Table of Contents


THIS is the fifty-seventh issue of the New Zealand Official Year-Book.

New features in this issue include substantial revision of the sections on forestry, electric power, electric tramways and associated transport; while the miscellaneous section includes a précis of legislation passed in the 1951 sessions of Parliament and detailed results of the 1951 Parliamentary elections.

The Population section contains final population totals from the 1951 census, as well as interim returns of dwellings.

Every effort has been made to include as much recent information in the Year-Book as practicable. The letterpress has been, in general, revised up to May, 1952; while, in the Latest Statistical Information section following this Preface, important statistical series—e.g. Migration, building activity, Government revenue and expenditure, banking, wage-rates, &c., are given for the financial year ended on 31st March, 1952.

Two interesting features published for the first time in the Year-Book are (1) An account of the activities of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (appendix (d)); (2) an article on standardization with particular reference to the New Zealand Standards Institute (appendix (e)).

Acknowledgment is due to officers of this and other Departments for assistance in preparing material, and to the Government Printer and his staff for the special efforts made to expedite the printing of the volume. My special thanks are due to Mr. J. Gilchrist, the officer in charge of the Editorial staff, to Mr. A. A. Teague, M.A., his senior assistant, and to Mr. F. Croom who prepared the index.

Government Statistician.
Census and Statistics Dept.,
  Wellington C.I., 25th June, 1952.


Table of Contents

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

* £2 2s. per annum (post free).

   s. d.d.
New Zealand Official Year-Book1951–52Aug., 195215 08
Annual Statistical Reports—    
  Population and Buildings1949–50June, 19514 02
  Vital Statistics1950Mar., 19525 02
  Justice Statistics1949April, 195210 02
  Trade and Shipping (Part I)1945 and 1946June, 195230 09
  Trade and Shipping (Part II)1945 and 1946In the press  
  Agricultural and Pastoral Production1949–50June, 19527 63
  Factory Production1948–49 and 1949–50July, 195210 04
  Insurance Statistics1945, 1946, and 1947Mar., 19502 02
  Miscellaneous (Banking, Bankruptcy, Building Societies, Cinematograph Theatres, Tramways)1943, 1944, and 1945Jan., 19492 61
  Prices, Wages, and Labour Statistics1948Oct., 19503 61
  Industrial Accidents1947 and 1948Jan., 19523 61
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand1948–49May, 195215 05
Pocket Compendium of New Zealand Statistics1950–51Sept., 19512 61
Monthly Abstract of Statistics  4 0*1
  Special Supplements—    
  National Income and Expenditure (July Abstract)1938–39 and 1951–52Aug., 19523 01
  Retail Prices in New Zealand (October-November Abstract) Dec., 19492 01
  New Zealand Production Statistics (May Abstract) May, 19521 61
  External Trade1949 and 1950Aug., 19525 02
Census of Public Libraries1949Jan., 19522 61
Volumes of 1951 Census Results—    
Interim Returns of Population and Dwellings (Other volumes to follow)1951Nov., 19513 02
Volumes of 1945 Census Results—    
  Increase and Location of Population1945Dec., 19474 62
  Poultry1945May, 19482 61
  Island Territories1945June, 19482 61
  Ages and Marital Status1945July, 19495 02
  War Service1945May, 19502 61
  Industries and Occupations1945Jan., 19517 62
  Maori Census1945Aug., 19515 01
  Race1945April, 19523 62
  Dependent Children1945April, 195212 61
  Religious Professions1945May, 195210 01
  Usual Place of Residence1945May, 19523 61
  Incomes1945July, 19527 64
  Dwellings and Households1945July, 195215 02
  Birthplaces and Duration of Residence1945July, 195210 02
  Interim Returns of Ages, Marital Status, Religious Professions, Birthplaces, Duration of Residence of Overseas-born, Race, War Service, Industries, Occupations, Occupational Status and Travelling Time1945Jan., 19492 61

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


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


Inter-censal Population (pp. 22–23).—Recent population changes are given in the following table.


Year EndedMales.Females.Total.Mean Population for Year.
Total Population (Including Maoris)
30th June, 1951978,247969,1421,947,3891,927,212
30th September, 1951981,765973,8581,955,6231,937,132
31st December, 1951989,513981,0091,970,5221,947,529
31st March, 1952997,468987,2621,984,7301,958,729
Maori Population
30th June, 195159,74656,773116,519114,767
30th September, 195160,14457,222117,366115,597
31st December, 195160,63457,672118,306116,471
31st March, 195261,13058,158119,288117,397

The above figures are exclusive of the population of the Cook Islands, 15,079, Nine Island, 4,553 (at the census of the 25th September, 1951), and Tokelau Islands (1,534 at 31st March, 1951). The population of Western Samoa, 83,565 at the 31st December, 1951, is also excluded.

Natural Increase.—Owing to the uniformly high levels 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 1951 excess of 31,053.

Migration (pp. 23–26).—The total number of arrivals in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1952, was 114,803, while the total number of departures in the same year was 99,324. Excluding crews and through passengers, arrivals totalled 62,498 and departures 46,834, making the net excess of arrivals 15,664, as compared with 7,522 in 1950–51. A classification of total arrivals and departures gives the following results.

Year Ended 31st March,
Migration: Arrivals  
Immigrants intending permanent residence18,23424,922
New Zealand residents returning19,97620,426
Through passengers2,9232,744
    Total arrivals104,830114,803
Migration: Departures  
New Zealand residents departing—  
Temporary residents departing17,96318,443
Through passengers2,9232,744
    Total departures96,45699,324

Recent statistics of the number of immigrants intending permanent residence show considerable increases, the arrivals under this heading having increased during the last three years as follows: 1949–50, 17,701; 1950–51, 18,234; and 1951–52, 24,922. The resumption of assisted passages for certain classes of immigrants is reflected in the statistics. In the last three years the number coming under this heading totalled 2,528 in 1949–50, 2,928 in 1950–51, and 4,949 in 1951–52.


Vital statistics for the calendar years 1950 and 1951 are shown, in summary form, in the following table. Statistics in more detail for earlier years are given on pages 56–112.

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

* Infant mortality rates per 1,000 live births.

    Total population49,41425.8849,88925.62
    Total population18,0849.4718,8369.67
Marriages (European)16,5049.1916,3598.93
Infant deaths under one year—    

Births.—The total number of births registered in 1951 (49,889) is the highest recorded in the history of New Zealand, although it exceeded the previous high total in 1947 by only 85. The birth-rate however is lower than for the preceding five years, the rate falling progressively from 27.70 in 1947 to 25.62 in 1951.


Gross Farming Income (pp. 386–391).—The statistics of gross farming income for 1950–51 show record totals for values for each of the groups, particularly the “Pastoral” group which, owing to the phenomenal increase in the price of wool, coupled with the rise in the price of live-stock slaughtered, showed an advance of 102 per cent. despite the fact that the volume remained unchanged. A substantial increase in butterfat production resulted in record levels being reached for both value and volume for the “Dairying” group, the former being 12 per cent. and the latter 5 per cent. above the 1949–50 level. The “Agricultural” group recorded an increase of 4 per cent. in value and 2 per cent. in volume.

Farm production as a whole, as measured in terms of gross farming income, showed an over-all increase of 60 per cent. in value and 2.4 per cent. in volume as compared with the previous year. Both value and volume totals for 1950–51 established records.


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

* Provisional.



Base: 1938–39 (= 100)

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

* Provisional.


Farm Production

General.—Statistical data covering the principal items for the 1950–51 season are presented below, together with final figures for the 1949–50 collection. Provisional figures for 1949–50 are given in the relevant portions of Section 18 of this Year-Book.

The greater detail available from the earlier collection is the result of the expanded collection undertaken in 1950 as part of the World Census of Agriculture. Where comparative figures are not quoted for 1951, data are not available.

The most striking features of the 1950–51 statistics are the substantial increases in area and yield of grass and clover for seed, particularly ryegrass, and the further increase in the number of dairy cows and beef stock. Associated with the increase in the number of dairy cows was an increase in the production of butterfat per cow, so that the total butterfat production of 498,000,000 lb. in 1950–51 created a record.

The figures of breeding ewes and of total sheep have been included in the tables that follow, but attention is drawn to the fact that the date of the annual sheep collection was altered in 1951 to the 30th June instead of 30th April as in previous years. The 1951 (30th June) figures actually show an increase over the 1950 (30th April) figures despite the fact that sheep numbers would suffer a reduction in the months of May and June on account of slaughterings, &c. These factors suggest that at the 30th April, 1951, sheep numbers would have been substantially above the totals at a similar date in the previous year. Apart from this, the actual numbers of breeding ewes and sheep in 1951 are higher than in any previous year.

Attention is directed to the fact that the figures (with the exception of the numbers of sheep) relate only to holdings of 1 acre and over located outside the borough boundaries.

Summary of Holdings (pp. 355–357).—The following table gives a summary of holdings as at the 31st January, 1950, and 1951.

At 31st January,
Total holdings90,29090,230
Number occupied by Maoris4,6554,748
Number worked on share system2,678 
Number lying entirely idle or unused2,270 
Status of occupier—  
  Part owner, part lessee11,281 
Total area occupied43,158,32143,156,088
  Crown lands, including Crown leases and licences18,275,63018,494,339
  Freehold occupied by owner21,183,18921,248,138
  Leased from private individuals1,972,1071,577,582
  Leased from public authorities587,238656,294
  Leased from Maoris1,140,1571,179,735

The total area occupied at the 31st January of the years quoted is further subdivided in the following table.

At 31st January,
Sown grasses—Area (Acres).Area (Acres).
  New pasture—  
  Sown on virgin land45,24681,461
  Sown on land previously cultivated539,643607,429
  Old or established pasture17,606,84817,535,124
Grain and root, &c., crops less area also sown with grasses and clovers904,613879,762
Naturally established Danthonia1,232,8861,271,972
Phormium (New Zealand flax)40,84334,876
Fern, scrub, second growth, &c.5,246,0015,245,512
Standing native bush or forest2,816,9972,769,928
  Eucalypts and broad-leaved trees20,52919,325
  Registered bearing14,65814,504
  Registered non-bearing1,3231,895
  Unregistered bearing2,3332,547
Unregistered non-bearing539776
Grape vines1,0911,152
Passion-fruit vines84119
Market gardens—  
  Black currants154
  Red currants26
  Other bush fruits and berries331
  Vegetable crops for sale (including tomatoes)11,953
  Flowers and ornamental shrubs8121,191
  Forest tree seedlings352
Seedling fruit trees (including small bush fruits and berries)255
  Vegetable seedlings168
Residence, outbuildings, private gardens, &c.97,64193,971
Bare fallow during season90,819114,536
Barren and unproductive land1,894,9331,741,854
    Total area occupied43,158,32143,156,088

Top-dressing (pp. 419–420).—The area of grassland top-dressed during the years 1949–50 and 1950–51 is given in the following table.

Top-dressed withYear Ended 31st January,
Area (Acres).Total Quantity Used.Area (Acres).Total Quantity Used.
Artificial fertilizers only—    
  Straight super-phosphate2,520,1166,217,386 cwt.4,155,94310,601,651 cwt.
  Basic, reverted, or serpentine superphosphate617,9761,796,483 cwt.
  Ground rock phosphate and/or basic slag322,4591,010,770 cwt.
  Other phosphatic fertilizers and mixtures237,361740,334 cwt.
  Manufactured organic fertilizers56,383163,149 cwt.
Lime only589,608516,644 tons649,490566,933 tons
Both artificial fertilizers and lime1,394,524 1,521,311 
  Quantity of fertilizer 3,312,604 cwt. 3,537,517 cwt.
  Quantity of lime 604,020 tons 712,606 tons
    Total area of grassland top-dressed5,738,427 6,326,744 

Crops (pp. 408-424).—Following is a summary of the principal crop statistics for the production years 1949-50 and 1950-51.

Wheat-Acres. Acres. 
  For threshing125,1594,899.668 bushel144, 7636,271, 928 bushel
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage6631,229 ton9612,018 ton
  Not harvested (fed off, &c.)2,418 1,284 
  For threshing52,6452,620,252 bushel35,8081,827,953 bushel
  For chaff, hay, or ensilage53,901100,183 ton40,96480,971 ton
  Not harvested (fed off, &c.55,007 56,824 
  For threshing56,7932,433,835 bushel46,1541,902, 432 bushel
  For chaff, bay, or ensilage437791 ton470981 ton
  Not harvested (fed off, &c.)13,295 11,911 
  For threshing7,240463,033 bushel6,119362,533 bushel
  For ensilage57100 ton82334 ton
  Not harvested (fed off, &c.)5,032 5,464 
Linseed for threshing7,54469,002 ewt.16,224148,099 ewt.
Peas for threshing41,3191,242,730 bushel21,701625, 784 bushel
Lupins for threshing4,53869,633 bushel5,479134,768 bushel
Ryecorn for threshing1,82939,753 bushel2,63552,887 bushel
Beans for threshing3138,045 bushel1654,641 bushel
Rape for seed1,015376,584 Ib.970805,092 lb.
Turnips for seed489312,377 lb.11946,332 lb.
Chou moellier for seed246105,117 lb.25851,748 lb.
Mangolds for seed22081,328 lb.107,748 lb.
Other crops for threshing or seed262 514 
Linen flax (corporation contract)2,791 173 
Potatoes17,794135,442 ton16,804119,778 ton
Onions8878,386 ton1,0539,644 ton
Tobacco3,376 3,324 
Fodder crops—    
  Swedes174,996 171,452 
  Turnips, white fleshed (soft)146,991 137,946 
  Turnips, yellow fleshed (hard)40,775 56,230 
  Rape181,805 161,770 
  Thousand headed11,510 14,414 
  Chou moellier89,580 96,174 
  Turnips and rape mixed27,295 36,722 
  Pumpkins and marrows1,281 974 
  Mangolds2,547 2,283 
  Lupins for green fodder8,412 5,438 
  Ryecorn for green fodder8,534 9,887 
  Other green fodder crops1,752 3,004 
Vegetable crops for processing1,052 2,000 
Grasses, clovers and lucerne for seed, hay, or ensilage–    
  Harvested for seed–    
  Perennial43,71217,545,636 lb.81,92736,384, 008 lb.
  Italian (Including Western Wolths)3,4611,352,021 lb.9,9464,585,398 lb.
  Short rotation (11,)8,0013,325,629 lb.12,6475,088,804 lb.
  Cocksfoot4,915769,617 lb.7,2881,612,483 lb.
  Chewings fescue17,7553,522,867 lb.14.8312,370.705 lb.
  Crested dogstail5,6901,093,211 lb.7,7511,472,052 lb.
  Broad red clover11,7742,377,364 lb.10,8451,916,437 lb.
  Montgomery red clover8,3011,046,027 lb.7,805612,783 lb.
  Timothy1,582251,530 lb.2,130370,677 lb.
  Lucerne1,641107,300 lb.4,127370,205 lb.
  White clover29,5124,298,278 lb.43,3207,687,150 lb.
  Other grasses and clovers for seed11,739740,924 lb.0.407584,352 lb.
Cut for hay or ensilage—    
  Grasses and clovers cut for hay495,2141,005,876 ton551,0851,126,313 ton
  Grasses and clovers cut for ensilage85,155411,692 ton109,604482,228 ton
  Lucerne cut for hay or ensilage52,042124,071 ton68,622192,142 ton

The area of wheat harvested for grain in the 1951 season showed an increase of 19,604 acres, or 11-5 per cent., while the yield increased by 1,372,260 bushels, or 12-8 per cent. Moreover, the yield per area (43-33 bushels) is the highest yet obtained, the former high yield being 40-61 bushels in 1948-49. The acreage under oats for grain showed the substantial fall of 16,637 (32-0 per cent.) while the aggregate yield decreased by 792,299 bushels, or 30-2 per cent. The acreage of barley threshed also decreased, the difference amounting to 10,639 acres (18-7 per cent.) while the yield was less to the extent of 531,403 bushels (21-8 per cent.).

The potato crop in 1950-51 totalled 119,778 tons, a considerable decrease of 15,664 tons, or 11-6 per cent., on the 1949-50 harvest; while an increase was recorded in the onion crop (9,644 tons in 1950-51, compared with 8,386 tons in 1949-50).

The area under tobacco of 3,324 acres showed only a slight fall from the acreage in the previous year of 3,376. In addition to this area, a quite considerable acreage is grown within borough boundaries. Acreages of grasses and clovers harvested for seed in 1950-51 generally increased compared with those of the previous year. The acreage of perennial rye-grass showed a large increase from 43,712 acres in 1949-50 to 81,927 acres in 1950-51–the yield rising from 17,545,636 lb. to 36,384,008 lb.

Line-stock (pp. 425-443).—In the following table the numbers of live-stock on holdings at 31st January, 1950 and 1951, are given.

As at 31 st January,
  Dairy stock—  
    Breeding bulls, two years old and over61,94260,054
    Cows and heifers, two years old and over—  
      Cows in milk during season1,850,0891,898,197
      Heifers not yet in milk57,63876,996
      Cows not in milk during season but intended to again be used for dairying59,91440,696
      One and under two years old394,777388,654
      Under one year old409,895406,843
    Bulls and bull calves under two years old32,34639,992
        Total, dairy stock2,866,6012,911,432
Beef stock—  
  Breeding bulls, two years old and over22,37423,605
  Cows and heifers, two years old and over771,420804,124
      One and under two years old199,822208,758
      Under one year old206,364217,802
    Steers, two years old and over455,985444,086
    Steers and bulls—  
      One and under two years old207,610212,923
      Under one year old224,730237,294
        Total, beef stock2,088,3052,148,592
        Total cattle4,954,9065,060,024
  Pigs, under six months old352,708349,509
  Pigs, six months and under 1 year old113,843125,883
  Boars, one year old and over14,18513,890
  Sows, one year old and over74,50975,053
      Total pigs555,245564,335
  Draught and three-quarter draught71,59365,901
  Spring cart, including half draught26,24422,541
  Hacks and light working horses76,82975,318
  Thoroughbreds and other horses20,21120,212
      Total horses194,877183,972
Sheep (including flocks within boroughs)—30th April, 1950.30th June, 1951.
  Breeding ewes21,881,46722,638,491
  Total sheep33,856,55834,786,386

The total number of cattle in New Zealand on 31st January, 1951, was the highest on record at 5,060,024. Dairy stock rose from 2,866,601 in 1949-50 to 2,911,432 in 1950-51, while beef stock rose from 2,088,305 in the former year to 2,148,592 in the latter year.

The number of dairy cows in milk during the season rose from 1,850,089 in 1949-50 to 1,898,197 in 1950-51, while butterfat production increased from 472,000,000 lb. in the 1949-50 dairying season to 498,000,000 lb. in the 1950-51 season.

Sheep (pp. 427-428).—A collection of statistics of sheep population was made through Inspectors of Stock on 30th April, 1950, and on 30th June, 1951. Following are the results (in summarized form) of the last two collections of this date.

Class.At 30th April 1950.At 30th June. 1951.

* Hoggets.

Dry ewes643,420470,856
Total sheep population33,856,55834,786,386

The foregoing statement shows the position at stages when the meat-slaughtering season is well advanced, particularly in 1951. Consequently the figures do not represent maximum sheep population. The number of lambs tailed in 1950-51 was 21,238,461 compared with the total of 21,169,576 in 1949-50. Sheep shorn numbered 32,251,297 in 1950-51 and 31,533,232 in 1949-50, the corresponding figures for lambs shorn being 7,017,989 and 6,339,709 respectively.

Farm Machinery (pp. 404-408).—Statistics of farm machinery on holdings in 1950 and 1951 where available are given in the following table.

At 31st January,

* Where a number is not shown for 1951, this indicates that such information was not requested in the 1951 collection.

Tin mills279 
Header harvesters3,121 
Reapers and binders8,509 
Hay-rakes (including side delivery and dump rakes)26,439 
Hay balers and presses4,263 
Mole drain2,322 
Tine (number of sets)46,296 
Disk (number of sets)29,336 
Chain (number of sets)30,726 
Manure sowers and spreaders31,474 
At 31st January,

* Where a number is not shown for 1951, this indicates that such information was not requested in the 1951 collection.

Spraying-machines (power driven)1,692 
Motor lorries and trucks25,419 
Farm carts and drays41,646 
Electric motors—  
Internal combustion engines-  
Rotary hoes and garden tractors—  
Agricultural tractors—  
  Diesel oil—  
    Crawler type—  
      Number1,307Number. 40,310 Horse-power. 946,779
  Petrol driven— 
    Crawler type— 
    Wheel type— 
Kerosene (paraffin) driven— 
    Crawler type— 
    Wheel type— 
Number of shearing-sheds21,551
Night-pen capacity of sheds4,030,650 
Number of flocks machine shorn31,136 
Number of flocks blade shorn7,490 
Number of wool-presses18,846 
    Number of plants18,79119,473
    Number of stands40,53642,298
Number of sheep dips—  
    Bath dips13,250 
    Spray dips254 
Number of herds machine milked35,154 
Number of herds hand milked35,719 
    Number of plants36,36837,176
Number of cows in milk on holdings recording milking-machines1,721,8641,782,861
Power used in driving milking-machines—  
    Electric motors31,269 
    Internal combustion engines4,409 
    Other power86 
Number of cream separators54,421 
Number of wheeled trailers29,581 

Types of Farm Holdings.—A detailed type classification for farm holdings was evolved for use in 1949-50 and provisional figures are now available as to the number of holdings of the various types. These are presented in the following table.

The type classifications in the main are self explanatory, but some general observations may be of help.

The system of farming is defined according to the proportion of labour input required to be devoted to the various commercial enterprises constituting the farm operations. In order to compare the various enterprises from the viewpoint of relative labour requirement certain conversion factors were employed.


Type Group.North Island.South Island.New Zealand Totals.
Idle and unused1,3479932,340
Grazing areas2,2401,754.3,994
Phormium (New Zealand flax)51722
Arable cropping2932,4952,788
Beef cattle8024391,241
Mixed farming4271,3071,734
Other holdings7425681,310
    Totals, all holdings58,37831,91290,290

Estimated Areas of Principal Crops, 1952 Season.—Estimates of areas sown under wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes were collected in the spring of 1951 by inquiry from growers of these crops. Following are the estimates (in acres) for 1951-52 together with the final figures for the preceding season, 1950-51.

Acreages Under Principal Crops.
1950-51 (Final Figures).Total, New Zealand, 1951-52 (Estimated).
Peas for threshing21,70027,000

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 1951-52 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 Island414046
1951-52 average (estimated for New Zealand)425142
1950-51 actual average43.3351.0541.22

In accordance with the above estimates, the total yield of wheat for the season 1951-52 should be approximately 4,000,000 bushels, as against an ascertained yield of 6,271,928 bushels for the season 1950-51.

The area from which oats were threshed for the five seasons ending with 1950-51 averaged 34 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 1,827,953 bushels for the season 1950-51.

On a similar assumption in regard to barley, the total yield of grain would be 1,900,000 bushels, as against 1,902,432 bushels for the season 1950-51.

Timber Production

Timber Production (pp. 456-459).—Provisional figures issued by the New Zealand Forest Service indicate a substantial increase in timber production for the year ended 31st March, 1952, the output of rough-sawn timber being given as 575,200,000 board feet, a rise of 47-6 million board feet, or 9 per cent, over the record output of the previous year. Exotic species accounted for 88 per cent. of the increase. The output of the principal species was as follows: rimu and miro, 225,400,000 board feet; matai 36,900,000 board feet; kahikatea, 20,000,000 board feet; beech, 18,000,000 board feet; totara, 17,400,000 board feet; and insignis pine, 224,500,000 board feet. Indigenous species totalled 339,100,000 board feet, and exotics, 236,100,000 board feet.

Electric Power

Electric-power Statistics (p. 551).—Principal data covering all stations for the year ended 31st March, 1951, are summarized below:—

Number of stations96
Persons engaged4,970
Salaries and wages paid£2,520,235
Number of consumers576,409
Prime movers (total b.h.p.)972,702
Generator capacity (main and standby) (kW.)675,344
Sales of current— 
Bulk and interchange£4,480,617
Other (including rates)£232,933
Total revenue£13,464,817
Power purchased (including interchange)£4,517,975
Transmission and distribution£1,811,884
Management and general£1,322,876
Capital charges£3,827,481
Total expenditure£12,917,557
Capital outlay— 
Total expenditure to date£94,330,819
Expenditure during year£10,995,695
Units (kWh.)— 
Generated (000)3,085,022
Per head of mean population1,609
Sold (retail) (000)2,446,572

Factory Production (see Section 22)

Following are the principal statistics of factory production in the years 1947-48, 1949-50, and 1950-51. 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 establishments Number7,9668,0278,318
Persons engaged—   
    Male Number106,206108,975111,571
    Females Number34,06135,33437,369
        Totals Number140,267144,309148,940
Production costs—   
    Salaries and wages—   
      To males £ (000)44,76152,38759,711
      To females £ (000)7,3728,93010,676
        Total £ (000)52,13361,31770,387
  Cost of materials used £ (000)181,773221,229274,166
  Other expenses of production £ (000)21,24126,33530,528
        Total cost of production £ (000)255,147308,881375,081
Value of output £ (000)272,155331,704395,046
Added value £ (000)90,382110,475120,880
Value of land and buildings £ (000)42,59351,30358,361
Value of plant and machinery £ (000)90,220110,991121,430
Engines employed to drive machinery   
    Total H.p. (000)1,3201,4741,497
    Excluding electric supply and generation H.p. (000)431499524
Overtime worked Hours (000)13,97515,55917,496

The quantities of some of the more important factory products in 1947-48, 1949-50, and 1950-51 are given in the following table.


* Carcase weight.

Food, drink, and tobacco—    
Aerated waters and cordialsGallons4,312,0004,694,0004,932,000
Ale and stoutGallons30,499,00034,241,00036,057,000
Canned and pulped fruitCwt.51,00059,00072,000
Canned vegetablesCwt.124,000132,000151,000
FlourShort tons172,000165,000164,000
Frozen beef*Cwt.2,080,0001,778,0001,531,000
Frozen lambCarcases12,209,00012,450,00011,273,000
Frozen muttonCarcases2,826,0002,831,0002,268,000
Ham and bacon (cured)Cwt.282,000301,000281,000
  Ice-cream and ice-cream productsGallons2,714,0003,063,0003,249,000
  Jam and jelliesCwt.133,00076,00071,000
  Oatmeal, rolled oats, &c.Short tons9,0008,0008,000
  Preserved meatsCwt.183,000167,000168,000
  Tweed and clothYards2,247,0002,223,0002,257,000
  Boots and shoesPairs3,396,0003,193,0003,420,000
  HosieryDoz. pairs647,000672,000664,000
  Knitted outerwearDozen90,000102,000117,000
  Men's trousersNumber747,000871,000998,000
    Men's and boys'Number196,000150,000197,000
    Women's and girls'Number405,000423,000487,000
  Pyjamas and nightwearDozen111,000136,000154,000
  Agricultural limeTons1,012,0001,133,0001,200,000
  Chemical fertilizersTons619,000683,000712,000
  Soap (including toilet)Tons10,00010,00010,000
  Electricity generatedMillions2,5903,0303,085
  Gas madeMillion cub. ft.5,4575,5415,446
  Radio receiversNumber49,00056,00053,000
  Motor-vehicles assembled—    
    Commercial vehiclesNumber4,5836,7548,589

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 509-510 of this Year-Book.)

Principal statistics for these groups for the years 1949-50 and 1950-51 are as follows.

Group.Persons Engaged.Salaries and Wages Paid.Cost of Materials.Total Cost of Production.Value of Output.Added Value.Capital Additions to Premises and Plant During Year.

The figures given in the following table showing average salaries and wages, output and added value are derived from the foregoing summaries.

Year.Salaries and Wages Per Person Engaged.Value of Output Per Person Engaged.Added Value Per Person Engaged.Ratio Per Cent of Salaries and Wages to Added Value.
 £££££Per Cent.

"Added value" as shown above means the value added to materials by the process of manufacture. It is the difference between the value shown for “cost of materials” and that shown for "value of output". Therefore, it represents salaries and wages, costs of production other than by way of materials, and the manufacturing surplus prior to provision for taxation, dividends, &c. The following table shows for the last three years available the content of added value.

£(000)Per Cent.£(000)Per Cent.£(000)Per Cent.
Salaries and wages52,13357.761,31755.570,38758.2
Other costs of production (excluding materials)21,24123.526,33523.830,52825.3
Manufacturing surplus17,00818.822,82320.719,96516.5
    Added value90,382100.0110,475100.0120,880100.0

A better understanding of relative movements in the value and volume of factory production can be obtained from a study of the following index numbers. The groups referred to are the same as quoted in a previous table, and the index numbers are on the base 1938-39 (= 100).

Production Year.Group I.Group II.Group III.Group IV.Total, All Groups.
Total Value of Production (Gross Output)
Net Value of Production (Added Value)
Volume of Production


Urban Districts.—Statistics of building permits issued in cities, boroughs, and town districts (to which are added nine counties and two road districts in which the population is predominantly urban) during the year ended 31st March, 1952, are given below, together with (for purposes of comparison) statistics for the four preceding years.


Year Ended 31st March.Dwellings.Value of Other New Buildings and Alterations and Additions.Total Value of All Buildings.

NOTE.—Since April, 1951, figures for the Waitemata, Manukau, Paparua, Peninsula, and Taieri Counties have been included in urban district totals; the figures quoted in the table for preceding years have been adjusted to be comparable on the revised basis.

Rural Districts.—Building permit statistics for rural districts have been collected from counties (excluding the nine counties and two road districts which are included in urban districts) also the two Road Boards on Waiheke Island. Figures quoted in the rest of this paragraph have been adjusted to be on a comparable basis (refer to Note below preceding table). The total value of rural building operations for the year 1951–52 was £12,963,868, an increase of £2,068,203 or 19 per cent. on the 1950–51 figures. The number of new private dwelling permits in rural districts was 4,668 in 1951–52 compared with 4,747 in 1950–51 and 4,523 in 1949–50.

All Districts (Urban and Rural).—The total value of building operations represented by permits or authorizations issued in the year ended 31st March, 1952, in both urban and rural districts, was £59,243,259 (£48,769,604 in the March year, 1951). Included in this total were 17,111 permits. &c. for private dwellings (17,849 in the March year, 1951). 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 new dwelling units which were completed during the year. 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 1951–52 were 16,300 compared with 16,400 in 1950–51 and 15,800 in 1949–50. Those completed in urban districts (on the revised basis) numbered 11.900 in 1951–52, and in the previous years quoted, 12,350 and 12,000 respectively.


Statistics of external trade in the calendar year 1951, in continuation of the statistics included in pp. 219–280 of this Year-Book, are given below.

Total Commodity Trade.—Following are statistics of exports and imports in 1949. 1950, and 1951.

Calendar Year.Exports.Imports.Excess of Exports over Imports.
New Zealand Produce.Total Exports.

Commodity trade statistics for the calendar year 1951 show some interesting features. The value of both exports and imports during 1951 was the highest on record. The total trade per head of mean population in 1951 was £233 (exports £127 and imports £106), 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—there has also been a considerable upward movement in the volume of trade. The following table illustrates this fact.


Calendar Year.Exports.Imports.
Volume Index.Volume Index.Value Index.Value Index
Total.Per Head.Total.Per Head.

* Not yet available.

1936–38 (average)100100100100100100

Comparing the 1950 and 1951 figures with the pre-war average (1936–38) it is seen that the total value of exports has increased by 203 and 309 per cent, respectively, while the corresponding percentage increases for imports were 204 for 1950 and 297 for 1951. On a volume basis, exports showed an increase of 23 per cent. for 1950 and 10 per cent. for 1951, while imports increased by 40 per cent. in the former year.

Exports.—As indicated earlier, New Zealand's export commodity trade reached a record level in 1951, an increase of 35 per cent. in value being recorded between 1950 and 1951. By far the largest factor in the increase was the higher returns from wool (£53–5 million), but increases were shown also for hides, pelts, and skins (£2–9 million), butter (£5–8 million), and cheese (£2–1 million). The value of frozen meat declined by £3–2 million. 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)

Following a record production season the quantities of butter and cheese exported in 1951 were considerably higher than both the previous year's figures and the pre-war totals, but still below the respective record figures of 148,800 tons of butter in 1937 and 134,400 tons of cheese in 1942. Several factors, including high wool prices, good feed conditions, the widespread industrial dispute, and an apparent tendency towards a heavier stocking on farms, led to live-stock slaughterings falling in 1950–51, with a consequent drop in frozen-meat exports to the lowest figure for several years. Shipments of war-time stocks of appraisal wool were negligible in 1951 while there were delays in the shipment of the current clip due to the waterfront industrial dispute so that wool exports were the lowest, in volume, in the post-war period.

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.—The table below shows the destinations of New Zealand exports in 1951.

Country.Total Exports.
United Kingdom142,365,921
Republic of India963,421
Federation of Malaya321,285
Hong Kong271,076
British West Africa77,940
Union of South Africa268,725
British West Indies715,627
Gilbert and Ellice Islands86,525
Western Samoa481,207
Other Commonwealth countries289,171
  Totals, Commonwealth countries160,655,483
Russia (U.S.S.R.)1,246,911
Philippine Islands105,037
Netherlands Antilles175,235
Panama Republic305,814
United States of America28,859,044
Society Islands275,198
Other countries880,035
  Totals, other countries86,632,599
Ships' stores842,815
  Totals, all countries248,130,897

Trade with Commonwealth countries in 1951 accounted for 64.7 per cent. of the total exports.

FINANCE Banking and Currency

Reserve Bank (p. 672).—Data showing the liabilities and assets of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand at the last balance day in May, 1952, are shown below, together with the corresponding figures for the last balance day in March, 1952.

As at Last Balance Day in
March, 1952.May, 1952.

* Included in this item are sterling investments of £(N.Z.)32,140,080 at end of March and May, 1952.

  Total liabilities (including other)128,290,841120,875,692
  Demand liabilities—  
  Total assets (including other)128,290,841126,875,692
  Sterling exchange reserve (in New Zealand currency)21,755,82524,818,022
    Marketing organizations6,320,9244,701,370
    Other purposes50,000,00050,000,000

Trading Banks (pp. 673–680).—A statement of the principal statistics of the operation of trading banks as at the last balance day in March and May, 1952, is given below.

As at Last Balance Day in
March, 1952.May, 1952.
Bank debits—££
Bank clearings58,540,57048,391,602
Advances, including notes and bills discounted187,259,488179,861,955
  Not bearing interest212,276,706213,171,589
  Bearing interest46,950,59341,439,253
Reserve Bank notes—  
  Notes held by trading banks12,391,98411,485,358
  Net note circulation49,813,25450,390,735
Ratio of advances to deposits71.0369.26

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 1951 and 1952, is contained in the following table. Figures for earlier years will be found on page 678.

Advances toAs at Last Wednesday in March,
Industries allied to primary production32,18833,452
Other manufacturing and productive industries20,47732,492
    Total advances130,732179,912

Overseas Assets of Banks (p. 683).—In the following table the revised series of overseas assets of banks (on account of New Zealand business only) are shown.

Overseas Assets.
As at End of March, 1951.As at End of March, 1952.
Trading banks' overseas assets—£(000)£(000)
In London35,02026,285
Reserve Bank's overseas assets—  
Sterling exchange60,97021,756
Other overseas assets7,37934,937
Total gross overseas assets107,21991,136
Overseas liabilities of trading banks7,36712,342
Overseas liabilities of Reserve Bank9431
Net overseas assets99,75878,764

Savings-banks (pp. 686–689).—A summary of statistics of savings-banks at 31st March, 1952, is given below.

Post Office Savings-bank.Trustee Savings-banks.National Savings Accounts.

* On deposits held during year ended 30th June, 1951.

Number of depositors1,450,309365,701 
Total amount of deposits during year98,205,64322,937,10710,973,761
Total amount of withdrawals during year93,748,81822,372,9336,511,399
Excess of deposits over withdrawals4,456,825564,1744,462,362
Interest credited to depositors4,079,606877,2351,541,632*
Total amount to credit of depositors at end of March, 1952184,639,21338,334,04959,218,069

Overseas Receipts and Payments.—The following statement gives statistics of exchange-control transactions for the years ended 31st March, 1951 and 1952. Comparable items for the calendar years 1950 and 1951 are, however, given on pages 684–685. All figures quoted are taken from Reserve Bank sources.

Year Ended 31st March, 1951.Year Ended 31st March, 1952.
  Exports208,025 251,922 
  Licensed imports 129,417 75,745
  Decontrolled imports 15,548 152,520
  Other imports 24,742 24,365
    Totals, merchandise208,025169,707251,922252,631
Transport: Freights, fares, ships' charters1,1212,3931,6593,843
Travel: Private and business (exclusive of fares)1,2005,4121,4715,954
  Reinsurance 364 651
    Totals, insurance5101,0351,1681,380
International investment income—    
  Interest, dividends, and other private investment income2,4094,1112,9725,754
  Interest on Government and local authority loans 2,673 2,723
    Totals, international investment income2,4096,7842,9728,476
Government transactions—    
  Current expenditure by New Zealand Government overseas 3,845 5,213
  Current receipts by New Zealand Government and expenditure by other Governments in New Zealand1,901 2,025 
    Totals, Government transactions1,9013,8452,0255,213
Miscellaneous current transactions—    
  Commissions, royalties, rebates, &c.8511,6251,5461,907
  Films and entertainments 599 628
  Unilateral transfers (immigrants' transfers, personal remittances, charitable, legacies, &c.)5,0536,5267,4515,247
  Expenses of business firms1,8251,2785071,721
  Other current transactions386295614428
    Totals, miscellaneous current transactions8,11510,32310,1189,931
Capital transfers—    
  Government 338 4,020
  Local authority 461 104
    Totals, capital transfers3,6594,9966,0136,472
Unidentified860 183 
    Grand totals227,802204,495277,528293,901


Consolidated Fund (pp. 560–563).—The following table contains a summary of the receipts of the Consolidated Fund for the financial years ended 31st March, 1951 and 1952.

Interest on capital liability—  
  Post and Telegraph811,128947,886
  Electric supply1,640,5941,946,053
  Land settlement1,206,2291,333,871
  Other accounts986,3371,219,663
Interest on other public moneys1,922,0021,889,562
Profits on trading undertakings1,770,3511,740,532
Departmental receipts13,239,63614,773,896

The next table contains a summary of payments from the Consolidated Fund for the financial years 1950–51 and 1951–52.

Permanent appropriations—££
  Civil list93,898119,326
  Debt services26,313,98623,775,254
  Superannuation (subsidy and contribution)2,850,0002,915,000
    Totals, permanent appropriations30,022,22127,676,423
Annual appropriations—  
  Prime Minister's Office11,79214,438
  External Affairs736,6381,604,363
  General Administration10,211,92014,258,034
  Law and Order2,142,3192,636,346
  Defence Construction and Maintenance1,308,4272,005,485
  Maintenance of Public Works and Services6,750,6877,739,979
  Maintenance of Highways4,044,9364,785,095
  Development of Primary and Secondary Industries9,762,71411,611,683
  Social Services—  
    War and other Pensions5,597,3356,443,238
    Transfer to Social Security Fund14,000,00014,000,000
      Totals, annual appropriations103,430,366133,839,721
Transfer to War Emergency Account 6,600,000
Other services not provided for2,051,01136,537
      Grand totals135,503,598168,152,681
      Balance in Fund at end of year15,393,91919,776,423

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. The surplus for 1950–51, £8,253,217, was, expended during the year 1951–52, as follows: Payment of family bonus, £3,078,910; transfer to War Emergency Account, £5,174,307.

Taxation (pp. 570–588).—Particulars of revenue from taxation for the financial years 1949–50, 1950–51, and 1951–52 are contained in the following table.

Item of Revenue.1940–50.1950–51.1951–52.
Consolidated Fund—£££
  Customs revenue21,474,53323,600,06232,599,596
  Beer duty4,822,3405,036,1455,273,804
  Motor-vehicles taxation3,640,1163,996,6294,575,347
  Death duties5,713,7507,254,0138,117,259
  Duty on instruments596,9921,161,0001,436,588
  Racing taxation2,268,4912,577,6032,628,383
Social security taxation—   
  Social security charge31,702,57035,766,23643,612,868
  Registration fee, &c.28520174
      Grand totals135,556,319157,946,975200,549,881

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

Your.Direct Taxes on Income (Including War and Social Security Charges on Income).Total Taxation.
Amount.Per Head of Mean Population.Percentage of Total Taxation.Amount.Per Head of Mean Population.
 ££ s. d. ££ s. d.
1942–4353,977,44132 18 261.487,940,84453 12 4
1943–4463,311,96538 13 362.8100,839,48461 11 7
1944–4568,438,47741 2 363.0108,681,81465 5 10
1945–4671,582,87041 16 1162.3114,954,87367 4 0
1946–4763,873,16236 1 756.5113,119,04663 18 0
1947–4863,581,24435 3 652.0122,275,91167 12 11
1948–4978,386,05742 10 360.1130,440,24970 14 11
1949–5080,186,02042 12 559.2135,556,31972 1 1
1950–5195,208,07549 12 1060.3157,946,97582 7 1
1951–52121,714,37162 2 960.7200,549,881102 7 9

State Indebtedness (p. 590).—The public debt as at 31st March, 1952, amounted to £679,853,533 a decrease of £13,571,145 as compared with a year earlier.


Revenue of the Social Security Fund for the year ended the 31st March, 1952, together with the 1950–51 figures in parentheses, was as follows: Charge on salaries and wages, £24,318,138 (£20,650,975); charge on company and other income, £19,294,730 (£15,115,261); grant from Consolidated Fund, £14,000,000 (£14,000,000); fees and fines, £74 (£201); maintenance recoveries, interest, and other receipts, £168,724 (£115,952); total receipts, £57,781,666 (£49,882,389).

Payments from the Fund in 1951–52 with 1950–51 payments in parentheses were: Monetary benefits, £43,490,634 (£39,553,623); emergency benefits, £365,180 (£292,069); medical, &c., benefits, £9,368,027 (£8,723,383); administration expenses, £952,598 (£848,486), other payments, £3,804 (£3,200); total payments, £54,180,243 (£49,420,761).

Particulars of the various social security benefits (monetary and health) and war pensions in force at the end of March, 1952, together with total payments during the financial year 1951–52 are shown in the following table.

Class of Benefit or Pension.As at 31st March, 1952.Payments during Year Ended 31st March 1952.
Number in Force.Annual Value.
Social security benefits—   
  Monetary— ££
    Universal superannuation69,1335,124,9753,144,091
    Sickness4,138 1,128,804
    Unemployment7 3,914
    Emergency2,127 365,180
        Totals495,045 43,855,814
    Medical  2,760,583
    Hospital  2,112,494
    Maternity  884,781
    Pharmaceutical  2,428,215
    Supplementary  1,181,954
        Totals  9,368,027
War pensions—   
  First World War18,1352,654,0572,711,710
  Second World War25,3692,011,7612,071,829
  War veteran's allowance5,4681,410,7441,282,094
  South African War341,4264,430
  Mercantile Marine pensions244,8852,872
  Emergency Reserve Corps102,8821,973
  Kay Force131,009671
Sundry pensions and annuities23843,21342,701
    Grand totals544,336 59,342,121


Retail Prices (pp. 764–771).—Details of the consumers' price index for each of the quarters ended 31st December, 1951, 31st March, 1952, and 30th June, 1952, and for the calendar year 1951 are given below.


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

Food.Housing.Fuel and Lighting.
Meat and Fish.Fruits, Vegetables, and Eggs.Other Foods.All Food.Rent.Other Housing.All Housing.
Calendar year—        
Quarter ended—        
    31st December14961511127713821065107210691229
    31st March15141412129513731098116511381252
    30th June15451483132414131098116511381272
Clothing and Footwear.Miscellaneous.All Groups.
Clothing.Footwear.Clothing and Footwear.Household Durable Goods.Other Commodities.Services.All Miscellaneous.
Calendar year—        
Quarter ended—        
    31st December12691325127711791064114911191237
    31st March12711338128111771120114911421253
    30th June12671363128211641122118311521270

Comparative Table.—With reference to the comparative table of index numbers on the base: 1936–38 (= 100) shown on page 776, the following addition for 1951 may be made—import prices, 274.

Share Prices (pp. 777–780).—Index numbers of share prices in 1951 together with the average for the three months ending March, 1952, are given below.

GroupIndex Numbers Base Average for each Group, 1938 (=1000).
Average for 1951.Average for 3 Months Ended March, 1952.
Frozen meat23111749
Miscellaneous (including breweries)15041281
      All industrial groups15661323
Loan-agency companies25872182
      All finance, &c., groups20271758
      All groups combined17961541

Monthly statistics for 1951 and the first five months of 1952 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 addition for 1951 may be made to the table on page 780 showing price index numbers on the base: first quarter, 1949 (= 1000)—import prices, 131.

Wool Prices

(Compiled from Information Supplied by New Zealand Wool Commission)

Statistics of greasy wool sold at auction in New Zealand are given below in two sections. The first table gives a summary of the transactions that took place during the five seasons 1947–48 to 1951–52. Actual total quantities and values are shown as recorded at sales, no attempt being made to allow for variations in quality or in the relative quantities of the various types of wool sold from season to season. Besides price movements, therefore, the average value per pound of wool sold shown in this table includes variations on account of these additional factors.


Season.Weight of Greasy Wool Sold.Sale Value.Value Per Pound.

In the next table, details of a wool price index on base 1949–50 (= 1000) are given. This index has been compiled in an attempt to eliminate all but the price factor in movements of average wool values during the five seasons. A description of the index is given in the March, 1952, issue of the Monthly Abstract of Statistics.

Season.Price Per Pound on Floor, Greasy.Index Numbers* Base: 1949–50 (= 1000).

* Based on price on floor, clean.



Wage-rates (pp. 782–786).—Index numbers of average nominal wage-rates of adult male wage-earners in 1951 and as at 31st March, 1952 are as follows:—

Industrial Group.Average for Year 1951.As at 31st March, 1952.
Base: All Groups 1926–30 (=1000).Base: Each Group 1926–30 (=1000).Base: All Groups 1926–30 (=1000).Base: Each Group 1926–30 (=1000).
Provision of—    
  Food, drink, &c.2126192121451939
  Clothing, footwear, and textiles2060202020962056
  Building and construction2003195020241971
  Power, heat, and light2062188220881906
  Transport by water2223200822882067
  Transport by land2013191620301932
  Accommodation, meals, and personal service1839189118711925
Working in or on—    
  Wood, wicker, sea-grass, and fibre2109195721381984
  Stone, clay, glass, and chemicals1928188319561910
  Paper, printing, &c.2186183722371880
  Skins, leather, &c.1894181119331848
  Mines and quarries2060197520851999
  The land (farming pursuits)1919249420612079
    All groups combined2037203720922092

Effective Weekly Wage-rates (p. 788).—The following table shows nominal and effective weekly wage-rates of adult workers for the year 1951 and of males only for the first quarter of 1952. 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.

    March quarter16592092*1261*

Average Rates of Wages (pp. 790–792).—The following table gives the prescribed minimum average weekly wage-rates as at the 31st March, 1952, the series being confined to adult males.

Occupation.Average Wage (Four Principal Districts) at 31st March, 1952.
Adult Maless. d.
  Journeymen191 3
  Labourers159 6
  First shopmen209 8
  Second shopmen193 9
Butter-factory employees—Churning and butter making: General hands163 11
  Kilnmen185 11
  Assistant smuttermen177 4
  Rollermen201 3
  Slaughtermen, per 100 sheep79 10
  General hands182 0
  Boners222 0
  General hands182 0
Sausage-casing making: General hands188 0
Aerated water and cordial making— 
  Cordial-makers175 5
  Bottle-washers165 11
Brewing labourers175 7
  Journeymen185 11
  Factory hands185 11
Boot operatives185 11
  Spinners189 9
  General hands170 7
  Bricklayers197 0
  Carpenters and joiners192 7
  Plasterers195 3
  Plumbers (competent)196 8
  Builders' labourers178 3
  General labourers161 0
  Engine-drivers200 9
  Sawyers204 7
  Tailers-out186 5
  Yardmen, head200 9
  General hands182 7
Boatbuilding: Shipwrights194 6
Metal-works, &c.— 
  Blacksmiths, floormen184 0
  Boilermakers, journeymen189 9
  Iron and brass moulders188 8
  Tinsmiths, journeymen188 4
  Engineering fitters, &c.192 3
  Electrical workers193 6
  Motor mechanics194 3
  Linotype (day)202 3
  Letterpress machinist (day)193 7
Skin and leather workers— 
  Curriers184 0
  General hands161 0
Mineral and stone workers— 
  Brickmakers181 4
  General hands163 2
Mining (coal)— 
    Tippers180 2
    Labourers180 2
  Miners (on day wages, per shift)40 10
  Truckers189 9
  Mining (gold): Miners In rises or winzes with machines171 1
Quarrymen166 9
Agricultural and pastoral workers— 
  General farm hands122 6
  Threshing-mill hands, per hour4 5
  Ploughmen122 6
  Shearers (per 100 sheep shorn)117 0
  Shepherds122 6
  Wool-pressers425 4
  Dairy-farm hands153 0
  Engine-drivers, average third and sixth years210 10
  Firemen, average second and ninth years191 9
  Guards, average first and third years201 9
  Motormen182 1
  Conductors174 5
Shipping and cargo-working— 
  Assistant stewards, first grade175 6
  Assistant stewards, second grade172 2
  Chief cooks219 2
  Second cooks196 4
  A.B. seamen189 10
  Ordinary seamen, first class147 4
  Waterside workers: Ordinary cargo195 0
Hotel workers— 
  Chefs178 0
  Waiters120 0
  Soft-goods assistants (male)186 11
  Grocers' assistants178 10
  Warehouse storemen166 9

NOTE.—The following perquisites (as assessed for statistical purposes) as at the 31st March, 1952, 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, 7s. per day for rations; assistant stewards (first and second grade), chief and second cooks, able and ordinary seamen, 38s. 5d. per week as value of board and lodging; and hotel chefs and waiters, 37s. 11d. per week as value of board and lodging.

Estimated Distribution of the Labour Force (p. 857).—The following table supplies an estimated distribution of the total labour force at the 15th October, 1951, and the 15th April, 1952.


Industrial Group.Males.Females.Totals.
October, 1951.April, 1952.October, 1951.April, 1952.October, 1951.April, 1952.
Primary industry159.0154.713.313.3172.3168.0
Secondary industry188.1194.747.746.2235.8240.9
  Building and construction48.749.90.90.949.650.8
Tertiary industry210.4212.8119.7122.1330.1334.9
  Transport and communication65.766.
  Distribution and finance79.780.540.541.4120.2121.9
  Domestic and personal services16.316.425.625.741.942.1
  Public administration and professional48.749.
      Totals, in industry557.5562.2180.7181.6738.2743.8
Armed forces10.510.00.80.311.310.8
      Totals, labour force568.0572.2181.5182.4749.5754.6

Half-yearly Surveys of Employment (pp. 860–866). Following is a summary of the employment statistics as returned for the 15th April, 1952:—

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.
Male employees15,825146,83648,83360,2819,96439,82622,259343,824
Male working proprietors66810,9531,5046,8522,2692338322,562
Female employees28940,5867,41388,88012,52735,7821,674132,151
Female working proprietors41,111451,7331,48014044,517
Number of establishments77614,7202,37812,9203,7072,88264738,039

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 employees8,88312,49418,54745,23815,4638,95737,254146,836
Male working proprietors9619141,1473,29161054,02510,953
Female employees4,63922,5461,1864,5636,10566987840,586
Female working proprietors411529256580 11,111
Number of establishments1,3872,0041,8194,2061,1852243,89514,720

Limitations in the coverage of the figures shown above are noted on page 860.

Summary of Vacancies, Placements, and Disengaged Persons.—This table gives additional figures to those presented on page 868.

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

Industrial Accidents (pp. 886–898).—As explained on page 887, the figures shown below are given on a different basis to that on which the statistics for 1948 and earlier years were compiled. The 1949 accident figures are derived from compensation claims handled by the State Fire and Accident Insurance Department and by the exempted companies (in terms of the Workers' Compensation Amendment Acts of 1947 and 1949).

Calendar Year, 1949.
Total number of accidents30,075
Number of accidents resulting in— 
  Permanent partial disability546
  Temporary disability29,462
Number of accidents resulting in temporary disability where information is available regarding— 
  (a) Duration of incapacity of— 
    I week or less6,579
    Over 1 week and up to 2 weeks8,314
    Over 2 weeks and up to 4 weeks6,425
    Over 4 weeks and up to 6 weeks2,127
    Over 6 weeks and up to 13 weeks2,215
    Over 13 weeks832
  (b) Amount of time lost— 
    Number of cases26,492
    Time lost, in days604,852
Calendar days lost by all accidents where— 
  (a) Constant allowance for age is made in case of fatality or permanent partial disability1,939,388
  (b) Actual age of person is taken into account in case of fatality or permanent partial disability1,664,135
Cases where amount of compensation or damages is stated— 
    Amount of compensation or damages— 
    Average per case£29.0


Shipping and Cargo Handled (pp. 281–292).—Statistics of entrances and clearances of vessels in the foreign trade in 1950 and 1951, 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 vessels597546
    Net tonnage2,688,2232,552,809
    Number of vessels575550
    Net tonnage2,624,8892,548,040
Total calls made—  
    Number of vessels1,5291,395
    Net tonnage6,364,0686,060,377
    Number of vessels12,83311,436
    Net tonnage4,366,1703,809,698
    Number of vessels14,36212,831
    Net tonnage10,730,2389,870,075
Tonnage of cargo handled—  
Total manifest tonnage8,987,3168,531,953

Statistics of shipping movement and cargo handled at New Zealand ports in 1950 and 1951 are given below.

Total Shipping Movement.Total Cargo Handled.
1950: Net Tonnage.1951: Net Tonnage.1950: Tons.1951: Tons.
Other ports4,9124,3902,4062,116

In the following table the country of registry of inwards overseas shipping in 1951 is shown.

Country of RegistryCalendar Year 1951.
Number of Vessels.Net Tonnage.
Commonwealth countries—  
  United Kingdom3201,764,481
  New Zealand87227,908
  Other Commonwealth countries1520,350
    Totals, Commonwealth countries4492,135,908
Other countries—  
  United States of America738,403
  Other countries2173,894
      Totals, other countries97416,901
      Grand totals, all countries5462,552,809

Of the total net tonnage of inwards overseas vessels in 1951 (2,552,809 tons), ships on the United Kingdom registry accounted for 1,764,481 tons—69 per cent. of the total—while the distribution between Commonwealth and other countries was: Commonwealth, 84 per cent.; other, 16 per cent.

Railway Transport (pp. 295–303).—Summarized statistics of railway transport in the years ended 31st March, 1950, 1951, and 1952 follow.

Unit.Year Ended 31st March,

* Including road motor and other subsidiary services.

Passenger journeys—    
  Railway road motor services(000)25,69624,09124,664
Tonnage of goods carried—    
  TimberTons (000)759808744
  Live-stockTons (000)711645639
  CoalTons (000)2,1318,1638,446
  Lime and manuresTons (000)1,672
  Other goodsTons (000)4,675
  TotalsTons (000)9,9489,6169,829
Net ton miles runMillions1,0211,0271,069
  Railway operation£(000)16,06218,50020,097
  Railway operation£(000)17,36118,72521,515

Road Transport (p. 319).—Statistics of motor-vehicles licensed at 31st March, 1951 and 1952, are as follows:—

Class.As at 31st March,

* Not available.

Contract vehicles2,1432,103
Rental cars1,3931,557
Private-hire cars308306
Dealers' cars1,677*
Local authority, &c., vehicles34,50942,971
Government vehicles11,03612,018
Dealers' motor-cycles89*

REHABILITATION (pp. 906–915)

The number of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen demobilized from the Forces, as recorded by the Rehabilitation Department, up to the end of March, 1952, was 212,313, of whom 145,450 had returned from overseas service and 66,863 had served with the home forces.

The following table gives particulars of rehabilitation-loan authorizations for the years ended 31st March, 1951 and 1952, and the totals to 31st March, 1952.

Class of Loan.Number.Amount.
1950–51.1951–52.Total to 31st March, 1952.1950–51.1951–52.Total to 31st March, 1952.
Purchase of farm, &c.1,0329238,5966,2815,61840,398
Tools of trade39221,4451148

Included in the foregoing total figures are 20,321 supplementary housing loans for £2,751,253. These loans, which are not repayable so long as the ex-serviceman or his dependants continue in occupation of the property, are granted to assist in bridging 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 4,541 suspensory loans (3,782 residential and 759 farm) amounting to £1,380,730 (£650,275 residential, £730,455 farm) made up to the 31st March, 1952.

EDUCATION (p. 159)

The following table shows the number of scholars and students receiving instruction in the educational institutions of New Zealand during the years 1950 and 1951, Registered private schools are included.


* Exclusive of students taking part-time courses with the Correspondence School, 1,806 in 1950 and 1,269 in 1951.

† Includes 540 students taking short courses at the agricultural colleges in 1950 and 735 in 1951.

Primary schools306,380321,192
Post-primary schools54,323*57,097*
Technical classes (part-time)21,17522,850


Radio Licences (p. 354).—The number of radio licences for receiving-stations in force on 31st March, 1952, was 477,533, compared with 463,418 at the 31st March, 1951.

Horse-racing (p. 585).—The number of racing-days in the calendar year 1951 was 359, as compared with 350 in 1950. Totalizator investments totalled £28,277,000 in 1951 (£26,050,000 in 1950), while Government taxation totalled £2,659,000 in 1951 (£2,456,000 in 1950).

Land Transfers (pp. 358–361).—Transactions under the Land Transfer Act have been on a very heavy scale during the last three financial years. The heavy increases during the last two years were, no doubt, contributed to by the exemption of town and suburban properties from control as from 23rd February, 1950, and by the relaxation of controls on farm lands as from 1st November, 1950. The average amount per transaction (town and suburban properties) in 1951–52 was £1,586, as compared with £1,234 in 1950–51, and £833 in 1949–50.

Year Ended 31st March,
Town and suburban properties—   
  Consideration £27,629,00061,537,00073,165,000
Country properties—   
  Area Acres1,783,3871,457,7061,848,601
  Consideration £13,034,00017,823,00035,965,000
All properties—   
  Consideration £40,663,00079,360,000109,129,000

Mortgages (pp. 708–717).—Particulars of gross totals of mortgages registered and discharged during the last three financial years are shown below. In sympathy with the movement in land transfer registrations mortgage registrations have been particularly heavy during the last two years, the rise in the amount of consideration from £36,048,804 in 1949–50 to £73,179,120 in 1951–52 being particularly outstanding.

Years ended 31st March,Registered.*Discharged.*

* Inclusive of duplicate registrations and discharges.

  £ £

Divorces (p. 77).—Petitions filed: 1950, 1,912; 1951, 1,882. Decrees absolute granted: 1950, 1,633; 1951, 1,582.

Justice.—Prisoners in gaols at end of calendar year (pp. 192–196): 1950, 1,083, or 5–62 per 10,000 of population; 1951, 1,076, or 5.46 per 10,000 of population.

Registration of Aliens (p. 30).—The number of aliens on the register at the 1st April, 1952, totalled 16,229 (11,050 males, 5,179 females) compared with the 1st April, 1951 figure of 10,425 (7,248 males, 3,177 females).

Naturalizations (p. 29).—The number of certificates of naturalization issued to former aliens during the year ended 31st March, 1952, was 127 compared with a total of 117 in the previous year. Certificates of registration as a New Zealand citizen were granted to 239 citizens of other countries of the Commonwealth or of former aliens (79 in 1950–51), and 40 certificates of registration (25 in 1950–51) to minor children (either citizens of other countries of the Commonwealth or former aliens).


Table of Contents

Page 175, Education.—In the 7th line of the third paragraph, for “1905” read "1950."

Page 385, Agricultural and Pastoral Production.—The first item given in the table towards the end of this page would be more correctly described as “Primary production subsidies” in lien of "Farm subsidies."

Page 549, Electric Power.—Total kW. for 1950, should read 589, 510.

Page 563, Revenue and Expenditure.—The totals given for annual appropriation towards the end of the table include “Other services not provided for” shown in the next line, and should, therefore, read as follows:—

Totals, annual appropriations: 1948–49, £87,003,412; 1949–50, £94,545,598; 1950–51, £103,430,366.

Page 580, Taxation—Table showing the amounts of income-tax payable, &c.:—For “assessable incomes of £1,500 and over” substitute the following figures under the respective headings:

££ s. d.£ s. d.£ s. d.£ s. d.£ s. d.£ s. d.
1,500112 10 0286 0 0260 0 0244 17 6229 15 0215 6 3
2,000150 0 0457 17 6431 17 6413 6 3394 15 0376 17 6
2,500187 10 0664 2 6638 2 6616 2 6594 2 6572 16 3
3,000225 0 0904 15 0878 15 0853 6 3827 17 6803 2 6
3,500262 10 01,179 15 01,153 15 01,127 15 01,101 15 01,075 15 0
4,000300 0 01,489 2 61,463 2 61,437 2 61,411 2 61,385 2 6
4,500337 10 01,819 2 61,793 2 61,767 2 61,741 2 61,715 2 6
5,000375 0 02,149 2 62,123 2 62,097 2 62,071 2 62,045 2 6


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 160th degree of east longitude to the 150th 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 by east 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 to the north-north-east 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 purpose, 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 :

(a) Exclusive of Island Territories—Area in Square Miles.
  North Island44,281
  South Island58,093
  Stewart Island670
  Chatham Islands372
  Minor islands— 
      Kermadec Islands13
      Campbell Island44
    Uninhabited (areas in parentheses)—263
    Three Kings(3).  Snares (1).
      Solander (1/2).  Antipodes (24). 
      Bounty (1/2).  Auckland (234). 
        Total New Zealand, exclusive of Island Territories103,736
(b) Island Territories— 
  Tokelau Islands, comprised of4
    Fakaofo Island, Nukunono Island, Atafu Island 
    Cook and associated islands, comprised of— 
    Cook (Lower) Group84
    Rarotonga.  Aitutaki. 
    Mangaia.  Mauke. 
    Atiu.  Takutea. 
  Mitiaro.  Manuae and Te-au-o-tu. 
    Northern Group15
    Palmerston.  Pukapuka. 
    Penrhyn.  Suwarrow. 
    Manihiki.  Nassau. 
  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 Ross 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 Ross Dependency, and placed under the administration of the Governor-General of New Zealand. The dependency is uninhabited.

By Imperial Orders in Council of the 4th November, 1925, the Tokelau Islands (consisting of the islands of Fakaofo, Nukunono, and Atafu, and the small islands, islets, rocks, and reefs depending on them, a total area of only four square miles) were excluded from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, and placed under the administration of the Governor-General of New Zealand. In accordance with a provision of the second of these Orders in Council, the Governor-General's authority and power in connection with the administration of the islands were, by New Zealand Order in Council of the 8th March, 1926, delegated to the Administrator of Western Samoa.

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

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

By reason of the latter fact the coast-line is, on the whole, not greatly indented; and, as a consequence, New Zealand is not well endowed with natural harbours. In the North Island, Auckland and Wellington are the only two safe natural harbours of which the fullest commercial use can be made. On the east coast of the North Auckland peninsula several deep and sheltered harbours exist, but as the surrounding country is comparatively undeveloped 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, duo 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 spectacular activity was exhibited by Ngauruhoe during the period February to May, 1949. In both cases violent eruptions alternated with quieter periods. Other volcanoes include Mount Tarawera and White Island, each of which has, upon one occasion within historical times, erupted with disastrous consequences. Closely connected with the volcanic system are the multitudinous hot springs and geysers.

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

As might be expected, the higher mountains of the South Island have exerted a greater influence on the economic development of the country than those of the North Island. For many years the Southern Alps were an effective barrier to communication by land between the east and west coasts, while their climatic effects on the Canterbury plains and Otago plateaux determined the types of cultivation undertaken. Moreover, the existence of much elevated open country led to the development of pastoral holdings on a large scale. While the mountains in the North Island are not as high nor is 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 and 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. The lengths of rivers shown have been recently revised and differ in many instances from those previously given. For purposes of uniformity, the length of a river is taken to be the distance from the mouth to the farthest point in the system whether this should happen to bear the same name or that of an affluent and is inclusive of the estimated course of a river flowing into and emerging from any lake in the system.


Flowing into the Pacific OceanMiles.
Waihou (or Thames)95
Waiapu (from source Mata River)75
Waipaoa (from source Waipapa Stream)70
Wairoa (from source Hangaroa River)85
Mohaka (from source Taharua River)95
Flowing into Cook Strait 
Flowing into the Tasman Sea 
Waikato (from source Upper Waikato River)270
Wairoa (from source Waiotu Stream)115
Hokianga (from source Waihou River)45


Flowing into Cook StraitMiles.
  Aorere (from source Spee River)45
  Takaka (from source Cobb River)45
  Waimea (from source Wai-iti River)30
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean 
  Waiau-uha (or Waiau)105
  Rangitata (from source Clyde River)75
  Waitaki (from source Hopkins River)135
  Clutha (from source Makarora River)210
Flowing into Foveaux Strait 
  Aparima (Jacobs River)70
  Waiau (from source Clinton River)135
Flowing into the Tasman Sea 
  Waiho (from source Callery River)20
  Buller (from source Travers River)110

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 1835–1950, 74 destructive earthquakes are known to have occurred in New Zealand, 54 of which were of the semi-destructive type (not exceeding tensity 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 1950 were as follows:—

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

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


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

Summary of Seismic Activity in New Zealand in 1950.—During the year seismic activity reached its greatest intensity in the first three months. In January a disturbance originating in the region north-east of Queen Charlotte Sound accounted for a considerable number of perceptible earthquakes, many of which affected Wellington and the surrounding districts. Two shocks on 13th January were felt in Wellington with intensity M.-M. 5+ and caused some minor damage. On 5th February a shock of instrumental magnitude 7, centred south-west of New Zealand, was felt in parts of Otago and Southland; while on 6th February a further one, centred in the Cheviot region, was felt from Kaikoura to Akaroa with maximum intensity M.-M. 5.

The most severe earthquake during the year occurred on 1st March in the region between Taupo and Waikaremoana. It reached intensity M.-M. 6–7 at Te Whaiti, causing some damage in that area. On 14th March a shock of magnitude 5½–6 in the eastern Bay of Plenty gave rise to unusual sea disturbances along the Bay of Plenty coast, the maximum reported felt intensity being M.-M. 5–6.

In June two strong shocks in Hawke's Bay reached intensities M.-M. 5–6 and 5 respectively. The second of these was centred at depth 150 km. and was widely felt from Bay of Plenty to Greymouth and Christchurch.

During the remainder of the year several shocks of intensity M.-M. 5 occurred in various parts of the country; one of these, centred south of Milford Sound, on 11th October reached intensity M.-M. 5–6.

On 11th December a very large shock (magnitude 8–8¼) centred north-west of Kermadec Islands at depth 220 km. was felt with intensities up to M.-M. 4 in eastern districts of New Zealand as far south as Akaroa and about Cook Strait. The distance of Akaroa from the epicentre was approximately 1,170 miles. This distance of perceptibility appears to be at least equal to any previously recorded.

In all, 188 shocks were reported felt in New Zealand during the year; 156 in the North Island and 46 in the South Island. The number for each island includes 14 which were felt in some part of both Islands.

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

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

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

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

  4. Areas north of Auckland.

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

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

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

Deaths due to Earthquakes.—During the period 1848–1950 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.—The collection of climatic data for the use of Government Departments and the general public is a function of the New Zealand Meteorological Service. It maintains approximately 110 stations within New Zealand and 35 on islands of the South-west Pacific for the recording of full climatic data, supplemented by approximately 900 stations in New Zealand and 130 in the Pacific Islands recording rainfall. Most of these stations are operated by public bodies, government departments, or voluntary observers. Additional records are provided by over a hundred stations which report by telegraph or radio for forecasting purposes.

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

Detailed climatological statistics are published annually in the Meteorological Observations. Work on this publication ceased during the war years, and this has delayed the appearance of recent issues, the latest available being that for 1946. Current statistics appear monthly in a climatological table included in the New Zealand Gazette.

The following table provides a brief summary of the main climatological elements for selected locations.


Station.Attitude.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.

 Ft. In. Hrs.       
Te Paki, Te Hapua20055.801692,16972.859.265.957.045.952.0
Hamilton East13146.281612,05674.6*55.9*65.5*51.7*37.1*44.7*
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana2,10076.82184 68.147.658.052.037.745.0
New Plymouth16060.601852,21169.154.862.255.242.949.3
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North11038.761721,83970.553.162.254.339.146.9
Waingawa, Masterton34037.851432,09174.353.363.750.535.843.4
Hanmer Springs1,22545.501331,96671.648.260.947.829.039.1
Lake Coleridge1,19532.38114 70.748.661.149.130.340.7
Milford Sound20251.28195 64.448.357.

Brief Review of 1950.—The annual rainfall was below average, except on the east coast from the Waitaki River to East Cape, in eastern Coromandel, and the coastal strip from Wanganui to Cape Egmont. The deficiency was not large, although in a few scattered areas totals were slightly less than 75 per cent. of the average. These included parts of Nelson, Marlborough, Otago, and Waikato. The only substantial surplus occurred in the northern Hawke's Bay - Gisborne district. Mean temperatures for the year were close to average in the South Island, with a general tendency towards a positive departure. However, in Southland and Westland the tendency was more pronounced, and values there were about 1° F, above normal, as they were also over the greater part of the North Island. Sunshine was above average, except in eastern districts of the North Island from Cook Strait to East Cape, where there was a deficiency of 100–200 hours. New Plymouth's sunshine total was also a little below the average. There was a good surplus on the West Coast, and in Marlborough.

Seasonal Notes.—The first three months showed no marked abnormalities except north of the Waikato, where a prolonged dry spell resulted in a substantial reduction in dairy producton. Crops generally gave good yields and were harvested in favourable conditions, though in Southland changeable weather during March caused some delay. Stone-fruits, however, were in short supply due to hail and frost damage to orchards in Hawke's Bay and Central Otago in the preceding spring.

Winds from the south-easterly quarter replaced the normal westerlies in April, and the weather was dull and wet in the north and east, but sunny in the west and south. Abnormal weather continued for the following month, which was the mildest May ever recorded. The fourth week was very stormy, and heavy rains in and west of the Southern Alps damaged road and rail communications in Westland, as well as causing some flooding on the Canterbury Plains.

The winter season was generally favourable, though there was little settled weather. A storm at the beginning of July caused severe flooding in the Waipaoa River, Gisborne, and minor floods also occurred in South Canterbury on two separate occasions during August. Snowfalls were much lighter than usual, but some early lambs were lost in Canterbury during cold rains at the end of August.

Mild temperatures together with an absence of strong westerly winds combined to provide exceptionally favourable conditions for spring growth, resulting in a high level of production in the dairy industry. The persistence of easterly winds brought much rain to eastern districts of the North Island, where shearing operations suffered frequent interruptions. A brief spell of changeable westerly weather did eventuate at the end of November and continued until the middle of December. Unfortunately for many thousands of holiday-makers, the fine summer weather which followed lasted only a week, and cool wet conditions prevailed for the final week.

Summary of Meteorological Observations.—The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1950 were taken at 09.00 hrs. New Zealand standard time—i.e., 21.00 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 1950.Extremes.Total Fall (Inches)Number of Rain-days.
Maximum and Month.Minimum and Month.Absolute Max.Absolute Min.
Te Paki, Te Hapua 52.0 80.2 Feb.29.2 Jul.80.227.02,220.852.19159
Auckland66.854.060.480.1 Jan.37.9 Aug.90.433.22,181.236.17144
Tauranga66.949.358.185.2 Jan.31.0 Jun.90.722.52,411.050.51141
Hamilton East66.544.655.583.9 Jan.23.3 Jul.94.414.22,193.237.30123
Rotorua65.045.355.185.0 Jan.26.0 Jul.98.021.32,110.256.10126
Gisborne66.148.557.392.2 Jan.29.8 Jun.95.826.02,104.355.05171
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana59.044.851.984.0 Jan.27.0 Jul.88.027.0 90.99195
New Plymouth62.949.856.378.2 Jan.32.0 Jun.89.027.02,205.353.15127
Napier65.349.657.590.7 Jan.28.1 Jul.96.527.52,209.135.62125
Taihape59.443.551.480.0 Jan.26.6 Jul.87.820.4 34.74145
Wanganui63.648.756.282.2 Jan.30.2 Jul.88.028.82,211.434.29131
Plant Research Bureau, Palmerston North63.346.755.079.5 Feb.25.2 Jul.87.021.21,968.136.67138
Waingawa, Masterton63.843.453.685.5 Jan.23.6 Jul.95.420.02,025.035.97145
Wellington59.748.454.080.9 Feb.32.6 Jul.88.028.62,027.944.70138
Nelson63.846.955.380.0 Nov.28.8 Jul.92.025.02,575.727.2897
Blenheim64.744.454.687.8 Feb.24.9 Jul.94.616.12,598.523.1682
Hanmer Springs61.138.249.788.0 Dec.15.0 Jul.97.08.21,958.044.93125
Hokitika59.343.651.572.6 Dec.26.0 Jul.84.525.02,052.497.56169
Lake Coleridge61.140.350.787.0 Dec.17.4 Jul.92.010.0 28.86101
Christchurch61.543.952.788.7 Dec.24.3 Aug.95.719.31,997.230.64116
Timaru 41.9  22.2 Jul.99.019.81,979.428.45101
Milford Sound    26.9 Aug.79.323.1 217.57179
Queenstown60.040.850.486.2 Dec.24.0 Jul.93.419.22,071.631.61123
Alexandra62.839.651.291.9 Dec.19.2 May94.411.02,207.710.8192
Dunedin59.044.251.686.0 Dec.27.0 Jun.94.023.01,893.822.88153
Invercargill59.141.750.486.0 Jan.22.0 Jul.90.019.01,660.640.23208

For 1950 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 09.00 hrs., New Zealand Standard Time, were: Auckland, 1017.9; Hokitika, 1017.3; Wellington, 1016.9; Nelson, 1016.8; Christchurch, 1015.3; and Dunedin, 1014.8.

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, 1950 (reprint); “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 Flora of New Zealand,” by W. Martin, ed. 3, 1947, “The Botanical Names of the Flora of New Zealand,” by A. Wall and H. H. Allan; ed. 2, 1950; “Grasses of New Zealand,” by H. H. Allan, 1936; “A Handbook of the Naturalized Flora of New Zealand,” by H. H. Allan, 1940; 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. Later publications dealing with this topic include “Native Animals of New Zealand,” by A. W. B. Powell, 1947.


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 Her 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 (March, 1952) the Executive Council consists of fifteen 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 not to exceed the aggregate amount specified in the principal Act. Part V of the Finance Act (No. 3), 1944, further increased the number of Ministers of the Crown (other than the Prime Minister) who may be paid to twelve and the limit was removed altogether by the 1950 Act. The 1944 amendment also abolished the provision regarding the aggregate payment. In accordance with the recommendations contained in the report (issued in 1951) of the Royal Commission upon parliamentary salaries and allowances, the Prime Minister's salary as from the 1st September, 1951, has been increased to £3,000 with a tax-free allowance of £1,000 for the expenses of his office and the Ministerial residence. In addition, while travelling on official business he receives £3 3s. per day to meet expenses, and by virtue of his office is entitled to free cars, secretarial assistance, and free postage. The salary of each Minister holding a portfolio is now £2,000 with a tax-free expense allowance of £450, and that of each Minister without portfolio £1,650, with £400 tax-free expense allowance. Where the office of Minister of External Affairs is held by a Minister other than the Prime Minister the expense allowance is increased to £600. Any Minister not occupying a Ministerial residence receives an allowance in lieu at the rate of £300 per annum. This allowance or the assessed value of the residence where one is provided is subject to income-tax. Previously Ministers did not receive an expense allowance as such, but the Commissioner of Taxes allowed a deduction from salary of £250 as an expense allowance. Ministers also receive an allowance of £3 3s. per day when travelling on official business.

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 £1,250, with the same house provision or allowances, and travel allowance while on official business as for Ministers. An expense allowance of £350 is also payable. At the present time (March, 1952) three such appointments are current.

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.

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, 1937. 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 Civil List Act, 1950, provided that, on a recommendation of a Royal Commission, the salaries and allowances of Ministers and members of Parliament may be fixed by Order in Council, in which event the salaries and allowances so fixed will be payable instead of those specified in the Civil List Act, 1950. In conformity with the recommendations of the Royal Commission issued in 1951, the honorarium paid to members of the House of Representatives has been increased to £900 per annum. They are also paid a basic allowance at the rate of £250 per annum for expenses incurred in connection with parliamentary duties and a sessional allowance of £150 per annum to all members except those representing the nine electorates in or around Wellington. To meet the higher travelling and other expenses for partly rural and predominantly rural electorates, additional increments of £75 and £150 respectively are to be paid to members representing such electorates, subject to the classification of electorates by the Representation Commission into the three classes of (a) urban, (b) partly urban and partly rural, and (c) predominantly rural. 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, a stamp allowance of £4 a month, &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 £1,600 per annum, in addition to which he receives an expense allowance of £500 and residential quarters in Parliament House. The honorarium of the Chairman of Committees is £1,300, and an allowance of £350 per annum to cover expenses incurred in connection with his parliamentary and official duties is also paid.

The Leader of the Opposition is paid a salary of £1,600 with an expense allowance of £400. In addition, a secretary and typist are provided by the State and an allowance of £150 is payable for travel outside his electorate. The official stamp allowance has now been increased to £10 per month.

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

Legislative Council.—The Legislative Council was in existence in New Zealand from 1854 until the 31st December, 1950, after which date it was abolished by virtue of the Legislative Council Abolition Act, 1950. For further details, pages 14 and 15 of the 1950 issue of the Year-Book may be consulted.

Electoral Provisions.—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. An amendment in 1951 provides for the polling hours in Maori electoral districts to be extended to 7 p.m. as in the case of European electoral districts.

The Electoral Amendment Act, 1951, provided that, if at any time Parliament is dissolved before it has been two years in existence, the general and supplementary rolls used in the previous general election, together with a further supplementary roll, may be used if in the opinion of the Chief Electoral Officer it is impracticable to print new general rolls. The same rolls together with a further supplementary roll, are to be used for any by-election occurring before the next following general election.

The latter amending Act also provides for the voting at elections and licensing polls by servicemen serving overseas who are or will be of, or over the age of, twenty-one years before the date of the election or poll, whether or not registered as electors of any electoral district. Each such serviceman shall be qualified to vote as an elector of the electoral district in which is situated his usual place of residence before he last left New Zealand.

Quinquennial Parliaments, instituted under the Constitution Act, were abolished by the Triennial Parliaments Act, 1879, which fixed the term at three years. General elections have been held at three-yearly intervals since 1881, with a few exceptions. The term of the nineteenth Parliament was during the First World 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.

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 Her 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

A POPULATION census was taken as for the night of Tuesday, 17th April, 1951, in New Zealand while censuses of its island territories were conducted by the Department of Island Territories for the night of Tuesday, 25th September, 1951.

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 1951 census population of New Zealand proper was 1,939,472, inclusive of 115,676 Maoris. At the same date there were 5 people on Campbell Island and 14 in the Kermadec Islands. Information is not yet available for the 1951 census regarding the population of Cook Islands, Niue Island, Tokelau Islands, and the Trust Territory of Western Samoa.

The summary below gives the final New Zealand figures for the census of 1951, while in the pages following will be found similar figures for provincial districts, urban areas, counties, boroughs, and town districts. Data, other than population location are not yet available, but certain 1945 census figures will be found later in this section, or in other portions of the volume as listed on page 44. For details it will be necessary to refer to the census volumes published separately.


* Includes population of the inhabited minor islands, i.e., Kermadec Islands, 14 males; and Campbell Island, 5 males.

† Not available.

New Zealand—    
  (a) Exclusive of Island Territories—    
  Europeans17th April, 1951914,646909,1501,823,796
    Totals, New Zealand (excluding Island territories)"973,968965,5041,939,472*
  (b) Island Territories—    
    Tokelau Islands31st March, 19511,534
    Cook Islands and Niue Island31st March, 195110,0919,76919,860
    Totals, New Zealand (including Island territories)"  1,960,866
Trust Territory of Western Samoa30th June, 195142,58439,90982,493

METHOD OF COMPILATION.—In common with almost all countries, the chief instrument in compiling population data in New Zealand is the census, which in this country in normal times is taken quinquennially. The minutiae of the distribution of population, together with analyses of various population characteristics, compiled from census data will be found in the official publications compiled after each census.

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

Intercensal figures of total population are based on the customary equation:— Population = Population (census) + Births and immigration — Deaths and emigration.

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

For many purposes a dichotomy of population into Europeans and Maoris is used. Maoris include those of wholly Maori origin and also all Maori-Europeans who are in half or greater degree of Maori origin. The rest of the population is conveniently, if not quite accurately, termed European.

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

Residents of the Cook Islands, Niue, the Tokelau Islands, and Western Samoa 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    
" 185859,41332,706122.4612.1456,049
" 1861*97,90438,49164.7918.26 
" 1864171,00973,10574.6720.74 
" 1867217,43646,42727.158.20 
February, 1871254,92837,49217.245.11 
March, 1874297,65442,72616.765.2947,330
" 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
" 1896701,09476,63912.272.3342,113
March, 1901770,30469,2109.871.9145,549
April, 1906885,995115,69115.022.7950,309
" 19111,005,585119,59013.502.6052,723
October, 19161,096,22890,6439.011.5752,997
April, 19211,214,677118,44910.812.3156,987
" 19261,344,469129,79210.692.0563,670
March, 19361,491,484147,01510.931.0582,326
September, 19451,603,554112,0707.510.7798,744
" 19451,647,635156,15110.471.05100,044
April, 19511,823,796220,24213.732.34115,676
" 19511,825,626177,99110.801.86115,740

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 1945.

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.


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 1946–50 the inward excess totalled 32,557, 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 improvement, with the result that the rate for the 1947 year was the highest of the entire series; a slight recession was, however, recorded during the two following years, but a small improvement has been noted for 1950. 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. The 1951 census shows a small male excess, and this would be a little higher if members of the Armed Forces overseas at that time were included.

INTERCENSAL RECORDS.—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. Moderate discrepancies, however, are inevitable and in the tables following, revisions have been made for figures subsequent to the 1945 census to conform with the 1951 census figures.

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.

Years Ended 31st March
Years Ended 31st December

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

Population (Including Maoris) at End of Year.Increase During Year.Mean Population for Year.
Males.Females.Totals.Numerical.Per Cent.

* Minus sign (-) signifies a decrease.

Years Ended 31st December
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, 101,907 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31st March, 1951, which, compared with 1949–50, shows an increase of 3,528. During the same period, 93,533 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1949–50, shows an increase of 4,575.

In addition to the figures just quoted there were also 2,923 “through” passengers who called at a port of New Zealand en route to their destination.

The excess of total arrivals over total departures for 1950–51 was 8,374, compared with a similar excess of 9,421 during 1949–50.

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 1950–51, 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 residence8,1069,64811,38717,70118,234
New Zealand residents returning Visitors—7,94711,98812,84018,46319,976
  On business1,6961,7321,7691,9362,406
  Theatrical, entertaining, &c.2333877001,117634
  Educational purposes79977697597111
  Others, officials, &c.313469
  In transit1,625890447485631
Not stated11231   
Through passengers5,7425,1363,0732,4892,923

The succeeding table gives a similar analysis of departures.

New Zealand residents departing—     
Temporary residents departing9,40410,89411,52016,00717,963
Through passengers5,7425,1363,0732,4892,923

Ages.—The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31st March, 1951.

Age, In Years.Permanent Arrivals.Permanent Departures.Excess of Arrivals over Departures.
60 and over4668171,283246392638645

Origin.—The great majority of immigrants to New Zealand have always come from the British Isles. During the immigration boom of the “seventies” several shiploads of immigrants from Baltic countries arrived under Government auspices. With this exception systems of Government-assisted passages to immigrants have been until recently confined to immigrants from the United Kingdom. Conditions arising out of the recent war have brought changes and systems of Government aid have been devised for immigrants from other countries. These conditions have also stimulated independent migration, apart from that governmentally aided. It is therefore of some interest to survey briefly the net gain of population in the post-war years.

The next table gives the excess of overseas arrivals over departures for the six years 1945–46 to 1950–51. The basis of “permanent” arrivals and “permanent” departures has not been used; this is founded on intention and intentions, particularly in existing times, are frequently changed. Instead the table covers total arrivals and total departures less (a) persons of New Zealand birth and (b) New Zealand residents of overseas origin returning after an absence of less than a year or departing for a period of less than a year. Included, it will be noted, are crews of vessels. Annually the surplus of crew arrivals over crew departures provides a moderate increment to the population of New Zealand. For the six years the net gain from this source was 5,016, a higher level than normal. Information as to the country of origin is not available in this case.

The total surplus of arrivals on this basis was 46,653. Of these, 33,467 came from Commonwealth countries (including 26,891 from the United Kingdom) and 7,993 from other countries. The remaining 5,193 came from unspecified countries or were born at sea. It may be noted that the migration position has been considerably affected by shipping, housing, and other difficulties. The period under review ends at 31st March, 1951. In the next few months thereafter immigration arrivals included approximately 2,000 from the Netherlands and 2,000 displaced persons.

Country of Birth.Excess of Arrivals.

* Including condominia, protected States, and trust territories.

† Excess of departures.

United Kingdom12,75014,141
Union of South Africa82141
India and Pakistan1,054921
Cook Islands and Niue Island366406
Western Samoa424401
Others (Pacific)5132
All others178152
Other Countries  
Republic of Ireland and Ireland, n.o.d.488491
Others (Europe)3578
United States of America427238
Others (Pacific)3126
All others8668
Born at sea 3
Not specified8193
Crews of vessels4,875141
Grand totals24,89221,761

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 ten 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. Eligibility 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 willing 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.

Commencing with the year 1949–50 the Government agreed to accept drafts 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 arrivals totalled 941 in 1949–50 and 951 in 1950–51, 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. Such an agreement has now been entered into with the Netherlands Government.

The number of assisted immigrants (exclusive of displaced persons) arriving in New Zealand since the reintroduction of the scheme was as follows:—

Year ending 31st March,1947158

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.

New Zealand passports are issued by the Department of Internal Affairs at Wellington and Auckland. United Kingdom, Canadian, and Australian passports are issued by the respective High Commissioners for those countries.

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 Labour and Employment 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 Labour and Employment 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 Her 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 Immigration, 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 some period not exceeding six months, but may be extended if the proper authorities consider that the circumstances warrant such action. A deposit may be 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 Immigration, 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 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 status as members of the wider association of peoples comprising the Commonwealth. (NOTE.—The Act states that “British subject” and “Commonwealth citizen” have the same meaning, and any person of that status may use either term.)

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 throughout the whole of the year 1948.

  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 a sufficient 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 Commonwealth countries and service in the Armed Forces during the Second World War to be reckoned for the purposes of the first condition, but in such cases a minimum of one year's residence in New Zealand is essential. Conditions (d) and (e) are new.

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 become 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.

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, which is considered on completion of the prescribed application form. 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.

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 (on application) in the naturalization certificate issued to their father or mother.

The complete numbers of naturalizations, registrations, &c., during the year ended 31st March, 1951, were as follows:—

Country of Birth.Certificates of Naturalization. (Aliens)Certificates of Registration as a New Zealand Citizen. (British Subjects and Aliens)Certificates of Registration as a New Zealand Citizen—Minor Children. (British Subjects and Aliens)

* These persons were British by birth, subsequently acquired American citizenship, and later decided to reacquire British nationality.

New Zealand 1*    
United Kingdom1* 217  
Republic of India  101011
Federation of Malaya  1   
North Borneo   1  
Western Samoa   3  
Fiji   1  
Tonga1  1  
Norway6  1  
Sweden4  1  
Russia (U.S.S.R.)11 1 1
Estonia   1  
Latvia   1  
Poland73 8  
Germany111 736
Netherlands   1 1
Belgium1  1  
Luxemburg1   1 
Switzerland71 4  
Italy14  13  
Czechoslovakia7  41 
Austria1 31  
Hungary3  311
Yugoslavia18  6 1
Greece8  1  
Egypt   1 1
Jordan    1 
Burma  1112
Indonesia3 1131
China1 11  
United States of America2    1

Of the certificates of registration granted to adult males, 32 were to British subjects from other Commonwealth countries who acquired New Zealand citizenship by virtue of one year's residence in the country immediately preceding the date of application, and 3 to British subjects, generally resident outside New Zealand who claimed New Zealand citizenship by descent, residence, or otherwise.

The certificates of registration granted to adult females were 16 to British wives of British subjects from other Commonwealth countries, 4 to British subjects generally resident outside New Zealand, and 64 to alien women married to New Zealand citizens by birth or naturalization who desired to acquire New Zealand citizenship.

Certificates of registration granted to minor children were 20 (9 males, 11 females) to children of New Zealand citizens by naturalization or registration, and 5 (1 male, 4 females) to alien children whose parents, were deceased, resident overseas or not eligible for naturalization.

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.

The number of aliens on the New Zealand register at 1st April, 1951, was 10,425, comprising 7,248 males and 3,177 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. Under the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act, 1948, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, though not possessing the status of British subject (or, in alternative phraseology, Commonwealth citizen) is nevertheless not classed as an alien and is not required to register.

The following table shows the numbers on the register at 1st April, 1950, and 1st April, 1951.

Country of Nationality.1st April, 1950.1st April, 1951.
Russia (U.S.S.R.)4129706339102
United States of America571227798597207804
Other countries333366513283

The number of aliens on the register as at 1st April, 1951, shows an increase of 2,041 as compared with twelve months earlier, the countries contributing the major portion of this increase being Netherlands (958), Poland (914), Latvia (142), and China (85).

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION—North and South Islands.—In 1858 the North Island had a larger population than the South, but this position was reversed at the succeeding enumeration and the South Island had the larger population (exclusive of Maoris) at each census from 1861 to 1896. In 1901 the North Island was found to have slightly the larger total and since then has steadily increased its lead. The Maori War which broke out in 1860 retarded settlement in the north, while a large area of land reserved for the Maoris was for many years a serious hindrance to the development, by Europeans, of this portion of New Zealand. The South Island was practically free from Maori troubles, and settlement was more rapid, though much of the land was disposed of in large areas. The discovery of gold in Otago in 1861 and on the West Coast in 1864 attracted to these localities considerable numbers of miners.

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

Census Year.Population (Excluding Maoris).Proportions Per Cent.
North Island.South Island.Totals.North Island.South Island.

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


The natural increase of European population (i.e., excess of births over deaths) for the North Island during the 1945-51 intercensal period was 103,954, and the total net increase 151,373. For the South Island the natural increase was 48,806, and the total net increase 68,869. It is clear that in the strict sense of the term there was no “northward drift” of population in this period. Inclusive of Maoris the North Island increase was 167,577, or 14-62 per cent., and the South Island increase 69,597, or 12–52 per cent. In contrast to preceding periods the South Island rate of increase approaches fairly closely that of the North Island.

At the 1951 census, the North Island population was 1,313,869, inclusive of 111,512 Maoris; and the South Island population 625,603, inclusive of 4,164 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.

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

Hawke's Bay4,26039,60465,08076,96879,08491,205
  Otago portion14,050125,782137,062151,213144,035159,231
  Southland portion11,48048,01662,43972,85670,17877,613

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 Ackerman 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.

All provincial districts shared in the intercensal gain of population, though Westland's ratio of growth was below the general level. The highest rate was that of Auckland, if the seasonally affected case of Nelson is excluded. The 1945 census was taken in spring and that of 1951 in autumn. The figures of increase include Maoris.

Provincial District.Numerical Increase 1945–51.Percentage Increase.
Hawke's Bay12,12115.33
New Zealand237,17413,93

Urban and Rural Population.—On 17th April, 1951, somewhat over two-fifths (43–7 per cent.) of the population of New Zealand (excluding Maoris) was included in the five principal urban areas—Auckland, Hutt, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and over one-half (54–4 per cent.) in these or in the eleven 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, disclosed a substantial increase in the urban population, whereas the rural population, for the first time, recorded a decrease. In the 1945–51 period a substantial gain was recorded in the rural population, but it was insufficient to prevent further deterioration of its ratio to total population.

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 Maorl half-castes (3,221 in 1916 and 4,236 in 1921) living as Europeans.

Excluding Maoris—      
Including Maoris—      

Another conception of urban and rural population is presented in the next table. For this purpose urban population has been taken as that enumerated in cities, boroughs, or town districts, with a minimum population of 1,000. Migratory population is excluded.

Including Maoris.Excluding Maoris.
Urban: towns of—    
  25,000 or over338,213625,666337,221617,924
    Totals, urban798,1881,196,857792,5761,171,837
    Totals, New Zealand1,401,0011,933,5941,337,3841,818,011
Urban: towns of—    
  25,000 or over24,1432,3625,2134,00
    Totals, urban56,9761,9059,2664,46
    Totals, New Zealand100,00100,00100,00100,00

Some apparent anomalies where the numbers exclusive of Maoris exceed those inclusive of Maoris arise from the transfer of towns to other categories as a result of the different basis of population.

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, the more highly urbanized portion of the community is localized in four widely separated centres. These four centres (counting Wellington and Hutt as a single conurbation) 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 boundaries were revised in 1951, and all figures quoted are on the basis of the new boundaries. The most significant change resulting from this revision was the division of the former Wellington Urban Area, plus additional areas to the north, into the two adjacent urban areas of Hutt and Wellington. The two areas in a sense form a single conurbation, and for some purposes it may still be convenient to use a combined figure. However, the extent and pattern of development in the Hutt Valley have been such as to establish it as a centre complementary to Wellington but no longer suburban to it.

Urban Area.Population (Including Maoris).
New Plymouth16,34418,59721,05724,923
Palmerston North20,10724,37227,82032,908

In the quarter-century covered by the table all urban areas, with two exceptions, have consistently recorded increases in population. Of these exceptions, one comprised a slight recession at Wanganui, 1926–36. The other was Dunedin, 1926–36, but there the recession arose from the inflation of the 1926 population by visitors to the exhibition then being held at Dunedin. In numbers, growth during the twenty-five years is led by Auckland; in rate, Hutt and Hamilton are outstanding.

Increases between the censuses of 1945 and 1951 have been:—

Urban Area.Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.
New Plymouth3,86618,36
Palmerston North5,08818,29

The Wellington figure is partly explained by the substantial growth in the adjacent Hutt Urban Area. However, the increase for the two urban areas combined is 10–74 per cent., a rate exceeded by all urban areas except Dunedin.

The next table presents the population (including Maoris) at the census of 1951, for the component cities, boroughs, and town districts included in the relevant urban areas.

Urban Area.Population (Including Maoris).
Auckland City127,406
  Birkenhead Borough4,708
  Northcote Borough3,109
  Takapuna Borough13,500
  Devonport Borough11,605
  Henderson Borough2,114
  New Lynn Borough6,015
  Mt. Albert Borough25,937
  Mt. Eden Borough19,351
  Newmarket Borough2,670
  Ellerslie Borough3,451
  One Tree Hill Borough12,481
  Mt. Roskill Borough18,953
  Onehunga Borough16,985
  Otahuhu Borough8,082
  Papatoetoe Borough7,921
  Manurewa Borough2,999
  Papakura Borough3,192
  Glen Eden Town District2,580
  Howick Town District2,113
  Mount Wellington Road District6,745
  Panmure Township Road District608
  Remainder of urban area26,598
Hamilton City29,838
    Remainder of urban area3,299
  Gisborne Borough17,302
  Remainder of urban area2,472
Napier City19,709
  Taradale Town District2,472
  Remainder of urban area2,357
Hastings Borough17,238
  Havelock North Town District1,828
  Remainder of urban area4,731
New Plymouth 
New Plymouth City21,747
  Remainder of urban area3,176
Wanganui City27,254
  Remainder of urban area2,463
Palmerston North 
Palmerston North City30,531
  Remainder of urban area2,377
Lower Hutt City44,474
  Upper Hutt Borough7,449
  Petone Borough10,851
  Eastbourne Borough2,750
  Remainder of urban area9,354
Wellington City120,072
  Tawa Flat Town District2,459
  Johnsonville Town District3,588
  Remainder of urban area7,295
Nelson City16,829
  Remainder of urban area3,668
Christchurch City123,548
  Riccarton Borough8,016
  Lyttelton Borough3,681
  Heathcote County7,092
  Remainder of urban area31,884
Timaru City21,209
  Remainder of urban area1,642
Dunedin City69,829
  Port Chalmers Borough2,682
  West Harbour Borough2,291
  St. Kilda Borough7,413
  Green Island Borough3,492
  Mosgiel Borough3,134
  Remainder of urban area6,616
Invercargill City26,777
  South Invercargill Borough1,297
  Remainder of urban area3,539

Counties.—The following table gives the population (including Maoris) of individual counties as disclosed by the 1951 census, together with the approximate area of each. It should be noted that “Administrative Counties” do not include boroughs or town districts independent of county control, but include dependent town districts.

Fourteen counties—viz., Hokianga, Kawhia, Wairoa, Whangamomona, Waimate West, Manawatu, Pahiatua, Eketahuna, Mauriceville, Featherston, Kaikoura, Malvern, Chatham Islands, and Maniatoto—lost population in the 1945–1951 intercensal period. Of these, Pahiatua and Malvern were affected by reduction in camps located in the counties. Of counties showing the highest rates of intercensal growth, Eden (112 per cent.), Hutt (52 per cent.), and Waimairi (49 per cent.) are wholly or partly within urban areas. Taupo (137 per cent.) and Tuapeka (49 per cent.) gained heavily from hydro-electric settlements at Mangakino and Coal Creek respectively. Stewart Island (68 per cent.) and Rotorua (44 per cent.) were affected by the change in the seasonal date of the census, the 1951 figures in the former including mutton-birders, and in the latter a higher proportion of visitors.

Administrative County.Population (Including Maoris).Approximate Area, In Square Miles.
North Island—  
  Bay of Islands11,788824
  Great Barrier Island275110
  Hauraki Plains5,183233
  Hawke's Bay17,2031,672
  Waimate West2,78883
  Wairarapa South6,003440
South Island—  
  Mount Herbert581‗66
  Chatham Islands471372
  Stewart Island576670
    Grand totals713,065102,630

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 Lynn6,0151,393
  Auckland (City)127,40618,253
  Mount Albert25,9372,430
  Mount Eden19,3511,476
  One Tree Hill12,4812,430
  Mount Roskill18,9534,605
  Hamilton (City)29,8385,705
  Te Awamutu3,8781,162
  Te Kuiti3,3041,668
  Te Aroha2,6672,783
  Mount Maunganui1,867935
  Te Puke1,4611,047
  Napier (City)19,7092,477
  New Plymouth (City)21,7474,132
  Wanganui (City)27,2545,726
  Palmerston N. (City)30,5316,839
  Upper Hutt7,4492,165
  Lower Hutt (City)44,4747,688
  Wellington (City)120,07216,289
  Martin borough9701,070
South Island—  
  Nelson (City)16,8295,550
  Christchurch (City)123,54816,788
  Timaru (City)21,2092,895
  Port Chalmers2,682490
  West Harbour2,2912,382
  Dunedin (City)69,82913,536
  St. Kilda7,413462
  Green Island3,492878
  Invercargill (City)26,7776,399
  South Invercargill1,2972,257
    Grand totals1,184,672297,531

Only two boroughs showed any significant loss of population between the 1945 and 1951 censuses. Newmarket (10 per cent.) records the normal experience of a built-up central area where commercial buildings are replacing dwellings. Wellington (3 per cent.) recorded the first population recession in its history. The main cause is the limited amount of building land available owing to the situation and terrain of the city. Main growth in this area has been in the Hutt Valley and in the northern and coastal regions. The movement to the perimeter of the larger centres has thus taken the population out of the city.

The highest rates of growth for 1945–51 are naturally shown by the smaller towns. Of these, Papatoetoe (87 per cent.), Manurewa (62 per cent.), Mount Roskill (48 per cent.), Papakura (43 per cent.), New Lynn (41 per cent.), and Henderson (40 per cent.) are all within Auckland Urban Area. Lower Hutt City (42 per cent.) records a rate of growth outstanding for a city in New Zealand; this has resulted mainly from large-scale State-housing developments. The new borough of Mount Maunganui (89 per cent.) continues rapid growth, but would probably have more visitors than in 1945. Kaikohe (54 per cent.) and Kaitaia (49 per cent.) are Northland towns making swift progress. Putaruru (80 per cent.) and Levin (45 per cent.) are high on the list. In Otago, Roxburgh (46 per cent.) has gained through neighbouring hydro-electric works, but it is less obvious why the tiny borough of Tapanui should record 51 per cent.

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 county in which the town district is 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 Eden2,5801,267
  Havelock North1,828835
  Tawa Flat2,459755
South Island—  
  Pleasant Point561730
    Grand totals33,00228,108
(b) Town Districts Forming Parts of Counties*
North Island—  
  Kohukohu (Hokianga)2221,020
  Rawene (Hokianga)454280
  Russell (Bay of Islands)5771,066
  Kawakawa (Bay of Islands)639280
  Onerahi (Whangarei)831990
  Mercer (Franklin)3061,000
  Te Kauwhata (Waikato)6211,290
  Ohaupo (Waipa)2861,283
  Kihikihi (Waipa)449523
  Kawhia (Kawhia)289470
  Te Karaka (Waikohu)384700
  Patutahi (Cook)2241,275
  Kaponga (Eltham)432558
  Normanby (Hawera)394260
  South Island—  
  Havelock (Marlborough)283210
Southbridge (Ellesmere)387531
  Outram (Taieri)361886
  Edendale (Southland)478696
    Grand totals7,61713,318

Of town districts showing a high rate of growth between 1945 and 1951, Tawa Flat (182 per cent.) and Johnsonville (45 per cent.) are within Wellington Urban Area and Glen Eden (64 per cent.) and Howick (58 per cent.) within Auckland Urban Area. Taupo (88 per cent.), Onerahi (70 per cent.), and Kamo (41 per cent.) also show outstanding growth.

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 a total of 8,733 people at the 1951 census.

Of the islands concerned, Waiheke was the only one with a reasonably sized population, which was 1,873 at the census date, an increase of 73 per cent. since 1945.

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 1951 census may be quoted as 18.69 persons to the square mile.

The area and population of individual towns and counties will be found in preceding tables in this section. 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. At the 1951 census, density of population in the various provincial districts was:—

 Persons per Square Mile.
Hawke's Bay21.41

Except for limited purposes, a comparison of the gross density of population of one country with that of another is wholly invalid and frequently causes very serious misconceptions. Many writers and speakers have used very high figures of the potential population capacity of New Zealand which apparently derive from the basis of comparative population density without any or adequate consideration of the many and highly complex factors which make this an exceedingly difficult and controversial problem. To assess the optimum population or, a different question, the population which could be carried at a reasonably high and improving standard of living would be an immense and exceedingly difficult task and one for which many relevant data would be lacking.

MAORI POPULATION.—The first official general census of Maoris 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 probably 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 census record of Maori population is given below:—

Year.Maori Population.Numerical Increase.Percentage Increase.

* Includes members of Armed Forces overseas at census date.


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

The percentage increase from 1945 to 1951 was 17.15, equivalent to an average annual increase of 2.89 per cent. These percentages, it will be noted, are considerably higher than the corresponding figures for the European population—viz., 13.73 per cent. and 2.34 per cent. Movements of troops have tended to invalidate this comparison; the natural increase ratios for the year 1950 afford a better illustration. These are:—

Natural-increase rate15.2931.95

Of the 115,676 Maoris at the 1951 census, 111,512 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. Maoris have always been residents in rural communities and this is still substantially true. A marked change is, however, taking place which probably acquired impetus during the war as a result of employment conditions. As late as the 1936 census only 8,249 Maoris (10.02 per cent.) dwelt in cities, boroughs, or independent town districts. By the 1951 census the comparative figure was 22,726 (19.65 per cent.). The largest concentration is in Auckland Urban Area, where 7,621 Maoris were enumerated.

The records of the 1936 and 1945 censuses (1951 figures are not yet available) 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 1951 CENSUS.—In addition to the 1951 census figures of population given in the preceding pages, a summary of dwelling statistics for this census is shown in Section 23 (Building, Construction, and Housing). Where other categories of 1951 figures are not yet available, the latest figures (i.e., 1945 census) are given, as in the pages immediately following.

STATISTICS OF 1945 CENSUS.—The tabulation and analyses of the population census taken for the night of 25th September, 1945, 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 Niue, Tokelau Islands, and Western Samoa).

  • Volume III—Maori Census.

  • Volume IV—Ages and Marital Status.

  • Volume V—Dependent Children.

  • Volume VI—Religious Professions.

  • Volume VII—Birthplace and Duration of Residence.

  • Volume VIII—Race.

  • Volume IX—Industries and Occupations.

  • Volume X—Incomes.

  • Volume XI—Dwellings and Households.

  • Appendix A—Census of Poultry.

  • Appendix B—War Service.

  • Appendix C—Usual Place of Residence.

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

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

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 which 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 preceding table, 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 " 3011,57024011,810450 45012,02024012,260
30 " 357,1502207,370130 1307,2802207,500
35 " 403,740903,83080 803,820903,910
40 " 451,70101,38020 201,390101,400
45 " 5010 210   210 210
50 " 5550 50   50 50
55 " 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 " 2111,4044384112611,874
21 " 2526,5617,90610219333534,656
25 " 3023,08227,6893841042963351,588
30 " 3514,05642,5595342825626058,053
35 " 409,21747,5315804367153658,515
40 " 456,88144,4215546727563353,317
45 " 505,86239,2714501,0187662947,396
50 " 554,58433,4214081,4476592040,539
55 " 604,93933,2414212,3356471441,597
60 " 654,64629,7595043,4365932938,967
65 " 703,97522,7613614,2634442231,826
70 " 752,65112,7812094,0022271019,880
75 " 801,4486,5381133,312101611,518
80 " 855502,316321,9543874,897
85 " 90202673149001021,801
90 and over49123228623465
Not specified, adults651284164414631
Europeans: Females
16 and under 2048,9021,84216111 50,772
20 " 2110,9502,09624178 13,095
21 " 2530,80021,725347293165553,335
25 " 3018,15144,498732788565664,740
30 " 3511,00750,8547431,022728764,361
35 " 408,53048,5966781,272849559,930
40 " 457,13641,6885921,837802652,061
45 " 506,35237,7475773,128780448,588
50 " 555,75332,5194884,584715544,064
55 " 605,19228,6235186,969619741,928
60 " 655,06223,2905059,105487538,454
65 " 704,40216,56436810,651342632,333
70 " 753,0458,1611588,790149620,309
75 " 801,7783,531827,19954412,648
80 " 857271,080103,9602235,802
85 " 9021930131,691722,223
90 and over5073151052641
Not specified, adults612081060760406
Age (Years).Never Married.Married.Legally Separated.Widowed.Divorced.Not Specified.Total.
Maoris: Males
16 and under 204,06686 1 24,155
20 " 217371041225851
21 " 251,814998712292,842
25 " 301,1291,98017551093,200
30 " 355552,32222701652,990
35 " 403382,326269811102,809
40 " 451911,67317129842,022
45 " 501511,559161871961,938
50 " 558798751741151,269
55 " 60788426208541,143
60 " 6562567124432879
65 " 70444222206410688
70 " 7526197 17414402
75 " 8011108210812232
80 " 85733 70 3113
85 " 90312224 243
90 and over514 23  42
Not specified, adults8593429115227
Maoris: Females
16 and under 203,52052817 24,058
20 " 215393633331912
21 " 251,3281,96318521143,376
25 " 305222,856281081593,538
30 " 352592,514301171262,938
35 " 401632,2111912517 2,535
40 " 45771,55420167941,831
45 " 50451,2247230771,520
50 " 553372810223521,001
55 " 601855582533 837
60 " 6521416327812721
65 " 7020286128012590
70 " 754110118912307
75 " 80114211291 184
80 " 85321 101 2127
85 " 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")4.043.80

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, British countries1,473,3271,585,217
Foreign Countries  
  Russia (U.S.S.R.)391348
  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 this country.

Duration of Residence.Census.
Under 1 year4,6093,777
1 year1,8791,835
2 years1,254577
3 "1,044778
4 "1,333955
5 "2,9142,315
6 "3,7764,958
7 "3,6242,994
8 "5,0002,362
9 "9,3481,516
10 "12,0701,320
11 "9,732848
12 "9,831987
13 "7,548840
14 "9,5341,748
15 "11,6713,437
16 "8,9363,320
17 "3,2093,690
18 "1,5606,243
19 years1,3019,299
20 and under 25 years36,37943,565
25 " 30 "39,22119,711
30 " 35 "25,12135,684
35 " 40 "10,83330,901
40 " 45 "9,37918,473
45 " 50 "6,6306,934
50 " 55 "12,8646,567
55 " 60 "12,2274,057
60 " 65 "16,0527,160
65 " 70 "3,0956,486
70 " 75 "4,4116,884
75 " 80 "1,5271,015
80 " 85 "3801,209
85 " 90 "70212
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
Chinese M.B.319359
Syrian F.B.960895
Syrian M.B.275438
Indian F.B.8651,116
Indian M.B.292299
Japanese F.B.7211
Japanese M.B.3012
Sinhalese F.B.42
Sinhalese M.B.195
Eurasian n.o.d.145
Hawaiian F.B.54
Hawaiian M.B.1736
Samoan F.B.3960
Samoan M.B.323656
Tahitian F.B.516
Tahitian M.B.2061
Nine Islander F.B. 165
Nine Islander M.B. 60
Cook Island Maori F.B.53222
Cook Island Maori M.B.50132
Polynesian-Maori 102263 
Other or undefined F.B.6190
Other or undefined M.B.313394
Fijian F.B.2320
Fijian M.B.86164
Other or undefined F.B.26
Other or undefined M.B.518
Negro F.B.2717
Negro M.B.12385
Negro-Maori 19
West Indian F.B.911
West Indian M.B.3245
West Indian-Maori 11
American Indian F.B.13
American Indian M.B.2215
American Indian-Maori328
Abyssinian F.B.12
Abyssinian M.B.1518
Half-caste, race not specified22 
Other race aliens F.B.3233
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
  Totals1,53741,5418 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 appear in the table below more than once—i.e., under the appropriate wars 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 as early as 1840. However, for some years (certainly until 1854 and possibly a year or so later) the requirements of the Ordinance were not fully known or appreciated, and it cannot be said to have been completely enforced during this period. The Registration Act, 1858, operative from 1st January, 1859, provided for compulsory registration of births. Registration of still-births, previously not provided for, was made compulsory from the 1st March, 1913.

The law as to registration of births is now embodied in the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1951, a consolidation of the then existing legislation. The provisions generally as to registration are that a birth may be registered within two months without fee. After two months 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 the prescribed fee. A birth may be registered after six months only upon the direction of the Registrar-General, who may authorize registration in any case within two years after the date of birth. An information for neglect to register must be laid within two years of date of birth. In cases of neglect or refusal to give the Registrar information in respect of any birth the Registrar-General may at any time within two years after the birth of the child authorize some person to give the Registrar the information required to enable him to register the birth, and to sign as informant the entry in the register, upon which the Registrar shall register the birth.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, power is given by the Act 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. This provision does not, however, relieve any person from liability to prosecution for failure to register in the proper manner.

Although two months 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 seven days in every other case. Births are to be registered by the Registrar whose office is nearest to the place of birth.

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. 66–67). A child born out of New Zealand but arriving before attaining the age of eighteen months may be registered within six months of arrival. The Registrar-General may authorize registration of such a child who is over eighteen months but under three years of age.

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 68, and in a table on page 61.

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 (later 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 Section 4D.

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 59 and to the table on page 58, 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. In that year a slight upward movement began, and by 1940 some of the deficit had been made up by the gradual rise. This was accelerated during the 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, and in 1950 an increase was again recorded. 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 Mean 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 a long period being apparently unaffected by economic cyclical changes.

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

The “crude” rates do not permit of allowance being made for variations in the proportion of women of the child-bearing ages, and it is advisable and of interest to supplement the table of “crude” rates with a computation of the legitimate birth-rate per 1,000 married women of 15 and under 45 years of age, or the total birth-rate per 1,000 of all women of these ages. The following table gives both rates for New Zealand in each census year from 1878 to 1945.

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

* Per thousand married women.


The legitimate rate per 1,000 married women between the ages of 15 and 45 is seen to have fallen by 51 per cent. between 1878 and 1945, while an even greater fall is shown for the total rate on the basis of all women of the ages mentioned. The greater fall in the latter rate than in the former is due to the fact that among women of the child-bearing ages the proportion of married women is considerably smaller than in the earlier years covered.

A study of the figures for successive censuses reveals considerable changes in the age-constitution of married women within the child-bearing ages. As the birth-rate varies with age, the change in age-constitution over the period is a factor which should be taken into account.

NATURAL INCREASE.—The decline of the birth-rate in New Zealand has been accompanied until recent years by a decrease in the death-rate. Nevertheless, the nominal rate of natural increase of population has fallen from 31.19 per 1,000 of mean population in 1870 to 15.29 in 1950. Acceptance of this figure without consideration of the effect of the changing age-constitution will give an erroneous view of the present margin of increase and of the probable trend of population growth in the future.

Period.Annual Rates per 1,000 Mean 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 1945–49, are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations.

Country.Rates per 1,000 of Population.
Births.Natural Increase.
Costa Rico44.531.4
Puerto Rico41.228.8
Union of South Africa26.517.6
New Zealand25.015.6
United States of America23.313.2
United Kingdom18.36.7

SEXES OF CHILDREN BORN.—With the exception of one year (1860), there has always been a preponderance of males in the number of children born in New Zealand. The proportions are usually shown by stating the number of births of male children to every 1,000 female births. This number has been as high as 1,113 (in 1859), and as low as 991 (in 1860), but little significance can be attached to any figures prior to 1870, on account of the comparatively small number of births. The period preceding 1870 exhibited violent fluctuations in the proportion of males, which showed a tendency to disappear as the total of births grew larger. It is a popular idea that the proportion of male births tends to increase considerably in war years, but the experience in this country does little to bear out this theory, the average over the six years 1940–45 being 1,057, as against that of 1,050 for the preceding ten years. Figures taken out some years ago prove that the masculinity rate for first births is distinctly higher than for subsequent births. As the first-birth rate tends to rise during war years, and actually reached a very high peak during the early part of Second World War, the total masculinity rate would also be affected and would give rise to the popular idea that wars result in an increase in the proportion of male children born. The extreme range since 1870 has been from 1,016 male per 1,000 female births in 1878 to 1,081 in 1923.

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

The masculinity rate from 1856 to 1950 is expressed in the following table in average ratios for successive decennial periods.

Period.Male Births per 1,000 Female Births.
1946–1950 (five years)1,054

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.

* Includes one case of quadruplets.


Counting only cases where both children were born alive, there were 540 cases of twin births registered in 1950. There were also five cases of triplets and one case of quadruplets (3 males and 1 female).

The total number of confinements resulting in living births was 43,756, and on the average one mother in every 80 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still-births are taken into account, the total number of confinements for the year 1950 is increased to 44,561, and the number of cases of multiple births to 605. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 74.

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.

* Includes one case of quadruplets.

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
195054046125986*  1760513.7

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, 1946, and 1950 were exceptional.

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 years2.1510.02

The following table shows the sexes in individual cases of live twin births (including illegitimate) for the years 1946–50.

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

The five cases of triplets in 1950 comprised two of three males and three of one male and two females. The one case of quadruplets comprised 3 males and 1 female.

AGES OF PARENTS.—Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1950 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 46 legitimate cases where twins would have been registered had not one child been still-born.

† Including 5 cases of triplets and 1 case of quadruplets.

Single Births
Under 212501,275785169481161  2,545
21 and under 25922,5784,8911,603433742183 9,703
25 " 3096506,2584,7531,7494141243819214,016
30 " 35 429343,6162,9671,055273883169,012
35 " 40 12855671,9991,38344515374104,728
40 " 45 16372215773621165341,377
45 and over   1413442411 97
Multiple Births
Under 2131491      27
21 and under 25 37541851  1 116
25 " 30 6586023811  157
30 " 35  154839233   128
35 " 40  17273611 2 84
40 " 45    14542 16
45 and over           
    Totals35713713495722055 528
    Grand totals3544,61513,09610,8807,5163,5991,2954331962242,006

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 1950 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 41,478 single cases and 528 multiple cases.

Under 212,0034917161    2,572
21 and under 255,2263,1641,11625246132  9,819
25 " 304,0445,4322,9141,13641515577  14,173
30 " 351,5612,5242,3841,33868032331218 9,140
35 " 406199541,01989453932142442 4,812
40 " 451652152292151641212245911,393
45 and over11915119121810297

In computing previous issue, multiple births have been given their full significance, the numbers at the head of the columns relating to children born alive. In the following table this procedure has been followed not only for the previous issue but also for children covered by the 1950 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 212,5723,2271.25
45 and over975285.44

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 1950) 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: 1945, 2.58; 1946, 2.44; 1947, 2.34; 1948, 2.40, and 1949, 2.42. 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 the years 1948–50.

FIRST BIRTHS.—Of a total of 207,907 confinements resulting in legitimate births during the five years 1946–50, the issue of no fewer than 74,801 or 36 per cent., were first-born children. In 30,800, or 41 per cent., of these cases the birth occurred within twelve months, and in 54,881, or 73 per cent., within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 27 per cent. of cases where there was any issue to the marriage, two years or more had elapsed before the birth of the first child.

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. Since 1947, however, a downward tendency has been evident. 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 Cases.Total Legitimate First Cases.Proportion of First Cases to Total Cases.First Cases within One Year after Marriage.First Cases within Two Years after Marriage.
Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.Number.Proportion to Total First Cases.
   Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
Totals for five years207,90774,80135.9830,80041.1854,88173.37

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 1950 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 year52.9550.0646.2538.4739.76
1 and under 2 years28.6226.6426.7926.3033.36
2 " 3 "9.0210.4310.2411.2812.30
3 " 4 "3.435.516.167.885.88
4 " 5 "1.883.033.967.183.22
5 " 10 "3.263.365.497.364.14
10 years and over0.840.971.111.531.34

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 1950, 1.91 years.

An item of interest extracted from the 1950 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 206.737.558.907.338.25
20 and under 2535.8938.1640.3941.7944.79
25 " 3035.0132.5932.7929.5429.67
30 " 3515.6114.6813.1014.6111.45
35 " 405.525.333.795.364.54
40 " 451.161.590.991.341.22
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 1950, 25.67.

ILLEGITIMACY.—The numbers of illegitimate births registered during each of the years 1940–50, 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 1,768 illegitimate births in 1950 were eighteen cases of twins, the number of confinements being thus 1,750. From the following table it will be seen that of the 1,750 mothers 543, or 31 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age.


The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act, 1930, directed 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 legitimated by such marriage on the birth being registered in the manner prescribed by the Act. For legitimation purposes a Registrar was required to register a birth when called upon to do so by any person claiming to be the father of an illegitimate child; but such person was required to make a solemn declaration that he was the father, and was also required to produce evidence of marriage between himself and the mother of the child.

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

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

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

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

The number of legitimations registered in each of the last eleven years, and the total since the Act of 1894 came into force, are shown in the following table. The effect of the Legitimation Act of 1939 is evident in the figures for 1940, while the necessity for prompt registration in order to participate in family benefits under the Social Security Act has accentuated the falling-away of the not previously registered cases to nil in 1950.

Year.Number of Children legitimized.
Previously registered.Not previously registered.Total.
1950401 401
    Totals from 1894 to 195010,9173,29414,211

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 adoption of a Maori child is required to be registered in the same manner as that of a European child unless the adoption order is made under the Maori Land Act, 1931.

The following table shows the number of adoptions which have been registered during the eleven years ended in 1950.


Of the 1,255 adoptions registered in 1950, 695 were children under the age of one year, 238 were between one and five years, 180 were between five and ten years, and 142 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 Second World 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, stipulated, 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 Section 4C 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 1940–1950 were as follows:—

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

Masculinity is in general much higher among still-births than among living births, the rate for still-births in 1950 being 1,301 males per 1,000 females as compared with 1,048 for living births.

The percentage of illegitimates among still-born infants was in 1950, 5.10, and among infants born live 2.32.

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1950, 32 per cent. were first births, while of legitimate still-births 38 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 confinement than to those having subsequent confinements.


MARRIAGE may be celebrated in New Zealand only on the authority of a Registrar's certificate, either by a person whose name is on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act, or before a duly appointed Registrar or Deputy Registrar of Marriages. Marriage by an officiating minister may be celebrated only between 8 o'clock in the morning and 8 o'clock in the evening. Marriage before a Registrar can be celebrated at any time during the hours the office of the Registrar is open for the transaction of public business. Prior to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Act, 1920, the limits in all cases were 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Notice of intended marriage must be given to a Registrar of Marriages by one of the parties to the proposed marriage, and one of the parties must have resided for three full days in the district within which the marriage is to be celebrated. In the case of a person under twenty-one years of age, not being a widow or widower, the consent of parent or guardian is necessary before the Registrar's certificate can be issued. A schedule to the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1926, sets out the person or persons whose consent is required in various circumstances. In cases where double consent is required, section 8 provides for dispensing with the consent of one party if this cannot be obtained by reason of absence, inaccessibility, or disability. In similar cases where the consent of only one person is necessary, consent may be given by a Judge of the Supreme Court. Consent of the Court may also be given in cases of refusal by any person whose consent is required.

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

The system of notice and certificate has operated in New Zealand since 1855. Officiating ministers and Registrars are required to send to the Registrar-General returns of all marriages celebrated, and as the returns come in they are checked off with the entries in the Registrars' lists of notices received and certificates issued. In case of the non-arrival of a marriage return corresponding to any entry in the list of notices, inquiries are made as to whether the marriage has taken place.

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

Marriage is forbidden between persons within certain degrees of relationship. The present law is contained in the Marriage Amendment Act, 1946. Any such marriage is declared void. The prohibition applies whether the relationship is by the whole blood or by the half-blood and whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate.

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 1948 and has continued in 1949 and 1950, although the decline was less pronounced in the later years.

Changes in the available marriageable population, together with factors arising out of the war, have affected the marriage-rate in recent years.

Comparison with Other Countries.—Marriage-rates for certain countries for 1950 are given below (these particulars have been taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, issued by the Statistical Office of the United Nations).

Country.Rates per 1,000 Mean Population.
United States of America11.2
Puerto Rico9.3
New Zealand9.2
United Kingdom8.0

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 1946 to 1950 both inclusive.

CONJUGAL CONDITION.—The total number of persons married during the year 1950 was 33,008, of whom 28,732 were single, 1,670 widowed, and 2,606 divorced. The figures for the five years 1946 to 1950, 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 five years 1946–50 the number of divorced persons remarrying increased from 70 to 76 per 1,000 persons married.

Reference to the divorce statistics at the end of this subsection will show that the number of divorces over the last five year period has been at a high level; as a matter of fact, the number of decrees absolute in the period 1946–50 was 9,628, as compared with 4,907 in the five years 1936–40, an increase of 96 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 51 per 1,000 in 1950.

The relative conjugal condition of bridegrooms and brides for each of the five years 1946 to 1950 is next given.

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

The relative proportions of divorced men and divorced women remarrying during the last three years has changed but little compared with ten years earlier. During the three years 1938–40 the number of male divorcees remarrying was 2,066, as compared with 2,169 females, which gives a rate of 95 males for every 100 females. In 1948–50 the respective numbers were 4,261 males and 4,136 females and the corresponding rate 103 males for every 100 females. In the case of widowed persons remarrying, however, there has been a marked change in the figures. In the three-year period 1938–40, 2,420 widowers remarried but only 1,619 widows, whereas in 1948–50 there were 2,661 widowers and 2,389 widows who remarried, the number of widowers per 100 widows being 149 in the former period and 111 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 33,008 persons married in 1950, 4,666 or 14 per cent., were under twenty-one years of age; 12,216, or 37 per cent., were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 8,012, or 24 per cent., as twenty-five and under thirty; 4,957, or 15 per cent., as thirty and under forty; and 3,157 or 10 per cent., as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1950.

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 214911901721  701
21 and under 252,1792,9685366110 25,756
25 " 301,0622,4471,293239491345,107
30 " 351715815933541092671,841
35 " 404721331829223070191,189
40 " 4510401001471569947599
45 and over521481081692197411,311
Total brides3,9656,4602,9051,20372442782016,504

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 1946–50.

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 1946–50 period, and is mainly due to the fact that the outbreak of war induced a number of earlier marriages which has resulted in fewer unmarried people entering this age-group.

For many years the average age (arithmetic mean) at marriage for both males and females, more particularly the latter, showed a tendency to increase. However, after reaching its maximum in the three years 1917–19, 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 1940 and 1945–50 are as follows:—

Year.Bridegrooms. (Years.)Brides. (Years.)

The average ages of bachelors and spinsters at marriage are considerably lower than those shown in the preceding table, which covers all parties and is naturally affected by the inclusion of remarriages of widowed and divorced persons. The average ages of grooms and brides of the various conditions in each of the last five years were:—


The foregoing figures give the average 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 1950 without alteration, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age has varied, and for 1950 was 23.

Marriages of Minors.—Of every 1,000 men married in 1950, 43 were under twenty-one years of age, while 240 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 491 marriages in 1950 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 3,474 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 210 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 conditions. Figures for the years 1946 to 1950 are contained in the following table:—

Year.Age, in Years.Totals. per 100 Marriages.
1946 12621824767323.56
1949 26681684126744.02

MARRIAGES BY MINISTERS OF VARIOUS CHURCHES.—Of the 16,504 marriages registered in 1950, Church of England clergymen officiated at 4,282, Presbyterians at 4,673, Roman Catholics at 1,968, and Methodists at 1,538, while 3,110 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the largest churches in each of the years 1940 and 1945–50.

Church.Percentage of Marriages.
Church of England27.4527.9427.6826.5326.5525.8025.95
Roman Catholic12.2311.5811.8512.2511.8112.1711.93
Before Registrars17.0116.3716.6018.2018.0318.9918.84

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 adherents of the Church whose officiating minister performed the ceremony, and persons married before Registrars may belong, in greater or lesser proportion, to any or none of the churches. Of the total population (exclusive of Maoris) at the general census of 1945, 37.53 per cent. were recorded as adherents of the Church of England, 23.38 per cent. Presbyterian, 13.45 per cent. Roman Catholic, 8.12 per cent. Methodist, and 17.52 of other religions or of no religion, or who objected to state their religious profession.

The proportion of civil marriages in 1950 was slightly lower than in 1949, the actual number showing a decrease of 78. 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, 1951) 2,634, and the churches to which they belong are shown hereunder.

Roman Catholic Church550
Church of England488
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand444
Methodist Church of New Zealand315
Salvation Army165
Ratana Church of New Zealand147
Ringatu Church48
Seventh Day Adventist39
Latter Day Saints36
Associated Churches of Christ35
Commonwealth Covenant Church28
Congregational Independent27
Apostolic Church14
Jehovah's Witness14
Liberal Catholic Church13
Assemblies of God9
Evangelistic Church of Christ8
Churches of Christ8
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference8
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand7
Pentecostal Church of New Zealand7
Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi7
United Maori Mission6
Absolute Maori Established Church5
Hebrew Congregations4
Four Square Gospel Church of Christ4
Te Maramatanga Christian Society3
Christian Spiritualist Church2
Church of God2
Four Square Gospel Mission2
Star of Hope Mission of New Zealand2
Revival Fire Mission2
Greek Orthodox Church in New Zealand2
International Bible Students' Association1

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 organizations.

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

A brief historical account of divorce legislation is given in the 1931 issue of the Year-Book; the present position is outlined in the following résumé.

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

  1. Adultery since the celebration of the marriage.

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

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

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

  5. Murder of child of petitioner or respondent.

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

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

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

  9. Parties have separated under an agreement, written or verbal, which has been in full force for not less than three years.

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

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

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

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

The Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act, 1947, makes special provisions in respect of war marriages where one of the parties was domiciled outside New Zealand by: (1) extension of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to certain marriages irrespective of domicile; (2) recognition of decrees and orders (in relation to such marriages) made in the United States of America; and (3) shortening the period of desertion or separation as ground for divorce in such cases from three years to twelve months.

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

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

Year.Dissolution or Nullity of Marriage.Judicial Separation.Restitution of Conjugal Rights.
Petitions filed.Decrees Nisi.Decrees Absolute.Petitions filed.Decrees for Separation.Petitions filed.Decrees for Restitution.
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. A slight falling off for the first time in six years was recorded during 1947 followed by a further small decrease in 1948, and this was followed by much more pronounced decreases in 1949 and 1950. It is worth noting, however, that for every ten marriages solemnized during the latter year, one was dissolved.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petitions and decrees during 1949 and 1950.

Grounds.Petitions Filed.Decrees Absolute Granted.
Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.Husbands' Petitions.Wives.' Petitions.
Bigamy2565 464
Drunkenness, with cruelty, failure to maintain, &c. 1615  68
Rape      1 
Sodomy   1   1
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights18516367472021727154
Separation for not less than three years456441560510395347547474
Non-consummation3 113  2
Affinity   1   1

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 1950 showed the following increases compared with 1938, a normal pre-war year: Adultery, 175 (86.2 per cent.); desertion, 116 (54.7 per cent.); non-compliance with restitution order, 101 (92.7 per cent.); and separation, 316 (49.8 per cent.).

In 634 of the 1,912 cases where petitions for dissolution were filed during 1950 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 519 cases, 2 in 372 cases, 3 in 214 cases, 4 or more in 162 cases, while the number of issue was not stated in eleven cases.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all cases for which petitions for dissolution were filed in the five years 1946 to 1950.

Duration of Marriage, in Years.Husbands' Petitions.Wives' Petitions.
Under 5240213197204191167158169137141
5 and under 10480404308334296343334340282255
10 " 15245218243198212204191243217202
15 " 20166140126128121140122133114128
20 " 30145141162148139141152141127121
30 and over48615655554456343643
Not stated  7113 11105

The number of children affected by the divorce petitions of their parents during each of the last five years was as follows: 1946, 3,120; 1947, 2,978; 1948, 3,108; 1949, 2,885; and 1950, 2,682.


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 56.

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 made it requisite to give additional information concerning issue, and, in the case of married males, age of widow. The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951 consolidated and amended previous legislation on this subject.

Every death occurring in New Zealand is required to be registered within three days after the day of the burial. There is a penalty up to £10 for neglect, the funeral director in charge of the burial being solely responsible for registration. Prior to 1913 the funeral director 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. The principal Act 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.

New provisions in the 1951 Act include prohibition of burial at sea of a person dying in New Zealand except upon the authority of a Coroner, and providing for the registration of the death of a person whose body is removed for anatomical examination under Part II of the Medical Act, 1908, or is removed for burial outside New Zealand.

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, or a Coroner's order to bury the body, renders himself liable to a fine of £50.

From the 1st April, 1952 (reverting to the system followed prior to 1937), it is 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 funeral director in charge of the burial). During the intervening period the medical practitioner was required to deliver the certificate direct to the Registrar. The practitioner is required to report forthwith to the Coroner any case where, in his opinion, the death has occurred in any circumstances of suspicion.

The Act provides for the correction of errors (clerical, of fact, of substance, or of omission) in the register in the manner authorized by the Registrar-General.

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 Second World 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 statutory provision in this connection. The amendment required 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. The Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1951, requires the Registrar-General to compile a register containing particulars of all persons who have died while out of New Zealand on service with any Commonwealth force within the meaning of the Army Act, 1950, and who at the time of their deaths were domiciled in New Zealand.

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 Section 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 10.60 in 1942, but, with the exception of 1945 and 1950 the trend was again 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 recent years.

The death-rates of males and females for each of the years 1940-50 are shown separately in the next table.

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

COMPARISON WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.—An international comparison of death-rates is made in the following table. They are the average of the five years 1945–49 and are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations.

Country.Rates per 1,000 of Population.

* European population only.

Union of South Africa*8.9
New Zealand9.5
United States of America10.1
United Kingdom11.6
Puerto Rico12.4
Costa Rico13.1

DISTRIBUTION OF DEATHS OVER THE YEAR.—An examination of the total number of deaths registered in each quarter of the period 1940-50 gives the following averages: March quarter, 3,388; June quarter, 3,888; September quarter, 4,562; and December quarter, 3,927.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1950 the months during which the greatest number of deaths occurred were June, July, and August, with totals of 1,501, 1709, and 1,729 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths, 1,123, followed by November and April, with 1,251 and 1,268 respectively.

The lowest number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 23, this number occurring on the 29th January. The greatest number (72) occurred on the 26th June.

AGE AT DEATH.—The deaths registered during the year 1950 are tabulated below according to age.

Under 1 month422312734
1-2 months393271
3-5 "544195
6-11 "5454108
1 year463884
2 years272451
10-14 "461864
15-19 "8535120
20-24 "10454158
25-29 "7765142
30-34 "9695191
35-39 "157118275
40-44 "168160328
45-49 "285237522
50-54 years406291697
55-59 "5914301,021
60-64 "8836201,503
65-69 "1,2599112,170
70-74 "1,4481,0882,536
75-79 "1,2951,0212,316
80-84 "9059401,845
85-89 "4885681,056
90-94 "138233371
95-99 "385896
101 "123
102 "112
105 " 11

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

Age. In Years.Number of Deaths.Percentage of Total.
Under 11,7601,5499249901,00818.2612.797.576.936.03
1 and under 54785803272051994.964.792.681.441.19
5 " 1018727116798871.942.241.370.690.52
10 " 15117155105108641.211.280.860.760.38
15 " 202012373351511202.091.961.821.060.72
20 " 252983133372471583.092.582.581.730.95
25 " 303803983372701423.943.292.761.890.85
30 " 354264523372901914.423.732.762.031.14
35 " 403755363743202753.894.433.072.241.65
40 " 453406014783623283.534.963.922.531.96
45 " 503555736404725223.684.745.253.303.12
50 " 553956107947986974.105.046.515.594.17
55 "604956128811,1451,0215.
60 " 655297621,0031,4611,5035.496.298.2210.238.99
65 " 706998741,0771,6972,1707.257.228.8311.8812.98
70 " 758999221,1711,7722,5369.337.619.6012.4115.17
75 " 808551,0961,2421,5562,3168.879.0510.1810.8913.86
80 and over8501,5681,8052,3403,3788.8212.9514.8016.3820.21

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 1950-figures again reflect a declining tendency. Of special significance are the low rates recorded in the childhood and early adult life age-groups in 1950 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.

Beth 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:—

Year.Males. (Years.)Females. (Years.)

There was a striking upward movement in the average age at death between 1901 and 1941; the last ten years, however, have been marked by fluctuations within fairly narrow limits, although there has been an increase over the period. A noticeable feature is that in the earlier years the age for females was considerably lower than that for males, the margin gradually narrowing until virtual equality was reached in 1927-28, since when the female average age at death has been higher than the male.

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


The effect of the lowered infant-mortality rate and the efficacy of the health services generally is clearly demonstrated by the figures. The expectation of life at age 0 has risen by 10-17 years in the case of males and by 10-36 years in the case of females during the period covered by the table. Again, the expectation of life at age 5 in the earlier periods was actually greater than at age 0, the difference in the case of males amounting to 3-00 years in 1891-95, whereas in 1934-38 it was less to the extent of 1-76 years. Even at age 20 there has been an increase in the male expectation of 4-42 years between the first and the latest period, and an increase of 4-83 years in the case of females.

A comparison of the expectation of life at age 0 for various countries is now given. In selecting comparable tables from the experience of other countries 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 (1946-48)66.0770.63
Union of South Africa (1935-37)*58.9563.06
England and Wales (1949)66.0170.63
United States of America (1948)*65.671.0
Netherlands (1947-49)69.471.5
Denmark (1941-45)65.6267.70
Sweden (1941-45)67.0669.71
Belgium (1928-32)56.0259.79
Finland (1941-45)54.6261.14
France (1946-48)62.568.0
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 1950.

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, (one of the most important of which is the Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children which was founded in 1907).

Particulars of deaths of infants under one year of age for each of the years 1940-50 are shown in the following table.

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

In the following table New Zealand's infant-mortality rate is shown in comparison with that of other countries. The figures are taken from the United Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics. It is interesting to observe that the distinction of having the lowest infant-mortality rate in the world now belongs to Sweden, who achieved the phenomenally low ratio of 20 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1950, as compared with New Zealand's 23 for the same year. 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.
New Zealand1946-5024
United States of America1946-5032
Union of South Africa1946-5037
United Kingdom1946-5038
Republic of Ireland1945-4967

The male rate of infant mortality is considerably above the female rate, and this holds almost without exception for each of the four divisions of the first year of life shown in the next table.

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

The number of female deaths in each age-division expressed as a percentage of the male deaths for the five-year period 1946-50 is as follows, due allowance having been made for the larger number of male births: under one month, 79; one and under three months, 77; three and under six months, 72; six and under twelve months, 88. For the twelve months as a whole the figure was 79 female per 100 male deaths.

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 amongst the first class are due principally to causes associated with gestation and parturition. The second group covers those infants who have succumbed in the main to causes arising from post-natal influences such as the various epidemic diseases, diseases of the respiratory system, faulty feeding, and other environmental factors. The first group presents the greater problem to the public-health worker of to-day, but the history of the rapid decline in infant-mortality rate is a measure of past successes in combating the post-natal causes of deaths in infants.

The next table shows that, whereas in the quinquennium 1946-50 the death-rate for children under one month of age was 42 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 1946-50, however, indicate that whereas this group recorded a decrease of 13 per cent. from 1941-45, the one-month-and-over group declined by 31 per cent.

Period.Deaths per 1,000 Births.
Under 1 Year.Under 1 MonthBetween 1 and 12 Months.

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

It would appear that on the one hand the diseases that can be combated openly, such as epidemic diseases, respiratory diseases, and diseases due to faulty nourishment, &c. (i.e., diseases of the digestive system), have shown a definite response to the strenuous campaigns launched against them; while, on the other hand, many infants are evidently non-viable at birth. 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.

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 epidemic diseases still continues to decline, and it is interesting to note that very nearly half the total under this heading in the years 1947-50 were due to whooping-cough, while an additional 25 per cent. were assigned to influenza. During the three year period, 1948-50, there were only two deaths of infants from diphtheria and 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.
1947-1950 (Four yrs.)

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 which, together with deaths in the first month of life, are for the most part associated with ante-natal influences and child-birth. Still-births and neo-natal deaths are therefore considered together in the next table and are computed as rates per 1,000 total births. 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.” From 1950 onwards infant deaths are classified according to the Sixth (1948) Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. This system provides for the fact of prematurity to be recorded as a contributory cause when death is assigned to a disease peculiar to early infancy. The effect of this is to reduce considerably the number of deaths which under the previous classification would have been assigned to prematurity. In 1950, 224 deaths of infants under 1 month were assigned to premature birth, whilst in an additional 144 cases prematurity was stated as a contributory cause. This makes a total of 368, or 50 per cent. of neo-natal deaths associated with premature births.

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 the last three years 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. Lack of such information represented a gap in our records. There is still lacking information on birth-weight and period gestation, both of normal and premature children. It is hoped that this will be remedied shortly.

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

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

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

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

Provision was made in the certificate for the insertion of information concerning both fœtal and maternal causes of the still-birth. Of the 865 still-births registered during 1950, in 39 cases (5 per cent.) the cause was not known or not stated. Fœtal causes only were specified in 473 cases (55 per cent.); maternal causes only in 142 (16 per cent.); while for 211 still-births, or 24 per cent. of the total, there were both fœtal and maternal causes present.

The following table shows the 865 still-births registered during 1950 classified (a) according to fœtal causes and (b) according to maternal causes.

Causes of Still-birth.Number of Cases.
(a) Maternal Causes
Chronic disease in mother13922
Acute disease in mother5510
Diseases and conditions of pregnancy and childbirth8883171
Difficulties in labour8252134
Other causes in mother9716
No maternal cause292220512
(b) Fœtal Causes
Placental and cord conditions188128316
Birth injury151227
Congenital malformation of fœtus5756113
Diseases of fœtus, and ill-defined causes125103228
No fœtal cause10477181

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. Almost all countries are member States of the World Health Assembly, and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death has world-wide application.

The sixth (1948) revision of the classification was applied in New Zealand to the deaths for 1950. At the same time a departure was made from the previous arbitrary rules of selection when more than one cause of death was entered on a certificate, to an assignment according to what is termed the underlying cause of death. This may be defined as (a) the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death, or (b) the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury. The responsibility for indicating the train of events is placed on the physician or surgeon signing the medical certificate of death.

The following table shows the numbers of deaths and death-rates per 10,000 of mean population according to the Abbreviated List of 50 Causes (Sixth Revision, 1948). In order to provide a comparison with the year 1950 the individual causes for each of the years 1946 to 1949 were, wherever possible, reassembled under the headings of the 1948 revision of the classification. It should be observed that no allowance was possible for the alteration in method of primary cause selection.

The statistics for tuberculosis, cancer, puerperal causes, and violent 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.

* Comparative figures not obtainable.

Tuberculosis of respiratory system4604414083653512.772.602.362.071.95
Tuberculosis, other forms100826170610.600.480.350.400.34
Syphilis and its sequelæ1201108271910.720.650.470.400.51
Typhoid fever793320.
Dysentery, all forms723350.
Scarlet fever and streptococcal sore throat113 0.01
Meningococcal infections1789790.
Acute poliomyelitis49521320.020.050.300.070.01
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic64615655850.390.360.320.310.47
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues2,3572,4312,5632,5882,65214.2214.3614.8414.6914.77
Benign and unspecified neoplasms65642346550.390.380.130.260.31
Diabetes mellitus3383283473552282.041.942.012.021.27
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system****1,824****10.16
Nonmeningococcal meningitis19142015180.
Rheumatic fever191369140.
Chronic rheumatic heart disease1932102512582331.161.241.451.461.30
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart-disease5,6195,5675,4305,74459533.8932.8831.4432.613.31
Other diseases of heart Hypertension with heart-disease    653    3.64
Hypertension without mention of heart****162****0.90
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum1401491491471460.840.880.860.830.81
Intestinal obstruction and hernia1171061231151270.710.630.710.650.71
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis and colitis, except diarrhœa of the newborn83686585860.500.400.380.480.48
Cirrhosis of liver43404256540.
Nephritis and nephrosis****212****1.18
Hyperplasia of prostate117127 1061490.710.75 0.600.83
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium86485645400.520.280.320.260.22
Congenital malformations2432602062172991.471.541.191.231.66
Birth injuries, post-natal asphyxia and atelectasis    270    1.50
Infections of the newborn682688585640254.114.063.393.630.14
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity, unqualified682688585640254.114.063.393.630.14
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill-defined and unknown causes3283032122061861.881.791.231.171.04
All other diseases****1,334****7.43
Motor vehicle accidents1752041811952121.
All other accidents5155006185475003.112.953.583.112.78
Suicide and self-inflicted injury1661351811711651.000.801.050.970.92
Homicide and operations of war15101920210.090.660.110.110.12

NOTE.—The following diseases, cholera, plague, smallpox, typhus, and malaria are not normally encountered in New Zealand.

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 1946-50 is a noteworthy achievement. The rate for 1950, 1.95 per 10,000 of population, is a record low rate for this country.

In addition to the 351 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1950, there were 61 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, comprising—

Tuberculosis of meninges and nervous system24
Tuberculosis of intestines, peritoneum and mesentery3
Tuberculosis of bones and joints13
Tuberculosis of lymphatic system2
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system10
Tuberculosis of adrenal glands1
Tuberculosis of other organs1
Disseminated tuberculosis7

The following table shows the number of deaths from tuberculosis in 1950, classified according to sex and age-groups. Of those dying from this cause in 1950, persons under the age of 45 years formed 45 per cent.

Age, In Years.Males.Females.Totals.
Under 513417
5 and under 10156
10 " 15 44
15 " 20527
20 " 2581523
25 " 3041620
30 " 35191534
35 " 40191837
40 " 45211839
45 and under 50311445
50 " 5528735
55 " 6025833
60 " 65241236
65 " 7021930
70 " 7517623
75 " 8012517
80 and over426

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 and method of treatment 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 1949 report of the Department of Health contains data covering the twenty-six years from 1924 to 1949.

Attention is drawn to the transference, under the 1948 Revision of the International Classification, of Hodgkin's disease, leukaemia, &c., into the category of malignant diseases. This classification was introduced in 1950, and all cancer figures quoted for that year include these conditions.

Cancer is annually responsible for more deaths in New Zealand than can be assigned to any cause other than diseases of the heart. While it is most prevalent in middle and old age, it exacts a heavy toll throughout the life-span. With the inclusion of Hodgkin's disease and leukaemia under the cancer heading the disease assumes a very high position as a cause of death among children and adolescents. It is interesting to compare the decline in the death-rate from tuberculosis with the rise in the cancer death-rate. These rates are set out in the following table and diagram. The fall in the tuberculosis rate may be said to reflect the achievements of the public health service whilst the rise in the cancer rate portrays the increasing age of the population.

This is illustrated by the following figures:—

 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.

In 1950 there were 2,652 deaths from cancer in New Zealand, a proportion of 14.77 per 10,000 of mean population.

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

* Standard population used for standardized rates—England and Wales 1901.

Includes Hodgkin's disease, leukaemia, &c.


A summary showing the location of the disease in deaths from cancer during 1950 is as follows:—

Site of Disease.Numbers.Rates per 10,000 of Mean Population.
Buccal cavity and pharynx5215670.580.170.37
Intestine, except rectum1421943361.582.171.87
Trachea, and of bronchus and lung not specified as secondary170281981.890.311.10
Cervix uteri 7777 0.860.43
Other and unspecified parts of uterus 5353 0.590.30
Prostate134 1341.49 0.75
Bone and connective tissue198270.210.090.15
All other and unspecified sites2982875853.313.203.26
Leukaemia and aleukaemia58471050.640.520.58
Lymphosarcoma and other neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic system60411010.670.460.56

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 new become more stabilized. A classification according to sex and age-groups for 1950 is now given.

Age, in Years.Males.Females.Totals.
Under 510818
5 and under 1010414
10 " 157411
15 " 20336
20 " 259211
25 " 309716
30 " 3641822
35 " 40252853
40 " 45265076
45 " 504877125
50 and under 558499183
55 " 60121149270
60 " 65156131287
65 " 70255199454
70 " 75257190447
75 " 80209145354
80 and over163142305

Ninety-one per cent. of the deaths from cancer during 1950 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 59 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 1950 of 0.90 being a new record. This 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 complications of childbirth were also unusually few during 1949 and 1950.

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 four 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.

Details of deaths from deliveries and complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium for the two years 1949 and 1950 are shown in the following summary. The disease headings conform to the 1948 Revision of the Classification introduced in 1950 and the 1949 maternal deaths have been regrouped to enable a comparison to be made with the later year.

Causes of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 1,000 Live Births.
Toxæmias of pregnancy12130.320.30
Placenta prævia2 0.05 
Other hæmorrhage of pregnancy110.020.02
Ectopic pregnancy510.110.02
Other complications arising from pregnancy2 0.05 
Abortion without mention of sepsis or toxæmia110.020.02
Abortion with sepsis380.070.18
Delivery complicated by placenta prævia or ante-partum hæmorrhage310.070.02
Delivery complicated by retained placenta120.020.05
Delivery complicated by other post-partum hæmorrhage 50.050.11
Delivery complicated by disproportion or malposition of fœtus1 0.02 
Delivery with other trauma 1 0.02
Delivery with other complications of childbirth3 0.07 
Sepsis of childbirth and the puerperium 2 0.05
Puerperal phlebitis and thrombosis310.070.02
Puerperal pulmonary embolism510.110.02
Puerperal eclampsia 3 0.07
Other and unspecified complications of the puerperium1 0.02 
  Totals, including septic abortion45401.020.90
  Totals, excluding septic abortion42320.950.72

A summary of maternal mortality from all puerperal causes, in triennial periods since 1927, is now given.

Puerperal sepsis1285839444630125
Eclampsia and other toxæmias10197939480586244
Septic abortion4785916858613317
Accidents, hæmorrhage, and other mortality124124104911359411079
  Total maternal mortality400364327297319243217145
  Maternal mortality excluding septic abortion353279236229261182184128

This information, in the form of deaths per 1,000 births for the same periods, is portrayed graphically below.

DEATHS FROM EXTERNAL CAUSES.—Deaths from external causes, apart from suicide, claim approximately 4 per cent. of the total deaths. The following table shows deaths from external causes for the two years 1949 and 1950 according to the Intermediate List of the 1948 Revision of the International Classification. It is necessary to refer to the detailed list of circumstances of accident or means of injury if a comparison with years prior to 1949 is required, as the inclusions under the headings below differ considerably from past practice.—e.g., drowning from boats and ships or from horseback whilst crossing rivers are included below as transport fatalities, as also are falls on board ship and from horseback.

Cause of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per Million of Mean Population.
Motor-vehicle accidents195212111118
Other transport accidents108856147
Accidental poisoning161799
Accidental falls1481498483
Accident caused by machinery18311017
Accident caused by fire and explosion of combustible material2011116
Accident caused by hot substance, corrosive liquid, steam, and radiation1814108
Accident caused by firearm1319711
Accidental drowning and submersion78644436
All other accidental causes1281107362
Homicide and injury purposely inflicted by other persons (not in war)2017119
Injury resulting from operations of war 4 2

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1950 was 712, corresponding to a rate of 3.96 per 10,000 of population. By comparison with 1935, there was an increase of 99 in the number of deaths, but the death-rate has decreased by 0.17 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 Mean Population.

Deaths arising out of aircraft accidents fell off steeply after 1945. This was to be expected, since the figures include Air Force accidents in New Zealand as well as civilian casualties. In 1948 the crashing on Mount Ruapehu of a National Airways Corporation plane with the less of 13 lives was the principal cause of the high figure for civil air transport accidents in that year. New Zealand's worst air disaster occurred in 1949, when fifteen lives were lost in a crash at Waikanae. The figure of 25 deaths is the highest total recorded in a non-war year. The sharp increase in 1943 in deaths due to railway accidents is accounted for by one serious accident near Hyde in Central Otago, which resulted in twenty-one deaths. In 1948 a derailment near Blenheim resulting in the loss of six lives was a substantial contribution to the total in that year.

Deaths from motor-vehicle accidents recorded an appreciable increase up to 1930, but this trend was reversed during the depression years, largely due to a great reduction in the number of motor-vehicles on the roads during that period. With the advent of more prosperous times, the toll of the motor-vehicle again mounted, although, fortunately, not in proportion to the tremendous increase in motor-vehicular traffic on the highways. The 1938 total was the highest ever recorded in New Zealand. An appreciable drop, however, was experienced during the war years on account of there being less traffic on the roads owing to restrictions in the use of motor-spirits and rubber tires. With the gradual resumption of normal traffic since the war, the number of fatalities from motor-vehicle accidents is again increasing.

The figures given for deaths from motor-vehicle accidents (which do not include deaths of Maoris) are exclusive of accidents where persons have been killed in collisions between motor-vehicles and trains or trams, these being assigned to the heavier vehicle. For 1950 there were 14 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor-vehicle was involved up to 212. The corresponding figure for 1949 was 195. Further data regarding accidents will be found elsewhere in this volume (see Index). A later section is devoted wholly to statistics of industrial accidents.

SUICIDES.—Suicidal deaths in 1950 numbered 165—males 121, females 44—the death-rate per 10,000 of mean population being 0.92.

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

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

Annual Average duringMales.Females.Both Sexes.


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

MAORI BIRTHS.—In the successive Registration Acts special provision was made for exemption from the necessity of registration in the case of births and deaths of Maoris, though registration could be effected if desired. Section 20 of the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act, 1912 (now section 52 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1951), empowered the making of regulations to provide for the registration of births and deaths of Maoris. Regulations were made accordingly, and Maori births and deaths became registrable as from 1st March, 1913. The number of Registrars of Maori Births and Deaths in New Zealand is over 250, most of these being in the North Island, where the great majority of the Maori population is located. Every Maori settlement of any size is within reach of one of these Registrars. Maori registrations are entered in a separate register, which does not, however, make provision for as many particulars as is the case with registrations of Europeans.

The number of births of Maoris registered during 1950 was 5,105 (2,606 males, 2,499 females). The Maori birth-rate in 1950 was almost twice the European birth-rate (24.56 per 1,000). Registrations of Maori births in each of the last five years were as follows:—

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

Prior to 1946 there was reason to believe that the number of Maori births was somewhat understated and this view was confirmed by the registration figures for 1946, the year in which the provision of family benefits under the Social Security scheme was extended to cover all children under sixteen years of age irrespective of the income of the parents. Of the 5,776 Maori births registered during 1946, no fewer than 1,447, or 25 per cent. had actually occurred before 1945—i.e., over a year before registration.

For population purposes, half-castes and persons between half and full blood rank as Maoris; but it is not always possible to ensure that this practice is followed in the registration of births (and of deaths).

MAORI MARRIAGES.—In cases where both parties to a marriage were of the Maori race there was no necessity under the Marriage Act to comply with the provisions of that Act, though the parties were at liberty to take advantage thereof. Considerable inconvenience, however, was found to exist on account of the non-registration of Maori marriages, and a section was inserted in the Maori Land Act, 1909, and re-enacted in 1931, whereby it was laid down that Maori marriages must be celebrated either under the provisions of the Marriage Act or in the presence of a registered officiating minister, but without complying with the other requirements of the Marriage Act. Ministers solemnizing either class of marriage must send returns to the Registrar-General. A marriage between a Maori and a European must be celebrated under the provisons of the Marriage Act, and does not rank as a Maori marriage.

A complete change has been brought about by the Maori Purposes Act, 1951. The view was taken that the Maori race had now reached a stage where such special dispensations were no longer justifiable. After 1st April, 1952, all Maori marriages will be subject to the ordinary laws affecting European marriages. No subsequent marriage according to Maori custom will be held valid. As a result it will not be possible in future to distinguish marriages of Maoris from those of Europeans and Maori marriage statistics will lapse.

Returns of 595 marriages in which both parties were of the Maori race were received during the year 1950. The figures for each of the last five years are as follows:—

Year.Under Maori Land Act.Under Marriage Act.Totals.

The number of Maori marriages declined considerably during the earlier war years, reaching a low point in 1943, and although there has been some increase since, it is still below pre-war proportions.

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

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

The rates for the two sexes are much more nearly equal for Maoris than for the rest of the population, the female rate being indeed higher than the male in some years. The total Maori death-rate has shown considerable improvement during recent years, with a decline from 20.59 in 1941 to 12.09 in 1950.

Apart from mere numbers by sex, statistics of Maori deaths are not available prior to 1920, but annual tabulations are now made on the bases of age and cause of death. The ages of Maoris whose deaths were registered during the year 1950 were as shown in the following table.

Age, in Years.Males.FemalesTotals.
Under 1188168356
1 and under 57259131
5 " 10261844
10 " 15151732
15 " 20283159
20 " 25243761
25 " 30243155
30 " 35241539
35 " 40243256
40 " 45302050
45 " 50252449
50 " 55302151
55 " 60332154
60 and under 65392463
65 " 70383270
70 " 75362561
75 " 80382058
80 " 8519827
85 " 9091524
90 " 956511
95 " 1004610
100 and over 55

Causes of Maori Deaths.—With the exception of diphtheria and scarlet fever, epidemic and infectious diseases generally exact a much heavier toll proportionately among Maoris than among the European population, the most noteworthy examples being tuberculosis, particularly of the respiratory system, and typhoid fever. Other diseases of the respiratory system also show much higher rates for Maoris than for Europeans, and the same state of affairs is disclosed for diarrhœal diseases and stomach complaints.

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

A summary is here given showing Maori deaths for the five years 1945 to 1949 from the principal causes and groups of causes on the basis of the Fifth (1938) Revision of the International Classification of Causes of Death.

Cause of Death.Number of Deaths.Rate per 10,000 of Mean Maori Population.
Typhoid fever7712440.690.691.140.370.36
Whooping-cough8 1528310.79 1.432.602.80
Pulmonary tuberculosis29229327620820428.9828.8226.2619.2918.45
Other forms of tuberculosis851027469658.4410.037.046.405.88
Cerebral hæmorrhage33143621323.281.383.431.952.89
Convulsions (under five years)1134341.090.300.380.280.36
Diarrhœa and enteritis1148671547111.328.466.765.016.42
Ill-defined or not specified1141612181.090.391.521.111.63
Other causes30128128631829829.8827.6427.2129.4926.96

The Introduction of the Sixth (1948) Revision of the International Classification of Causes of Death in 1950, together with the change to assignment according to the underlying cause of death, prevent accurate comparisons being made between the 1950 mortality tabulations and those for antecedent years in the above table. The following table shows the Maori deaths for 1950 classified according to the Abbreviated List of the 1948 Revision.

Cause of Death.Number of Deaths, 1950.Rate per 10,000 of Mean Maori Population, 1950.
Tuberculosis of respiratory system19417.13
Tuberculosis, other forms605.30
Syphilis and its sequelæ90.79
Typhoid fever50.44
Dysentery, all forms70.62
Scarlet fever and streptococcal sore throat10.09
Meningococcal infections  
Acute poliomyelitis  
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic100.88
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and hæmatopoietic tissues655.74
Benign and unspecified neoplasms40.35
Diabetes mellitus40.35
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system312.74
Nonmeningococcal meningitis181.59
Rheumatic fever90.79
Chronic rheumatic heart-disease383.36
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease14112.45
Other diseases of heart464.06
Hypertension with heart-disease90.79
Hypertension without mention of heart20.18
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum20.18
Intestinal obstruction and hernia100.88
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhœa of the newborn504.41
Cirrhosis of liver50.44
Nephritis and nephrosis191.68
Hyperplasia of prostate10.09
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium121.06
Congenital malformations211.85
Birth injuries, postnatal asphyxia, and atelectasis554.86
Infections of the newborn80.71
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity unqualified756.62
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill-defined and unknown causes272.38
All other diseases968.48
Motor-vehicle accidents262.30
All other accidents746.53
Suicide and self-inflicted injury70.62
Homicide and operations of war30.26

From 1925 onwards information has been obtained as to whether the cause of death has been certified by a medical practitioner or a Coroner's inquest. As an indication of the improvements achieved in the specifying of the causes of deaths of Maoris, it may be said that in 1925, out of a total of 867 deaths, 446 or 51 per cent. were definitely shown to have been certified, while in 1950 the number so certified was 1,276 out of 1,369 registrations, equivalent to 93 per cent.

MAORI INFANT MORTALITY.—As regards infant mortality, the Maori rate is much higher and more variable than the European, principally owing to the ravages of epidemic diseases, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhœal diseases. The infant mortality rate for the first year of life was, for the five years 194–50, 76 per 1,000 births in the case of Maoris, as compared with 24 per 1,000 among European infants. The decrease in the Maori infant mortality rate during the years 1946 and 1947 is more apparent than real as the birth figures on which they are based include a considerable number of late registrations of hitherto unregistered births (see p. 101).

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

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

The next table shows for the year 1950 the principal causes of death of Maori infants, in the various subdivisions of the first year of life. The classification is according to the Sixth (1948) Revision of the International Classification of Causes of Death.

Cause of Death.Under 1 Day.1 Day and under 2 Days.2 Days and under 1 Week.1 Week and under 2 Weeks.2 Weeks and under 3 Weeks.3 Weeks and under 1 Month.1 Month and under 2 Months.2 Months and under 3 Months3 Months and under 6 Months.6 Months and under 9 Months.9 Months and under 12 Months.Totals.
Tuberculosis        1517
Syphilis  1   2    3
Typhoid fever          11
Dysentery, all forms      1 31 5
Whooping-cough     1  3 37
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic   3 1     4
Malignant neoplasms          11
Nonmeningococcal meningitis      122117
Disease of the heart        1  1
Influenza        73 10
Pneumonia, except of newborn      5935242497
Bronchitis        2417
Intestinal obstruction and hernia      2   13
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhœa of newborn      2 1010729
Congenital malformations315   12 2 14
Birth injuries1197211     31
Postnatal asphyxia and atelectasis687    111 24
Infections of the newborn1 24 1     8
Immaturity unqualified341053 2     54
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy42411 3231 21
Ill-defined conditions11    1  126
Accidents   11 3112 9
Other diseases        5117

Of the total of 8 deaths in the above table due to infections of the newborn, 6 were defined as diarrhœa and 1 as pneumonia. Immaturity unqualified accounted for 54 infant deaths but in a further 17 deaths due to diseases peculiar to early infancy, prematurity was an associated condition.

The great achievement in reducing the infant mortality rate for the European population has been accomplished during the period after the first month of life up to the end of the first year. Conversely, the causes of the extremely high Maori mortality rates are to be found in the same period of life. This is indicated in the next table, which contrasts the mortality rates per 1,000 live births for European and Maori infants respectively for the last twenty years.

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

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


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

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

TOTAL BIRTHS.—As mentioned previously, registrations of Maori births are somewhat less accurate (although improvement has been manifest recently) than those of the European population. Consequently, in considering the birth statistics of the whole population, allowance must be made for the element of inaccuracy and incompleteness affecting a proportion of the figures.

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

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

The abnormal increase in the number of Maori births shown for the year 1946 is mainly accounted for by the late registration of births which occurred prior to 1946 (see p. 101).

The inclusion of Maoris raises the level of the birth-rate all through the period covered, but in no case does it reverse the trend of the rate on the normal published basis—i.e., the birth-rate of New Zealand, exclusive of Maoris. In an international comparison for the quinquennium 1945–49, the inclusion of Maoris raises New Zealand's position from fifteenth to thirteenth in a total of twenty-nine countries covered.

TOTAL NATURAL INCREASE.—The birth and death rates of the European population are not subject to violent fluctuation, and consequently the natural-increase rate—i.e., excess of births over deaths—for this section of the population follows an even trend in the twenty years covered by the next table, with a gradual decline from 1931 to 1936, followed by a steady rise from 1937 to 1941. A temporary decline was experienced during the next two years, but regular and substantial increases were evident in each of the following years up to 1947. Since then a regular decline has been noted each year. The Maori population, on the other hand, evinces sudden changes in both birth and death rates, with a resultant considerable fluctuation in the natural-increase rate, especially in some years where the respective rates exhibit violent changes in opposite directions. The effect of combining the two sections of the populations is to smooth out the variations in the Maori rate of natural increase, and occasionally to reverse the trend of the European rate. The following table shows the numbers gained by natural increase, together with the rate per 1,000 of mean population for each of the years 1931–50.

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

In the twenty years, 1931–50, New Zealand has gained by natural increase of the population a total of 414,341, comprising 363,578 Europeans and 50,763 Maoris.

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

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