Table of Contents


THE New Zealand Official Year-Book is the annual compendium of information on the history, geography, legislation, and the economic and social development of the country. In its pages are comprehensive facts and figures on New Zealand's social and economic characteristics and progress.

In this, the sixty-third issue, the customary intensive revision of basic material has been made. Substantial revision has been made to the text in the sections on production and marketing of primary produce, apprenticeship, and the note on liquor licensing in the miscellaneous section.

Some additions have been made, notably the short accounts of marginal lands and soil conservation in Section 18, the introductory note on the history of manufacturing in Section 24, a short explanation of the PAYE system of taxation in Section 30B, and an analysis of public company financial statements in Section 33D.

A special article in this issue covers in broad outline New Zealand's activities in the Antarctic in recent years, including the part played by New Zealanders in the trans-Antarctic crossing and this country's participation in the International Geophysical Year programme in the Antarctic.

Aspects of manufacturing industries are covered in the photographs.

I desire to express my appreciation to officers of this and other Government Departments for their assistance in preparing material and to the Government Printer and his staff for cooperation in the printing of this volume. My special thanks are extended to Mr J. B. McKinney, M.A., Admin. Prof., Editor of Publications, and members of the Editorial Branch and Statistical Draughting Unit of the Department of Statistics.

                                                                                                                        J. V. T. BAKER,
                                                                                                                 Government Statistician.

Department of Statistics,
            1 July 1958.


(Obtainable from the Government Printer, Publications Branch, Wellington)
TitleLatest No.Date of IssuePrice Per Copy (Post Free)

* £2 10s. per annum (post free).

† Cyclostyled copies showing numbers with overseas War Service, enumerated in each county, borough, and town district at the 1951 Census, are available on application (no charge) from the Department.

 s. d.
Annual Report of the Department of Statistics (H. 39)1958July 19581 0
New Zealand Official Year-Book1958September 195815 0
Pocket Digest of New Zealand Statistics1957-58May 19583 6
Annual Statistical Reports:
     Balance of Payments1956-57December 19575 6
     External Trade Statistics, Report on and Analysis of1955 and 1956July 195814 6
     Farm Production Statistics1955-56 and 1956-57October 195811 6
     Income and Income Tax Statistics for the Income Year1954-55March 19588 6
     Industrial Accidents Statistics1956June 19586 6
     Industrial Production Statistics1956-57October 195830 0
     Insurance Statistics1956May 19585 6
     Justice Statistics1956May 19589 6
     National Income and Sector Accounts1956-57December 19579 6
     Population, Migration, and Building Statistics1956-57February 19588 6
     Prices, Wages, and Labour Statistics1956January 195810 6
     Shipping and Other Transport Statistics1957August 19587 6
     Vital Statistics1957September 19587 6
Local Authorities Handbook of New Zealand1955-56February 195815 0
Monthly Abstract of Statistics*....5 0
       Factory Production Statistics (March Abstract)1956-57April 1958     
       National Income and Expenditure (July Abstract)1957-58August 1958     
       New Zealand Prices and Wages Index Numbers 1913-1957 (April Abstract)     May 1958     
       New Zealand's Trade with European Economic Community Countries (Oct. Abstract)     November 1957     
       Population Projections 1955-1980 (June Abstract)     July 1958     
       Retail Trading Statistics (Quarterly Issue)June QuarterSeptember 1958     
     Special Supplements:
       Consumers' Price Index, 1955 Revision (November Abstract)     December 19563 0
       New Zealand Tables of Working Life, 1951 (February Abstract)     March 19572 0
       Report on the Inter-Industry Study of the New Zealand Economy in 1952-53 (February Abstract)     March 19571 6
Agricultural and Pastoral Statistics of New Zealand, 1861-1954     July 19562 0
Final Report on the Census of Farm Production1949-50May 195611 6
Volumes of 1956 Census Results:
     Vol. I. Increase and Location of Population1956March 195816 6
     Appendix A. Census of Poultry1956February 19584 6
     Interim Returns of Population and Dwellings1956November 19564 6
Volumes of 1951 Census Results:
     Vol. I. Increase and Location of Population1951April 19537 6
     Vol. II. Ages and Marital Status1951January 195410 6
     Vol. III. Religious Professions (Including Summaries for Dependent Children, Race, and War Service)1951November 19535 0
     Vol. IV. Industries, Occupations, and Incomes1951September 195412 6
     Vol. V. Birthplaces and Duration of Residence of Overseas-Born1951December 19545 0
     Vol. VI. Maori Census1951January 19556 6
     Vol VII. Dwellings and Households1951August 19546 0
     Vol. VIII. General Report1951August 195625 6
     Appendix A. Census of Poultry1951February 19532 6
     Appendix B. Life Tables 1950-52 and Values of Annuities1951December 19565 6
     War Service1951November 1953     
Census of Distribution, 19531953April 19546 0
Census of Public Libraries, 19541954June 19554 6


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 (p. 35).—Recent population changes are given in the following table.

Year EndedMalesFemalesTotalMean Population for Year
Total Population (Including Maoris)
30 June 19571,120,6961,108,7112,229,4072,206,222
30 September 19571,128,5951,115,2182,243,8132,219,246
31 December 19571,137,7991,125,0152,262,8142,232,591
31 March 19581,144,6701,130,8452,275,5152,246,093
Maori Population
30 June 195773,15970,181143,340140,737
30 September 195773,79570,819144,614142,012
31 December 195774,27471,397145,671143,284
31 March 195875,00472,114147,118144,550

The above figures are exclusive of the population of the Cook Islands, 16,810 (at 31 March 1957); Niue Island, 4,734 (at 31 December 1957); Tokelau Islands, 1,690 (at 31 March 1958); and Western Samoa, 101,042 (at 31 March 1958).

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 in 1957 at 37,662 constituting a record.

Migration (pp. 36-39).—The total number of arrivals in New Zealand during the year ended 31 March 1958 was 198,458, while the total number of departures in the same year was 181,873. Excluding crews, through passengers and tourists on cruising liners, arrivals totalled 79,666 and departures 64,258, making the net excess of arrivals 15,408, as compared with 11,492 in 1956-57. A classification of total arrivals and departures gives the following results.

Year Ended 31 March
               Migration: Arrivals 
Immigrants intending permanent residence23,03026,254
New Zealand residents returning25,04623,640
Through passengers and tourists on cruising liners20,71831,468
          Total arrivals170,511198,458
               Migration: Departures 
New Zealand residents departing—
Temporary residents departing29,18131,640
Through passengers and tourists on cruising liners20,71831,468
          Total departures159,656181,873

Until 1953-54, recent statistics of the numbers of immigrants intending permanent residence had shown considerable increases—arrivals under this heading being 18,234 in 1950-51, 24,922 in 1951-52, and 29,005 in 1952-53. However, this upward trend was halted in 1953-54, when a substantial decrease of 4,109 on the previous year was shown, the total being 24,896. This downward trend continued in 1954-55, when the figure was 19,453, another drop of 5,443 on the previous year. However, 1955-56 showed an increase once again, total immigrant arrivals being 20,878, an increase of 1,425, over the previous year. This upward move has continued with the immigrant arrivals in 1956-57 showing an increase of 2,152 over 1955-56, and 1957-58 showing an increase of 3,224 over 1956-57.

The continuation of assisted passages for certain classes of immigrants is reflected in the statistics. The following were the numbers arriving under this heading over the past five years: 1953-54, 6,299; 1954-55, 4,332; 1955-56, 5,123; 1956-57, 4,593; 1957-58, 4,579.

In response to an international appeal, New Zealand agreed during 1956-57 to accept a number of Hungarian refugees. The first of these arrived in December 1956, 617 arriving during 1956-57, and a further 451 during 1957-58. They are not included in the assisted immigrant figures covered in the previous paragraph.

In 1957-58 while assisted immigrants just failed to reach the previous year's level, unassisted immigrants (including the Hungarian refugees mentioned above) rose by 17.6 per cent compared with the previous year.


Timber Production

Timber: Production (pp. 563-565).—Provisional figures issued by the New Zealand Forest Service indicate a continued high level of timber production for the year ended 31 March 1958, the output of rough-sawn timber being given as 596,800,000 board feet, substantially the same output as the previous year. The output of the principal species was as follows: rimu and miro, 218,900,000 board feet; matai, 33,100,000 board feet; kahikatea, 18,100,000 board feet; beech, 14,700,000 board feet; totara, 10,900,000 board feet; tawa, 13,300,000 board feet; and exotic pines, 268,000,000 board feet. Indigenous species totalled 314,400,000 board feet, and exotics, 282,400,000 board feet.

Factory Production Statistics, 1956-57

Despite a fairly substantial increase in output by the paper and paper products group in 1956-57 (amounting to 17.5 per cent) and also, though to a lesser extent, by beverages (5.1 per cent) and printing and publishing (4.4 per cent), the overall totals for New Zealand's factory production in the 1956-57 year recorded an increase of only 0.6 per cent in volume over the previous year. The annual increases in volume of output in the two previous years were 5.7 per cent for 1955-56 and 10.2 per cent in 1954-55. Nine industrial groups showed declines in volume of output in the latest year, the more significant being: Tobacco, 1.9 per cent; footwear and clothing, 3.1 per cent; leather and leather products, 9.2 per cent; rubber products, 1.4 per cent; non-metallic mineral products, 3.0 per cent; and electrical machinery and appliances, 3.1 per cent. The miscellaneous group, heavily weighted by metal products, machinery, and transport equipment, recorded a decrease of 0.6 per cent.

The number of factories surveyed declined from 8,515 in 1955-56 to 8,488 in 1956-57. The average number of persons engaged in factories also declined since the previous year—from 158,148 to 156,651, a decrease of 1.0 per cent, while overtime worked by all wage-earners in 1956-57 at 19,243,074 hours represented a decline since 1955-56 of 8.5 per cent. Average overtime hours worked by all wage-earners in 1956-57 were 180 hours for males and 38 hours for females, as against 195 and 41 respectively in the previous year. Fourteen of the twenty groups shown recorded declines in total overtime hours worked, particularly severe decreases being reported in the following three groups—metal products, 20.3 per cent; machinery (except electrical), 26.5 per cent; and electrical machinery and appliances, 16.1 per cent.

The total number of persons engaged decreased by 1,497 from 1955-56 (358 males and 1,139 females). The following groups of industries recorded significant changes from the previous year: footwear and clothing (—1,371), wood and cork (—465), machinery except electrical (—414), and electrical machinery and appliances (—434); while 1956-57 figures for the following three groups were all well above those for the previous year: paper and paper products (+ 261), printing and publishing (+ 227), and transport equipment (+ 745).

Total salaries and wages paid during the year, at £110,868,088, were nearly £3 million higher than in 1955-56, an increase of 2.8 per cent. Wages paid in industry during 1956-57 averaged £764 for males and £404 for females as against £741 and £390 during the previous year, increases of 3.1 and 3.6 per cent respectively. These averages include overtime payments and bonuses, etc.

Added value, at £207,005,939, represents the total contribution to New Zealand's production in 1956-57 by manufacturers covered in this series and shows a rise of 2.9 per cent over 1955-56. Whereas only one industrial group in 1955-56 recorded a decline in added value over the previous year, six groups of industries did so in 1956-57, viz.—tobacco, textiles, footwear and clothing, leather and leather products, machinery (except electrical), and electrical machinery and appliances. Of the £5.8 million increase in added value in 1956-57 the following three groups accounted for over £5 million—food, £1.9 million; paper and paper products, £2.3 million; and transport equipment, £1.1 million.

Capital expenditure during 1956-57 amounted to £24.3 million compared with £25.5 million and £20.6 million in 1955-56 and 1954-55 respectively. These amounts cannot however be treated as the total capital expended by New Zealand manufacturers, as they do not take into account capital expenditure on units not yet in production.

A point of interest is the relative share of net production (added value) taken by the salary and wage earner as opposed to the manufacturer. In 1956-57 salaries and wages represented 53.6 per cent of added value, the same percentage as in the previous year, while the manufacturers' surplus was 17.5 per cent of added value in 1956-57 as against 18.3 per cent in the previous year.

This series of industrial production statistics compiled by the Department of Statistics covers 80 per cent of the labour force engaged in manufacturing activity. Actually the proportion of industrial production covered by the survey would be greater than 80 per cent, in that all establishments of any considerable size are included.

The year covered by these statistics is in general that ended 31 March 1957, although concerns are permitted to furnish returns covering financial years most closely corresponding to that period. In the case of dairy factories and meat-freezing works the years correspond to the respective seasons ended June and September 1957.

Summary (p. 604).—Following are the principal statistics of factory production for 1956-57, with comparable figures for the two previous years.

General Summary1954-551955-561956-57
* Revised.
Number of establishments8,3668,5158,488
Persons engagedNo.153,558158,148156,651
Production costs—
     Salaries, wages£98,362,829107,870,738110,868,088
     Other expenses£47,943,23056,540,80359,890,151
Value of output£550,790,555586,047,289*601,900,034
Manufacturers' surplus£39,111,02836,757,56936,247,700
Value added in manufacture£185,417,087201,169,110207,005,939
Overtime worked by wage-earnersHrs.19,629,27521,037,04919,243,074
Volume index for industry: Base 1949-50 (= 1000) 130513791387
Premises and plant—
     Value at end of year—
       Land and buildings£80,687,46197,014,215*105,237,510
       Plant and machinery£57,886,92072,859,189*76,185,934
     Capital expenditure during year—
       Land and buildings£8,530,21110,400,461*9,573,848
       Plant and machinery£12,061,18215,113,20514,769,535
Coal consumption as fuelTons898,571955,171994,666

Principal Statistics 1956-57 (p. 628).—The following table gives the number of persons engaged, production costs, value of output, and added value for the year 1956-57, classified according to industry groups.

Industry GroupNumber of Persons EngagedProduction CostsValue of OutputAdded Value
Salaries and WagesMaterialsOther ExpensesTotal
Tobacco manufactures1,1096434,3994585,5016,0731,673
Footwear, other wearing apparel, and made-up textile goods24,27912,16422,3032,93637,40339,47317,170
Wood and cork products (except furniture)12,4519,29719,0615,43733,79536,49817,437
Furniture and fittings4,9443,3305,3968189,54410,3714,975
Paper and paper products4,6153,52410,3777,32121,22222,32311,946
Printing, publishing, etc,9,6847,1937,5643,19817,95520,87313,309
Leather and leather products (except footwear and apparel)1,4949762,5823283,8864,0901,508
Rubber products2,8332,4215,5351,4799,43510,5655,029
Chemicals and chemical products4,9713,72417,5442,93024,19827,0269,482
Petroleum and coal products3202711,6622552,1882,413751
Non-metallic mineral products n.e.i.6,1864,7686,5274,85216,14818,52812,001
Basic metal manufactures8417002,0533383,0913,3801,327
Metal products (except machinery and transport equipment)7,4535,79710,7292,21618,74220,88810,159
Machinery (except electrical)8,7336,76014,9682,38024,10826,10211,134
Electrical machinery and appliances3,8512,6146,1621,1089,88410,6934,531
Transport equipment20,96415,24935,2244,85455,32760,09224,869
Miscellaneous products2,7671,7332,9217655,4205,9263,004
          Totals, all groups156,651110,868394,89459,890565,652601,900207,006

Volume of Industrial Production (p. 626).—The following analysis shows the variations in the volume of industrial production in the several industrial groups. The series is based on the volume of production in 1949-50.

GROUP INDICES: BASE 1949-50 (= 1000)
Industry Group1954-55 Index1955-56 Index1956-57
Index(+) or (−) Over 1955-56
 Per Cent
Tobacco manufactures114811221101-1.87
Footwear, other wearing apparel, and made-up textile goods116111701134-3.13
Wood and cork products (except furniture)125212751272-0.20
Paper and paper products19992,8683,368+17.46
Printing, publishing, etc.136314801545+4.37
Leather and leather products (except footwear and apparel)946883802-9.17
Rubber products2,1882,4072,373-1.39
Chemicals and chemical products141114881490+0.12
Non-metallic mineral products n.e.i.131413971355-3.01
Electrical machinery and appliances139614961450-3.05
Furniture and fittings144415331524−0.58
Petroleum and coal products
Basic metal manufactures
Metal products (except machinery and transport equipment)
Machinery (except electrical)
Transport equipment
Miscellaneous products
          Totals, all groups130513791387+0.57

Regional Distribution of Factory Production, 1956-57.—The table following gives a general summary by employment districts and shows a comparison of the manufacturing strengths of each district. The fairest guide to actual volume of production is the column in the subsequent part of this table on Added Value. This shows Auckland district's dominance in the manufacturing world; its production all but equalling the total for the South Island.

Employment DistrictNumber of FactoriesPersons EngagedSalaries and Wages Paid
* Bracketed figures are percentages in previous year (1955.56).
New Plymouth3543,8566913,064,479254,409
Palmerston North4234,4051,3543,441,026537,329
Lower Hutt3097,5412,4366,674,8061,130,443
        Totals, North Island5,88181,49327,73366,496,01611,730,282
        Totals, South Island2,60736,27111,15428,204,4364,437,354
        Totals, New Zealand8,488117,76438,88794,700,45216,167,636
Employment DistrictCost of MaterialsValue of OutputAdded Value
TotalPercentage of Total*
Whangarei11,956,69616,504,5084,547,8122.2 (2.2)
Auckland98,883,243155,589,20956,705,96627.4 (27.7)
Hamilton27,155,71236,387,6199,231,9074.5 (4.3)
Paeroa10,996,28813,346,9222,350,6341.1 (1.1)
Tauranga3,884,5245,136,8611,252,3370.6 (0.6)
Rotorua12,084,83425,106,17013,021,3366.3 (5.4)
Gisborne3,667,4565,724,1112,056,6551.0 (1.0)
Napier4,698,8837,246,8452,547,9621.2 (1.2)
Hastings12,073,08616,327,5594,254,4732.1 (2.0)
New Plymouth20,734,31426,558,3355,824,0212.8 (2.8)
Wanganui10,438,78814,776,3274,337,5392.1 (2.1)
Palmerston North19,555,64327,234,4707,678,8273.7 (3.5)
Masterton6,654,6699,030,4392,375,7701.1 (1.1)
Lower Hutt32,754,00648,629,82315,875,8177.7 (7.8)
Wellington18,962,47735,275,43816,312,9617.9 (8.3)
        Totals, North Island294,500,619442,874,636148,374,01771.7 (71.1)
Blenheim2,065,6563,076,3461,010,6900.5 (0.4)
Nelson3,996,3407,112,3633,116,0231.5 (1.4)
Westport433,095753,635320,5400.2 (0.2)
Greymouth2,003,3433,576,0831,572,7400.8 (0.8)
Christchurch39,920,20666,564,10826,643,90212.9 (13.1)
Ashburton2,788,8814,116,9481,328,0670.6 (0.6)
Timaru8,453,00311,278,9102,825,9071.4 (1.4)
Oamaru2,928,6404,483,3191,554,6790.7 (0.8)
Dunedin19,926,93733,076,10213,149,1656.3 (6.6)
Invercargill17,877,37524,987,5847,110,2093.4 (3.6)
        Totals, South Island100,393,476159,025,39858,631,92228.3 (28.9)
        Totals, New Zealand394,894,095601,900,034207,005,939100.0 (100.0)


The following table gives a summary for New Zealand, of building permits issued, (including State building operations) for the past three years.

Building Permits Issued: New Zealand Totals
Year Ended 31 MarchNew Houses and FlatsValue of Other Buildings and Alterations and AdditionsTotal Value of All Buildings

Building Permits Issued: Urban Districts.—Urban districts include all cities, boroughs, and town districts, together with the counties of Waitemata, Manukau, Makara, Hutt, Paparua, Waimairi, Heathcote, Peninsula, and Taieri.

Year Ended 31 MarchNew Houses and FlatsValue of Other Buildings and Alterations and AdditionsTotal Value of All Buildings

Building Permits Issued: Rural Districts.—Rural districts include the remaining counties of New Zealand and islands outside county boundaries.

Year Ended 31 MarchNew Houses and FlatsValue of Other Buildings and Alterations and AdditionsTotal Value of All Buildings

Houses and Flats Completed.—Local authorities supplying building permit figures were also requested to supply the number of houses and flats which were completed during the year. In those cases where local authorities could not supply actual figures for completions, they were asked to make an estimate of the number.

The total figures on this basis for new houses and flats completed during the past three years were as follows.

Year Ended 31 March
Urban districts14,20014,30013,600
Rural districts5,0004,9005,000
        Totals, New Zealand19,20019,20018,600

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (pp. 822-844)

Statistics of local government in the financial year ended 31 March 1957, in continuation of the statistics included in pages 831-844 of this Year-Book, now follow.

Year Ended 31 MarchRevenue FromTotal RevenueReceipts Not RevenueTotal Receipts
RatesPublic Utilities, Licences, Rents, Etc.Government
Year Ended 31 MarchWorks and Utilities (Construction and Maintenance)Hospital Board LeviesAdministrationInterest on Loans and OverdraftOtherTotal Expenditure

The total of other payments for 1956-57 includes an amount of £5,187,496 in respect of amortization of debt.

Expenditure on New Works out of Loan Money (Boroughs Only)£
Year Ended 31 MarchRoads, Streets, and BridgesDrainage and SewerageWater SupplyHouses, Workers' Dwellings, Etc.Parks, Gardens, Town Halls, Libraries, Art Galleries, and Places of Public RecreationGasworks and Electrical WorksOther Public WorksTotal
Assets and Liabilities£
As at 31 MarchAssetsLiabilities
Cash AssetsOther Assets (Estimated)Total DebtOther LiabilitiesTotal Net Liabilities
Gross DebtNet Debt
Gross Debt of Local Authorities per Head of Population and Annual Charge
At 31 MarchPopulationGross DebtAnnual Loan Charge
AmountRate Per HeadAmountRate Per Head
 ££ s. d.££ s. d.
19562,175,37387,983,74740 8 118,977,5464 2 6
19572,221,16999,087,67044 12 39,723,5574 7 7
Gross Loan Indebtedness
At 31 MarchCounties and Road DistrictsBoroughs and Town DistrictsUrban Drainage DistrictsUrban Drainage DistrictsElectric Power DistrictsHarbour BoardsOther DistrictsTotal
Domicile of Debt
At 31 MarchAmountPercentage of Total
New ZealandUnited KingdomAustraliaNew ZealandUnited KingdomAustralia
 £££Per CentPer CentPer Cent
Debt charges and Loans Sanctioned£
At 31 MarchDebt ChargesLoans Sanctioned
On Debentures and Other SecuritiesOn Inscribed DebtTotalYearTotal ApplicationsSanctioned
New WorksRedemption Loans
Employment by Local Authorities
(Average of Twelve Months Ended March)
Class of Local District19561957
Town districts6160
Road districts1315
River districts4946
Catchment districts330351
Land-drainage districts3738
Water-supply district44
Urban drainage districts267314
Urban transport districts1,6591,552
Local railway district1414
Gas district3542
Milk districts23
Nassella tussock districts2121
Joint Transit Housing Committee2..
Plantation board1312
Rabbit districts884850
Fire districts450491
Harbour boards3,0723,225
Harbour Bridge Authority..1
        All districts20,17120,731


Statistics of external trade in the calendar year 1957, in continuation of the statistics included in pages 295-358 of this Year-Book, are given below.

Total Commodity Trade.—Following are statistics of exports and imports in 1955, 1956, and 1957.

Calendar YearExportsImports (c.d.v.)Excess of Exports Over Imports
New Zealand ProduceTotal Exports
* The corresponding c.i.f. values were £287,134,000 in 1955, £268,415,000 in 1956, and £296,570,000 in 1957.
BASE 1952 (=100)
Calendar YearExportsImports
Value IndexVolume IndexValue IndexVolume Index

The total trade per head of mean population in 1957 was £242 (exports £124 and imports £118).

Exports.—New Zealand's export commodity trade in 1957 was valued at £276.1 million, a decrease of £1.7 million from the previous year. An indication of the movement in the value of exports in the main groups of commodities is afforded by the following table.

Calendar YearButterCheeseFrozen MeatWoolHides, 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 1947 are shown.

Tons (000)
Calendar YearButterCheeseFrozen MeatWool

Direction of Export Trade.—The table below shows the main destinations of New Zealand exports in 1957.

CountryTotal Exports*
* Provisional figures.
United Kingdom161,728
Malaya and Singapore683
Hong Kong164
Rhodesia-Nyasaland Federation68
Union of South Africa283
Trinidad and Tobago775
British Guiana78
Gilbert and Ellice Islands53
Western Samoa461
Other Commonwealth countries479
        Totals, Commonwealth countries183,754
Belgium and Luxemburg6,257
German Federal Republic12,139
Republic of Ireland120
Belgian Congo84
Netherlands Antilles235
Panama Republic262
United States of America21,699
Society Islands113
American Samoa126
Other countries776
        Totals, all other countries91,441
Ships' stores875
        Totals, all countries276,070

Exports to Commonwealth countries in 1957 accounted for 67 per cent of the total exports, excluding ships' stores.

Imports.—The table following classifies imports by broad divisions.

Calendar YearFood, Beverages, and TobaccoMineral FuelsChemicals (Including Manufactured Fertilizers)Base Metals and Manufactures of MetalMachinery and Transport EquipmentTextiles, Clothing, and FootwearTotal*
* Including classes not listed.

Direction of Import Trade.—The next table shows the main sources (origin) of New Zealand's imports in 1957.

CountryTotal Imports*
* Provisional figures.
United Kingdom135,062
Bahrain Island1,452
Hong Kong962
Malaya and Singapore3,514
Kenya and Uganda181
Union of South Africa1,207
Trinidad and Tobago343
Gilbert and Ellice Islands174
Nauru Island624
Western Samoa333
Other Commonwealth countries358
        Totals, Commonwealth countries205,514
Belgium and Luxemburg2,012
German Federal Republic7,771
Saudi Arabia643
Netherlands Antilles2,253
United States of America20,445
Other countries826
        Totals, all other countries57,084
        Totals, all countries262,599

Imports from Commonwealth countries in 1957 comprised 78 per cent of the total.


Following the Census of Distribution in 1953 a continuing quarterly retail sample inquiry was inaugurated. The results of the census formed the framework from which a random sample of firms, stratified by store-type in broad geographical divisions and size of turnover, was drawn.

The actual sample inquiry is confined to just under 10 per cent of establishments, but these, on the basis of the census, represent approximately 28 per cent of total turnover. To provide the estimates presented in the following tables the figures have been expanded to represent the activity of all retail stores with the exception of hotel, motor vehicle, and motor accessory trading, which are excluded from the sample inquiry, and also from the census figures quoted by way of comparison.

Turnover by Store-types.—In the following tables details are shown for the latest periods. Value of turnover increased in all store-types in the year ended 31 March 1958 as compared with the year ended 31 March 1957, the largest relative increases occurring in the butcher, etc., footwear, furniture, and household appliance groups.

Store-typeNorth IslandSouth IslandTotals, North Island
Auckland Urban AreaWellington and Hutt Urban AreasRemainder of North IslandChrist-church Urban AreaDunedin Urban AreaRemainder of South IslandTotals, South IslandTotals, New Zealand
Year Ended 31 March 1957
Butcher, etc.4.1902,9738,93616,0992,3311,4194,1967,94624,045
Other food and drink10,4405,08114,13229,6533,9812,4725,55212,00541,658
Other apparel10,1316,74818,79235,6714,3742,7757,75414,90350,574
Furniture and soft furnishings4,7932,4385,41412,6451,7271,0292,2384,99417,639
Household appliances, radios, etc.1,5191,5143,4886,5219977181,5123,2279,748
General, department, and variety12,9175,40935,07253,3988,7003,36914,59126,66080,058
Year Ended 31 March 1958
Butcher, etc.4,5043,3329,12216,9582,4681,5754,6358,67825,636
Other food and drink10,2245,11014,25729,5914,2592,5555,91312,72742,318
Other apparel10,6707,11320,34938,1324,5692,8898,21315,67153,803
Furniture and soft furnishings5,3722,5825,95413,9081,7901,1212,5505,46119,369
Household appliances, radios, etc.1,6811,6813,5136,8751,0198451,7223,58610,461
General, department, and variety14,0276,07936,49456,6009,0753,56315,39128,02984,629
Quarter Ended 31 December 1956
Quarter Ended 31 March 1957
Butcher, etc.1,0137152,1633,8915643421,0611,9675,858
Other food and drink2,5891,2403,5267,3559666111,3862,96310,318
Other apparel2,2071,4164,1897,8129246451,6893,25811,070
Furniture and soft furnishings9735161,1862,6753622165101,0883,763
Household appliances, radios, etc.3644108811,6552351593637572,412
General, department, and variety2,7611,1928,42312,3761,9837553,6746,41218,788
Quarter Ended 31 December 1957
Quarter Ended 31 March 1958
Butcher, etc.1,0557872,1553,9975723761,1502,0986,095
Other food and drink2,4821,2773,6277,3861,0516521,5093,21210,598
Other apparel2,3111,6264,5618,4981,0196921,9383,64912,147
Furniture and soft furnishings1,1616081,3553,1244362415611,2384,362
Household appliances, radios, etc.4104268351,6712262104679032,574
General, department, and variety3,0501,4768,85313,3792,2048273,8646,89520,274

The following table covering retail trading throughout the whole of New Zealand presents turnover figures classified according to the main commodity groups for both yearly periods and for recent quarterly periods.

Commodity GroupYear EndedQuarter Ended
31 March 195631 March 195731 March 195831 Dec. 195631 March 195731 Dec. 195731 March 1958
* Information obtained in the quarterly surveys indicates that retail trading in “Clothing, drapery, dress piece-goods” was divided in the following proportions in the year ended 31 March 1958: Men's and boys' wear, 31 per cent; women's, girls', and infants' wear, 57 per cent; household drapery, 12 per cent.
Groceries and small goods (including butter, bacon, etc.)67,28270,45973,59819,01317,03719,74718,071
Butchers' meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables35,20336,25438,2079,5288,83510,2249,206
Other foods (bread, cakes, pastry, etc.)13,80213,98514,4453,6993,3313,8233,444
Milk, ice-cream, confectionery, soft drinks, etc.11,62011,92012,1313,2053,2333,1373,331
Tobacco, cigarettes, and tobacconists' sundries8,9728,9059,0212,4472,0902,4802,181
Chemists' goods, toiletries, cosmetics (including dispensing)11,65412,18512,6903,3263,0093,5463,067
Clothing, drapery, dress piece-goods*65,42163,77268,00918,17713,99019,10415,489
Furniture, bedding, floor coverings, soft furnishings, and household textiles22,20522,63824,9766,2844,8836,9035,704
Musical instruments, including radios5,2525,7666,4581,6421,3141,8691,453
Household appliances and electrical goods12,72412,43912,6453,9692,9263,9513,107
Domestic hardware, china, and glassware12,42012,33913,4683,5962,8763,8503,456
Builders' hardware and materials (excluding timber, bricks, and roofing tiles)15,70614,72715,9773,8533,6284,0413,930
Books, stationery, etc.9,63410,14910,6262,9942,6473,0652,788

Stocks.—The following table shows details of stock figures as at 31 March of the last six years; also as at 31 December 1957.

The figures for March 1958 show a slight increase as compared with stocks at both 31 December 1957, and 31 March 1957.

Store-typeStocks at
31 March, 195331 March 195431 March 195531 March 195631 March 195731 Dec. 195731 March 1958
Butcher, etc.441363408338310342388
Other food and drink1,8811,8301,8621,8851,8241,8562,033
Other apparel15,11915,04217,62617,80618,23418,49418,379
Furniture and soft furnishings4,3914,3454,5654,8234,6694,7705,141
Household appliances, radios, etc.1,4141,3461,5801,7391,8621,9812,073
General, department, and variety14,25613,38114,75615,19515,38415,91216,820


Banking and Currency

Reserve Bank (pp. 847-848).—Data showing the liabilities and assets of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand at the last balance day in May 1958 are shown below, together with the corresponding figures for the last balance day in March 1958.

As at Last Balance Day in
March 1958May 1958
* Expressed in New Zealand currency.
      Total liabilities (including other)172,552157,056
      Bank notes77,02074,370
      Demand liabilities—
      Total assets (including other)172,552157,056
        In New Zealand30,45522,808
        Sterling exchange14,84522,867
        Other exchange8651,097
        Marketing organizations49,61843,994

Trading Banks (pp. 848-857).—The principal statistics of trading banks for the months of March and May are given below. Debits and clearings cover the weekly periods ended on the last Wednesday of the respective months, while the remaining figures are as at those dates.

As at Last Balance Day in
 March 1958May 1958
Bank debits during week—
Advances, including notes and bills discounted£183,771,009177,670,078
Unexercised overdrafts£102,440,719101,701,113
        Not bearing interest£243,032,175241,180,731
        Bearing interest£38,870,05140,957,546
Reserve Bank notes—
        Notes held by trading banks£14,812,87313,041,178
        Net note circulation£62,207,50261,328,489
Ratio of advances to depositsPer Cent63.8662.08

Overseas Assets of Banks (pp. 859-860).—In the following table overseas assets of banks (on account of New Zealand business only) are shown.

Overseas Assets at End of
March 1957March 1958
Trading banks' overseas assets—
      In London24,22822,591
Reserve Bank's overseas assets—
      Sterling exchange34,83514,845
      Other overseas assets28,20214,763
Total gross overseas assets94,41260,037
Overseas liabilities of trading banks4,98210,101
Overseas liabilities of Reserve Bank9138
Net overseas assets89,42149,798

Savings Banks (pp. 864-869).—A summary of statistics of savings banks at 31 March 1958 is given below.

Post Office Savings BankTrustee Savings BanksNational Savings Accounts

* Excess of withdrawals over deposits.

† On deposits held during year ended 30 June 1957

Number of depositors1,719,564412,491..
Total amount of deposits during year149,024,22740,321,8447,509,484
Total amount of withdrawals during year133,993,51534,973,04312,940,101
Excess of deposits over withdrawals15,030,7125,348,801-5,430,617*
Interest credited to depositors6,869,0341,480,2922,330,679
Total amount to credit of depositors at end of March 1958258,505,40655,937,03764,222,060

Post Office Savings-bank Accounts Classified by Amount Groups (p. 865).—The following is a classification of the balances in Post Office Savings-bank accounts at 31 March 1956, 1957, and 1958, shown by amount groups and percentage of accounts within each group.

At 31 March 1956*At 31 March 1957At 31 March 1958
Number of AccountsPercentage of TotalNumber of AccountsPercentage of TotalNumber of AccountsPercentage of Total

* Excludes 18,278 accounts in 1955-56 which were domiciled at Apia and Rarotonga.

† Does not include investment accounts or home lay-by accounts.

£ £ 
Under 1342,88621.88345,03720.91341,14719.89
1 and under 10384,66424.55437,41526.50438,68125.58
10 and under 50301,44319.23316,85519.20341,15419.89
50 and under 100126,3118.06130,3767.90141.5388.25
100 and under 200131,6838.40126,9977.70138,0648.05
200 and under 30071,2074.5471,7194.3575,2304.39
300 and under 40047,1743.0147,5502.8851,5563.01
400 and under 50036,7602.3537,4982.2739,1412.28
500 and under 60029,2141.8629,2081.7730,0311.75
600 and under 70016,5931.0618,0261.0919,3401.13
700 and under 80012,9320.8313,6580.8314,6630.85
800 and under 90010,0340.6410,6000.6412,1500.71
900 and under 1,0008,5900.559,1840.5610,2800.60
1,000 and under 1,50024,5281.5627,5311.6730,3361.77
1,500 and under 2,00010,7630.6912,5690.7613,5740.79
2,000 and under 3,0009,2290.5910,7420.6511,9320.70
3,000 and under 4,0001,9120.123,2820.203,5490.21
4,000 and under 5,0007320.051,1980.071,6400.09
5,000 and over4890.038860.051,0090.06
Total number of accounts1,567,144*100.001,650,331100.001,715,015100.00

Overseas Receipts and Payments.—The following statement gives statistics of overseas exchange transactions for the years ended 31 March 1957 and 1958. Comparable items for the calendar years 1956 and 1957 are, however, given on pages 861-862. All figures quoted are taken from Reserve Bank sources.

Year Ended 31 March 1957Year Ended 31 March 1958
              Totals (including other)275,289..274,026..
              Totals (including other)..263,576..296,106
      Transport: Freights, fares, ships' charters4,3157,0876,1839,472
      Travel: Private and business (exclusive of fares)3,1556,6753,4716,835
      Insurance, reinsurance, other transfers1,2471,9062,2982,088
International investment income—
      Interest, dividends, and other private investment income5,4757,4065,2398,016
      Interest on Government and local authority loans..3,599..3,890
              Totals, international investment income5,47511,0055,23911,906
Government transactions—
      Current expenditure by New Zealand Government overseas..6,424..8,634
      Current receipts by New Zealand Government and expenditure by other Governments in New Zealand1,770..2,238..
              Totals, Government transactions1,7706,4242,2388,634
Miscellaneous current transactions—
      Commissions, royalties, rebates, etc.1,5162,8671,6683,052
      Films and entertainments..929..920
      Unilateral transfers (immigrants' transfers, personal remittances, charitable, legacies, etc.)7,9588,1478,7038,329
      Expenses of business firms7134,7275383,892
      Other current transactions5119315701,422
              Totals, miscellaneous current transactions10,69817,60111,48017,615
Capital transfers—
      Local authority..6..514
              Totals, capital transfers18,8475,91312,6414,732
      Cook Islands exports or imports159105169128
              Grand totals321,054320,290317,823357,517


Summary of the Public Account for the Financial Years 1956-57 and 1957-58 (p. 774).—The source of the following table is parliamentary paper B. 6, 1958.

£(million)Year Ended 31 March

* Expenditure from Public Works Account.

† Transfer from National Development Loans Account.

‡ Sale or purchase of investments by Public Account.

§ A number of transfer entries, such as the annual transfer from the Consolidated Fund to Social Security Fund and the transfers of the surplus for previous years which do not affect the overall cash surplus or deficit, have been excluded from both sides of the above statement.

        Social security charge61.666.3
        Sales tax22.324.2
        Stamp and death duties15.016.3
        Other taxation8.38.4
            Totals, taxation234.2225.0
        Profits from trading4.34.8
        Departmental receipts18.017.8
            Totals, Consolidated Fund and Social Security Fund receipts268.2260.1
        National Roads Fund receipts19.821.1
        Receipts from borrowing (less repayments)—
        Borrowing in New Zealand—
        National Savings-2.5-3.6
        Post Office Savings Bank15.520.5
        Other borrowing14.629.7
        Overseas borrowing—
        London and Australia5.3-0.6
        United States of America4.5-0.5
            Totals, borrowing37.445.5
        Other capital receipts—
        Transfers from Consolidated Fund for—
        Debt repayment12.08.4
        Public Works Account1.30.3
        Sinking Fund contributions, etc.3.83.3
        Miscellaneous capital receipts4.43.7
        Excess receipts of trading accounts, etc., within the Public Account-5.61.0
            Grand totals341.3§343.4
        Social services135.6145.5
        Administration, etc.25.126.8
        Maintenance of works, etc.13.212.7
        Development of industry16.717.2
        Interest and management of the public debt23.425.7
        Transfer for repayment of the public debt12.08.4
            Totals, Consolidated Fund and Social Security Fund expenditure264.6272.6
        Works and other capital expenditure—
        Housing construction*10.08.1
        Forest development*2.01.7
        Electric supply14.519.5
        Land settlement1.52.5
        State Coal 1.3
        Post Office5.05.0
        Murupara Pulp and Paper Scheme*1.61.0
        State Advances Corporation10.59.0
            Totals, works, etc.53.258.5
        Other expenditure—
        Defence Fund0.72.3
        National Roads Fund21.920.1
        Purchase of miscellaneous investments not included above4.012.2
        Charges and expenses of repaying loans0.7 
        Over-all cash surplus or deficit—  
        Increase in cash balances-3.8-22.3
            Grand totals341.3§343.4§

Summary of Budget Proposals.—The presentation of the Financial Statement was made on 26 June 1958. Principal changes from the existing situation are briefly recorded below.

  1. The family benefit is to be increased from 10s. to 15s. a child a week from 1 October 1958. It will be possible to capitalise it for certain purposes.

    The weekly rate of age and other related social security benefits will be increased to £8 for a married couple and £4 10s. for a single person to apply from 1 October 1958. There will be corresponding increases in economic and wives' pensions and in war veterans' allowances.

  2. The previous Government's 25 per cent rebate on income tax is to be removed, i.e., the basic rate is to be restored to 3s. in the £ for the first £100 of taxable income, as fixed in 1954. (Applies from 1 October 1958.)

    The personal income tax exemption of £375 is to be reduced to £300, but the exemption of £125 for a dependent wife is to be increased to £200.

    The wife's exemption of £200 will be reduced by £1 for every £1 by which the wife's income exceeds £100 so as to leave a husband with no wife exemption when his wife's income reaches or exceeds £300.

    The personal exemption of £420 for people 65 years of age and over will be reduced to £345.

    The PAYE deduction changes will operate from 1 October 1958.

  3. Customs Duty on motor spirit will be increased by 1s. to 2s. 3 3/4d. per gallon, the additional 1s. going to the Consolidated Fund.

  4. Sales tax on motor vehicles with the exception of motor cycles is increased from 20 to 40 per cent.

  5. The duty on cigarettes will be increased from 33s. 6d. per 1,000 to £3 10s. per 1,000 and from 13s. 6d. to £1 8s. a pound. On manufactured tobacco the duty rises from 11s. 8d. per 1b. to 22s. 9d. per 1b., and on cigars from 6s. per 1b. to 12s. per 1b.

  6. Beer duty will be increased from 3s. a gallon to 6s. a gallon. The duty on spirits will be increased from 60s. a gallon to 120s. a gallon.

  7. All articles purchased under a hire-purchase agreement are to carry a deposit of 10 per cent, and the time for payment will be limited to 18 months.

  8. New rates of increased estate and gift duty will apply to the estates of all persons dying after 26 June 1958, on estates exceeding £12,000 and to gifts made after that date.

  9. £5,000,000 will be advanced as a loan from the Consolidated Fund to enable a reasonable price to be paid for butterfat.

  10. Dividends from 1 April 1958 are to be regarded as assessable income in the hands of individual tax payers.

  11. A new excess retention tax is to be levied on companies at 7s. in the £ on certain undistributed company profits.

  12. There is a general reduction in the scope of depreciation allowances.

Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure for 1958-59 (p. 775).—The following table shows the estimated receipts and payments for 1958-59 for the Consolidated and Social Security Funds.

Estimated Receipts, 1958-59£(m.)
Consolidated Fund
    Beer duty12.7
    Sales tax22.0
    Film-hire tax0.1
    Estate, racing, and stamp duties18.1
    Land tax1.4
    Income tax105.0
Other receipts—
    Trading profits4.2
    Debt services37.2
    Other permanent appropriations5.6
Annual appropriations—
    Development of primary and secondary industries23.8
    Social services (excluding transfer to Social Security Fund)70.8
    Other votes60.1
    Supplementary estimates2.0
    Social Security Fund
Social security charge and social security income tax70.0
    Transfer from Consolidated Fund24.6
    Administration and special assistance2.5
    Medical and hospital benefits18.6
    Monetary benefits67.4

Consolidated Fund (pp. 775-780).—The following table contains a summary of the receipts and payments of the Consolidated Fund for the financial years ended 31 March 1957 and 1958.

Interest on capital liability—
      Post and Telegraph1,964,6072,179,694
      Electric supply4,592,1785,239,507
      Housing and Housing Construction1,474,9331,556,146
      Land settlement1,708,1921,991,495
      New Zealand National Airways Corporation42,000101,754
      Working railways716,758 
Interest on other public moneys1,055,3751,323,498
Profits on trading undertakings4,254,8224,819,859
Departmental receipts17,672,73517,443,315
              Totals, receipts206,276,330193,580,423
Permanent appropriations—
Civil list171,608186,409
Debt services—
      Administration and management673,317344,524
      Superannuation (subsidy and contribution)3,864,0004,620,000
              Totals, permanent appropriations40,175,26539,455,231
Annual appropriations—
      Prime Minister's Office20,53224,014
      External Affairs2,191,9751,983,469
      Inland Revenue1,508,4511,759,293
              Totals, finance14,918,96115,872,212
General administration—
      Public Service Commission130,261137,510
      Internal Affairs3,088,7072,886,594
      Island Territories1,196,0921,025,006
      Printing and Stationery1,169,2161,435,587
      Maori Affairs908,226962,125
              Totals, general administration10,964,19411,133,300
Law and order—  
    Crown Law27,70029,697
            Totals, law and order4,257,5845,020,622
    Defence construction and maintenance2,745,1142,453,998
            Totals, defence26,221,26923,440,719
    Maintenance of public works and services13,154,57812,697,767
Development of primary and secondary industries—
    Lands and Survey1,976,7092,052,931
    Forest Service2,436,2642,602,046
    Industries and Commerce432,031483,752
    Tourist and Publicity1,520,9151,042,103
    Scientific and Industrial Research1,404,2981,534,934
    Civil Aviation and Meteorological Services3,077,0543,006,705
            Totals, development of primary and secondary industries16,678,53117,199,529
Social services—
    Subsidies to Hospital Boards12,895,67415,390,252
    War and other pensions8,927,6599,805,065
    Contribution to Social Security Fund14,000,000 
            Totals, social services73,995,95866,561,189
            Totals, annual appropriations162,649,837154,213,299
    Unauthorized expenditure125,52867,030
            Totals, payments202,950,630193,735,560
    Surplus or deficit from current year's operations3,325,700-155,137
    Balance in Fund at end of year10,466,4026,985,564

The surplus for the year 1955-56 of £4,151,171 was expended during the year 1956-57 by transfer to the Public Works Account. The corresponding surplus for the year 1956-57 of £3,325,700 was expended during the year 1957-58 by transfer to the Public Works Account.

Taxation (pp. 786-787).—Particulars of revenue from taxation for the financial years 1955-56, 1956-57, and 1957-58 are contained in the following table.

Item of Revenue1955-561956-571957-58
Consolidated Fund—
     Beer duty6,567,3026,753,5217,020,310
     Sales tax23,443,49822,280,91524,221,810
     Film-hire tax142,021147,218150,081
     Stamp duties6,791,1726,889,3897,451,498
     Death (including gift) duties8,483,8108,268,3659,003,445
     Land tax1,227,6561,399,8371,308,455
     Income tax90,697,96598,117,73477,787,155
Social security taxation—
     Social security charge59,910,71761,635,22466,256,104
National Roads Fund taxation—
     Highways revenue (less rebates)17,499,06518,421,80919,701,041
          Grand totals244,828,777252,851,763244,882,300

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

YearDirect Taxes on Income (i.e., Income Tax and Social Security Charges on Income)Total Taxation
AmountPer Head of Mean PopulationPercentage of Total TaxationAmountPer Head of Mean Population
 £        £s.d. £        £s.d.

State Indebtedness (p. 809).—The public debt as at 31 March 1958 amounted to £782,110,997, an increase of £24,991,301 as compared with a year earlier. Of the 1958 debt figure, £99,576,289 was held in the United Kingdom, a decrease of £848,895.


Revenue of the Social Security Fund for the year ended 31 March 1958, together with the 1956-57 figures in parentheses, was as follows: Charge on salaries and wages, £40,317,504 (£37,262,667); charge on other income of persons, £18,008,194 (£16,655,458); charge on company income, £7,930,406 (£7,717,099); grant from Consolidated Fund, nil (£14,000,000); interest on investments, £83,082 (£80,738); miscellaneous receipts, £170,404 (£140,557); total receipts, £66,509,589 (£75,856,519).

Payments from the Fund in 1957-58, with 1956-57 payments in parentheses, were: Monetary benefits, £60,434,199 (£57,573,520) including emergency benefits and special assistance, £1,037,653 (£913,585); medical, etc., benefits £17,058,307 (£16,772,712); administration expenses, £1,398,244 (£1,249,542); other payments, £10,367 (£10,342). Total payments from the Fund were therefore £78,901,117 (£75,606,117). The balance in the Fund at the end of March 1958 was £4,664,703.

Particulars of the various social security benefits (monetary and health) and war pensions in force at the end of March 1958, together with total payments during the financial year 1957-58, are shown in the following table.

Class of Benefit or Pension As at 31 March 1958 Payments During Year Ended 31 March 1958

Class of Benefit or PensionAs at 31 March 1958Payments During Year Ended 31 March 1958
Number in ForceAnnual Value
Social security benefits— ££
     Special assistance5,912..218,201
War pensions—
     First World War15,6943,439,6023,294,637
     Second World War24,3302,671,7222,566,816
     War Veterans' Allowances10,8204,204,7423,539,098
     South African War215,0755,088
     Mercantile Marine pensions263,8923,590
     Emergency Reserve Corps92,1532,101
     War Pensions Emergency Assistance1239,0477,102
Sundry pensions and annuities54979,47678,748
     Grand totals613,617..87,009,072

LIFE ASSURANCE BUSINESS, 1957 (pp. 933-940)

Ordinary Department.—The year ended 31 December 1957 was a most successful one for ordinary life assurance business. New policies issued (excluding annuity policies) numbered 86,853, a rise of 5,265 over the previous year, the amount of new assurance reaching a record total of £112,666,000 (£99,066,000 in 1956). The average sum assured per new policy was £1,297 (£1,214 in 1956). The annual premiums payable on new business during 1957 amounted to £2.95 million, as against £2-70 million for the previous year.

Policies in force at 31 December 1957 numbered 1,024,000, assuring £768.8 million, an average per policy of £751. Comparative figures for twelve months earlier were 974,128, £689.7 million, and £708.

Premium revenue from ordinary business during 1957 totalled £22.5 million, an increase of £1.7 million over the 1956 figure.

Industrial Department.—Policies issued, sum assured, and annual premiums for new industrial business during the year were 26,506, £3,937,000, and £184,000 respectively. The 1956 figures were 27,410, £4,103,000, and £191,000. Industrial policies in force at the end of 1957 numbered 504,285, assuring £42.9 million, compared with 520,513 and £42.5 million for the previous year. The average face value per new policy was £149, and for policies in force £85.


Retail Prices (pp. 992-996).—Details of the consumers' price index for the calendar year 1957, and for each of the quarters ended 31 March 1958 and 30 June 1958, are given below.

(Revised Series)
Base: Weighted average twenty-one towns, 1955 (= 1000)
Calendar Year 1957Quarter Ended 31 March 1958Quarter Ended 30 June 1958
     Meat and fish105411011151
     Fruits, vegetables and eggs110510661061
     Other foods102910291030
          All foods105410571069
     Home ownership112611721187
          All housing111811551169
Household operation—
     Fuel and light104210441113
     Home furnishing102210421052
     Domestic supplies and services105910671071
          All household operation103810491075
          All apparel100510121019
     Public transport112211401140
     Private transport105810771103
          All transportation107610951114
     Tobacco and alcohol101410141014
     Other supplies106410771079
     Other services113111471154
          All miscellaneous105510631065
All groups105710691081

Share Prices (pp. 1005-1009).—Index numbers of share prices in 1957, together with the average for the year ended March 1958, are given below.

GroupIndex Numbers Base Average for Each Group, 1938 (= 1000)
Average for 1957Average for Year Ended March 1958
Frozen meat3,8564,052
Miscellaneous (including breweries)14701505
          All industrial groups16461689
Loan and agency3,2413,296
          All finance, etc., groups2,4212,441
          All groups combined2,0342,044

Monthly statistics for the first five months of 1957 and of 1958 are given below.

Industrial GroupsFinance GroupsAll GroupsIndustrial GroupsFinance GroupsAll Groups

Terms of Trade (p. 1005).

YearImport Price IndexButterCheeseMeatWoolAll Exports
Export Price IndexTerms* of TradeExport Price IndexTerms* of TradeExport Price IndexTerms* of TradeExport Price IndexTerms* of TradeExport Price IndexTerms* or Trade
* I.e., purchasing power (in units of imports) of 100 units of exports.
1st quarter 195810075759393959581818686


Wage-rates (pp. 1015-1019).—Index numbers of average nominal weekly wage-rates of adult male and adult female wage-earners in 1956 and 1957, and of adult male wage-earners as at 31 March 1958, are as follows.

Industrial GroupBase: All Groups 1954 (= 1000)
Adult MalesAdult Females
Average for YearAs at 31 March 1958Average for Year
Provision of—
     Food, drink, etc.111811681185960998
     Clothing, footwear, and textiles10461092110110371088
     Building and construction100510571066....
     Power, heat, and light98610341048....
     Transport by water and air124313031304....
     Transport by land105911061119....
     Accommodation, meals, and personal service10071052108311381190
Working in or on—
     Wood, wicker, seagrass, etc.106611211126....
     Stone, clay, glass, chemicals, etc.100310501063....
     Paper, printing, etc.1130118811889881045
     Skins, leather, etc.101410551066....
     Mines and quarries105611291129....
     The land (farming pursuits)952991995....
          All groups combined10551104111410561106

Effective Weekly Wage Rates (p. 1020).—The following table shows nominal and effective weekly wage rates of adult workers for the years 1956 and 1957, and of males only for the first quarter of 1958. The base of the index numbers is in each case the calendar year 1954 (= 1000).

YearRetail Prices (All Groups)Nominal Weekly Wage RatesEffective Weekly Wage Rates
     March quarter10961114..1016..

Average Rates of Wages (pp. 1021-1024).—The following table gives the prescribed minimum average weekly wage rates as at 31 March 1958, the series being confined to adult males.

OccupationAverage Wage (Four Principal Districts) at 31 March 1958
          Adult Males 
Bakers—s. d.
     Journeymen254 3
     Labourers214 9
     First shopmen268 5
     Second shopmen250 2
Butter-factory employees—
     Churning and butter making: Others230 6
     Kilnmen240 4
     Assistant smuttermen229 6
     Rollermen258 0
Meat freezing—
     Slaughtermen, per 100 sheep113 1
     Workers not otherwise specified259 7
Meat preserving—
     Boners311 10
     Others267 6
Sausage-casing making: Workers not otherwise specified273 4
Aerated water and cordial making—
     Cordial makers224 4
     Others214 7
Brewing: Others238 11
     Journeymen244 10
     Stock cutters (Factory)244 10
Footwear manufacturing workers247 10
Woollen mills—
     Spinners248 9
     Others228 1
     Bricklayers256 9
     Carpenters and joiners253 0
     Plasterers256 5
     Plumbers259 5
     Builders' labourers226 11
     General labourers209 5
     Sawyers264 0
     Tailers-out241 5
     Yardmen, head258 7
     Workers not specified237 0
Boatbuilding: Shipwrights255 10
Metal works, etc.—
     Boilermakers, journeymen253 8
     Iron and brass moulders250 9
     Tinsmiths, journeymen253 3
     Engineering fitters, etc.260 10
     Electrical wiremen258 5
     Motor mechanics259 11
     Linotype operators (day)263 6
     Letterpress machinists (day)253 8
Skin and leather workers—
     Curriers238 11
     All other workers212 9
Mineral and stone workers—
     Flangers and moulders241 10
     All other workers219 11
Mining (coal)—
     Surface: Tippers267 6
     Miners (on day wages, per shift)53 3
     Truckers240 0
Quarrymen211 2
Agricultural and pastoral workers—
     General farm hands161 6
     Threshing-mill: Other workers, per hour5 7 1/2
     Ploughmen161 6
     Shearers (per 100 sheep shorn)77 0
     Shepherds161 6
     Wool pressers278 8
     Dairy-farm workers190 0
     Engine drivers, average third and sixth years283 9
     Firemen, average second and ninth years252 11
     Guards, average first and third years271 3
     Drivers243 10
     Conductors (after six months)235 0
Shipping and cargo working—
     Assistant stewards, first grade231 0
     Assistant stewards, second grade227 1
     Chief cooks282 6
     Second cooks255 7
     Able seamen247 11
     Ordinary seamen, 18 years or over190 8
     Waterside workers: Ordinary cargo259 7
Hotel workers—
     First cooks243 2
     Waiters174 9
Miscellaneous—s. d.
     Retailing of apparel: Shop assistants238 11
     Grocers' assistants236 0
     Warehouse storemen226 2

NOTE.—The following perquisites (as assessed for statistical purposes), as at 31 March 1958, should be added to the listed occupations: General farm hands, ploughmen and shepherds, 39s., and dairy-farm workers, 36s. 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, 51s. 10d. per week as value of board and lodging; and hotel first cooks and waiters, 50s. per week as value of board and lodging.

Estimated Distribution of the Labour Force (p. 1086).—The following table supplies an estimated distribution of the total labour force at 15 October 1957 and 15 April 1958. (000)

Industrial GroupMalesFemalesTotals
October 1957April 1958October 1957April 1958October 1957April 1958
Primary industry134.3134.110.910.9145.2145.0
Manufacturing industry153.2160.948.049.3201.2210.2
Power, water, and sanitary services11.311.40.80.812.112.2
Building and construction75.477.61.51.576.979.1
Transport and communication73.474.310.010.283.484.5
Distribution and finance95196.647.848.7142.9145.3
Domestic and personal services20.020.224.725.244.745.4
Administration and professional59061.256.957.7115.9118.9
          Totals, in industry621.7636.3200.6204.3822.3840.6
Armed forces8.
          Totals, labour force630.9645.6201.3204.9832.2850.5

Half-yearly Surveys of Employment (pp. 1089-1092)—Following is a summary of the employment statistics as returned for 15 April 1958.

Primary Industry (other than Farming, Fishing, and Hunting)Manufacturing IndustryPower, Water, and Sanitary ServicesBuilding and ConstructionTransport and CommunicationDistribution and FinanceDomestic and Personal ServicesAdministration and ProfessionalTotal, all Industries Covered
Male employees (full-time)10,754143,06111,41551,18854,84671.10411.66648.373402.407
Male working proprietors44310.09386.4822.08410.6343.42049133.655
Female employees (full-time)29545.3758191.2579.23339.39014.25846.599157.226
Female working proprietors21.290  843.5932.1141897.272
Number of establishments62112.6112516.0572.60515.6044.6263.82246.197

The figures shown in the manufacturing industry column are further subdivided as follows.

Food, Drink, and TobaccoTextiles, Clothing, and LeatherBuilding Materials and FurnishingsEngineering and Metal WorkingMiscellaneous Manufacturing
Limitations in the coverage of the figures shown above are noted on page 1090.
Male employees (full-time)32.25512.10024.54653.70120.459
Male working proprietors1.1521.1782.0664.6531.044
Female employees (full-time)7.24324.0791.5315.4207.102
Female working proprietors46054037144109
Number of establishments1.7721.8612.5884.9731.417

Summary of Vacancies, Placements, and Disengaged Persons.—This table gives additional figures to those presented on page 1100.

Vacancies at End of MonthPlacements During MonthDisengaged Persons at End of Month
Monthly average over calendar year—
Monthly total—


Shipping and Cargo Handled (pp. 371-381).—Statistics of entrances and clearances of vessels in the foreign trade in 1956 and 1957, 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 vessels780896
          Net tonnage3,364,5483,939,939
          Number of vessels785895
          Net tonnage3,454,7213,939,856
Total calls made—
          Number of vessels2,2682,443
          Net tonnage9,752,76910,304,913
          Number of vessels12,98412,927
          Net tonnage4,855,2954,827,719
          Number of vessels15,25215,370
          Net tonnage14,608,06415,132,632
Tonnage of cargo handled—
Total manifest tonnage10,975,78611,344,746

Statistics of shipping movement and cargo handled at New Zealand ports in 1956 and 1957 are given below.

Total Shipping MovementTotal Cargo Handled
1956: Net Tonnage1957: Net Tonnage1956: Tons1957: Tons
Other ports7,4527,6033,0303,186

Railway Transport (pp. 384-394).—Summarized statistics of railway transport in the years ended 31 March 1956, 1957, and 1958 follow.

UnitYear Ended 31 March
* Including road motor and other subsidiary services.
Passenger journeys—
     Railway road motor services(000)19,27119,08319,714
Tonnage of goods carried—
     TimberTons (000)8931,1301,258
     LivestockTons (000)641628621
     Other goodsTons (000)9,1828,5678,454
     TotalsTons (000)10,71610,32510,332
Net ton-miles runMillions1,1481,1361,151
     Railway operation£(000)27,87128,50730,010
     Railway operation£(000)26,77528,69431,064

Road Transport (p. 411).—Statistics of motor vehicles licensed at 31 March 1957 and 1958 are as follows.

ClassAs at 31 March
Contract vehicles2,1662,248
Rental cars1,9772,200
Private-hire cars246227
Service cars733708
Vehicles exempted from payment of licence fees (other than exempted Government-owned vehicles)48,45950,815
Government vehicles16,54316,686
Motor cycles25,38926,084
Power cycles5,7817,813
Dealers' cars3,0793,275
Dealers' motor cycles197253
          Grand totals733,656776,127

EDUCATION (p. 175)

The following table shows the number of scholars and students receiving instruction in the educational institutions of New Zealand during the years 1956 and 1957. Registered private schools are included.


Exclusive of students taking part-time courses with the Correspondence School, 1,241 in 1956 and 1,469 in 1957.

† Includes 676 students taking short courses at the agricultural colleges in 1956 and 775 in 1957.

Primary schools399,466413,286
Post-primary schools85,774*89,633*
Technical classes (part-time)37,87738,722
Teachers' training colleges2,9793,249


Radio Licences (p. 448).—The number of radio licences for receiving stations in force on 31 March 1958 was 549,307, and for all classes of radio licences 554,931, compared with 519,778 and 525,049 respectively at 31 March 1957.

Horse Racing (p. 803).—The number of racing days in the calendar year 1957 was 365. Totalizator turnover totalled £44,974,000 in 1957 (£43,468,000 in 1956) while Government taxation totalled £4,158,000 in 1957 (£4,018,000 in 1956).

Land Transfers (pp. 454-458).—Transactions under the Land Transfer Act showed increases in both number and consideration. The average amount per transaction (town and suburban properties) in 1957-58 was £2,125, as compared with £1,986 in 1956-57 and £1,950 in 1955-56.

Year Ended 31 March
Town and suburban properties—
     Consideration ..       ..     £80,684,00075,614,00089,641,000
Country properties—
     Area ..     ..      Acres1,525,6091,449,9621,789,876
     Consideration ..     ..     £40,256,00039,064,00050,060,000
All properties—
Consideration      ..     £120,940,000114,678,000139,701,000

Mortgages (pp. 883-893).—Particulars of gross totals of mortgages registered and discharged during the last three financial years are shown below. Mortgage registrations have shown an increase in number for the first time since 1954-55 and the increase of £9,494,000 in the total amount of consideration is in contrast to a decline of £6,783,000 in 1956-57. Mortgages discharged have shown an increase both in number and amount of consideration.

Year Ended 31 MarchRegistered*Discharged*
* Inclusive of duplicate registrations and discharges.
 £           £          

Justice.—Prisoners in gaols at end of calendar year (p. 264): 1956, 1,403, or 6.43 per 10,000 of population; 1957, 1,513, or 6.78 per 10,000 of population.

Registration of Aliens (p. 43).—The number of aliens on the register at 1 April 1958 totalled 27,642 (17,435 males, 10,207 females), compared with 1 April 1957 figures of 26,381 (16,832 males, 9,549 females).

Naturalizations (p. 42).—The number of certificates of naturalization issued to former aliens during the year ended 31 March 1958 was 752, compared with a total of 627 in the previous year. Certificates of registration as a New Zealand citizen were granted to 645 citizens of other countries of the Commonwealth or of former aliens (665 in 1956-57), and 259 certificates of registration (292 in 1956-57) to minor children (either citizens of other countries of the Commonwealth or former aliens).

Census 1956: Incomes of Individuals.—The following table divides into income groups the persons actively engaged and also the total population including those not actively engaged in employment.

The questionnaire on the schedule asked for income for the year ended 31 March 1956 from all sources without deduction of taxes, superannuation, life insurance, rates, etc. Social security benefits (age, family, etc.) and war pensions were not included.

Income GroupPersons Actively EngagedTotal Population*
* Includes persons actively engaged and not actively engaged.
    £           £ 
          1 to 494.1345.3949.52813.77636.53250.308
        50 to 994.6346.90411.53810.96823.32934.297
      100 to 29934.35153.54687.89744.62982.439127.068
      300 to 49965.42478.717144.14173.37790.449163.826
      500 to 699168.92230.632199.554173.66235.153208.815
      700 to 899162.4816.556169.037164.9848.462173.446
      900 to 1,09974.5952.12976.72475.9293.14279.071
1,100 to 1,29932.32783133.15833.2531.43034.683
1,300 to 1.49915.18642915.61515.72977316.502
1,500 and over51.5241.53853.06253.4492.91556.364
Not specified3.6081.6275.2354.9934.1579.150


Page 799, first line of page: Insert “tax” before word “year”; second line of page: Omit “tax” before word “income”.


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 normally 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 north-easterly direction approximately 2,100 miles (Southern Group) to 2,800 miles (Northern Group and Niue). The Southern 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° 02' south and longitude 169° 52' 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.

Farther south, and slightly north by east from New Zealand, a matter of roughly 1,000 miles from Wellington, are situated the Kermadec Islands. 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 consists of the coasts of the Ross Sea with adjacent islands and territories between the 160th degree of east longitude and the 150th degree of west longitude, and south of the 60th degree of south latitude.

Jointly with the United Kingdom Government and the Government of Australia, New Zealand is responsible for the administration of the Trust Territory of the Island of Nauru. The administrative appointments for Nauru are made by the Australian Government, but New Zealand appoints a representative to the British Phosphates Commission, which controls the working of the phosphate deposits.

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

New Zealand:
 Area in Square Miles
(a) Exclusive of Island Territories—
        North Island44,281
        South Island58,093
        Stewart Island670
        Chatham Islands372
        Minor islands
                Kermadec Islands13
                Campbell Island44
            Uninhabited (areas in parentheses)263
                Three Kings (3). Snares (1). 
                Solander (1/2). Antipodes (24).
                Bounty (1/2). Auckland (234).
                    Total New Zealand, exclusive of Island Territories 103,736
(b) Island Territories—
        Tokelau Islands, comprised of4
            Fakaofo Island, Nukunono Island, Atafu Island.
        Cook and associated islands, comprised of—
            Southern Group78
                Rarotonga. Aitutaki.
                Mangaia. Mauke.
                Atiu. Takutea.
                Mitiaro. Manuae and Te-au-o-tu.
             Northern Group12
                Palmerston. Pukapuka.
                Penrhyn. Suwarrow. 
                Manihiki. Nassau.
            Niue Island100
                    Total New Zealand, inclusive of Island Territories 103,930
Ross Dependency (Estimated)160,000
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 103,930 square miles. Elsewhere in this issue—viz., in the section on land tenure, settlement, etc.—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 30 January 1840, gave as the boundaries of what was then the colony the following degrees of latitude and longitude: On the north, 34°30'; on the south, 47° 10'; 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 earlier 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 21 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 10 June 1901 the Cook Islands, and all the other islands and territories situate within the boundary lines mentioned earlier, were included as from 11 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 17 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 13 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 Order in Council of 30 July 1923 under the British Settlements Act 1887 (Imp.), the territories between 160° east and 150° west longitude, and south of latitude 60° south were brought within the jurisdiction of the New Zealand Government. The region was named the Ross Dependency. From time to time laws for the Dependency have been made by regulations promulgated by the Governor-General of New Zealand. The Dependency is normally uninhabited. However, part of the Dependency became in 1956-57 the base for the New Zealand expedition to the Antarctic, and occupancy of the base and advance camps continued through into 1958.

By Imperial Orders in Council of 4 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 8 March 1926, delegated to the Administrator of Western Samoa.

By the Tokelau Islands Act 1948, which came into operation on 1 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 landmass 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 production from the hinterland is limited 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, etc. In this manner efficient ports, capable of accommodating overseas vessels, have been formed in Lyttelton, Otago, and Bluff harbours. On the west coast of both Islands the strong ocean drifts and high seas cause shoaling at river mouths and harbour entrances, while on the east coast of the South Island similar circumstances prevail, due to the large quantities of shingle brought down by the rivers being spread along the coast by ocean currents. The mountainous nature of the country makes the haulage of goods to and from the better equipped natural harbours both costly and difficult, and the construction and maintenance of further ports at various points along the coasts of both Islands has been necessary, either by dredging river mouths or by harbour-construction work.

Mountains.—The mountainous nature of New Zealand is one of its most striking physical characteristics, less than one-quarter of the land surface lying below the 650 ft. contour. In the North Island the higher mountains occupy approximately one-tenth of the surface; but, with the exception of the four volcanic peaks of Egmont (8,260 ft.), Ruapehu (9,175 ft.), Ngauruhoe (7,515 ft.), and Tongariro (6,458 ft.), they do not exceed an altitude of 6,000 ft. Of these four volcanoes only the first named can be classed as dormant. Ruapehu was particularly active from March 1945 to the end of that year, being responsible for considerable deposits of volcanic ash over a very wide area, while spectacular activity was exhibited by Ngauruhoe in 1949 and again in 1953 and 1954. 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 mountain system of the North Island runs generally in a south-west direction, parallel to the coast, from East Cape to Cape Turakirae, and includes the following ranges from the north: Raukumara, Huiarau, Ruahine, Tararua, and Rimutaka. This chain is flanked on the west between the Huiarau and Ruahine by the Ahimanawa, Kaweka, and Kaimanawa ranges, while west of the Kaimanawa is the National Park volcanic group comprising Mounts Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro. The Hauhangaroa and Rangitoto ranges run in a northerly direction from the National Park group. In the east the Colville and Moehau ranges parallel the length of the Coromandel Peninsula. Mount Egmont forms the only country above 4,000 ft. on the west coast of this island.

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. West and north-west of the main portion of the Southern Alps are the Victoria, Brunner, and Lyell ranges and the Tasman Mountains, the Victoria range being flanked by the Paparoa range. To the north run the St. Arnaud and Raglan ranges, while to the north-east are the Spenser Mountains and the Kaikoura and Seaward Kaikoura ranges, the two latter ranges running parallel to the east coast. The south portion of the Southern Alps breaks up into a miscellany of ranges dominating the mountainous Fiord and north-western Southland regions.

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 foldings on a large scale. While the mountains in the North Island are not as high nor as extensive as those of the South Island, in the early days they effectively isolated various portions of the coastal plains ana 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 four 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 PeakHeight (Feet)
Kaikoura Ranges
Southern Alps
    David's Dome10,443
    Malte Brun10,421
    Elie de Beaumont10,200
    Douglas Peak10,107
    La Perouse10,101
    De la Beche10,053
    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 1 1/4 miles. In common with other glaciers on the eastern slope, of which the more important are the Murchison (11 miles), the Mueller (8 miles), the Godley (8 miles), and the Hooker (7 1/4 miles), its rate of flow is slow, while its terminal face is at an altitude of somewhat over 2,000 ft. On the western slope of the range, owing to the greater snow precipitation, the glaciers are more numerous and descend to lower levels, while the steeper slope gives them a more rapid rate of flow. The two largest of these are the Fox and the Franz Josef, with lengths of 9 3/4 miles and 8 1/2 miles respectively, and terminal faces at altitudes of 670 ft. and 690 ft.

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

Rivers.—Of the numerous New Zealand rivers few are of sufficient length or volume to be navigable. Moreover, owing to the high relief of the country, they are mostly swift-flowing, while, as mentioned previously, nearly all are obstructed at their mouths by bars. For the purpose of internal communication, therefore, they are of little economic utility, and only in two or three isolated instances have they been thus consistently used. With improved 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, Cobb, Clutha, and Waipori in the South are used for major hydro-electric schemes. The characteristics just mentioned are also important for purposes of irrigation, but, owing to the country's reliable rainfall, there are few areas other than in Canterbury and Otago where the rivers are so utilized.

In the 1932 Year-Book appears an account of the rivers of New Zealand, and below is given a list of the more important ones. 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.

North Island
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean
    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
South Island
Flowing into Cook Strait
    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, but the amount of gold now extracted is comparatively small.

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. A series of narrow man-made lakes nave been produced in connection with hydro-electric development along some of the rivers.

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, the details of which have recently been revised.

LakeLength, in MilesGreatest Breadth, in MilesArea, in Square MilesDrainage Area, in Square MilesApproximate Volume of Discharge, in Cubic Feet Per SecondHeight Above Sea Level, in FeetGreatest Depth, in Feet
Rotorua7 1/2631203 92084
Tarawera75 1/21472273980285
Rotoaira31 3/45502401,852 
Wairarapa124311,236 564
Rotoehu32317 968 
Rotoma3i2 1/44112 1,036 
Okataina43425 1,014 
Okareka1 1/21 1/41 1/48 1,160 
Rotomahana41 3/43 1/227 1,116 
Rerewhakaitu2 1/21 3/43  1,441 
Tikitapu13/41  1,364 
Rotokakahi2111 3/411401,298 
Whakamaru13 1/21/232,1556,160742 
Maraetai4 1/21/21 1/22,3906,730618 
Karapiro15 32,8807,820176 
Whakamarino11/4   900 
Rotoiti91 1/24714402,020250
Rotoroa5 1/2291459601,462499
Brunner515 1/215160 280357
Kanieri61 1/4611 429646
Coleridge11214216 1,672680
Sumner61 1/25 1/2130   
Tekapo113 1/2375503,0602,347620
Te Anau3861361,2759,730686906
Hauroko221 1/227 1/22251,100513 
Poteriteri181 1/2181601,05096 
Waihola41 1/432,200 (Tidal)52
Ellesmere14870745 (Tidal)7
Waitaki312 1/43,75012,150753 
Roxburgh20 2 1/46,01217,270430 

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 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, Superintendent 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 (M.-M. 7) with comparatively few major destructive shocks (M.-M. 8.12).

During the period 1835-1957, 81 destructive earthquakes are known to have occurred in New Zealand, 61 of which were of the semi-destructive type (not exceeding intensity M.-M. 7). Of the remainder 14 were of intensity M.-M. 8.9 and 6 of intensity M.-M. 10.12.

The total number of earthquakes of all intensities, and the maximum intensity, reported felt in New Zealand in each of the years 1922 to 1957 were as follows.

YearNumber of Earthquakes Reported FeltMaximum Intensity of Heaviest Shock
R.-F. ScaleM.-M.* Scale
* Modified Mercalli Scale of 1931, which is now used for recording earthquake effects in New Zealand.
19421989 +9
194512776 +
19472338 +7+
19481278 +8

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 17 June 1929.

Summary of Earthquake Activity in New Zealand During the Year 1957.—There was considerable activity in the months of February, March, August, and September; but the remainder of the year was comparatively quiet.

On 10 February a very strong shock occurred between New Zealand and the Kermadec Islands. It was felt in many parts of New Zealand, mainly in eastern areas of the North Island and in parts of the South Island as far south as Greymouth and Cheviot. The maximum intensity reported was M.-M. 5 at Whakatane.

On 22 February a strong shock centred in the region west of National Park reached at least intensity M.-M. 6 at some places in the epicentral area, and some damage was reported. The shock was felt in western and central parts of the North Island, from South Waikato to Wellington.

On 13 March a deep shock, originating under the Taupo region, was widely felt from Whakatane to Greymouth and Christchurch. this case the maximum intensity reported was M.-M. 5 at Taihape.

Early in June an outbreak of local activity occurred in the vicinity of Moko Hinau Island. The disturbance consisted of a "swarm" of light or moderate shocks. None of the shocks were reported felt on the mainland or elsewhere, although the strongest ones were clearly recorded by the seismograph at Onerahi aerodrome.

Near the beginning of August there was considerable activity in the Toatoa area, south-east of Opotiki. There were at least three rather severe shocks on the afternoon of 2 August, and a number of aftershocks for several days following. Intensities at least as high as M.-M. 6 occurred near Toatoa; but none of the shocks were perceptible beyond about 100 miles from the epicentral region.

On 4 and 21 August shocks with origins in the North Island deep-focus zone were felt over large areas of the country; but no intensities above M.-M. 4 were reported in either case.

Another deep-seated shock on 27 September was felt at many places from Te Kuiti to Greymouth and Christchurch. The maximum intensity reported was M.-M. 5 at Blenheim.

The only other shock in which intensity 5 was reached occurred in the Cook Strait region on 16 May.

There were 111 shocks reported felt in New Zealand during the year; 89 of these were felt in the North Island and 28 in the South Island, while 6 shocks were felt in some parts 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.

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

The boundaries between the seismic regions are not well defined, since one region generally merges more or less imperceptibly into another. Further, seismic frequency is not uniform. This leads to the number of shocks being considerably above the average in some years and below it in others. The normal irregularity is increased by the occasional occurrence of earthquake swarms in certain regions. Probably the most notable swarm in New Zealand was that which occurred in the

Taupo region in the latter half of 1922. The number of minor local shocks in this swarm was so great that only the stronger ones, or those affecting the adjacent region, were used in determining the average frequency of region I. Major earthquakes occur chiefly in the eastern and southern parts of region I.

Deaths Due to Earthquakes.—During the period 1848-1957 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 3 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 140 climatological stations within New Zealand and 60 on islands of the South Pacific. In addition, there are 1,070 rainfall stations in New Zealand and 90 in the Pacific Islands. 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., F.R.S.N.Z., Director of the New Zealand Meteorological Service, which was included in the 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 1954. 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.

Climatological Averages (Over a Period of Years)

StationAltitudeAverage Annual Rainfall*Average Number of Rain DaysAverage Bright SunshineTemperature in Shad, Degress Fahrenheit
Mean Daily MaximumMean Daily Minimum

* Rainfall averages refer to standard period (1921-1950).

† Normals relate to present site.

 Ft.In. Hrs.      
Te Paki, Te Hapua20056.711692,16972.859.265.957.045.952.0
Hamilton East13145.951612,05674.655.965.551.737.144.7
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana2,10076.90183 68.147.658.042.037.745.0
New Plymouth16061.161862,21169.154.862.255.242.949.3
Palmerston North (D.S.I.R.)11039.051701,83970.553.162.254.339.146.9
Waingawa, Masterton34038.011422,09174.353.363.750.535.843.4
Kelburn, Wellington41547.471662,04567.651.259.854.441.548.3
Lake Coleridge1,19531.54114
Milford Sound20253.50194 64.448.357.
Musselburgh, Dunedin529.741611,71565.249.359.

Brief Review of 1956:Year.—1956 was an exceptional year in the North Island, being in fact the wettest in seventy years of records (equal with 1893), the warmest in sixty years (equal with 1916) and the cloudiest in thirty years (equal with 1953).

Rainfall was well above normal over the whole of the North Island and also in parts of Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury. Departures exceeded 50 per cent over considerable areas of the Auckland district, where many stations established new records, Southland was the only part of the country with rainfall appreciably below normal.

Temperatures were above normal over the whole country. The average departure was 2.0° F. over the North Island and 1.6° F. over the South Island.

Sunshine was below normal, except in most of Westland and on the Southland coast. The deficiency exceeded 200 hours over the greater part of the North Island and also in the Mackenzie County of Canterbury and in Central Otago. Five stations received record low totals, including Napier, which had only 2,026 hours, nearly 400 hours less than normal.

Seasonal Notes.—January was an exceptionally warm month. For the South Island it was easily the warmest month on record. The temperature of 101° F. at Ashburton on 19 January was the highest temperature ever officially recorded in this country. Drought conditions developed from Canterbury southwards following several months of low rainfall and warm temperatures, but good rains at the end of the month brought relief to all but North Canterbury.

February and March were both very dry months in the southern half of the South Island. For the seven-month period from September 1955 to March 1956, parts of Central Otago and inland South Canterbury had the lowest rainfall in 60 years of record.

The following month was the warmest April on record and it was also rather humid. Growth was unusually good for the time of the year, but the Auckland district suffered from excessive rain. During the first four months of the year stock in many parts of the North Island were severely affected by several outbreaks of facial eczema.

The four-month period from May to August was unusually wet and unsettled in the North Island, where the health of stock was adversely affected. In the South Island conditions were drier and mainly favourable.

By contrast September was dry, and sunny in most districts. Lambing conditions varied considerably; in the South Island losses occurred during south-westerly weather from 13-15 September.

The last three months of the year were rather unsettled, and wetter than usual. Conditions were favourable for growth, but shearing and haymaking were seriously delayed.

Brief Review of 1957:Year.—Rainfall was above normal over the South Island, and the increase exceeded 25 per cent in most inland districts except North Canterbury and Southland. In the Auckland district it was somewhat drier than usual, but elsewhere in the North Island rainfall was mainly close to normal.

The year 1957 was warmer than usual, but not as warm as 1955 and 1956. The average increase over the whole country was about 1° F. Highest departures were recorded in east coast districts from Gisborne to Oamaru, also in central districts from New Plymouth to Blenheim and in the Rotorua area.

September brought to an end a long spell of unusually warm weather. In both October and December temperatures were about two degrees below normal - the first occasion since February 1953 in which the monthly temperature had been substantially below normal.

Sunshine was below normal in the South Island, except in coastal districts from Ashburton to Blenheim. The deficiency exceeded 100 hours over Otago and Southland; in Central Otago it was one of the cloudiest years on record. For the first time since 1947 most of the North Island was favoured with somewhat sunnier weather than usual; increases exceeded 100 hours in Auckland City and Northland.

Seasonal Notes.—The first three months of the year were all somewhat warmer than usual. January and February were also dry months, especially in the North Island, adversely affecting pasture growth and dairy production in some areas. However, March was a wet month and the rain was welcomed by farmers.

Temperatures remained above normal for the next three months. April was dry in the North Island, but serious flooding occurred in the Motueka River and the Waimea Plains of Nelson about the middle of the month. Generally, however, conditions were considered favourable for stock and pasture growth. May was rather too wet in the South Island. June was marked by an unusually high frequency of south-westerly winds, with comparatively dry and favourable conditions in most districts. There were several falls of snow during the first half of the month in inland Southland and on the high country of the North Island.

July was frosty and sunnier than usual. It was also notable for the amount of snow reported. The high country of the North Island received a good coating from the 3rd to the 5th. However, a more general fall affecting also most of the South Island occurred from the 24th to the 28th. In Otago and Southland this snow was unusually heavy and lay for several days even at low levels. Very severe frosts were reported in Southland, and the upper reaches of the Mataura River were frozen over.

August and September were both mild months with comparatively dry conditions over the greater part of the country. However, August was very wet in the Thames Valley, owing to persistent north-easterly winds; and losses of lambs were reported from Canterbury in wet weather early in September.

The last three months of the year were marked by unusually strong and persistent winds from a westerly quarter. It was cloudier colder, and much wetter than usual over most of the South Island and also in Taranaki, adversely affecting growth. On the other hand, in Northland and Gisborne farmers found the weather too dry. Major floods were reported in the Clutha and several Southland rivers from about 19 November; and in the Waimakariri and the Rakaia rivers on 27 December. On the latter occasion serious disruption occurred to road and rail traffic over the Alps. December was the wettest month on record in the Alps; the Hermitage, Mt. Cook, received 51 inches and Arthur's Pass 47 inches of rain.

Summary of Meteorological Observations

The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1956 were taken at 0900 hours New Zealand Standard Time—i.e., 2100 hours Greenwich Mean Time.

StationTemperatures in Shade—Degrees FahrenheitBright Sunshine (Hours)Rainfall
Mean Daily MaximumMean Daily MinimumApproximate Mean Temp.Extremes for 1956Extremes*
Maximum and MonthMinimum and MonthAbsolute MaximumAbsolute MinimumTotal Fall (Inches)No. of Rain Days
* Highest and lowest temperatures for duration of records.
Te Paki, Te Hapua67.453.760.678.3 Jan.32.7 July82.82701,98687.71235
Auckland67.754.661.183.9 Jan.37.4 Aug.90.431.92,02675.47194
Tauranga66.250.858.585.2 Jan.27.9 June91.922.52,01269.94192
Hamilton East66.448.057.284.3 Mar.25.8 June94.414.21,82363.04206
Rotorua64.847.356.188.8 Jan.28.2 Aug.98021.31,72977.55177
Onepoto Lake Waikaremoana58.846.652.7860 Jan.30.3 June88.122.2 91.95228
Gisborne67.349.858.599.8 Jan.28.1 June99.825.91,99052.12185
New Plymouth64.051.457.780.0 Feb.34.0 June86.029.12,00485.66190
Napier66.451.358.993.9 Jan.28.8 June96.527.52,02636.36153
Wanganui64.750.757.783.4 Jan.30.9 Aug.88.028.62,00444.42170
Palmerston Nth. (D.S.I.R.)64.848.956.884.0 Jan.29.4 Aug.87.021.21,73845.53195
Waingawa, Masterton64.745.755.290.8 Mar.27.0 Aug.95.419.51,86242.62188
Kelburn, Wellington61.250.655.976.0 Jan.35.1 July88.028.61,94461.25182
Nelson Airfield62.745.954.382.8 Jan.26.2 July92.021 02,20745.82152
Blenheim65.146.355.791.0 Jan.27 . 6 June94.61612,26931.45141
Hanmer62.240.551.396.0 Jan.21 0 July97.08.21,84645.34172
Hokitika61.546.253.877.6 Feb.28.0 July84.525.01,932105.79197
Lake Coleridge61.141.851.497.0 Jan.23.5 July97.0100 34.13131
Christchurch63. Feb.25.7 Aug.95.719.31,90425.80128
Timaru62.544.453.497.7 Jan.25.0 June99.01981,84221.64126
Milford Sound59.545.352.479.4 Feb.30.6 July81.823.1 218.12179
Alexandra63.141.652.499.0 Jan.22.1 July99.01101,93115.93109
Musselburgh, Dunedin60. Jan.27.3 Aug.94023.01,66633.04168
Invercargill60.344052.288.0 Jan.25.0 July90.01901,69035.79191

For 1956 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 0900 hours New Zealand Standard Time were: Auckland 1013.9; Wellington 1012.6; Nelson 1012.8; Hokitika 1012.5; Christchurch 1011.2; and Dunedin 1010.6.

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. For more detailed information the following works may be consulted: "The Forest Flora of New Zealand" and "The Students' Flora of New Zealand and its Outlying Islands", by T. Kirk, 1889; "The Cultivation of New Zealand Plants", by L. Cockayne, 1923; "Manual of the New Zealand Flora", by T. F. Cheeseman, ed. 2, 1925; "New Zealand Plants And Their Story", by L. Cockayne, ed. 3, 1927; "New Zealand Trees and Shrubs and How to Identify Them", by H. H. Allan, 1928; "The Vegetation of New Zealand", by L. Cockayne, ed. 2, 1928; "Grasses of New Zealand", by H. H. Allan, 1936; "A Handbook of the Naturalized Flora of New Zealand", by H. H. Allan, 1940; "The Flora of New Zealand", by W. Martin, ed. 3, 1947; "Pasture Plants and Pastures of New Zealand", by F. W. Hilgendorf and revised by J. W. Calder, ed. 6, 1948; "The Trees of New Zealand", by L. Cockayne and E. Phillips Turner, 1950 (reprint); "Poisonous Plants in New Zealand", by H. E. Connor, 1951; "Plants of New Zealand", by R. M. Laing and E. W. Blackweil, ed. 6, 1951; "New Zealand Ferns", by H. B. Dobbie, ed. 4, 1952; "Weeds of New Zealand and How to Eradicate Them", by F. W. Hilgendorf and revised by J. W. Calder. ed. 5 1952; "New Zealand Birds and Flowers", published by A. H. and A. W. Reed, Revised Edition, 1955; "New Zealand Native Plant Studies", by W. C. Davies, 1956; 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. Other publications dealing with this topic include "The Animals of New Zealand", by Captain F. W. Hutton and J. Drummond, ed. 4, 1923; "Native Animals of New Zealand", by A. W. B. Powell, 1947; "Introduced Mammals of New Zealand", by Dr. K. A. Wodzicki, 1950; "New Zealand Birds and How to Identify Them", by P. Moncrieff, ed. 4, 1952; and "New Zealand Birds", by W. R. B. Oliver, ed. 2, 1955.


Table of Contents

EARLY HISTORY: General.—When New Zealand was discovered by Europeans in 1642 it was found to be inhabited by a race of Polynesians called Maoris, who had migrated to these islands many centuries previously. At what time the discovery of New Zealand was made by the Maoris, and from what country they came, cannot be stated accurately, for being an unlettered people they had only oral records of their history. The origins of the Maori people prior to their final migration are even more obscure, but in accordance with the general tradition of the Polynesian race it would seem that from Asia they migrated eastward by way of Malaysia to the Pacific. According to their mythology their Pacific home was the island of Hawaiki—the position of which is now unknown—and from there, many generations ago, one of their chiefs, after a long voyage, reached the northern island of New Zealand. Returning to his home with a glowing description of the country he had discovered, this chief persuaded a number of his people to set out in a fleet of double canoes for the new land. This migration was followed by others, and from comparisons of the tribal legends it has been possible to obtain a definite knowledge of the subsequent division and history of the numerous tribes after their occupation of New Zealand. On their arrival the Maoris found inhabitants on the east coast of the North Island of similar racial origins to themselves. Known to the Maoris as Morioris, "inferior people", this race was driven to the South Island and to the Chatham Islands. Through absorption by the dominant Maoris, the Morioris finally became extinct by the death of their last member during the last decade. Of their history nothing is known, and their origins remain a mystery.

Coming from tropical latitudes, the Maoris mainly confined themselves to the warmer North Island, and when discovered by Europeans were in a high state of neolithic civilization, with marked superiority in the arts of wood-carving and military engineering. Their principal social unit was the family group, and from combinations of the numerous groups were formed the sub-tribes and tribes. With highly developed social and ritualistic customs, their system of land tenure and methods of cultivation were communal within the sub-tribes. Inter-tribal and intra-tribal warfare was common, and as individuals they displayed exceptional courage and intelligence.

The immediate effect of European contacts on the Maoris was the outburst of a series of tribal wars waged with greater ferocity and a vastly greater loss of life than was customary in pre-European tribal engagements. The high mortality could, of course, be credited to the acquisition of a more lethal weapon, the musket. The advantage lay originally with the coastal tribes as a result of their earlier contact with Europeans, the wars continuing until all tribes were equally well armed. These wars were later followed by wars against the colonists, but after 1870 the story has been one of unbroken peace between Maoris and Europeans.

The introduction of European diseases and firearms, and the impact of European civilization on the traditional way of life and customs of the Maoris, had such an adverse effect that their numbers must have been reduced by over half during the nineteenth century. However, the virility of the race gradually asserted itself, and from the beginning of the twentieth century the Maori population has been rapidly increasing.

Other island groups, such as the Cook Islands, Niue Island, and the Tokelau Islands, had also long been inhabited by Polynesians from various successive migrations extending over considerable periods prior to their discovery by Europeans.

Discovery by Europeans.—On 13 December 1642, Abel Janszoon Tasman, a navigator of the Dutch East India Company, discovered the country to which he gave the name of Straaten Land, and which later became known as "Nieuw Zeeland". Tasman had left Batavia on 14 August 1642, and, after having discovered Tasmania, he steered eastward and sighted the west coast of the South Island, described by him as a high mountainous country. Sailing north, he had the misfortune to come into conflict with the Maoris at Golden Bay, on the north coast of the South Island, so that though he continued his northward journey until he reached the northern tip of the country, he did not again attempt to land. His exploration was of necessity very cursory, for having explored only part of one coast he had no knowledge of the country's extent or shape.

There is no record of any European visit to New Zealand after Tasman's departure until Captain Cook sighted land on 6 October 1769, at Young Nick's Head. On his first voyage Cook spent six months exploring the New Zealand coast-line, and he completely circumnavigated the North and South Islands. His activities can be best described by saying "he found New Zealand a line on the map, and left it an archipelago". Not only was Cook's ability shown by his cartographical accuracy, but also in his peaceful dealings with the truculent Maoris. He returned to New Zealand again in 1773, in 1774, and in 1777.

Several other explorers also visited New Zealand during the latter portion of the eighteenth century, amongst whom may be mentioned M. de Surville 1769, M. Marion du Fresne 1772, Captains Vancouver and Broughton 1791, Captain Raven 1792-93, Alejandro Malaspina and Jose de Bustamente y Guerra 1793, Lieutenant Hanson 1793.

The European discovery of many of the islands of the Cook group was made by Captain Cook n 1773. Rarotonga and Mauke were not officially discovered for another fifty years, although there were records of earlier visits by the Bounty under the control of the mutineers in 1789 and later, in 1814, by the Cumberland. Niue Island was discovered by Cook in 1774. The first recorded discovery of the Tokelau Islands was made by Quiros in 1606. Of the remaining islands of the group, Atafu was discovered in 1765, Nukunono in 1791, and Fakaofa in the 1840's.

European Settlement and Colonization.—So far as is known, the first instance of Europeans being left in New Zealand to their own resources occurred in 1792, when Captain Raven of the Britannia landed a sealing-party at Facile Harbour, on the west coast of the South Island, where they remained a little over twelve months before being called for.

In the years that followed, whaling stations sprang up along the coast, and a trade with New South Wales began not only in whale oil and seal skins, but also in flax and timber—to say nothing of the disreputable traffic in dried tattooed heads. Attracted to New Zealand were deserters from whaling vessels and escaped convicts from Australia, who, in the absence of any jurisdiction, soon became notorious for their extreme lawlessness. In 1814 Samuel Marsden, chaplain to the Governor of New South Wales, obtained permission to send two of his proteges, Kendall and Hall, to the Bay of Islands to consider the desirability of establishing a mission station. Later they returned to Sydney for Marsden, who arrived in New Zealand to preach his first sermon at the Bay of Islands on Christmas Day, 1814. Of the many admirable activities undertaken by the missionaries, their action in having the Maori language "reduced to a rational orthography" deserves special mention.

In 1825 three separate, but abortive, attempts were made to found colonies; however for some years the only settlements were those round the principal whaling stations, although a number of Europeans gradually penetrated inland and resided there permanently, many marrying Maori women.

The first body of immigrants under a definite scheme of colonization arrived in Port Nicholson in January 1840, there to found the town of Wellington, just one week before Captain William Hobson arrived at the Bay of Islands as Governor to proclaim British sovereignty (see page 19).

These settlers were brought out from England by the New Zealand Company, whose moving spirit was Edward Gibbon Wakefield.

It was hoped that, by producing a proper balance of capitalists and artisans, self-contained communities could be successfully established. However, owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the land-purchases, considerable difficulty was experienced in these initial settlements, and friction grew up not only between the settlers and the Maoris, but also between the Governor and the settlers. Before his death in 1842 Governor Hobson had transferred his capital from Russell to Auckland, but this transfer was of little assistance to the colonists, who had extended their settlements to Wanganui, New Plymouth, and Nelson.

Following the death of Hobson, the existence of the colony became precarious, for, through lack of funds and weak administration, Maori aggression became a real menace. To cope with the situation, the Colonial Office appointed Captain George Grey as Governor. Being well equipped with troops and funds, as well as being a man of vigour and perception, Grey soon restored order and won the confidence of both the settlers and the Maoris. During Grey's term two further organized settlements were made. In co-operation with the New Zealand Company the Free Church of Scotland sponsored the Dunedin Settlement of 1848, and the Church of England the Canterbury Settlement of 1850. These settlements, owing to their more favoured situations, their satisfactory land-purchase agreements, and their freedom from trouble with the Maoris, achieved a greater measure of success in carrying out the company's avowed aims.

After Grey's departure the question of relationship with the Maoris again came to the fore through the land-purchasing activities of the settlers—a situation aggravated by subsequent lack of consideration for the Maori system of land tenure. Following an incident at Waitara in the Taranaki district, where a dispute arose concerning land titles, war broke out in 1860 and lasted spasmodically till 1870. The recall of Grey did not solve the problem, as Grey, an autocrat, could not work with the elected Ministers, nor did his presence prevent the confiscation of land belonging to the Maoris, whether friendly or hostile. It was under the sympathetic administration of Sir Donald McLean as Minister for Maori Affairs that the dispute finally died down.

These hostilities were confined to the North Island; and, in the meantime, in 1861, large alluvial deposits of gold had been discovered in the South Island—leading to a tremendous influx of population and an alteration of the economic structure of the country.

No organized form of European colonization has at any time taken place in the Cook Islands, Niue Island, or the Tokelau Islands.

SUBSEQUENT HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT (1870 ONWARDS).—The discovery of gold, by its increase of wealth, allowed the South Island to obtain a lead in commercial and political development which it long maintained. Moreover with the subsequent agrarian expansion, especially in the development of the large pastoral holdings, the country ceased to be merely self sufficient agriculturally, but began to develop a substantial export trade, mainly in wool, which it has maintained to the present day.

These factors, together with freedom from strife with the Maori population, led after 1870 to a quickening in political activities. Under the leadership of Sir Julius Vogel a policy of extensive borrowing for railway and road construction was begun. The provincial system which really commenced in 1853 had largely outlived its usefulness; in fact, the parochialism of their assemblies had frequently proved obstructive, and in consequence the provincial system was abolished in 1875, local administration being provided for by the Counties Act and the Municipal Corporations Act of 1876.

Of great social significance was the passing in 1877 of the Education Act, making education free, compulsory, and secular, while the laying during that decade of the first cable between Australia and New Zealand was a major advance in communications. At this time party politics began to enter into the parliamentary system, and the slump conditions which prevailed in the "eighties" (due to a fall in the world price level) intensified the political atmosphere. By the abolition of plural voting in 1889, and the introduction of female suffrage in 1893, the way was opened for a practical expression of political convictions by all adult members of the community.

In 1891 Ballance, as Leader of the Liberal Party, became Premier, to be followed on his death in 1893 by Seddon, and during the next decade the legislative essays of this party evoked world-wide interest. The main aim of the legislation was social justice, and its principal manifestations were in land division, the establishment of the Court of Arbitration, and the introduction of old-age pensions. The policy of land division aimed at closer land settlement, and it was achieved by the compulsory subdivision of large estates, with subsequent loans to small independent farmers wishing to establish themselves. In inaugurating the Court of Arbitration the object was to eliminate strikes by giving labour a recognized bargaining status; and the enactment was in accord with the enlightened code of labour legislation passed at that time.

With the commencement of the refrigerated trade in 1882, the policy of closer settlement progressed rapidly, since the production of frozen meat and dairy produce for export encouraged more intensive farming. There thus arose a new farming class which in 1911, some five years after Seddon's death, was mainly responsible for the overthrow of the Liberal regime.

The policy of the succeeding Reform Party under Massey was one favouring agricultural production. Farming interests were given constant encouragement by a series of enactments of which the extension of rural credit was typical. Three years after the advent of the Reform Party the First World War 1914-18 broke out, leading to the formation of a Coalition Government and an Imperial commandeer of exports. War activities were marked by heavy casualty lists, in proportion to the population, and by enhanced cordiality in Imperial relations. One noteworthy outcome of the war commandeer was the precedent given for the establishment, after the war, of Control Boards to regulate the export of pastoral products.

Though the effects of the post-war depression during the period 1921-24 showed themselves in an increase in unemployment and slight wage reductions, no drastic legislation was necessary to stabilize economic conditions. During the following years the price level rose; and, from the administrative side, it was characterized by extensive public-works expenditure, with particular attention to hydro-electric schemes and highways.

Owing to the encouragement given to farming, pastoral production constantly expanded, so that New Zealand became one of the world's greatest exporters of pastoral produce. As a consequence, her national income was extremely sensitive to price fluctuations of these products; so that, with the advent of the depression in 1930, her economic position became extremely vulnerable. In order to produce balanced budgets, both public and private, various legislative remedies were attempted. In particular, enactments were provided for unemployment relief, for the suspension, in effect, of compulsory arbitration, for the establishment of a Reserve Bank, for a mortgage moratorium, for raising the exchange rate, and for reduction in interest rates and wages. With the recovery in price levels and consequent general economic revival, amendments were made to several of these Acts, removing the more stringent measures. The election of a Labour Government in 1935 led to a change in administrative policy, the preoccupation being mainly with social problems. Further amendments were made to the depression legislation, certain restrictive measures were removed, and other temporary adjustments made permanent.

The general climate of opinion and gradual maturity of outlook furnish the background in which certain distinctive trends appear in legislation passed from 1936 to 1957.

The first major influence was an attitude which forcefully rejected the human suffering and economic waste associated with a major depression. Evidence of this is implicit in the provision for a basic wage, and later for a minimum wage, employment-promotion legislation, amendments to workers' compensation, industrial conciliation and arbitration, mining, etc., legislation, the system of guaranteed prices for certain primary produce, the creation of farm industry reserves, and the rationalization of production and marketing by the establishment of boards for certain items of primary produce.

The second major influence on legislation was conditioned by the outbreak of the Second World War, 1939-45. A vast body of legislation was placed on the statute book during the war period dealing with the control of manpower and materials, stabilisation of prices, wages, and rents, conditions of employment and suspension of certain peacetime features of industrial activity, discouragement of some industries and diversion to or encouragement of other industries, provision for rehabilitation, etc.

A third dominant trend was the acceptance of the principle that society should take active steps towards the improvement of the working, living, and social circumstances of its members. Foremost in this category was the Social Security Act and its later extensions providing for monetary benefits such as age, superannuation, family allowances, sickness, and unemployment, and for removal of the fear of want; failure to obtain needed medical assistance and hospitalization by the deterrence of crippling costs was obviated by the provision of a system of medical benefits.

Other legislative enactments under this heading include the provision for paid annual holidays, joint family homes, reduction of working hours, extension of workers' compensation insurance, improvement in safety and health and welfare conditions in industry, and extension of educational facilities and opportunities.

A fourth approach to law-making resulting from maturity of outlook has been the increased participation by New Zealand in international affairs consequent on its acceptance of responsibility in the wider issues of the present era. Legislation authorizing participation in United Nations activities generally and in particular emergencies, such as army and navy service in Korea, Malaya, and elsewhere; the extension of New Zealand representation in overseas countries and with the United Nations; the greater frequency of Commonwealth consultation; extension of aid to less developed countries, e.g., to Greece, and participation in the Colombo Plan; all bear witness to this change in outlook.

Another influence on legislation presents some parallels to that last mentioned, but is more concerned with the domestic sphere. It is exemplified in the increasing interest taken in welfare and social development generally of both the rapidly growing Maori population and the inhabitants of New Zealand's island and trust territories, such as the Cook Islands and Western Samoa.

Contemporaneously with the expansion of the field of legislative interest, other economic and industrial development of the country has proceeded with marked impetus in recent years. Partly induced by war-time shortages and the lack of self-sufficiency, and partly because the predominantly farming section of the country cannot absorb any very large inflow into the labour force, there has been in evidence a marked expansion with greater diversification of secondary industry. At the same time the basic industries of the country, those concerned with primary production, have prospered, assisted by the rapid absorption into practice of the technological improvements and achievements of the period.

The history of New Zealand's island territories has been largely one of wise paternal oversight, particularly in the earlier periods, by the New Zealand Government and by the various missions established in the islands. More recently, successive Governments have in various ways encouraged the inhabitants to take an increasing share in the administration of their communities, thus paving the way for some form of self-government. Much attention has been paid to combating tropical diseases and to health problems generally; such island industries as citrus, orange, and banana growing being fostered and encouraged in various ways, with outlets being found for produce available for export. By and large, however, their economy is necessarily one of a subsistence type only, with financial and other assistance provided from Government sources for the expansion of educational facilities and opportunities, public works such as roading, conservation of water supplies by reservoir construction, communication facilities, etc.

Owing to limitations of space, the foregoing is but a brief resume of New Zealand history. For detailed information, reference should be made to the many excellent books dealing with the subject, of which the more recent ones are listed in the General Bibliography appearing in Appendix (c) of this volume, and others in earlier issues.

SOVEREIGNTY.—Following representations from Maori chiefs for protection from the prevailing turmoil and lawlessness caused by inter-tribal warfare and the rough element around the whaling stations, the New South Wales Government appointed, in 1832, Mr James Busby as British Resident at Russell. Owing to the failure to supply him with any means of exerting authority, his appointment was largely ineffective. Finally the disorder, and the friction between the two races, became so intolerable that even the missionaries, who were opposed to annexation, made representations for British sovereignty.

On 29 January 1840, Captain William Hobson, R.N., arrived at the Bay of Islands, empowered, with the consent of the Maoris, to proclaim the sovereignty of Queen Victoria over the Islands of New Zealand, and to assume the government thereof. Hobson formally read his commissions at Kororareka on 30 January 1840, and on 6 February of the same year a compact called the Treaty of Waitangi was entered into, whereby all rights and powers of sovereignty were ceded to the Queen, all territorial rights being secured to the chiefs and their tribes.

On 21 May 1840 Governor Hobson proclaimed British sovereignty in the case of the North Island by virtue of the Treaty of Waitangi, and in the case of the South Island and Stewart Island by right of discovery. New Zealand remained a dependency of New South Wales until 3 May 1841, when it was created a separate colony by Royal Charter dated 16 November 1840. The capital was at first transferred by Hobson from Russell to Auckland, but in 1865 it was again transferred, on this occasion to Wellington, where the seat of Government has since remained.

During Governor Grey's term, steps were taken to draft a constitution for the colony. An Act granting representative institutions was passed by the Imperial Parliament on 30 June 1852, and was published in New Zealand by Proclamation on 17 January 1853. Under in provision was made for the constitution of a General Assembly consisting of a Legislative Council and a House of Representatives. Provision was also made for the division of the country into provinces, each province having an elected Council and Superintendent. (The provincial system was abolished in 1875 and the Legislative Council in 1950.) In the first General Assembly of 27 August 1854 certain members of this body were associated with the permanent members of the executive but they did not hold any portfolios. It was not until 7 May 1856 that responsible government was actually established.

With the gradual development of the country's economy, the acquisition of political and administrative experience, and the increasing desire for self-reliance in political matters, the degree of self-government became more complete. In recognition of this and of a nascent sense of nationality, New Zealand was given the title of Dominion in lieu of Colony, the new title taking effect on 26 September 1907.

Of the constitutional events in recent years the passing by the United Kingdom Parliament of the Statute of Westminster in December 1931, was of major importance. The draft of this statute was submitted for the confirmation of the various Commonwealth Legislatures before its passage through the United Kingdom Parliament. The statute granted complete autonomy to the various self-governing member countries, but it did not automatically apply to Australia or New Zealand. In other words, its operation in the latter self-governing members of the Commonwealth was declared to require specific adoption by the Legislature of that country. It was not until 1947 that the New Zealand Government formally adopted the Statute of Westminster.

As far as the island territories are concerned, the Cook Islands were proclaimed a British protectorate in 1888, and in 1901 were annexed and proclaimed part of New Zealand under the Colonial Boundaries Act 1895. Niue Island is part of the Cook Islands, though separately administered, and became part of New Zealand in 1901 with the extension of boundaries to include the Cook Islands. The Tokelau Islands were placed under the protection of Great Britain in 1877, formally annexed at the inhabitants' request in 1916, and from 1925 were administered by New Zealand at the request of the United Kingdom Government. From 1949 they became part of New Zealand by virtue of the Tokelau Islands Act 1948.

CONSTITUTION OF NEW ZEALAND: General.—New Zealand is a monarchical state; it is also a constituent member of the Commonwealth. It is in this context that the preamble to the Royal Titles Act 1953 is significant . . . whereas it is expedient that the style and titles at present appertaining to the Crown should be altered so as to reflect more clearly the existing relationships of the Members of the Commonwealth to one another and their recognition of the Crown as the Symbol of their free association and of the Sovereign as the Head of the Commonwealth . . .

Constitutional elements besides that of the titular head, the Monarch, can be reviewed under the categories of legislative authority, the executive and administrative structure, and the judiciary. This division is a convenient one, even though there is no absolute line of demarcation between the three phases (e.g., legislation may and often does arise through the day to day experience of those responsible for administration and execution of policy, or through difficulties or anomalies made explicit in the course of dispensing justice or interpreting law). Conversely, in the exercise of the powers and functions of industrial and other tribunals, commissions, authorities, etc., both administrative and judicial elements may be discerned.

THE MONARCH.—The New Zealand Parliament in the Royal Titles Act 1953 gave its assent to the use of the royal style and titles as follows: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

While the seat of the Monarch is normally in the United Kingdom, the Queen is represented in New Zealand by the Governor-General appointed by the Crown on the advice of Her New Zealand Ministers. The Governor-General has however an official existence, even in the country to which he has been appointed, only in the absence of the Queen from that country. In the island territories the Crown is represented by the Resident Commissioner or Resident Agent, and in the trust territory of Western Samoa by the High Commissioner. These officials carry out the constitutional functions of the Crown, but they also possess in varying degree certain executive and legislative powers, being responsible to the New Zealand Government for the administration and good government of the islands concerned.

Many powers held by the Monarch (or her representative) comprise but the means of giving effect to the public will. In New Zealand the Governor-General acts on the advice of the Ministers, which cannot be constitutionally ignored. Despite the long-term trend for powers to be assigned directly to Ministers without any necessity for vice-regal consultation, there are still many phases of Government which require Royal participation.

The Queen (in her absence the Governor-General) gives consent or approval prior to a Minister taking office or the formation of a Ministry; summons and prorogues Parliament; delivers the Speech from the Throne at the opening of a session; gives the Royal Assent to measures which have passed all stages in the House of Representatives, without which they have not the force of laws; makes appointments to most important State offices, to Knighthoods and other honours, etc.; and also provides that background of stability, continuity, and experience in many facets of government which is so desirable whenever there are sweeping changes in the dominance of political parties.

Besides those duties associated with the constitutional role, the Royal personage or representative makes an important contribution to the ceremonial life of the nation. This was particularly well illustrated during the sojourn of the Royal visitors to New Zealand in 1953-54. Both as the symbol of the nation and in virtue of her identification with the life and interests of her people, the Queen becomes the focus for all State occasions, as does the Governor-General in her absence.

LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY.—The supreme law-making body with power to legislate for the whole country is the General Assembly which now consists of the Governor-General and the House of Representatives, the former Legislative Council having been abolished since the close of 1950.

The powers of Parliament to make laws are legally untrammelled. This was not always so, for prior to the adoption by New Zealand of the Statute of Westminster in 1947 there was incapacity to make laws on certain matters which conflicted with United Kingdom statutes extending to New Zealand. There was also some doubt as to New Zealand's power to make laws possessing extra-territorial validity.

Although they do not limit the legal powers of Parliament as stated above the provisions of the Electoral Act 1956 creating reserved sections in that Act are of great constitutional significance. The Act provides that certain of its sections may not be repealed except by a 75 per cent majority of the House of Representatives or following a referendum. These sections are those relating to—

(a) The constitution and order of reference of the Representation Commission; (b) The number of European electoral districts and the basing of their boundaries on the total population; (c) The fixing of the tolerance within which the Commission must work at 5 per cent; (d) The age of voting; (e) The secret ballot; (f) The duration of Parliament.

This innovation is not legally effective in the sense that it does not prevent a subsequent Parliament from repealing it, since one Parliament cannot bind its successors. It should not be thought, however, that the new provision is a mere gesture. It records the unanimous agreement of both parties represented in Parliament that certain provisions have a fundamental character in the system of Government and should not be altered at the whim of a bare majority. Considered in this light the provision creating reserved sections introduces something in the nature of a formal convention which could not constitutionally be ignored.

While the law-making function is the prerogative of the members of Parliament, it must be remembered that, as in most democracies, laws are passed because of their acceptability to the majority party in Parliament—i.e., the Government party. Furthermore the initial acceptance will have probably been made in the deliberations of Cabinet.

With the increasing range and complexity of the statutory field, the multifarious concerns of a modern twentieth century government, and the necessity of conserving time for consideration of more important issues, much of the detailed procedural steps and other amplifying matter must become the subject of Orders in Council or of regulations made under the authority of some statute, rather than being incorporated in the statute itself. In this form of what has been termed legislation by delegation, the power to originate and sanction regulations rests with that comparatively small proportion of the majority party in Parliament individually known as Members of the Executive Council (or of Cabinet) and who collectively, together with the Governor-General, comprise the Executive Council. The same individuals, excluding the Governor-General, in New Zealand are members of the Cabinet, provided that each is the holder of a portfolio.

Cabinet may and often does function in a deliberate sense as well as in an executive or administrative sense. However regulations, etc., though originating in Cabinet and becoming effective in the proceedings of the Executive Council, still remain subject eventually to the sovereign will of Parliament as a whole.

Meeting of Parliament.—Parliament is summoned, prorogued, or dissolved by Proclamation issued by the Governor-General. A session is that period between the summoning of Parliament and its prorogation. Its length varies, but it usually occupies the months from June to November. When Parliament is prorogued all the business on hand lapses, and if this is to be proceeded with in the next session it must be re-introduced.

The course of a session may be interrupted by an adjournment.

Parliamentary Privileges.—While in session these include freedom of speech and freedom from arrest, and also the right to engage in secret debate, if required, etc.

The Party System.—There are two political parties represented in Parliament in New Zealand at present: National and Labour. At any General Election these parties, together with any other political parties which may be desirous of so doing and also those standing as independents, state their respective policies before the electors. Each party normally puts forth one candidate for each of the eighty electorates into which the country is divided. The party which wins the majority of seats, although not necessarily the majority of votes, at the General Election forms the Government. The leader of the elected members of the majority party becomes the Prime Minister, who makes Ministerial appointments from elected members of his party. The leader of the minority party in Parliament becomes the Leader of the Opposition. The effectiveness of the party system relies largely on the general agreement that the majority party is to govern and the minority is to criticize—so that there is ample time allocated for debate on Government measures in Parliament. While party control is exercised by national and local organizations outside Parliament, within the latter it is maintained by the respective party Whips.

Parliamentary Procedure.—The House of Representatives has its Standing Orders, which govern its procedure and which arc administered by Mr Speaker in the exercise of his control of the House. Mr Speaker's rulings on interpretation of the Standing Orders are followed in a similar manner to judicial decisions in the ordinary courts of law. The main means by which Parliament does its work is through the system of debate and Committees. 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. Twenty members, inclusive of the Speaker, constitute a quorum.

Parliamentary Functions and Control.—The Parliament controls the Government in power in the last resort by its power to pass a resolution of no confidence in the Government, or to reject a proposal which the Government considers so necessary that it is made a matter of confidence, and thus force the Government to resign.

Financial control is exercised by the fact that expenditure of public money must be authorized by the House of Representatives in the form of an Appropriation Act, which authorizes or grants money to the Government for the purposes approved. The authority for the raising of revenue by taxation or borrowing must also be given by Parliament. The functions of Parliament are of course the passing of legislation and taking action to make available finances or funds as required for State expenditure, while it also controls the Government. Legislation can be initiated from any member of Parliament, but in practice almost all Bills are introduced by the Government in power as a result of policy decisions taken in Cabinet, sometimes at the instigation of those Government Departments which will be responsible for their administration when the Bills become law. The chief exceptions are private Bills, which are designed for the particular interest or benefit of a person or body of persons, whether incorporated or not, and local Bills which relate largely to matters of local (as distinct from central) government business. The process of passing a public Bill is as follows: it receives a formal first reading on introduction, is then printed, and after some time it is given a second reading as a result of a debate on its general merits or principles. It may then be referred to one of the Select Committees, for consideration in the closest detail, before being considered by the whole House sitting in Committee. During these stages members have opportunities to suggest amendments which may be incorporated in the Bill if the majority so decide. The Bill is then reported to the House, and later read a third time, and passed; debate rarely occurs at these stages. The final stage is to send the Bill to the Governor-General for the Royal Assent and, unless provision is made for commencement on another date, it then becomes law. The Bills providing for receipt of moneys, such as the Finance Bill, and expenditure of moneys, such as the Appropriation Bill, are initiated only by a Minister of the Crown, normally the Minister of Finance.

Duration of Parliaments.—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 30 August 1943. Since then the duration of Parliaments has been of three years, with the exception that the twenty-ninth Parliament was dissolved after the expiration of approximately twenty months. The three-year limit was re-enacted in the Electoral Act 1956, this being one of the reserved provisions referred to on page 21.

Number 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. Since 1867 there have been four Maori representatives, and provision for this number was retained in the Electoral Act 1956. In 1952 the boundaries of the Maori electoral districts, which had remained unaltered since 1867, were changed by Proclamation so as to give a greater degree of equality of population among the four districts (in effect the Southern Maori Electoral District now includes a considerable area of the North Island).

Qualifications of Members.—Under the Electoral Act 1956 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 £200 is payable, directly or indirectly (but not as a member of a registered company or incorporated body), in any one financial year. Although women have had the vote since 1893, they were not eligible as Parliamentary candidates until the passing of the Women's Parliamentary Rights Act 1919. Prior to 1936 a public servant was prohibited from being elected, but this prohibition was removed by the Political Disabilities Removal Act 1936. The present law is that if a public servant is elected to Parliament he vacates his office forthwith and he cannot resume employment in the Public Service within twelve months of ceasing to be a member of Parliament unless he had previously been a public servant for at least five years.

Salaries, etc.—In accordance with the recommendations contained in the report (issued in 1955) of the Royal Commission upon parliamentary salaries and allowances, the Prime Minister's salary, as from 1 August 1955, was increased to £3,750 with a tax-free allowance of £1,500 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 £2,500 with a tax-free expense allowance of £550, and that of each Minister without portfolio £2,000, with £450 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 £715. 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 Inland Revenue 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 position is now £1,500, with the same house provision or allowances, and travel allowance while on official business, as for Ministers. An expense allowance of £400 is also payable. Since the general election of November 1954, no appointments or reappointments have been made.

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 1955 the honorarium paid to members of the House of Representatives has been increased to £1,100 per annum. They are also paid a basic allowance at the rate of £275 per annum for expenses incurred in connection with parliamentary duties and a sessional allowance of £165 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 £82 10s. and £165 respectively are paid to members representing such electorates, subject to the classification of electorates by the Representation Commission into the five classes of (a) urban electorates in or near Wellington or Lower Hutt, (aa) substantially urban (where an allowance of £25 per annum is made to meet extra travel costs), (b) urban electorates other than Wellington electorates, (c) partly urban and partly rural electorates, and (d) predominantly rural electorates. A special additional allowance of £100 per annum is paid to the member for Southern Maori and a special additional allowance of £50 per annum to the members representing the other three Maori electorates (refer Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Order 1955). 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 £5 a month, etc. The Civil List Amendment Act 1955 provides that a Royal Commission shall be appointed to fix parliamentary salaries and allowances within three months after the date of every General Election.

Part V of the Superannuation Act 1947, as amended by the Superannuation Amendment Act 1955, and consolidated in 1956, introduced a contributory superannuation scheme for members of the House of Representatives. The scheme now provides for a minimum retiring allowance of £350 per annum for a member with service of nine years (or eight years if a member has served throughout the duration of not less than three Houses of Representatives), the allowance increasing by £50 per annum for every year's service in excess of that period until a maximum allowance of £700 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 contribution, which is compulsory, is £85 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.

Both the 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 £1,950 per annum, in addition to which he receives an expense allowance of £600 and residential quarters in Parliament House. The honorarium of the Chairman of Committees is £1,575, and an allowance of £500 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 £1,950 with an expense allowance of £490. In addition, a secretary and typist are provided by the State and an allowance of £215 is payable for travel outside his electorate. His official stamp allowance is £12 10s. per month.

ADMINISTRATION AND EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBILITY.—After the election of anew Parliament, the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the majority party in the elected members, is given the task of selecting the members of the Executive Council (i.e., the new Ministry). Each of those members of Parliament to form the Government is entrusted by the Prime Minister with responsibility for administration of a specified field or aspect of government. This field is entitled a portfolio e.g., all relevant matters relating to Customs would be allocated to one member, who is henceforth known as the Minister of Customs. He may also have other portfolios and the supervision of one or more Government Departments in which the activities carried out, though important, either do not rank as portfolios or are subsidiary aspects of the field—in these cases the Minister's responsibility will extend to being in charge of the named Department. One or other of the appointed Ministers in this way is responsible for the direction of activities and executive acts of each of the Government Departments and offices, etc., embracing the entire range of State activities. Thus arises the concept of Ministerial responsibility.

In the legal sense those members of Parliament who have been appointed Ministers, together with the Governor-General, comprise the Executive Council; for purposes of prior and informal discussion on executive or administrative action and deliberation on proposed policy, they, with the exclusion of the Governor-General and of those Ministers without portfolio, become what is known as Cabinet.

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 11 May 1917, published in the New Zealand Gazette of 24 April 1919. The Royal Powers Act 1953 provides that the statutory powers conferred on the Governor-General may be exercised either by Her Majesty the Queen in person or by the Governor-General. 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.

A point of interest is that the Civil List Act 1950, in section 6, provided that no person shall be appointed a Minister or a member of the Executive Council unless he is a member of Parliament and that a person who ceases to be a member of Parliament cannot continue to be a Minister or a member of the Executive Council for more than twenty-one days. This gave statutory recognition for the first time to what had long been the convention.

At present (January 1958) the Executive Council consists of sixteen 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 and its amendments His Excellency the Governor-General receives a salary of £6,500 per annum, and 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 travel within or outside New Zealand of the Governor-General and his family and staff.

Cabinet.—There is a close relationship between the Cabinet, in itself not a legal entity, and the Executive Council, a statutory body. While the Executive Council consists of all Ministers, and is presided over by the Governor-General, membership of Cabinet may or may not extend to the entire Ministry; at present Ministers without portfolio are not members of Cabinet nor, of course, are its proceedings attended by the Governor-General. Where certain Cabinet decisions have to bear the imprint of legal form to become effective, the juridical acts are taken by others—the Crown, the Executive Council, a Minister of the Crown, a Statutory Commission, and the like. The preliminary review of proposed policy or of current administrative developments which takes place in the informal discussion atmosphere of Cabinet meetings implies both deliberate or selective and administrative procedures on the part of this body. Consequently, as a result of the device of Cabinet, general agreement can be reached on any proposed line of action by either an individual Minister, or by the Government as a whole, which enables (a) the Executive Council confirmation to proceed smoothly and expeditiously, (b) the Minister in introducing legislation into the House of Representatives or on other occasions to be confident that his measure will have the unqualified support of the Government no matter what divergences of opinion may have individually been apparent before the general agreement in Cabinet was made, (c) a consistent and agreed upon course of action or attitude to be followed on any particular issue. Thus the concept of collective responsibility of the Government is introduced and exemplified in the workings of Cabinet.

Complex questions and/or related problems may be initially considered by committees of Cabinet composed of those Ministers primarily concerned. Some executive action may be undertaken by these committees within the lines of established Government policy. Their work is subject to periodical report to and overall supervision by the entire Cabinet. On occasions also ad hoc committees may be established to review or investigate particular questions of the moment and to present their conclusions and recommendations to Cabinet for decision or for authority to take executive action. The decisions of Cabinet which require executive action, although notified to all concerned, are usually made effective through the agency of the Minister concerned.

Cabinet deliberations being investigatory or preliminary to action in other organs of Government are naturally informal, while anonymity as to the individual advocacy or opposition to some concerted line of action or area or general agreement is preserved in the form of recording system adopted. A small Cabinet secretariat is set up for the purpose of achieving co-ordination, continuity of action, and review, and to enable the smooth functioning of the work of Cabinet.

In brief, the functions of a Cabinet have been described as (a) the final determination of the policy to be submitted to Parliament, (b) the supreme control of the national executive in accordance with the policy prescribed by Parliament, (c) the continuous co-ordination and delineation of the activities of several Departments of State.

Government Departments.—The Minister as the political head of a Department of State may in fact have several Departments under his control. There are however some forty-four different Departments with separate functions in New Zealand. Each of these has a permanent head who is responsible for the work and administration of the Department. He is of course responsible to the Minister in charge of the Department, while he also acts as adviser to the Minister on all matters within his appointed competence. Besides ensuring that the Ministerial policy and directions communicated to him are effectively put into practice, his functions as the adviser include assessing the consequences of any executive action resulting from his departmental activity, evaluating the merits and demerits, whether political, social, or financial, of various modes of action, and making suggestions for improvements and for new policy measures as derived from departmental experience in the day to day execution of policy.

Departments can be broadly classified according to the administrative or regulatory, developmental, or social nature of their activities. Within the first group are the servicing sub-group, such as the Legislative, Prime Minister's Office, External Affairs, Printing and Stationery, Law Drafting, Valuation, Statistics, and Audit; the finance sub-group—Treasury, Customs, Inland Revenue; the regulatory sub-group—Public Service Commission, Internal Affairs, Island Territories, Labour, Marine; the defence and law and order sub-group—Navy, Army, Air, Justice, Crown Law, and Police; the publicity and research sub-group—New Zealand Broadcasting Service, Tourist and Publicity, Scientific and Industrial Research.

In the second group are the transport and communications sub-group, such as Transport, Post and Telegraph, and Railways; the developmental—Ministry of Works, Agriculture, Lands and Survey, Mines, State Hydro-electric, Maori Affairs, and Industries and Commerce; the commercial—Public Trust, Government Life Insurance, State Advances Corporation, and State Fire and Accident Insurance.

The third group comprises the Education, Health, and Social Security Departments.

This broad division serves merely to indicate in which field the dominant activity or purpose of the particular Department is engaged on or concerned with. Most Departments have servicing, informative, and regulatory functions, and many are equally regulatory and developmental in nature.

In addition to the system of direct administration in the form of Government Departments, there are other activities over which the State exercises some ultimate measure of control or ownership, though divorced in varying degrees from immediate supervision. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (the central bank), and one trading bank, are entirely State-owned, although the actual administration is quite independent, subject in the case of the Reserve Bank to the proviso that the Governor or Board of Directors is to give effect to any resolution of the House of Representatives in respect of the bank's functions or business.

Further instances of this principle are shown by the National Airways Corporation, which, although owned by the State, is administratively self-contained, and by the Tourist Hotel Corporation. In certain other avenues the type of administration is in between the normal departmental form and that evident in the corporation type; of such is the National Roads Board, which, though determining policy to a large degree, yet makes use of departmental administrative structures for implementation of policy.

Some administrative organizations have also quasi-judicial functions. Examples of this class are the Price Tribunal, Transport Charges Authority, Licensing Control Commission, and Local Government Commission.

JUDICIARY.—The hierarchy of Courts in New Zealand comprises the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the Magistrates' Court. Apart from these Courts of general jurisdiction there are other Courts dealing with specific fields. In the latter category are the Court of Arbitration, concerned with awards and general orders governing wage determination and conditions of employment in industry; the Compensation Court dealing with workers' compensation; and the Land Valuation Court, which settles land valuation disputes and compensation claims where land is taken for public works. For further details refer to Section 8 (Justice) of this issue.

ELECTORAL PROVISIONS.—The law on these matters is now contained in the Electoral Act 1956. Following each population census, which is normally taken every five years, New Zealand is divided anew into seventy-six European electorates. In addition, there are four Maori electoral districts, three in the North Island and one covering a portion of the North Island together with the whole of the South Island, where the Maori population is comparatively small. The Governor-General may at any time by Proclamation alter the boundaries of the Maori electoral districts, but, as in the case of European electoral districts, any alterations are to come into force at the expiry of the Parliament existing when the Proclamation is issued.

The Government Statistician is required to supply population figures to the Surveyor-General as soon as possible after the census. The population used as the basis in obtaining the quota for each European electoral district is defined in section 2 (1) of the Electoral Act 1956.

The term "European population" means total population with the following exceptions:

  1. Maoris:

  2. Persons residing on board ship, whether as passengers or members of the crew or otherwise:

  3. Persons residing temporarily as guests in any licensed hotel:

  4. Persons residing temporarily in any naval, military, or air force camp, station, or establishment:

  5. Persons residing as patients or inmates in any hospital:

  6. Persons in respect of whom reception orders under the Mental Health Act 1911 are in force:

  7. Persons detained pursuant to convictions in any penal institution.

After the population is supplied by the Government Statistician it is then the responsibility of the Representation Commission to define new electoral districts for Europeans. The Commission is constituted by virtue of section 15 of the Electoral Act 1956 and comprises seven members. Four of these, the Surveyor-General, the Government Statistician, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Director-General of the Post and Telegraph Department, are official members. Two are unofficial members, being persons nominated by the House of Representatives, one nominated to represent the Government, and one to represent the Opposition. The seventh member is appointed, on the nomination of the official and unofficial members of the Commission or a majority of them to be the Chairman of the Commission. The Chairman and unofficial members cease to be members on the date on which the first periodical census is taken after the date of their appointment.

The Commission determines the number of electoral districts in the North and in the South Islands so that the number of districts in the North Island bears, as nearly as possible, the same proportion to the number of districts in the South Island as the European population of the North Island bears to the European population of the South Island. Once this is done the next step is to determine the population quota for electoral districts in each Island by dividing the European population of each Island by the number of districts in that Island. In applying the quota, provision exists for an allowance by way of addition or subtraction of 5 per cent of the total population where districts containing the exact quota could not be formed consistently with consideration of topography, community of interest, communications, and existing electoral boundaries.

When the boundaries have been provisionally determined, maps are prepared illustrating the proposed electoral districts, and descriptions of each electoral district are published in the New Zealand Gazette. A time limit of one month is given thereafter in which objections to the proposed boundaries may be lodged. These objections arc then considered by the Representation Commission and a final decision reached on boundaries which then become the new electoral districts.

In addition to determining new European electoral districts the Representation Commission is also charged with the responsibility of classifying them for the purpose of allowances as provided by section 11 of the Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Order 1955. Under this section provision is made for an allowance based on the size, topography, and transport facilities of the electorate, the nature of its roads, the distribution of its population, and all other considerations that the Commission deems relevant.

The 1950 amendment Act 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. Previously the Maori elections were held on the day preceding the European elections. An amendment in 1951 provided for the polling hours in Maori electorates to be extended to 7 p.m., as in the case of European electorates.

The Electoral Amendment Act 1951 provided that, if at any time Parliament is dissolved before it has been two years in existence, the main 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 main 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 provided for the noting at elections and licensing polls by service-men 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.

FRANCHISE.—Since the abolition of plural voting in 1889 and the introduction of women's suffrage in 1893, every person 21 years of age or over (with certain obvious has exceptions) had the right to exercise one vote and one vote only in the election of members of the House of Representatives. The present law relating to electors and elections is contained in the Electoral Act 1956, and a note of some of the more important provisions of this Act is given below.

Qualification for Registration as Elector.—To be qualified for registration as a parliamentary elector in New Zealand a person must have attained the age of 21 years and must (a) be a British subject or Irish citizen, (b) be ordinarily resident in New Zealand, (c) at some period have resided continuously in New Zealand for at least a year, and (d) except in special cases have resided continuously for three years or more in the electoral district in respect of which application for registration is made, and not have subsequently resided for three months or more in any other electoral district.

The Act defines what is meant by the term "ordinarily resident". To be ordinarily resident in New Zealand, a person must be or have been actually resident in New Zealand with the intention of residing there indefinitely. If he is absent from New Zealand he must have had, ever since he left New Zealand, an intention to return to reside there indefinitely, and (except in the case of a public servant or the wife or husband of a public servant) must not have been absent from New Zealand for more than three years.

This new requirement that an elector must be ordinarily resident in New Zealand is an important departure from the previous position. Prior to 1957 any British subject who had been in New Zealand for a year was entitled to register and to vote, even though his residence might have been of a temporary nature and although he did not associate himself with the New Zealand community. Conversely, a New Zealander absent from New Zealand for more than a year lost the right to vote. Broadly speaking, the new qualifications restrict the right to vote to permanent residents, the test laid down being similar to the legal concept of domicile.

The following persons are disqualified from registration as electors: (a) Those in respect of whom reception orders under the Mental Health Act 1911 are in force, (6) those detained pursuant to a conviction in any penal institution, and (c) those whose names are on the Corrupt Practices List for any district. These qualifications and disqualifications apply alike to Maoris and Europeans.

Registration of Electors.—A system of compulsory registration of electors has been in operation in respect of Europeans since 1924 and was introduced in respect of Maoris in 1956. Every person qualified to be registered as an elector of any district must, if he is in New Zealand, apply for registration within one month after the date on which he first becomes qualified to be registered as an elector. He must also apply for registration within three months after the issue of every Proclamation proclaiming the names and boundaries of electoral districts or within such later period as may be provided by Order in Council. Qualified electors who are outside New Zealand may apply for registration if they wish.

A European is not entitled to be registered as an elector of a Maori district and a Maori (other than a half-caste) is not entitled to be registered as an elector of a European district. A half-caste Maori may choose to be registered either for a Maori or European district, and special rules are laid down to govern a change from one to the other.

Voting at Elections.—Voting at parliamentary elections is by secret ballot, a method which was first introduced in New Zealand in 1870. Recognition of the fundamental character which the secret ballot has attained in New Zealand was given in the Electoral Act 1956, which included the section providing for this method of voting among the reserved sections which may be repealed only by a 75 per cent majority vote or following a referendum.

In general, only those persons whose names are lawfully on the main and supplementary rolls of electors compiled prior to an election may vote at that election. The following classes of persons whose names are not on the roll are however entitled to vote—

  1. Those who have applied for registration between writ day and polling day and have satisfied the Registrar that they became qualified for registration not earlier than one month before writ day;

  2. Those who are qualified for registration and were at the last preceding election registered in that district or, where boundary changes have intervened, in some other district in which their then residence within the first-mentioned district was then situated;

  3. Those who are qualified for registration and have since the last election and before 6 p.m. on writ day applied for registration in that district, or where boundary changes have intervened, in some other district in which their then residence within the first-mentioned district was then situated.

  4. Servicemen outside New Zealand, if they are or will be twenty-one years of age or more on polling day and their place of residence before they left New Zealand is within the district.

Special Voters.—A vote is normally cast by the elector at a polling booth within his district. An elector may, however, vote as a "special voter", either at a polling booth outside his district or by post, in the following cases:

  1. If his name does not appear on the main roll, or any supplementary roll for the district or has been wrongly deleted from the roll;

  2. If he will be outside New Zealand on polling day;

  3. If he is or will be absent from the district on polling day;

  4. If he will not be within two miles by the nearest practicable route of any polling place in the district during the hours of polling;

  5. If he will be travelling during the hours of polling under conditions which will preclude him from voting at a polling place in the district;

  6. If he is ill or infirm;

  7. If, in the case of a woman, she is precluded from attending at a polling place by reason of approaching or recent maternity;

  8. If he is a lighthouse keeper or a member of a lighthouse keeper's staff, or if she is the wife of a lighthouse keeper or of one of his staff;

  9. If he has a religious objection to voting on the day of the week on which polling day falls;

  10. If he satisfies the Returning Officer or Deputy Returning Officer that on any other ground he cannot vote at a polling place in the district without hardship or undue inconvenience.

These latter conditions replace the former classes of absentee, postal, and declaration voters, including servicemen outside New Zealand.

Local Authority Elections.—For the system of local government administration a modified form of franchise exists, a ratepaying qualification being necessary for the exercise of votes on financial issues. Further reference to the local government franchise will be found in Section 31 of this Year-Book.


GENERAL REVIEW.—A population census was taken as for the night of Tuesday, 17 April 1956, in New Zealand, while censuses of the Island Territories were conducted by the Department of Island Territories for the night of Tuesday, 25 September 1956.

The minor islands (see page 2), other than the Kermadec Islands and Campbell Island, were uninhabited at the date of the census. The Ross Dependency, situated in Antarctic regions and normally uninhabited, had a population of 166 males at the 1956 census date, and 223 males at 1 April 1957, these men being members of scientific expeditions.

The 1956 census population of geographic New Zealand (i.e., excluding Island Territories) was 2,174,062, inclusive of 137,151 Maoris.

For the Island Territories 1956 census figures were: Cook Islands and Niue Island, 21,387; Tokelau Islands, 1,619; Trust Territory of Western Samoa, 97,327. The total census population of New Zealand and Island and Trust Territories was 2,294,395. Armed Forces personnel overseas at the time of the census and not included in the population numbered 2,162 (Europeans 1,972, Maoris 190).

The following table gives the latest available complete summary of New Zealand population.


* Includes population of the inhabited minor islands—i.e., Kermadec Islands, 9 (males); and Campbell Island, 14 (males).

† Members of New Zealand Antarctic expedition.

New Zealand—
    (a) Exclusive of Island Territories—
             Europeans30 June 19571,047,5381,038,5592,086,097*
            Maoris30 June 195773,15970,181143,340
                Totals, New Zealand (excluding Island Territories) 1,120,6971,108,7402,229,437*
    (b) Island Territories—
            Tokelau Islands30 June 19577429041,646
            Cook Islands31 March 19578,7528.05816,810
            Niue Island30 June 19572,2912,4384,729
                Totals, New Zealand (including Island Territories) 1,132,4821,120,1402,252,622
Trust Territory of Western Samoa30 June 195751,00748,59199,598
Ross Dependency1 April 1957223 223

INCREASE OF POPULATION.—Since the commencement of European settlement in New Zealand the European population has in every year shown an increase, though the rate of increase has fluctuated considerably. As will be seen later in this Section, the movement of Maori population has followed a different course. Census records since 1901 are quoted in the succeeding table and include Maoris.

Date of CensusNumbersIntercensal Numerical IncreaseIntercensal Percentage IncreaseAverage Annual Percentage Increase

* Excludes New Zealand Armed Forces personnel overseas.

† Includes New Zealand Armed Forces personnel overseas.

March 1901*815,85372,6469.771.89
April 1906936,304120,45114.762.75
April 19111,058,308122,00413.032.52
October 1916*1,149,22590,9178.591.50
April 19211,271,664122,43910.652.27
April 19261,408,139136,47510.732.06
March 19361,573,810165,67111.77113
September 1945*1,702,298128,4888.160.83
September 19451,747,679173,86911.051.ll
April 1951*1,939,472237,17413.932.37
April 19511,941,366193,68711.081.91
April 1956*2,174,062234,59012.102.31
April 19562,176,224234,85812.102.31

In no fewer than five of the ten censuses covered by the above table the figures are disturbed by the absence overseas of Armed Forces. Increase during the intercensal period preceding the census is thus diminished and in the period following is augmented by the return of such personnel or, more accurately and regrettably, the survivors. Numbers of Armed Forces personnel overseas at the respective dates were: 1901, 2,500 (approx.); 1916, 44,000 (approx.); 1945, 45,381; 1951, 1,894; and 1956, 2,162.

It will be noted that the growth of population has been substantial in each period. The lowest rates are those of 1926-36, a result of the great economic depression, and of 1936-45, which included six years of war.

Omitting movements of army and air force personnel but including naval crews, post-war increases in population have been—

 NumbersPer Cent

The increase in the rate of population growth, after an upward movement from 1950 to 1952 (the highest gain in the history of New Zealand), showed a downward trend in 1953, which was sharply accelerated in 1954, but there has since been a recovery to a fairly stable position.

A cautionary observation may be appended here. Though the total increase of population is the sum of natural increase and migration increase, certain discrepancies may be noted. The reason is that, following the 1951 census, revisions were made to statistics of total population for earlier years, but it was not possible to make corresponding adjustments to migration or natural increase figures. It was not considered necessary to revise total populations between 1951 and 1956 following the 1956 census. A further discrepancy may be due to the exclusion from the migration statistics of movements of members of the Armed Forces.

Sources of population increase are threefold—viz., enlargement of territory, excess of arrivals over departures, and excess of births over deaths or natural increase. The first is inapplicable to New Zealand, the second is dealt with later in this Section, and the third is discussed in the Section relating to vital statistics. One aspect of the latter may, however, be given here. This is the reproduction index which, though not free from error, is a convenient indication of the growth or decline of a population. It is based on female children born (gross rate) and probably surviving to maturity (net rate). A net rate of 1.0 indicates a stationary population; above unity a rising population and below unity a falling population.

Reproduction rates during the latest five years were as follows, the figures relating only to the European population.

YearGross RateNet Rate

POPULATION PROJECTION.—It is of interest to note that New Zealand reached its first million of population in December 1908 and the second million in August 1952, the population thus having doubled in approximately 43 3/4 years.

Interest in the future population of New Zealand was such that it was obvious there was a real need for up-to-date forecasts. However, to produce forecasts of real value, considerable work is involved in making careful studies of trends in fertility, mortality, immigration, etc. To meet the needs of those wishing to make estimates based on probable future changes in population, the following provisional projections have been made after the 1956 census for the total population, inclusive of Maoris. These are based on two assumptions:

  1. That the annual rate of natural increase will be 15 per thousand persons living.

  2. That the net inflow due to migration will be 10,000 persons per annum.

Mean Population for Twelve Months Ending 31 December (Including Maoris

YearEstimated Population

COMPARISON WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.—In the following summary of certain selected countries the two most recent census years are quoted together with the annual average percentage increase of population during the respective intercensal periods.

CountryCensus PeriodAverage Annual Percentage Increase

* Including Newfoundland.

† European population.

‡ Including Hyderabad, but excluding Kashmir, Jammu, and the tribal areas of Assam.

§ Excluding full-blooded aborigines.

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

New Zealand1951-562.31
England and Wales1931-510.46
Northern Ireland1937-510.48
Republic of Ireland1951-56-0.45
Union of South Africa 1946-512.18
India 1941-511.26
United States of America1940-501.36

It is seen that Canada and Australia have the highest annual rates of increase. Both rates have increased substantially since the previous intercensal periods, the main factor in this being the increase in immigration.

The third highest rate of increase is that shown for New Zealand, 2.31 per cent. The Union of South Africa (2.18 per cent), and Ceylon (1.51 per cent) show the next highest rates of increase. On the other hand, European countries show the lowest rates of increase—Hungary and the Republic of Ireland actually show a decrease—with the United Kingdom countries recording very low figures.

SEX PROPORTIONS.—The figures for the census of 17 April 1956 show that males outnumber females by 9,333 in the European population, 3,027 in the Maori population, and 12,360 in the total population. Females per 1,000 males were: European, 991; Maori, 957; total population, 989. Net increase of population from migration adds to the male preponderance, but the major source of population increase is the excess of births over deaths, and this results in a female preponderance. Females per 1,000 males at the last five censuses have been—

1945 (including Armed Forces abroad)991
1951 (including Armed Forces abroad)989
1956 (including Armed Forces abroad)987

There are marked differences in the sex proportions of the population of different parts of New Zealand. The following observations relate to the census of 1956 and give the number of females per 1,000 males.

In the aggregate of cities and boroughs the ratio was 1,060, in town districts, 962; and in counties, 887. For the provincial districts ratios were—

Hawke's Bay1,014
Otago (Otago portion)1,009
Otago (Southland portion)935

Female preponderance in towns does not appear to have a direct relation to the size of the towns. Of the fifteen urban areas which comprise the largest centres of population, ten had ratios higher than the average for all cities and boroughs, but five were below the average, and of these Hutt, fifth largest urban area, even had an excess of males.

New Plymouth1,084
Palmerston North1,077

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 details 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.

All references to New Zealand relate solely to geographic New Zealand—i.e., Island Territories are omitted except in the first table where their inclusion is specifically stated. Though Cook Islands, Niue Island, and Tokelau Islands are constitutionally part of New Zealand, for geographical reasons they are administered separately.

Maoris are included in all population data unless the contrary is stated. Maori-Europeans who are in half or greater degree of Maori origin are included with Maoris. For some purposes the population division into European and Maori is necessary or desirable and “European” is used, conveniently if not altogether accurately, as referring to all population other than Maori, a usage long established in New Zealand.

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. Discrepancies have in fact been so slight that no revisions of the intercensal figures are contemplated.

The following population figures exclude members of New Zealand Armed Forces who were overseas, and also members of the Armed Forces of other countries who were in New Zealand.

Population (Including Maoris) at End of YearIncrease During YearMean Population for Year
MalesFemalesTotalNumericalPer Cent
Years Ended 31 March
Years Ended 31 December

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

Population (Including Maoris) at End of YearIncrease During YearMean Population for Year
MalesFemalesTotalNumericalPer Cent
Years Ended 31 March
Years Ended 31 December

EXTERNAL MIGRATION.—Statistics of external migration have been recorded in New Zealand since 1860. Since 1 April 1921 they have been compiled from individual statements obtained from each person entering or leaving New Zealand.

Including crews of vessels, 149,793 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31 March 1957, which, compared with 1955-56, shows an increase of 15,413. During the same period 138,938 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1955-56, shows an increase of 13,227.

In addition to the figures just quoted there were also 20,718 “through passengers” and “tourists on cruising liners”, who called in at New Zealand in the course of their voyage.

The excess of total arrivals over total departures for 1956-57 was 10,855, compared with an excess of 8,669 during 1955-56.

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

Year Ended 31 MarchArrivalsDeparturesExcess of Arrivals Over Departures

In 1953-54 the number of arrivals decreased, for the first time since the last war, by 4,395 from the preceding year. A further decrease of 235 occurred in 1954-55. However, this downward trend was halted in 1955-56 when arrivals increased by 4,862 over the 1954-55 figure. A further substantial increase of 9,583 was recorded by the figures for 1956-57, and this was attributable, in part, to the fact that the Olympic Games held in Australia in November 1956 stimulated traffic both to and from New Zealand.

Departures from New Zealand continued to record an increase over the previous year as the above table shows, the increase for 1956-57 being 6,183.

For the year ended 31 March 1957 arrivals showed an excess over departures of 11,492, compared with 8,092 the previous year.

In the ten-year period ended 31 March 1957 the net gain from passenger migration was 105,090, while if movement of crews is taken into account this is increased to 106,195.

Classes of Arrivals and Departures.—The following table gives an analysis of all classes of arrivals during the last five years, including “ through passengers”, tourists on cruising liners, and crews. In classifying arrivals or departures as “permanent” the commonly used international rule is applied—i.e., residence or absence of one year or more.

Immigrants intending permanent residence29,00524,89619,45320,87823,030
New Zealand residents returning18,57017,44320,21121,91525,046
    On business2,5022,8343,1643,1543,712
    Theatrical, entertaining, etc.785686629696879
    Educational purposes199128152191227
    Others, officials, etc.1,0351,1981,3861,9432,941
    In transit835802788811852
Through passengers and tourists on cruising liners5,6457,44811,0058,26420,718

The succeeding table gives a similar analysis of departures.

New Zealand residents departing—
Temporary residents departing19,62221,07923,60325,65729,181
Through passengers and tourists on cruising liners5,6457,44811,0058,26420,718

Ages.—The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the twelve months ended 31 March 1957.

Age, in YearsPermanent ArrivalsPermanent DeparturesExcess of Arrivals Over Departures
60 and over4628081,270207332539731
Not specified9202935821

Of the permanent arrivals during the year 1956-57, 19 per cent were under fifteen years of age, 42 per cent under twenty-five years, 71 per cent under thirty-five years, and 85 per cent under forty-five years. Permanent departures represented a similar age distribution, with percentages of 20, 45, 73, and 86 respectively.

Origin.—The following table shows for the last three years the birthplaces of immigrants intending permanent residence and of New Zealand residents departing permanently.

Country of BirthImmigrants Intending Permanent ResidenceNew Zealand Residents Departing Permanently
* Hungarian refugees totalled 617.
Commonwealth Countries
England and Wales7,5538,8818,8612,5722,2872,058
Northern Ireland311401367986274
United Kingdom (undefined)261238359495288
Cook Islands and Niue425383504303348
New Zealand3,0963,2303,7513,9024,5924,558
Other Commonwealth countries in the Pacific211255315726983
Other countries within the Commonwealth308360455878788
                Totals, Commonwealth countries16,64318,11518,8948,2298,6438,445
Other Countries
Republic of Ireland396465463155159127
United States of America297278315131142192
Totals, other countries2,7932,7534,127781793772
At sea212 2  
Not specified13972 1 
                Grand totals19,45320,87823,0309,0129,4369,220

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 31 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 was granted to certain categories of immigrants. Eligibility was 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. All assisted immigrants were required to enter into a contract with the New Zealand Government that they would engage in approved employment for two years after their arrival in New Zealand.

A scheme of child migration from the United Kingdom was in operation from June 1949 to May 1953. Arrivals of British children between the ages of five and seventeen years totalled 169 in 1949-50, 107 in 1950-51, 99 in 1951-52, 87 in 1952-53, and 68 up to terminating date during 1953-54.

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

  3. The acceptance of a number of single non-British men and women between the ages of twenty and thirty-five years. Dutch, Danish, Swiss, Austrian, and German nationals are being selected.

The number of assisted immigrants (exclusive of displaced persons and Hungarian refugees) arriving in New Zealand since the reintroduction of the scheme in 1947 was as follows.

Year ended 31 March 1947158   158
Year ended 31 March 19481,140   1,140
Year ended 31 March 19491,527   1,527
Year ended 31 March 19502,532   2,532
Year ended 31 March 19512,87355  2,928
Year ended 31 March 19523,8491,100  4,949
Year ended 31 March 19534,8722,709  7,581
Year ended 31 March 19545,611688  6,299
Year ended 31 March 19553,880452  4,332
Year ended 31 March 19564,732391  5,123
Year ended 31 March 19574,172252139304,593

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

Displaced Persons.—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, 978 in 1950-51, and 2,663 in 1951-52, made up of young single men and women, widows with one child, family groups, orphans, and a number of elderly people. This scheme was brought to an end with the arrival in April 1952 of the final two displaced persons accepted by the Government.

HUNGARIAN REFUGEES.—Following the uprisings in Hungary, the Government agreed to accept a quota of 1,000 Hungarian refugees. The first draft arrived by air in December 1956 and a total of 617 had arrived by 31 March 1957.

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, Auckland, and Christchurch. United Kingdom, Canadian, Australian, and Indian passports are issued by the respective High Commissioners for those countries. The representatives of New Zealand at London, Washington, New York, San Francisco, Ottawa, Canberra, Paris, The Hague, Bombay, Tokyo, Singapore, and Bangkok, are authorized to issue and renew New Zealand passports.

Entry into 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 recognised travel document. 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.

People born in the Cook Islands and the Tokelau Islands are British subjects and New Zealand citizens. They require to obtain formal exit permission from the Resident Commissioner if they wish to proceed to New Zealand.

Most people born in Western Samoa are New Zealand protected persons. If they wish to visit New Zealand as temporary visitors for periods of up to three months they must obtain prior permission from the High Commissioner for Western Samoa. Those desiring to enter New Zealand for longer periods than three months are required in addition to make prior application to the Secretary of Labour, Department of Labour, Wellington.

A British subject who is the master or a member of the crew of the vessel in which he arrives does not need to produce a passport.

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.

The Immigration Restriction Act is administered by the Department of Labour, while the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Act is administered by the Department of Justice.

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

  1. Persons not of British birth, unless in possession of permits issued by the Department of Labour. (Note.—A person is not deemed to be of British birth 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 Secretary of Labour, 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. A deed to be entered into by some approved person or persons resident in New Zealand 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 may also be required.

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, etc.

NATIONALITY AND NATURALIZATION.—The basic nationality law is the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948. This came into force on 1 January 1949 and was enacted following a conference of nationality experts of Commonwealth countries in February 1947 to discuss the basis of new nationality legislation. The scheme of the new legislation accepted by Commonwealth Governments is the “common status” of all British subjects, namely, that in each Commonwealth country all persons are recognised as British subjects who possess citizenship under the citizenship laws of any of the members of the Commonwealth. (Note.—The Act states that “British subject” and “Commonwealth citizen” have the same meaning.)

Upon the commencement of the Act, New Zealand citizenship was automatically conferred on the following classes of British subjects: (a) those born in New Zealand; (b) those naturalized in New Zealand; (c) those ordinarily resident in New Zealand throughout the whole of the year 1948; (d) those whose fathers were British subjects born or naturalized in New Zealand; and (e) women married before the commencement of the Act to men who become citizens under the various provisions of the Act.

Since the commencement of the Act, New Zealand citizenship may be acquired in the following ways: (a) by birth in New Zealand; (b) by descent; (c) by registration; and (d) by naturalization.

Citizens of other Commonwealth countries acquire New Zealand citizenship by registration. The requirement is twelve months' ordinary residence. A British woman married to a New Zealand citizen is entitled to registration without any residence qualification.

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 to be reckoned for the purposes of the first condition, but in such cases a minimum of two years' residence in New Zealand is essential.

Naturalization granted to a married man does not automatically confer New Zealand citizenship on his wife and children, if they are aliens. These dependants may apply to be registered as New Zealand citizens after the head of the family has been naturalized. An alien woman marrying a British subject does not acquire her husband's nationality on marriage, but may apply to be registered as a British subject and New Zealand citizen. Acquisition of citizenship by naturalization or registration automatically confers the status of a British subject, and the two methods of acquiring citizenship are differences in legal procedure only.

A British woman marrying an alien does not lose her nationality under the present Act.

Adults acquiring New Zealand citizenship by naturalization or registration, and children over sixteen years of age acquiring it by registration, are required to take the oath of allegiance. Recognising the importance both to this country and to the new settlers themselves of their acquisition of New Zealand citizenship, the Government decided that ceremonies should be held at which applicants should, in an atmosphere of dignity and solemnity, take the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty and be presented with their certificates of naturalization or registration as New Zealand citizens. Local authorities agreed to arrange such ceremonies. The first was presided over by the Mayor of Wellington on 24 May 1955. During the 1955-56 year there were thirteen ceremonies held, and twenty-seven in the 1956-57 year.

The complete numbers of naturalizations, registrations, etc., during the year ended 31 March 1957 were as follows.

Country of BirthCertificates of Naturalization (Aliens and British-protected Persons)Certificates of Registration as a New Zealand Citizen (British Subjects, Irish Citizens, British-protected Persons, and Aliens)Certificates of Registration as a New Zealand Citizen—Minor Children (British Subjects and Aliens)
United Kingdom  156832927
Northern Ireland  4212
Malta  2322
Union of South Africa  3275
Republic of India1 3627199
Pakistan  2111
Hong Kong  1211
Canada   11 
Australia  7721
Western Samoa31 311
Fiji  9454
Tonga1   32
Republic of Ireland  44  
Sweden1  1  
Denmark91 564
Russia (U.S.S.R.)4217 20 2
Estonia45 7 1
Latvia287 2183
Lithuania141 1122
Netherlands1753 531820
France31 1 2
Switzerland7  2  
Italy42 4  
Czechoslovakia343 1531
Austria6  754
Hungary272 14 1
Rumania21  1846
Bulgaria31 2  
Greece6  311
Turkey12  2  
Lebanon21 1  
Burma  433 
Indonesia34  1397
China293 62 
Japan   4  
United States of America1 12  
Other countries332413

Of the certificates of registration granted to adult males, 232 were to British subjects or Irish citizens 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 were registered as New Zealand citizens by virtue of their close associations by way of descent, residence, or otherwise, with New Zealand.

The certificates of registration granted to adult females were 111 to British subjects who acquired New Zealand citizenship by virtue of one year's residence in the country immediately preceding the date of application, 44 to British wives of New Zealand citizens, and 275 to alien women married to New Zealand citizens by birth or naturalization.

Certificates of registration granted to minor children were 275 (149 males, 126 females) to children of New Zealand citizens by naturalization or registration, and 17 (7 males, 10 females) who lodged applications independently.

REGISTRATION OF ALIENS.—The registration of aliens in New Zealand is provided for by the Aliens Act 1948, which was administered by the Police Department until 1957 when it was taken over by the Department of Justice. This Act repealed earlier enactments relating to aliens.

The number of aliens on the New Zealand register at 1 April 1957 was 26,381, comprising 16,832 males and 9,549 females. This is not 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 1 April 1956 and 1 April 1957.

Country of Nationality1 April 19561 April 1957
Russia (U.S.S.R.)1237720010863171
Albania31 3130 30
United States of America6753169916633431,006
Other countries67411088746133

The number of aliens on the register at 1 April 1957 shows an increase of 1,197 as compared with twelve months earlier. Substantial increases during the year were shown by Hungary (473) and the Netherlands (442). Other increases of note recorded were for Austria (113), China (76), Norway (64), Denmark (56), and Germany (53). Decreases were shown by several countries, the largest being Poland (131).

Tables showing for aliens registered at 1 April 1956, ages, occupational groups, and geographical location by countries of nationality, will be found on pages 44-47 of the 1957 Year-Book.

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION.—Detailed population statistics are compiled for each census. Preliminary figures for the 1956 census for provincial districts, urban areas, counties, cities, boroughs, town districts, extra-county islands, and shipping were published in “Interim Returns of Population and Dwellings, 1956 Census". Final figures for these have been published in Census, Vol. 1, “Increase and Location of Population” and in the “Report on Population, Migration, and Buildings, 1955-56". In addition to these, Vol. I shows figures for subdivisions of counties into (a) ridings and (b) townships, localities, etc.

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 following table gives the population of the North and South Islands as disclosed by each census since 1901.

Census YearPopulation (Excluding Maoris)Proportions Per Cent
North IslandSouth IslandTotalNorth IslandSouth 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 1951-56 intercensal period was 103,999, and the total net increase 163,113. For the South Island the natural increase was 45,832, and the total net increase 50,002. The population of the North Island has increased at a greater proportionate rate than the South Island between the 1951 and 1956 censuses. Inclusive of Maoris, the North Island increase was 183,495, or 13.97 per cent, and the South Island increase 51,095, or 8.17 per cent.

At the 1956 census the North Island population was 1,497,364, inclusive of 131,894 Maoris; and the South Island population 676,698, inclusive of 5,257 Maoris.

At 31 March 1957, the North Island population was 1,532,109, inclusive of 136,717 Maoris, and the South Island population 689,060, inclusive of 5,317 Maoris.

Provincial Districts.—The approximate areas and the estimated populations, inclusive of Maoris, of the various provincial districts are given in the next table.

For the guidance of overseas readers it is necessary to explain that there have been no provinces in New Zealand since 1875. Provincial districts are simply the former provinces, but they have no functions and are now merely historic divisions serving as useful units for a primary geographical break-down. There is no Southland Provincial District and the “ Southland portion of Otago” has little resemblance in area to the former Southland Province.

Provincial DistrictArea (Square Miles)Estimated Population 1 April 1957
Hawke's Bay4,260104,400
Provincial DistrictArea (Square Miles)Estimated Population 1 April 1957
    Otago portion14,070169,700
    Southland portion11,46087,600
New Zealand103,7402,221,169

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

Urban and Rural Population.—On 17 April 1956 somewhat over two-fifths (43.3 per cent) of the population of New Zealand (excluding Maoris) were included in the five principal urban areas— Auckland, Hutt, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and over one-half (57.7 per cent) in all the 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. This drop in the ratio of rural population has continued in the period 1951-56.

CensusPopulationPercentage of Total

* Figures exclude military and internment camps.

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

‡ Inclusive of Maori half-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 MaorisExcluding Maoris
Urban : towns of—
      1,000- 2,500104,36065,931102,20171,249
      2,500- 5,00086,408158,60585,430155,068
    25,000 or over338,213701,948337,221690,231
            Totals, urban798,1881,357,783792,5761,322,411
            Totals, New Zealand1,401,0012,174,0621,337,3842,036,911
Urban : towns of—
    25,000 or over24.1432.2925.2133.89
            Totals, urban56.9762.4559.2664.92
            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 population categories.

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.—These are statistical conceptions and not administrative units. Their purpose is to provide definite, stable, and comparable boundaries for the larger centres of population. In addition to the central city, they include neighbouring boroughs, and parts of counties which are regarded as suburban to the centre of population.

Urban areas were formed in 1917 and, except for two additions and one deletion, remained unaltered until 1951, when a revision of boundaries was made and the new areas used in the 1951 census. From census records and maps, revised population figures were prepared on the basis of the new boundaries. In the case of European population the figures were revised for each census back to 1911, and on the basis of population including Maoris the revision was possible back to the 1926 census. 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. In Auckland the boundaries were extended considerably, but in most other cases it was found that little change was necessary.

Urban AreaPopulation (Including Maoris)Population Increase 1951-56
New Plymouth18,59721,05724,92328,2923,36913.52
Palmerston North24,37227,82032,90837,7754,86714.79

In the twenty years covered by the table all urban areas have consistently recorded increases in population. In the last five years Auckland has had the greatest numerical growth, while Hamilton and Hastings have had the highest proportionate increases.

Wellington Urban Area's increase of nearly 4 per cent between 1951 and 1956, compared with under 1 per cent in the previous intercensal period, resulted mainly from housing development in the Titahi Bay and Porirua areas. The rate of growth of Hutt Urban Area slowed down in the last intercensal period. For Hutt and Wellington Urban Areas combined the increase rate was 7.71 per cent, a rate exceeded by all urban areas except Dunedin.

Of particular interest is the marked increase in the Maori population in urban areas during the last twenty years. In Auckland the number of Maoris increased from 1,863 in 1936 to 11,361 in 1956. In the fifteen urban areas there were 5,371 Maoris in 1936 as compared with 22,825 in 1956.

The next table contains the population (Maoris included) of the fifteen urban areas as estimated for 1 April 1957. The component parts of the five largest centres of population are given in detail, while for the remaining ten areas totals only are quoted. In most of the ten cases the urban area comprises the central city plus the urban portion of the adjoining county. At 1 April 1957 the five largest urban areas had a total population of 918,800, this being equivalent to 41.37 per cent of the New Zealand total. The total for all urban areas at the same date was 1,225,000, or 55.15 per cent, of the total population of New Zealand.

Urban AreaEstimated Population (Including Maoris)
Auckland City138,400
    East Coast Bays Borough7,740
    Birkenhead Borough5,840
    Northcote Borough3,880
    Takapuna Borough19,150
    Devonport Borough11,650
    Henderson Borough2,750
    Glen Eden Borough4,350
    New Lynn Borough7,860
    Mount Albert Borough25,600
    Mount Eden Borough18,600
    Mount Wellington Borough13,050
    Newmarket Borough2,120
    Ellerslie Borough4,600
    One Tree Hill Borough12,950
    Mount Roskill Borough26,600
    Howick Borough4,090
    Onehunga Borough16,650
    Otahuhu Borough8,660
    Papatoetoe Borough11,600
    Manurewa Borough5,000
    Papakura Borough5.580
    Remainder of urban area34,080
Lower Hutt City50,800
    Upper Hutt Borough13,300
    Petone Borough10,350
    Eastbourne Borough2,720
    Remainder of urban area11,230
Wellington City122,400
    Tawa Flat Borough4,260
    Remainder of urban area13,340
Christchurch City145,200
    Riccarton Borough7,920
    Lyttelton Borough3,600
    Heathcote County5,320
    Remainder of urban area37,160
Dunedin City71,600
    Port Chalmers Borough3,030
    West Harbour Borough2,180
    St. Kilda Borough6,900
    Green Island Borough4,660
    Mosgiel Borough4,450
    Remainder of urban area7,580
New Plymouth28,900
Palmerston North38,800

Counties.—The following table gives the estimated population (including Maoris) of individual counties at 1 April 1957, 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 town districts which form parts of counties.

Administrative CountyEstimated Population (Including Maoris)Approximate Area, in Square Miles
North Island—
    Bay of Islands12,520823
    Great Barrier Island290110
    Hauraki Plains5,840233
    Hawke's Bay19,3501,670
    Waimate West3,02083
    Wairarapa South3,110440
South Island—
    Golden Bay4,0401,011
    Mount Herbert61066
    Chatham Islands530372
    Stewart Island540670
                    Grand totals808,220102,611

During the year ended 31 March 1957 increases of over 750 in population were recorded by ten counties. Excluded are Taumarunui and Golden Bay Counties, the former reflecting the amalgamation of Taumarunui, Ohura, and Kaitieke Counties during the year, the latter being a new county created from the amalgamation of Collingwood and Takaka Counties and Takaka Town District.

The largest increase of the ten counties was that of Waitemata with 2,376, followed by Waimairi 1,903, Paparua 1,605, Rotorua 1,143, and Makara 1,057. All of these counties reflect urban development within their boundaries, Rotorua being aided also by continued farming and forestry development. Matamata, Waikato, and Taupo Counties register solid increases resulting from Tokoroa township's development, Meremere steam power station, and Wairakei geothermal power station respectively. Southland and Tauranga County increases result from mixed urban and farm development, with the building of the new fertiliser works in Southland also contributing to the increase there.

The mergers of Havelock Town District and Akaroa Borough with Marlborough and Akaroa Counties respectively are the reasons for substantial increases recorded in those counties.

Substantial decreases were recorded in Rangitikei, Kairanga, and Malvern Counties owing to reductions in Armed Services personnel, although the merger of Bulls Town District into Rangitikei County cushioned the loss considerably. Boundary changes meant considerable losses of population in Hawke's Bay and Hutt Counties, while Tuapeka's loss of 1,559 was a result of the completion of the Roxburgh power station with the consequential loss of construction workers and families.

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

BoroughEstimated Population (Including Maoris)Approximate Area, in Acres
North Island—
    East Coast Bays7,7403,850
    Glen Eden4,3501,244
    New Lynn7,8601,393
    Auckland (City)138,40018,493
    Mount Albert25,6002,430
    Mount Eden18,6001,477
    Mount Roskill26,6004,604
    One Tree Hill12,9502,430
    Mount Wellington13,0504,075
    Hamilton (City)37,1006,145
    Te Awamutu4,7501,162
    Te Kuiti3,8901,668
    Te Aroha2,8902,783
    Mount Maunganui3,7003,475
    Te Puke2,0101,047
    Gisborne (City)20,1003,610
    Napier (City)21,6003,007
    Hastings (City)20,6003,211
    Havelock North2,6901,165
    New Plymouth (City)24,5004,257
    Wanganui (City)30,1005,886
    Palmerston N. (City)36,6006,943
    Upper Hutt13,3002,165
    Lower Hutt (City)50,80010,323
    Tawa Flat4,260799
    Wellington (City)122,40017,789
South Island—
    Nelson (City)17,9005,550
    Christchurch (City)145,20025,647
    Timaru (City)23,7003,582
    Port Chalmers3,030714
    West Harbour2,1802,181
    Dunedin (City)71,60013,921
    St. Kilda6,900462
    Green Island4,6601,789
    Invercargill (City)31,0008,775
                    Grand totals1,392,090338,794

Increases of 1,000 and over were registered by ten cities and boroughs, the highest increase being that of Lower Hutt City with 2,987, a result mainly of the acquisition of the Stokes Valley area of Hutt County during the year. Other substantial increases were Christchurch City 2,489, Whangarei Borough 2,087 (mainly a result of the inclusion of Onerahi Town District and portion of Whangarei County), Invercargill City 1,906 (South Invercargill Borough merged in the City), Auckland City 1,860, Hastings City 1,417 (a large gain from Hawke's Bay County), and Hamilton City 1,159. Mount Roskill, Mount Wellington, and Upper Hutt Boroughs also recorded increases of over 1,000, and these three boroughs can all be considered as outer suburbs of Auckland and Wellington.

Several slight decreases are recorded for older established boroughs in close proximity to main centres.

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 DistrictEstimated Population (Including Maoris)Approximate Area, in Acres
* Parent county shown in parentheses.
(a) Town Districts Not Forming Parts of Counties
North Island—
South Island—  
                Grand totals13,41014,227
(b) Town Districts Forming Parts of Counties*
North Island—
    Kohukohu (Hokianga)2401,020
    Rawene (Hokianga)470280
    Russell (Bay of Islands)6201,066
    Mercer (Franklin)3401,000
    Te Kauwhata (Waikato)6901,290
    Ohaupo (Waipa)3301,281
    Kihikihi (Waipa)770523
    Te Karaka (Waikohu)390700
    Patutahi (Cook)2501,275
    Kaponga (Eltham)520558
    Normanby (Hawera)490260
South Island—
    Southbridge (Ellesmere)460531
    Outram (Taieri)360886
    Edendale (Southland)580696
                Grand totals6,51011,366

The main point concerning town districts is that Murupara's rate of growth has slowed down appreciably. Three independent town districts, Onerahi, Bulls, and Takaka, and one dependent town district, Havelock, lost their identities during the year.

Extra-county Islands and Migratory Population.—In addition to the populations quoted for administrative counties, cities and boroughs, and independent town districts, the New Zealand totals include migratory population and persons located on islands not within the boundaries of any county. The two latter categories comprised an estimated total of 7,449 people as at 1 April 1957.

Of the islands concerned, Waiheke, with an estimated population of 2,150 as at 1 April 1957, was the only one of any size.

DENSITY OF POPULATION.—The relation of population to area, which is commonly referred to as “density of population”, is a subject of much interest and a source of serious misconceptions. Generally speaking, a dense population must depend upon land-utilization or industrialization. In New Zealand there is a great area of high mountainous country, particularly in the South Island, while there are also large areas of water or 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.

Most of the land that can still be brought into occupation requires special methods or heavier capital expenditure to develop it. The Departments of Lands and Survey and Maori Affairs are grassing annually quite large areas of what was, until recently, regarded as useless land. The development of unimproved land for farming purposes can be expected to continue steadily, but the accompanying growth of mechanisation in farming tends to stabilise the size of the labour force engaged in farming operations.

While industrial development has made very marked growth in New Zealand over the years, and extensive further development appears certain, there are factors unfavourable to the growth of industry to a point where dense populations could be supported—not the least of which are weakness in mineral resources, relative smallness of the home market (even with an expanded population), and distance from export markets.

Within New Zealand there are wide variations in density of population. The North Island, with an area of 44,294 square miles, had a population density of 33.80 persons per square mile at the 1956 census date, and the South Island, with an area of 59,442 square miles, had a population density of 11.38 persons per square mile at the same date.

The following table provides comparative density figures on a provincial district basis.

Provincial DistrictArea, in Square MilesPersons Per Square Mile
Hawke's Bay4,26012.4614.9418.0721.4124.02

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.

According to census records the Maori population suffered a period of almost unbroken decline from 1858 to 1896. The following causes no doubt contributed to this decline—internecine warfare of the tribes and the heavier casualties which resulted from the introduction of firearms; the susceptibility of the Maori to epidemic and other diseases introduced with the white race; and the mental outlook of the Maori under the new conditions.

During the last fifty years, however, the Maori population has increased continuously, at first steadily and of later years at a fairly rapid rate. In fact, the vitality exhibited by the Maori race in recent years is a most outstanding feature. The rate of natural increase of the Maori population is more than double that of the European.

A statement of Maori population is now given for each census from 1901 to 1956.

YearMaori PopulationIntercensal IncreaseIntercensal IncreaseAverage Annual Increase
* Includes members of Armed Forces overseas at census date.
 NumberPer CentPer Cent

The average annual percentage increase from 1951 to 1956 was 3.47, which is considerably higher than the corresponding figure for the European population—viz., 2.24 per cent. The natural increase ratios for the year 1956 shown below afford a better illustration.

Birth rate24.6744.64
Death rate9.009.37
Natural-increase rate15.6735.27

Of the 137,151 Maoris at the 1956 census, 131,894 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 has, however, taken place during and since 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 1956 census the comparative figure was 33,424 (24.37 per cent). The largest concentration is in Auckland Urban Area, where 11,361 Maoris were enumerated. The total Maori population at 1 April 1957 was 142,034.

Numbers of persons wholly or partly of Maori blood as disclosed by the censuses of 1951 and 1956 are set out in the following table.

Counted in the Maori population—

Full Maori76,91888,440
    Three-quarter caste15,20118,624
    Maori-other Polynesian374775
Maori-other races* 820

Counted in the population other than Maori—

* This category, first introduced in 1956, covers those cases of “Maori—other races” mixtures where there is half or more Maori blood involved.

† Decline in 1956 in “Maori—other races” accounted for by change in classification. See note (*).

‡ Includes Maori-Arab.

Maori-European quarter-caste18,42125,108
Maori-Syrian or Lebanese7327
Maori-American Indian 3
Maori-West Indian136

In 1956 there were recorded in New Zealand some 162,458 persons wholly or partly of Maori origin, compared with 134,842 in 1951.

STATISTICS OF THE 1951 CENSUS.—The tabulation and analysis of the population census taken for the night of 17 April 1951 is complete and all subject volumes (listed below) have been published.

  • Volume I—Increase and Location of Population.

  • Volume II—Ages and Marital Status.

  • Volume III—Religious Professions, etc.

  • Volume IV—Industries, Occupations, and Incomes.

  • Volume V—Birthplaces and Duration of Residence of Overseas-born.

  • Volume VI—Maori Census.

  • Volume VII—Dwellings and Households.

  • Volume VIII—General Report.

  • Appendix A—Census of Poultry.

  • Appendix B—New Zealand Life Tables, 1950-52, and Values of Annuities.

  • Interim Returns of Population and Dwellings.

Certain statistics of the 1951 census will be found on pages 44-54 of the 1954 Year-Book.

STATISTICS OF THE 1956 CENSUS.—The volumes so far published for the 1956 census are:

  • Interim Returns of Population and Dwellings.

  • Volume I—Increase and Location of Population.

  • Appendix A—Census of Poultry.

The others will be published as the results become available.

The appropriate Sections of this Year-Book contain data on industrial distribution, occupational status, occupations, poultry, and dwellings. Other 1956 census details will be found in the Latest Statistical Information Section of the Year-Book.

AGE DISTRIBUTION.—Provisional age-group figures from the census of 17 April 1956 are shown below with comparable figures from the census of 17 April 1951. Maoris are included in the figures, but it should be noted that the tables exclude those members of the Armed Forces overseas at the dates of the 1951 and 1956 censuses, numbering 1,894 in 1951 and 2,162 in 1956.

Age Groups (Years)1951 Census1956 Census*
* Provisional.
Under 5119,443114,989234,432130,693125,855256,548
100 and over152439142135
Not specified—

The following is a summary in three broad age groups in order to give a clearer picture of the changes in age constitution of the population between the two censuses.

Age Group (Years)1951 Census1956 CensusIncrease 1951-56
NumberPer Cent of Total SpecifiedNumberPer Cent of Total SpecifiedNumberPer Cent
Under 15570,62129.45683,25831.45112,63719.74
15 and under 651,189,77261.391,291,24359.45101,4718.53
65 and over177,4599.16197,5959.1020,13611.35
Not specified1,620 1,966 346 

From the above tables it will be seen that the under-fifteen-years age group has recorded both the highest numerical and percentage increase since 1951. This reflects the generally high birth-rate which has ruled since the post-war year of 1946.

Although the working age group of fifteen and under sixty-five years shows a decline as a percentage of the population from 61.39 in 1951 to 59.45 in 1956, it has, nevertheless, recorded a numerical increase of 101,471. Within this group the low birth rates from 1932 to 1936 are reflected in the low numbers recorded in age groups of twenty to twenty-four years in 1956 and fifteen to nineteen years in 1951.

Another point of interest is that the tendency for the group sixty-five years and over to increase as a percentage of the population at each census has been halted, with a drop from 9.16 in 1951 to 9.10 in 1956.

RACIAL ORIGINS.—The racial origins of the population are shown in three main divisions together with comparative figures for the 1951 census.

For the 1956 census, a minor change in classification was made for the Maori race and included in the Maori population are those cases of “Maori-Other races” mixtures such as Maori-Chinese, Maori-Indian, etc., provided that there is half or more Maori blood involved. Cases where less than half Maori blood is involved are shown under “Other races—Others M.B.” It should be noted, however, that “Maori - Other Polynesian” mixtures are included in the Maori race regardless of degree of Maori blood.

In 1951 all “Maori-Other races” mixtures (except Maori-Polynesian) are included in the category “Other races—Other M.B.”, regardless of degree of Maori blood involved.

In the table below F.B. signifies “full blood”, M.B. “mixed blood”, the second race being European, except in the case of “Other races—Others M.B.".


* See note in text above table.

† Not available separately; included in total of Polynesian.

    European-Maori quarter-caste18,42125,108
                Totals, European1,809,4412,016,287
    Maori full blood76,91888,440
    Maori-European three-quarter-caste15,20118,624
    Maori-European half-caste23,18328,492
    Maori-Other Polynesian374775
    Maori-Other races*820*
                Totals, Maoris115,676137,151
Other races—
        Cook Island Maori—F.B.1.654
                Sub-totals, Polynesian—F.B.1,6844,120
M.B.  1,9403,983
Syrian, Lebanese, or Arab—F.B.981592
                Totals, Other races—F.B.9,48713,865
                Grand totals1,939,4722,174,062

Of the three broad race groups, the “Other races” portion of the population has shown the highest percentage increase since the 1951 census, rising from 14,355 to 20,624, or 43.7 per cent. The Maori population has increased by 21,475 or 18.6 per cent, while the European population has increased by 206,846 or 11.4 per cent.

Although the numbers in the “Syrians, Lebanese, or Arabs” group show decreases from 1951, the reason appears to be that many Syrians and Lebanese have returned themselves as Europeans, and had they been counted in the “Other races” group, this would have meant a larger increase therein.

A significant feature is that, within the “Other races” group, the Polynesians have shown substantial increases since 1951, immigration contributing fairly large numbers during the period, this applying also, on a smaller scale, to the Fijian group.

Both the Chinese and Indian groups record substantial increases, full bloods and mixed bloods together showing a 26.9 per cent rise for Chinese and a 40.9 per cent rise for Indians. Again, an excess of immigrants in each of these two racial groups has boosted the percentage increase considerably.

BIRTHPLACES.—The distribution of population in 1956 according to place of birth is now presented with the 1951 figures incorporated for comparative purposes.

NOTE: n.o.d. = not otherwise defined.

Commonwealth countries with Protected States, Protectorates, Trust Territories, and Condominia—
    New Zealand (excluding Island Territories)1,672,9621,863,344
    Northern Ireland8,8179,085
    United Kingdom, n.o.d., or (Great) Britain, n.o.d.155333
    Isle of Man331423
    Channel Islands563692
    Union of South Africa (including South Africa, n.o.d.)1,3981,699
    Republic of India3,8384,468
    Federation of Malaya165243
    Canada (including Newfoundland)2,0912,503
    Cook Islands9991,992
    Niue Island330753
    Western Samoa1,3362,995
    Fiji (including Rotuma)1,7022,273
    Other Pacific Islands within Commonwealth319386
    All other countries within Commonwealth1,1091,431
                Totals, Commonwealth countries1,907,1432,125,204
Other Countries—
    Republic of Ireland6,4236,566
    Ireland, n.o.d.1,9321,857
    Russia (U.S.S.R.)506740
    Netherlands (Holland)1,65512,544
    United States of America (including Alaska)1,7131,937
    All other countries outside the Commonwealth1,2061,799
                Totals, other countries30,65147,362
    Born at sea410325
    Not specified1,2681,171
                Grand totals1,939,4722,174,062

The most significant feature of the table is the very high percentage increase recorded for “Other countries” between 1951 and 1956.

The total population of the country increased by 12.1 per cent between 1951 and 1956; those born in New Zealand increased by 11.36 per cent; those born in Commonwealth countries, etc. (including New Zealand), by 11.43 per cent, while those born in “Other countries” increased by 54.52 per cent.

The principal reason for the high percentage increase in “Other countries” is the large number of Dutch immigrants who came into the country between 1951 and 1956. This is reflected in the increase in the Netherlands birthplace figure from 1,655 in 1951 to 12,544 in 1956, while it should also be noted that the 982 people in 1956 showing Indonesia as birthplace were mainly of Netherlands nationality.

In this respect the increase from 58 to 714 for Rumania can be misleading. In actual fact a large proportion of those born in Rumania are of Greek national origin. It is also likely that some of those recorded as born in Russia were born in former Polish territory.

Of the Commonwealth, etc., countries other than New Zealand, England records the largest numerical increase, gaining 18,073 or 14.35 per cent, reflecting a fairly large gain from immigration during the period. Immigration of Pacific Islands people is shown in the increases for Cook Islands, Niue Island, Western Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga, as places of birth.

DURATION OF RESIDENCE OF OVERSEAS-BORN.—Provisional figures from the 1956 census showing the numbers of overseas-born people and their duration of residence in New Zealand are shown below with comparative figures from the 1951 census.

Duration of Residence of Overseas-born

Duration of ResidenceCensus
90 and over86117
Not specified4,4667,444

The number of overseas-born people in New Zealand at the time of the 1956 census shows an increase of 44,208 or 16.6 per cent over the number of overseas-born in New Zealand at the 1951 census. The total population of New Zealand increased by 12.1 per cent between 1951 and 1956.

The steady influx of immigrants into New Zealand from 1946 onwards is reflected in the large numbers giving their duration of residence as 9 years or less at the 1956 census.

The figure of 77,545 in the 0-4 years group represents 25.6 per cent of the specified total, while that of 42,722 in the 5-9 years group is 14.1 per cent, showing that overseas-born persons with 9 years or less residence in New Zealand comprise 39.7 per cent of those overseas-born people who specified their duration of residence.

The drop from 52,185 in the 0-4 years group in 1951 to 42,722 in the 5-9 years group in 1956, exactly 5 years later, is accounted for mainly by the inclusion in the 0-4 years group in 1951 of short-term visitors such as overseas tourists and crews of overseas ships, and these persons would not appear in the 5-9 years group in 1956.

It is, however, probable that a number of persons who came into New Zealand between 1946 and 1951 as immigrants intending permanent residence and were recorded in the 0-4 years group in 1951 had, by the date of the 1956 census. departed from New Zealand, either permanently or temporarily.

MARITAL STATUS.—The marital status of persons aged 16 years and over as returned at the census of 1956 is summarized in the following tables.

Age (Years)Never MarriedMarriedLegally SeparatedWidowedDivorcedNot SpecifiedTotal
2012,66079931 813,471
90 and over66221648461784
Not specified adults166346104114208785
Totals, 1956200,617482,9335,47527,8597,747657725,288
Totals, 1951194,701433,0916,66327,1787,0391,239669,911
90 and over149117 1,006321,277
Not specified adults165653616217241,027
Totals, 1956151,613482,1436,71479,0208,715225728,430
Totals, 1951153,199431,1767,80371,8357,891686672,590

The proportional distribution of the population aged 16 years or over according to marital status is given in the following summary.

Marital Status19511956
Never married29.1222.8027.6920.82
Legally separated1.001.160.760.92

The most noticeable point is that the proportion of married people has increased considerably since 1951, at the expense, generally, of the “never married” group.

A contributing factor to the decrease in the proportion of the “never married” group is the low-birth rate which ruled during the nineteen thirties. The age group of 16 years to 24 years inclusive is affected, the total numbers here increasing only from 244,625 in 1951 to 254,307 in 1956, or less than 4 per cent, against an increase of over 8 per cent for the 16 years and over group as a whole.

It should be pointed out, however, that within this age group of 16 years to 24 years the percentage of those returned as “married” did increase from 21.6 in 1951 to 22.9 in 1956, with a decline in the “never married” percentage from 78.0 to 76.8.

RELIGIOUS PROFESSIONS.—The following summary presents the main religious professions returned at the last census, with comparative figures for 1951 being given also.

Religious ProfessionNumber of Adherents
1951 Census1956 Census
Church of England726,626780,999
Roman Catholic (including Catholic undefined)264,555310,723
Protestant (undefined)14,43247,999
Salvation Army13,60714,122
Latter Day Saints10,00812,941
Church of Christ11,93710,852
Christian (undefined)4,8537,569
Seventh Day Adventist6,1597,219
Christian Scientist4,5863,992
Jehovah's Witness1,7563,844
Eastern Orthodox Catholic1,0072,728
Undenominational Christian2,7261,765
Apostolic Church756969
Dutch Reformed Church264829
Commonwealth Covenant Church659813
Assemblies of God475747
Society of Friends593721
Liberal Catholic328385
No religion (so returned)11,47512,651
All other religious professions4,9035,555
Object to state137,597173,569
Not specified10,45116,252

The four main churches - Church of England, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Methodist -retained the adherence of the great bulk of the population, although their combined proportion has fallen from 82.2 per cent of the total population in 1951 to 79.9 per cent in 1956. All four churches have increased in numbers, though only the Roman Catholic Church increased its ratio to total population - 13.6 per cent in 1951 to 14.3 per cent in 1956.

The large increase in the numbers recorded as “Protestant (undefined)” may have resulted from the wording of the questionnaire. Formerly the public were asked not to use indefinite terms such as “Protestant” or “Catholic”, but in 1956 no such request was made and it would appear that many persons used these terms without any further indication of their religious profession.

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. The proportion of the population in this class increased from 7.1 per cent in 1951 to 8.0 per cent in 1956. It is probable that the “not specified” group includes a number of persons objecting to the question.

The proportional distribution according to number of adherents is as shown below.

Religious ProfessionPercentage of Total Population
Church of England37.4735.92
Roman Catholic (including Catholic undefined)13.6414.29
Protestant (undefined)0.742.21
Salvation Army0.700.65
Latter Day Saints0.520.60
Church of Christ0.620.50
No religion (so returned)0.590.58
Object to state7.097.98
All other (including not specified)3.944.08

OVERSEAS WAR SERVICE.—Statistics on overseas war service have now been compiled from the population census and are given below.

Overseas service—
    Only in Korean War4,290194,309
    Only in World War II138,2704,618142,888
    Only in World War I55,6161,10056,716
    Only in South African War1,61861,624
    In Korean War and World War II1,21251,217
    In World War II and World War I2,995443,039
    In Korean War and World War I33134
    In Korean War, World War II, and World War I65166
    In World War II and South African War24125
    In World War I and South African War7972799
    In World War II, World War I, and South African War60161
    Totals with overseas War service—
        1956 Census204,9805,798210,778
        1951 Census204,2905,494209,784

Overseas War Service: Wars and Forces with Which Served

NOTE.—In this table, where persons served in more than one war, they are shown for each war in which they served.

WarsForces With Which Served
New ZealandAustralianUnited Kingdom and IndianCanadianOther CommonwealthTotal
Korean War5,14393353745,600
World War II122,5571,35018,098270351142,626
World War I47,30895511,0372115559,566
South African War1,44615882910562,499
Korean War1628  26
World War II1,837872,66829494,670
World War I52028599111,149
South African War315 110



IT is desirable that a complete coverage of the vital statistics of a country as a whole should be available, and the statistical data presented in this subsection cover the entire population of New Zealand. Europeans and Maoris are dealt with separately in later subsections.

For many years the standard of registration of vital events for Maoris was subject to elements of inaccuracy and incompleteness due to several factors. However, with the introduction of the medical and related benefits under the social security legislation, which covers Maori and European alike, certain information was essential for the claiming of benefits, and a gradual improvement has been effected. Since 1 April 1952 all Maori marriages have been celebrated in the same manner and registration effected in the same way as European marriages. As regards births and deaths, however, separate registers for Maoris and Europeans are used, and in the case of Maoris the information required is not as detailed as that for Europeans. It is probable that the standard of registration of Maori vital events is now very little inferior to that of Europeans.

BIRTHS.—Registration of Maori births is somewhat less accurate (although improvement has been manifest in recent years) than those of the European population. In the table following, which shows the numbers and rates of European, Maori, and total births for each of the last eleven years, allowance should be made for the element of inaccuracy and incompleteness affecting a proportion of the figures, particularly for the earlier years covered.

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.

YearNumbersRates Per 1,000 of Mean Population

The inclusion of Maoris raises the level of the birth rate all through the period covered, but in no case does it reverse the trend of the rate for New Zealand, exclusive of Maoris. In an international comparison for the quinquennium 1952-56 the inclusion of Maoris raises New Zealand's position from eleventh to ninth in a total of twenty-seven countries covered.

NATURAL INCREASE.—The birth and death rates of the population are not subject to violent fluctuation, and consequently the natural-increase rate—i.e., excess of births over deaths— shows, in the period covered by the next table, a slow decline from the high figure of 1947 until 1951, after which year there was a recovery until 1955, followed by a decline. The following table shows the numbers gained by natural increase, together with the rate per 1,000 of mean population, for the last eleven years.

YearNumbersRates Per 1,000 of Mean Population

In the ten years 1948-57 New Zealand has gained by natural increase of the population a total of 338,427, comprising 296,706 Europeans and 41,721 Maoris.

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

YearNumbersRates Per 1,000 of Mean Population
* Not available, see next paragraph.

The fluctuations in the Maori marriage rate, and hence, to a lesser extent, in the total marriage rate, cannot be taken at their face value, as elements of Maori psychology played no small part on occasions in influencing the number of Maori marriages registered, as distinct from the number actually celebrated. Apart from these factors, the differences observed in the movements of the respective rates to 1951 are, of course, considerably affected by variations in the application of social and other legislation to the Maori race and the European population respectively. As a result of legislative changes it is not possible to distinguish marriages of Maoris from those of Europeans after 1 April 1952.

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

YearNumbersRates Per 1,000 of Mean Population

Although the Maori death rate is consistently higher than the European rate, the continuous decline of the former has now brought it to a position of almost equality with the European rate. The net result now is that the inclusion of Maoris does not raise the general death rate much above the European rate. Countries with lower death rates (in 1956) than New Zealand included Israel, 6.3; Netherlands, 7.8; Canada, 8.2; Norway, 8.5; and Union of South Africa (European population only), 8.8.

Total Deaths by Causes.—Although the incidence of different diseases as causes of death varies considerably as between the Maori and European sections of New Zealand's population, the only important disease to show a marked influence on the general death rate by the inclusion of Maoris is tuberculosis. The average death rate for the total population from tuberculosis (all forms) for the four years 1953-56 was 141 per million of mean population, as against 103 for the European death rate. New Zealand has for many years had a comparatively low tuberculosis death rate for the European section of its population, but when Maoris are included the latest triennial international figures available (1947-49) show New Zealand to be sixth out of a total of thirty-one countries. With Maoris excluded, New Zealand's position would be second for the same period.

Total deaths for the years 1953 to 1956, according to the Abbreviated List of the Sixth (1948) Revision of the International Classification of Causes of Death, are contained in the following table. Comparative tables for the European and Maori population separately may be found by reference to Section 4d and Section 4e respectively.

Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate Per Million of Mean Population
Tuberculosis of respiratory system26225225620812812012095
Tuberculosis, other forms9552373046251714
Syphilis and its sequelae6929312334141411
Typhoid fever552 221 
Dysentery, all forms43642132
Scarlet fever and streptococcal sore throat2211111 
Meningococcal infections272724201313119
Acute poliomyelitis271295213 1424
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic8667969342324543
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues2,8892,9653,1713,1501,4101,4151,4831,443
Benign and unspecified neoplasms4143394920211822
Diabetes mellitus25319921622912495101105
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system2,2922,3062,3252,3171,1191,1011,0871,062
Non-meningococcal meningitis5630424527142021
Rheumatic fever33211117161058
Chronic rheumatic heart-disease259234241222126112113102
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart-disease4,9984,8654,8995,1774392,3232,2912,372
Other diseases of the heart5736827607532,280326355345
Hypertension with heart-disease579696663561283332310257
Hypertension without mention of heart15111312414574545866
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum16117117617979828282
Intestinal obstruction and hernia12114610213559704862
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhoea of the newborn13714415113967697164
Cirrhosis of liver4754726823263431
Nephritis and nephrosis193220178131941058360
Hyperplasia of prostate11812414417058596778
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium3234343116161614
Congenital malformations2623082902841 28147136130
Birth injuries, post-natal asphyxia, and atelectasis317261329326155125154149
Infections of the newborn4870315023331423
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity unqualified322321302284157153141130
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill-defined, and unknown causes13418917515265908270
All other diseases1,5691,6701,7922,041766797838935
Motor-vehicle accidents318332364334155158170153
All other accidents639815653610312389305279
Suicide and self-inflicted injury19817718719997848791
Homicide and operations of war1718231188115

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

YearNumbersRates Per 1,000 Live Births

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

It also has a considerable effect on the position occupied by New Zealand among the countries of the world. In the quinquennium 1951-55 New Zealand's infant-mortality rate (exclusive of Maoris), with an average of 21, was the second lowest of twenty-seven countries for which reliable figures were available, whereas the inclusion of the Maori population relegated it to fifth place, with Sweden clearly in the lead, and the Netherlands in second place.


(NOTE.—The term European, used in the context of this subsection, means the population exclusive of Maoris.)

REGISTRATION.—The law as to registration of European births is 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. The occupier of any premises in which a child is born is to give notice to the Registrar according to the best of the knowledge and belief of the occupier of the fact of the birth, the date on which it occurred, the name and address of the mother or father of the child, and of such other particulars as the Registrar-General may require. Any such notice is to be in writing, signed by the occupier and endorsed by some other person, if any, in attendance at the confinement, and is to be delivered or posted to the Registrar within forty-eight hours after the birth if in a borough, or seven days in any other case. Births are to be registered by the Registrar whose office is nearest to the place of birth.

Particulars 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 ex-nuptial 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. 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. Additional information required on notification of birth—but not registration—includes (a) weight of child at birth, and (b) period of gestation of mother. These particulars are required for statistical purposes.

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 where specified on pages 75 and 76. A special classification of still-births is given on pages 81-82.

Registration of Maori Births.—Registration of the births of Maoris are effected with the Maori Registrars in the various districts set up for this purpose. Statistics relating to the births of Maoris will be found in Section 4E.

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 74 and to the table on page 72, 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 1950-52 increases were again in evidence. A very small decrease was shown in 1953. Increases followed in the next four years, the total exceeding 50,000 for the first time in 1956. The numbers and rates of births (children born alive) for each of the last twenty years are given in the following table.

YearNumberRate 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. 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.

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 for each census from 1901 to 1951 together with the "crude" rate for the year.

YearBirth Rate Per 1,000 Women 15 and Under 45 Years"Crude" Birth Rate
* Per 1,000 married women.

The legitimate rate per 1,000 married women between the ages of 15 and 45 fell steadily at each census date from 1901 to 1936, the figure registered in the latter year being equal to a decline of 44 per cent. Considerable improvement was, however, effected in 1945, with a further improvement in 1951, but the latter rate shows a fall of 42 per cent on the 1901 figure. The rate on the basis of all women between the ages of 15 and 45 did not exhibit such a large fall, the 1936 figure being 35 per cent lower, but again substantial improvement was shown in 1945 and 1951, the latter rate being equivalent to an increase of 5 per cent. The proportion of married women in the child-bearing ages is now much higher than in former years; in fact the percentage in 1901 was 43.3 as compared with 64.8 in 1951.

The " crude " birth rates have fluctuated more than the refined rates, but the decline in 50 years has not been great, the 1951 figure being equal to a fall of 7 per cent on the 1901 rate.

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 long-term 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 29.32 per 1,000 of mean population in 1880 to 15.53 in 1957. 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.

YearNumbersRate Per 1,000 Mean Population
BirthsDeathsNatural IncreaseBirthsDeathsNatural Increase

The natural increase rate provides a useful guide to population increase and a further method is that of the net reproduction index, which is based on female children born and probably surviving. Details of gross and net reproduction rates for recent years will be found in Section 3 of this issue.

The movements that have taken place since 1880 are well illustrated in the accompanying diagram, which shows the rates at annual 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 higher on the basis of natural increase than it is on that of the birth rate. The rates, which are the average of the five years 1952-56, are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations.

CountryRates Per 1,000 of Population
BirthsNatural Increase
Costa Rica42.631.8
Puerto Rico34.927.0
Union of South Africa25.216.7
United States of America24.715.3
New Zealand24.615.6
Republic of Ireland21.39.3
Germany (Western)15.85.1
United Kingdom15.74.2

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. 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. The extreme range since 1870 has been from 1,016 male per 1,000 female births in 1878 to 1,081 in 1923. Rates for the last five years are given below.

YearNumber of Births ofMale Births Per 1,000 Female Births

MULTIPLE BIRTHS.—The number of cases of multiple births and the proportion per 1,000 of the total (living births only) during the last five years are shown in the following table.

YearTotal BirthsTotal CasesCases of TwinsCases of TripletsMultiple Cases Per 1,000 of Total Cases

* Includes one case where triplets would have been recorded had not one child been still-born.

Includes one case of quadruplets.

Includes three cases where triplets would have been recorded had not one child been still-born.


Counting only cases where both children were born alive, there were 619 cases of twin births registered in 1956. There were also four cases of triplets.

The total number of confinements resulting in living births was 49,803, 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 1956 is increased to 50,595, and the number of cases of multiple births to 689. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 73.

The incidence of multiple births has not varied greatly in recent years, as may be seen from the following summary.

YearCases of TwinsCases of TripletsTotal Multiple CasesRate per 1,000 Confinements
Both Born AliveOne Born Alive, One Still-bornBoth Still-bornTotalAll Born AliveOne Born Alive, Two Still-bornTwo Born Alive. One Still-bornAll Still-bornTotal
* Includes one case of quadruplets.
19525694786243 1 462813.7
19535624386135* 1 661913.3
195460033136465 31965513.7
195560546765851  666413.3
195661949176854   468913.6
Average of five years59144116454 1 665113.5

The proportion of multiple births has been consistently high during recent years, while the rate of 14.2 experienced in 1944 was a record figure. The number of cases of live triplets recorded in 1951 was 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.

YearStill-birth Cases Per 100 of Total Cases (Including Still-births)
Single CasesMultiple Cases
        Average of five years1.648.53

During the five years 1952-56 there were 2,955 cases of live twin births (including ex-nuptial), and of these in 948 instances, or 32.1 per cent, both children were males; in 947, or 32.0 per cent, both were females; and in the remaining 1,060, or 35.9 per cent, the children were of opposite sexes.

The four cases of triplets in 1956 comprised one of three males, two of two females and one male, and one of two males and one female.

AGES OF PARENTS.—Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1956 is shown in the following table.

Age of Mother, in YearsAge of Father, in Years
Under 2121 and Under 2525 and Under 3030 and Under 3535 and Under 4040 and Under 4545 and Under 5050 and Under 5555 and Under 6565 and OverTotal Cases

*Including 46 legitimate cases where twins would have been registered had not one child been still-born.

Including 4 cases of triplets.

Single Births
Under 214261,7401,04919343123 2 3,468
21 and under 251013,1206,3121,633285732155 11,555
25 and under 3076467,1925,7401,537420104297215,684
30 and under 351421,0844,3492,9381,057243854349,846
35 and under 40 31236441,9181,5045211465284,919
40 and under 45  9592135093671146611,338
45 and over   1413442812 102
 Multiple Births
Under 21319111      34
21 and under 25 2755284     114
25 and under 30 1391671572 1 196
30 and under 35 11566511715  156
35 and under 40  5833261332 90
40 and under 45   1263   12
45 and over           
                Totals360177171105561983 602
                Grand totals5385,61115,94612,7907,0433,6441,3224151901547,514

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 1956 is here summarized.

Age of Mother, in YearsNumber of Previous IssueTotal Legitimate Cases
0123456 and Under 1010 and Under 1515 and Over
* This number represents 46,912 single cases and 602 multiple cases.
Under 212,604755129131    3,502
21 and under 255,7633,9241,440406107245  11,669
25 and under 303,9045,1703,9321,8146662561371 15,880
30 and under 351,4452,1632,7251,95394142633613 10,002
35 and under 405367221,1101,0686514014635715,009
40 and under 451421482392302041472023441,350
45 and over9714151812225102 

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 1956 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.

Age of Mother, in YearsTotal MothersTotal IssueAverage Issue
Under 213,5024,5921.31
45 and over1025255.15

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 1956) 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: 1951, 2.46; 1952, 2.49; 1953, 2.51; 1954, 2.54; and 1955, 2.58. In 1915, the earliest year for which reliable comparative figures are available, the average issue was 3.11. This fall 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. A slight improvement has been noted for each year since 1948. Although the proportion of first births again shows a slight increase in 1956, the average issue (2.58) remains the same as that recorded in 1955.

OCCUPATIONS OF FATHERS AND AVERAGE NUMBER OF CHILDREN.—Page 70 of the 1956 Year-Book gives details of average issue with the occupations of fathers who had children born to them during the years 1953 with comparative figures for 1938.

FIRST BIRTHS.—Of a total of 270,159 confinements resulting in legitimate births during the six years 1951-1956, the issue of no fewer than 83,366, or 31 per cent, were first-born children. In 35,178, or 42 per cent, of these cases the birth occurred within twelve months, and in 61,194, 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.

Statistics of first births over the last six years indicate that the proportion occurring within one year after marriage is gradually increasing, the rate rising from 40.34 per cent in 1951 to 44.01 in 1956. There has been little fluctuation during the same period in the proportion of first births occurring within two years after marriage. The steady decline in the marriage rate in recent years has been accompanied by a marked downward movement in the actual proportion of first births to total births.

YearsTotal Legitimate CasesTotal Legitimate First CasesProportion of First Cases to Total CasesFirst Cases Within One Year After MarriageFirst Cases Within Two Years After Marriage
NumberProportion to Total First CasesNumberProportion to Total First Cases
 Per Cent Per Cent Per Cent
Totals for six years270,15983,36630.8635,17842.2061,19473.40

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. The following table compares the 1956 figures with those for earlier years, and illustrates the movement in the duration-of-marriage factor in first births.

Duration of Marriage, in YearsProportion Per Cent of Total First Births
Under 1 year50.0646.2538.4742.6444.01
1 and under 2 years26.6426.7926.3030.5629.84
2 and under 3 years10.4310.2411.2811.5611.21
3 and under 4 years5.516.167.885.955.53
4 and under 5 years3.033.967.183.303.39
5 and under 10 years3.365.497.365.055.05
10 years and over0.971.111.530.940.97

For the years covered by the foregoing table the average duration of marriage before the birth of the first child was—1924, 1.76 years; 1934, 1.85 years; 1944, 2.22 years; 1954, 1.87 years; and 1956, 1.88 years.

An item of interest extracted from the 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 this basis for the years, 1924, 1934, 1944, 1954, and 1956.

Age of Mother, in YearsFirst Births, Proportion Per Cent at Each Age Group to Total First Births
Under 207.558.907.339.0810.62
20 and under 2538.1640.3941.7947.7147.47
25 and under 3032.5932.7929.5427.7927.11
30 and under 3514.6813.1014.6110.3910.03
35 and under 405.333.795.363.923.72
40 and under 451.590.991.341.020.99
45 and over0.

The figures of average ages of mothers at the birth of their first child are as follows for the above years: 1924, 26.39; 1934, 25.90; 1944, 25.18; 1954, 25.32; and 1956, 25.09.

EX-NUPTIAL BIRTHS.—The numbers of ex-nuptial births registered during each of the years 1946-56, with the percentages they bear to total births registered, were as follows.

YearNumberPercentage of Total Births

The long-term trend in the rate of ex-nuptial births is indicated by the movement in the proportion of ex-nuptial births per 1,000 unmarried women—i.e., spinsters, widows, and divorced women—at the reproductive ages. The figures for each census year from 1911 to 1951 are as follows.

Census YearUnmarried Women 15 and Under 45 Years of AgeEx-nuptial BirthsEx-nuptial Birth Rate Per 1,000 Unmarried Women

Included in the total of 2,310 ex-nuptial births in 1956 were twenty-one cases of twins, the number of confinements being thus 2,289. From the following table it will be seen that of the 2,289 mothers 729, or 32 per cent, were under twenty-one years of age.

45 and over5

The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act 1930 directed the omission of the word "illegitimate " from the register when the birth of an ex-nuptial 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.—Important changes were made by the Legitimation Act of 1939, which repealed previous legislation on the subject. This Act stipulates that every ex-nuptial 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 of Europeans registered in each of the last five years, and the total since the Act of 1894 came into force, are shown in the following table.

YearNumber of Children Legitimated
Previously RegisteredNot Previously RegisteredTotal
1952415 415
1953449 449
1954463 463
1955463 463
1956545 545
            Totals from 1894 to 195614,6463,29417,940

ADOPTIONS.—The Adoption Act 1955 consolidated and amended the provisions regarding the adoption of children formerly contained in Part III of the Infants Act 1908 and Part IX of the Maori Affairs Act 1953. The Births and Deaths Registration Act contains provision for the registration of adopted children. The Registrar 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.

The Adoption Act 1955 requires interim orders to be made in the first instance, and for these to remain in force for six months before adoption orders become effective. This legislative change would account for the low total of 887 recorded in 1956.

The following table shows the number of adoptions (exclusive of Maori children) which have been registered during the last five years.


Of the 887 adoptions registered in 1956, 271 were children under the age of one year, 254 were between one and five years, 177 were between five and ten years, and 185 were aged ten years or over. In addition, 163 Maori children (79 males and 84 females) were adopted in 1956.

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. 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.

STILL-BIRTHS.—The registration of still-births was made compulsory in New Zealand as from 1 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 4D 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 rate of 1.57 per 100 total births in 1955 was the lowest rate recorded since the registration of still-births was made compulsory in 1913.

The registrations of European still-births during each of the years 1952-56 were as follows.

YearMalesFemalesTotalMale Still-births Per 1,000 Female Still-birthsPercentage of Still-births to—
Living BirthsAll Births

Masculinity is in general much higher among still-births than among living births, the rate for still-births in 1956 being 1,161 males per 1,000 females as compared with 1,065 for living births.

The percentage of ex-nuptials among still-born infants was in 1956, 6.76, and among infants born alive, 2.51.

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1956, 30 per cent were first births, while of legitimate still-births 36 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. In addition to the 858 European still-births in 1956, there were 124 Maori still-births registered, comprising 72 males and 52 females.

FOETAL DEATHS.—Section 20 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951 stipulates that in the case of a foetal death where the child has issued from its mother after the twentieth week, and up to and including the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy, a medical practitioner or a midwife who was in attendance at the confinement shall sign and supply a certificate stating to the best of his or her knowledge and belief the cause of the foetal death, and such other particulars as may be required by the Registrar-General. This requirement came into force as from 1 April 1952. A foetal death is not required to be registered as in the case of a still-born child.


MARRIAGE may be celebrated in New Zealand 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. A licence must be obtained from a Registrar of Marriages before a marriage by an officiating minister can be celebrated. Marriage by an officiating minister may be celebrated at any time between 6 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.

Notice of intended marriage must be given to a Registrar of Marriages by one of the parties to the proposed marriage. In the case of a person under twenty-one years of age, not being a widow or widower, the consent of parents or guardian is necessary. Consent of the Court may also be given in cases of refusal by any person whose consent is required.

The system of notice and licence 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. In case of the non-arrival of a marriage return corresponding to any entry in the list of notices, inquiries are made with a view to obtaining the return if the marriage has been solemnized.

Marriage is forbidden between persons within certain degrees of relationship, any such marriage being declared void. The prohibition applies whether the relationship is by the whole blood or by the half-blood, and whether the relationship is nuptial or ex-nuptial. The present law on this matter is contained in the Marriage Act 1955.

Section 34 of this Act provides that proxy marriages may be authorized by a Magistrate in New Zealand of any person who is resident in New Zealand to any person who is outside New Zealand, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the person who is outside the country is unable to come to New Zealand by reason of the existence of a state of war or armed conflict.

Any New Zealand citizen who intends to be married in a country other than New Zealand according to the law of that country, and who desires to obtain a certificate for the purpose of complying with the law of that country, may give notice to the Registrar-General who, upon receiving the notice, shall make such searches and inquiries and give such notices as may be prescribed under the Act. If no caveat is entered within fourteen days of the receipt by the Registrar-General, a certificate may be issued, after proper notices have been given that no lawful impediment to the marriage has been shown to the Registrar-General to exist.

Any New Zealand representative who has attended the marriage of a New Zealand citizen in a country other than New Zealand, and is satisfied that the marriage has been solemnized in accordance with the formalities of the law of that other country, may give a certificate and forward a duplicate copy to the Registrar-General, who shall bind the duplicate in a special register kept by him for the purpose.

Since 1933 the minimum age for marriage has been sixteen years of age. No marriage shall be deemed to have been unduly solemnized, however, by reason only of an infringement of the minimum age.

The Maori Purposes Act 1951 stipulated that after 1 April 1952 every marriage to which a Maori is a party shall be celebrated in the same manner, and its validity shall be determined by the same law, as if each of the parties was a European.

As a result of this legislative change, marriage statistics from the year 1952 are inclusive of Maoris and Maori marriage figures as a separate feature have lapsed. Figures quoted in this subsection for years prior to 1952 are all exclusive of Maoris.

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

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

YearNumberRate Per 1,000 of Population
* Inclusive of Maoris.

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 continued until 1951. Separate figures for European marriages are not available after 1951.

Comparison with Other Countries.—Marriage rates for certain countries for 1956 are given below (these particulars have been taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, issued by the Statistical Office of the United Nations).

CountryRate Per 1,000 Mean Population
United States of America9.4
Puerto Rico8.3
New Zealand8.0
United Kingdom7.9
Republic of Ireland5.7

MARITAL STATUS.—The total number of persons married during the year 1956 was 35,062 of whom 31,093 were single, 1,589 widowed, and 2,380 divorced. The figures for the five years 1952 to 1956, showing the sexes separately, are given in the table following.

YearSingleWidowedDivorcedTotal Persons Married

The position is more easily seen by studying the percentages given in the next table.

Per Cent

Reference to the divorce statistics at the end of this subsection will show that there has been a steady decline since 1946. However, the number of decrees absolute in the period 1952-56 was 7,681, as compared with 4,907 in the five years 1936-40, an increase of 57 per cent. The large number of divorced people remarrying is therefore not surprising. The number of widowed persons remarrying, which was 39 per 1,000 in 1940, rose to 45 per 1,000 in 1956.

The relative marital status of bridegrooms and brides for each of the five years 1952 to 1956 is next given.

YearMarriages Between Bachelors andMarriages Between Widowers andMarriages Between Divorced Men and
SpinstersWidowsDivorced WomenSpinstersWidowsDivorced WomenSpinstersWidowsDivorced 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 1954-56 the respective numbers were 3,548 males and 3,689 females, and the corresponding rate 96 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 1954-56 there were 2,494 widowers and 2,256 widows who remarried, the number of widowers per 100 widows being 149 in the former period and 111 in the latter period.

AGES OF PERSONS MARRIED.—Of the 35,062 persons married in 1956, 6,636 or 19 per cent were under twenty-one years of age; 12,580, or 36 per cent, were returned as twenty-one and under twenty-five; 8,049, or 23 per cent, as twenty-five and under thirty; 4,464, or 13 per cent, as thirty and under forty; and 3,333, or 9 per cent, as forty years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1956.

Age of Bridegroom, in YearsAge of Bride, in YearsTotal Bridegrooms
Under 2121 and Under 2525 and Under 3030 and Under 3535 and Under 4040 and Under 4545 and Over
Under 21897210202  11,130
21 and under 252,9672,8344115184 6,275
25 and under 301,3702,5191,205256551385,426
30 and under 3521556563735812533201,953
35 and under 40401212111701566327788
40 and under 4510378711912212259556
45 and over719521221792128121,403
            Total brides5,5066,3052,6231,07864544792717,531

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 a table is given showing since 1920 the proportions of men and women married at each age group to every 100 marriages.

PeriodUnder 2121 and Under 2525 and Under 3030 and Under 3535 and Under 4040 and Under 4545 and OverTotals
* Inclusive of Maoris.

A perusal of the above table reveals the fact that greater proportions of marriages are now being celebrated at the younger and, to a lesser extent, at the older age groups. This became very marked in the 1951-55 period, and was mainly due to the fact that the outbreak of war induced a number of earlier marriages which resulted in fewer unmarried people entering the middle age groups.

For many years the average age (arithmetic mean) at marriage for both males and females, more particularly the latter, showed a tendency to increase. However, in recent years there has been a tendency towards a slight fall. The figures for each of the years 1947-56 are as follows.

YearBridegrooms (Years)Brides (Years)
* Inclusive of Maoris.

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 for each of the last five years according to marital status were as shown below.


The foregoing figures give the average age at marriage, but these do not correspond with the modal or popular age, if the age at which the most marriages are celebrated may be so termed. The modal age for brides (21) has remained unchanged for very many years, but in the case of bridegrooms the most popular age has varied, and for recent years it has been 23 or 24.

Marriages of Minors.—Of every 1,000 men married in 1956, 64 were under twenty-one years of age while 314 in every 1,000 brides were under twenty-one.

In 897 marriages in 1956 both parties were given as under twenty-one years of age, in 4,609 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 233 marriages the bridegroom was a minor and the bride an adult.

The proportion of minors among persons marrying has been increasing over a fairly long period, and in the table below figures are given for the last five years. In the latest year (1956) one bride in every three was under twenty-one years of age, the proportion for grooms being one in sixteen.

YearAge, in YearsTotals
1617181920NumberRate Per 100 Marriages

MARRIAGES BY MINISTERS OF VARIOUS CHURCHES.—Of the 17,531 marriages registered in 1956, Church of England clergymen officiated at 4,537, Presbyterians at 4,439, Roman Catholics at 2,602 and Methodists at 1,464, while 3,299 marriages were celebrated before Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the largest churches and before Registrars in each of the years 1950-56.

ChurchPercentage of Marriages
* Inclusive of Maoris.
Church of England25.9525.8325.4025.0426.2125.6325.88
Roman Catholic11.9312.6713.2314.5214.4015.0514.84
Before Registrars18.8419.5519.8418.8518.6418.2418.82

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 (inclusive of Maoris) at the general census of 1956, 35.9 per cent were recorded as adherents of the Church of England, 22.3 per cent Presbyterian, 14.3 per cent Roman Catholic, 7.4 per cent Methodist, and 20.1 per cent of other religions or of no religion, or who objected to state their religious profession.

NUMBER OF OFFICIATING MINISTERS.—The number of names on the list of officiating ministers under the Marriage Act was (January 1957) 2,909, and the churches to which they belong are shown hereunder.

Roman Catholic Church653
Church of England525
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand471
Methodist Church of New Zealand334
Salvation Army159
Ratana Church of New Zealand159
Ringatu Church44
Latter Day Saints37
Seventh Day Adventist36
Congregational Independent32
Associated Churches of Christ31
Assemblies of God30
Commonwealth Covenant Church21
Jehovah's Witness21
Apostolic Church18
Liberal Catholic Church15
Evangelistic Church of Christ10
Churches of Christ10
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference9
United Maori Mission8
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand8
Church of God7
Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi5
Hebrew Congregations5

The Ratana Church of New Zealand, the Ringatu Church, the United Maori Mission, and the Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi are Maori organizations.

DIVORCE AND NULLITY.—The first New Zealand enactment relating to divorce was passed in 1867, and a brief historical account of the development of the legislation on this subject is given in the 1931 issue of the Year-Book. The present law is contained in the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act 1928 and its amendments and a résumé of its principal provisions is now given.

Grounds for Divorce.—These are set out as follows:

  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. Conviction for attempted murder of petitioner or of any child of petitioner or respondent or for an offence under section 197 of the Crimes Act 1908 against petitioner or any such child;

  5. Conviction for murder;

  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. Insanity and confinement as a lunatic for the five years immediately preceding the petition;

  9. Failure for three years or more to comply with a decree for restitution of conjugal rights;

  10. Separation under an agreement, written or verbal, which has been in full force for not less than three years;

  11. Separation by decree of judicial separation or separation order (or their equivalent in any country), which has been in force for not less than three years;

  12. Parties living apart for not less than seven years and unlikely to be reconciled;

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

In cases based on separation of the parties, whether by order or agreement or otherwise, the Court must dismiss the petition if the respondent opposes it and the Court is satisfied that the separation was due to the wrongful act or conduct of the petitioner. In these cases, and in cases where the ground is failure to comply with a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, the Court has in any event a discretion whether or not to grant a divorce. In practice, however, where the petition is not opposed the Court rarely exercises this discretion against a petitioner.

Jurisdiction.—The court has jurisdiction in divorce only in cases where the petitioner is domiciled in New Zealand. In petitions based on grounds (i) above the petitioner must have been domiciled in New Zealand for at least three years at the time when the petition is filed.

Under the common law a married woman takes her husband's domicile and is incapable of acquiring a separate domicile while the marriage subsists. As a result of a series of statutory amendments, however, a wife who is living in New Zealand apart from her husband has in effect the capacity to acquire a separate domicile for the purposes of the divorce and nullity law as if she were unmarried.

Overseas Divorces.—The common law relating to the recognition of overseas divorces was clarified and extended by an amendment in 1953. Under this new provision New Zealand Courts will recognize divorces granted in any country by Courts exercising jurisdiction there on the basis of the domicile of either party in that country, or of the residence in that country of the wife for at least two years.

Nullity.—The first New Zealand legislation on the subject of nullity was enacted in 1953. It replaces and extends the common law on this topic.

The Court has jurisdiction to make a decree of nullity of marriage if either of the parties is domiciled in New Zealand when the petition is filed or if the marriage was solemnized in New Zealand.

A petition for a nullity decree may be presented in the case of either a void or a voidable marriage. Void marriages are those which are of no effect whether or not a decree is obtained. Voidable marriages are those which are valid unless and until a decree is obtained.

The following are the cases in which a marriage is void by the law of New Zealand:

  1. Where at the time of the ceremony either party to the marriage was already married;

  2. Where, whether by reason of duress or mistake or insanity or otherwise, there was at the time of the marriage an absence of consent by either party to marriage to the other party;

  3. Where the parties are within the prohibited degrees of relationship as set out in the Marriage Act 1955;

  4. Where the marriage was not solemnized in due form.

A marriage is voidable in New Zealand on the following grounds:

  1. Incapacity or wilful refusal of the respondent to consummate the marriage;

  2. Mental deficiency of either party within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1911, although that party was capable of consenting to the marriage;

  3. Venereal disease (of the respondent) in a communicable form;

  4. Pregnancy of the respondent by some person other than the petitioner.

In cases (b), (c), and (d) the facts alleged must have existed at the time of the marriage and proceedings must be instituted within a year of the marriage. Furthermore the Court must be satisfied—

  1. That the petitioner was at the time of the marriage ignorant of the facts;

  2. That marital intercourse with the petitioner's consent has not taken place since the discovery of the existence of the grounds for a decree.

With the exception of inability to consummate the marriage there was no ground on which a marriage was voidable before the passing of the 1953 amendment.

A decree of nullity in a voidable marriage puts an end to the marriage from the date of the decree only and not from the date of the marriage. The principal effect of this is to ensure the legitimacy of any children of the marriage.

War Legislation.—The Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act 1947 made special provisions in respect of war marriages (i.e., marriages celebrated between 3 September 1939 and 1 June 1950) where one of the parties was domiciled outside New Zealand by—

  1. Extending the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to certain marriages irrespective of domicile;

  2. Recognizing 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 a 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.

Statistical Data.—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.

YearDissolution or Nullity of MarriageJudicial SeparationRestitution of Conjugal Rights
Petitions FiledDecrees NisiDecrees AbsolutePetitions FiledDecrees for SeparationPetitions FiledDecrees for Restitution

A marked increase in divorce was witnessed in the later years of the war and the immediate post-war years. The peak year, 1946, when 2,133 decrees absolute were granted, was followed in each of the next two years, 1947 and 1948, by a falling off in numbers, that of the latter being much larger than the former. In 1949 a small increase was shown, after which there was recorded in 1950 a very substantial decrease followed by a smaller one in 1951. The next year, 1952, however, saw an increase of 102, or 6.4 per cent, but this was more than offset in 1953 by a decrease of 144, or 8.6 per cent.

A negligible decrease of only 4 was recorded in 1954, but in the following two years, 1955 and 1956, decreases were somewhat larger at 64 and 23 respectively, or 4.2 and 1.6 per cent below each previous year. It is worth noting that decreases have been recorded in each of the last four successive years and in that period the numbers have dropped by almost 14 per cent.

The passing in November 1953 of the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act was expected to have son a effect on future divorce statistics, more particularly as regards petitions and decrees for restitution of conjugal rights. While no great change can be seen yet in the number of decrees absolute granted, the expected change has materialized in the number of petitions and decrees for restitution of conjugal rights. This can be seen in the preceding table.

It is worth noting that the divorce ratio was equal to one for every eleven marriages solemnized in 1953 and 1954, while the ratio in 1955 and 1956 was one divorce to every twelve marriages.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petitions and decrees during 1955 and 1956.

GroundsPetitions FiledDecrees Absolute Granted
Husbands' PetitionsWives' PetitionsHusbands' PetitionsWives' Petitions
Bigamy1221  1 
Drunkenness with cruelty, failure to maintain, etc. 1691 25
Sodomy      1 
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights74  2312121
Separation for not less than three years390362536575291290480470
Nullity      13
Living apart for not less than seven years6582396849543540
Murder1   1   
Presumption of death     1  
Bestiality  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. It should be mentioned here that the number of decrees absolute granted can, and often do, number more than the petitions filed. The reason for this is that all decrees granted are not necessarily from petitions filed in a particular year. The petition may have been filed in one year but the case not heard until the succeeding year.

Mention should be made here of the fact that over a period of five years, 1952-56 inclusive, the average percentage of decrees absolute granted on wives' petitions was greater than those granted to husbands. The figures are—wives 84.4 per cent, husbands 78.5 per cent.

Compared with 1938, a normal pre-war year, increases in the following principal grounds for which decrees absolute were granted in 1956 were: adultery 199 (126.7 per cent); and separation 188 (32.9 per cent). Decreases were recorded for non-compliance with restitution order 83 (86.4 per cent); and desertion 3 (1.5 per cent). It is worth noting that in previous years the latter grounds usually showed an increase.

In 408 of the 1,449 cases where decrees absolute were granted during 1956 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was 1 in 351 cases, 2 in 336 cases, 3 in 195 cases, and 4 or more in 159 cases.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all cases for which decrees absolute were granted in the five years 1952 to 1956.

Duration of Marriage, in YearsHusbands' Decrees Absolute GrantedWives' Decrees Absolute Granted
Under 5156126876561110111626944
5 and under 10259231221204217242255286234255
10 and under 15177173184155140206178161163174
15 and under 2090109116123105115101116138113
20 and under 3012491112110120113102112112127
30 and over53354349573928365036

The number of living issue affected by the decrees absolute of their parents during each of the last five years was as follows: 1952, 2,497; 1953, 2,348; 1954, 2,300; 1955, 2,294; and 1956, 2,365.


(NOTE.—The term European used in the context of this subsection means the population exclusive of Maoris.)

REGISTRATION.—The law as to registration of deaths is now embodied in the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951, a consolidation of the then existing legislation. Particulars required in the registration of a death include date, place of residence and domicile, name, occupation, sex, age, cause of death, birthplace, duration of residence in New Zealand, whether cremated or not, marital status, living issue of married persons, race (European or Maori), medical attendant by whom certified, particulars as to burial, and, in the case of married males, age of widow.

Every death occurring in New Zealand is required to be registered within three days after the day of the burial. There is a penalty up to £10 for neglect, the funeral director in charge of the burial being solely responsible for registration. When an inquest is held the Coroner becomes responsible for registration, the time allowed being three days after the conclusion of the inquest. The Coroner may, in writing, authorize an agent to attend to registration on his behalf. Registrations must not be effected before the conclusion of the inquest.

Where the Coroner decides not to hold an inquest the funeral director is responsible for registration of the death.

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 provide 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 1 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.

The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act 1955 provides that—where the death of any person occurs outside New Zealand and the death took place on board a New Zealand ship within the meaning of the Shipping and Seaman Act 1952; or on board an aircraft registered in New Zealand pursuant to the Civil Aviation Act 1948 or as the result of any occurrence on board any such aircraft during its operation—the Registrar-General may authorize any Registrar to register the death in accordance with the provisions of the Act relating to the registration of deaths taking place in New Zealand.

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 Her 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, but are fully covered in Section 4e.

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.

YearNumberRate Per 1,000 of Mean Population

New Zealand has been noted for many years for its favourable death rate. 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, etc. 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.

The general trend of the death rate in New Zealand was for many years downwards, reaching its lowest level during the depression years of the early "thirties". Since then an upward trend was in evidence for some years, the figures recorded during the war years being the highest for a long time. It is possible that the absence overseas of considerable numbers of men of early adult age, at which mortality experience is the most favourable, would have some effect on the rates established. The strains of wartime would also have some effect on deaths in the older age groups; in fact, the high rate of 1942 disclosed a sharp rise in deaths resulting from diseases of the heart and nervous system. For four years following 1945 a downward trend was again in evidence and, although small increases were recorded in 1950 and 1951, the 1952 and 1953 rates again showed decreases; the figure of 8.84 for 1953 being the lowest recorded rate since 1936 (8.75). A contributing factor to the slight rise in the rate recorded in 1954 was the registration during the year of the deaths of the victims of the Tangiwai railway disaster.

The death rates of males and females for the last eleven years are shown separately in the next table.

YearDeaths Per 1,000 of Mean PopulationMale Deaths to Every 100 Female DeathsMale 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 1952-56 and are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations.

CountryRates Per 1,000 of Population
* European population only.
Puerto Rico7.9
Union of South Africa*8.5
New Zealand9.0
United States of America9.4
Germany (Western)10.7
Costa Rica10.8
United Kingdom11.5
Republic of Ireland12.0

DISTRIBUTION OF DEATHS OVER THE YEAR.—An examination of the total number of deaths registered in each quarter of the period 1946-56 gives the following averages: March quarter 3,630; June quarter, 4.141; September quarter, 4,999; and December quarter, 4,184.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1956 the months during which the greatest number of deaths occurred were July, August, and June, with totals of 2,108, 1,980 and 1,688 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths, 1,173, followed by January and March with 1,276 and 1,286 respectively.

The lowest number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 29, this number occurring on 23 January, 27 February, 14 March, and 22 November. The greatest number (81) occurred on 22 July and 4 August.

AGE AT DEATH.—The deaths registered during the year 1956 are tabulated below according to age.

Under 1 month394279673
1-2 months5649105
3-5 months405898
6-11 months5250102
1 year433679
2 years203252
3 years242246
4 years151429
5-9 years573289
10-14 years533184
15-19 years7824102
20-24 years11124135
25-29 years11847165
30-34 years12462186
35-39 years122124246
40-44 years209151360
45-49 years292201493
50-54 years459275734
55-59 years6614061,067
60-64 years7985431,341
65-69 years1,1878432,030
70-74 years1,5461,1272,673
75-79 years1,6531,4253,078
80-84 years1,2141,1732,387
85-89 years6807911,471
90-94 years206255461
95-99 years4759106
100 years2 2
101 years246
104 years 22
105 years1 1

The following table indicates the changes that have occurred since 1930 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 fluctuations in the birth rate over the period ; and the great increase in the proportion of old people in the community.

Age, in YearsNumber of DeathsPercentage of Total
Under 19249901,0089787.576.936.035.31
1 and under 53272051992062.681.441.191.12
5 and under 101679887891.370.690.520.48
10 and under 1510510864840.860.760.380.46
15 and under 202221511201021.821.060.720.55
20 and under 253152471581352.581.730.950.73
25 and under 303372701421652.761.890.850.90
30 and under 353372901911862.762.031.141.01
35 and under 403743202752463.072.241.651.34
40 and under 454783623283603.922.531.961.96
45 and under 506404725224935.253.303.122.68
50 and under 557947986977146.515.594.173.99
55 and under 608811,1451,0211,0677.
60 and under 651,0031,4611,5031,3418.2210.238.997.29
65 and under 701,0771,6972,1702,0308.8311.8812.9811.03
70 and under 751,1711,7722,5362,6739.6012.4115.1714.52
75 and under 801,2421,5562,3163,07810.1810.8913.8616.73
80 and over1,8052,3403,3784,43614.8016.3820.2124.10

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 1956 figures again reflect a declining tendency. Of special significance are the low rates recorded in the childhood and early adult life age groups in recent years. and the high percentage reduction effected during the entire period. The female rate for the various age groups is almost invariably lower than the male rate. The increase in the death rate (per 1,000 of population) at successive age groups is well exemplified.

YearUnder 1*1 and Under 55 and Under 1515 and Under 2525 and Under 3535 and Under 4545 and Under 5555 and Under 6565 and 7575 and Over
*Per 1,000 live births in this case.
Both Sexes

The average (arithmetic mean) age at death of persons of either sex at ten-yearly intervals since 1901 and during each of the last four years was as follows.


There has been a striking upward movement in the average age at death since 1901. 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 for the European section of the population based on the mortality experience of New Zealand, ranging from 1880 to 1938, have been published at various times in previous issues of the Year-Book. The latest investigation was based on the 1951 census combined with the deaths for the three years 1950-52, and the (complete) expectation of life at various ages is given below.


The expectation of life at age 0 has risen by 13.00 years in the case of males and by 14.34 years in the case of females over the period since the first New Zealand life table of 1891-95. The effect of the lowered infant-mortality rate and the efficacy of the health services generally is clearly demonstrated, however, by the fact that at age 5 the expectation of life of males has increased by only 7.10 years and females by 9.20 years over the same period.

A brief comparison is quoted below.


The above tables are exclusive of Maoris. A table showing the expectation of life of the Maori population is given in Section 4e.

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.


* Exclusive of Maoris.

White population.

New Zealand (1950-52)*68.2972.43
Australia (1946-48)66.0770.63
Union of South Africa (1945-47)63.7868.31
England and Wales (1954)67.5873.05
United States of America (1954)67.473.6
Norway (1946-50)69.2572.65
Netherlands (1950-52)70.672.9
Denmark (1946-50)67.870.1
Sweden (1946-50)69.0471.58
Finland (1951-55)63.469.8
France (1950-51)63.669.3
Switzerland (1948-53)66.3670.85
Canada (1950-52)66.3370.83

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, etc., 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 these 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 1947-57 are shown in the following table.

YearNumberRate 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, which achieved the phenomenally low ratio of 17 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1955, as compared with New Zealand's 20 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.

CountryQuinquenniumDeaths Under 1 Year Per 1,000 Live Births
New Zealand1951-5521
United States of America1951-5527
United Kingdom1951-5528
China (Taiwan)1951-5533
Union of South Africa1951-5534
Republic of Ireland1951-5540
West Germany1951-5546
East Germany1951-5555

The male rate of infant mortality is considerably above the female rate, the average for New Zealand over the five-year period 1952-56 being 22.5 male deaths per 1,000 male births and 17.9 female deaths per 1,000 female births.

The rates per 1,000 births for the two sexes combined at different ages during the first year of life are now given for each of the last eleven years.

YearUnder One DayOne Day and Under Two DaysTwo Days and Under One WeekTotal Under One WeekOne Week and Under Two WeeksTwo Weeks and Under Three WeeksThree Weeks and Under One MonthTotal Under One MonthOne Month and Under Twelve MonthsTotal Under One Year

Infants who die in the first year of life may be grouped roughly into two main classes—viz., those dying within one month of birth and those surviving the first month of life but dying before the first anniversary of their birth. Deaths amongst the first class, called neo-natal deaths, are due principally to pre-natal and natal influences. 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 next table shows that, whereas in the quinquennium 1951-55 the death rate for children under one month of age was 50 percent lower than in the quinquennium 1881-85, the rate for children who had survived the first month of life was only approximately one-tenth 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 six 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 1951-55, however, indicate that whereas this group recorded a decrease of 26 per cent from 1941-45, the one-month-and-over group declined by 36 per cent.

PeriodDeaths Per 1,000 Births
Under 1 YearUnder 1 MonthBetween 1 and 12 Months

The accompanying diagram further illustrates the reduction in the infant-mortality rate that has taken place over a long period.

Causes of Infant Mortality.—The principal causes of infant mortality over the last ten years, showing both numbers and rates per 1,000 live births, are shown in the following table. The classification is according to the Sixth (1948) Revision of the International List.

Causes of DeathNumber of Deaths
Tuberculosis, all forms635 142 22
Congenital syphilis 14  1  1 
Enteric fever and other salmonella infections   3    2 
Dysentery, all forms  1     1 
Diphtheria5  2      
Meningococcal infections24 25107798
Tetanus  1 1   11
Poliomyelitis     21 2 
Measles1 31 222  
Influenza, pneumonia, and bronchitis after the first four weeks of life80748553967973777984
Pneumonia of the newborn25312622302224282135
Castro-enteritis after the first four weeks of life21211715261012161014
Diarrhoea of the newborn5233 15132
Congenital malformations190159163198151205163208196186
Birth injury154167158142146118127110144143
Asphyxia and atelectasis100102111128164174152110137128
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis)37353050383437404039
Immaturity unqualified276193238225191191162198162143
Other and undefined causes162130137122131129136152164166
Causes of DeathRates Per 1,000 Live Births
* Less than 0.1.
Tuberculosis, all forms0.10.10.1 *0.1* **
Congenital syphilis *0.1  *  * 
Enteric fever and other salmonella infections   0.1    * 
Dysentery, all forms  *     * 
Diphtheria0.1  0.1      
Meningococcal infections*0.1
Tetanus  * *   **
Poliomyelitis     0.1* * 
Measles* 0.1***    
Influenza, pneumonia, and bronchitis after the first four weeks of life1.
Pneumonia of the newborn0.
Gastro-enteritis after the first four weeks of life0.
Diarrhoea of the newborn0. *0.1*0.1*
Congenital malformations4.
Birth injury3.
Asphyxia and atelectasis2.
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis)
Immaturity unqualified6.
Other and undefined causes3.

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 and up to 1952-1956. It would appear that diseases which can be combated openly, such as epidemic diseases, respiratory diseases, and diseases due to faulty nourishment, etc. (i.e., diseases of the digestive system), have shown a definite response to the strenuous campaigns launched against them. If a comparison be made between the averages of the first and last five-yearly periods given —i.e., 1872-76 and 1952-56—it is found that the general infant-mortality rate shows a decline of 81 per cent, while even greater decreases are recorded for tuberculosis (99 per cent), convulsions (100 per cent), gastric and intestinal diseases (98 per cent), epidemic diseases (97 per cent), and respiratory diseases (81 per cent). The rate for epidemic diseases still continues to decline, and it is interesting to note that over 46 per cent of the total under this heading in the years 1952-56 were due to meningococcal infections, with 17 per cent assigned to influenza, and 16 per cent to whooping-cough. During the five-year period 1952-56 there were only two deaths from streptococcal sore throat and no deaths at all from scarlet fever or diphtheria.

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. To enable the comparison with past years to be maintained, the infant deaths for 1950 onwards have been re-assembled to conform to the former classifications for the purposes of this table—i.e., influenza deaths have been included under epidemic diseases, while both pneumonia and diarrhoea of the newborn have been included under respiratory and gastric and intestinal diseases respectively, and not as diseases of early infancy.

PeriodEpidemic DiseasesTuberculosisInfantile ConvulsionsRespiratory DiseasesGastric and Intestinal DiseasesMalformationsEarly InfancyOther CausesTotal
* Less than 0.1.

It is convenient to consider still-births and neo-natal deaths together, as they are largely the result of common causes. The combined group may be termed perinatal mortality. The term is particularly appropriate when we consider how deaths in the newborn crowd closely towards the day of birth. This effect is clearly shown in the table on page 100. Still-births and neo-natal deaths are considered together in the next table and are computed as rates per 1,000 total births.

YearStill-birthsNeo-natal DeathsNeo-natal Deaths Plus Still-births

Recent years have shown a definite trend towards improvement in the combined rate.

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. As from 1 July 1952 a certificate of the cause of death in cases of intermediate foetal deaths—i.e., deaths after the end of the twentieth but before the end of the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy—was also required to be furnished. There were 65 such cases recorded during 1955. The certificates of causes of still-birth and foetal death provide for both maternal and foetal causes to be entered.

The following table shows the 796 still-births registered during 1955 classified (a) according to maternal causes and (b) according to foetal causes.

Causes of Still-birthNumber of Cases
(a) Maternal Causes
Chronic disease in mother161531
Acute disease in mother5611
Diseases and conditions of pregnancy and childbirth8061141
Difficulties in labour452974
Other causes in mother4 4
(b) Foetal Causes
Placental and cord conditions145102247
Birth injury8210
Congenital malformation of foetus4357100
Diseases of foetus and ill-defined causes9484178
                Totals, all causes440356796

PERINATAL MORTALITY AND PREMATURITY.—Approximately three out of every four infants who die in the first year of life do so in the first month, and of those dying in the first month 48 per cent die in the first day of life and 87 per cent in the first week.

A principal factor in the loss of this new life is prematurity. This is seen in the following table, where causes of neo-natal deaths for 1956 are set out in accordance with the International List of 1948.

Causes of DeathUnder One DayOne Day and Under One WeekOne Week and Under Two WeeksOne Weeks and Under Three WeeksThree Weeks and Under One MonthTotal Under One Month
Congenital malformations2645149397
Injury at birth304111174
Injury at birth with prematurity47182  67
Post-natal asphyxia and atelectasis3813   51
Post-natal asphyxia and atelectasis, with prematurity40323  75
Pneumonia of newborn21155225
Pneumonia of newborn, with prematurity3322 10
Disorders arising from maternal toxaemia21   3
Disorders arising from maternal toxaemia, with prematurity123   15
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis)11122  25
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis), with prematurity561  12
Haemorrhagic disease of newborn331 18
Haemorrhagic disease of newborn, with prematurity112   13
Diarrhoea of newborn  1 12
Diarrhoea of newborn with prematurity      
Ill-defined diseases peculiar to early infancy211  4
Ill-defined diseases peculiar to early infancy, with prematurity122   14
Immaturity with mention of any other subsidiary condition  1 1 
Immaturity, unqualified884771 143
Pemphigus neonatorum 1  1 
Umbilical sepsis  1  1
Other sepsis of newborn 21 14
Other sepsis of newborn, with prematurity
External causes21 1 4
Other causes24113424

A total of 143, or 21 per cent, of all neo-natal deaths are directly attributed to prematurity (immaturity) and a further 207 deaths are given as associated with it. The principal conditions of early infancy with which prematurity was associated were: (i) asphyxia in 75 cases (11.1 percent of all neo-natal deaths); (ii) birth injury in 74 cases (11 per cent of all neo-natal deaths); and (iii) all other causes peculiar to early infancy in 58 cases (8.6 per cent of all neo-natal deaths).

In the case of still-births, out of 796 in 1955 there were 420 cases, or 53 per cent, where gestation fell short of full term.

It is not possible to assess what the reduction in perinatal mortality would be if every pregnancy were to go to full term, but there is no doubt that it would be considerable.

As a first step in the campaign to reduce this grave loss of new life, details of the birth weight and gestation period of all infants born alive or dead after 1 July 1952 were required to be furnished to the Registrars of Births and Deaths. These will provide essential basic data for further studies on prematurity. It will give a measure of the extent of the problem in different localities according to the age and parity of the mother and the occupation of the father, and it will enable cohorts of infants to be followed through their first year of life so that their mortality and morbidity experience may be shown according to their degree of maturity at birth.

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 million of mean population according to the Abbreviated List of 50 Causes (Sixth Revision, 1948).

The statistics for tuberculosis, cancer, puerperal causes, and violent causes, which are of special interest and significance, are discussed later on in this subsection. Certain diseases (cholera, plague, smallpox, typhus, and malaria) are not listed in the table below, as there were no deaths occurring from these causes in the years shown.

Causes of DeathNumbersRates Per Million of Mean Population
* Less than one.
Tuberculosis of respiratory system22518318119514612095929771
Tuberculosis, other forms4755232314252812117
Syphilis and its sequelae6261262617333213138
Typhoid fever 23   12  
Dysentery, all forms2 1411 12 
Scarlet fever and streptococcal sore throat12211111**
Meningococcal infections192022161610101188
Acute poliomyelitis54261295129131425 
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic66675285773535264238
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues2,7992,7862,8783,0773,0481,4921,4481,4641,5341,491
Benign and unspecified neoplasms42363935442219201722
Diabetes mellitus22124219320521511812698102105
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system2,1652,2522,2502,2812,2571,1541,1701,1441,1371,104
Non-meningococcal meningitis23411927311221101315
Rheumatic fever817135749723
Chronic rheumatic heart-disease22021920020217111711410210184
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease4,6574,8494,7354,7705,0232,4822,5192,4082,3782,457
Other diseases of the heart660528639702707352274325350346
Hypertension with heart-disease632559639630546337290345314267
Hypertension without mention of heart1651441111221408875566168
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum140158168172177582858687
Intestinal obstruction and hernia110111134931275958684662
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhoea of newborn75799587994041484348
Cirrhosis of liver57465270643024263531
Nephritis and nephrosis188178203160119100921038058
Hyperplasia of prostate1401171211421667561627181
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerpeirum33252522201813131110
Congenital malformations255234286266254116122145133124
Birth injuries, post-natal asphyxia, and immaturity unqualified292260220281271136135112140133
Infections of the newborn25366627431319341321
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity unqualified274258265254242146134134127118
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill defined, and unknown causes1771191701611439462868070
All other diseases1,5351,4651,5661,6841,918818761796840938
Motor-vehicle accidents252279277313294134145141156144
All other accidents550558730571525293290371285257
Suicide and self-inflicted injury189192175181194101100899095
Homicide and operations of war1910151710105885

TUBERCULOSIS.—The death rate from tuberculosis of the respiratory system has shown a declining tendency for many years, but the reduction by nearly one-half in the space of the five years 1952-56 is a noteworthy achievement. The rate for 1956,71 per million of population, is considerably lower than that recorded for 1955.

In addition to the 146 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1956, there were 14 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, comprising—

Tuberculosis of meninges and nervous system3
Tuberculosis of intestines, peritoneum, and mesentery1
Tuberculosis of bones and joints3
Tuberculosis of skin 
Tuberculosis of lymphatic system 
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system3
Tuberculosis of adrenal glands1
Tuberculosis of other organs 
Disseminated tuberculosis3

Deaths from tuberculosis of sites other than pulmonary have also declined greatly in recent years, the death rate from these causes having been reduced by nearly two-thirds during the five years 1952-56. The principal contributory factor towards this reduction has been tuberculosis of the meninges and central nervous system. In 1952 there were 14 deaths from this cause, compared with only 3 in 1955.

The following table shows the number of deaths from tuberculosis in 1956, classified according to sex and age groups. Of those dying from this cause in 1956, persons under the age of 45 years formed 27 per cent.

Age, in YearsMalesFemalesTotal
Under 5123
5 and under 102 2
10 and under 15112
15 and under 20123
20 and under 25213 
25 and under 30224
30 and under 354610
35 and under 40448
40 and under 45358
45 and under 50459
50 and under 5513417
55 and under 6015419
60 and under 6513417
65 and under 7017320
70 and under 7511314
75 and under 807613
80 and over8 8

CANCER.—A special report on cancer was issued in 1954 by the Medical Statistics Branch of the Department of Health. This report covers the years 1948-53, and is an analysis of the deaths occurring from cancer in New Zealand during those years, together with a survey of returns received from the various cancer clinics established in New Zealand under the auspices of the British Empire Cancer Campaign Society. From these data estimates have been prepared of the total numbers of new cases of cancer that occur each year and of cancer of different sites at different ages in the two sexes. A comparison is given of the situation in New Zealand with that in other parts of the world, together with estimates of the chances of survival. 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. A summary of the special report on cancer mentioned above is contained in the Medical Statistics Report of the Department of Health for 1953, while another covering the period 1948-55 has been prepared but is not yet published.

Attention is drawn to the transference, under the 1948 Revision of the International Classification, of Hodgkin's disease, leukaemia, etc., into the category of malignant diseases. This classification was introduced in 1950, and all cancer figures quoted for that and subsequent years 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 in general the increasing age of the population.

This is illustrated by the following figures.

PeriodAverage 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 1956 there were 3,048 deaths from cancer in New Zealand, a proportion of 14.91 per 10,000 of mean population. Figures in this table are all inclusive of Hodgkin's disease, leukaemia, etc. A summary for the last eleven years is given below.

YearNumber of Deaths From CancerRecorded Death RateStandardized Death Rate*
* Standard population used for standardized rates—England and Wales 1901.

A summary showing the location of the disease in deaths from cancer during 1956 is given in the following table.

Site of DiseaseNumbersRates Per Million of Mean Population
Buccal cavity and pharynx521769511734
Intestine, except rectum146197343142194168
Trachea, and of bronchus and lung not specified as secondary3035535829554175
Cervix uteri8181 8040 
Other and unspecified parts of uterus 4343 4221
Prostate175 175170 86
Bone and connective tissue161531161515
All other and unspecified sites332363695323357340
Leukaemia and aleukaemia7060130685964
Lymphosarcoma and other neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic system9245137904467

The standardized figures for recent years suggest that cancer, while undoubtedly increasing in numerical incidence, is not doing so out of proportion to the population exposed to the cancer risk. Improvement in diagnosis has been responsible for some of the numerical increase in the recorded deaths from cancer, though this factor has now become more stabilized. A classification according to sex and age groups for 1956 is now given.

Age, in YearsMalesFemalesTotal
Under 5191635
5 and under 107512
10 and under 15448
15 and under 209413
20 and under 256511
25 and under 30151227
30 and under 35161733
35 and under 40234396
40 and under 45504696
45 and under 505385138
50 and under 5586105191
55 and under 60158130288
60 and under 65169150319
65 and under 70256186442
70 and under 75301219520
75 and under 80248197445
80 and over208196404

Ninety per cent of the deaths from cancer during 1956 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.

YearProportion 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 1956 of 0.40 being a new record. This low rate has been achieved mainly by a reduction in the number of deaths from septic abortion and puerperal sepsis. Deaths from complications of childbirth have also been unusually few since 1949.

It is generally conceded that in years of high birth rates the maternal-mortality rate tends to rise, probably due to the abnormally high proportion of first births in the total of births, upon which the death rate for these causes is based. In common with most countries for which recent figures are available, the reverse has been the experience in New Zealand during recent 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 three years 1954 to 1956 are shown in the following summary.

Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate Per 10,000 Live Births
Toxaemias of pregnancy11262.270.401.9
Placenta praevia
Other haemorrhage of pregnancy12 0.210.40  
Ectopic pregnancy
Abortion without mention of sepsis or toxaemia2110.410.200.20
Abortion with sepsis4440.820.800.79
Abortion with toxaemia1  0.21  
Delivery complicated by placenta pracvia or antepartum haemorrhage 11 0.200.20
Delivery complicated by retained placenta1110.210.200.20
Delivery complicated by other post-partum haemorrhage2410.410.800.20
Delivery complicated by disproportion or malposition of foetus1110.210.200.20
Delivery complicated by prolonged labour of other origin 3  0.61 
Delivery with trauma 13 0.200.59
Delivery with other complications of childbirth1  0.21  
Sepsis of childbirth and the puerperium
Puerperal phlebitis and thrombosis  1  0.20
Puerperal pulmonary embolism1110.210.200.20
Puerperal eclampsia 1  0.20 
Other and unspecified complications of the puerperium
                Totals, including septic abortion2522205.164.413.97
                Totals, excluding septic abortion2118164.343.613.17

A summary of maternal mortality from all puerperal causes, in triennial periods since 1930, is now given.

Causes of Death1930-321933-351936-381939-411942-441945-471948-501951-531954-56
Puerperal sepsis58394446301263 
Eclampsia and other toxaemias979394805862423019
Septic abortion85916858613320712
Accidents, haemorrhage, and other mortality1241049113594110734936
            Total maternal mortality3643272973192432171418967
            Maternal mortality, excluding septic abortion2792362292611821841218255

In all four disease divisions there has been a steady downward trend in the numbers despite the fact that in the quarter century covered the total of confinements has approximately doubled. This position has been brought about by improvements in the standard of ante-natal care and obstetrical skill as well as advances in medical science.

DEATHS FROM EXTERNAL CAUSES.—Deaths from external causes, apart from suicide, claim approximately 6 per cent of the total deaths. The following table shows deaths from external causes for the three years 1954, 1955, and 1956 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.

Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate Per Million of Mean Population
Motor-vehicle accidents277313294141156144
Other transport accidents25285651284232
Accidental poisoning1823199129
Accidental falls181177162928879
Accident caused by machinery222823111411
Accident caused by fire and explosion of combustible material452627231313
Accident caused by hot substance, corrosive liquid, steam, and radiation101211565
Accident caused by firearm8138474
Accidental drowning and submersion8795102444750
All other accidental causes107112108555653
Homicide and injury purposely inflicted by other persons (not in war)151710885

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1956 was 819 corresponding to a rate of 4.01 per 10,000 of population.

Transport Accidents.—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.

YearDeaths Due to AccidentRate Per 10,000 of Mean Population
RailwayTramwayMotor VehicleAircraftRailwayTramwayMotor VehicleAircraft

Deaths occurring as a result of the Tangiwai railway disaster were not registered till 1954, and consequently were not included in the 1953 totals. These deaths numbered 154, and of course account for the large increase in the number of deaths due to railway accidents shown for 1954. Of this number 1 was a Maori, and 7 were registered as unidentified bodies.

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 loss 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.

Deaths from motor-vehicle accidents recorded an appreciable increase up to 1930, but this trend was reversed during the depression years, largely owing 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. 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. Since the war the number of fatalities from motor-vehicle accidents progressively increased up to 1955, with the exception of a small decline in 1952. The year 1956 showed an improvement from the accident point of view, there being declines over the previous year in all major groups.

The figures given in the above table 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 1956 there were 13 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor vehicle was involved up to 294. The corresponding figure for 1955 was 313.

Non-transport Accidents.—The 1948 Revision of the International List makes provision for non-transport accidents (excluding therapeutic misadventure in treatment, complications following vaccination or inoculation, and late effects of injury and poisoning) to be grouped according to the place where the accident or poisoning occurred. The following table shows the deaths, both numbers and rates, for each of the three years 1954, 1955, and 1956 according to this classification.

Place of OccurrenceNumberRate Per Million of Mean Population
Home (including home premises and vicinity and any non-institutional place of residence)253233231129116113
Farm (including buildings and land under cultivation, but excluding farm and home premises)394532202216
Mine and quarry5118254
Industrial place and premises262023131011
Place for recreation and sport947523
Street and highway131814797
Public building (building used by the general public or a particular group of the public)818414
Resident institution (homes, hospitals, etc.)14352971714
Other specified places799490404744
Place not specified715312

One in every two fatal non-traffic accidents occurs in or about the home.

The chief killer in the home is falls, which exacts a heavy toll of the aged and infirm. Second comes asphyxia from regurgitation of foodstuffs and inhalation of other objects, or mechanically from pillows and bedclothes: this is the principal hazard of the first six months of life, though a proportion of these deaths is probably due to some undisclosed underlying respiratory infection. Almost all the home drowning fatalities are amongst toddlers between one and two years of age who fall into rivers, creeks, and ponds in the immediate home vicinity.

There were 116 deaths from non-transport accidents on farms in the period covered, while fatal non-transport accidents in industrial plants, factories, and workplaces totalled 69.

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 1956 numbered 194—males 128, females 66—the death rate per 10,000 of mean population being 0.95.

YearNumber of Suicidal DeathsRate 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 DuringMalesFemalesBoth Sexes


UNLESS specially stated to the contrary, in the preceding subsections 4b and 4d, 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, etc., 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, etc. Consequently registration of vital facts regarding the Maori race as a whole is not quite at the same high level of accuracy as obtains for the European population, but very considerable improvement has been effected in recent years.

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 1 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 1957 was 6,632 (3,333 males, 3,299 females). The Maori birth rate in 1957 was almost twice the European birth rate (46.29 per 1,000). Registrations of Maori births in each of the last eleven years were as follows.

YearNumber of Maori BirthsRate Per 1,000 of Mean Population

For the purposes of the Maori Births and Deaths Registration Regulations 1935 a Maori is defined as " a person belonging to the aboriginal race of New Zealand, and includes a half-caste and a person intermediate in blood between half-castes and persons of pure descent from that race".

Only registrations relating to persons possessing half or more Maori blood are made in the register of Maori births or Maori deaths. All registrations in respect of persons possessing less than half Maori blood must be made in the European register.

MAORI MARRIAGES.—In the 1953 and preceding issues of the Year-Book a brief statement of the legislative position relating to Maori marriages was given. The Maori Purposes Act 1951, however, brought about a complete change to that hitherto existing. The view was taken that the Maori race had reached a stage where such special dispensations were no longer justifiable. From 1 April 1952 all Maori marriages are subject to the ordinary laws affecting European marriages, and no marriage according to Maori custom subsequent to that date will be held valid. As a result it is not now possible to distinguish marriages of Maoris from those of Europeans, and Maori marriage statistics as a separate feature have lapsed.

The Maori marriage figures for each of the ten years (1942-51) were given on page 99 of the 1955 issue.

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

YearNumberRate 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 actually higher than the male in 1949. The total Maori death rate has shown considerable improvement during recent years, and is fast approaching equality with the European rate. Further improvement in the infant mortality rate for Maoris could result in such equality in the near future.

Apart from mere numbers by sex, statistics of Maori deaths are not available prior to 1920, but annual