Waipa)249287
Kihikihi (Waipa)401450
Kawhia (Kawhia)261289
Te Karaka (Waikohu)371384
Patutahi (Cook)203224
Kaponga (Eltham)395432
Normanby (Hawera)313394
    Totals, North Island5,0836,110
South Island
Havelock (Marlborough)244283
Southbridge (Ellesmere)375387
Outram (Taieri)347361
Edendale (Southland)456478
    Totals, South Island1,4221,509
    Totals, New Zealand dependent town districts6,5057,619

In addition to the populations shown for counties, &c., there were 9,106 persons at the 1951 census on islands outside county boundaries and on board ships or trains. Figures given in the table may now be summarized as follows:—

Population Enumerated In or OnPopulation.
1945 Census.1951 Census (Preliminary Figures).
Administrative counties (i.e., inclusive of those in dependent town districts)617,938712,493
Cities and boroughs1,054,6941,184,933
Independent town districts24,61733,171
Extra-county islands, shipboard, or trains5,0499,106
Totals, New Zealand population1,702,2981,939,703

Natural Increase. —Owing to the substantial increase in births in the last few years and the relative stability in the number of deaths, 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 slight recessions in subsequent years to a 1950 excess of 31,330.

Migration (pp. 23–26).—The total number of arrivals in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1951, was 104,830, while the total number of departures in the same year was 96,456. Excluding crews and through passengers, arrivals totalled 54,644 and departures 47,122, making the net excess of arrivals 7,522, as compared with 6,989 in 1950 (March year). A classification of total arrivals and departures gives the following results.

Year Ended 31st March,
Migration: Arrivals
Immigrants intending permanent residence17,70118,234
Permanent residents returning18,46319,976
Through passengers2,4892,923
    Total arrivals100,868104,830
Migration: Departures
Permanent residents departing—  
Temporary residents departing16,00717,964
Through passengers2,4892,923
    Total departures91,44796,456

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: 1947, 8,106: 1948, 9,648; 1949, 11,387; 1950, 17,701; and 1951, 18,234. 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 2,528 in 1950 and 2,928 in 1951.


Vital statistics for the calendar years 1949 and 1950 are shown, in summary form, in the following table. Statistics in more detail for earlier years are given on pages 53–103.

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 population48,90526.0049,41425.72
    Total population17,5789.3418,0849.41
Marriages (European population)16,7889.5016,5049.15
Infant deaths under one year—    

Births.—The total number of births registered in 1950 (49,414) 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.


Gross Farming Income (pp. 312–313).—The statistics of gross fanning income for 1949–50 show record totals for values in respect of each of the groups, and in terms of volume for groups other than “Agricultural Produce.” Increased unit price levels were partly responsible for the increased value totals, but increased production, measured in terms of wool, live-stock slaughterings, and butterfat, was a major contributing factor.

Farm production as a whole, as measured in terms of gross farming income, showed an over-all increase of 25 per cent. in value and 5 per cent. in volume as compared with the previous year. Both value and volume totals for 1949–50 established records.

An amendment to the value figures for the “Pastoral Produce” group for 1946–47 and later years has recently been made, and the revised figures are given in the tables which follow:—


Production Year.Agricultural Produce.Pastoral Produce.Produce of Dairying, Poultry, and Bees.All Farm Produce.


Base: 1938–39 (= 100)

Production Year.Agricultural.Pastoral.Dairying, &c.All Farm Produce.

Farm Production

NOTE.—In 1950 a special census of agriculture was conducted as part of the world census of agriculture. A considerably wider scope was covered in this special census than in the normal annual collection of agricultural and pastoral statistics. In particular, a comprehensive examination of farm machinery was undertaken for the first time; while, again, an analysis of farm population and employment was made. Detailed analysis of the wealth of material collected at this census will take a considerable time, but the first results—New Zealand totals, for each item of information included in the questionnaires—are published below. The figures are subject to slight revision when final tabulations are completed.

Attention is directed to the fact that the census covered holdings of 1 acre or over located outside borough boundaries.

Summary of Holdings and of Area in Cultivation (pp. 280–282).—Figures shoving the position as at the 31st January, 1950, are given below.

Summary of Holdings.Number.
Total holdings at 31st January, 195090,192
Number occupied by Maoris4,334
Number worked on share system2,633
Number lying entirely idle or unused2,262
Status of occupier— 
  Part owner, part lessee11,303
Total area occupied at 31st January, 195043,253,908
  Crown lands, including Crown leases and licences18,377,458
  Freehold, occupied by owner21,137,131
  Leased from private individuals2,016,387
  Leased from public authorities586,313
  Leased from Maoris1,136,619

The total area occupied at 31st January, 1950, is further subdivided as follows:—

Summary of Area in Cultivation and in Occupation.Area (Acres).
Sown grasses— 
  Sown since 31st January, 1950— 
    On virgin land45,201
    On land previously cultivated538,674
  Sown before 31st January, 195017,608,453
Grain and root, &c., crops, less area also sown with grasses and clovers904,295
Native grasses (naturally established danthonia)1,234,503
Phormium (New Zealand flax)46,413
Fern, scrub, second growth, &c.5,223,975
Standing native bush or forest2,933,521
  Eucalyptus and broad-leaved trees20,375
  Registered bearing14,745
  Registered non-bearing1,328
  Unregistered bearing2,306
  Unregistered non-bearing537
Grape vines1,091
Passion-fruit vines84
Hop vines605
Market gardens— 
  Black currants154
  Red currants26
  Other bush fruits and berries331
  Vegetable crops for sale (including tomatoes)11,882
  Flowers and ornamental shrubs818
  Forest-tree seedlings349
  Seedling fruit-trees (including small bush fruits and berries)254
  Vegetable seedlings221
Residence, out-buildings, private gardens, &c.97,364
Bare fallow during season90,999
Barren and unproductive land1,892,438
    Total area occupied43,253,908

Top-dressing (p. 342).—The area of grassland top-dressed during the year 1949–50 is given in the following table.

Top-dressed WithArea (Acres).Total Quantity Used.
Artificial fertilizers only—  
  Straight superphosphate2,531,8496,227,289 cwt.
  Basic, reverted, or serpentine-superphosphate609,5421,773,191 cwt.
  Ground rock phosphate and/or basic slag319,644999,245 cwt.
  Other phosphatic fertilizers and mixtures233,189726,409 cwt
  Manufactured organic fertilizers55,648161,047 cwt.
Lime only591,718517,868 tons.
Both artificial fertilisers and lime1,389,014 
  Quantity of fertilizer 3.287,892 cwt.
  Quantity of lime 593,221 tons.
  Total area of grassland top-dressed5,730,604 

Crops (pp. 331–347).—Following is a summary of the principal crop statistics for the production year 1949–50.


Name of Crop.Areas, 1949–50.Yields.
  For threshing125,126Bushel4,897,602
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage693Ton1,279
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.2,361  
  For threshing52,645Bushel2,620,252
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage53,910Ton100,198
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.55,116  
  For threshing56,916Bushel2,433,485
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage437Ton1,491
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.13,156  
  For threshing7,229Bushe462,833
  For ensilage61Ton249
  Fed off, cut for green fodder, &c.4,945  
Peas for threshing41,519Bushel1,242,730
Linseed for threshing7,535  
Lupins for threshing4,538Bushel69,633
Other crops for threshing4,622  
Linen flax2,791  
Swedes for fodder175,128  
Turnips for fodder187,511  
Turnips and rape mixed27,180  
Rape for fodder181,777  
Kale for fodder101,062  
Pumpkins and marrows1,195  
Other green-fodder crops18,197  
Vegetable crops for processing1,952  
Rye-grass harvested for seed—   
  Italian (including western wolths)3,461lb.1,352,021
  Short rotation (HI)8,001lb.3,326,029
Cocksfoot harvested for seed4,915lb.769,634
Chewings fescue harvested for seed17,755lb.3,522,867
Crested dogstail harvested for seed5,690lb.1,093,211
Red clover (including cowgrass) harvested for seed20,061lb.3,431,961
White clover harvested for seed29,515lb.4,294,276
Other grasses harvested for seed14,952lb.1,180,554
Fodder crops—   
  Grasses and clovers cut for hay494,932Ton1,002,385
  Grasses and clovers cut for ensilage83,534Ton404,138
  Lucerne cut for hay or ensilage52,027Ton124,040

The yield of wheat in the 1950 harvest season was 4,897,602 bushels, a decrease of 1,060,424 bushels below the total yield in the previous season. The acreage harvested fell from 146,707 acres in 1948–49 to 125,126 acres in 1949–50—a fall of 14.7 per cent. Moreover, the yield per acre (39.14 bushels) was slightly lower than the record yield of 40.61 for 1948–49. The acreage under oats for grain also showed a substantial fall—in this instance from 78,300 acres in 1948–49 to 52,645 acres in 1949–50—while the aggregate yield fell from 3,718,597 bushels to 2,620,252 bushels. The acreage of barley threshed showed a small decrease (from 58,707 acres in 1948–49 to 56,916 acres in 1949–50), although the yield rose from 2,256,362 bushel, in the former year to 2,433,485 bushels in the latter year.

The potato crop in 1949–50 totalled 136,049 tons, a considerable increase of 26,405 tons, or 264 per cent., on the 1948–49 harvest; while a large decrease was recorded in the onion crop (8,386 tons in 1949–50, compared with 10,674 tons in 1948–49).

The area under tobacco of 3,376 acres showed only a slight fall from the record acreage of 3,484 in 1948–49. In addition to this area, a quite considerable acreage is grown within borough boundaries. Acreages of grasses and clovers harvested for seed in 1949–50 fell compared with those of the previous year. The acreage of perennial rye-grass declined from 51,226 acres in 1948–49 to 43,743 acres in 1949–50—the yield however, rising from 17,159,333 lb. to 17,550,046 lb.

Livestock (pp. 348–364).—In the following table the numbers of live-stock on holdings at. 31st January, 1949 and 1950, are given.


  Dairy stock—  
    Breeding-bulls, two years old and over57,52761,867
    Dairy cows and heifers, two years old and over—  
    Cows in milk at any time during season1,746,7531,845,510
    Heifers not yet in milk62,91858,177
    Cows not in milk during season, but intended for milking in future43,08059,677
    One and under two years old365,851394,224
    Under one year old373,432408,352
    Bulls and bull calves under two years old intended for dairy breeding31,86732,170
        Totals, dairy stock2,681,4282,859,977
  Beef stock—  
    Breeding-bulls, two years old and over22,12922,358
    Beef cows and heifers, two years old and over (including culls from dairying herds)756,354771,875
    One and under two years old197,930199,443
    Under one year old185,756206,870
    Steers, two years old and over (including bulls intended for slaughter)446,689455,675
    Steers and bulls, one and under two years old202,788207,929
    Bulls and steer calves under one year old229,762224,682
        Totals, beef stock2,041,4082,088,832
        Totals, all cattle4,722,8364,948,809
    Under six months old333,056351,795
    Six months and under one year old130,649112,337
    Boars, one year old and over12,83114,128
    Sows, one year old and over68,30574,112
        Totals, pigs544,841552,372
    Draught and three-quarter draught74,00471,811
    Spring-cart or light artillery (including half draught)31,38026,252
    Hacks and light working-horses73,70976,715
    Thoroughbred and other horses16,96220,068
        Totals, horses196,055194,846

The total number of cattle in New Zealand on 31st January, 1950, was 4,948,809, compared with the previous record total of 4,722,836 in 1949. Dairy stock rose from 2,681,428 in 1949 to 2,859,977 in 1950, while beef stock rose from 2,041,408 in the former year to 2,088,832 in the latter year.

The number of dairy cows in milk during the season rose from 1,746,753 in 1949 to 1,845,510 in 1950, while butterfat production increased from 467,000,000 lb. in the 1948–49 dairying season to 471,000,000 lb. in the 1949–50 season.

Sheep (p. 350).—A collection of statistics of sheep population was made through Inspectors of Stock on 30th April. Following are the results (in summarized form) of the last two collections of this data.


Dry ewes635,242643,420
      Total sheep population32,844,91833,856,558

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 1950 season to amount to 20,926,119 lambs, as compared with 21,169,846 lambs actually tailed in the 1949 season. The lambing estimate for 1949 was 20,742,499. Sheep shorn in 1949–50 totalled 31,525,570, and lambs shorn 6,332,148.

Farm Machinery (pp. 327–331).—Statistics of farm machinery on holdings in 1950 are given in the following table.


Tin mills277
Header harvesters3,130
Reapers and binders8,521
Hay-rakes (including side delivery and dump rakes)26,476
Hay balers and presses4,269
  Mole drain2,360
Tine (number of sets)46,246
Disc (number of sets)29,230
Chain (number of sets)30,528
Manure sowers and spreaders31,435
Spraying-machines (power-driven)1,676
Motor lorries and trucks25,378
Farm carts and drays41,715
Electric motors— 
Internal-combustion engines— 
Rotary hoes and garden tractors— 
Agricultural tractors— 
Diesel oil— 
  Crawler type— 
  Wheel type— 
  Petrol driven— 
  Crawler type— 
  Wheel type— 
  Kerosene (paraffin) driven— 
  Crawler type— 
  Wheel type— 
Number of shearing-sheds21,520
Night-pen capacity of sheds4,027,006
Number of flocks machine-shorn31,047
Number of flocks blade-shorn7,457
Number of wool-presses18,754
  Number of plants18,756
  Number of stands40,535
Number of herds machine-milked35,084
Number of herds hand-milked35,782
  Number of plants36,316
Number of cows in milk in herds actually machine-milked1,714,414
Power used in driving milking-machines— 
  Internal-combustion engines4,395
  Other power94
Number of cream-separators54,303

Farm Population.—The following table gives the number of persons actually resident on farm holdings on the 31st January, 1950.

Members of occupier's family— 
(a) Performing full-time farm work— 
    15 and under 21 years old6,285
    21 years old and over74,465
    15 and under 21 years old655
    21 years old and over2,095
(b) Regularly performing part-time work (i.e., not less than 14 hours per week)— 
    Under 15 years of age736
    15 and under 21 years old1,250
    21 years old and over8,306
    Under 15 years of age327
    15 and under 21 years old1,313
    21 years old and over10,849
(c) Not regularly performing farm-work (i.e., less than 14 hours per week)— 
    Under 15 years of age53,156
    15 and under 21 years old6,336
    21 years old and over16,681
    Under 15 years of age49,180
    15 and under 21 years old8,509
    21 years old and over71,999
(d) Total resident members of family ((a) + (b)+ (e))— 
    Under 15 years of age53,892
    15 and under 21 years old13,871
    21 years old and over99,452
    Under 15 years of age49,507
    15 and under 21 years old10,477
    21 years old and over84,943
Farm employees, other than members of family, but excluding casual and temporary workers— 
    15 and under 21 years old3,201
    21 years old and over15,954
    15 and under 21 years old257
    21 years old and over1,059
Casual or temporary workers actually resident on farms on 31st January, 1950— 
    Under 15 years of age173
    15 and under 21 years old482
    21 years old and over3,200
    Under 15 years of age106
    15 and under 21 years old171
    21 years old and over786
All other residents on farms, including domestics, boarders, members of farm employees' families, &c.— 
    Under 15 years of age9,390
    15 and under 21 years old1,196
    21 years old and over3,659
    Under 15 years of age8,295
    15 and under 21 years old1,143
    21 years old and over11,236
Total farm population on 31st January, 1950— 
    Under 15 years of age63,455
    15 and under 21 years old18,750
    21 years old and over122,265
    Under 15 years of age57,908
    15 and under 21 years old12,048
    21 years old and over93,024

General Review.—As mentioned at the commencement of these notes, the 1949–50 inquiry covered a number of items not included in the normal collection of agricultural and pastoral statistics. The previous comprehensive inquiry (conducted as part of a world census of agriculture) was for the year 1929–30, so that comparisons in many cases must be made over a period of twenty years. The 1950 collection was made by personal canvas, and in some cases farms which had not been covered by immediately preceding collections were included. Again more exact definition of requirements was possible in the personal collection. These factors have to some extent affected year-to-year comparisons.

Significant changes in occupancy have taken place since 1930, as is evidenced by the growth in the number of holdings worked under a share system, in the increased number of farm-managers, and also in the larger number of holdings now occupied by Maoris. The following comparison illustrates the extent of these changes.

Total number of holdings85,16790,192
Number of holdings worked under share system7812,633
Number of holdings occupied by Maoris2,7154,334
Number of holdings being entirely idle or unused6,3302,262
Status of occupier—  
  Owner or lessee83,16485,417

The increased use of fertilizers on grasslands is well illustrated by the growth in the area top-dressed (from 2,650,748 acres in 1929–30 to 5,730,604 acres in 1949–50).

The growth in irrigation as between the two periods is also worthy of note. In 1949–50, 106,494 acres were irrigated, as compared with 64,846 acres in 1929–30.

The development in the small-seeds industry is shown by the areas of grasses, clovers, and lucerne cut for seed, which were 66,855 acres in 1929–30 and 148,093 acres in 1949–50. The total yields obtained from these areas were 20,040,103 1b. and 36,520,599 lb. respectively.

A wealth of detailed information relating to farm machinery is available for 1950, and is shown in the appropriate table. A comparison of the main headings for the years 1930 and 1950 is as follows:—

Electric motorsNo.16,456110,380

*Cows in milk on holding employing milking-machines. 277 tin mills and 3,130 header harvesters.

† Including 347 threshing-mills.

Internal-combustion enginesNo.19,16929,841
Agricultural tractorsNo.3,89134,683
 Cows milked*967,1311,714,414
Reapers and bindersNo.15,4848,521

The farm labour force and farm population are important aspects of our farming economy, and the following comparisons throw into detail some of the major changes that have taken place.



Although there has been a decrease in farm employment, particularly among workers (other than family), as compared with 1929–30, the total farm population has shown an increase from 345,770 in 1929–30 to 372,450 in 1949–50.

The 1949–50 statistics of yields of grain crops show that the pre-harvest estimates for that season were slightly exceeded in each case. The pre-harvest estimates of yields for the 1950–51 season, which are given later, forecast an increased yield of wheat but substantial decreases in the yields of oats and barley. The total area sown in the five major cash crops (wheat, oats, barley, peas, and potatoes) shows a reduction of almost 10 per cent. as between 1949–50 and 1950–51.

All classes of dairy stock showed increases in numbers between 1949 and 1950, as also did most other classes of live-stock. The 1950 total for dairy cows in milk is the highest total on record, as are also the number of sheep shorn, the number of lambs shorn, and the number of lambs tailed.

Estimated Areas of Principal Crops, 1951 Season.—Estimates of areas sown under wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes were collected in the spring of 1950 by inquiry from growers of these crops. Following are the estimates in acres.

Acreages Under Principal Crops.
1949–50 (Provisional).1950–51 (Estimated).
North Island.South Island.Total, New Zealand.
Peas for threshing41,3193,00025,00028,000

These figures relate only to holdings of 1 acre and over situated outside borough boundaries. In addition, in the case of potatoes, a fairly considerable amount in the aggregate is grown on smaller holdings and on holdings within borough boundaries.

The following estimated average yields per acre of wheat, oats, and barley for the season 1950–51 have been compiled from reports furnished by officers of the Department of Agriculture throughout New Zealand.

District.Wheat: Bushels Per Acre.Oats: Bushels Per Acre.Barley: Bushels Per Acre.
North Island433841
Average (estimated for New Zealand)414841

In accordance with the above estimates, the total yield of wheat for the season 1950–51 should be approximately 5,900,000 bushels, as against a yield of 4,897,602 bushels for the season 1949–50.

The area from which oats were threshed for the five seasons ending with 1949–50 averaged 34.17 per cent. of the total area under that crop. Assuming that a similar proportion is threshed this year, the total yield of grain would be approximately 2.100,000 bushels, as against a yield of 2,620,252 bushels for the season 1949–50.

On a similar assumption in regard to barley, the total yield of grain would be 2,000,000 bushels, as against 2,433,485 bushels for the season 1949–50.

Timber Production

Timber Production (pp. 376–377).—Provisional figures issued by the New Zealand Forest Service for the year ended 31st March, 1951, indicate a new record for timber production, the output of rough-sawn timber being given as 525,000,000 board feet. The output of the major species was as follows: rimu and miro, 229,200,000 board feet; matai, 36,800,000 board feet; kahikatea, 20,000,000 board feet; beech, 17,600,000 board feet; and insignis pine 182,900,000 board feet. The total for indigenous species is 332,700,000 board feet, and for exotic species 192,700,000 board feet.

Electric Power

Electric-pawer Statistics (p. 462).—Principal data covering all stations for the year ended 31st March. 1950, are summarized below:—

Number of stations96
Persons engaged6,435
Salaries and wages paid£3,032,749
Number of consumers554,640
Number of— 
Prime movers (total b.h.p.)974,431
Generator capacity (main and standby) (kW.)679,316
Route-miles of lines40.516
  Sales of current— 
    Bulk and interchange£4,149,426
  Other (including rates)£209,819
      Total revenue£12,796,466
  Power purchased (including interchange)£4,173,815
  Transmission and distribution£1,693,240
  Management and general£1,260,093
  Capital charges£3,687,310
      Total expenditure£11,708,882
Appropriations (including taxation)£996,660
Capital outlay— 
  Total expenditure to date£83,303,494
  Expenditure during year£9,060,712
Units (kWh.)— 
  Generated (000)3,030,270
  Per head of mean population1,602
  Sold (retail) (000)2,403,798

Factory Production (see Section 22)

Following are the principal statistics of factory production in the years 1938–39, 1947–18, and 1949–60. Data for the year 1948–49 are not shown here although included in the relevant portions of Section 22. In that year the annual survey was carried out on a sample basis, only 20 major industries being covered.

Production Year
Number of—   
Persons engaged—   
Salaries and wages paid—   
  To males £(000)19,48644,76152,387
  To females £(000)2,7847,3728,930
        Totals £(000)22,27052,13361,317
Cost of materials £(000)75,635181,773221,229
Other expenses £(000)10,00221,24126,335
Value of output £(000)114,447272,155331,704
Added value £(000)38,81390,382110,475
Value of assets—   
  Fixed, including rented assets—   
    Land and buildings £(000)27,20242,59351,303
    Plant and machinery £(000)49,29690,220110,990
Motive power—   
  Total H.p.(000)8481,3201,474
  Excluding electric supply industry H.p.(000)263431499
Averages per person engaged—   
  Salary or wage—   
    Males £254421481
    Females £108216253
    Both sexes £217372425
  Added value £379644766
  Value of output £1,1161,9402,302
Ratio of salaries and wages to added Per cent. value57.457.755.5
Ratio of salaries and wages to total Per cent. cost of operations20.620.419.8

The quantities of some of the more important factory products in 1938–39, 1947–48, and 1949–50 are given in the following table.


* Carcase weight.

† Cigarettes Included with tobacco.

Food, drink, and tobacco—    
  Aerated waters and cordialsGallons2,803,0004,312,0004,694,000
  Ale and stoutGallons17,394,00030,499,00034,241,000
  Canned and pulped fruitCwt.88,00051,00059,000
  Canned vegetablesCwt.21,000124,000131,000
  FlourShort tons145,000172,000165,000
  Frozen beef*Cwt.1,102,0002,080,0001,778,000
  Frozen lambCarcases9,462,00012,209,00012,450,000
  Frozen muttonCarcases2,651,0002,825,0002,831,000
  Ham and bacon (cured)Cwt.164,000282,000301,000
  Ice-cream and ice-cream productsGallons808,0002,714,0003,063,000
  Jam and jelliesCwt.56,000133,00076,000
  Oatmeal, rolled oats, &c.Short tons7,0009,0008,000
  Preserved meatsCwt.82,000183,000167,000
  Tweed and clothYards1,251,0002,247,000 
  Boots and shoesPairs1,978,0003,396,0003,193,000
  HosieryDoz. pairs363,000647,000672,000
  Knitted outerwearDozen15,00090,000102,000
  Men's trousersNumber683,000747,000871,000
  Men's and boys'Number69,000196,000150,000
  Women's and girls'Number149,000405,000423,000
  Pyjamas and nightwearDozen57,000111,000136,000
  Agricultural limeTons481,0001,012,0001,193,000
  Chemical fertilizersTons475,000619,000683,000
  Soap (including toilet)Tons8,00010,00010,000
  Electricity generatedMillion kWh.1,4142,5903,030
  Gas madeMillion cub. ft.4,1555,4575,541
  Radio receiversNumber25,00049,00056,000
Motor-vehicles assembled—    
  Commercial vehiclesNumber4,2534,5836,754

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 421–422 of this Year-Book.)

Group and Industry.Persons Engaged.Salaries and Wages Paid.Cost of Materials.Value of Output.Added Value.

* In this industry the cost of materials is taken as the total expenditure other than salaries and wages.

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 I17,8778,16487,168101,78514,617
Group II6,1202,5489,29812,7683,469
Group III12,5235,3625,23914,9269,687
Group IV103,74736,05980,068142,67762,609
Group I—     
  Meat-freezing, &c.11,5376,36043,49155,27111,780
  Butter and cheese, &c.4,2902,14853,40558,6825,277
  Other industries1,88093111,35313,3041,951
Group II—     
  Electric supply*4,7542,26010,08212,7912,708
Group III—     
  Sawmilling, &c.9,9304,7635,46214,2568,794
  Other industries3,4001,5369614,5313,571
Group IV—     
  General engineering8,7993,9724,79211,2786,486
  Body - building and motor and cycle engineering11,1544,5655,54612,5917,045
  Motor assembly1,6258516,9778,5871,610
  Brewing and malting1,5307842,5004,4111,911
  Biscuit and confectionery2,9451,1053,3225,4602,138
  Sheet-metal working2,8001,2102,7744,8862,112
  Woodware and joinery2,2609341,7983,4291,631
  Hosiery and knitted goods2,7399652,0273,8271,800
  Chemical fertilizers1,0915913,8275,3521,525
  Electrical engineering radio, and range-making4,5201,9154,2617,4323,171
  Other industries28,46211,85537,75361,79824,045
    Grand totals144,30961,317221,229331,704110,475

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.

* Estimated on basis of industries where quantitative production is known.

Group I (processing pastoral farm products)—  
  Added value209271
  Value of products199249
  Volume of production128136
Group II (public utility industries)—  
  Added value154185
  Value of products163194
  Volume of production158174
Group III (processing natural resources)—  
  Added value210268
  Value of products213268
  Volume of production131143
Group IV (“secondary” industries)—  
  Added value251300
  Value of products294351
  Volume of production159172*
Total, all groups—  
  Added value233285
  Value of products238290
  Volume of production151164*


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, 1951, are given below, together with (for purposes of comparison) statistics for the previous year.


Year Ended 31st March,
Private dwellings—  
  Now buildings—  
  Value of alterations and additions£2,436,717£2,883,287
Other buildings—  
  New buildings—  
  Value of alterations and additions£3,709,324£4,467,666
  New buildings—  
  Value of alterations and additions£6,146,041£7,350,953
      Grand total, value£30,365,528£35,030,647

Rural Districts.—Building permit statistics for rural districts have been collected from counties (excluding the four counties and two road districts which are included in urban districts) also the Road Boards on Waiheke Island. The total value of rural building operations for the year 1950–51 was £13,738,957, an increase of £1,627,070 or 13.4 per cent. on the 1949–50 figures. The number of new private dwellings in rural districts was 6,470 in 1950–51 compared with 6,127 in 1949–50 and 5,034 in 1945–49.

All Districts (Urban and Rural).—The total value of building operations represented by permits or authorizations issued in the year ended 31st March, 1951, in both urban and rural districts, was £48,769,604 (£42,477,415 in the March year, 1950), included in this total were 17,849 permits, &c., for private dwellings (17,657 in the March year, 1950). The totals include State buildings commenced in the years quoted, as do the statistics under the separate headings, urban and rural.

Dwelling Units Completed.—Local authorities which supply building permit figures were also requested to supply the number of now dwelling units which were completed in their districts. Estimates have been made in some cases where it was not possible to supply data. While absolute accuracy for the statistics cannot be claimed, it is believed they will give reasonably approximate results and also reasonably accurate comparisons of year to year changes.

The total figures on this basis for new dwelling units completed during 1950–51 were 16,400 compared with 15,800 in 1949–50 and 15,200 in 1948–49. Those completed in urban districts numbered 10,900 in 1950–51, and in the previous years quoted, 10,600 and 10,500 respectively.


Statistics of external trade in the calendar year 1950, in continuation of the statistics included in pp. 940–998 of this Year-Book, are given below.

Total Commodity Trade.—Following are statistics of exports and imports in 1936–38 (yearly average), 1939, 1948, 1949, and 1950.

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 1950 show some interesting features. The value of both exports and imports during 1950 was the highest on record. The total trade per head of mean population in 1950 was £177 17s. 7d. (exports £95 13s. 8d. and imports £82 3s. 11d.), 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

* Not yet available.

1936–38 (average)10060.610010010051.9100100

Comparing the 1949 and 1950 figures with the pre-war averages, it will be found that exports have increased by 143 and 203 per cent. in value respectively. The total volume of imports in 1949 was 17 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 1950 was 23 per cent. above the 1936–38 level, compared with 28 per cent. above in 1949.

Exports.—As indicated earlier, New Zealand's export commodity trade reached a record level in 1950, an increase of 25 per cent. in value being recorded between 1949 and 1950. The increase was almost wholly accounted for by the higher returns from wool (£28.1 million), hides, pelts, and skins (£3.3 million), cheese (£1.6 million), and frozen meat (£1.3 million). Items of some importance in which decreases in exports were recorded were butter, timber, and apples. 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 1939 are shown.

Calendar Year.Butter.Cheese.Frozen Meat.Wool.

* Record.

 Tons (000)Tons (000)Tons (000)Tons (000)

Quantities of meat, wool, and cheese exported in 1950 were materially above the pre-war totals, but, with the exception of cheese, were below the 1949 levels. Exports of butter were still considerably below the record figure of 148,800 tons for 1937, and were also less than the substantial figure for 1949. The figures do not include wartime supplies to Allied Forces under mutual-aid arrangements, a factor of particular importance in 1943 and 1944.

Direction of Export Trade.—Details are given below showing for the year 1950 the value of exports to each of the principal countries trading with New Zealand.

Country.Total Exports.
United Kingdom121,734,371
Republic of India763,375
Federation of Malaya343,004
British West Africa23,667
Union of South Africa289,742
Western Samoa240,016
Other British Commonwealth countries988,861
    Totals, British Commonwealth countries133,217,016
Russia (U.S.S.R.)1,034,587
Bahrein Islands2,952
United States of America18,387,389
Other countries2,580,033
    Totals, other countries49,980,156
Ships' stores604,744
    Totals, all countries183,801,916

Trade with British Commonwealth countries in 1950 accounted for 72.5 per cent. of the total exports.


Banking and Currency

Reserve Bank (p. 588).—The weekly averages of liabilities and assets of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand during the calendar year 1950 are shown below, together with the corresponding figures for the year 1949.

Weekly Average for Calendar Year.
  Total liabilities (including other)142,255,252152,333,375
  Demand liabilities—  
  Total assets (including other)142,255,252152,333,375
  Sterling exchange reserve (in New Zealand currency)48,995,31751,319,276
    Marketing organizations3,481,5305,095,797
    Other purposes42,234,64157,623,266

Trading Banks (pp. 588–594).—A statement of the principal statistics of the operation of trading banks during the calendar years 1949 and 1950 is given below.

Weekly Average for Calendar Year.
Bank debits—££
Bank clearings26,228,21233,829,203
Advances, including notes and bills discounted83,357,04294,715,117
  Not bearing interest142,597,894157,571,265
  Bearing interest41,292,23442,201,491
Reserve Bank notes—  
  Notes held by trading banks8,776,5019,898,343
  Net note circulation42,535,03045,227,947
Ratio of advances to deposits44.7946.84

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 1950 and 1951, is contained in the following table. Figures for earlier years will be found on page 593.

Advances toAs at Last Wednesday in March,
Industries allied to primary production21,06532,188
Other manufacturing and productive industries14,77420,477
        Total advances94,649130,732

Overseas Assets of Banks (p. 598).—In the following table the revised series of overseas assets of banks (on account of New Zealand business only) are shown.

Overseas Assets.
Average for Calendar Year.As at End of March, 1951.
Trading banks' overseas assets—£(000)£(000)£(000)
  In London18,02121,78335,020
Reserve Bank's overseas assets—   
  Sterling exchange48,74155,92960,970
  Other overseas assets7,3977,4137,378
Total gross overseas assets78,15989,851107,219
Overseas liabilities of trading banks7,4948,1227,367
Overseas liabilities of Reserve Bank485694
Net overseas assets70,61781,67399,758

Savings-banks (pp. 600–603).—A summary of statistics of savings-banks at 31st March, 1951, is given below.

Post Office Savings-bank.Trustee Savings-banks.National Savings Accounts.
Number of depositors1,407,241359,780 
Total amount of deposits during year86,395,32920,720,0209,468,601
Total amount of withdrawals during year85,190,00819,609,8425,311,371
Excess of deposits over withdrawals1,205,3211,110,1784,167,230
Interest credited to depositors3,915,006839,4851,385,699
Total amount to credit of depositors at end of March, 1951176,102,77936,892,64053,214,076

Overseas Receipts and Payments.—The following statement gives statistics of exchange-control transactions for the year ended 31st March, 1951, on the basis of the revised classification. Figures for earlier March years given on page 599 are based on the former classification and the items are not directly comparable with those presented here. Comparable items for the calendar year 1950 are, however, given on page 946. All figures quoted are taken from Reserve Bank sources.

Year Ended 31st March, 1951.
Receipts.Payments.Net Credit (+) or Debit (-).
  Licensed imports 129,417 
  Decontrolled imports 15,548 
  Other imports 24,742 
    Totals, merchandise208,025169,707+ 38,318
Transport: Freights, fares, ships' charters1,0502,393− 1,343
Travel: Private and business (exclusive of fares)1,2005,412− 4,212
  Reinsurance 364 
    Totals, insurance5101,035− 525
International investment income—   
  Interest, dividends, and other private investment income2,4094,111 
  Interest on Government and local authority loans 2,673 
    Totals, international investment income2,4096,784− 4,375
Government transactions—   
  Current expenditure by New Zealand Government overseas 3,845 
  Current receipts by New Zealand Government and expenditure by other Governments in New Zealand1,901  
    Totals, Government transactions1,9013,845− 1,944
Miscellaneous current transactions—   
  Commissions, royalties, rebates, &c.8511, 625 
  Films and entertainments 599 
  Unilateral transfers (immigrants' transfers, personal remittances, charitable, legacies, &c.)1,8256,526 
  Expenses of business firms5,0531,278 
  Other current transactions457295 
    Totals, miscellaneous current transactions8,18710,323− 2,136
Capital transfers—   
  Government 338 
  Local authority 461 
    Totals, capital transfers3,6594,996− 1,337
Unidentified860 + 860
    Grand totals227,802204,495+ 23,307


Consolidated Fund (pp. 471–473).—The following table contains a summary of the receipts of the Consolidated Fund for the financial years ended 31st March, 1950 and 1951.

Interest on capital liability—  
  Post and Telegraph704,000811,128
  Electric supply1,412,9771,640,594
  Other accounts1,940,1012,192,566
Interest on other public moneys1,829,2761,922,002
Profits on trading undertakings2,162,1111,770,351
Departmental receipts13,094,70413,239,636

The next table, contains a summary of payments from the Consolidated Fund for the financial years 1949–50 and 1950–51.

Permanent appropriations—££
  Civil list97,09593,898
  Debt services22,485,04926,313,986
  Superannuation (subsidy and contribution)2,590,0002,850,000
    Totals, permanent appropriations25,660,88530,022,221
Annual appropriations—  
  Prime Minister's Office164,26311,792
  External Affairs733,009736,638
  General Administration6,883,59410,211,920
  Law and Order1,930,2102,142,319
  Maintenance of Public Works and Services7,711,7908,059,114
  Maintenance of Highways4,140,0124,044,936
  Development of Primary and Secondary Industries8,451,2599,762,714
  Social Services—  
    War and other Pensions5,368,2285,597,335
    Payment to Social Security Fund12,000,00014,000,000
  Other Services not provided for482,4092,051,011
    Totals, annual appropriations95,028,007105,481,377
    Grand totals120,688,892135,503,598

Amounts transferred to the Social Security Fund were £12,000,000 in 1949–50 and £14,000,000 in 1950–51, while the sum of £4,307,742, being the surplus for the 1949–50 year, was transferred to the Public Works Account during the year ended 31st March, 1951.

Taxation (pp. 481–498).—Particulars of revenue from taxation for the financial years 1948–49, 1949–50, and 1950–51 are contained in the following table.

Item of Revenue.1948–49.1949–50.1950–51.
Consolidated Fund—£££
  Customs revenue19,111,48621,474,53323,600,062
  Beer duty4,555,3744,822,3405,036,145
  Motor-vehicles taxation3,613,7433,640,1163,996,629
  Death duties6,032,3905,713,7507,254,012
Social security taxation—   
  Social security charge29,378,38531,702,57035,766,236
  Registration fee, &c.125285201
    Grand totals130,440,249135,556,319157,946,975

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 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 Idebtedness (p. 501).—The public debt as at 31st March, 1951, amounted to £693,424,678, an increase of £23,353,336 as compared with a year earlier.


Information concerning the various benefits under the Social Security Act, 1938, is contained in Section 26 of this Year-Book. The increases granted during 1950 and early in 1951 have been incorporated in the text.

An announcement by the Government in June, 1951, notified increases in the economic pensions for disabled ex-servicemen and for war widows, &c., such increases giving effect to the major recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on war pensions appointed in 1950. These increases, which have not been incorporated in the text on war pensions (pp. 540–549), are as follows, the effective date being the 15th February, 1951:—

Income Provisions

  1. The amount of a war disablement pension or of a basic war widow's pension is now no longer taken into account as income when determining social security benefits and war veterans' allowances.

  2. An allowable income of £1 10s. a week is permitted without reduction of the amount of economic pension to which entitled.

Economic Pensions

  1. The maximum amount that may be granted by way of economic pension, in addition to the statutory pension for disablement, is increased from £2 12s. 6d. to £2 17s. 6d. a week for a member.

  2. The maximum economic pension for a widow with a dependent child or children is increased from £2 2s. 6d. a week to £2 12s. 6d. a week. (The mother's allowance of £2 a week is, of course, also payable, in addition to the basic war widow's pension.)

  3. The maximum economic pension for any other war widow is increased from £1 12s. 6d. to £2 17s. 6d. (the basic war widow's pension is also payable).

  4. An economic pension of up to £1 17s. 6d. (formerly £1 7s. 6d.) may be granted to a partially dependent mother of a deceased member in addition to her ordinary war pension.

  5. In a case of total dependency on one son or partial dependency on two or more deceased sons, the maximum economic pension of a widowed mother is increased from £1 12s. 6d. to £2 17s. 6d. a week.

War Pensions and Emergency Reserve Corps Pensions to Wives.—The rate of pension paid to the wife of a totally disabled war pensioner is now at a flat rate of £2 17s. 6d. in lieu of the former graduated rates (according to rank of member) applicable to wives with and without dependent children. The rate of pension payable to a wife of a member with an Emergency Reserve Corps pension is now £2 17s. 6d. instead of the former amounts of £1 12s. 6d. and £2 2s. 6d. a week for a wife without a dependent child and with a dependent child respectively.

Clothing-allowances to Amputees, &c.—These have been increased from £16–£18 per annum for amputees to a rate of £22–£24 per annum, and for others obliged to use any mechanical or other appliance from £10 to £16 per annum.

A summary showing particulars of the various social security benefits and war pensions in force at the end of March, 1951, together with total payments during the financial year 1950–51 is as follows:—

Class of Benefit or Pension.As at 31 March, 1951Payments during Year Ended 31st March, 1951.
Number in Force.Annual Value.

*Exclusive of £66,900 recoveries under maintenance orders, widows' benefits.

Social security benefits— ££
  Universal superannuation70,3042,495,7922,336,275
  Sickness4,504 1,042,050
  Unemployment10 5,355
  Emergency2,260 292,069
      Totals485,585 39,845,692
War pensions—   
  1914–18 War18,5732,274,8512,311,606
  1939–45 War25,9011,938,8351,970,236
  War veteran's allowance4,7761,051,675964,882
  South African War373,8883,726
  Mercantile-marine pensions262,1012,359
  Emergency Reserve Corps111,7101,628
      Totals49,324 5,254,437
Sundry pensions and annuities20537,79135,641
      Grand totals535,114 45,135,770

Payments from the Social Security Fund on account of medical benefits, &c., for the year ending 31st March, 1951 are as follows:—

Benefits.Payments during 1950–51.


Retail Prices (pp. 694–701).—Details of the consumers' price index for the quarters ended 31st December, 1950, 31st March, 1951, and 30th June, 1951, are given below together with the all-towns index numbers for the calendar year 1950.


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 Foods.Rent.Other HousingAll Housing
Calendar year—        
Quarter ended—        
    31st December12061098123811991021103210281208
    31st March12321071124712041039107210591212
    30th June12951177128712641039107210591237
Clothing and Footwear.Miscellaneous.All Groups.
Clothing.Footwear.Clothing and Footwear.Household Durable Goods.Other Commodities.Services.All Miscellaneous.
Calendar year—        
Quarter ended—        
    31st December10631188108210411008105810321105
    31st March10881216110710891015105810461121
    30th June11751245118611511024112310861169


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

Quarter Ended 31st December, 1950.Quarter Ended 31st March, 1951.
Food.Housing.Fuel and Fighting.Clothing and Footwear.Miscellaneous.All Groups.Food.HousingFuel and LightingClothing 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 centres118710471144108310311102119310741146110910461118
New Plymouth12179981364109610281114121210371363111610351125
Palmerston North123810181271109210431124124010721303111310581144
  Six provincial towns122610001312108510351115123210411323110910471132
Whangarei12269821517  1124*124310141548  1144*
Tauranga125810171143  1118*126010561144  1133*
Rotorua12549881221  1115*124610261221  1127*
Gisborne12039551567  1111*12279881567  1132*
Wanganui12049771396  1111*12059941400  1122*
Masterton12419751103  1120*122910041411  1129*
Blenheim12239981474  1119*122510341483  1132*
Greymouth12099451254  1090*120210251251  1109*
Ashburton12119361668  1102*120410001668  1121*
Timaru118810021169  1087*117610351169  1099*
Oamaru12299561401  1108*12409931424  1132*
  Eleven other towns12189761361  1107*121810151363  1123*

Wholesale Prices (pp. 701–703).—Index numbers of wholesale prices for the year 1950 and for December, 1950, are shown below:—


Group.1950.December, 1950.

*Monthly index numbers not computed for this item.

1. Foodstuffs, &c., of vegetable origin—  
    A. Agricultural produce22042540
    B. Fresh fruit and vegetables1709*
    C. Milled agricultural products12281391
    D. Other foods and groceries of vegetable origin21782261
    A–D. Four sub-groups combined19642130
2. Textile manufactures21332191
3. Wood and wood products19592038
4. Animal products—  
    A. Meats16551713
    B. Semi-manufactured animal products (not foods)14461513
    C. Leather21912332
    D. Other foods and groceries of animal origin14271454
    A-D. Four sub-groups combined16141666
5. Metals and their products24842542
6. Non-metallic minerals and their products—  
    A. Mineral oils17481829
    B. Coal19732268
    C. Other non-metallic minerals and their products17831880
    A-C. Three sub-groups combined18452014
7. Chemicals and manures15801656
        All groups combined19842083


1950.December, 1950.
Consumers' goods—  
  Class I: Foodstuff's17441842
  Class II: Non-foods20932172
Producers' materials, &c.—  
  Class III: Materials for building and construction21582220
  Class IV: Materials for other industries20432153
Classes I and II combined18841980
Classes III and IV combined20682168
Locally produced commodities17381859
Imported commodities21682248
    All classes combined19842083

Export Prices (pp. 703–705).—Index numbers of export prices for the year ended 30th June, 1950, are as follows:—


Other pastoral produce3919
All pastoral and dairy produce3184
Agricultural produce2241
All groups combined3162

The wool group index number was 7382 for the calendar year 1950, and 11854 for the quarter ended 31st December, 1950.

Comparative Table.—With reference to the comparative table of index numbers on the base: 1936–38 (— 100) shown on page 706, the following additions for 1950 may he made—wholesale prices: locally produced commodities, 183; imported commodities, 209; all groups, 198. Retail prices (all groups), 155.

Share Prices (pp. 707–710).—Index numbers of share prices in 1950 together with the average for the three months ending March, 1951, are given below.

Group.Index Numbers Base Average for each Group, 1938 (= 1000).
Average for 1950.Average for 3 Months Ended March, 1951.
Frozen meat21252466
Miscellaneous (including breweries)14631564
    All industrial groups14991622
Loan-agency companies21742664
    All finance, &c., groups17952035
    All groups combined16471828

Monthly statistics for 1950 and the first five months of 1951 are given below:—


Industrial Groups.Finance Groups.All Groups.Industrial Groups.Finance Groups.All Groups.

*Month of December interpolated.


Summary of Price Movements.—The following additions for 1950 may be made to the table on page 710 showing price index numbers on the base: first quarter, 1949 (=1000)—Retail: food, 1123; all groups, 1066. Wholesale: locally produced items, 1155; imported items, 1061; all groups, 1093. Share prices, all groups, 1121.


Wage-rates (pp. 712–715).—Index numbers of nominal wage-rates of adult male wage-earners in 1950 and at 31st March. 1951:—

Industrial Group.Average for Year 1950.As at 31st March, 1951.
Base: All Groups 1926–30 (= 1000)Base: All Group 1926–30 (= 1000).Base: All Groups 1926–30 (= 1000).Base: Each Group 1926–30 (= 1000).
Provision of—    
Food, drink, &c.1916173221161912
Clothing, footwear, and textiles1825178920442004
Building and construction1752170719561905
Power, heat, and light1794163820041830
Transport by water2010181722332018
Transport by land1744166119451852
Accommodation, meals, and personal service1651169918501904
Working in or on—    
Wood, wicker, sea-grass, and fibre1821169020821932
Stone, clay, glass, and chemicals1710167019101866
Paper, printing, &c.1896159321331791
Skins, leather, &c.1688161518811800
Mines and quarries1841176620581974
The land (farming pursuits)1681218618632422
All groups combined1793179320012001

Effective Weekly Wage-rates (p. 718).—The following table shows nominal and effective weekly wage-rates of adult male workers for the year 1950 and the first quarter of 1951. 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 quarter14842001*1348*

Average Rates of Wages (pp. 720–721).—The following table gives the proscribed minimum average weekly wage-rates as at the 31st March, 1951, the series being confined to adult males.

Occupation.Average Wage (Four Principal Districts) at 31st March, 1951.
Adult Maless.d.
  First shopmen2047
  Second shopmen1895
Butter-factory employees—Churning and butter making: General hands16311
  Assistant smuttermen1698
  Slaughtermen, per 100 sheep7910
  General hands1820
  General hands1820
Sausage-casing making: General hands1818
Aerated water and cordial making—  
Brewing labourers17811
  Factory hands1802
Boot operatives1783
  General hands16410
  Carpenters and joiners1927
  Plumbers (competent)1901
  Builders' labourers1756
  General labourers1573
  Yardmen, head19711
  General hands1711
  Boatbuilding: Shipwrights1943
Metal-works, &c.—  
Blacksmiths, floormen1840
  Boilermakers, journeymen1899
  Iron and brass moulders1831
  Tinsmiths, journeymen1884
  Engineering fitters, &c.1923
  Electrical workers1908
  Motor mechanics18511
Skin and leather workers—  
  General hands1572
Mineral and stone workers—  
  General hands1620
Mining (coal)—  
  Miners (on day wages, per shift)4010
Mining (gold): Miners in rises or winzes with machines1673
Agricultural and pastoral workers—  
  General farm hands1226
  Threshing-mill hands, per hour45
  Shearers (per 100 sheep shorn)596
  Dairy-farm hands1456
  Engine-drivers, average third and sixth years1928
  Firemen, average second and ninth years1765
  Guards, average first and third years1856
Shipping and cargo-working—  
  Assistant stewards, first grade1725
  Assistant stewards, second grade1664
  Chief cooks2134
  Second cooks1906
  A.B. seamen1840
  Ordinary seamen, first class1438
  Waterside workers: Ordinary cargo1850
Hotel workers—  
  Soft-goods assistants (male)1813
  Grocers' assistants1730
  Warehouse storemen1669

NOTE.—The following perquisites (as assessed for statistical purposes) as at the 31st March, 1951, should be added to the listed occupations: General farm-hands, ploughmen, shepherds, and dairy-farm hands, 28s. 9d. per week for board and lodging; shearers and wool-pressers, 6s. per day for rations; assistant stewards (first and second grade), chief and second cooks, able and ordinary seamen, 34s. 6d. per week as value of board and lodging; and hotel chefs and waiters, 38s. per week as value of board and lodging.

Half-yearly Surveys of Employment (pp. 785–790).—Following is a summary of the employment statistics for the 15th October, 1950:—

Primary Industry (Other than Farming, Fishing, and Hunting).*Secondary Industry.Transport and Communication (Other than Waterfront Work).Distribution and Finance.Domestic and Personal Services.Administration and Professional.Seasonal Industries.Totals, All Industries Covered.

*The number of persons engaged on farms, including occupiers, on 31st January, 1950, was: males, 109,461; females, 16,228: total, 125,689.

Male employees15,754143,20448,27057,7289,91938,45615,263328,594
Male working proprietors67811,3861,5647,0872,3211818923,306
Female employees24941,3596,76531,92812,77433,9001,459128,434
Female working proprietors31,185321,5651,48516654,441
Number of establishments75114,4522,22412,3883,8442,90565637,220

The figures shown in the secondary industry column are further subdivided as follows:—

Food, Drink, and Tobacco (Other than Seasonal).Textiles, Clothing, and Leather.Building Materials and Furnishings.Engineering and Metal Working.Miscellaneous Manufacturing.Power and Water Supply.Building and Construction.Totals, Secondary Industry (Other than Seasonal).
Male employees8,93713,13818,08543,52415,6638,88834,969143,204
Male working proprietors1,1331,0221,2433,39169843,89511,386
Female employees4,90023,4711,0874,1446,30763281841,359
Female working proprietors457548207090  1,185
Number of establishments1,5072,0221,7804,0741,2062233,64014,452

Summary of Vacancies, Placements, and Disengaged Persons.—This table gives additional figures to those presented on page 792.

Vacancies at End of Month.Placements During Month.Disengaged Persons at End of Month.
Monthly average over calendar year—         
Monthly total—         

Industrial Disputes.—Statistics of industrial disputes in 1950 are given below. Figures for earlier years are shown on paces 801–808 of this Year-Book.

Disputes.Calendar Year 1950.
Total disputes129
Number of firms affected1,190
Number of workers involved89,792
Total duration (days)566½
Average duration (days)4.39
Working days lost271,475
Approximate loss in wages£514,236



Shipping and Cargo Handled (pp. 210–220).—Statistics of entrances and clearances of vessels in the foreign trade in 1949 and 1950, and the total calls made in the foreign and coastal trade for the same years, are shown in the following table. The tonnage of cargo handled is also given.

Calendar Year.
    Number of vessels563597
    Net tonnage2,472,6562,688,223
    Number of vessels556575
    Net tonnage2,444,9682,624,889
Total calls made—  
    Number of vessels1,5281,529
    Net tonnage5,939,2926,364,068
    Number of vessels13,11712,833
    Net tonnage4,298,3884,366,170
    Number of vessels14,64514,362
    Net tonnage10,237,68010,730,238
Tonnage of cargo handled—  
Total manifest tonnage8,636,3708,960,720

Statistics of shipping movement and cargo handled at New Zealand ports in 1949 and 1950 are given below.

Total Shipping Movement.Total Cargo handled.
1949: Net Tonnage.1950: Net Tonnage.1949: Tons.1950: Tons.
Other ports4,5764,9122,3402,380

In the following table the country of registry of inwards overseas shipping in 1950 is shown.

Country of Registry.Calendar Year 1950.
Number of Vessels.Net Tonnage.
British Commonwealth countries—  
  United Kingdom3381,848,320
  New Zealand117289,498
  Other British Commonwealth countries59182,727
      Totals, British Commonwealth countries5142,320,545
Other countries—  
  United States of America938,911
  Other countries1961,998
      Totals, other countries83367,588
      Grand totals, all countries5972,688,133

Of the total net tonnage of inwards overseas vessels in 1950 (2,688,133 tons), ships on the United Kingdom registry accounted for 1,848,320 tons—68.8 per cent. of the total—while the distribution between British Commonwealth and other countries was: British Commonwealth, 86.3 per cent.; other, 13.7 per cent.

Railway Transport (pp. 224–232).—Summarized statistics of railway transport in the years ended 31st March, 1949, 1950, and 1951 follow.

Unit.Year Ended 31st March,

*Including road motor and other subsidiary services.

Passenger journeys—    
  Railway road motor services(000)23,53225,69624,091
Tonnage of goods carried—    
  TimberTons (000)748759808
  Live-stockTons (000)725711645
  CoalTons (000)2,0842,1318,163
  Lime and manuresTons (000)1,5351,672
  Other goodsTons (000)4,5744,675
  TotalsTons (000)9,6669,9489,616
Net ton miles runMillions9711,0211,027
  Railway operation£(000)15,33916,06218,500
  Railway operation£(000)16,78817,36118,725

Road Transport (p. 247).—Statistics of motor-vehicles licensed at 31st March, 1950 and 1951, are as follows:—

Class.As at 31st March,
Rental cars1,2001,393
Private-hire cars266308
Dealers' cars1,6511,677
Local authority, &c., vehicles28,55734,509
Government vehicles10,14911,036
Dealers' motor-cycles8089

REHABILITATION (pp. 831–840)

The number of ex-servicemen and ex-servicemen demobilized from the Forces, as recorded by the Rehabilitation Department, up to the end of March, 1951, was 211,788, of whom 145,054 had returned from overseas service and 66,734 had served with the home forces.

The following table gives particulars of rehabilitation-loan authorizations for the years ended 31st March, 1950 and 1951, and the totals to 31st March, 1951.

Class of Loan.Number.Amount.
1949–50.1950–51.Total to 31st March, 1951.1949–50.1950–51.Total to 31st March, 1951.
Purchase of farm, &c.9621,0327,6734,8896,28134,780
Tools of trade62391,4232147

Included in the foregoing figures are 18,764 supplementary housing loans for £2,619,000. 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.

The figures shown in the table are exclusive of 2,779 suspensory loans (2,617 residential and 162 farm) amounting to £581,005 (£461,805 residential, £119,200 farm) made up to the 31st March, 1951. An increase in the maximum rehabilitation housing loan for the purchase of an existing dwelling from £1,500 to £1,800, with a corresponding increase in the supplementary interest-free loan, was announced by the Acting-Minister of Rehabilitation on the 18th June, 1951. The 5 per cent. supplementary interest-free loan would now be payable on properties costing up to £1,800 and would taper off from that point. Higher limits for the supplementary loan were provided where families with three or more children were concerned.

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, 1951, was £474,045.

EDUCATION (p. 153)

The following table shows the number of scholars and students receiving instruction in the educational institutions of New Zealand during the years 1948 and 1949. Registered private schools are included.


* Exclusive of students taking part-time courses with the Correspondence School, 1,630 in 1948 and 1,907 in 1949.

† Includes 917 students taking short courses at the agricultural colleges in 1948 and 566 in 1949.

Primary schools281,702292,035
Post-primary schools50,500*52,156*
Technical classes (part-time)20,30521,226

Government expenditure on education amounted to £11,023,016 in the financial year 1948–49 and £13,744,960 in 1949–50.


Radio Licences (p. 279).—The number of radio licences for receiving-stations in force on 31st March, 1950, was 449,347, and at 31st March, 1951, 463,418.

Commercial Failures (pp. 657–661).—The number of bankruptcies in the calendar year 1950 was 142 and the number of deeds of assignment, 19. Corresponding figures for the calendar year 1949 were: bankruptcies, 179; deeds of assignment, 23.

Horse-racing (p. 495).—The number of racing-days in the calendar year 1950 was 350, as compared with 326 in 1949. Totalizator investments totalled £26,050,000 in 1950 (£23,861,000 in 1949), while Government taxation totalled £2,456,000 in 1950 (£2,251,000 in 1949).

Land Transfers (pp. 283–285).—Transactions under the Land Transfer Act have been on a very heavy scale during the last three financial years. Particulars of transfers registered during each of the three years in the period which ended March, 1951, are now given.

Year Ended 31st March,
Town and suburban properties—   
  Consideration £24,803,00027,629,00061,518,000
Country properties—   
  Area Acres1,691,7431,783,3871,457,519
  Consideration £13,607,00013,034,00017,842,000
All properties—   
  Consideration £38,410,00040,663,00079,360,000

Mortgages (pp. 651–656).—Particulars of gross totals 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.

Year Ended 31st March,Registered.Discharged.
  £ £

Divorces (p. 72).—Petitions filed: 1949, 2,001; 1950, 1,865. Decrees absolute granted: 1949, 1,892; 1950,1,633.

Justice. —Prisoners in gaols at end of calendar year (pp. 184–188): 1949, 990, or 5.26 per 10,000 of population; 1950, 1,083, or 5.58 per 10,000 of population.

Offences by juveniles dealt with in Children's Courts in 1949 (p. 189): Males, 2,675; females, 393; total, 3,068.

Guaranteed Prices for Butler and Cheese (pp. 324–325).—For the period 15th February to 31st July of the 1950–51 season, the fixed prices per pound of butter and cheese for export will be 28.59d. and 15.658d, (basic grades) respectively. These will enable prices to be paid by dairy companies to suppliers per pound of butterfat as follows: 31.407d. per pound of butterfat for butter and 33.407d. per pound of butterfat for cheese. The structure of the basic price per pound of butterfat for butter manufacture is: capital charges, 3.240d.; working-costs, 10.950d.; labour reward, 18.802d.; less standard allowance for pigs, 1.540d.; total, 31.407d.

Fisheries (p. 383): —

    Number of fishing-vessels operating813855
    Total weight of wet fish (hundredweight)446,265449,903
    Total value of wet fish£838,334£864,332
    Total value of principal classes of fishery products marketed£1,125,957£1,329,816


Table of Contents

AREA AND BOUNDARIES.—The administrative responsibilities of New Zealand devolve over a large area, the land territories of which consist principally of a number of islands of varying size in the South Pacific Ocean, together with a large uninhabited tract in the Antarctic Ocean. While the two largest and most important islands, the North and South Islands of New Zealand, are separated only by a relatively narrow strait, the remaining islands or island groups are very much smaller and in general are widely dispersed over a considerable expanse of ocean.

The boundaries of New Zealand inclusive of its most outlying islands and dependencies range from the northern limit of the 8th degree of south latitude to south of the 60th degree of south latitude, the complementary extremes of longitude with origin Greenwich being from the 150th degree of east longitude to the 156th degree of west longitude.

The precise boundaries as they now exist were originally defined in the relevant proclamations, letters patent, and legislation mentioned in the pages immediately following; general statements are contained in the description next presented relating to those areas over which New Zealand exercises jurisdiction or administrative responsibility. In all instances the measurement of longitude refers to the number of meridians east or west of Greenwich.

In proceeding from north to south, the first area, including the Tokelau Islands some 300 miles north of Western Samoa or 2,300 miles approximately north of Wellington (the capital of New Zealand), extends from the 8th to the 10th degrees of south latitude and from the 171st to the 173rd degrees of west longitude. The second area encloses the Cook and associated islands distant from Wellington in a northeasterly direction approximately 2,100 miles (Cook (lower) Group) to 2,800 miles (Northern Group and Niue). The Cook (lower) and Northern Groups are bounded on the east and west by the 156th and 167th degrees of west longitude respectively, and on the north and south by the 8th and 23rd degrees of south latitude. Niue Island is situated in latitude 19° 10' south and longitude 169° 46' west.

Then follows a third zone covering the trust territory of Western Samoa, which is some 2,000 miles distant and contained within the 13th to the 15th degrees of south latitude and the 171st to 173rd degrees of west longitude.

Further south, and slightly north by east from New Zealand, a matter of roughly 1,000 miles from Wellington, is situated the Kermadec Islands group. These islands lie between the 29th and 32nd degrees of south latitude and the 177th and 180th degrees of west longitude.

New Zealand as defined after the extension of boundaries in 1863, constitutes the fifth and principal area. Its boundaries extend from the 33rd to the 53rd degrees of south latitude and from the 162nd degree of east longitude to the 173rd degree of west longitude.

The sixth area relates to the Ross Dependency which is administered by New Zealand and consists of the coasts of the Ross Sea with 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.

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.

For statistical purposes, the following classification of the administrative area of New Zealand is the most convenient, the actual areas being also given. It should be noted also that statistics for “New Zealand” refer to the group of islands shown in (a) only, unless it is expressly stated that the other islands as a whole or in part are included.

New Zealand:

 Area in Square Miles.
(a) Exclusive of Island territories— 
  North Island44,281
  South Island58,093
  Stewart Island670
  Chatham Islands372
  Minor islands— 
        Kermadec Islands13
        Campbell Island44
        Uninhabited (areas in parentheses)—263
        Three Kings (3). 
        Solander (½). 
        Bounty (½). 
        Snares (1). 
        Antipodes (24). 
        Auckland (234). 
            Total New Zealand, exclusive of island Territories103,736
(b) Island Territories— 
  Tokelau Islands, comprised of Fakaofo Island, Nukunono Island, Atafu Island4
  Cook and associated islands, comprised of— 
    Cook (lower) Group84
    Manuae and Te-au-o-tu. 
  Northern Group15
  Niue Island100
            Total New Zealand, inclusive of Island Territories103,939
Ross Dependency (Estimated)175,000
Trust Territory of Western Samoa1,133

The total area of the foregoing groups exclusive of the Ross Dependency and the Trust Territory of Western Samoa is 103,939 square miles. Elsewhere in this issue—viz., in the section of land tenure, settlement, &c.—the aggregate area of New Zealand appears as 66,390,700 acres—i.e., 103,736 square miles. The latter area does not include the Cook and associated islands or the Tokelau Islands.

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 1842, by Letters Patent, and again by the Imperial Act 26 and 27 Vict., c. 23 (1863), the boundaries were altered so as to extend from 33° to 53° of south latitude and from 162° of east longitude to 173° of west longitude. The minor islands mentioned on page 2 were thus brought within the extended boundaries of New Zealand, being assigned to the appropriate province on the occasion of the 1847 Proclamation dividing the country into two provinces. The number of provinces was increased in later years, though all were finally abolished in 1875. By Proclamation bearing date the 21st July, 1887, the Kermadec Islands 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 Islands, and all the other islands and territories situate within the boundary-lines mentioned earlier were included as from the 11th June, 1901.

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, Upolu and Savai'i, and the small islands of Manono, Apolima, Fanuatapu, Namu'a, Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, and Nu'usafe'e.

By Imperial Order in Council of the 30th July, 1923, the coasts of the Boas Sea (in the Antarctic regions), with the adjacent islands and territories between the limits specified earlier were declared a British settlement within the meaning of the British Settlements Act, 1887. This region was named the Boss 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 cast coast of the North Auckland peninsula several deep and sheltered harbours exist, but as the surrounding country is comparatively undeveloped 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 east coast of the South Island similar circumstances prevail, due to the large quantities of shingle brought down by the rivers being spread along the coast by ocean currents. The mountainous nature of the country makes the haulage of goods to and from the better-equipped natural harbours both costly and difficult, and the construction and maintenance of further ports at various points along the coasts of both Islands has been necessary, either by dredging river-mouths or by harbour-construction work.

Mountains.—The mountainous nature of New Zealand is one of its most striking physical characteristics, less than one-quarter of the land surface lying below the 650 ft. contour. In the North Island the higher mountains occupy approximately one-tenth of the surface; but, with the exception of the four volcanic peaks of Egmont (8,260 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 dormant. 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, while more recent and spectacular activity was exhibited by Ngauruhoe during the period February to May, 1949. In both eases 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 down 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 Ocean 
Waihou (or Thames)90
Flowing into Cook Strait 
Flowing into the Tasman Sea 
Flowing into Cook Strait 
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean 
Flowing into Foveaux Strait 
Flowing into the Tasman Sea 
Cleddau and Arthur20

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

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

Lakes.—In considering New Zealand's numerous lakes, a distinction can be made, especially from the scenic viewpoint, between the lakes of the two Islands. Surrounded by extremely rugged country the larger lakes of the South Island are distinguished by the grandeur of their alpine settings, while those of the North Island, situated on a volcanic plateau, are of interest by reason of the neighbouring thermal activity. Owing to the excellence of their fishing, the North Island lakes possess an added tourist attraction. In both Islands the larger lakes are situated at high altitudes, and their consequent remoteness renders them unsuitable as a means of communication. In their functions as reservoirs the lakes of both Islands are of vital importance for the maintenance of the streams draining them and as a means of flood-prevention. More especially is this the case where hydro-electric schemes are involved. Lakes Waikaremoana and Taupo in the North Island, and Lakes Coleridge, Pukaki. Tekapo, Wanaka, Hawea, and Wakatipu 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 
Waihola1⅛3⅓2,200 (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 1942 and earlier issues of the Year-Book. The information given below has been supplied by Mr. R. C. Hayes, Director of the Seismological 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 1835–1949, 73 destructive earthquakes are known to have occurred in New Zealand, 53 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 1949 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.

193231398 +

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 1948.—Most of the principal earthquakes in 1948 were in the South Island. The largest disturbance occurred on 23rd May in the Hanmer-Waiau region when intensity M.-M. VIII was reached in the strongest shock. Some buildings in the epicentral region suffered structural damage. Minor activity continued at intervals for some months. Other strong shocks occurred on 15th January off the Manawatu coast, on 19th June off the west coast of the South Island, and in July in the Monowai region. The first two of these shocks were; widely felt. There was some concentration of minor activity in the Taupo region early in the year and occasionally in the Wanganui region. On 26th January a slight shock was felt at some localities around the Kaipara Harbour. There were 127 earthquakes reported felt during the year, 81 being in the North Island, 53 in the South island, and 7 in both Islands. The maximum intensities reported were M.-M. VI in the North Island and M.-M. VIII in the South Island.

Summary of Seismic Activity in New Zealand in 1949.—In 1949, the greatest number of felt shocks occurred in February, and one of the strongest shocks during the year occurred on 10th February at a depth of 170 km. off the coast of South Taranaki. The highest intensities in this shock affected the Taihape-Wanganui area. It was perceptible from Tolaga Bay to South Canterbury. Although thy remainder of the year was comparatively quiet, a shock of intensity M.-M. VI occurred in the southern part of the South Island on 27th May; and one of intensity M.-M. V-VI between Murchison and Hanmer on 28th September. A certain amount of activity persisted in the latter region throughout the year. Intensity M.-M. V was experienced at Karamea on 23rd December. On 27th June a shock in the White Island region occurred at a depth of 330 km. This depth is second only to that of a shock in the same region on 27th June, 1942, at a depth of 370 km. Outside the main seismic zone, minor activity occurred in the following regions—Great Barrier Island, Ruawai (Northland), Paeroa, and Raglan. Shocks located in unusual regions occurred on 14th April and 27th May from 100 to 200 miles east of Christchurch, and on 16th September, west of Cape Egmont. In all, 97 shocks were reported felt during the year, 71 in the North Island, 34 in the South Island, and 8 in both Islands. The maximum intensity reported in both Islands was M.-M. VI.

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

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

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

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

  4. Areas north of Auckland.

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

Region.Average Number of Earthquakes per Year (1921–1940).Average Number of Destructive Shocks per Decade (1835–1940).Relative Seismicity based on Destructive Shocks.
Minor Shocks (R.-F.8).Major Shocks (R.-F. 9, 10).
II23.01.1 11
III12.10.1 0.1
IV1.1  00

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 1848–1949 the number of deaths recorded in New Zealand as due directly or indirectly to earthquakes was 284. Of these, 255 were due to the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3rd February, 1931.

CLIMATE.—A general description of the climate of New Zealand is contained in an article supplied by Dr. M. A. F. Burnett, O.B.E., M.Sc., Ph.D., F.Inst.P., Director of Meteorological Services, which was included in the 1942 and earlier editions of the Year-Book.

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 published annually in the Meteorological Observations. The assembly of material for this annual publication was suspended during the war, and this has delayed the appearance of recent issues. Current statistics appear monthly in climatological tables included in the New Zealand Gazette.


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

Brief Review of 1948.—The annual rainfall was below the average in the Wellington and Hawke's Bay districts and in parts of Northland; also over the South Island with the exception of some districts in Nelson and Marlborough and near the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps. The deficiency was greatest in North Otago and North Canterbury. A few local areas in the North Island had a surplus of 40 per cent. These were located in the Gisborne and Bay of Plenty districts and north of New Plymouth. Annual temperatures were above normal. The departure did not amount to 1° F. in the South Island but was greater than 1° F. over most of the North Inland. A positive departure of almost 2° F. in the Rangitikei district was exceptional. For the most part the duration of bright sunshine was above normal, in particular by more than 200 hours in South Canterbury. Less favoured were western districts between Auckland and Wanganui and Nelson. Napier and Gore had a deficit of some 60 hours.

Seasonal Notes.—Warm, sunny weather prevailed during the first three months of 1948. Following two months of dry weather at the end of 1947, the cumulative effect of low rainfall for five successive months brought about a drought in several parts of the country. The areas chiefly affected were Rangitikei, Manawatu, and North Wairarapa. In the last-named area the rainfall for the period November, 1947, to March, 1918, was the lowest of any five consecutive months for over fifty years. Useful rains in the early part of April provided some relief, and in May rain came in abundance, totals being generally two or three times the average. Towards the middle of the month a storm caused severe flooding and loss of stock in the Gisborne district. Temperatures were generally above average throughout the winter season, and pastures in the drought-affected areas recovered well. July was the mildest of any since 1917, though it was also dull and wet. In August there were many fine, sunny days while in parts of Central Otago there was no rain at all. By the end of the season stock was in excellent condition, the absence of snow or stormy winds being particularly welcome at lambing time. September, October, and November were fairly typical of a normal spring season. There was little settled weather, changeable westerly conditions predominating throughout. A few very wet days occurred in and west of the Southern Alps, and, Subsequently, rivers in Otago and Southland rose temporarily to flood levels. Growth of crops and pastures was good, with dairy production well above average. Very changeable conditions persisted during the first half of December, but a spell of hot, dry weather arrived over the Christmas period. The month as a whole was warmer and drier than usual, especially in eastern districts.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.—The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1948 were taken at 09.30 hrs. New Zealand standard time—i.e., 21.30 hrs. Greenwich Mean Time.

Station.Temperatures in Shade, Degrees Fahrenheit.Hours of Bright Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1948.Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Rain-days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.Absolute Max.Absolute Min.
Te Paki, Te Hapua67.452.860.178.5 Feb.31.3 Jun.80.027.02,256.251.57190
Auckland65.654.159.981.0 Dec.38.0 Aug.90.433.22,016.053.41187
Tauranga66.448.657.583.7 Feb.31.4 Jun.90.722.52,478.260.00169
Hamilton East65.445.155.386.1 Dec.23.7 Jun.94.414.22,082.548.89184
Rotorua 45.4 88.0 Dec.27.0 Aug.98.021.32,099.462.71152
Gisborne66.948.357.690.4 Jan.31.0 Aug.95.826.02,350.548.25157
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana59.244.852.082.2 Dec.31.6 Sept.88.027.1 86.42188
New Plymouth62.650.656.679.5 Jan.39.0 Jun.89.027.02,069.873.14182
Napier66.149.657.892.2 Jan.31.0 Aug.96.527.52,361.425.72118
Taihape59.844.051.982.0 Dec.27.9 Aug.87.820.4 35.56174
Wanganui63.749.65.6685.0 Jan.32.0 Jun.88.028.82,162.136.13169
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North63.647.755.785.0 Jan.30.0 Aug.87.021.21,962.737.51188
Masterton64.244.554.391.9 Dec.26.0 Aug.95.420.02,134.635.86158
Wellington61.048.854.984.3 Dec.34.2 Aug.88.028.62,072.541.56162
Nelson63.346.755.080.8 Feb.31.8 Aug.92.025.02,446.938.06122
Blenheim64.344.954.692.1 Dec.28.6 Jun.94.616.12,577.029.65114
Hanmer Springs61.839.250.591.6 Dec.19.0 Aug.97.08.22,026.538.63132
Hokitika59.444.151.775.0 Jan.29.2 Jul.84.525.01,955.0105.24192
Lake Coleridge61.040.650.889.1 Dec.20.8 Jun.92.010.0 33.45126
Christchurch61.844.753.291.0 Jan.26.8 Jun.95.719.32,054.619.34129
Timaru62.343.252.791.2 Jan.25.0 Jul.99.019.82,108.618.6796
Milford Sound57.542.950.276.6 Feb.28.3 Aug.79.323.1 247.36190
Queenstown60.041.250.693.4 Jan.26.0 Aug.93.419.22,113.538.43131
Alexandra62.339.951.194.4 Jan.20.0 Aug.94.411.02,185.210.9695
Dunedin59.044.851.985.0 Jan.28.0 Jun.94.023.01,798.031.63177
Invercargill58.841.550.190.0 Jan.23.0 Aug.90.019.01,741.641.44210

For 1948 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 09.30 hrs., New Zealand standard time, were: Auckland, 1016.1; Wellington, 1013.5; Nelson, 1013.5; Hokitika, 1013.8; Christchurch, 1011.6; and Dunedin, 1011.0.

Brief Review of 1949.—Over the greater part of New Zealand the annual rainfall did not differ much from the average, the general tendency being for a alight excess in central and western districts and a slight deficiency elsewhere. The greatest deficiency was in the central and northern parts of the Canterbury Plains and inland from Gisborne where rainfall was only about 75 per cent. of the average. A 25 per cent. excess was recorded in eastern Coromandel and near the main ranges in Otago and South Canterbury. Moan temperatures were above normal in the North Island and the eastern half of the South Island. Elsewhere they were near or slightly below normal. There was more sunshine than normal in the provincial districts of Wellington. Marlborough, Nelson, and Canterbury and in the Gisborne and Buller areas, the surplus exceeding 200 hours in the central parts of Canterbury. Over the remainder of the country the totals were mostly 50 to 100 hours below the average.

Seasonal Notes.—There was little settled weather in January, conditions generally being cloudy and cool. Frequent rain and lack of sunshine, especially east of the main ranges, delayed the ripening of fruit and cereal crops. February was a warm, dry month apart from heavy rains on the West Coast. In Canterbury it was exceptionally warm, especially during the first week. The March rainfall was over three times the average in the Otago Lakes district where some flood damage occurred on the 19th. Elsewhere conditions were about normal for early autumn. The following month, however, was rather unseasonable, it being the coldest April since 1940. In Canterbury the ground became too hard for cultivation, and autum sowings of grain were delayed. Southland experienced a very difficult harvesting season. In May the mean barometric pressure reached a record high level. The weather was generally settled with the exception of two very wet periods affecting districts exposed to north-east winds. Rain fell frequently during the next two months, though the total falls were mostly below average. June was a mild month and was followed by the mildest July on record. In some places trees and shrubs began to flower a month ahead of their usual date. Although there was no really settled weather in August, conditions on the whole were favourable. At the beginning of the second week some new lambs were lost in northern and eastern districts during a severe storm from the north. Similar losses occurred in the south during a snowstorm towards the end of September. Severe frosts about this time also damaged stone-fruit trees and early vegetables. On the whole, September was dry and very sunny. October was exceptionally mild, certainly the mildest October since 1915. Rainfall was high in Westland where several stations recorded over 40 in. for the month, Waiho having as much as 19.30 in. in one day; but for the most part rainfall was low and sunshine high. November was also very sunny with less than the usual amount of rain. From Hawke's Bay to Canterbury the low seasonal rainfall delayed spring sowings and retarded growth. Conditions in the main dairying districts, however were exceptionally favourable. Prospects for the stone-fruit crop received a further set-back when a hailstorm on the 6th November severely damaged orchards near Hastings. Frost also did considerable damage in Central Otago. December's weather was cloudy, unsettled, and rather cool. The rain which fell in Canterbury during the first week was particularly welcome after a very dry spring. Lambs fattened well and dairy production rose to a record level.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.— The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1949 were taken at 09.30 hrs., New Zealand standard time—i.e, 21.30 hrs. Greenwich Mean Time.

Station.Temperatures in Shade, Decrees Fahrenheit.Hours of Bright Sunshine.Rainfall.
Mean Daily Maximum.Mean Daily Minimum.Approx. Mean Temperature.Extremes for 1949.Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Rain-days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and MonthAbsolute Max.Absolute Min.
Te Paki, Te Hapua66.652.159.378.8 Dec.33.8 May80.027.02,080.849.21193
Auckland65.153.559.380.5 Feb.36.0 Jul.90.433.21,956.540.77182
Tauranga65.948.357.182.1 Jan.29.8 Jul.90.722.52,339.245.69152
Hamilton East64.844.754.781.2 Feb.23.8 Jul.94.414.22,010.240.19187
Rotorua68.644.654.184.0 Jan.26.0 Sept.98.021.32,008.352.78155
Gisborne66.447.757.086.0 Feb.30.7 Jul.95.826.02,300.534.85134
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana58.844.851.884.2 Jan.30.0 Sept.88.027.1 69.40183
New Plymouth61.949.955.976.0 Jan.31.9 Sept.89.027.02,132.963.79187
Napier65.949.157.587.0 Feb30.1 Jun.96.527.52,355.731.55125
Taihape58.443.250.878.0 Jan.25.7 Sept.87.820.4 38.26194
Wanganui63. Feb.33.0 Sept.88.028.82,153.039.36172
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North62.846.854.883.5 Feb.29.0 Aug.87.021.21,929.741.43187
Masterton63.843.753.890.0 Feb.25.5 Sept.95.420.02,161.735.15146
Wellington59.948.254.176.8 Feb.34.6 Sept.88.028.62,117.743.21158
Nelson63.046.154.581.7 Jan.30.8 Jun.92.025.02,549.241.13121
Blenheim64.244.554.489.1 Jan.22.8 Jun.94.616.12,616.923.58100
Hanmer Springs61.038.449.786.8 Jan.18.5 Jun.97.08.22,092.744.84123
Hokitika58.343.651.074.3 Jan.28.0 Jun.84.525.01,871.4120.04211
Lake Coleridge60.640.350.588.0 Feb.22.5 Jun.92.010.0 30.96122
Christ church62.143.652.893.7 Feb.25.1 Aug.95.719.32,199.720.12124
Timaru62.041.851.993.6 Feb.24.8 Aug.99.019.82,051.523.2994
Milford Sound59.942.349.673.2 Feb.29.4 Aug.79.323.1 258.17204
Queenstown58.610.749.684.0 Feb.28.2 Aug.93.419.21,971.743.94153
Alexandra61.440.150.888.0 Feb.21.7 May94.411.02,051.315.94112
Dunedin59.044.251.692.3 Feb.30.0 Aug.94.023.01,796.131.84166
Invercargill58.341.049.788.0 Feb.21.0 May90.019.01,586.447.52222

For 1949 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 09.30 hrs., New Zealand standard time, were: Auckland, 1016.9; Wellington, 1014.1; Nelson, 1014.1; Hokitika, 1014.4; Christchurch, 1011.9; and Dunedin, 1011.3.

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, 1945; 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 (November, 1950) the Executive Council consists of seventeen members in addition to the Governor-General. Two members, exclusive of His Excellency or the presiding member, constitute a quorum.

Under the Civil List Act, 1950, which consolidates and amends the Civil List Act, 1920, and its amendments, His Excellency the Governor-General receives an honorarium of £5,000 per annum, an allowance of £5,000 per annum for the salaries and expenses of his establishment (exclusive of the Official Secretary), plus all expenditure incurred in respect of the transport to and from New Zealand and the travelling within or outside New Zealand of the Governor-General and his family and staff.

The Civil List Act, 1920, 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 nor, 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 Grown (other than the Prime Minister) who may be paid to twelve and the limit was removed altogether by the 1950 Act. The 1944 amendment 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 Minister holding a portfolio £1,170 per annum. Ministers without portfolio receive £1,000 per annum while all Ministers who do not occupy a Ministerial residence receive an allowance in lieu thereof at the rate of £300 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 is now £900, plus house allowance of £300 per annum. At the present time (November, 1950) three such appointments are current.

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 did not again reach that number until appointments made in 1950 brought the total strength to fifty-three at the end of October, 1950.

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 were made for seven years only, members, however, being eligible for reappointment. Prior to 1891 the Speaker was appointed by the Governor, but since that year the Council elected its own Speaker, who held 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 were both eligible for re-election.

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

The qualifications for membership of the Legislative Council were the same as for the House of Representatives (see post), with the proviso that a person could 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 and a further three were included in the 1950 appointments.

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 were several alterations after 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 received free sessional quarters. Besides the honorarium, members received certain privileges in respect of railway and other forms of travel, &c.

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

The Legislative Council Abolition Act, 1950, provides for the abolition of the Legislative Council as from the 1st January, 1951. It also amends section 52 of the New Zealand Constitution Act, 1852, by deleting the words “a Legislative Council,” and thus the General Assembly from the 1st January, 1951, will consist of the Governor-General and the House of Representatives. Existing statutes relating to the Legislative Council were also repealed by the 1950 Act.

All statutory references to the Legislative Council, to the Clerk of the Legislative Council, or to the Clerk of Parliaments are to be read as references to the House of Representatives or to the Clerk of the House of Representatives respectively.

The 1950 Act also expressly declared the law to be that no member or officer of the Legislative Council at the date of its abolition will have any legal right to compensation for loss of office.

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 Acts, 1945 and 1950. The 1945 amendment abolished the former country quota which was an addition of 28 per cent. made to the rural populations, so that the number of rural electorates, in proportion to their population, was higher than urban electorates. In addition it 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, excluded 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 was made for an allowance by way of addition or subtraction of adult population not exceeding five hundred where districts containing the exact quota could not 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 Electoral Amendment Act, 1950, however, restored the basis of allocation of electorates according to the distribution of the total population. In addition to the existing exclusion of persons detained in mental hospitals and prisons, no account is taken, in making the division into electorates, of persons who spent the night of the census on board ship, as guests in licensed hotels, in military, &c., camps, or as patients in public hospitals. The allowance for adjustment of the quota has been amended to become a figure not exceeding 7½ per cent. of the quota.

The 1950 amendment also provided that all general elections and by-elections shall be held on a Saturday and for both European and Maori elections to be held on the same day.

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 be moved in the House of Representatives each year after the year 1942 either approving the continuation of the House or fixing an earlier date for its expiry. During the 1943 session a motion in favour of dissolution was carried, and Parliament was dissolved on 30th August, 1943.

Under the Electoral Act, 1927, every registered elector of either sex, but no other person, is qualified to be a parliamentary candidate. It is provided, however, that a person shall not be so elected who is disqualified as an elector under any of the provisions of the Act (see under “Franchise” post); or is an undischarged bankrupt; or is a contractor to the public service of New Zealand to whom any public money above the sum of £50 is payable, directly or indirectly (but not as a member of a registered company or incorporated body), in any one financial year. Though women's suffrage has been operative since 1893, women were not eligible as parliamentary candidates until the passing of the Women's Parliamentary Rights Act, 1919, the provisions of which are now embodied in the Electoral Act, 1927. Under the Electoral Act public servants were prohibited from being elected, but this prohibition was removed by the Political Disabilities Removal Act, 1936, which provided that if elected they immediately cease to be public servants.

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

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 £200 and free sessional quarters. The honorarium of the Chairman of Committees is £750, and an allowance of £160 per annum to cover expenses incurred in connection with his parliamentary and official duties is also paid.

The Leader of the Opposition is paid an allowance of £200 per annum in addition to his salary and allowance as a member of Parliament.

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, provided 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 was committed to military defaulters' detention and had not been discharged therefrom: A person who was taken into custody under the Aliens Emergency Regulations 1940 and had 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 27 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 Islands; otherwise, the work was carried out by, or on behalf of, the Census and Statistics Department.

The minor islands (see page 2) other than the Kermadec Islands and 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 Niue 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 as listed on page 41, 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.


* Includes the population, at the 1st April, 1950, of the inhabited minor islands, i.e., Kermadec Islands, 16 males; and Campbell Island, 5 males.

† Not available.

New Zealand—    
(a) Exclusive of Island Territories—    
    Europeans1st April, 1950902,766895,3201,798,086
    Maoris 59,71756,317116,034
    Totals, New Zealand (excluding Island territories)1st April, 1950962,483951,6371,914,120*
(b) Island Territories—    
    Tokelau Islands1st April, 1950962,4831,460
    Cook Islands and Niue Island1st April, 1950962,4839,8409,66219,502
      Totals, New Zealand (including Island territories)   1,935,082
Trust Territory of Western Samoa1st April, 1950962,48340,24537,91078,155

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 1943. As this census was taken on 25th September, 1945, authority was granted for the abandonment of the census which was due in 1946. The next census will be taken in April, 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, Nine, Western Samoa, and the Tokelau Islands are not included in the population statistics quoted throughout this Section, except in the first table on page 18. Separate statistics of the Maori population are given where they are available.

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, 19361,491,484147,01510.931.0532,326
September, 19451,603,554112,0707.510.773,744
September, 1945 1,647,635156,15110.471.05100,044

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 a hundred and fifty years. At the opening of the nineteenth century there existed a more or less fluctuating population of perhaps one hundred; by 1839 it had swelled to a total of about a thousand whalers, sealers, traders, missionaries, adventurers, and settlers. Activities of the colonizing companies and societies in the “forties” brought rapid changes and swiftly rising numbers, to be enhanced in the “sixties” by the gold rushes of the period.

The most significant period is possibly that of the “seventies,” marked by a vigorous developmental policy of public works and assisted immigration. The record year 1874, which saw a rise in population of 46,000 (including 32,000 assisted immigrants), was, and still is, the high-water mark of population gains. Both 1874 and 1875 showed a ratio of growth far in advance of any level subsequently attained.

In the late “eighties” and early “nineties” came economic depression and, consequently, comparative stagnation in population. In the three years 1888, 1890, and 1891, emigrants exceeded immigrants, these being the only such occasions in the history of the country, until the depression years following 1930, when departures exceeded arrivals in the five years 1931–35. A small decrease was also recorded in 1943.

Up to the “seventies” New Zealand was dependent on migration for the greater portion of her increase of population, but since then natural increase—i.e., excess of births over deaths—has been the principal factor.

A table is appended showing for each five-yearly period from 1861 the excess of births over deaths and of immigration over emigration. Maoris are not included, nor, prior to 1921, are crews of vessels. Figures for years later than 1920 have not been adjusted consequent upon the censuses. While there thus exist discrepancies with total population increases given elsewhere, such discrepancies do not invalidate the use of the table.

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

* Decrease.

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

Totals, 1861–1949580,981637,8911,218,872321,636215,302536,938902,617853,1931,755,810

Trend of Population.—While the population of New Zealand had been growing, the rate of increase 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. With the outbreak of war, however, a check on migration and the movement of members of the Armed Forces, &c., introduced abnormal features. Since the end of the war substantial improvement has been noted, both in natural increase and migration increase.

For many years past immigration has contributed 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 again became manifest and during the years 1946–49 the inward excess totalled 24,226, which gives the highest average annual increase since 1921–25.

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 next four years showed substantial improvements, with the result that the rate for the 1947 year was the highest of the entire series; a slight recession was, however, recorded for 1948 and 1949. This index is not and cannot be, an exact measure, but it does afford a close and fairly reliable approximation in normal circumstances. In its use it is necessary to remember, inter alia, that the probability of survival of the children born is calculated on past mortality experience in more or less normal conditions; no allowance is made for wars, major epidemics, or other factors which may result in abnormal losses of population.

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

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

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

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 were, however, affected by the absence from New Zealand of a large number of Armed Forces at census date. Their inclusion would restore an excess of males, the number of females per 1,000 males being 995 if allowance is made for 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 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.


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, 98,379 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1950, which, compared with 1948–49, shows the substantial increase of 25,738. During the same period, 88,958 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1948–49, shows an increase of 20,344.

In addition to the figures just quoted there were also 2,489 “through” passengers who called at a port of New Zealand en route to their destination.

The excess of total arrivals over total departures for 1949–50 was 9,421, compared with a similar excess of 4,027 during 1948–49.

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

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

The figures for 1949–50, both for arrivals and departures, are the highest ever recorded in the history of New Zealand migration statistics.

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 residence4,6458,1069,64811,38717,701
New Zealand residents returning3,4047,94711,98812,84018,463
  On business9661,6961,7321,7691,936
  Theatrical, entertaining, &c.872333877001,117
  Others, officials, &c.859799776975410
  In transit7721,625890447485
Not stated 11231  
Through passengers3,0715,7425,1363,0732,489

The succeeding table gives a similar analysis of departures.

New Zealand residents departing—     
Temporary residents departing3,7289,40410,89411,52016,007
Through passengers3,0715,7425,1363,0732,489

Ages.—The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31st March, 1950.

Age, in Years.Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.
60 and over4338201,253253355608645

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 1947 had been largely suspended since 1927, and only 50 immigrants received financial assistance during the ton years ended 31st March, 1946.

To alleviate the shortage of staffs in mental hospitals, the Government decided in 1946 to recruit labour in the United Kingdom, and the number of arrivals under this system totalled 240 (all females).

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

During the year 1949–50 the Government agreed to accept a draft of displaced persons from Europe, who were brought to New Zealand in shipping provided by the International Refugee Organization. These settlers were chosen by a New Zealand Selection Mission, and the draft comprised 941 persons, made up of young single men and women, widows with one child, family groups, orphans, and a number of elderly people.

A scheme of child migration from the United Kingdom also came into operation during the year, the first draft arriving in June, 1949. This scheme was devised to bring to New Zealand, on a guardianship basis, British children between the ages of five and seventeen years, whose parents are prepared to agree to their placement with foster-parents approved by the Superintendent of Child Welfare. During the year ended 31st March, 1950, 169 children arrived under this scheme, comprising 114 boys and 55 girls.

In May, 1950, a new immigration policy was announced by the Government, the main changes being as follows:—

  1. The existing scheme in regard to unmarried British immigrants, including nominations, to continue, but with an extension of the age-limit from thirty-five to forty-five years of age.

  2. The contribution of £10 previously required to be paid by other than ex-service personnel towards the cost of their fares to New Zealand is abolished. In future free passages will be provided for all British immigrants, both single and married (including wives and families), selected under the scheme.

  3. Extension of the free passage scheme to certain categories of married British immigrants with up to two children.

  4. The acceptance, after negotiation and conclusion of agreements with the countries concerned, of a number of single non-British men and women between the ages of twenty and thirty-five years.

The number of assisted immigrants arriving in New Zealand since the reintroduction of the scheme was as follows:—

Year ending 31st March, 1947158
Year ending 31st March, 19481,137
Year ending 31st March, 19491,522
Year ending 31st March, 19502,528

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, Niue, 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, marital status, occupation, birthplace, nationality, race, particulars of children under fifteen years of age arriving with him, residence, &c.

NATIONALITY AND NATURALIZATION.—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 experts 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 was 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 now.

Certificates of naturalization granted during the year ended 31st March, 1949, under the authority of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Act, 1928, the amending Act of 1943, and the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act, 1948, are shown by sex and country of birth in the table below. These figures also include certificates issued to married women under the 1946 amending Act.

Country of Birth.Males.Females.Total.
New Zealand 11
United Kingdom 11
Cook Islands1 1
Western Samoa1 1
Norway1 1
Denmark5 5
Finland2 2
Russia (U.S.S.R.)336
Netherlands3 3
Belgium 11
Egypt 11
Syria1 1
Japan 11
Tahiti1 1

Under the provisions of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens (in New Zealand) Amendment Act, 1946, alien women marrying British subjects did not automatically Income British by marriage according to New Zealand law, but could acquire British nationality only by the grant of a certificate of naturalization. This Act was in force from the 9th October, 1946, until the 31st December, 1948, and was repealed by the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act, 1948. The number of such certificates of naturalization included in 1948–49 was 47.

From the date of the commencement of the last-mentioned Act (1st January, 1949 alien women who marry New Zealand citizens now acquire citizenship by the more simple process of registration. The acquisition of New Zealand citizenship automatically confers the status of British nationality. Certificates of registration as New Zealand citizens are issued, and these are for all intents and purposes equivalent to the former certificates of naturalization. The number of certificates of registration issued to females during the three months ended 31st March, 1949, was 3.

Alien minor children may acquire New Zealand citizenship by registration, following the naturalization of their parents or in special cases in their own right. Before the 1st January, 1949, minor children were included in the naturalization certificate issued to their father or mother. During the year ended 31st March, 1949, 15 children acquired British nationality by registration or by virtue of their parents' naturalization.

The complete numbers of naturalizations, registrations, &c., during the year ended 31st March, 1950, were as follows:—

Country of Birth.Certificates of Naturalization.Certificates of Registration as a British Subject and New Zealand Citizen.Certificates of Registration as a British Subject and New Zealand Citizen—Minor Children.
New Zealand 1    
United Kingdom1 14 1 
Republic of India  21  
Pakistan  1   
Sarawak   1  
Australia   1  
Western Samoa2  1  
Tonga1  1  
Gilbert and Ellice Islands     1
Norway4  12 
Sweden3   1 
Denmark71 1  
Russia (U.S.S.R.)2  1  
Estonia1   2 
Latvia1  1  
Poland131 321
Germany124 811
Netherlands2  1  
Switzerland5  2  
Italy72 10  
Czechoslovakia5  2 2
Austria31 8  
Hungary1  1  
Yugoslavia412 12  
Greece5  6  
Egypt   1  
Trans-Jordan   1  
Burma  11  
Indonesia   1  
United States of America1     

There was one renunciation of New Zealand citizenship by a female, held to be a United States citizen, during the year.

Of the certificates of registration granted, 16 were to male British subjects from other Commonwealth countries who acquired New Zealand citizenship by virtue of one year's residence in the country. The great majority (60) of the females were alien women, married to New Zealand citizens by birth or naturalization, who desired to acquire New-Zealand citizenship.

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 number of aliens on the New Zealand register at 1st April, 1950, was 8,384, comprising 5,769 males and 2,615 females. This does not purport to be the complete number in New Zealand, as certain classes are not required to register, including the following: (a) Children under sixteen years of age; (b) Persons holding diplomatic status, Consuls, or employees of Embassies, Legations and Consulates who are resident in New Zealand solely for the purpose of performing official duties; (c) certain temporary visitors to New Zealand; (d) Western Samoans, except in special circumstances.

The following table shows the numbers on the register at 1st April, 1949, and 1st April, 1950.

Country of Nationality.1st April, 1949.1st April, 1950.
Russia (U.S.S.R.)221133412970
Lithuania2 25865123
United States of America539186725571227798
Other countries292655333366

The number of aliens as at 1st April, 1950, shows an increase of 1,596 as compared with twelve months earlier, the countries contributing the major portion of this increase being China (299), Poland (271), Netherlands (220), Latvia (166). Lithuania (121), and Estonia (87).

A summary follows giving information as to ages of registered aliens as at 1st April, 1949; similar data were not compiled for 1950.

16 years and under 21 years266241507
21 years and under 30 years8114151,226
30 years and under 40 years7193391,058
40 years and under 50 years1,2124431,655
50 years and under 60 years9962521,248
60 years and under 70 years604127731
70 years and over26059319
Not specified40444

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

At 31st March, 1950, the North Island population was estimated as 1,301,363, inclusive of 112,382 Maoris; and the South Island population as 612,757, inclusive of 3,652 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. 1950.

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

Hawke's Bay4,26039,60465,08076,96879,08488,700
  Otago portion14,050125,782137,062151,213144,035156,400
  Southland portion11,48048,01662,43972,85670,17876,300

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

The area shown for New Zealand now includes certain islands which formerly were excluded. These are Kermadec Islands (13 square miles), Campbell Island (44 square miles), and the uninhabited islands. Three Kings, Solander, Bounty, Snares, Antipodes, and Auckland, with a total area of 263 square miles.

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 (65.0 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.

‡Inclusive of Maori half-caste: (3,221 in 1916 and 1,236 in 1921) living as Europeans.

Excluding Maoris—      
Including Maoris—      

Another conception of urban and rural population is presented in the next table, which covers the period 1901–1945. All Maoris are omitted for the years 1926–1945, but Maori half-castes living as Europeans are included in 1901 (2,407); 1911 (2,879); 1916 (3,221); and 1921 (4,236). 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.
25,000 and over214,098302,943349,271401,710472,603531,588636,389
Totals, urban336,861509,071588,744690,607794,167887,0601,010,130
Totals, rural432,087494,385498,518523,075543,217599,752590,259
Grand totals (excluding migratory)768,9431,003,4561,087,2621,213,6821,337,3841,486,8121,600,389
Per Cent.
25,000 and over27.8530.1932.1233.1035.3335.7539.76
Totals, urban43.8150.7354.1556.9059.3859.6663.12
Totals, rural56.1949.2745.8543.1040.6240.3436.88
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, whoso 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 significance, 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, 1950, 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.

Auckland City143,300
Birkenhead Borough4,350
Northcote Borough2,950
Takapuna Borough*11,950
Devonport Borough12,150
New Lynn Borough5,550
Mount Albert Borough27,200
Mount Eden Borough22,000
Newmarket Borough3,060
Ellerslie Borough3,460
One Tree Hill Borough14,100
Mount Roskill Borough18,800
Onehunga Borough16,250
Otahuhu Borough8,390
Remainder of urban area14,990
Wellington City135,600
Lower Hutt City*36,800
Petone Borough11,700
Eastbourne Borough*2,670
Johnsonville Town District3,300
Remainder of urban area3,230
Christchurch City128,900
Riccarton Borough8,680
Lyttelton Borough*3,140
Remainder of urban area30,780
Dunedin City72,100
Port Chalmers Borough2,740
West Harbour Borough2,150
St. Kilda Borough7,700
Green Island Borough*3,140
Remainder of urban area3,370
Hamilton City*29,400
Remainder of urban area1,600
Gisborne Borough16,850
Remainder of urban area2,350
Napier City20,050
Taradale Town District2,140
Remainder of urban area1,410
Hastings Borough17,600
Havelock North Town District1,730
Remainder of urban area4,670
New Plymouth 
New Plymouth City21,500
Remainder of urban area2,300
Wanganui City26,000
Remainder of urban area2,800
Palmerston North 
Palmerston North City30,500
Remainder of urban area1,600
Nelson City16,550
Remainder of urban area2,450
Timaru City20,900
Remainder of urban area1,200
Invercargill City26,700
South Invercargill Borough1,230
Remainder of urban area2,970

Counties.—The following table gives the estimated population (including Maoris) of individual counties at 1st April, 1950, 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 Islands11,580824
  Great Barrier Island190110
  Hauraki Plains5,120233
  Hawke's Bay15,9501,672
  Waimate West2,96083
  Wairarapa South2,890440
South Island—  
  Mount Herbert51066
  Chatham Islands520372
  Fiord 3,035
  Stewart Island350670
    Grand totals671,450102,630

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

Borough.Population (Including Maoris).Approximate Area, in Acres.
North Island—  
  New Lynn5,5501,393
  Auckland (City)143,30018,253
  Mount Albert27,2002,430
  Mount Eden22,0001,476
  One Tree Hill14,1002,430
  Mount Roskill18,8004,605
  Hamilton (City)29,7005,705
  Te Awamutu3,5001,162
  Te Kuiti3,0301,668
  Te Aroha2,6402,783
  Mount Maunganui1,480935
  Te Puke1,3001,047
  Napier (City)20,0502,456
  New Plymouth (City)21,5004,132
  Wanganui (City)26,0005,726
  Palmerston N. (City)30,5006,839
  Upper Hutt7,2302,165
  Lower Hutt (City)43,3007,688
  Wellington (City)135,60016,289
  Martin borough9501,070
South Island—  
  Nelson (City)16,5505,550
  Christchurch (City)128,90016,788
  Timaru (City)20,9002,895
  Port Chalmers2,740490
  West Harbour2,1502,382
  Dunedin (City)72,10013,536
  St. Kilda7,700462
  Green Island3,230877
  Invercargill (City)26,7006,399
  South Invercargill1,2302,257
    Grand totals1,209,300297,321

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 in that of the respective parent county.

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

* Parent county shown in parentheses.

(a) Town Districts Not Forming Parts of Counties
North Island—  
  Glen Eden2,1001,267
  Havelock North1,730835
South Island—  
  Pleasant Point500730
    Grand totals27,48027,353
(b) Town Districts Forming Parts of Counties*
North Island—  
  Kohukohu (Hokianga)2501,020
  Rawene (Hokianga)450280
  Russell (Bay of Islands)5201,066
  Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)660280
  Onerahi (Whangarei)570990
  Mercer (Franklin)3001,000
  Te Kauwhata (Waikato)5101,290
  Ohaupo (Waipa)2501,283
  Kihikihi (Waipa)420523
  Kawhia (Kawhia)290470
  Te Karaka (Waikohu)390700
  Patutahi (Cook)2001,275
  Kaponga (Eltham)400558
  Normanby (Hawera)320260
South Island—  
  Havelock (Marlborough)240210
  Southbridge (Ellesmere)390531
  Outram (Taieri)360886
  Edendale (Southland)470696
    Grand totals6,99013,318

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 5,890 people at the 1st April, 1950.

Of the islands concerned, Waiheke was the only one with a reasonably sized population, which was estimated at 1,250 for 1st April, 1950.

AGE DISTRIBUTION.—The following table shows the estimated age distribution of the population at 31st December, 1949. 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. (Data for 1945 census will be found elsewhere in this section.)

Age-group (Years).Excluding Maoris.Maoris.
Under 5105,853101,202207,05511,40410,84622,250
75 and over21,90025,40047,300350325675
Totals, under 14240,000231,100471,10025,80024,70050,500
Totals, under 16264,100253,800517,90028,60027,30055,900
Totals, under 21327,300314,400641,70034,90033,50068,400
Totals, 21 and over569,553576,3021,145,85524,35422,34646,700
    Total population896,853890,7021,787,55559,25455,846115,100

DENSITY OF POPULATION.—The total area of New Zealand is approximately 103,939 square miles. Omitting the Island Territories of Tokelau Islands, Cook Islands, and Niue Island, the area remaining is 103,736 square miles, and includes Kermadec Islands and Campbell Island, and certain uninhabited Islands—viz., Three Kings, Solander, Bounty, Snares, Antipodes, and Auckland. This calculation, it should be explained, includes all inland waters—i.e., 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 large 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 16.41 persons to the square mile. This figure would he higher if members of the Armed Forces serving overseas were included in the population.

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

 Persons per Square Mile.
Hawke's Bay18.56

Attention must be drawn to the necessity for the exorcise 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, 1950, is 116,034, which is an increase of 3,365 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 1949–50 afford a better illustration. These are:—

Natural-increase rate15.6429.65

Of the 116,034 Maoris at 1st April, 1950, 112,382 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.

Counted in the Maori population—  
Full Maori55,91561,440
  Three-quarter caste11,39718,956
  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.

STATISTICS OF 1945 CENSUS.—The tabulation and analyses of the population census taken for the night of 25th September, 1945, has met with delay through staff shortage and other causes. Further and considerable delay in presentation of completed results has arisen from the difficulties of the printing trade. The following volumes of census results have been published, or are in the press:—

  • Volume I—Increase and Location of Population.

  • Volume II—Island Territories (Cook Islands and Nine, Tokelau Islands, and Western Samoa).

  • Volume III—Maori Census.

  • Volume IV—Ages and Marital Status.

  • Volume VIII—Race.

  • Volume IX—Industries and Occupations.

  • Volume X—Incomes.

  • Appendix A—Census of Poultry.

  • Appendix B—War Service.

Interim Returns (Ages, Marital Status, Religious Professions. Birthplaces, Duration of Residence of Overseas-born, Race, War Service, Industries, Occupations, Occupational Status, and Travelling Time).

Most of the data to be covered by further volumes of census results is available and certain details are included in the summaries given below. In addition certain other figures will be found in this issue in the appropriate sections—viz., population of island territories (Section 46); statistics of poultry (Section 18c); industrial and occupational distribution (Section 40); incomes (Section 36); hours of work and travelling-time (Section 38); and dwellings (Section 23).

In view of the abnormalities to be expected in a country which had been engaged for a number of years in war, it would seem desirable to refer briefly to the scope of any census which was held so shortly after the cessation of active hostilities. In the 1945 census the following categories of people were excluded from the enumeration:—

  1. 45,381 members of the New Zealand Forces overseas at census date, this figure comprising 43,415 male and 666 female Europeans, the remaining 1,300 being Maoris.

  2. Members of the United States of America Forces in New Zealand totalling 250.

  3. Enemy prisoners of war, 803 in number.

On the other hand, refugees and internees were included in the enumeration.

Ages.—The age-distribution of the population as disclosed at the censuses of 1936 and 1945 is now given.

Age-group (Years).1936 Census.1945 Census.
European Population
Under 559,82456,914116,73882,66279,493162,155
5 and under 1065,57462,813128,38766,95865,310132,268
10 and under 1569,05566,261135,31660,80257,949118,751
15 and under 2067,37064,875132,24564,64463,264127,908
20 and under 2567,67565,865133,54046,53066,430112,960
25 and under 3063,72961,259124,98851,58864,740116,328
30 and under 3556,04253,468109,51058,05364,361122,414
35 and under 4050,71751,087101,80458,51559,930118,445
40 and under 4543,47947,57091,04953,31752,061105,378
45 and under 5046,23846,71692,95447,39648,58895,984
50 and under 5545,80343,52189,32440,53944,06484,603
55 and under 6040,95937,58078,53941,59741,92883,525
60 and under 6529,89027,92357,81338,96738,45477,421
65 and under 7021,69121,14542,83631,82632,33364,159
70 and under 7513,28813,54726,83519,88020,30940,189
75 and under 808,0267,97816,00411,51812,64824,166
80 and under 854,0803,9988,0784,8975,80210,699
85 and under 901,4691,5643,0331,8012,2234,024
90 and under 95333396729396543939
95 and under 10064751396594159
100 and over448448
Not specified—      
  Totals, Europeans756,226735,2581,491,484782,602820,9521,603,554
Age-group (Years).1936 Census.1945 Census.
Maori Population
Under 57,1956,82914,0248,3308,04016,370
5 and under 106,3546,25112,6057,9727,68315,655
10 and under 155,2455,07710,3226,8286,62413,452
15 and under 204,1133,8717,9845,3635,26710,630
20 and under 254,0163,7857,8013,6934,2887,981
25 and under 303,3333,0196,3523,2003,5386,738
30 and under 352,2762,0214,2972,9902,9385,928
35 and under 402,2211,9764,1972,8092,5355,344
40 and under 451,6871,4433,1302,0221,8313,853
45 and under 501,6061,1822,7881,9381,5203,458
50 and under 551,2579732,2301,2691,0012,270
55 and under 609947321,7261,1438371,980
60 and under 657847691,5538797211,600
65 and under 707575831,3406885901,278
70 and under 75417361778402307709
75 and under 80250185435232184416
80 and under 85144138282113127240
85 and under 9066691354374117
90 and under 95314677283967
95 and under 100102636111627
100 and over5253031316
Not specified—      
  Totals, Maoris42,86339,46382,32650,27548,46998,744

The estimated age-distribution of the population as at 31st December, 1949, will be found on page 38.

A noticeable feature of the European population is the movement of large numbers of people into the higher age-groups. Persons of 60 years of age and over increased between 1936 and 1945 by 66,289; in 1945 such persons comprised 13.83 per cent. of the total population; in 1936, 10.42 per cent.; in 1926, 7.84 per cent.; and in 1874 only 2.33 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, a marked reversal of the trend of the 1930's was recorded. Children under 10 years of age increased by 49,298 since 1936, in strong contrast to the decrease of 22,102 shown by that census over the corresponding age-group in 1926. Whether the improvement in the European birth-rate over the past few years and in the post-war period will be maintained as a long-term feature is a question that cannot be answered at this juncture.

The cumulative effect of the declining birth-rate since 1910 in its effect on those age-groups in winch the majority of the working population is contained is shown by the succeeding comparison. In the age-group covering ages 15 years to 59 years the 1936 figure recorded an increase of 119,179 over 1926. In 1945, even allowing for 44,081 European members of the New Zealand Forces overseas, the comparable increase has dropped to 57,673. Some part of this reduced number is, of course, due to reduced migration gains and to war losses. Nevertheless, it would seem that the present labour shortage must be in some measure the direct result of a smaller influx into working-age groups caused through decreases in births occurring over a very considerable period.

The European population in 1945 may be divided into adults (21 years and over) 1,037,469, equal to 64.70 per cent., and minors (under 21 years) 566,085, or 35.30 per cent. of the total. In 1936, adults comprised 63.84 per cent. and minors 36.16 per cent. of the total.

The outstanding characteristic of the rapidly increasing Maori race is its comparative youthfulness. The large number of persons under twenty-one years of age amounting to 58,066, constitutes 58.8 per cent. of the total, which is in sharp contrast to the figure of 35.3 per cent. for the corresponding European age-group. Further evidence of this feature is afforded by the much lower average age (arithmetic mean) of Maoris, 21.76 years as against the 32.94 years of the European section. This difference is accounted for by the higher natural increase associated with the Maoris, further accentuated by the probably greater expectation of life possessed by Europeans.

It is obvious that the changes noted in the above paragraphs impinge on the social economy in many ways. The recent increases in the number of children born are now beginning to exert their influence on school rolls, school-teachers, and indirectly on all those concerned with the needs of youth. Different classes of commodities and services are required for elderly people, too, and the census results are full of significance in this respect. The information disclosed on the quantity and age distribution of the economically active portion of the population also holds salient points of interest in many spheres of inquiry.

In the table given above, and indeed for most 1945 census results, the non-inclusion of 45,381 members of the Armed Forces overseas must be considered in any analysis of the figures. The estimated age distribution of the 44,081 Europeans and 1,300 Maoris comprising this total is given below.

Age-group (Years).Europeans.Maoris.Total.
Under 20610 610   610 610
20 and under 2518,69510618,801620 62019,31510619,421
25 and under 3011,57024011,810450 45012,02024012,260
30 and under 357,1502207,370130 1307,2802207,500
35 and under 403,740903,83080 803,820903,910
40 and under 451,370101,38020 201,390101,400
45 and under 50210 210   210 210
50 and under 5550 50   50 50
55 and under 6020 20   20 20
    Totals43,41566644,0811,300 1,30044,71566645,381

Marital Status.—The marital status of persons aged 16 years and over as returned at the census of 1945 is summarized in the following tables. The status is that existing at the census date—e.g., a person who had been widowed or divorced but had remarried before the census is counted as married, not as widowed or divorced.

Age (Years).Never Married.Married.Legally Separated.Widowed.Divorced.Not Specified.Total.
Europeans: Males
16 and under 2051,5222351  3851,796
20 and under 2111,4044384112611,874
21 and under 2526,5617,90610219333534,656
25 and under 3023,08227,6893841042963351,588
30 and under 3514,05642,5595342825626058,053
35 and under 409,21747,5315804367153658,515
40 and under 456,88144,4215546727563353,317
45 and under 505,86239,2714501,0187662947,396
50 and under 554,58433,4214081,4476592040,539
55 and under 604,93933,2414212,3356471441,597
60 and under 654,64629,7595043,4365932938,967
65 and under 703,97522,7613614,2634442231,826
70 and under 752,65112,7812094,0022271019,880
75 and under 801,4486,5381133,312101611,518
80 and under 855502,316321,9543874,897
85 and under 90202673149001021,801
90 and over49123228623465
Not specified, adults651284164414631
Europeans: Females
16 and under 2048,9021,84216111 50,772
20 and under 2110,9502,09624178 13,095
21 and under 2530,80021,725347293165553,335
25 and under 3018,15144,498732788565664,740
30 and under 3511,00750,8547431,022728764,361
35 and under 408,53048,5966781,272849559,930
40 and under 457,13641,6885921,837802652,061
45 and under 506,35237,7475773,128780448,588
50 and under 555,75332,5194884,584715544,064
55 and under 605,19228,6235186,969619741,928
60 and under 655,06223,2905059,105487538,454
65 and under 704,40216,56436810,651342632,333
70 and under 753,0458,1611588,790149620,309
75 and under 801,7783,531827,19954412,648
80 and under 857271,080103,9602235,802
85 and under 9021930131,691722,223
90 and over5073151052641
Not specified, adults612081060760406
Age (Years).Never Married.Married.Legally Separated.Widowed.Divorced.Not Specified.Total.
Maoris: Mules       
16 and under 204,06686 1 24,155
20 and under 217371041225851
21 and under 251,814998712292,842
25 and under 301,1291,98017551093,200
30 and under 355552,32222701652,990
35 and under 403382,326269811102,809
40 and under 451911,67317129842,022
45 and under 501511,559161871961,938
50 and under 558798751741151,269
55 and under 60788426208541,143
60 and under 6562567124432879
65 and under 70444222206410688
70 and under 752619717414402
75 and under 8011108210812232
80 and under 85733 70 3113
85 and under 90312224 243
90 and over514 23  42
Not specified, adults8593429115227
Maoris: Females       
16 and under 203,52052817 24,058
20 and under 215393633331912
21 and under 251,3281,96318521143,376
25 and under 305222,856281081593,538
30 and under 352592,514301171262,938
35 and under 401632,2111912517 2,535
40 and under 45771,55420167941,831
45 and under 50451,2247230771,520
50 and under 553372810223521,001
55 and under 601855582533 837
60 and under 6521416327812721
66 and under 7020286128012590
70 and under 754110118912307
75 and under 80114211291 184
80 and under 85321 101 2127
85 and under 90214 58  74
90 and over112 58 374
Not specified, adults986112714192

Taking only the adult population—i.e., those aged 21 years and over—the proportional distribution of the population was—

Marital Status.Europeans.Maoris.
 Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.Per Cent.
Never married30.3521.9824.2819.9923.5222.1011.8313.16
Legally separated0.930.941.041.071.400.611.380.74

The influence of the recent war on the never-married and married figures is well illustrated in this table. Many single men were overseas in 1945, thereby reducing the proportion of this class in the latter year and enhancing at the same time the proportion of married men. Increases in the proportions of married women and widows in the European section of the population can, no doubt, be also ascribed to war conditions, while higher wartime marriage-rates are reflected in a lower proportion of single women.

Religious Professions.—The table following presents a summary of the religious professions of the population as recorded in 1945, together with comparative figures for 1936. The figures are exclusive of Maoris, who are shown on the page following.

Religious Profession.Adherents.
Church of England600,786601,786
Roman Catholic (including Catholic undefined)195,261215,629
Salvation Army12,60813,203
Protestant (undefined)5,17811,911
Church of Christ11,19711,346
Jehovah's Witness428622
Eastern Orthodox Catholic361595
Society of Friends494546
Seventh Day Adventist3,8254,956
Christian Scientist4,6174,819
Christian (undefined)1,6893,671
Undenominational Christian1,2891,692
Latter Day Saints (Mormon)7451,247
Missions (undefined)1,346891
Commonwealth Covenant Church 763
Assemblies of God389361
Liberal Catholic274334
Friendly Road598258
British Israel704158
Catholic Apostolic347137
Christian Assembly 134
Chinese Church27115
No religion (so returned)4,29211,038
All other religious professions2,1531,801
Object to state71,302126,426
Not specified14,7058,090

The category recorded as “Object to state” represents those persons availing themselves of the special statutory right of objecting to answer a question on this subject. A proportion of the “not specified” may also consist of persons objecting to the question.

The proportional distribution at the last two censuses was:—

Religious Profession.Percentage of Total Population.
Church of England40.2837.53
Roman Catholic (including Catholic undefined)13.0913.45
Salvation Army0.840.82
Protestant, undefined0.350.74
Church of Christ0.750.71
No religion (so returned)0.290.69
Object to state4.787.88
All others (including “not specified”)1.043.80

The numbers and proportional distribution of religious professions of Maoris at the last two censuses are now given. In comparison with the European distribution shown earlier some considerable differences will be noted, caused partly by the inclusion of religious professions such as Ratana, Ringatu, and Hau Hau, which are essentially Maori.

Religious Profession.1936 Census.1945 Census.
Church of England24,83230.1632,57832.99
Roman Catholic11,32613.7615,19015.38
Latter Day Saints5,2576.396,5516.63
Mission n.o.d.5,0476.132,0912.12
Hau Hau5860.716620.67
Other professions1,5111.841,8551.88
Not specified or indefinitely specified1,2461.511,2841.30
Object to state4,2355.147,0057.10
    Total Maori population82,326100.0098,744100.00

Birthplaces.—The distribution of the population in 1945 according to place of birth is now presented, with 1936 figures being incorporated for comparative purposes.

The nomenclature used in regard to countries of birth refers to status and territories in the census year and not necessarily to the present position.


* Includes protectorates, trust territories, &c., as at the date of the census.

British Countries*  
  New Zealand1,197,5911,357,323
  United Kingdom, or Great Britain, n.o.d.476219
  Isle of Man490362
  Channel Islands906622
  Northern Ireland1,7889,024
  Ireland, n.o.d.23,3302,342
  Malta, Gozo, and Comino8164
  Union of South Africa1,3211,223
  India (British or Native States)2,1942,096
  Hong Kong4094
  Cook Islands157393
  Niue Island54222
  Western Samoa279592
  Norfolk Island113128
  Other British Pacific islands53115
  All other British countries355318
  Totals, British1,473,3271,585,217
Foreign, Countries  
  Russia (U.S.S.R.)391348
  Germany1, 2991,297
  Lebanon 156
  United States of America1,2101,079
  America, n.o.d.292159
  Society Islands6571
  All other foreign countries442493
    Totals, foreign countries15,34816,719
Born at sea749570
Not specified2,0601,048
    Grand totals1,491,4841,603,554

The chief points of interest emerging from a scrutiny of this table can be briefly given. Declines in the numbers of persons born in British countries other than the Pacific islands are fairly general. Reduced immigration in the depression period and subsequent years, together with gradual elimination by death or emigration of the older residents born overseas, with the additional complication of war movements, doubtless account for this state of affairs. Improved transportation facilities and war conditions to some extent explain the increases shown of those born in the neighbouring Pacific islands.

The distribution of the movement of the foreign-born element since 1936 is of interest, in that it reflects the influence of pre-war European conditions and the impact of war. For example, those born in northern European countries declined, probably more directly as the result of the war. Central European countries exhibit the same characteristic, except in the case of those countries from which political and war refugees were drawn, particularly Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, in which increases were recorded.

Duration of Residence of Overseas-born.—Persons born elsewhere than in New Zealand are now classified by their duration of residence in thin country.

Duration of Residence.Census.
Under 1 year4,6093,777
1 year1,8791,835
2 years1,254577
3 years1,044778
4 years1,333955
5 years2,9142,315
6 years3,7764,958
7 years3,6242,994
8 years5,0002,362
9 years9,3481,516
10 years12,0701,320
11 years9,732848
12 years9,831987
13 years7,548840
14 years9,5341,748
15 years11,6713,437
16 years8,9363,320
17 years3,2093,690
18 years1,5606,243
19 years1,3019,299
20 and under 25 years36,37943,565
25 and under 30 years39,22119,711
30 and under 35 years25,12135,684
35 and under 40 years10,83330,901
40 and under 45 years9,37918,473
45 and under 50 years6,6306,934
50 and under 55 years12,8646,567
55 and under 60 years12,2274,057
60 and under 65 years16,0527,160
65 and under 70 years3,0956,486
70 and under 75 years4,4116,884
75 and under 80 years1,5271,015
80 and under 85 years3801,209
85 and under 90 years70212
90 and over1445
Not specified5,5173,529

This table is a very graphic one. It conveys a picture of broad economic and political changes in the history of New Zealand made manifest by the movement of immigration. Thus the small numbers shown for the years 2–4 are symptomatic of the Second World War disturbances; the larger numbers over years 6–8 are in response to the stimulus given to migration by the economic recovery following the depression of the mid “thirties”; while the 11–13 years duration reflect slump conditions and the voluntary restriction on immigration entailed by such conditions. This analysis can be carried further, for the 25–30 years' duration illustrates the effects of the First World War and post-war circumstances. The severe depression of the early 1890's is responsible for the drop recorded in the 55–60 years group, while the public-works policy of 1870 onwards accounts for the larger numbers in the 65–75 years duration group. The table thus affords a general conspectus of economic history in quantitative form.

Racial Origins.—It is definitely impossible to obtain from census data an accurate ethnological survey of the racial origins of the population. For example, such terms as “European” or “Indian” cover in reality a variety of races. Nevertheless, the general meaning of the terms employed will be clear and the data afforded are of distinct service. The following summary gives data for the 1945 census, together with the 1936 figures by way of comparison.

  European-Maori quarter-caste11,50816,902
      Totals, European1,484,5081,592,876
  Full Maori55,91561,440
  Three-quarter caste11,39718,956
  Maori-European n.o.d.123 
      Totals, Maori82,32698,744
Race alien—  
  Chinese F. B.2,5804,373
  Syrian M.B.275438
  Indian M.B.292299
  Japanese F.B.7211
  Sinhalese F.B.42
  Eurasian n.o.d.145
  Hawaiian M.B.1736
  Samoan M.B.323656
  Tahitian F.B.516
  Niue Islander F.B. 165
            M.B. 60
  Cook Island Maori  
  Other or undefined M.B.313394
  Fijian F.B.2320
  Other or undefined M.B.518
  Negro M.B.12385
  Negro-Maori 19
  West Indian M.B.911
  West Indian-Maori3245
  American Indian M.B.2215
  American Indian-Maori328
  Abyssinian M.B.1518
  Half-caste, race not specified22 
  Other race aliens M.B.3561
      Totals, race aliens6,97610,678
      Grand totals1,573,8101,702,298

NOTE.—F.B. signifies “full blood”; M.B. “mixed blood,” the second race being European.

Of the total population in 1945, Europeans comprised 1,592,876 (93.57 per cent.); Maoris, 98,744 (5.80 per cent.); and race aliens, 10,678 (0.63 per cent.). Corresponding figures for 1936 were: Europeans, 1,484,508 (94.33 per cent.); Maoris, 82,326 (5.23 per cent.); and race aliens, 6,976 (0.44 per cent.). The relative rate of increase between 1936 and 1945 was: Europeans, 7.30 per cent.; Maoris, 19.94 per cent.; and race aliens, 53.07 per cent.

In the race-alien division there was a fairly substantial increase in the number of Chinese, principally per medium of immigration. Other considerable, increases occur in the Samoan and Cook Island Maori racial components.

Overseas War Service.—The following tables record the number of those persons at the 1936 and 1945 censuses who gave the relevant particulars of overseas war service. It must be appreciated that at the date of the 1945 census there were 45,381 (inclusive of 666 females and 1,300 Maori males) members of the Armed Forces still overseas.

In the 1936 census tabulation, service in only one war was taken into account. In those instances in which individuals had seen service in two or more wars, the latest period of service was selected, the distinction being therefore between service in the First World War and service in all other wars. The table records the number of separate individuals participating in wars.


Force with which served.World War I.Wars other than World War I.Total.
New Zealand68,97255369,5252,53762,54371,50955972,068
Australian1,592511,643253 2531,845511,896
Other British423542812411255476553
New Zealand1,53341,5378 81,54141,545
Australian3 3   3 3
Imperial1 1   1 1
Totals.1,53741,5418 81,54541,549

The table now presented dealing with the 1945 census refers to the number of separate persons with overseas service in one or more of the three major wars. However, each war or each combination of wars has been recorded separately.


Overseas service—      
  Only in World War II77,7951,32279,1171,817251,842
  Only in World War I69,5371,43670,9731,14081,148
  Only in South African War3,446293,475   
  In World War II and World War I2,318122,33040141
  In World War I and South African War1,62671,633   
  In World War II and South African War3 3   
  In World War II, World War I, and South African War22 22   
    Total with overseas war service154,7472,806157,5532,997343,031

The Maori questionnaire did not provide for service in the South African War, but it is understood that no Maoris participated therein.

As the classification in the table following is by wars and forces and not by separate individuals, the total numbers will exceed those given in the preceding table. This derives from the fact that those persons with overseas service in more than one war will appeal in the table below more than once—i.e., under the appropriate ware in which they participated. Maoris are omitted from the table, as information regarding forces was not asked in 1945.


Forces with which served.World War II.World War I.South African War.
New Zealand Forces78,9431,05958,8525732,89914
Australian Forces143271,369473202
Imperial Forces79221312,6598001,64018
Other British Forces553440972152
New Zealand and Australian Forces17 2823 
New Zealand and Canadian Forces9 7 3 
New Zealand and Imperial Forces1711159258 
New Zealand and other British Forces3 4 1 
Australian and Imperial Forces4 1115 
Australian and other British Forces    3 
Imperial and other British Forces1 5   



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 us 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 stillbirths, 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 foe 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. 63–64). A child born out of New Zealand but, arriving before attaining the age of eighteen months may be registered within six months of arrival.

Birth statistics are compiled from the records of the Registrar-General. The births covered by a year's statistics are those registered during the year irrespective of the year of birth. The figures do not include still-births, except in the special classification on page 65.

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 56 and to the table on page 55, 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 raising of a 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 First World War this decline continued until 1936. En 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 Second World War (with minor fluctuations) until successive record high totals (as regards the numbers of births) were established in 1945–47. In 1948 a decline in births was shown with a further recession in 1949. The decreases were not large, but it seems that the trend is once more downward. 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 movement in 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.

As may be expected, the movement in the birth-rate reflects the tendency for couples to marry and have children in prosperous years rather than in years of depression. An analysis of birth-rates by order of births shows that up to the fourth child birth-rates fluctuate in accordance with this general trend; from the fifth to the seventh child some sympathetic movement is noticeable, but in such cases the extent of recovery has usually been less than the downward range evident in adverse years, indicative of an overall decline in the larger-sized families; the birth-rate for the eighth (or more) child has exhibited a definitely continuous decline over the period 1921–49, being apparently unaffected by economic cyclical changes and has in effect been maintained at a stable rate since 1938. It should be mentioned that these latter remarks apply to a period at the end of which the total birth-rate for women in the reproductive age groups was higher than at the commencement.

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 ago, 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 15.82 in 1949. Acceptance of this figure without consideration of the effect of the changing age-constitution will give an erroneous view of the present margin of if. Tease 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 1944–48 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.


Costa Rico44.730.8
Puerto Rico41.528.3
Union of South Africa26.617.6
New Zealand24.414.8
United States22.612.4
United Kingdom18.56.9

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 grow 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 ton 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 1949 is expressed in the following table in average ratios for successive decennial periods.

Period.Male Births per 1,000 Female Births.
1946–1949 (four years)1,055

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 532 cases of twin births (1,064 children) registered in 1949. There were also three eases of triplets.

The total number of accouchements resulting in living births was 43,450, and on the average one mother in every 81 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, the total number of accouchements for the year 1949 is increased to 44,193, and the number of cases of multiple births to 588. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 75.

The incidence of multiple births varies considerably, as may be seen from the following summary for each of the last eleven 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.
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
19485223075592   256112.6
19495324395843 1 458813.3

The proportion of multiple births has been consistently high during recent years, that experienced in 1944 being a record figure. The numbers of cases of triplets recorded in 1944 and in 1946 were exceptional. In 1935 one case of quadruplets was recorded all born alive.

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

Year.Still-birth Cases per 100 of Total Cases (including Still-births).
Single Cases.Multiple Cases.
    Average of ten years2.2310.30

The following table shows the sexes in individual cases of live twin births for the years 1944–48.

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

The two cases of triplets in 1948 comprised one of three females and one of two males and one female.

AGES OF PARENTS.—Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1948 is shown in the following tables.

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

* Including 29 legitimate cases where twins would have been registered had not one child been still-born.

† Including 2 cases of triplets.

Single Births
Under 212561,081750193404711 2,333
21 and under 251022,7654,7181,564372913296 9,659
25 and under 3067355,8184,7581,6883791061821513,534
30 and under 35 638433,9163,1461,077272764859,446
35 and under 40 3746572,0921,4645481387625,054
40 and under 45  6492075773621067481,389
45 and over    52336148490
Multiple Births
Under 215431      13
21 and under 2511836111     67
25 and under 301874503062   171
30 and under 35  12534421611 138
35 and under 40   641261011186
40 and under 45    76722 24
45 and over      1   1
    Grand totals3714,67712,33411,2587,6733,6741,3893662382542,005

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 1948 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 41,505 single cases and 500 multiple cases.

Under 211,894399512     2,346
21 and under 255,8042,9287661724772  9,726
25 and under 304,7024,9442,43798439717071  13,705
30 and under 351,8932,6762,2551,3857333502848 9,584
35 and under 407071,0371,1518735693244235515,140
40 and under 451601612382431931322305421,413
45 and over413145177255191

In computing previous issue, multiple births Lave 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 1948 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 212,3462,8661.22
45 and over915025.52

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 1948) 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: 1944, 2.61; 1945, 2.58; 1946, 2.44; 1947, 2.34; and 1948, 2.40. 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 some indication 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, although a slight improvement was noted for 1948.

FIRST BIRTHS.—Of a total of 189,994 accouchements resulting in legitimate births during the five years 1944–48, the issue of no fewer than 67,976 or 36 per cent., were first-born children. In 27,723, or 41 per cent., of these cases the birth occurred within twelve months, and in 48,126, or 71 per cent., within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 29 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 to 40.03 per cent. in 1947; a rate very little below the record figure of 41.69 per cent. established in 1940. The 1948 proportion shows a downward tendency, being lower than in the two preceding years. An interesting feature of the birth statistics for 1947 and 1948 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 and 75.44 per cent. in 1948 falling in this class. These are the highest figures recorded since 1929.

The proportion of first births occurring within one year of the marriage of the parents which showed appreciable rises after the war up to a peak in 1947 has now declined.

Year.Total Legitimate Cages.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 years189,99467,97635.7827,72340.7848,12670.99

Although the period of time elapsing before the birth of the first child has varied considerably during recent years, mainly as a result of war and post-war influences, there would appear to be little 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 1948 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 year52.9550.0646.2538.4741.18
1 and under 2 years28.6226.6426.7926.3034.27
2 and under 3 years9.0210.4310.2411.2811.63
3 and under 4 years3.435.516.167.884.36
4 and under 5 years1.883.033.967.182.04
5 and under 10 years3.263.365.497.365.45
10 years and over0.840.971.111.531.07

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 1948, 1.78 years.

An item of interest extracted from the 1948 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 206.737.558.907.336.68
20 and under 2535.8938.1640.3941.7944.08
25 and under 3035.0132.5932.7929.5431.01
30 and under 3515.6114.6813.1014.6112.48
35 and under 405.525.333.795.364.66
40 and under 451.161.590.991.341.06
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 1948, 25.89.

ILLEGITIMACY.—The numbers of illegitimate births registered during each of the years 1939–49, 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 1,686 illegitimate births in 1948 were twenty-four cases of twins, the number of accouchements being thus 1,662. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,662 mothers 488, 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 beer, 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 194910,5163,29413,810

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 1949.


Of the 1,249 adoptions registered in 1949, 608 were children under the age of one year, 296 were between one and five years, 171 were between five and ten years, and 174 were aged ten years or over.

Statistics of adoptions registered have been available in New Zealand 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 influences operating after the First World War. 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 Subsection 4 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 1939–1949 were as follows:—

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

Masculinity is in general much higher among still-births than among living births, the rate for still-births in 1949 being 1,294 males per 1,000 females as compared with 1,070 for living births.

The percentage of illegitimates among still-born infants was in 1949, 5.53, and among infants born alive 3.80.

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1948, 36 per cent. were first births, while of legitimate still-births 42 per cent. were first births. Statistics over many years indicate that there is a considerably greater probability of still-births occurring to mothers having their first accouchement than to 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 oases 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 1866. 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. An appreciable decline, however, in both the number of marriages and in the marriage-rate took place in 1947, and has continued in 1948 and 1949, although the decline was less pronounced in the latter year.

Changes in this 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 1948 are given below (these particulars have been taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, issued by the Statistical Office of the United Nations): United States of America. 12.3; Israel, 10.8; Czechoslovakia, 10.6; Hungary, 10.4; Austria, 10.0; New Zealand, 9.9, Australia. 9.7; Canada, 9.6; Denmark, 9.4; Belgium, 9.2; Norway, 9.2; Netherlands, 9.0; United Kingdom, 8.9; France, 8.9; Luxembourg, 8.8; Switzerland, 8.5; Chile, 8.3; Italy, 8.3; Sweden, 8.2; Portugal, 7.7; Spain, 7.7; Puerto Rico, 7.0; Ceylon, 6.2; Mexico, 5.9; Republic of Ireland, 5.4: Venezuela, 4.8; Costa Rica, 4.4; Panama, 3.3; Peru, 2.4.

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

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

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 1941–44 inclusive. The statistics and information contained in the following pages relate in most cases to the years 1940, and 1945 to 1948 both inclusive.

CONJUGAL CONDITION.—The total number of persons married during the year 1948 was 34,384, of whom 29,719 were single, 1,729 widowed, and 2,936 divorced. The figures for each of the live years 1940 and 1945 to 1948, 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 1939–48 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 41 to 85 per 1,000 persons married.

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 over the last five year period: as a matter of fact, the number of decrees absolute in the period 1944–48 was 9,458, as compared with 4,152 in the five years 1934–38, an increase of 128 per cent. The increase in the number of divorced people remarrying is therefore not surprising. The number of widowed persons remarrying, which was 39 per 1,000 in 1940, has risen to 50 per 1,000 in 1948.

The relative conjugal condition of bridegrooms and brides for each of the live years 1940 and 1945 to 1948 is next given.

Year.Marriages between BachelorsMarriages between Widowers andMarriages between Divorced Men 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 1936–38 the number of male divorcees remarrying was 1,687, as compared with 1,779 females, which gives a rate of 95 males for every 100 females. In 1946–48 the respective numbers were 4,398 males and 4,338 females and the corresponding rate 101 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 1936–38, 2,404 widowers remarried but only 1.493 widows, whereas in 1946–48 there were 2,708 widowers and 2,679 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 34,384 persons married in 1948, 4,465 or 13 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 12,034, or 35 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 8,770, or 26 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 5,820, or 17 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 3,295 or 9 per cent., as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1948.

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 214891821342  690
21 and under 251,9642,896539426  5,447
25 and under 301,0492,5151,48426160935,381
30 and under 352087258354521542562,405
35 and under 405319030935922258251,216
40 and under 4535212917518112234696
45 and over927801111702357251,357
Total brides3,7756,5873,3891,40479544979317,192

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 four-year period 1945–48.

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 1945–48 period, and is mainly due to some thousands 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, allowed 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 1935–40 and 1945–48 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 1948 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age has varied, and for 1948 was 23.

Marriages Of Minors.—Of every 1,000 men married in 1948, 40 were under twenty-one years of age, while 220 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 489 marriages in 1948 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 3,286 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 201 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, due to war condition's. Figures for the years 1940 and 1945 to 1948 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 17,192 marriages registered in 1948, Church of England clergymen officiated at 4,565, Presbyterians at 4,961, Roman Catholics at 2,030, and Methodists at 1,590, while 3,100 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the principal denominations in each of the years 1935–40 and 1945–48.

Denomination.Percentage, of Marriages.
Church of England26.0726.1026.5226.9327.1627.4527.9427.6826.5326.55
Roman Catholic11.4011.6511.7411.5812.6012.2311.5811.8512.2511.81
Other denominations8.397.617.
Before Registrars16.9217.1516.8717.1217.3817.0116.3716.6018.2018.03

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 whoso 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 100 per cent. other denominations.

The proportion of civil marriages in 1948 was appreciably lower than in 1947, the actual number showing a decrease of 271. 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, 1950) 2,570, and the denominations to which they belong are shown hereunder.

Roman Catholic Church521
Church of England494
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand433
Methodist Church of New Zealand317
Salvation Army156
Ratana Church of New Zealand140
Ringatu Church45
Latter Day Saints41
Seventh Day Adventist37
Associated Churches of Christ33
Congregational Independent28
Commonwealth Covenant Church26
Liberal Catholic Church14
Apostolic Church10
Assemblies of God10
Jehovah's Witnesses10
Evangelistic Church of Christ9
Churches of Christ8
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand8
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference8
Pentecostal Church of New Zealand7
Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi7
United Maori Mission6
Absolute Maori Established Church5
Hebrew. Congregations4
Church of God3
Four Square Gospel Church of Christ3
Christian Spiritualist Church2
Four Square Gospel Mission2
Star of Hope Mission of New Zealand2
Revival Fire Mission2
Greek Orthodox Church in New Zealand2
Te Maramatanga Christian Society2
International Bible Students Association2

The Ratana Church of New Zealand, the Ringatu Church, the Te Maramatanga Christian Society, 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 (***) 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 eases 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.
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 followed by a further small decrease in 1948, it is worth noting that for every nine marriages solemnized during the latter year, one was dissolved.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petitions and decrees during 1947 and 1948.

Grounds.Petitions Filed.Decrees Absolute Granted.
Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Bigamy Desertion12933 54
Drunkenness, with cruelty, failure to maintain, &c.  817  512
Rape  11  11
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights2792151018230123611286
Separation for not less than three years472467554609393386535535
Non-consummation 374 262

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 1948 showed the following increases compared with 1938, a normal pre-war year: Adultery, 181 (89.2 per cent.); desertion, 139 (65.6 per cent.); non-compliance with restitution order, 189 (173.4 per cent.); and separation, 441 (69.4 per cent.).

In 714 of the 2,160 cases where petitions for dissolution were filed during 1948 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 631 cases, 2 in 402 cases, 3 in 198 cases, 4 or more in 209 cases, while the number of issue was not stated in six cases.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all cases for which petitions for dissolution were filed in the five years 1944 to 1948.

Duration of Marriage, in Years.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Under 528021824021319791113167158169
5 and under 10354476480404308257320343334340
10 and under 15186232245218243160186204191243
15 and under 20164147166140126118149140122133
20 and under 30116138145141162155142141152141
30 and over56504861564040445634
Not stated7   78  11

The number of children affected by the divorce petitions of their parents during each of the last five years was as follows: 1944, 2,696; 1945, 2,903; 1946, 3,120; 1947, 2,978; and 1948, 3,108.


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 53.

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 4 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 of Mean Population.

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 birthrate on the mortality experience of a population is to lower the death-rate, the age constitution becoming more favourable towards a low death-rate, since there are fewer infants and a relatively higher ratio of persons of the younger adult ages. That this has been a very material factor contributing to New Zealand's low death-rate is obvious; for a death-rate of 7.99 per 1,000—the low point which was reached in 1933—would connote an expectation of life of almost 125 years if it applied to a population of stable age-distribution. Since then, however, the rate increased considerably up to 16.60 in 1942, but, with the exception of, 1945, the trend has again been downward, the 1949 rate being the lowest since 1936.

A factor contributing to the increase in the death-rates during the earlier war period, particularly the male rates, was 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 stresses 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, social security benefits, 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 during the last four years.

The death-rates of males and females for each of the years 1939–49 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 1939–49 gives the following averages: March quarter, 3,327; June quarter, 3,832; September quarter, 4,480: and December quarter, 3,875.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1948 the months during which the greatest number of deaths occurred were July, August, and September, with totals of 1,485, 1,585, and 1,469 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths 1,036, followed by March and April, with 1,136 and 1,149 respectively.

The lowest number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 24, this number occurring on the 5th March. The greatest number (70) occurred on the 20th June and again on the 3rd August.

AGE AT DEATH.—The deaths registered during the year 1949 are tabulated below according to ago.

Under 1 month431317748
1–2 months414283
3–5 months6843111
6–11 months6044104
1 year6252114
2 years412162
3 years302050
4 years131326
5–9 years503787
10–14 years352762
15–19 years8338121
20–24 years10452156
25–29 years8575160
30–34 years11195206
35–39 years156125281
40–44 years179145324
45–49 years268226494
50–54 years413324737
55–59 years541415956
60–64 years8746101,484
65–69 years1,2188392,057
70–74 years1,4151,0332,448
75–79 years1,0981,0622,160
80–84 years8048291,633
85–89 years422510932
90–94 years123203326
95–99 years384280
100 years156
101 years1 1
102 years 11
103 years 11
104 years 11

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 groat increase in the proportion of old people in the community.

Age, in Years.Number of Deaths.Percentage of Total.
Under 11,8061,6341,1089121,04623.5218.2410.257.416.53
1 and under 55324764653892526.935.314.303.161.57
5 and under 10203194244214872.642.172.261.740.54
10 and under 15158128166166622.061.431.541.350.39
15 and under 202082132182561212.712.382.022.080.76
20 and under 253023192472881563.933.562.292.340.97
25 and under 302993943473041603.894.403.212.471.00
30 and under 352533964112742063.294.423.802.221.29
35 and under 402634294884062813.434.794.523.301.75
40 and under 452663464635183243.463.864.284.212.03
45 and under 502923495176514943.803.904.785.293.08
50 and under 553554005507717374.624.465.096.264.60
55 and under 604504495518289565.865.015.106.725.97
60 and under 654964737281,0041,4846.465.286.748.159.27
65 and under 705667228501,0782,0577.378.067.868.7512.85
70 and under 754647409081,1802,4486.048.268.409.5815.29
75 and under 803766781,0911,2422,1604.907.5710.0910.0913.49
80 and over3916191,4561,8332,9815.096.9013.4714.8818.62

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 1949 figures again reflect a declining tendency. Of special significance are the low rates recorded in the childhood and early adult life age-groups in 1949 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 1901 and during each of the last ten years was as follows:—


There was a striking upward movement in the average age at death between 1901 and 1940; 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 Now York, from the following data supplied by the Census and Statistics Department: (1) the 1926 population figures, together with the deaths for the years 1925–27; (2) the 1931 intercensal population age-estimates, together with the deaths for the year 1931. The 1931 census was not taken, and the latest investigation was based on the 1936 census combined with the deaths for the years symmetrically disposed about the census year—namely, the five years 1934–38. It should be understood that the New Zealand life tables do not take into consideration the Maori population. The following table shows the (complete) expectation of life at various ages according to the periods for which the life tables have been compiled.


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

A comparison of the expectation of life at age 0 for various countries is now given. In selecting comparable tables from the experience of other countries due regard was had to securing the most recent figures available. The countries selected are for the most part those of similar racial stock.


*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, (1946)*65.1270.28
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 (1947)62.867.7
Switzerland (1939–44)62.6866.96
Canada (1940–42)62.9566.29

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 indices 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 1949.

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 these countries.

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 1939–49 are shown in the following table.

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

The success of New Zealand, a country with a reputation for remarkably low rates, in further lowering the level by over 4 per 1,000 in the short space of the five years 1945–49 gives some cause for satisfaction, but if must be remembered that other overseas countries have also experienced record low rates over the last few 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 next two years the rates were almost identical. New Zealand's phenomenally low figure for 1948 of 21.95 again gave this country a significant lead in this sphere. The 1949 figure, although still much lower than for all years up to 1948, was slightly higher than in the previous year. 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*1945–4925
United States of America1944–4835
Union of South Africa1944–4838
United Kingdom1944–4844
Republic of Ireland1944–4866

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 Mouths.

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 1945–49 is found to be 126; between one and three months, 147; between three and six months, 141; between six and twelve months, 124; and for the first year as a whole, 129.

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.

Causes of Infant Mortality.—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 1946–49 the death-rate for children under one month of age was 41 per cent. lower than in the quinquennium 1881–85, the rate for children who had survived the first month of life was only approximately one-ninth 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 seven such deaths occur. While the decline in the under-one-month group has been progressive for some years, it was among infants who had survived the first month of life that the most marked reductions were achieved. In the “thirties,” however, the reduction of this rate was arrested and in the quinquennium 1941–45, an increase was recorded for the first time. For some years it had been considered that any further substantial decrease in the total infant mortality rate would have to be achieved in the under-one-month group. The figures for 1946–49, however, indicate that whereas this group recorded a decrease of 13 per cent. from 1941–45, the one-month-and-over group declined by 29 per cent.

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.
1946–1949 (four years)24.2217.496.736.84

The accompanying diagram further illustrates the reduction in the infant-mortality rate that has taken place during the last sixty-eight 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 band, many infants are evidently non-viable at birth. More than four out of every five deaths during the first month of life occur within the first week, and over 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—i.e., 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 1947–49 indicate that some considerable measure of success has attended the steps taken to cope with ante-natal conditions. The rate for epidemic diseases still continues to decline, and it is interesting to note that very nearly half the total under this heading in the years 1947–49 were due to whooping-cough, while an additional 25 per cent. were assigned to influenza. During the years 1948 and 1949 there were no deaths of infants from diphtheria and only one death due to scarlet fever.

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

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

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 figures for 1948 and 1949 are 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 was required for registration purposes until 1947. 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 foetal 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 foetal 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 oases 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 foetus 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 foetus 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.).

Owing to the small numbers involved and impending changes in still-birth, classification no statistics of causes of still-births have been compiled for 1948 and 1949. It is intended that such statistics will be resumed in 1950.

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 of Mean Population.
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever379330.
Scarlet fever131 3 0.080.01 0.02 
Tuberculosis of the respiratory system4974604414083653.122.772.602.362.06
Other forms of tuberculosis1061008261700.670.600.480.350.40
Other infective and parasitic diseases1081121081371010.680.680.640.790.57
Cancer and other malignant tumours2,2132,2682,3152,4532,47213.8813.6713.6514.1713.99
Non - malignant tumours and tumours of unspecified nature53656423460.330.390.380.130.26
Chronic rheumatism and gout26302327240.
Diabetes mellitus3193383283473552.002.041.932.002.01
Avitaminoses, other general diseases, diseases of the blood, and chronic poisoning2502352252182241.571.421.331.261.27
Meningitis, and diseases of the spinal cord68746179710.430.450.360.460.40
Intracranial lesions of vascular origin1,6361,5971,6571,6751,62310.269.639.779.679.18
Other diseases of the nervous system and organs of special sense1831601421511431.150.960.840.870.81
Diseases of the heart5,6555,7835,7525,6686,00235.4834.8633.9132.7433.96
Other diseases of the circulatory system2942562583062721.841.541.521.771.54
Pneumonia and bronchopneumonia5055615456045733.173.383.213.493.24
Other diseases of the respiratory system2191902161931851.371.
Diarrhoea and enteritis125735756710.780.440.340.320.40
Diseases of the liver and biliary passages123115941241360.770.690.550.720.77
Other diseases of the digestive system3532933183193332.211.771.871.841.88
Other diseases of the genitourinary system2492092402171841.561.261.411.251.04
Puerperal infection25301616110.
Other diseases of the puerperal state58563240340.360.340.190.230.19
Diseases of the skin and cellular tissue, and of the bones and organs of locomotion33282619230.
Congenital debility, malformations, premature birth, and other diseases of early infancy8178969217648355.135.405.434.414.72
Automobile accidents1211752041811950.761.
Other accidental deaths4665155006185472.923.102.953.573.09
Cause of death not specified or Ill-denned75 320.050.02 0.020.01

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 1949 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 1949 in all 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 shown a declining tendency for many years, but the reduction by almost one-third in the space of the five years 1945–49 is a noteworthy achievement. The rate for 1949, 2.06 per 10,000 of population, is a record low rate for this country.

In addition to the 365 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1949, there were 70 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, comprising—

Tuberculosis of meninges and central nervous system30
Tuberculosis of intestines and peritoneum3
Tuberculosis of vertebral column5
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system11
Tuberculosis of other organs5
Disseminated tuberculosis16

The following table shows the number of deaths from tuberculosis in 1949, classified according to sex and age-groups. Of those dying from this cause in 1949, persons under the age of 45 years formed 47 per cent.

Age, in Years.Males.Females.Totals.
Under 5171633
5 and under 10235
10 and under 15112
15 and under 20549
20 and under 25111425
25 and under 30102232
30 and under 35151429
35 and under 40172441
40 and under 45161127
45 and under 5024933
50 and under 5525833
55 and under 6026329
60 and under 6537845
65 and under 70301040
70 and under 7528331
75 and under 8011314
80 and over527

CANCER.—A special report on cancer is issued annually by the Medical Statistics Branch of the Department of Health. Besides a section dealing with cancer as a cause of death there are analyses of returns received from the various cancer clinics established in New Zealand under the auspices of the British Empire Cancer Campaign Society. These returns, together with those of patients treated in the public hospitals of New Zealand, provide for reasonably wide coverage. A system of registration enables a follow-up of each patient to be maintained which will eventually enable survival rates by site, method of treatment, &c., to be compiled. Special articles and statistical tables on the subject of cancer are contained in the 1917 and 1926 issues of the Year-Book, while the 1948 report of the Department of Health contains data covering the twenty-five years from 1924 to 1948.

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 1949. 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 1949 there were 2,472 deaths from cancer in New Zealand, a proportion of 13.99 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 1949.

Mesodermal Tumours   
  Chordoma 11
  Embryoma1 1
  Endothelioma1 1
  Swing's tumour 11
  Leiomyosarcoma 33
  Liposarcoma3 3
  Xanthosarcoma1 1
  Seminoma6 6
  Wilm's tumour325
Epithelial Tumours   
  Adenoma and cystadenoma 77
  Basal cell carcinoma (Rodent ulcer)415
  Columnar cell carcinoma (Adeno carcinoma)4775122
  Spheroidal cell carcinoma22628
  Squamous cell carcinoma8816
  Encephaloid carcinoma1 1
Tumours of Nervous Origin   
  Ependymoma 11
  Glioblastoma and Spongioblastoma14418
  Hæmangioblastoma1 1
  Oligodendroglioma1 1
Lymphatic and Hæmatopoietic Tumours   
  Multiple myeloma2911
  Reticulum cell sarcoma11718
  Cancer, malignant disease (undefined)222850

A summary showing the location of the disease in deaths from cancer during 1949 is as follows:—

Seat of Disease.Numbers.Rates per 10,000 of Population.
Buccal cavity and pharynx4110510.460.110.29
Digestive organs and peritoneum6345441,1787.156.176.66
Respiratory system191342252.160.391.27
Uterus 146146 1.660.83
Other female genital organs 9595 1.080.54
Breast 256256 2.901.45
Male genital organs163 1631.84 0.92
Urinary organs6038980.686.430.55
Other or unspecified organs78701480.880.790.84

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.Total.
Under 510616
5 and under 10347
10 and under 15156
15 and under 20437
20 and under 25448
25 and under 306511
30 and under 35131427
35 and under 40133548
40 and under 45244367
45 and under 505567122
50 and under 5584101185
55 and under 60105118223
60 and under 65152158310
65 and under 70211193404
70 and under 75236169405
75 and under 80175172347
80 and over141138279

Ninety-two per cent. of the deaths from cancer during 1949 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 58 per cent. at ages 65 years and upwards. Approximately one death in every six of persons who die after the age of 50 years is due to cancer.

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 1949 of 1.02 being a new record. This extraordinary low rate has been achieved mainly by a reduction in the number of deaths from septic abortion and puerperal toxæmia, the latter being a cause which has hitherto been particularly resistant to preventive measures. Deaths from accidents of childbirth were also unusually few during 1949.

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 1945–49 are shown in the following summary.

Group.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Post-abortive Infection111210930.300.
Abortion without mention of Infection652310.
Ectopic gestation315350.
Hæmorrhage of pregnancy31 130.080.02 0.020.07
Toxæmias of pregnancy1018911120.270.430.200.250.27
Other diseases and accidents of pregnancy1.  20.03   0.05 
Hæmorrhage of childbirth15114560.410.
Infection daring childbirth14186780.370.430.130.160.18
Puerperal toxæmias121033 0.330.240.070.07 
Other accidents of childbirth8981040.
Other and unspecified conditions of childbirth 1141

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 scalds2621272418141714
  Anaesthesia, asphyxia, &c.1614121311987
  In mines and quarries1818137121284
  Transport accidents193265231270131172147153
  Injuries by animals55443312
  Fractures (causes not specified)983 652 

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1949 was 742, corresponding to a rate of 4.19 per 10,000 of population. By comparison with 1934, there was an increase of 100 in the number of deaths, but the death-rate has decreased by 0.16 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.