Table of Contents


The first quarter of the shield depicts four stars as representative of the Southern Cross, then three ships symbolising the importance of New Zealand's sea trade; in the second quarter is a fleece representing the farming industry. The wheat sheaf in the third quarter represents the agricultural industry, whilst the crossed hammers in the fourth quarter represent the mining industry.

The supporters on either side of the shield consist of a Maori Chieftain holding a taiaha (a Maori war weapon) and a European woman holding the New Zealand Ensign.

Surmounting the Arms is the St. Edward's Crown which was used in the Coronation ceremony of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The crown symbolises the fact that Her Majesty is Queen of New Zealand under the New Zealand Royal Titles Act 1953.

(These Arms may not be used except with the consent of the Minister of Internal Affairs.)


New Zealand's economic progress is comprehensively recorded in the facts and figures of this volume, and other characteristics of the country are also covered. This annual compendium brings as nearly up to date as possible a wide range of statistical and general information for current reference and historical purposes.

This, the sixty-sixth issue of the Yearbook, has been entirely reset and the opportunity has been taken to revise the order of the subject matter as well as make even more substantial revision than usual to text and tables. Changes have been made in the order of some sections to bring allied subjects within the following broad groups; physiography, demography, and social characteristics; transport and communications; production; trade, prices, and consumption; finance; labour; and general.

The first section on physiography has been enlarged by general surveys on climate, geology, and earthquakes. The general farming section has been supplemented by a survey on soils and land use, and a review of the tourist industry has been added to the miscellaneous section. New sections have been created for communications and marketing.

A special article deals with university education for science and technology, a subject of growing importance to New Zealand's development.

The set of photographs illustrates some New Zealand buildings.

With the resetting, a new set of symbols in the statistical tables has been introduced and changes of format have been made.

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. The complete resetting of the Yearbook has made additional exacting demands both in printing and in editing. My thanks for their comprehensive contribution to the production of the Yearbook 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.


Department of Statistics,


30 June 1961.


The interpretation of the symbols used in the tables throughout this publication is as follows:

nil or zero
..figures not available
 not yet available = space left blank
not applicable
– –amount too small to be expressed


All values are shown in New Zealand currency.


Unless otherwise stated, a ton is a long ton (2,240 1b).


On occasions figures are rounded off to the nearest thousand or some other convenient unit. This may result in a total disagreeing slightly with the total of the individual items as shown in tables. Where figures are rounded the unit is in general expressed in words below the table headings, but where space does not allow this the unit may be shown as 000 for thousand, etc.


Figures for fiscal years ended 31 March (the fiscal year) are indicated in the text and headings of tables; otherwise figures are mainly for calendar years.


bd. ft.board feet
cu. ft.cubic feet
£(000)thousand pounds
£(m)million pounds
sq. ft.square feet

Chapter 1. Section 1 PHYSIOGRAPHY

Table of Contents

GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION – The islands of New Zealand have been shaped from the projecting crests of earth folds which rise as broad ridges from the floor of the South Pacific Ocean, 1,000 miles east of the continent of Australia. There are three main islands – North, South, and Stewart separated only by relatively narrow straits – with adjacent islets and a small group called Chatham Islands, 536 miles to the east. Dating from 1842 the administrative boundaries of New Zealand, exclusive of island territories, extend from 33 degrees to 53 degrees south latitude and from 162 degrees east longitude to 173 degrees west longitude. Inhabited outlying minor islands are Raoul Island in the Kermadec Group, 614 miles north-east of the Bay of Islands, and Campbell Island, 320 miles south of Stewart Island.

New Zealand is also responsible for the administration of four island groups in the south-west Pacific – the Cook Islands, Niue Island, the Tokelau Islands, and Western Samoa. The first three are incorporated within the boundaries of New Zealand, while Western Samoa has been administered as a trust territory since 1946. The principal island of the Cook Group, Rarotonga, is 1,638 miles north of Auckland, and Niue to the west of the Cook Islands is a similar distance away. Lying to the north-west of the Cook Islands are the Tokelau Islands. The Trust Territory of Western Samoa is some 1,600 miles north-east from Auckland. In all, there are 23 islands scattered over a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean making up New Zealand's island territories. The territorial area reaches to within 8 degrees of the Equator and extends south to the Tropic of Capricorn, while in longitude it covers nearly 20 degrees (156 degrees west to 173 degrees west).

The Ross Dependency, some 1,400 miles to the south, has been under New Zealand's jurisdiction since 1923 and comprises the sector of the Antarctic continent between 160 degrees east and 150 degrees west longitude, together with the islands lying between those degrees of longitude and south of latitude 60 degrees south.

The administrative area of New Zealand can be classified as follows. In this volume, in general, New Zealand refers 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

*Situated off North Island.

†Situated off South Island.

    (a) Exclusive of island territories–
          North Island44,281
          South Island58,093
          Stewart Island670
          Chatham Island372
          Minor islands
              Inhabited –
                  Kermadec Islands*13
                  Campbell Island44
              Uninhabited (areas in parentheses)263
                  Three Kings* (3); Snares (1); Solander (1/2); Antipodes (24); Bounty (1/2); Auckland (234).
Total New Zealand, exclusive of island territories103,736
    (b) Island territories –
          Tokelau Islands, comprised of –
              Fakaofo Island, Nukunono Island, Atafu Island4
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, Rakahanga.
              Niue Island100
Total island territories— 194
    (c) Ross Dependency (Estimated)160,000
Total New Zealand, inclusive of island territories and Ross Dependency263,930
            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. Western Samoa is likely to become an independent territory from 1 January 1962.

The relevant Proclamations, defining from time to time the administrative area of New Zealand, are briefly referred to in Section 2.

GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES: Coastline – 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 coastline in proportion to its area. With the exception of the low-lying North Auckland Peninsula, the New Zealand land mass lies along a south-westerly and north-easterly axis, parallel to the direction of its mountain chains.

By reason of the latter fact the coastline 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 Turakirae Head, 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 Moehau Range parallels 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 17 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 Richmond 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 plateaus determined the types of cultivation undertaken. Moreover, the existence of much elevated open country led to the development of pastoral holdings on a large scale. While the mountains in the North Island are not as high nor as extensive as those of the South Island, in the early days they effectively isolated various portions of the coastal plains and valleys. Their effect on climatic conditions, however, is considerably less, the rainfall being more evenly distributed. Owing to this more even distribution of the rainfall, and to the existence of considerable areas of lower relief, the foothills of the mountain systems were heavily wooded, and so proved a hindrance to agrarian development.

There are at least 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.

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 Beche9,815
    Glacier Peak9,865
    Arguilles Rouges9,731
    Le Receveur9,562
    Big Mac9,511
    Conway Peak9,510
    Bristol Top9,508
    Ronald Adair9,276
    Hochstetter Dom9,258
    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 11/4 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 (71/4 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 93/4 miles and 81/2 miles respectively, and terminal faces at altitudes of 670 ft and 690 ft.

As will be realised, these glaciers are an important tourist attraction, and as such have definite economic significance. Moreover, those glaciers on the eastern slopes which feed rivers utilised 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 utilised.

Following is a list of the more important rivers. For purposes of uniformity, the length of a river is taken to be the distance from the mouth to the farthest point in the system, whether this should happen to bear the same name or that of an affluent, and is inclusive of the estimated course of a river flowing into and emerging from any lake in the system.


Flowing into the Pacific OceanMiles
    Waihou (or Thames)95
    Waiapu (from source, Mata River)75
    Waipaoa (from source, Waipapa Stream)70
    Wairoa (from source, Hangaroa River)85
    Mohaka (from source, Taharua River)95
Flowing into Cook Strait
Flowing into the Tasman Sea
    Waikato (from source, Upper Waikato River)270
    Wairoa (from source, Waiotu Stream)115
    Hokianga (from source, Waihou River45


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

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

Some particulars of the more important lakes are given in the following table.

LakeLength, in MilesGreatest Breadth, in MilesArea, in Square MilesDrainage Area, in Square MilesApproximate Volume of Discharge, in Cubic Feet per SecondMaximum Height Above Sea Level in Feet (Range in Brackets)*Greatest Depth, in Feet
*The range in lake levels is not available for all lakes.
Taupo25172341,2704,4901,172 (5)522
Rotorua71/2631203..920 (2)84
Rotoiti10313248852916 (2)230
Tarawera751/21472273981 (2)285
Rotoaira313/45502401,852 (3)..
Waikaremoana126211656232,015 (45)840
Rotoehu32317..968 (4)..
Rotoma31/421/441/212..1,036 (6)..
Okataina43425..1,018 (9)..
Okareka11/211/411/48..1,160 (4)..
Rotomahana413/431/227..1,116 (22)..
Rerewhakaitu21/213/43....1,441 (4)..
Arapuni101/252,6557,310363 (2)..
Whakamarino1/21/41/10  900..
Rotoiti911/24714402,020 (6)250
Rotoroa51/2291459601,462 (5)499
Tekapo1131/2375503,0602,347 (25)620
Pukaki91/25325234,5201,640 (30)..
Ohau113234602,3101,730 (9)..
Hawea195465672,2401,133 (53)1,285
Wanaka283749827,150915 (14)..
Wakatipu4831131,1506,1601,017 (7)1,239
Te Anau3861361,2759,730686 (15)906
Manapouri185551,78513,630608 (21)1,455
Monowai12111105495643 (13)..
Hauroko2211/2271/22251,100513 (6)..
Cobb31/43/4281982,650 (50)..

GEOLOGY – In New Zealand, ancient rocks (intensely deformed and indurated Paleozoic and Mesozoic geosynclinal sediments and Paleozoic metamorphic and intrusive rocks) form a “core” which is buried, over about half the country, by geologically young (late Cretaceous and Cenozoic) sedimentary and volcanic rocks. In most parts of the country major unconformity separates these younger rocks from the older ones. The present structure has been developed by vigorous deformation during the Cenozoic era. A feature of the country's structure are the numerous lengthy, active, transcurrent faults. Volcanic activity continues; the largest accumulations of volcanic rocks are geologically very young (late Tertiary and Quaternary), and most of them lie in the central North Island.

A Descriptive Atlas of New Zealand contains geological maps of New Zealand and summaries of New Zealand's geology and landscape development. New Zealand Geological Survey Bulletin 66, The Geological Map of New Zealand, 1 : 2,000,000 is a lengthier summary with a more detailed geological map and cross sections. Other Geological Survey bulletins and maps are mentioned in Section 17 of this Yearbook. Numerous geological articles are contained in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology, and Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

EARTHQUAKES: Geophysical Background – Earthquakes are geographically associated with active volcanoes and with major earth movements such as mountain building; these three types of disturbance are confined, for the most part, to certain limited regions of the world. Such disturbed regions, of which New Zealand is one, are evidently the site of some kind of development affecting the outer shell of the Earth. Little is yet known about the internal processes that give rise to these geophysical disturbances, nor are the relations connecting them understood in any detail.

Formerly earthquakes were believed to be caused by volcanic activity, but it is now recognised that volcanic earthquakes are restricted to small shocks in the immediate vicinity of the volcanism. In New Zealand, tremors of this kind are experienced in the zone of active volcanism that extends from Mount Ruapehu to White Island.

In some places geological faulting at the surface gives visible evidence that a major earth movement has occurred. Occasionally movement on a fault has been observed to occur simultaneously with an earthquake in the same vicinity. New Zealand provided one of the earliest examples of this to become generally known, when movement took place on the Wairarapa Fault at the time of the great Wellington earthquake of 1855. Such events as this have led to the idea that earthquakes in general are caused by fault movements, but it has proved difficult to find convincing evidence in support of this theory. It is noteworthy that there seems to be little earthquake activity along much of the Alpine Fault, which has been traced for 300 miles from Milford Sound to Lake Rotoiti and is classed by geologists as one of the largest and most active faults in the world. The nature of the connection between earthquakes and faulting is still somewhat obscure.

The great majority of the world's earthquakes occur at depths of less than 40 miles, and in many earthquake zones there are no shocks at any greater depth. A moderate number of New Zealand earthquakes are classed as intermediate in depth, i.e., originating at between 40 miles and 190 miles deep. The two deepest New Zealand earthquakes recorded so far occurred six minutes apart on 23 March 1960, with a common focus 370 miles deep under north Taranaki; this is about 80 miles shallower than the deepest earthquake known.

It is difficult to compare the degree of earthquake activity in New Zealand with that in other regions because of the many differences that arise in earthquake type and mode of occurrence. New Zealand and California are often regarded as roughly similar, with an activity very much less than, for example, Japan or Chile.

Regional Distribution – There are two separate regions of earthquake activity in New Zealand. The larger, northern region may be roughly defined as lying between latitude 361/2°S and 431/2°S. It thus includes the northern half of the South Island, and all the North Island apart from the North Auckland peninsula; but the area from Kaipara Harbour to the lower Waikato River should be excluded. The southern active region lies to the west of longitude 1691/2°E, and incorporates Southland, western Otago, and southern Westland. Earthquakes have only occasionally been located in the parts of New Zealand lying outside these two regions.

Within the active regions the occurrence of shallow earthquakes is widely scattered. There has been a tendency, however, for the larger shallow earthquakes to lie towards the Pacific side of the northern active region and towards the Tasman side of the southern active region. Earthquakes with deeper foci are mostly confined to a narrow belt in the northern region, extending from the Bay of Plenty south-westwards to Tasman Bay.

The historical record is too brief to support a quantitative assessment of the frequency with which one might expect earthquakes to be felt at a given intensity in various parts of New Zealand. Considering the distances to which major earthquakes can be effective, in relation to the size of New Zealand, it would be imprudent to regard any part of the country, except perhaps the far north, as permanently exempt from the possibility of earthquake damage.

Outside the active regions there are many areas, however, where no damaging intensity has actually been experienced in historical times. Moreover, since the major shallow earthquakes on record have been rather widely distributed within the active regions, there appears to be no particular area of markedly intense seismicity.

The Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3 February 1931 resulted directly or indirectly in 255 deaths. The total of deaths that have been recorded as due to other earthquakes since 1848 is 29.

Seismological Observatory – Earthquake recorders are operated continuously at the following stations by the Seismological Observatory, Wellington: Apia and Afiamalu (Samoa); Raoul Island (Kermadecs); Suva (Fiji); Onerahi, Auckland, Karapiro, Tuai, Taranaki, Tongariro, Bunnythorpe, and Wellington (North Island); Cobb, Kaimata, Gebbies Pass, Roxburgh, and Monowai (South Island); Hallett Station and Scott Base (Antarctica). The installations at the following stations include instruments for recording distant earthquakes: Apia, Suva, Auckland, Wellington, Roxburgh, Hallett, Scott Base. At the Samoan and Antarctic stations preliminary readings are made locally and notified by radiogram. The analysis of records from all stations is carried out at the Observatory in Wellington.

The Observatory publishes regular reports of all significant earthquakes occurring in the New Zealand region; in a normal year there are about 200 such earthquakes, and about 100 of these are reported felt. The analysis involves using observations from stations in other countries as well as those from the local network, and the Observatory likewise contributes data to the international seismological agencies about distant earthquakes as well as large local ones. Details of tremors felt in New Zealand are supplied to the public and the press. In the study of felt earthquakes the instrumental results are augmented by “felt reports”; these are supplied by a large number of voluntary observers throughout New Zealand in response to a standard questionnaire issued by the Observatory.

Earthquake data are used by the Observatory for studying the fundamental characteristics of the Earth's crust in New Zealand, Antarctica, and the neighbouring oceanic regions, and also for contributing to geophysical knowledge of the Earth's deep interior.

Principal Earthquakes During the Year 1960 – On 25 May 1960 an earthquake of magnitude M=7 occurred at sea about 20 miles north of Milford Sound. This was the largest shallow earthquake in the New Zealand region since the Wairarapa shock of 24 June 1942. A great many aftershocks occurred during the ensuing week. This earthquake caused minor damage at several places, as also did the earthquake on 21 February, which was centred in north Canterbury. A few other shocks caused isolated damage.

An unusual occurrence was the tsunami (seismic seawave) that originated from the great Chilean earthquake of 23 May and caused minor damage at various places along the east coast, in both the North and South Islands.

The two deepest earthquakes so far recorded in New Zealand (370 miles deep) occurred under north Taranaki on 23 March, as has been mentioned above. The interest attaching to these shocks is enhanced by the fact that the only previously recorded New Zealand earthquake of comparable depth, that of 24 March 1953, occurred in the same locality and at almost the same depth.

WEATHER INFORMATION – The collection of weather information and the provision of weather forecasts and climatic data for diverse interests in aviation, shipping, agriculture, Government Departments, and the general public are functions of the New Zealand Meteorological Service. By arrangement with the administrations concerned the Service performs similar functions for British territories in the Pacific.

Weather reports for use in forecasting are made at about 110 places within New Zealand and 50 in Pacific islands and collected by telegraph and radio, along with measurements of winds at upper levels made at eight radar wind-measuring stations and of temperatures made at seven radio-sonde stations. Daily observations are made for climatological purposes at about 150 places in New Zealand and 60 in the islands. Rainfall measurements are made at a total of about 1,200 places within New Zealand and 110 outside the country.

Detailed climatological statistics are published annually in the Meteorological Observations. Current statistics appear monthly in a climatological table included in the New Zealand Gazette.

CLIMATE – Situated between 34°S and 47°S the main islands lie within the broad belt of strong westerly winds which encircles the hemisphere south of about latitude 35°S. Just to the north is the high-pressure ridge of the subtropics from which barometric pressure decreases southwards over New Zealand to the deep low-pressure trough located near latitude 60°S.

In the Australasian region there is no semipermanent anticyclone, as exists in subtropical latitudes in the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans. Instead, a continual eastward migration of anticyclones takes place, roughly at weekly intervals. Most of the centres pass over or to the north of the North Island. The low-pressure troughs which separate successive anticyclones are associated with deep depressions centred far to the south. A period of disturbed weather accompanies the trough with a change to cold southerly or south-westerly winds as it advances north-eastwards over New Zealand. Conditions improve again with the approach of the next anticyclone from the west. While this simple progression dominates the day-to-day weather, the situation frequently becomes much more complex. The troughs are unstable systems where depressions commonly form, some of which develop into vigorous storms that travel south-eastwards across New Zealand.

The anticyclones themselves continually vary in size, intensity, and rate of movement. Their tracks are furthest north in the spring, on the average, and reach their southern limit in late summer or early autumn when most of the centres cross central or southern New Zealand. At this time of the year, too, northern and eastern districts of the North Island occasionally come under the influence of deep cyclones of tropical origin.

The other main factors which influence the climate of New Zealand are, first, its position in the midst of a vast ocean, and second, the shape and topography of the country itself.

Australia, the nearest continent, is 1,000 miles to the west; Antarctica is 1,400 miles to the south. Hot air masses from the interior of Australia in summer, or freezing air masses from the Antarctic, which occasionally reach New Zealand, retain little of their original character after their long ocean passage. Thus, there is an absence of extreme variations of temperature. On the other hand, since abundant supplies of moisture are supplied by evaporation from the oceans, and depressions are frequent and vigorous, the average precipitation is high.

The chain of high mountains, which extends from south-west to north-east through the length of the country, rises as a formidable barrier in the path of the prevailing westerly winds. The effect is to produce much sharper climatic contrasts from west to east than in the north-south direction. In some inland areas of the South Island just east of the mountains the climate is distinctly continental in character, despite the fact that no part of New Zealand is more than 90 miles from the sea.

Winds – Winds from a westerly quarter prevail in all seasons, with a general tendency to increase in strength from north to south. However, considerable local modifications to the general air flow occur during its passage across the mountainous terrain. Approaching the main ranges the westerly flow turns towards the north-east and on descending on the eastern side swings towards the southeast. This results in an increased number of south-westerlies in Westland and a predominance of north-westerlies in inland districts of Otago and Canterbury, where strong gales from this quarter occur at times in the late spring and summer. Daytime sea breezes usually extend from the coast inland for 20 miles or more during periods of settled weather in summer. On the Canterbury coast, north-easterlies are almost as frequent as the predominant south-westerlies, mainly as a result of a persistent sea breeze. Cook Strait, the only substantial gap in the main mountain chain, acts as a natural funnel for the air flow and is a particularly windy locality afflicted by gales from the south-east as well as the north-west. This “funnel” effect is also in evidence about Foveaux Strait. North of Taranaki the general air flow is more south-westerly, and there is a noticeable reduction in windiness in the summer.

Rainfall – The distribution of rainfall is mainly controlled by mountain features, and the highest rainfalls occur where the mountains are exposed to the direct sweep of the westerly and north-westerly winds. The mean annual rainfall (see map) ranges from as little as 13 in. in a small area of Central Otago to over 300 in. in the Southern Alps. The average for the whole country is high, but for the greater part it lies between 25 and 60 in., a range regarded as favourable for plant growth in the temperate zone. The only areas with under 25 in. are found in the South Island, to the east of the main ranges. These include most of Central and North Otago, and South Canterbury. In the North Island, the driest areas are southern Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, and Manawatu where the average rainfall is 30–40 in. a year. Of the remainder, much valuable farm land, chiefly in northern Taranaki and Northland, has upwards of 60 in. Over a sizeable area of both Islands rainfall exceeds 100 in. a year but, with the exception of Westland, this is mountainous and unoccupied, much of it being forest covered.

For a large part of the country the rainfall is spread evenly through the year, although its effectiveness in summer is, of course, much reduced. The greatest contrast is found in the north, where winter has almost twice as much rain as summer. This predominance of winter rainfall diminishes southwards. It is still discernible over the northern part of the South Island but, over the southern half, winter is the season with least rainfall, and a definite summer maximum is found inland due to the effect of convectional showers. The rainfall is also influenced by seasonal variations in the strength of the westerly winds. Spring rainfall is increased in and west of the ranges as the westerlies rise to their maximum about October, while a complementary decrease occurs at the same time in the lee of the ranges.

Areas which are exposed to the west and south-west experience much showery weather, and rain falls on roughly half the days of the year. Over most of the North Island rain can be measured on at least 150 days a year except to the east of the ranges where there are, in places, fewer than 125 rain days. Those areas of the South Island with annual rainfall under 25 in. generally have about 100 rain days a year. In the far south the frequency of rain increases sharply; in Stewart Island and Fiordland rain days exceed 200 a year. Over most of the country between 55 and 65 per cent of the rain days also qualify as wet days (0.10 in. of rain). The percentage increases to over 70 in Westland, but in the low rainfall area of inland Otago there are only about 40 wet days a year compared with 100 rain days.

On the whole the seasonal rainfall does not vary greatly from year to year, the reliability in spring being particularly advantageous for agricultural purposes. It is least reliable in late summer and autumn when very dry conditions may develop east of the ranges, particularly in Hawke's Bay.

The highest daily rainfall on record is 22 in., which occurred at Milford Sound where the mean annual rainfall is 250 in. Other areas with considerably lower rainfall are also subject to very heavy daily falls; such areas are to be found in northern Hawke's Bay and in north-eastern districts of the Auckland Province. By contrast, in the Manawatu district and in Otago and Southland daily falls reaching 3 in. are very rare.

Thunderstorms – Thunderstorms are not numerous. Their frequency is greatest in the north and west where thunder is heard on 15 to 20 days a year; east of the ranges the figure is five or less.

Hail – Hail is most frequent in the south-west where it is reported on about 20 days a year, but for the greater part of the country it occurs on about five days a year or less. Most of the hailstones are small, but occasionally large stones cause local damage to glasshouses, and to orchards and market gardens, chiefly in Canterbury and Hawke's Bay.

Frost – It is well known that local variations in frostiness are considerable, even within quite small areas. On a calm, clear night the cold air in contact with a sloping surface gravitates slowly downhill to collect in valleys and depressions, and it is these “Katabatic” drifts which are mainly responsible for local temperature variations at night. Gently sloping ground with a northerly aspect tends to be least affected by frost. Favourable sites in coastal areas of Northland are free of frost, although further inland light frosts occur frequently in the winter months. At Albert Park, Auckland, the screen minimum thermometer (4 ft above the ground) has registered below 32° F only once in nearly 50 years, yet across the harbour at Whenuapai Aerodrome there are eight screen frosts per annum on the average. Excluding the uninhabited mountainous areas, the most severe winter conditions are experienced in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Plains of inland Canterbury, and on the central plateau of the North Island. Even in these areas night temperatures as low as 10° are rarely recorded. Elsewhere over the North Island the winters are very mild and pastures maintain continuous growth. In both Islands sheep and cattle remain in the open all the year round.

Snow – The majority of New Zealanders rarely see snow except on the mountains. The North Island has a small permanent snow field above about 8,000 ft on the central plateau, but the snow line rarely descends below 2,000 ft even for brief periods in winter. In the South Island snow falls on a few days a year in eastern coastal districts and in some years may lie for a day or two even at sea level. In Westland it does not lie at sea level. The snow line on the Southern Alps is around 7,000 ft in summer, being slightly lower on the western side where the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers descend through heavy bush to within 1,000 ft of sea level. In inland Canterbury and Otago, where there are considerable areas of grazing lands above 1,000 ft, snowfalls are heavier and more persistent and have caused serious losses of sheep during severe winters in the past. However, only rarely does the winter snow line there remain permanently below 3,000 ft.

Relative Humidity – Humidity is commonly between 70 and 80 per cent in coastal areas and about 10 per cent lower inland. It varies inversely as the temperature, falling to a minimum in the early afternoon when temperature is highest and frequently lying between 90 and 100 per cent during clear nights. As the following table shows, the diurnal variation is greater than the difference between summer and winter.

StationMean Relative Humidity
3 a.m.3 p.m.3 a.m.3 p.m.
Per Cent
Auckland (Mechanics Bay)85639074
Ohakea Aerodrome87628972

Very low humidities – between 20 and 30 per cent or lower – occur at times in the lee of the Southern Alps where the Föhn effect is often very marked. In summer the hot, dry “Canterbury Norwester” is generally a most unpleasant wind. Cool south-westerlies are also at times very dry when they reach eastern districts. In Northland the humid mid-summer conditions are inclined to be rather oppressive though temperatures rarely reach 85°. Dull, humid spells are generally not prolonged anywhere, but their frequency shows a marked increase in the south.

Sunshine – The sunniest areas are to be found locally near Blenheim, Nelson, and Whakatane, where the average duration of bright sunshine exceeds 2,400 hours per annum. Napier and the rest of the Bay of Plenty are only slightly less sunny. A large portion of the country is favoured with at lease 2,000 hours. Even Westland, despite its high rainfall, has 1,800 hours. Southland, where sunshine drops sharply to 1,700 hours per annum, lies on the northern fringe of a broad zone of increasing cloudiness. Four hundred miles further to the south at Campbell Island the sunshine has the extremely low value of 650 hours per annum. A pleasant feature of the New Zealand climate is the high proportion of sunshine during the winter months. To eliminate the effect of varying day-length the summer and winter sunshine at a few selected stations have been expressed as a percentage of the possible sunshine.

 Per Cent
New Plymouth5347

As these figures indicate, there is a marked increase in cloudiness in the North Island in winter, but little seasonal change in the South Island, except in Southland.

Temperature – Mean temperatures at sea level decrease steadily southwards from 59°F in the far north to 54° about Cook Strait, then to 49° in the south. With increasing altitude, temperatures drop about 3° per 1,000 ft. January and February, with approximately the same mean temperature, are the warmest months of the year; July is the coldest. Some temperature statistics for selected places are included in the table on page 16. Highest temperatures are recorded east of the main ranges, where they rise to the nineties on a few afternoons in most summers, usually in association with a north-westerly Föhn wind. The extremes for New Zealand (measured in a standard thermometer screen) are 101° at Ashburton and—3° at Ophir (Central Otago).

As is to be expected, there is a small annual range of temperature (difference between mean temperature of the warmest and coldest months). In Northland and in western districts of both Islands the annual range is about 15°F. For the remainder of the North Island, and east coast districts of the South Island, it is 17°–19°. Further inland it exceeds 20° in places, reaching a maximum of 25° in Central Otago where there is an approach to a continental type of climate.

Normal Seasonal Temperature Pattern – A feature of the seasonal pattern of temperature for New Zealand is the near symmetry about either the hottest summer months or the coldest winter months. In other words the summer-winter decline is an almost identical reversal of the winter-summer rise. This shows up clearly when temperatures for 100 climatological stations are averaged month by month. The first two months of the calendar year, the summer months of January and February, display the same average temperature, that of 61.3°F. This temperature is the highest average for any month, being approached by only the December average of 59.2°F. Once February is past a decline sets in, the estimated average New Zealand temperature falling by 2.5°F from February to March to give a March average of 58.8°F. Thereafter, successive inter-monthly temperature drops of 4.4°, 5.4°, 4.2°, and 1.2°F finally produce a July average of 43.6°F, which makes this month the coldest of the year. Progressing through and past July the temperature steadily rises, the increments being successively, 1.8°, 3.4°, 3.8°, 3.2°, 3.4°, and 2.1°F, finally returning to the January mark of 61.3°F.


Calendar MonthMean Temperature
*Based on temperature normals for 100 climatological stations. 

The following diagram illustrates the seasonal temperature pattern.

Brief Review of 1960:Year – Rainfall was below average by up to 30 per cent over western and inland districts of the South Island from Queenstown northward, and also in South Canterbury, central Marlborough, Manawatu, Taihape, and most of Wairarapa. It was up to 70 per cent above average in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Coromandel, and most of Northland. Greatest departures above normal were recorded in some inland areas north of Gisborne city.

Temperatures were above average by up to 11/2 degrees in the South Island, except for most of Canterbury and parts of Marlborough. It was also about a degree warmer than normal over the greater part of the Auckland and Taranaki provinces. Elsewhere, temperatures were close to or slightly above normal. The average positive departure over the whole country was about half a degree, the same as in 1959.

The distribution of sunshine in the east-west direction was a complete reversal of the normal pattern, with Westland receiving more than Hawke's Bay and Canterbury. East of the North Island ranges it was the cloudiest year on record; Napier's total of 1,954 hours was the lowest in 54 years of observations. Gisborne and Masterton also had record low sunshine. The only areas to reach average values were the extreme north and south, and the West Coast, where there was an excess of 100–200 hours. The greatest deficiencies were in eastern districts of the North Island and in Rotorua - Bay of Plenty, where sunshine was 200–300 hours or more below average.

Seasonal Notes – January was warm and windy, and in many places too dry for pastures. Temperatures well over 90 degrees were reported in parts of Auckland and Hawke's Bay at the end of the month. In February good rains were welcomed in all districts; and over the northern half of the North Island it was particularly wet, cloudy, and warm.

The autumn season was mainly favourable for growth and stock. March was cloudy and cool and unsettled in the last three weeks. April was dry and sunny, except in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. May was mild and cloudy.

The winter was particularly mild in the South Island, with much less snow than usual on the ranges; and this mild weather was appreciated by the farmers. Conditions were mainly favourable for stock except that the ground became rather too wet in June in Northland, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, and Southland; and this wetness persisted in Northland during July. Flooding was reported in Northland and Gisborne on 8 June; in parts of Canterbury, Otago, and Southland from 19 to 22 June; and in Northland and the Hauraki Plains on 28 June. A vigorous cold front which crossed the country on 25–26 July brought the coldest weather of the year, with snow to low levels in the South Island and the high country of the North Island and strong gale-force southerly winds in north Taranaki. August was a drier month for most districts than June or July, and a spell of settled weather in the last 10 days was very welcome. Snow was reported to low levels in parts of Otago and Southland on 10 and 11 August.

September was unusually cloudy, especially in the North Island, and persistent north-easterly winds brought exceptionally wet weather to the Auckland Provincial District, adversely affecting stock. Serious flooding occurred in the Hauraki Plains on 15 September, with some flooding also in parts of Waikato and Northland. October, like September, was warmer than usual, but in the North Island it was also much sunnier than the previous month. It was drier than usual, but in most districts moisture was still adequate, and conditions were considered very favourable for stock and crops. On 5 October there was flooding again in Northland and Coromandel and also in Bay of Plenty.

November and December were marked by an unusually high frequency of south-easterly winds over the North Island with very wet, cloudy conditions in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, but exceptionally dry weather in Taranaki and on the West Coast. It was also a very sunny period on the West Coast. Heavy and persistent rains in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay from 18 to 20 November caused flooding and disruption of road transport; serious losses of newly shorn sheep were reported. South-easterly winds continued through the first half of December with unusually cool temperatures. By the end of the year, in many districts conditions were considered rather too dry for satisfactory growth, affecting especially the hay crop.


Table of Contents

The observations from which the following summary was compiled for the year 1960 were taken at 0900 hours New Zealand standard time, i.e., 2100 hours Greenwich mean time.

StationAir Temperature (Degrees Fahrenheit)Bright Sunshine (Hours)Rainfall, Total Fall (Inches)No. of Rain Days
Mean Daily MaximumMean Daily MinimumApproximate Mean Temp.Extremes for 1960Extremes*
MaximumMonthMinimumMonthAbsolute MaximumAbsolute Minimum
*Highest and lowest temperature for the duration of records.
Te Paki, Te Hapua67.252.359.880.6Feb29.0Jul82.827.02,23363.04183
Ruakura, Hamilton65.645.855.885.0Feb22.0Jul94.414.22,06851.44177
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana58.945.052.086.0Jan31.3Jul88.122.2 118.77220
New Plymouth63.550.156.878.2Jan31.0Jul86.028.02,096.57.66150
Palmerston North (D.S.I.R.)63.646.955.384.9Feb27.8Jul87.021.21,74530.68164
Waingawa, Masterton62.944.453.687.7Jan26.0Aug95.419.51,77933.64183
Kelburn, Wellington59.949.254.578.8Feb33.9Aug88.028.61,97147.23175
Nelson Airfield62.945.354.186.1Jan27.2Aug92.021.02,41037.01118
Hanmer Forest61.038.949.991.0Jan17.0Jul97.08.21,78941.39144
Hokitika South61.044.352.777.1Feb27.9Aug84.525.02,105100.30167
Lake Coleridge60.440.350.389.0Jan20.5Jul97.010.0 21.80118
Milford Sound59.144.251.676.0Jan28.2Jun81.823.1 196.31174
Musselburgh, Dunedin58.345.551.986.8Jan28.0Jun94.023.01,67830.61166
Invercargill Airfield58.340.64.9579.1Jan25.3Jun90.019.01,73939.01175

For 1960 the mean sea-level pressure values in millibars at 0900 hours New Zealand standard time were: Auckland 1015.7; Kelburn, Wellington 1015.0; Nelson Airfield 1015.2; Hokitika South 1015.1; Christchurch 1014.1; and Dunedin 1013.4.

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


StationAltitudeAverage Annual RainfallAnnual Averages ofAir Temperature (Degrees Fahrenheit)
Rain Days (0.01 in. or more)Bright SunshineMean Temp.Mean Daily MaximumMean Daily MinimumMean Annual
 ftin. hours       
Te Paki, Te Hapua20056.81872,15059.172.859.257.045.97830
Ruakura, Hamilton13145.91682,07055.274.655.951.737.18523
Onepoto, Lake Waikaremoana2,10076.9196 51.668.147.642.037.78229
New Plymouth16061.21662,13056.069.154.855.242.97733
Palmerston North (D.S.I.R.)11039.01721,89054.870.553.154.339.18227
Waingawa, Masterton34038.01722,04053.774.353.350.535.88925
Kelburn, Wellington41549.21582,01054.167.651.254.441.57933
Nelson Airfield635.91252,43052.970.453.352.933.88123
Hanmer Forest1,27045.31431,94050.471.648.247.829.08915
Hokitika South12108.81941,84051.765.351.750.935.67527
Lake Coleridge1,19533.0118 50.870.148.148.629.88718
Milford Sound20253.3193 50.064.448.350.034.27627
Musselburgh, Dunedin531.01671,77051.665.249.351.236.28826
Invercargill Airfield042.81991,67049.164.149.346.532.88322
NOTE: Averages of rainfall, 1921–50; rain days, 1950–59; sunshine, 1935–55; temperature, various periods – all exceeding 10 years.

FLORA OF NEW ZEALAND – Those desiring information on the flora and plant covering of New Zealand are referred to the article which appeared in the 1940 and previous issues of the Yearbook. For more detailed information the following works may be consulted: Manual of the New Zealand Flora, 2nd ed., by T. F. Cheesman, 1925: Students' Flora of New Zealand…, by T. Kirk, 1889; Vegetation of New Zealand, 2nd ed., by L. Cockayne, 1928 (3rd reprint ed., 1958); New Zealand Plants and Their Story, 3rd ed., by L. Cockayne, 1927; Plants of New Zealand, 6th ed., by R. M. Laing and E. W. Blackwell, 1957; Handbook of the Naturalised Flora of New Zealand, by H. H. Allan, 1940; New Zealand Native Plant Studies, by W. C. Davies, 1956; New Zealand Ferns, 5th ed., by H. B. Dobbie and M. M. Crookes, 1953; Book of Ferns, by G. B. Stevenson, 2nd ed., 1959; Handbook of the New Zealand Mosses, by G. O. K. Sainsbury, 1955; Introduction to the Grasses of New Zealand, by H. H. Allan, 1936; Grasslands of New Zealand, 2nd ed., by E. B. Levy, 1955; Pasture Plants and Grasses of New Zealand, 7th ed., by F. W. Hilgendorf and J. W. Calder, 1952; Weeds of New Zealand…, 5th ed., by F. W. Hilgendorf and J. W. Calder, 1952; Poisonous Plants of New Zealand, by H. E. Connor, 1951; Trees of New Zealand, 4th ed., by L. Cockayne and E. P. Turner, 1958; New Zealand Trees and Shrubs and How to Identify Them, by H. H. Allan, 1928; Forest Flora of New Zealand, by T. Kirk, 1889; Forest Trees and Timbers of New Zealand, by H. V. Hinds and J. S. Reid, 1957; Exotic Forest Trees in New Zealand, by G. C. Weston, 1957; Forest Fungi, by M. E. Lancaster, 1955; The Marine Algae of New Zealand, Part I: Myxophyceae and Chlorophyceae, by V. J. Chapman, 1956.

FAUNA OF NEW ZEALAND – A brief article on the fauna of New Zealand is contained in the 1940 and earlier editions of the Yearbook. Other publications dealing with this topic include: Native Animals of New Zealand, by A. W. B. Powell, 1947; Animals of New Zealand, 4th ed., by F. W. Hutton and J. Drummond, 1923; Introduced Mammals of New Zealand, by K. A. Wodzicki, 1950; New Zealand Birds, 2nd ed., by W. R. B. Oliver, 1955; New Zealand Birds and How to Identify Them, 5th ed., by P. Moncrieff, 1957; Birds of New Zealand, by A. M. Bailey, 1955; Focus on New Zealand Birds, by G. J. H. Moon, 1957; Moas of Australia and New Zealand, by W. R. B. Oliver, 1949; Bird Islands of New Zealand, by R. A. Wilson, 1959; Treasury of New Zealand Fishes, 2nd ed., by D. H. Graham, 1956; Fresh Water Fishes of New Zealand, by G. Stokell, 1955; Sea Anglers' Fishes of New Zealand and Big Game Fishes and Sharks of New Zealand, by A. W. Parrott, 1957 and 1958; Shells of New Zealand, 3rd ed., by A. W. B. Powell, 1957; Manual of New Zealand Mollusca Plus Atlas, by H. Suter, 1913 and 1915; Insects of Australia and New Zealand, by R. J. Tillyard, 1926; Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand plus Supplement by G. V. Hudson, 1928 and 1939; Bibliography of New Zealand Entomology, 1775–1952, by D. Miller, 1956; New Zealand Beetles and Their. Larvae, by G. V. Hudson, 1934; Native Insects, by D. Miller, 1955; Aphids of New Zealand, by W. Cottier, 1953; New Zealand Neuroptera, by G. V. Hudson, 1904; Fragments of New Zealand Entomology, by G. V. Hudson, 1951; Acalypterate Diptera of New Zealand, by R. A. Harrison 1959; The Earthworm Fauna of New Zealand, by K. E. Lee, 1959.


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 at least 300 years previously. It is generally accepted that the Maoris came originally from South East Asia, whence, as proto-Polynesians, they moved eastwards from island to island until they reached the eastern Pacific, where they settled the islands now known collectively as Polynesia. From Polynesia the ancestors of the Maori sailed south-west in ocean-going canoes to reach New Zealand and these voyages were probably spread over several generations, perhaps several centuries. Oral Maori history and genealogy support the view that there was a final wave of migration of considerable magnitude about A.D. 1350. Adapting themselves to a new physical environment, in isolation from the outside world, the Maoris produced forms of social and economic organisation and material culture which were significantly different from their Polynesian prototypes.

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 civilisation, 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 subtribes and tribes. With highly developed social and ritualistic customs, their system of land tenure and methods of cultivation were communal within the subtribes. 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 civilisation 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 Staten 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, near Gisborne. On his first voyage Cook spent six months exploring the New Zealand coastline, 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 Bustamentey Guerra 1793, Lieutenant Hanson 1793.

The European discovery of many of the islands of the Cook Group was made by Captain Cook in 1773. Rarotonga and Mauke were not officially discovered for another 50 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 1840s.

European Settlement and Colonisation - 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 12 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. 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 proteégés, 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 colonisation 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 22). 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 organised settlements were made. In cooperation 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 organised form of European colonisation 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 recognised 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 stabilise economic conditions. During the following years the price level rose; and from the administrative side, it was characterised 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 since 1936.

The first major influence was a humanitarian attitude reinforced by a progressive economic policy. 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 rationalisation 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 by the provision of a system of medical, pharmaceutical, hospital, maternity, and other related benefits.

Other legislative enactments under this heading include the provision for paid annual holidays, 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 authorising participation in United Nations activities generally and in particular emergencies, such as military 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., 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. Expansion and diversification of manufacturing and servicing industries have provided avenues of employment for the growing labour force. At the same time the basic industries of the country, those concerned with primary production, have increased output, assisted by the rapid application of technological improvements and research findings.

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 fruit, and banana growing have been 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 reading, conservation of water supplies by reservoir construction, communication facilities, etc.

Owing to limitations of space, the foregoing is but a brief résumé 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 Yearbook, and others in earlier issues.

SOVEREIGNTY - Following representations from Maori chiefs for protection from the prevailing turmoil and lawlessness caused by 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, RN, 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 it 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.

NEW ZEALAND'S INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES - Though in the nineteenth century Sir Julius Vogel and the Right Hon. R. J. Seddon had original views about the policy which Britain and New Zealand should pursue in the Pacific area - views which they announced with vigour - New Zealand did not acquire the right to conduct an independent foreign policy until the end of the First World War when the full nationhood of the “Dominions” was recognised. For some years after this, however, successive New Zealand Governments chose not to exercise this right and (pursuing a passive role in the League of Nations and refraining from establishing diplomatic relations with foreign Governments, or with other members of the Commonwealth apart from Britain) preferred to make known any views on matters of foreign affairs only to the British Government and through the confidential channels of intra-Commonwealth consultation.

Few pressures existed in the 1920s and early 1930s to impel New Zealand towards enunciating an independent foreign policy. The population was mainly British in composition and comparatively few were concerned to distinguish between the interests of New Zealand and those of the Mother Country. Nor had they much cause to do so: New Zealand had established a fruitful economic partnership with Britain, upon which country nearly all her material and cultural links were centred; and New Zealand's surest protector against dangers which it was incapable of meeting alone was the Royal Navy. It was, moreover, realised that New Zealand in her own right could make little impact on world affairs, whereas Britain was a great power capable of affecting the pattern of world events. New Zealand “foreign policy” therefore consisted chiefly in seeking to modify British policy in those few cases where New Zealand had a strong interest or a viewpoint rather different from that of Britain. A standing opportunity was provided by the system of confidential intra-Commonwealth consultation whereby Britain provided full information to the Dominions and sought their comments upon issues of international policy as they arose. In this way New Zealand tended to prefer a share of great power status to “independence” of foreign policy; this sufficed until the middle of the 1930s.

In practice, during the first 16 years after the First World War the New Zealand Government on only a few occasions thought it necessary to make significant efforts to bring about a modification of British policy. This situation resulted chiefly from the factors earlier outlined which made for an identity of interest and viewpoint between Britain and New Zealand. In part also it arose because few problems directly affecting New Zealand remained to be settled; in part it was because of a considered reluctance to give advice when the main consequences of accepting that advice fell upon Britain, not New Zealand; in part it was because New Zealand Governments tended to approach problems pragmatically rather than on grounds of principle, and were conscious of having no expert New Zealand Department organised to collect and appraise the facts on equal terms with the British Foreign Office; in part it was because New Zealand Governments, supplied by the Foreign Office with very much the same information as that on which the United Kingdom Cabinet based its judgments, viewed problems from a similar standpoint to that of the British Government. In short, most New Zealanders thought of external affairs in terms of Imperial unity and relied on British leadership of the Empire.

The emergence of an independent New Zealand foreign policy is usually held to date from 1935. Some Ministers in the new Government were deeply interested in world affairs in general, and the Government's approach was influenced by theory and principle. In particular, they held strong views on the principle of collective security and upon the League of Nations as the embodiment of that principle. In its method of championing the principles of collective security, pressing for the restoration of the authority of the League of Nations and, at a time when the United Kingdom Government was pursuing the policy which came to be known as appeasement, urging positive League action over Abyssinia, Spain, and China, the Government came to depart from the pattern of the previous 16 years: for, in addition to making its views known in confidential communications to the United Kingdom Government, it also stated them with vigour in the international forum of the Council and the Assembly of the League of Nations.

There was, however, no fundamental departure from the traditional policy of association with Britain. Moreover, the course that would be followed in the event of war was never in doubt. As early as 16 May 1938 a leading member of the Government had said, “If the Old Country is attacked, we are too . . . we will assist her to the fullest extent possible.” When war broke out the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. M. J. Savage, expressed New Zealand's position in terms that were as true in 1939 as they would have been in 1914:

“Behind the sure shield of Britain we have enjoyed and cherished freedom and self-government. Both with gratitude for the past, and with confidence in the future, we range ourselves without fear behind Britain. Where she goes, we go. Where she stands, we stand. We are only a small and young nation, but we are one and all a band of brothers, and we march forward with a union of hearts and wills to a common destiny.”

Until 25 years ago New Zealand sought to protect and promote its interests solely through its association with Britain; in the world situation that then existed, and given New Zealand's small power and influence, this was certainly more economical and probably more effective than any other method of foreign policy. For a short period from 1935 New Zealand used the League of Nations as a supplement to the British association.

But the Second World War changed the pattern of power in the world and made it necessary for New Zealand gradually to revise its foreign policy and its method of implementing that policy. Even though the basic attachment of New Zealanders to the Mother Country was little affected, the fact became manifest that Britain was no longer a power able to determine events on a world scale and that, since New Zealand interests could no longer be protected by British actions alone, it did not suffice to confine New Zealand foreign policy to occasional attempts to persuade the British Government to take note of New Zealand views. Japanese aggression and, later, the rise of Communist China forced New Zealand to face the reality of its geographical location in the Pacific and to develop an additional relationship with the only other friendly power capable of protecting New Zealand -the United States of America - with the least possible prejudice to its association with the United Kingdom. To contribute to Anglo-American harmony is therefore a major preoccupation of New Zealand foreign policy.

To be woven into any post-war policy was the now traditional New Zealand belief in the principle of collective security and international justice, especially as symbolised by, though not yet embodied in, the United Nations. This was by no means an easy task in a world where the divisions of the cold war were reflected in competing regional alliances. There had to be a place, too, for belief in the ability of international cooperation to control armaments and to eliminate poverty, disease, and other economic and social causes of international tension.

During the war years New Zealand was admitted to the councils of the Allies and was expected to advance informed views. The Government honoured its responsibility and, having established in wartime the habit of participating in the making of international decisions, accepted it as natural that New Zealand should continue to participate in the development of a post-war world order and in subsequent international consultations. To this end New Zealand established (in effect from 1943) a professional Department of External Affairs and a career foreign service, and proceeded slowly to establish diplomatic missions in countries where New Zealand's interests merited protection. In particular, New Zealand sought increasingly to make its individual contribution to fostering good relationships with its neighbours in the Pacific and to increasing the measure of security and welfare in this area.

The threat to New Zealand's security, posed by the entry of Japan into the war at a time when the United Kingdom was fully committed in Europe, brought New Zealand into the closest relations with two of her Pacific neighbours, Australia and the United States. Recognition of the need for a greater measure of collaboration with Australia resulted in the signing in 1944 of the Canberra Pact which provided machinery for continuing consultation between the two Governments. Upon the entry of Japan into the war both New Zealand and Australia looked principally to the United States for protection. Relations among the three countries thus entered a new phase. The close association of wartime found expression in peacetime in the Anzus Treaty, in which, for the first time, New Zealand and Australia entered into a treaty of alliance and mutual defence with a foreign country. While neither Australia nor New Zealand was in favour of a vindictive or onerously restrictive peace settlement with Japan, they both made clear during the negotiation of the Japanese Peace Treaty their apprehension at the possibility of future aggression in the Pacific. The Anzus Treaty, which came into force in April 1952, was designed to allay these fears at the same time as it achieved the aim of both countries to enter into a close relationship with the major Pacific power. The treaty gives an assurance of United States support in the event of an armed attack from any quarter in the Pacific and so constitutes New Zealand's major safeguard from aggression in the area.

Since the signature of the Anzus Treaty, New Zealand has become a member of another regional defence system, the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation, SEATO. In joining SEATO, a body made necessary by the failure of the Great Powers to cooperate in carrying out the security functions entrusted to them by the United Nations Charter, New Zealand demonstrated further its new awareness of the international and strategic implications of its position in the South Pacific. In 1955, the Minister of External Affairs, the Hon. T. L. Macdonald, discussing New Zealand's foreign policy, said that the only possible threat to New Zealand's security could come from Asia, and in particular from the spread of Communist power in South-East Asia. “New Zealand's foreign policy grows,” he said, “from the need to reconcile geography and history, economic fact and strategic fact. In practical terms at present this means that, without weakening the many links which bind us to Britain and the whole Atlantic community, we must increase our concern with South-East Asia.”

This regional approach implied no weakening of the belief in the pre-eminent value of collective security organised on a world basis. New Zealand continued to place special importance upon its membership of the United Nations. It has been an active participant in the work of the General Assembly, has been a member of all Councils of the Organisation, has provided troops to the United Nations Force in Korea and military observers in Palestine, Kashmir, and Lebanon, and has endeavoured to assist all efforts to attain the political and social objectives outlined in the Charter.

At the time of the formation of SEATO, New Zealand's interest in South-East Asia had already been expressed in social and economic terms. In 1950, New Zealand, along with a group of other Commonwealth countries, became a member of the Colombo Plan established to assist the countries of South-East Asia to improve their standards of living. To New Zealand, a pioneer in the field of social legislation and a country where wealth is spread throughout all levels of the population, the Colombo Plan has a special significance and contributions, large by New Zealand standards (if small when measured against the potential need), have been made to it. Despite this new concentration on South-East Asia, New Zealand continued and developed its efforts (as will be seen later) to promote action on a world scale to deal with social and economic problems.

If, since the war, the facts of geography have had an important influence on New Zealand's attitudes towards foreign affairs, history and tradition continue nevertheless to mould its outlook. The historic links with the United Kingdom and with Western Europe and North America remain as strong as ever; and the economic links with the United Kingdom, New Zealand's best customer, remain strong. No situation is, however, constant. One of the key problems of external political, not merely economic, policy now presented to New Zealand grows out of the realisation that while New Zealand must expand the volume and value of its exports of primary products if the standard of living of its rapidly increasing population is to be maintained and improved, the United Kingdom market may be capable of only a limited expansion. New Zealand's foreign policy is likely to continue the endeavour to reconcile geography and history, economic fact and strategic fact.

Department of External Affairs-The External Affairs Act 1943 made provision for the appointment of a Minister of External Affairs* charged generally with the administration of external and foreign affairs, including relations with other countries, communications with other Governments, representation abroad, and representation of other countries in New Zealand. The Act also authorised the appointment of a Secretary of External Affairs and (superseding the High Commissioner Act of 1908) dealt with the appointment of High Commissioners and of overseas representatives.

The functions of the Department were defined at its inception as follows:

  1. To act as a channel of communication between the Government and other British and foreign Governments on matters relating to external affairs.

  2. To assist in negotiating treaties and international agreements.

  3. To direct New Zealand's overseas diplomatic posts.

  4. To deal with foreign diplomats, and to issue exequaturs to foreign consuls.

The Act thus established the Ministry of External Affairs as the normal channel of communication with the Governments of other countries. As, however, the new Department was in fact still a part of the Prime Minister's Department, no change in procedure, apart from the use of the changed nomenclature, was necessary.

Dealings with overseas Governments usually involve considerable interdepartmental coordination. Since the Prime Minister's Department has always been regarded primarily as a department of coordination, an intimate relationship has existed between the two Departments. The Prime Minister has for three periods found it appropriate to assume the portfolio of External Affairs and the Departments have in any case been run as a unit. The staff is held in common and, though some officers are engaged on work peculiar to one Department, the work of the majority involves both Departments. The Secretary of External Affairs is also Permanent Head of the Prime Minister's Department. In defence matters the two Departments have been closely associated. During the war, the Permanent Head was also Secretary of the War Cabinet. In that period the responsibility of the Prime Minister's Department for defence coordination was extended and developed; in discharging this responsibility the Permanent Head is now assisted by the Defence Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Department. This Secretariat works closely with the Defence Division of the Department of External Affairs, and the head of that Division is chairman of the body which coordinates military and civilian intelligence.

In the formulation and application of external affairs policy, close association with other Government Departments is necessary. Defence planning, for example, entails close liaison with the Service Departments, participation in the Colombo Plan with the Treasury and with the many Departments which supply experts and training facilities, consular questions with the Department of Labour, and legal questions with the Department of Justice. Moreover, the Department is a clearing house for a wide variety of material provided by overseas posts for other Departments. As well as fulfilling its major function of acting as a channel of communication with other Governments, the Department thus also acts as a coordinating centre for other Government Departments. The Department and its network of posts overseas also performs numerous services on behalf of Departments which are without overseas representatives of their own.

*The portfolio was assumed by the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Peter Fraser.

In the Official Section at the end of the Yearbook the diplomatic and other New Zealand representatives overseas are listed, as well as the official representatives of other countries in New Zealand.

New Zealand in the Commonwealth - Despite the new emphasis in New Zealand's approach to international affairs resulting from its consciousness of the realities of its geographical position in the South Pacific, membership of the Commonwealth remains the central feature of its policy. Intimate association with the United Kingdom is the historical basis, and remains an important principle of New Zealand's external relations. The ties between New Zealand and the United Kingdom are embodied in the close association of the Commonwealth, membership of which has given New Zealand an international status that such a small and isolated community could not otherwise claim.

Although one of the oldest members, New Zealand, unlike some of its fellow members, did not seek to hasten the process of constitutional transition within the Commonwealth. At the Imperial Conference in 1930 the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. G. W. Forbes, stated that “We have felt that all times within recent years we have had ample scope for our national aspirations and ample freedom to carry out in their entirety such measures as have seemed to us to be desirable”. There was little interest in the adoption of the relevant provisions of the Statute of Westminster enacted in 1931 to give legal endorsement to the transformation that had taken place in the relationship between Britain and the Dominions. It was not, in fact, until 1947 that the necessary formalities were completed in New Zealand by the passing of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act.

Since that time there have been many changes in the Commonwealth association both in constitutional respects and in numbers. Whereas at the beginning of the war there were only five members, there are now 13 and it is expected that more will join within the next few years. With the entry of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, the Federation of Malaya, Ghana, and Nigeria, the Commonwealth has become an entity embracing several continents and its relationships have taken on a new scope and emphasis. New Zealand, itself a country where two races live side by side, sees in the Commonwealth a special opportunity for multiracial cooperation and understanding.

New Zealand has as yet exchanged representatives with only five of the 13 members of the Commonwealth: Australia, Canada, India, the Federation of Malaya, and the United Kingdom.*

The importance New Zealand attaches to the Commonwealth association has been given practical expression in its membership of a number of Commonwealth organisations, including the Commonwealth Air Transport Council, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Board, the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau, the Imperial War Graves Commission, the Commonwealth Institute, the Commonwealth Economic Consultative Council, and the Commonwealth Scientific Office.

New Zealand in the United Nations - It has been noted earlier that the first significant expression of an independent New Zealand foreign policy occurred in the League of Nations and was directed to supporting the principle of collective security. Support for this principle later and through the United Nations has remained a cornerstone of New Zealand's foreign policy.

The purposes which motivated the policy in 1935 were strongly held beliefs, rather than a set of principles developed from any careful assessments by a national foreign service. The beliefs were nevertheless a reflection of widely held concern over world events, a concern which the succeeding years were to reinforce. It was, therefore, perhaps understandable that at San Francisco in 1945 New Zealand should argue so forcibly, if unsuccessfully, to eliminate the veto and to strengthen the collective security provisions of the United Nations Charter.

Despite its physical isolation New Zealand has felt unable to regard with unconcern the fate of other small countries helpless to defend themselves against a powerful aggressor and thus liable to be picked off one by one.

The United Nations does not, it is true, offer a complete guarantee of New Zealand's or any other small country's security against aggression. Nor has it yet achieved agreement on disarmament; but New Zealand Governments have acted upon the conviction that the United Nations, and it alone, contains the rudiments of a universal collective security system, and that it is through the United Nations, and not through its abandonment in favour of some alternative, that an effective and comprehensive collective security system may eventually be developed and agreement on disarmament achieved.

* The New Zealand High Commissioner in India is also appointed High Commissioner in Ceylon.

New Zealand has recognised that this objective must be a long-term one, and that the United Nations in its present form must be buttressed by regional defensive alliances. It has not taken the view that all multilateral diplomacy must be conducted within the United Nations. In general, however, New Zealand has regarded the United Nations as the natural centre of international diplomacy unless there were, in special cases, good reasons to work outside it.

Within the United Nations the expression of this policy has taken several forms. New Zealand has sought to remove the causes which might produce the need for recourse to collective security action. Its representatives have urged that the Assembly be used as a place for harmonising relations between nations: they have voiced the need for restraint in the pursuit of national objectives; they have consistently sought and supported responsible action in aid of an effective international organisation; they have reiterated the need for the early adoption of a broad programme of supervised disarmament. At the 1959 session of the General Assembly the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. W. Nash, welcomed the new disarmament proposals put forward by the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, and welcomed the reaffirmation they contained that total disarmament was the goal to be sought. He also reiterated New Zealand's concern to see the early conclusion of an international agreement to bring about the permanent cessation of nuclear weapons tests. Subsequently, New Zealand joined in the Assembly's appeal to all States to refrain from resuming or initiating testing programmes.

New Zealand has at the same time advocated adequate and timely preparations in case aggression should occur. When occasion has arisen New Zealand has been prepared to play its part: troops were provided to the United Nations Force in Korea and military observers to the United Nations Observer Groups in Palestine, Kashmir, and Lebanon. New Zealand representatives in the United Nations have also strongly supported the principle that all members must bear an equitable share of the cost of international action to meet aggression, e.g., the cost of supporting the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East.

To maintain the peace is the primary purpose of the United Nations, and for New Zealand the search for effective guarantees of international peace and security continues to be the first object of membership. It is not, however, the only object, nor is a system of collective security (or disarmament) the only means of giving effect to it.

The state of economic, social, and general political relations goes far to determine the urgency of the need for a collective security system. For New Zealand, geographically isolated and with limited direct diplomatic relations, the United Nations is inevitably one of the most important forums available, not only to influence the course of international events, but also to secure the friendship and understanding of the world community. For any country, its international reputation is a valuable asset. If New Zealand is better known and commands more influence in international affairs than some other small States similarly situated, this is in some measure, at least, due to New Zealand's record of active participation in the United Nations.

Economic and Social Council - New Zealand's interest in these questions-as well as the recognition by other countries that New Zealand has special experience to offer-is illustrated by its membership of the Economic and Social Council (an elective body of 18 members of the United Nations) from 1947 to 1949 and its re-election in 1958 for a further tern for the period 1959 to 1961. New Zealand is also a member of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), of the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), of the Social and Statistical Commissions, and the Commission on International Commodity Trade. In the past New Zealand has also designated representatives on the Fiscal Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women.

In undertaking these responsibilities New Zealand may to some extent be regarded as “taking its turn”. In few cases, however, are the considerations in favour of representation so simple. New Zealand certainly shares with others an interest in ensuring that economic and social conditions are such as to permit ordered political progress. It is concerned to ensure that, where political principles are in issue, the beliefs which New Zealanders hold as essential should be recognised and, if possible, accepted by the world community. Sometimes there are strong reasons of self-interest; the weight of advantage received, in terms of professional benefit, and the contribution made are evenly balanced in the case of technical bodies such as the Statistical Commission. On the other hand some organs which were first designed to meet the emergency of post-war conditions, such as UNICEF, have developed programmes, e.g., the supply of milk powder and fish-liver oil, which are of economic interest to New Zealand.

The biggest single task now facing the Economic and Social Council is to promote and direct programmes for economic development in underdeveloped countries. New Zealand has always recognised the need for economic development and made its contributions to the appropriate funds, e.g., the Expanded Programme for Technical Assistance and the Special Fund. It has been concerned to ensure that international programmes in this field should be effective and realistic.

At present New Zealand representatives in the United Nations are called upon to deal with questions of economic development in three different fields. One is in the Economic Committee of the General Assembly, where the economic work of the Organisation is subject to general review; the second arises out of New Zealand's membership of ECAFE. In this setting, the detailed study of development programmes is closely related to the work of the Colombo Plan, and provides a significant counterpart to New Zealand's growing political interest in Asia.

Finally, within the Economic and Social Council, New Zealand is associated with activities affecting the lives and welfare of a considerable proportion of the world's population; moreover, the Council is responsible for the general direction of assistance programmes running at present at the rate of about $100 million a year.

Specialised Agencies -It is the responsibility of the Economic and Social Council under the Charter to coordinate the activities of the Specialised Agencies through consultations and recommendations. New Zealand is a member of all the Agencies except the International Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation. As a contributor to their budgets, it is concerned to ensure that activities are not duplicated and that the Secretariats of the United Nations and of the Agencies work closely together on matters of common interest. New Zealand has also been concerned to ensure that on political and administrative matters the policies of the Agencies are adjusted to those of the United Nations. As in the case of the different organs and subsidiary bodies of the United Nations, so with the Specialised Agencies, New Zealand's reasons for membership have ranged from motives of self-interest to its conviction of the value of international cooperation. In some cases non-membership would place New Zealand at a distinct disadvantage. Membership of the Universal Postal Union is essential to facilitate the efficient international movement of mails to and from this country. Similarly the International Telecommunications Union regulates international radio, telephone, and telegraphic traffic, and the need to belong to this body is universally accepted. The World Meteorological Organisation is the medium for setting standards and encouraging the free interchange of meteorological information. Wartime experience emphasised the fact that few countries have as direct an interest in international civil aviation as New Zealand; although the only international airline registered in New Zealand flies only regional routes, New Zealand is closely concerned with the efforts of the International Civil Aviation Organisation to foster the planning and development of international air transport and to ensure proper standards for the development of airways, airports, and air navigation facilities.

No clear line can, however, be drawn between the “technical” Agencies and others, and some degree of technical advantage is to be derived from membership of all the Specialised Agencies. Although its own health standards are high, New Zealand has nevertheless drawn benefits, particularly in its island territories, from its membership of the World Health Organisation. Each in its own field - the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation, and the International Atomic Energy Agency - constitutes an important international medium for the free interchange of knowledge and experience.

On occasion the Specialised Agencies provide the forum for advancement of a New Zealand interest. The FAO has played a prominent part in the formulation of measures to encourage the establishment of a stable international market for agricultural commodities, particularly in the enunciation of principles to govern the disposal of surplus commodities. At its Ninth Session in 1957 the conference adopted a resolution sponsored by New Zealand which recommended that FAO develop further ways of disposing of surplus products without impinging on existing or future channels of trade.

The International Labour Organisation, which was established in 1919 in association with the League of Nations, became a Specialised Agency of the United Nations in 1946, although retaining its autonomy. New Zealand is a member State with the Department of Labour as the liaison agency of the Government. New Zealand representatives regularly attend the annual International Labour Conference.

As well as the Commonwealth organisations mentioned earlier some regional organisations, particularly the South Pacific Commission, are of particular importance to New Zealand. Since the establishment of the Commission in 1947, New Zealand's island territories have derived much benefit from its work on fisheries, cooperatives, control of the rhinoceros beetle, and research upon filariasis.

New Zealand and the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation - New Zealand, together with other countries concerned at the deteriorating security situation in South-East Asia, followed with close attention the development of the Indo-China crisis during the first half of 1954. After a United States plea on 29 March for “united action” by the free world to resist further Communist expansion in South-East Asia, the following month the United Kingdom and French Governments made known their agreement with the United States that consideration should be given to the establishment as soon as possible of a collective security system in the area. In New Zealand the Minister of External Affairs stated on 14 April that the Government welcomed this proposal, and was prepared to participate in discussions for this purpose.

The clarification of the situation in Indo-China, as a result of the cease-fire agreements reached at Geneva on 21 July 1954, gave fresh impetus to the proposals for a collective security arrangement. After a further period of consultation, eight countries - Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States - announced on 14 August that they had agreed to attend a conference in the Philippines in September to consider the establishment of a system of collective defence for the area. On 8 September in Manila representatives of the eight Governments signed the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. At the same time they agreed on a Pacific Charter setting out the principles upon which the signatories undertook to base their policies for maintenance of peace and stability in the treaty area. The Minister of External Affairs, the Hon. T. C. Webb, led the New Zealand delegation to the Manila Conference and signed the treaty on behalf of New Zealand. The implications for New Zealand of the new agreement were reported to Parliament when the Minister returned from the conference, and the treaty was ratified by New Zealand on 19 February 1955 and entered into force for all the parties on that date.

New Zealand and the Colombo Plan - Under the Colombo Plan, New Zealand, with Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, has joined with the countries of South and South-East Asia to help them improve their standards of living. The Colombo Plan is not a single plan, but a series of separate plans drawn up and administered by each country in the region; the external assistance required and made available to help implement these plans is negotiated on a bilateral basis. The Plan had its origin in, and took its name from, a meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers held in January 1950 in Colombo to exchange views on world problems, particularly on the economic needs of the countries of South and South-East Asia. The meeting established a Consultative Committee to “ . . . survey the needs, to assess the resources available and required, to focus world attention on the development problems of the area, and to provide a framework within which an international cooperative effort could be promoted to assist the countries of the area to raise their living standards”. Since then the Consultative Committee has met consecutively in Sydney, London, Colombo, Karachi, New Delhi, Ottawa, Singapore, Wellington (1956), Saigon, Seattle, Jogjakarta, and Tokyo (1960).

A foundation member of the Plan and an active participant at every meeting, New Zealand has done its utmost, within the scope of its limited resources, to make significant grants of capital and technical assistance to the countries of the area.

Capital Assistance - By 31 March 1961 New Zealand had appropriated a total of £10,315,000 for capital and technical assistance under the Colombo Plan. Of this, at 30 June 1960, £6,059,937 had been transferred to the governments concerned or used at their request to buy equipment. Most of New Zealand's capital aid has been given in the form of direct transfers of overseas funds, but in appropriate cases it has been possible to supply equipment manufactured in New Zealand.

Among the capital-aid grants during 1960 were a further £45,000 for the Akkarayankulum irrigation tank in Ceylon, £6,000 for educational materials sent to Laos, and the provision of surveying equipment for North Borneo. A sum of £60,000 was set aside for land-development projects in Malaya. Substantial capital aid, combined in most cases with the provision of New Zealand technical personnel, was being considered for Pakistan's Jaipur Hat sugar mill, an artisan training centre in Rangoon, Burma, an agricultural faculty at the University of Northern Sumatra in Indonesia, further assistance for dairy projects at Jaipur and Lucknow in India, and a pasture-improvement project in Nepal. New Zealand has assisted regional projects in providing launches at a cost of £35,000, for the Mekong River Development Scheme, and is giving £100,000 annually to the Indus Water Scheme in India and Pakistan.

Technical Assistance - By 30 June 1960 New Zealand had spent £1,507,091 on Colombo Plan technical assistance, and 731 students had come to New Zealand to take training courses. The main fields in which training has been provided are education, engineering, health, agriculture, and general university studies. Steps are being taken to increase the proportion of New Zealand's Colombo Plan contribution that can be given in the form of technical assistance.

A new hostel in Christchurch, Warwick House, has been set up to help provide adequate accommodation for Colombo Plan students and an additional hostel is to be built at Massey Agricultural College for a similar purpose - in both cases care is being taken to see that the Colombo Plan Students are spread among the New Zealand students and are not kept together in the one hostel. An English Language Institute was set up at Victoria University of Wellington at the end of 1960 to provide practical training in English for Colombo Plan students. As a temporary measure a Summer School was held in January-February 1960 at Victoria University for Colombo Plan students who had an inadequate command of English. Other proposals to increase New Zealand's capacity to train Asian students include the expansion of training facilities in dairy technology.

The other form of technical aid, the sending of New Zealand experts to Asia, is also being expanded, and in the middle of 1960 there were 33 New Zealanders on assignment, compared with 30 in 1959. Twelve of the experts, comprising an English language team, are giving instruction in English teaching in training colleges and universities in 11 Indonesian cities. Another team consisting of 12 surveyors has left for Malaya in two groups, the first at the end of 1960 and the second early in 1961, to assist with large-scale land-development schemes.

General Aims - It is clear that, as New Zealand has assumed the international responsibilities appropriate to an independent country, its foreign policy has changed in emphasis and scope. The foundations of New Zealand's pre-war position in international affairs - its identification with Britain and its membership of the Commonwealth - have been modified and extended to meet the demands of an international situation greatly changed from that of 1939. As a country of predominantly European settlement, New Zealand retains its traditional loyalties to the United Kingdom and a sense of identity with Europe and of involvement in its destiny. As a Pacific power, it has sought security in friendship and formal defensive arrangements with Australia and the United States of America; at the same time it has developed its association with Asian countries. As a country concerned with the preservation of world peace and the organisation of defence against aggression it has placed prime importance upon development of the United Nations as an agency for peaceful settlement of international disputes and for the achievement of collective security. Pending the establishment of a broadly based United Nations security system, however, New Zealand has been prepared, in respect of South-East Asia, to participate in a protective grouping concerned with the defence of a single area. Moreover, while it sees aggressive Communism as the greatest threat to individual liberty at the present time, it is well aware of the powerful stirrings of other forces - the yearning for political emancipation, the antagonism to systems of racial discrimination, the demand of underprivileged countries for a greater share of the world's prosperity, for social advancement and opportunity. New Zealand's actions in the international field are designed to take account of these forces and, where possible, to assist the people of other countries in their striving for a better life. The limits of what it is able to do are those imposed by its size and capacity; its disposition is towards peaceful and friendly relations with all nations and (whatever the modifications which the needs of national security may impose) it is to that ultimate goal that its foreign policy is directed.

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; confers 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:

  1. The constitution and order of reference of the Representation Commission.

  2. The number of European electoral districts and the basing of their boundaries on the total population.

  3. The fixing of the tolerance within which the Commission must work at 5 per cent.

  4. The age of voting.

  5. The secret ballot.

  6. 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 80 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 criticise - so that there is ample time allocated for debate on Government measures in Parliament. While party control is exercised by national and local organisations 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 are 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 authorised by the House of Representatives in the form of an Appropriation Act, which authorises 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 20 months. The three-year limit was reenacted in the Electoral Act 1956, this being one of the reserved provisions referred to on page 31.

Number of Representatives - The number of members constituting the House of Representatives is 80 - 76 Europeans and four Maoris. They are designated “members of Parliament”. The number was originally fixed by the Constitution Act as not more than 42 and not less than 24, and the first Parliament called together in 1854 consisted of 40 members. Legislation passed in 1858 fixed the number of European members at 41; in 1860, at 53; in 1862, at 57; in 1865, at 70; in 1867, at 72; in 1870, at 74; in 1875, at 84; in 1881, at 91; in 1887, at 70; and in 1900, at 76. 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” later); 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 12 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 1959) of the Royal Commission upon parliamentary salaries and allowances, the Prime Minister's salary, as from 1 July 1959, was increased to £4,250 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 £4 4s. 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 £2,800 with a tax-free expense allowance of £450, and that of each Minister without portfolio £2,200, with £350 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 £615. 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 £4 4s. per day when travelling on official business within New Zealand.

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 £1,700, 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. After the general election of November 1954, no appointments were made until 1960.

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 1959 the honorarium paid to members of the House of Representatives is now £1,400 per annum. Members are also paid an allowance to provide for expenses incurred in connection with parliamentary duties ranging from £275 per annum to £605 per annum, subject to the classification of electorates by the Representation Commission into the five classes of (a) a Wellington electorate, being a wholly urban electorate in or near Wellington or Lower Hutt, or (b) a wholly urban electorate other than a Wellington electorate, or (c) a substantially urban electorate, or (d) a substantially rural electorate, or (e) a wholly rural electorate; 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 (for details see Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Order 1959). 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 15 years' service.

A member must be 50 years of age before he qualifies, on ceasing to be a member, to receive the allowance. The annual contribution, which is compulsory, is £140 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 £2,400 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 £1,825, 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 £2,200 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 stamp allowance is £12 10s. per month.

The Chief Whip of each party receives a salary of £1,450 per annum, and the Junior Whip of each party receives a salary of £1,430, together with the appropriate expense allowance in each case in accordance with the classification of his electorate.

ADMINISTRATION AND EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBILITY - After the election of a new 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.

Executive Council-In the legal sense those members of Parliament who have been appointed Ministers, together with the Governor-General, comprise the 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 21 days. This gave statutory recognition for the first time to what had long been the convention.

At January 1961 the Executive Council consisted of 16 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 Executive Council and the Cabinet. There are, however, significant differences in membership and functions.

The Council consists of all Ministers and is presided over by the Governor-General. Cabinet may or may not comprise all the Ministers, including a Minister without portfolio; the Governor-General is not a member. The Council (a statutory body) is one of the instruments for giving the imprint of legal form to policy determined by Cabinet (which is recognised only by constitutional convention).

Cabinet has been described as the directing body of national policy whose nature is more easily explained by analogy than by definition. It determines the policy to be submitted to Parliament. In it is vested the supreme control of national policy within the limits of Parliamentary approval. It coordinates and delineates the activities of the several Departments of State.

The juridical acts which are necessary to give legal force to certain of the decisions of Cabinet 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 atmosphere of Cabinet meetings, implies both deliberative or selective and administrative procedures on the part of this body.

Cabinet discussions are informal and confidential, anonymity being maintained as to the individual advocacy or opposition to particular proposals. The Cabinet system enables general agreement to be reached on any proposed line of action by either an individual Minister or by the Government as a whole. As a result the Executive Council confirmation can proceed smoothly and expeditiously.

In Parliament a Minister can be confident that his legislative or other proposals will have the unqualified support of the Government no matter what divergences of opinion may have been apparent before general agreement was reached in Cabinet. A consistent and agreed course of action on any particular issue can be determined. The work of Cabinet thus exemplifies the concept of the collective responsibility of the Government.

Certain questions are 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, ad hoc committees may be established to review or investigate particular questions and to present their conclusions and recommendations to Cabinet.

The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the servicing of Cabinet and its committees to ensure their smooth functioning. It is its purpose also to assist in the coordination and review of the work of the 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 44 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 subgroup, such as the Legislative, Prime Minister's Office, External Affairs, Printing and Stationery, Law Drafting, Valuation, Statistics, and Audit; the finance subgroup - Treasury, Customs, Inland Revenue; the regulatory subgroup - Public Service Commission, Internal Affairs, Island Territories, Labour, Marine; the defence and law and order subgroup - Navy, Army, Air, Justice, Crown Law, and Police; the publicity and research subgroup - New Zealand Broadcasting Service, Tourist and Publicity, Scientific and Industrial Research.

In the second group are the transport and communications subgroup, such as Transport, Post Office, and Railways; the developmental - Ministry of Works, Agriculture, Lands and Survey, Mines, Electricity, 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 organisations 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 76 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 figures are 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 Office, 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 quota 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 are 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 14 of the Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Order 1959. 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 Act provides 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. Polling hours in all electorates are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Act provides 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.

Provision is made for the voting at elections and licensing polls by servicemen serving overseas, who are or will be of, or over the age of, 21 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 exceptions) has 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 months 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, (b) 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 of all the members of the House of Representatives 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 21 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 2 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 GOVERNMENT - In 1876, following the abolition of the provinces, local government assumed the form it still basically retains. The Counties Act of 1876 divided the country into 63 counties, with provision for administration by elective councils having powers considerably less than those enjoyed by the Provincial Councils. In the same year the Municipal Corporations Act provided for the incorporation of the 36 boroughs then in existence and for the creation of new boroughs.

A description of the development of counties, boroughs, and town districts follows.

Counties - In general, the county organisation makes provision for the primary needs of a scattered population within a large area. With increasing settlement the original 63 counties were gradually subdivided until in 1920 the maximum of 129 was reached, although the number of councils formed never exceeded 126. Since 1955 the number of counties has been reduced by amalgamations and mergers under the Local Government Commission Act 1953. At April 1960 there were 121 counties, in 119 of which the Counties Act was in force.

Counties are now constituted under the Counties Act 1956, which consolidated earlier legislation relating to counties and road districts.

County councils may appoint county town committees for the purpose of advising the councils on the administration of county towns. The Counties Amendment Act 1959 amended the conditions for the constitution of county towns to provide that any part of a county not being part of a dependent town district in which there are not less than 60 houses with average density of not less than one house to every 3 acres may be constituted a county town.

The provisions relating to the persons eligible to act on a county town committee were also amended. The Act now provides that a member of the county council representing the riding in which the county town is situated, and any county elector having a residential or rating qualification in respect of an address or property within the county town, is eligible for appointment to the county town committee. Under the old legislation only ratepayers having a qualification in respect of property situated within the county town were eligible.

Boroughs - Dealing with the needs of a concentrated population, the borough organisation is concerned with a wide range of functions of a purely local nature. With the growth and centralisation of population the number of boroughs, despite numerous amalgamations of adjacent boroughs, steadily increased until 1955 when the total was 146. In April 1960 the total was 143.

Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1954 for the constitution of a borough there must be a population of at least 1,500 with an average density of population of at least one person per acre. A borough containing a population of 20,000 or more may be proclaimed a city, although the corporation remains unaltered.

Town Districts - The town district represents a form of local government intermediate between the county and the borough. It implies a certain concentration of population and the presence of interests which, from their purely local nature, cannot be satisfactorily met by the county organisation. In its early stages a town district usually remained subject to county control, although such control was practically confined to the main and county roads in the town district; in such circumstances it was known as a dependent town district. The Town Boards Amendment Act 1908 enabled town districts on reaching a population of more than 500 to become independent. On attaining its independence a town district becomes in all respects a separate entity, and, apart from its smaller population, is not essentially different from a borough. The constitution and powers of town districts have been brought into closer relationship to boroughs over the years, and independent town districts are now constituted under the Municipal Corporations Act 1954. The Act required that the area should not be more than 2 square miles, within which no two points are more than 4 miles distant and with a density of population of not less than one person to the acre. No new dependent town districts can be constituted. The number of town districts in April 1960 was 27 (15 independent and 12 dependent).

General Powers - Local authorities in New Zealand derive their powers from the Acts under which they are constituted, and also from special empowering Acts. In addition to legislation providing for particular types of local authority or for individual local authorities, there are several statutory measures which are more or less applicable to all local authorities, such as the Local Elections and Polls Act 1953 and the Local Authorities Loans Act 1956. For most harbour boards, there is in addition to the general Harbours Act a special Act for each board, which is subordinate to the general Act. Certain types of local authority - urban drainage boards, transport boards, the Auckland Harbour Bridge Authority, the Christchurch-Lyttelton Road Tunnel Authority, and the Waikato Valley Authority - derive their principal powers from special constituting Acts.

Local authorities have general powers of entering into contracts for any of the purposes for which they are constituted; of selling and leasing land; and of taking or purchasing any land which may be necessary or convenient for any public work.

The Local Authorities' Emergency Powers Act 1953 confers on local authorities certain powers (e.g., in respect of rescue, first aid, provision of relief and welfare, distribution of foodstuffs, information and advice to public, etc.) in emergencies arising from earthquake, fire, or flood, or in time of war from enemy action or from the action of enemy sympathisers.

Number of Local Authorities - Since the inception of the county system there has been a great expansion of local government throughout New Zealand. With the growth of population there has been a steady increase in the number of counties, boroughs, and town districts, while entirely new types of districts have been created to cater for special services. Geographically, New Zealand is divided into 121 counties, which comprise its total area, except for certain small islands which are not included within the boundaries of the adjacent counties. Administratively, boroughs and independent town districts, which are contained within the areas of the several counties, are regarded as separate entities. From an administrative point of view, therefore, the fundamental districts are counties, boroughs, and independent town districts. Upon this foundation a considerable superstructure of districts of other types has been erected. These overlapping districts may be divided into two broad classes, viz: (1) Districts formed from parts of counties, e.g., road districts; and (2) those which are composed of a group of adjacent districts of other types united for a common purpose, e.g., electric power districts.

The number of local authorities actively functioning at 1 April 1960 was 981 made up as follows: County councils, 119; borough (including city) councils. 143; town councils (independent), 15; town councils (dependent), 12; road boards, 3; river boards (3 boards also have the power of land drainage boards), 11; catchment boards, 13; land-drainage boards, 40; electric power boards, 41; water-supply board, 1; urban drainage boards, 5; transport boards, 2; local railway board, 1; electric power and gas boards, 2; milk boards (including 33 where the board is a borough council), 44; nassella tussock boards, 2; harbour bridge authority, 1; road tunnel authority, 1; valley authority, 1; plantation board, 1; underground water authorities, 3; rabbit boards, 209; fire boards (including 175 where the board is a borough or county council, etc.), 235; harbour boards (including 18 where the board is a borough or county council, etc.), 41; and hospital boards, 37. In addition to the 981 local authorities, there were 21 district councils of the National Roads Board constituted under the National Roads Act 1954. These district councils of the National Roads Board, although not local authorities in the strict sense of the term, are nevertheless intimately connected with certain aspects of local government, and have power to make recommendations of considerable importance.

Local Government Commission - The Local Government Commission Act 1953, which replaced the Local Government Commission Act 1946 and amendments, set up a Local Government Commission which is a permanent institution deemed to be a Commission of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908.

The Act provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairman and two other members, one of whom shall have a special knowledge of urban local government, and the other a special knowledge of rural local government.

The functions of the Commission are to review the functions and districts of local authorities, and to inquire into proposals and prepare schemes for their reorganisation. Reorganisation schemes may provide for the union of adjoining districts, the merger, constitution, or abolition of districts, the alteration of boundaries, the conversion of a district into one of a different kind, the transfer of functions of one local authority to another or the dissolution of a local authority.

The Act provides for the appointment of a Local Government Appeal Authority whose function is to sit as a judicial authority to determine appeals made from decisions of the Commission. Any decision finally approving a scheme of reorganisation of districts may be appealed against only by the following parties:

  1. The local authority of any district to which the scheme relates;

  2. Any person or body having statutory authority to make decisions or recommendations in respect of the union, merger, constitution, alteration, or abolition of any district to which the scheme relates; and

  3. The Minister, in any case where the scheme affects only one local authority, or only one local authority and an adjoining area that does not form part of a district, or does not affect any local authority.

Franchise - The franchise in local government is a variable one, differing materially in certain respects as between urban and country districts. Prior to the passing of the Local Elections and Polls Amendment Act 1941 the county franchise was based solely on property qualification, with a differential voting power according to the value of property possessed, whereas in boroughs and town districts every adult possessing the necessary residential qualifications was entitled to be enrolled as an elector for the election of the local-governing authority. On any proposal relating to loans or rates, however, a ratepaying qualification was, and still is, necessary.

An amendment passed in 1944 extended the franchise in counties and road districts to include a residential qualification on the same lines as for boroughs, but did not interfere with the multiple voting power conferred by a property qualification. One vote only is allowed in boroughs and town districts, but it is possible, by virtue of property qualification, to have a vote in more than one district. The 1944 amendment introduced compulsory registration of electors for boroughs and town districts, all adult persons not entitled to enrolment by virtue of a property qualification being required to make application for enrolment within a prescribed time. The Act also removed the disability which prevented persons in the employ of local authorities from becoming members thereof. The Local Elections and Polls Amendment Act 1946 provided that all general elections of local authorities were to be held on the third Wednesday in November of the year in which such elections were due, instead of in May as previously. The 1950 amendment altered this to the third Saturday in November. It also abolished the provisions of the 1946 amendment that any person could be entered on the local authority roll whose name appeared on the parliamentary roll with an address in that authority's district provided he or she had a residential qualification, and that, if not so entered, he or she could vote by declaration. The Local Elections and Polls Act 1953, which consolidated and amended previous Acts and amendments, provided that future elections are to be held on the third Saturday in November, commencing 1956, and every third year thereafter. The Act also extends the compulsory enrolment of residential electors to counties and road districts in addition to boroughs and town districts (for which provision had been made in 1944). Power is also given to make regulations to give full effect to the Act. Details of the franchise as it affects each type of local district are now given.

Counties - Any person of 21 years of age and over who possesses either of the following qualifications is entitled to be enrolled on the county electors roll:

  1. Rating qualification, which may be held by any person whose name appears in the valuation roll as the occupier of any rateable property within a riding of the county. One vote is allowed where the rateable value does not exceed £1,000, two votes where the value is greater than £1,000 but not in excess of £2,000, and three votes where the value exceeds £2,000.

  2. Residential qualification, which may be held by a person who is or has the status of a British subject or is an Irish citizen, and who has resided for one year in New Zealand and has had permanent residence of not less than three months in the riding of the county to which the roll relates.

Boroughs - Any person of 21 years of age and over who possesses any of the following qualifications is entitled to enrolment:

  1. Freehold qualification - meaning the beneficial and duly registered ownership of a freehold estate in land of a capital value of not less than £25 situated in the borough, notwithstanding that any other person is the occupier thereof.

  2. Rating qualification, which may be held by any person whose name appears in the valuation roll as the occupier of any rateable property within the borough.

  3. Residential qualification, which may be held by a person who is or has the status of a British subject or is an Irish citizen, and who has resided for one year in New Zealand and who has had permanent residence during the last three months in the borough to which the roll relates.

Town Districts - The franchise is the same as for boroughs, except that for county electoral purposes in dependent town districts the county qualification is necessary.

Rabbit Districts - Where the rates of the district are based on the acreage and rateable value of land occupied by the ratepayer, the franchise is the same as that exercised for county council elections. Where the franchise is based on stock ownership, from one to five are allowed according to the number of stock units owned.

Other Districts - Road districts, river districts, land-drainage districts, water-supply districts, and the local railway district all have a franchise similar to that of counties except that the residential qualification applies to road districts only.

Districts composed of a grouping of districts of other types united for a common purpose have a franchise as for the component districts. Such districts are urban drainage districts, electric power districts, harbour districts, hospital districts, urban transport districts, and catchment districts. In some cases - e.g., the Auckland Metropolitan and Hutt Valley Drainage Boards - the members are appointed or elected by the territorial local authorities included in the district.

In addition to elected members, the constitution of harbour boards provided in most cases for certain nominated or appointed members (representatives of the Government, the waterfront industry, and the payers of harbour dues), but the Harbours Act 1950, which consolidated and amended previous legislation, provides that every harbour board shall now consist of members elected by the electors of constituent local authorities only.

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING- The Town and Country Planning Act 1953 provides for the making and enforcement of regional and district planning schemes, and the detailed procedure to be followed in each case is amplified by the Town and Country Planning Regulations 1960. The Government administers the Act through the Minister of Works who may delegate his authority to the Commissioner of Works.

Regional Planning Schemes - Regional planning schemes must be preceded by a comprehensive survey of the natural resources of the areas concerned, and of the present and potential uses and values of all lands in relation to public activities or amenities. Regional schemes envisage the conservation and economic development of natural resources by classification of lands according to their best uses and by the coordination of all such public improvements, utilities, services, and amenities as are not limited to the territory of any one local authority. For the purposes of every regional planning scheme proposed to be prepared there is a Regional Planning Authority consisting of representatives of the several councils whose districts are wholly or partly within the region. Every local authority within the region other than the constituent councils may be represented by an associate member but is not entitled to a vote. Regional planning schemes are required to be reviewed at intervals of not more than 10 years.

District Schemes - Every district scheme is required to have for its general purpose the development of the area to which it relates (including where necessary the replanning and reconstruction of an area already built on) in such a way as will most effectively tend to promote and safeguard the health, safety and convenience, the economic and general welfare of its inhabitants, and the amenities of every part of the area. The council of every city, borough, county, and independent town district must provide and maintain a district scheme whether or not a regional planning scheme including its district has been prepared or become operative.

While a district scheme is being prepared a council may refuse its consent to the carrying out of any development that would be in contravention of the scheme and falls within the definition of a “detrimental work”, but the owner or occupier affected may appeal against such a decision to the Town and Country Planning Appeal Board, The Minister can require the council to exercise these powers where the development would or might adversely affect Government works or the public interest, and local authorities have similar rights in respect of their works. Any appeal proceedings lie against the Minister or the local authority concerned.

In the period before a district scheme becomes operative, any change of use of land that detracts or is likely to detract from the amenities of the neighbourhood is required to have the prior consent of the council. Where an application is made to the council for consent, the applicant and every person who claims to be affected by the proposed use has a right to be heard by the council and may appeal to the Appeal Board against the council's decision.

When completed and recommended by the council, copies of a district scheme are submitted to the Minister of Works and to adjoining councils and to local authorities within the area covered by the scheme for consideration, particularly in relation to their public works. When the Minister and each local authority is satisfied that all public works have been provided for in the scheme and have certified accordingly the district scheme is publicly notified for inspection for three months. Any owner or occupier of land affected may object to any provision of the scheme, and the Minister, other local authorities, professional, business, sporting or other such organisations, may also object to the scheme on grounds of public interest. In the event of an objection not being sustained by the council the objector may appeal to the Appeal Board whose decision is final.

The Minister of Works may prepare and obtain approval for a district scheme in any case where a local authority under an obligation to prepare such a scheme fails to do so after being notified in writing. The costs and expenses incurred by the Minister are recoverable from the local authority, or they may be deducted from any moneys payable to the local authority by the Crown.

When a district scheme has been finally approved and made operative the council and all local authorities having jurisdiction in the district are bound to observe, and enforce observance, of the requirements of the scheme. The provisions of an operative regional planning scheme are also obligatory, but a constituent council has a right of appeal to the Town and Country Planning Appeal Board where a provision of a proposed or operative district scheme conflicts with the regional scheme.

Operative district schemes may be altered at any time, and must be reviewed when any part of the scheme has been operative for five years. The procedure to be followed in the preparation, recommendation, and approval of an alteration or review of a scheme is the same as that for a new scheme commencing at the point where the scheme is ready to be recommended by the council.

Where a district scheme is operative the local authority may take under the Public Works Act 1928 any land in its district if in accordance with the scheme it considers it is necessary or expedient to do so for the proper development or use of the land, or for the provision or preservation of amenities, or for the improvement of areas that are too closely subdivided or are occupied by decadent buildings.

Chapter 4. Section 3 POPULATION

Table of Contents

GENERAL REVIEW - A population census was taken as for the night of Tuesday, 18 April 1961, in New Zealand and it may be possible to give preliminary figures in the latest statistical information at the end of this Yearbook. Some figures are given in this section for the population census taken as for the night of Tuesday, 17 April 1956, and also later information on population. The 1956 census population of New Zealand, excluding island territories, was 2,174,062.

The minor islands (see page 1), other than the Kermadec Islands and Campbell Island, were uninhabited at the date of the census. The Ross Dependency had a population of 166 males at the 1956 census date and 137 males at 31 March 1960, these men being members of scientific expeditions.

A census of the island territories was conducted by the Department of Island Territories for the night of Tuesday, 25 September 1956, and the 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 a complete summary of New Zealand population.

*Includes population of the inhabited minor islands, i.e., Kermadec Islands, 9 (males); and Campbell Island, 9 (males).
New Zealand:
    (a) Exclusive of island territories:
            Europeans30 June 19601,110,6481,101,4032,212,051*
            Maoris30 June 196081,23778,472159,709
Totals, New Zealand (excluding island territories) 1,191,8851,179,8752,371,760
    (b) Island territories:
            Tokelau Islands30 June 19609001,0291,929
            Cook Islands31 March 19609,2938,88118,174
            Niue Island30 June 19602,3862,4744,860
Totals, New Zealand (including island territories) 1,204,4641,192,2592,396,723
Western Samoa30 June 196054,98052,053107,033
Ross Dependency31 March 1960137-137

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, and the Maori population has increased continuously for over 50 years. 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*815,85372,6469771.89
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 19361,573,810165,67111.771.13
September 1945*1,702,298128,4888.160.83
September 19451,747,679173,86911.051.11
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 10 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. 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.

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 PROJECTIONS - An indication of future population growth, including Maoris, in New Zealand is given by the detailed projections for the period 1962-80 and the provisional projections for the five-yearly points 1985–2000 set out in the following table.

Projections of future population almost always involve an element of uncertainty owing to incomplete knowledge of the factors underlying changes in fertility, mortality, and migration levels, coupled with the difficulty of accurately forecasting the future course of the factors which are known to affect these components of population change. It should be understood, therefore, that these projections merely show the effect of the assumptions stated below the table on the future growth of the existing population. The assumptions, however, have been adopted only after careful studies of trends in the patterns of fertility, mortality, and migration and, in the light of available current information, are regarded as those most likely to produce realistic projections over the length of the projection period.


YearAssuming Net Immigration of
5,000 per Year10,000 per Year

Assumptions - The two projections are linked to actual population numbers in 1960. The assumptions on which the more detailed projections for 1962-80 depend are as follows:

  1. Birthrates for each quinquennial age and marital status (“married” and “not married”) group of females will continue at the average 1952-56 level.

  2. The proportion of married females in each quinquennial age group will, in the future, vary in accordance with the rate of variation in the 1951-56 intercensal period.

  3. Mortality rates for each quinquennial age group, male and female, will be maintained at the level shown by the New Zealand Life Tables, 1950-52.

  4. Future net immigration will be at the rates of either 5,000 or 10,000 persons per annum, the age and sex distribution being based on the average 1937-58 pattern.

    The provisional long-term projections for 1985–2000 are linked to the earlier projections. They are based on the following assumptions:

  5. The rate of natural increase of population, excess of births over deaths, for the period 1980–2000 will be 15 persons per 1,000 living.

  6. Net immigration will be as assumed for the period 1960-80.

The following diagram presented on a ratio scale shows the growth of actual population from 1880 to 1960 and projections through to 2000.

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

*European population.

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

†Excluding full-blooded aborigines.

§Including Newfoundland.

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
United States of America1940-501.36
NOTE—Minus sign (-) denotes a decrease.

It is seen that Ceylon and Canada have the highest annual rates of increase. Both rates have increased substantially since the previous intercensal periods, the main factor in Ceylon being a fall in the death rate, and in Canada the increase in immigration.

The third highest rate of increase is that shown for Australia (2.46 per cent). New Zealand (2.31 per cent) and the Union of South Africa (2.18 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, where there is a female preponderance. Females per 1,000 males at the last five censuses have been:

*Including armed forces abroad.

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 15 urban areas which comprise the largest centres of population, 10 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 basis for 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 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 between 1951 and 1956 were necessary.

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.

YearPopulation (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.

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

DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION - Detailed population statistics are compiled for each census. Final figures for the 1956 census for provincial districts, urban areas, counties, cities, boroughs, town districts, extra-county islands, and shipping were published in Census, Vol. I, Increase and Location of Population.

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

The 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

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 increased at a greater proportionate rate than that of 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 1960 the North Island population was 1,642,461, inclusive of 152,697 Maoris, and the South Island population 727,705, inclusive of 5,658 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 breakdown. 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 1960
Hawke's Bay4,260110,900
    Otago portion14,070176,200
    Southland portion11,46093,500
            New Zealand103,7402,370,166

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 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, as they cannot be distinguished separately for these two censuses.

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, urban798,1701,357,783792,5761,322,411
Totals, New Zealand (excluding migratory)1,401,0012,169,6141,337,3842,032,532
Urban - towns of:
    1,000- 2,5007.453.047.643.50
    2,500- 5,0006.177.316.397.63
    25,000 or over24.1432.3525.2133.96
Totals, urban56.9762.5859.2665.06
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 decentralisation. In place of one great metropolis containing a huge proportion of the population, the more highly urbanised portion of the community is localised in four widely separated centres. 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 20 years covered by the table all urban areas have consistently recorded increases in population. In the years 1951-56 Auckland had the greatest numerical growth, while Hamilton and Hastings 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 20 years. In Auckland the number of Maoris increased from 1,863 in 1936 to 11,361 in 1956. In the 15 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 15 urban areas as estimated for 1 April 1960. The component parts of the five largest centres of population are given in detail, while for the remaining 10 areas totals only are quoted. In most of the 10 cases the urban area comprises the central city plus the urban portion of the adjoining county. At 1 April 1960 the five largest urban areas had a total population of 981,400, this being equivalent to 41.41 per cent of the New Zealand total. The total for all urban areas at the same date was 1,309,900, or 55.27 per cent of the total population of New Zealand.

Urban AreaEstimated Population (Including Maoris) 1 April 1960
Auckland city141,900
    East Coast Bays borough8,440
    Takapuna borough20,500
    Devonport borough11,750
    Northcote borough4,120
    Birkenhead borough6,740
    Henderson borough3,210
    Glen Eden borough4,870
    New Lynn borough8,510
    Newmarket borough1,920
    Mt. Albert borough25,700
    Mt. Eden borough18,650
    Mt. Roskill borough29,600
    Onehunga borough16,750
    One Tree Hill borough13,150
    Ellerslie borough4,760
    Mt. Wellington borough14,950
    Howick borough5,810
    Otahuhu borough8,840
    Papatoetoe borough15,800
    Manurewa borough7,150
    Papakura borough7,030
    Remainder of urban area42,750
Lower Hutt city53,600
    Upper Hutt borough15,100
    Petone borough10,500
    Eastbourne borough2,740
    Remainder of urban area13,560
Wellington city123,000
    Tawa borough5,960
    Remainder of urban area15,940
Christchurch city151,500
    Riccarton borough7,930
    Lyttelton borough3,600
    Heathcote county5,860
    Remainder of urban area45,910
Dunedin city72,400
    Port Chalmers borough3,210
    West Harbour borough2,230
    St. Kilda borough6,850
    Green Island borough5,210
    Mosgiel borough5,750
    Remainder of urban area7,650
New Plymouth31,100
Palmerston North41,600

Counties - The following table gives the estimated population (including Maoris) of individual counties at 1 April 1960, 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) 1 April 1960Approximate Area, in Square Miles
North Island:
    Bay of Islands13,070823
    Great Barrier Island300110
    Hauraki Plains6,010233
    Hawke's Bay20,8001,668
    Waimate West3,10083
    Wairarapa South3,160440
Totals, North Is. counties587,88043,677
South Island:
    Golden Bay4,1301,011
    Mt. Herbert62066
    Chatham Island560372
    Stewart Island540670
Totals, South Island counties273,19058,913
Totals, all counties861,070102,590

During the year three counties had estimated increases of 1,000 or more, viz, Waitemata (2,800), Waimairi (2,200), and Hutt (1,500). These counties serve, respectively, as dormitory suburbs for Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.

Substantial losses in population were recorded by Whangarei, Manukau, and Taranaki counties because of losses of territory to neighbouring local authorities.

Waikato and Vincent counties also had substantial losses, the result of the departure of construction workers from Meremere steam power station and Hawea works camp respectively. Most of the other losses by counties were minor, territorial boundary changes being responsible in some cases and camp closings, etc., in other cases.

Boroughs - Similar information as in the case of counties is now given for cities and boroughs.

BoroughEstimated Population (Including Maoris) 1 April 1960Approximate Area, in Acres
North Island:
    East Coast Bays8,4403,850
    Glen Eden4,8701,244
    New Lynn8,5101,393
    Auckland (city)141,90018,493
    Mt. Albert25,7002,430
    Mt. Eden18,6501,477
    Mt. Roskill29,6004,604
    One Tree Hill13,1502,430
    Mt. Wellington14,9504,075
    Hamilton (city)40,7006,576
    Te Awamutu5,1601,162
    Te Kuiti4,2401,668
    Te Aroha3,0402,783
    Mt. Maunganui4,5703,475
    Te Puke2,2001,047
    Gisborne (city)21,3003,610
    Napier (city)22,7003,955
    Hastings (city)21,7003,211
    Havelock North3,2201,165
    New Plymouth (city)28,8005,722
    Wanganui (city)31,7006,184
    Palmerston N. (city)39,3006,943
    Upper Hutt15,1002,165
    Lower Hutt (city)53,60011,004
    Wellington (city)123,00018,226
Totals, North Island cities and boroughs1,038,820234,107
South Island:
    Nelson (city)22,7008,255
    Christchurch (city)151,50025,698
    Timaru (city)24,5003,668
    Port Chalmers3,210954
    West Harbour2,2302,181
    Dunedin (city)72,40013,942
    St. Kilda6,850463
    Green Island5,2101,789
    Invercargill (city)34,2008,995
Totals, South Island cities and boroughs449,830122,021
Totals, all cities and boroughs1,488,650356,128

Five cities and boroughs had estimated increases of 1,000 or more during the year. Whangarei, Papatoetoe, and New Plymouth gained substantially from territorial boundary changes during the year to enable them to record increases of 1,100, 3,300, and 3,400 respectively. Whangarei gained an estimated 850 persons from Whangarei county on 1 April 1960, Papatoetoe an estimated 2,940 persons from Manukau county on 1 October 1959, and New Plymouth an estimated 3,000 persons from Taranaki county on 1 April 1960. Christchurch and Mt. Roskill had estimated gains of 2,100 and 1,000 respectively. There were very few decreases in boroughs and the decreases themselves were small.

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) 1 April 1960Approximate Area, in Acres
*Parent county shown in parentheses.
(a) Town Districts Not Forming Parts of Counties
North Island:
Totals, North Island9,8908,855
South Island:
Totals, South Island2,8702,719
(b) Town Districts Forming Parts of Counties*
North Island:
    Kohukohu (Hokianga)2401,020
    Rawene (Hokianga)480280
    Russell (Bay of Islands)6201,066
    Mercer (Franklin)340890
    Te Kauwhata (Waikato)7301,290
    Ohaupo (Waipa)3301,281
    Kihikihi (Waipa)960523
    Te Karaka (Waikohu)390700
    Patutahi (Cook)2601,275
    Kaponga (Eltham)550558
    Normanby (Hawera)520260
Totals, North Island5,4209,143
South Island:
    Edendale (Southland)610696
Totals, South Island610696

During the year the independent town district of Leeston was absorbed by Ellesmere county, while the dependent town districts of Southbridge (in Ellesmere county) and Outram (in Taieri county) lost their identities.

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 7,686 people as at 1 April 1960.

Of the islands concerned, Waiheke, with an estimated population of 2,280 as at 1 April 1960, was the only one of any size.

AGE DISTRIBUTION - The following table shows the estimated age distribution of the population at 31 December 1959 and of the mean population for the year 1959. The figures are based on the 1956 census data and brought up to date from statistics of births, ages of persons dying, and ages of persons arriving in or departing from New Zealand.

Age Group in YearsExcluding MaorisMaorisTotal Population
As at 31 December 1959
Under 5130,626124,571255,19715,53215,16230,694146,158139,733285,891
5 and under 10116,100111,700227,80012,66011,96024,620128,760123,660252,420
10 ,, 15109,000104,400213,40010,1009,76019,860119,100114,160233,260
15 ,, 2084,70080,600165,3008,2408,00016,24092,94088,600181,540
20 ,, 2569,20066,700135,9006,6606,69013,35075,86073,390149,250
25 ,, 3070,20065,900136,1005,6305,72011,35075,83071,620147,450
30 ,, 3577,50071,300148,8004,7804,7209,50082,28076,020158,300
35 ,, 4074,50072,800147,3003,6203,6807,30078,12076,480154,600
40 ,, 4567,80069,300137,1003,1303,1706,30070,93072,470143,400
45 ,, 5067,20066,100133,3002,7402,5005,24069,94068,600138,540
50 ,, 5560,40058,40018,8002,3101,8904,20062,71060,290123,000
55 ,, 6050,30049,50099,8001,5601,3302,89051,86050,830102,690
60 ,, 6539,00043,00082,0001,1609502,11040,16043,95084,110
65 ,, 7030,90037,70068,6007506101,36031,65038,31069,960
70 ,, 7526,01032,19058,20049543593026,50532,62559,130
75 ,, 8018,53023,29041,82026520547018,79523,49542,290
80 and over14,28019,21033,49020522042514,48519,43033,915
    Under 14336,826322,471659,29736,52235,16271,684373,348357,633730,981
    Under 16373,426357,471730,89740,00238,54278,544413,428396,013809,441
    Under 21455,326435,671890,99748,04246,32294,364503,368481,993985,361
    21 and over650,920660,9901,311,91031,79530,68062,475682,715691,6701,374,385
    16 and under 2181,90078,200160,1008,0407,78015,82089,94085,980175,920
    65 and over89,720112,390202,1101,7151,4703,18591,435113,860205,295
Mean Population for Year 1959
Under 5128,545122,808251,35315,14114,76329,904143,686137,571281,257
5 and under 10115,300110,700226,00012,47011,86024,330127,770122,560250,330
10 ,, 15106,200101,700207,9009,8709,51019,380116,070111,210227,280
15 ,, 2083,40079,300162,7008,1607,90016,06091,56087,200178,760
20 ,, 2568,40065,600134,0006,5606,60013,16074,96072,200147,160
25 ,, 3071,00066,300137,3005,5605,64011,20076,56071,940148,500
30 ,, 3577,50071,300148,8004,6604,6209,28082,16075,920158,080
35 ,, 4073,70072,400146,1003,5803,6207,20077,28076,020153,300
40 ,, 4567,70069,000136,7003,0903,1306,22070,79072,130142,920
45 ,, 5066,80065,500132,3002,7302,4505,18069,53067,950137,480
50 ,, 5559,60057,500117,1002,2501,8404,09061,85059,340121,190
55 ,, 6049,70048,90098,6001,5401,3102,85051,24050,210101,450
60 ,, 6538,20042,60080,8001,1309302,06039,33043,53082,860
65 ,, 7031,00037,60068,6007406101,35031,74038,21069,950
70 ,, 7526,06031,86057,92048542090526,54532,28058,825
75 ,, 8018,49023,05041,54026521047518,75523,26042,015
80 and over14,07018,76032,83021022043014,28018,98033,260
    Under 14331,745317,808649,55335,74134,44370,184367,486352,251719,737
    Under 16367,245351,408718,65339,15137,77376,924406,396389,181795,577
    Under 21447,945428,508876,45347,11145,45392,564495,056473,961969,017
    21 and over647,720656,3701,304,09031,33030,18061,510679,050686,5501,365,600
    16 and under 2180,70077,100157,8007,9607,68015,64088,66084,780173,440
    65 and over89,620111,270200,8901,7001,4603,16091,320112,730204,050

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 utilisation or industrialisation. 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 a lack of 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 44,297 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 59,439 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 - warfare amongst the tribes and with the European settlers; 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 50 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.
 NumberNumberPer 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 1960 shown below afford a better illustration.

Death rate8.818.56
Natural-increase rate16.1937.85

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 Waikato - Bay of Plenty 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 1960 was 158,355.

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:  
*This category, first introduced in 1956, covers those cases of “Maori - other races” mixtures where there is half or more Maori blood involved; it accounts for the decline in most classes counted in the population other than Maori.
    Full Maori76,91888,440
        Maori-other Polynesian374775
    Maori-other races*..820
Counted in the population other than Maori:
†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.

EXTERNAL MIGRATION - Statistics of external migration are compiled from individual statements obtained from each person entering or leaving New Zealand.

Including crews of vessels, 183,237 persons from overseas arrived in New Zealand during the year ended 31 March 1960 which, compared with 1958-59 shows an increase of 12,810. During the same period 180,438 persons departed. This figure, compared with the corresponding one for 1958-59, shows an increase of 20,340.

In addition to the figures just quoted there were also 35,637 through passengers and tourists on cruising liners, who called in at New Zealand in the course of their voyages.

The excess of total arrivals over total departures for 1959-60 was 2,799, compared with an excess of 10,329 during 1958-59.

The numbers of arrivals and departures during the last 11 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

A substantial increase of 9,583 was recorded in arrivals 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. This high level of arrivals has been maintained, with increases of 3,611 in 1957-58, 3,982, or 5 per cent, in 1958-59, and 5,729, or 7 per cent, in 1959-60.

From 1 April 1953 departures showed a steady increase year by year until 1957-58 when a slight drop of 305 occurred. However, 1958-59 showed a large increase of 9,398 or 15 per cent, on the 1957-58 figure, while 1959-60 showed an increase of 12,508, or 17 per cent, on 1958-59.

In the 10-year period ended 31 March 1960 the net gain from passenger migration was 115,886, while if movement of crews is taken into account this decreased to 113,931.

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.


*Includes 856 persons on working holidays. Information not known for earlier years.

†Includes 1,431 persons on working holidays.

Immigrants intending permanent residence20,87823,03026,25424,85220,294
New Zealand residents returning21,91525,04623,64027,62332,526
Visitors -
    On business3,1543,7124,0253,6554,241
    Theatrical, entertaining, etc.696879850764943
    Educational purposes191227220233247
    Others, officials, etc.1,9432,9412,9503,675*5,307
    In transit8118521,0049191,025
Through passengers and tourists on cruising liners8,26420,71831,46826,04535,637

The succeeding table gives a similar analysis of departures.

New Zealand residents departing -
Temporary residents departing25,65729,18131,64033,99738,077
Through passengers and tourists on cruising liners8,26420,71831,46826,04535,637

Ages - The following table gives the age-distribution of immigrants and emigrants for the 12 months ended 31 March 1960.

Age, in YearsPermanent ArrivalsPermanent DeparturesExcess of Arrivals Over Departures
60 and over4388101,248259419678570

Of the permanent arrivals during the year 1959-60, 22 per cent were under 15 years of age, 46 per cent under 25 years, 72 per cent under 35 years, and 84 per cent under 45 years. Permanent departures represented a similar age distribution, with percentages of 19, 47, 73, and 85 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
*Includes arrival of Hungarian refugees, 451 in 1957-58 and 49 in 1958-59.
Commonwealth Countries      
England and Wales10,5079,9957,3921,8582,7553,282
Northern Ireland42050131449107108
United Kingdom (other or undefined)310298193408270
Cook Islands and Niue498474339255037
Western Samoa180157206385041
New Zealand3,9163,9043,7894,0285,0606,659
Other Commonwealth countries in the Pacific817788484055
Other countries within the Commonwealth50650947181133163
Totals, Commonwealth countries21,51420,97916,6727,38610,01512,271
Other Countries      
Republic of Ireland65249232591147202
United States of America371467439157198176
Totals, other countries4,7383,8703,6187209691,147
At sea2-32-1
Not specified-31-11
Grand totals26,25424,85220,2948,10810,98513,420

Assisted Immigration - Various systems of assisted immigration have been in force since 1871, with the exception of the period 1892 to 1903 (inclusive). Assistance to immigrants was largely suspended between 1927 and 1947, and only 50 immigrants received financial assistance during the 10 years ended 31 March 1946.

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

In July 1947 a comprehensive free and assisted-passage scheme was introduced by the Government. Under this scheme certain categories of immigrants were given free passages to New Zealand provided they had served in the United Kingdom armed forces (including the Merchant Navy) during the Second World War, while others selected under the scheme were required to contribute only .10 towards the cost of their fares. Eligibility was confined to single residents of the United Kingdom (with no dependants) between the ages of 20 and 35 years who were suitable for, and willing to accept employment in, a wide variety of 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 17 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 35 to 45 years of age and abolition of the requirement of .10 contribution towards cost of fare.

  2. The extension of the free-passage scheme to certain categories of married British immigrants with up to two children - later extended to up to four dependent children.

  3. The acceptance of a number of single non-British men and women between the ages of 20 and 35 years. Dutch, Danish, Swiss, Austrian, and German nationals were selected.

At the end of 1958, it was decided to cut back assisted immigration by limiting male workers from the United Kingdom to skilled tradesmen, experienced farm workers, and experienced workers required in essential industries. Married workers accepted in these categories were limited to those with not more than two children. At the same time, the recruitment of German, Austrian, Danish, and Swiss migrants was terminated.

In 1960 steps were taken to increase the recruitment of skilled workers required for the expansion of essential industries. These steps included the acceptance of married men in approved categories with up to four dependent children. In March 1961 the Government announced a plan to bring to New Zealand in 1961-62 up to 5,000 assisted immigrants.

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

Year ended 31 March 1947158-----158
,, 19481,140-----1,140
,, 19491,527-----1,527
,, 19502,532-----2,532
,, 19512,87355----2,928
,, 19523,8491,100----4,949
,, 19534,8722,709----7,581
,, 19545,611688----6,299
,, 19553,880452----4,332
,, 19564,732391----5,123
,, 19574,17225213930--4,593
,, 19584,0702454469106454,579
,, 19594,343141363592314,678
,, 19602,36090253913222,549

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 Organisation. 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 uprising in Hungary, the Government agreed to accept a quota of 1,000 Hungarian refugees. This quota was subsequently increased to 1,300. The first draft arrived by air in December 1956 and a total of 1,117 finally arrived, the last of them reaching New Zealand during the year ended 31 March 1959.

OTHER REFUGEES - Apart from displaced persons, New Zealand has accepted and continues to accept refugees from Europe and the mainland of China. In 1958 it was decided to offer resettlement opportunities to 20 “hard core” refugee families from Europe who, because of handicapped persons in each family unit, were unacceptable elsewhere. These families arrived during 1959. In 1959 it was decided to accept a further 100 “hard core” families. These were selected and arrived during 1960.

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, Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and New Delhi are authorised to issue and renew New Zealand passports.

Entry into New Zealand - Apart from British subjects and the wives of British subjects arriving from Australia, no person 16 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.

Citizens of 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 - All persons leaving New Zealand, with the exception of British subjects 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 naturalised 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 who have been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment or other form of detention for one year or more.

  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.

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 12 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 their 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 15 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 15 years of age arriving with him, residence, etc.

NATIONALITY AND NATURALISATION - The basic nationality law is the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 as amended. The original Act 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 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 naturalised 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 naturalised 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 naturalisation.

Citizens of other Commonwealth countries acquire New Zealand citizenship by registration. The requirement is three years residence reducible to 12 months at the Minister's discretion. A British woman married to a New Zealand citizen may be registered without any residential qualification. Applicants for New Zealand citizenship by registration must satisfy the Minister that they are of good character and have an adequate knowledge of English and of the duties and responsibilities of New Zealand citizenship.

The principal conditions governing the grant of naturalisation 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.

Naturalisation 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 naturalised. 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 naturalisation 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.

Alien adults acquiring New Zealand citizenship by naturalisation or registration, and alien minor children over 16 years of age acquiring it by registration, are required to take the oath of allegiance. The Minister may also at his discretion require persons other than aliens acquiring New Zealand citizenship 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 naturalisation 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 1959-60 year there were 80 such ceremonies.

New Zealand citizens are liable at the discretion of the Minister to deprivation of New Zealand citizenship if they voluntarily acquire a foreign nationality by any formal act other than marriage; or if they voluntarily exercise the privileges or perform any of the duties of a foreign nationality possessed by them. In addition, persons naturalised or registered as New Zealand citizens are liable to deprivation if citizenship was obtained by fraud or false representation.

The numbers of naturalisations, registrations, etc., during the year ended 31 March 1960 were as follows.

Country of BirthCertificates of Naturalisation (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)
Republic of India--2020--
Russia (U.S.S.R.)184-13--
United Kingdom--10077--
Other countries67429754447

Of the certificates of registration granted to adult males, 148 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 two to British subjects generally resident outside New Zealand who were registered as New Zealand citizens by virtue of their close association by way of descent, residence, or otherwise, with New Zealand.

The certificates of registration granted to adult females were 93 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 448 to alien women married to New Zealand citizens by birth or naturalisation.

Certificates of registration granted to minor children were 276 (149 males, 127 females) to children of New Zealand citizens by naturalisation or registration, and 25 (16 males, nine females) who lodged applications independently.

REGISTRATION OF ALIENS - The registration of aliens in New Zealand is provided for by the Aliens Act 1948. The Aliens Amendment Act 1957 transferred, from 1 April 1958, the administration of the principal Act from the Police Department to the Department of Justice.

The number of aliens on the New Zealand register at 1 April 1960 was 27,643, comprising 17,072 males and 10,571 females. This is not the complete number in New Zealand, as certain classes are not required to register, including the following: (a) children under 16 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 1959 and 1 April 1960.

Country of Nationality1 April 19591 April 1960
Russia (U.S.S.R.)79531327347120
United States of America7523691,1218123561,168
Other countries1046016410762169

The number of aliens on the register at 1 April 1960 shows a decrease of 332 as compared with 12 months earlier. An increase during the year was shown by Netherlands (78), United States of America (47), Germany (36), and Yugoslavia (28). Decreases were shown by several countries, the largest being China (172), Poland (94), Greece (58), and Latvia (48).

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 Yearbook.

STATISTICS OF THE 1956 CENSUS - Publications containing the results of the census taken for the night of 17 April 1956 are included in the list on the page preceding the Index of this Yearbook.

The following pages give details relating to Marital Status, Dependent Children, and Religious Professions. Information on Age Distribution, Racial Origins, Birthplaces, Duration of Residence of Overseas-born, and Overseas War Service was given on pages 56–65 of the 1958 Yearbook.

MARITAL STATUS-The marital status of persons aged 16 years and over as returned at the census of 1956 is summarised 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

DEPENDENT CHILDREN - Married men, widowers, and widows were asked at the census in 1956 to state the number of their living children under 16 years (including stepchildren and children adopted by them). Married women, divorced and legally separated persons were not asked to supply the information as this would have created the risk of duplication of children counted.

The numbers of persons having dependent children, including Maoris, are shown with comparative figures from the 1951 census. The category “nil” includes those cases where members of the family were 16 years of age and over, as well as those cases where there were no children in the family.

Number of Dependent Children Under 16 Years1951 Census1956 Census
Married MenWidowersWidowsMarried MenWidowersWidows
9 and over8187159881221
Not specified589341263542144

The numbers of dependent children in each of the three groups in 1956 were: dependent on married men, 684,846; dependent on widowers, 5,131; and dependent on widows, 12,862; a total of 702,839 dependent children out of a 1956 census total of 720,190 children under 16 years of age. The difference is accounted for mainly by the exclusion of children whose parents were legally separated; those whose parents where divorced and had not remarried; children who had lost both parents; and ex nuptial children (the last two classes excluding cases of adoption).

Comparable numbers of dependent children in the three groups in 1951 were: dependent on married men, 562,401; dependent on widowers, 5,621; and dependent on widows, 12,108; a total of 580,130 out of a total of 596,876 children under 16 years.

Between the 1951 and 1956 censuses the total number of dependent children of married men increased from 562,401 to 684,846, a rise of 21.8 per cent. The number of married men increased by 49,842, or 11.5 per cent. Those recording “nil” dependent children increased by only 4.7 per cent, while those with dependent children increased by 16.8 per cent.

Married men with two children recorded the largest numerical increase, rising from 79,155 to 92,899, this representing a 17.4 per cent increase. The greatest percentage increase, however, was recorded by married men with four children, this group increasing from 21,118 in 1951 to 28,080 in 1956 a rise of 6,962, or 33 per cent.

The next table shows within each group, the average number of dependent children, firstly for all persons within the group, and then for persons with dependent children in that group.

Average Number of Dependent Children1951 Census1956 Census
Married men -
    Per person1.301.42
    Per person with dependent children2.292.38
Widowers -
    Per person0.210.18
    Per person with dependent children2.062.09
Widows -
    Per person0.170.16
    Per person with dependent children1.962.01

The most significant point from the table is the marked rise in the average number of dependent children of married men. This is a reflection of the sharp increases recorded, since 1951, in the numbers of married men having from two to seven dependent children.

RELIGIOUS PROFESSIONS - The following summary presents the main religious professions returned at the 1956 census.

Religious ProfessionNumber of Adherents, 1956 Census
Church of England780,999
Roman Catholic (including Catholic undefined)310,723
Protestant (undefined47,999
Salvation Army14,122
Latter Day Saints13,133
Church of Christ10,852
Christian (undefined)7,662
Seventh Day Adventist7,219
Christian Scientist3,992
Jehovah's Witness3,844
Eastern Orthodox Catholic2,728
Undenominational Christian1,765
Apostolic Church969
Dutch Reformed Church829
Commonwealth Covenant Church813
Assemblies of God747
Society of Friends721
Liberal Catholic385
No religion (so returned)12,651
All other religious professions5,462
Object to state173,569
Not specified16,252

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 fell from 82.2 per cent of the total population in 1951 to 79.9 per cent in 1956. All four churches 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)3.954.08

STATISTICS OF WORLD POPULATION - The area and estimated population of the continents and some of the principal countries of the world at 1 July 1959 are shown in the following table. (Source: United Nations Population and Vital Statistics Report for July 1960 and Demographic Yearbook 1959.)

Continents and CountriesAreaPopulation

*1958 Estimate.

†Former Belgian Congo.

 sq. miles 
North America9,359261,000
South America6,870137,000
Totals, world52,2362,905,600
Selected Countries  
Europe -
    United Kingdom9452,157
    Republic of Ireland272,846
    Federal Republic of Germany9652,837
    Eastern Germany4116,213
Oceania -
    New Zealand1032,331
Asia -
    Federation of Malaya516,698
Africa -
    Union of South Africa47214,673
    Congo (Leopoldville)90513,840
    Federation of Nigeria33933,663
    Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland4847,990
    United Arab Republic45729,632
North America -
    United States of America3,022177,702
South America -

Chapter 5. Section 4 VITAL STATISTICS


GENERAL - Statistical data presented in this subsection cover the entire population of New Zealand. Europeans and Maoris are dealt with separately in later subsections.

Since 1 April 1952 all Maori marriages have been solemnised 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, if at all, 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. 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 by the Registrar-General during the year, whereas the European figures cover the actual registrations effected during the year.

YearNumbersRates per 1,000 of Mean Population

The inclusion of Maoris raised 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 1955-59 the inclusion of Maoris does not alter New Zealand's position of seventh in a total of 27 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 decline until 1951 and a continuous increase since. The following table shows the numbers gained by natural increase, together with the rate per 1,000 of mean population, for the last 11 years.

YearNumbersRates per 1,000 of Mean Population

In the 10 years to 31 December 1960 New Zealand has gained by natural increase of the population a total of 336,932, comprising 318,344 Europeans and 48,588 Maoris.

MARRIAGES - The following table shows the numbers of marriages contracted during each of the last 11 years. Maori marriages are included.

YearNumbersRates per 1,000 of Mean Population

DEATHS - The effect of including Maoris is to increase slightly, except for the latest years, 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 was consistently higher than the European rate, the continuous decline of the former has now brought it to a position below the European rate. The net result now is that the inclusion of Maoris reduces the general death rate to slightly lower than the European rate. Countries with lower death rates (in 1959) than New Zealand included Israel, 5.9; Netherlands, 7.1; Canada, 8.1; Union of South Africa (European population only), 8.6; and Australia, 8.9.

TOTAL DEATHS BY CAUSES - Although the incidence of different diseases as causes of death varies considerably 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 five years 1955-59 was 102 per million of population, compared with 77 for Europeans alone. 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 (1955-57) show New Zealand to be eleventh out of a total of 37 countries. With Maoris excluded, New Zealand's position would be eighth.

Total deaths for the years 1956-59, classified according to the Abbreviated List of the sixth and seventh (1948 and 1955) revisions of the International Classification of Diseases, are contained in the following table. Similar tables for the European and Maori populations separately may be found by reference to Sections 4D and 4E respectively. (The 1955 revision of the International Classification was adopted in New Zealand in 1958.)

Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate per Million of Mean Population
Tuberculosis of respiratory system208226168118951017351
Tuberculosis, other forms302832191413148
Syphilis and its sequelae233322171115107
Typhoid fever-311-1--
Dysentery, all forms41612-3-
Scarlet fever and streptococcal sore throat1-1- - -
Whooping cough101985-43
Meningococcal infections2022181191085
Acute poliomyelitis512612313-
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic931059111643474050
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues3,1533,2133,2973,3391,4441,4391,4421,430
Benign and unspecified neoplasms4845373422201615
Diabetes mellitus229286286240105128125103
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system2,3162,5192,6062,5701,0611,1281,1401,101
Non-meningococcal meningitis4535465021162021
Rheumatic fever17171088843
Chronic rheumatic heart disease222255271234102114119100
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease5,1775,3425,3055,6152,3722,3932,3212,405
Other diseases of the heart753770808922345345353395
Hypertension with heart disease561573461470257257202201
Hypertension without mention of heart14513014412366586353
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum17920717017782937476
Intestinal obstruction and hernia13418015114661816663
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhoea of the newborn13915413415264695965
Cirrhosis of liver6875566131342426
Nephritis and nephrosis13116015811960726951
Hyperplasia of prostate16915013513777675959
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium3144313614201415
Congenital malformations285277354343131124155147
Birth injuries, post-natal asphyxia, and atelectasis326369318294149165139126
Infections of the newborn5155676123252926
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity unqualified283302333373130135146160
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill-defined, and unknown causes152811711870485151
All other diseases2,0392,0761,9632,030934930859870
Motor-vehicle accidents334407405362153182177155
All other accidents610731684683279327299293
Suicide and self-inflicted injury19921522020491969687
Homicide and operations of war11152525571111

TOTAL INFANT MORTALITY - The inclusion of the Maori population in New Zealand vital statistics has a significant 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 21 years are given in the next table.

YearNumbersRates per 1,000 of Mean Population

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 1954-58 New Zealand's infant-mortality rate (exclusive of Maoris), with an average of 20, was the third lowest of 35 countries for which reliable figures were available, whereas the inclusion of the Maori population relegated it to fifth place, below Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, and Norway.

INQUESTS - An inquest may be held for the purpose of establishing: (a) The fact that a person has died; (b) The identity of the deceased person; (c) When, where, and how the death occurred.

All inquests are held in public, but under the Coroners Act 1951 there is power to exclude persons from an inquest and to prohibit the publication of any part of the evidence.

The next table classifies inquests for the latest five years according to the verdict returned and recorded in the Deaths Register of the Registrar-General.

YearDisease and Natural CausesAccidentHomicideSuicideTotal

In the table above, it will be seen that almost the whole of the decrease in 1959 inquests (compared to those for 1958) is in one group - accidents. A further notable feature is the decrease in the number of suicides during 1959. These were 19, or 8.7 per cent, below the 1958 figure.


(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. 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 authorise 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 authorise 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 48 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 18 months may be registered within six months of arrival. The Registrar-General may authorise registration of such a child who is over 18 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 84 and 85. A special classification of still births is given on page 90.

Registration of Maori Births - Registrations 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 long-term trend of the birthrate in New Zealand was downward until recent years. A reference to the diagram on page 83 and to the table on page 82, 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 birthrate 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 seven years. The numbers and rates of births (children born alive) for each of the last 20 years are given in the following table.

YearNumberRate per 1,000 of Mean Population

Comparisons of birthrates 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 birthrate per 1,000 married women of 15 and under 45 years of age, or the total birthrate per 1,000 of all women of these ages. The following table gives both rates for each census year (on the basis of the births registered in that year and the population as at the census) from 1901 to 1956 together with the “crude” rate for the year.

Census YearBirthrate per 1,000 Women 15 and Under 45 Years“Crude” Birthrate
*Per 1,000 married women.

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 67.1 in 1956. 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 birthrate varies with age, the change in age constitution over the period is a factor which should be taken into account.

NATURAL INCREASE - Recent increases in the birthrate have tended to result in a rise in the rate of natural increase, as shown in the following table.

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 birthrate. The rates, which are the average of the five years 1955-59, are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations.

CountryRate per 1,000 of Population
BirthsNatural Increase
Puerto Rico33.326.2
New Zealand25.216.1
Union of South Africa24.916.4
United States of America24.615.2
Republic of Ireland21.19.1
Germany (Western)16.85.8
United Kingdom16.44.7

SEXES OF CHILDREN BORN - With the exception of one year (1860), there has always been a preponderance of males in the number of children born in New Zealand. The proportions are usually shown by stating the number of births of male children to every 1,000 female births. This number has been as high as 1,113 (in 1859), and as low as 991 (in 1860), but little significance can be attached to any figures prior to 1870, on account of the comparatively small number of births. 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 10 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 latest 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 (live births only) during the latest five years are shown in the following table.

YearTotal BirthsTotal CasesCases of TwinsCases of TripletsMultiple Cases per 1,000 of Total Cases
*Includes two 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 708 cases of twin births registered in 1959. There were also six cases of triplets.

The total number of confinements resulting in live births was 54,019, and on the average one mother in every 76 gave birth to twins (or triplets).

When still births are taken into account, the total number of confinements for the year 1959 is increased to 54,771, and the number of cases of multiple births to 764. On this basis the proportion of mothers giving birth to twins or triplets is increased to one in 73.

Although the incidence of multiple births has not varied greatly in recent years, as may be seen from the following summary, a considerable increase was recorded in 1959.

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
Average of five years62142106736---667913.0

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 years1.477.78

During the five years 1955-59 there were 3,107 cases of live twin births (including ex-nuptial), and of these in 1,007 instances, or 32.4 per cent, both children were males; in 986, or 31.7 per cent, both were females; and in the remaining 1,114, or 35.9 per cent, the children were of opposite sexes.

The six cases of triplets in 1959 comprised one of three males, one of three females, two of two males and one female, and two of one male and two females.

AGES OF PARENTS - Information as to the relative ages of parents of legitimate living children whose births were registered in 1959 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 39 legitimate cases where twins would have been registered had not one child been still born.

†Including C cases of triplets.

Single Births
Under 216712,3601,190224449151-4,505
21 and under 251373,8327,0161,903316632872-13,304
25 “ 30105737,1276,4251,6003081062514116,189
30 “ 352379834,7273,1188442975726310,094
35 “ 40261007432,1751,3645001485535,096
40 “ 45--7491915483471333931,317
45 and over---3312361814-86
Multiple Births
Under 215281511-----50
21 and under 25235722812----140
25 “ 3013378841742---219
30 “ 35-11972501092--163
35 “ 40--112352781--84
40 “ 45---12762--18
45 and over------1---1
Grand totals8306,90516,60814,2727,5533,1981,3413981511051,266

PREVIOUS ISSUE OF PARENTS - 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 1959 is here summarised.

Age of Mother, in YearsNumber of Previous IssueTotal Legitimate Cases
0123456 and Under 1010 and Under 1515 and Over
*This number represents 50,591 single cases and 675 multiple cases.
Under 213,3081,043177252----4,555
21 and under 256,2934,5731,869532145311--13,444
25 “ 303,4655,0574,4462,1628202971601-16,408
30 “ 351,3311,9932,7002,1371,15050742514-10,257
35 “ 405437491,0481,0807534335284515,180
40 “ 451441412102302121322293341,335
45 and over851571611186187

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 1959 registrations, who are also taken into account in the computation of the averages.

Age of Mother, in YearsTotal MothersTotal IssueAverage Issue
Under 214,5556,0851.34
45 and over874765.47

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 1959) 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: 1954, 2.54; 1955 and 1956, 2.58; 1957, 2.60; and 1958, 2.62. In 1915, the earliest year for which reliable comparative figures are available, the average issue was 3.11.

FIRST BIRTHS - Of a total of 290,797 confinements resulting in legitimate births during the six years 1954–1959, the issue of no fewer than 86,955, or 30 per cent, were first-born children. In 38,223, or 44 per cent, of these cases the birth occurred within 12 months, and in 64,153, or 74 per cent, within two years after the marriage of the parents. In the remaining 26 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 indicate that the proportion occurring within one year after marriage is gradually increasing. There has been little fluctuation during the same period in the proportion of first births occurring within two years after marriage. The decline in the marriage rate in recent years has been accompanied by a downward movement in the actual proportion of first births to total births.

YearTotal 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 years290,79786,95529.9038,22343.9664,15373.78

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 1959 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 year50.0646.2538.4742.6444.65
1 and under 2 years26.6426.7926.3030.5629.06
2 “ 3 “10.4310.2411.2811.5611.08
3 “ 4 “5.516.167.885.955.68
4 “ 5 “3.033.967.183.303.42
5 “ 10 “3.365.497.365.054.94
10 years and over0.971.111.530.941.17

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 1959, 1.86 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 1959.


Age of Mother, in YearsFirst Births, Proportion Per Cent at Each Age Group to Total First Births
Under 207.558.907.339.0813.12
20 and under 2538.1640.3941.7947.7150.50
25 and under 3032.5932.7929.5427.7922.96
30 and under 3514.6813.1014.6110.398.82
35 and under 405.333.795.363.923.60
40 and under 451.590.991.341.020.95
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 1959, 24.69.

EX-NUPTIAL BIRTHS — The numbers of ex-nuptial births registered during each of the years 1949–1959, 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 1956 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 2,792 ex-nuptial births in 1959 were 39 cases of twins, the number of confinements being thus 2,753. From the following table it will be seen that of the 2,753 mothers 1.001, or 36 per cent, were under 21 years of age.

45 and over5

The Legitimation Act — The Legitimation Act of 1939 stipulates that every ex-nuptial child whose parents have intermarried shall be deed 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 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 numbers of legitimations of Europeans registered in each of the latest five years were as follows; 1955, 463; 1956, 545; 1957, 555; 1958, 526, and 1959, 620.

ADOPTIONS — The Adoption Act 1955 sets out the provisions regarding the adoption of children. The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951 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 15 years to under 21 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 latest five years.


Of the 1,969 adoptions registered in 1959, 808 were children under the age of one year, 675 were between one and five years, 237 were between five and 10 years, and 249 were aged 10 years or over In addition, 333 Maori children (178 males and 155 females) were adopted in 1959.

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.

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. The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951 stipulates, however, that a medical practitioner or a midwife in attendance at the 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 stillborn 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 1.45 per 100 total births in 1959 is 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 latest five years 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 1959 being 1,064 males per 1,000 females as compared with 1,053 for living births.

The percentage of ex-nuptials among still-born infants was in 1959, 6.83, and among infants born alive, 1.97.

Of the living legitimate births registered in 1959, 29 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 805 European still births in 1959, there were 137 Maori still births registered, comprising 78 males and 59 females.

FOETAL DEATHS — 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. A foetal death is not required to be registered as in the case of a still-born child.


GENERAL — Marriage may be solemnised 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 solemnised. Marriage by an officiating minister may be solemnised at any time between 6 o'clock in the morning and 8 o'clock in the evening. Marriage before a Registrar can be solemnised 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 21 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 solemnised, 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 solemnised.

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 authorised 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, or by reason of the conditions of his service as a member of the armed forces of any Commonwealth country, or of any country for the time being allied with any Commonwealth country.

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 14 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 solemnised 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 16 years of age. No marriage shall be deemed to be void, 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 solemnised 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 Yearbook. The numbers and rates of marriages during each of the last 20 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 age groups of high marriage rates. An appreciable decline, however, in both the number of marriages and in the marriage rate took place in 1947 and 1948. The number continued to decline until 1951. Separate figures for European marriages are not available after 1951.

Comparison with Other Countries — Marriage rates for certain countries for 1959 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
Puerto Rico8.6
United States of America8.5
New Zealand7.8
United Kingdom7.5
Republic of Ireland5.4

MARITAL STATUS — The total number of persons married during the year 1959 was 36,630, of whom 32,470 were single, 1,603 widowed, and 2,557 divorced. The figures for the five years 1955 to 1959, 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

Divorce statistics at the end of this subsection show the numbers of decrees granted in recent years, the numbers varying from 1,400 to 1,900 a year. The number of widowed persons remarrying, which was 39 per 1,000 in 1940, rose to 44 per 1,000 in 1959.

The relative marital status of bridegrooms and brides for each of the latest five years 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 10 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 1957–59 the respective numbers were 3,680 males and 3,798 females, and the corresponding rate 97 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 1957–59 there were 2,458 widowers and 2,379 widows who remarried, the number of widowers per 100 widows being 149 in the former period and 103 in the latter period.

AGES OF PERSONS MARRIED — Of the 36,630 persons married in 1959, 8,260, or 23 per cent, were under 21 years of age; 13,299, or 36 per cent, were returned as 21 and under 25; 7,102, or 19 per cent, as 25 and under 30; 4,608, or 13 per cent, as 30 and under 40; and 3,361, or 9 per cent, as 40 years of age or over. The following table relates to the year 1959.

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 211,298253251-1-1,578
21 and under 253,6003,019336405117,002
25 and under 301,4352,2589422046210-4,911
30 and under 3529357257135413536201,981
35 and under 40401352092261976733907
40 and under 4511306110113011076519
45 and over53047871782028681,417
Total brides6,6826,2972,1911,01370742799818,315

The recent trend is for persons to marry at younger ages. The following table shows 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.

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 1950–59 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 latest 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 22 to 24.

Marriages of Minors — Of every 1,000 men married in 1959, 86 were under 21 years of age, while 365 in every 1,000 brides were under 21.

In 1,298 marriages in 1959 both parties were given as under 21 years of age, in 5,384 marriages the bride was returned as a minor and the bridegroom as an adult, and in 280 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 available year (1959) one bride in every three was under 21 years of age, the proportion for grooms being one in 12.

YearAge, in YearsTotals
1617181920NumberRate per 100 Marriages

MARRIAGES BY MINISTERS OF VARIOUS CHURCHES — Of the 18,315 marriages registered in 1959, Church of England clergymen officiated at 4,464, Presbyterians at 4,650, Roman Catholics at 2,801, and Methodists at 1,465, while 3,609 marriages were solemnised by Registrars.

The following table shows the proportions of marriages by ministers of the largest churches and before Registrars in each of the years 1953–59.

ChurchPercentage of Marriages
Church of England25.0426.2125.6325.8824.6325.1224.37
Roman Catholic14.5214.415.0514.8415.1915.1215.29
Before Registrars18.8518.6418.2418.8218.8119.6219.71

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 1960) 3,244, and the churches to which they belong are shown hereunder.

Roman Catholic Church761
Church of England565
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand513
Methodist Church of New Zealand356
Ratana Church of New Zealand169
Salvation Army168
Latter Day Saints53
Ringatu Church45
Associated Churches of Christ42
Seventh Day Adventist40
Congregational Independent35
Assemblies of God30
Jehovah's Witness24
Apostolic Church21
Commonwealth Covenant Church19
Liberal Catholic Church17
Evangelistic Church of Christ13
Churches of Christ11
Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Conference11
Church of Te Kooti Rikirangi10
Spiritualist Church of New Zealand9
Church of God9
Hebrew Congregations7
United Maori Mission5

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

DIVORCE AND NULLITY — 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 10 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, and further extended in 1958. New Zealand Courts will recognise 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, or of the domicile of the husband in that country before a desertion or separation, or that either party was a national or citizen of that country.

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 solemnised 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 solemnised 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.

Statistical Data — Figures showing the operations of the Supreme Court in its divorce jurisdiction during recent years are as follows. A number of the decrees granted in any year relate to petitions filed in earlier years.

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

The passing in November 1953 of the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act had a marked effect as regards petitions and decrees for restitution of conjugal rights.

The next table gives the grounds (dissolution or nullity cases) of petitions and decrees during 1958 and 1959.

GroundsPetitions FiledDecrees Absolute Granted
Husbands' PetitionsWives' PetitionsHusbands' PetitionsWives' Petitions
Drunkenness with cruelty, failure to maintain, etc.2-106--73
Attempted murder--3---11
Non-compliance with order for restitution of conjugal rights33216631
Separation for not less than three years455408591583357318454436
Separation by Court order    221610383
Living apart for not less than seven years6766645880716879
Presumption of death--1---1-
Sodomy, etc.--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.

Over the five-year period 1955–59 inclusive, the average percentage of decrees absolute granted on wives' petitions (83.5), was greater than the percentage granted on husbands' petitions (76.3). It is interesting to note that 1958 was the only occasion since 1952 in which the number of decrees absolute granted on husbands' petitions was greater than the total granted on wives' petitions.

In 493 of the 1,639 cases where decrees absolute were granted during 1958 there was no living issue of the marriage. The number of living issue was one in 375 cases, two in 376 cases, three in 229 cases, and four or more in 166 cases.

The table which follows shows the duration of marriage in all cases for which decrees absolute were granted in the five years 1955 to 1959.

Duration of Marriage, in YearsHusbands' Decrees Absolute GrantedWives' Decrees Absolute Granted
Under 565615176656944395448
5 and under 10204217184228233234255242275245
10 and under 15155140164227207163174203228228
15 and under 2012310510612910213811396134123
20 and under 30110120125153133112127110132151
30 and over49574064585036405146

The number of living issue affected by the decrees absolute of their parents during each of the last five years was as follows: 1955, 2,294; 1956, 2,365; 1957, 2,269; 1958, 2,737; and 1959, 2,655.


(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 embodied in the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951. 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, authorise 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.

Provision is made 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. Burial at sea of a person dying in New Zealand is prohibited except on the authority of a Coroner.

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). 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 Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act 1955 provides that — where the death of any person occurs outside New Zealand and the death takes place on board a New Zealand ship within the meaning of the Shipping and Seamen 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 authorise 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 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. Deaths registered in the War Deaths Register from 1940 onwards were not taken into account in arriving at the number and rate of deaths in New Zealand, nor were deaths of visiting overseas servicemen or prisoners of war in New Zealand. Deaths of New Zealand servicemen which occurred in New Zealand were, however, included.

Registration of Maori Deaths — Registration of the deaths of Maoris are effected with the Maori Registrars in the various districts set up for this purpose. Statistics relating to the deaths of Maoris are not included in this subsection, 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 20 years.

YearNumberRate per 1,000 of Mean Population

New Zealand has had for many years a 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 colonisation) 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. After that 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 11 years are shown separately in the next table.

YearDeaths per 1,000 of Mean PopulationMale Deaths to Every 100 Female Deaths

COMPARISON WITH OTHER COUNTRIES — An international comparison of death rates is made in the following table. They are the average of the five years 1955–59 and are taken from the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics issued by the United Nations.

CountryRates per 1,000 of Population
*European population only.
Puerto Rico7.1
Union of South Africa*8.5
New Zealand9.1
United States of America9.4
Costa Rica9.6
Germany (Western)11.0
United Kingdom11.7
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 1949–59 gives the following averages: March quarter, 3,768; June quarter, 4,435; September quarter, 5,310; and December quarter, 4,390.

A classification according to month of death shows that in 1959 the months during which the greatest number of deaths occurred were July, June, and May, with totals of 2,081, 1,953, and 1,894 respectively. Excluding December, a proportion of deaths occurring in that month not being registered till January, February had the least number of deaths, 1,247, followed by March and November with 1,395 and 1,457 respectively.

The lowest number of deaths on any one day, again excluding December, was 32, this number occurring on 27 January. The greatest number (79) occurred on 24 June.

AGE AT DEATH — The deaths registered during the year 1959 are tabulated below according to age.

Under 1 month422341763
1–2 months653398
3–5 months6349112
6–11 months5957116
1 year5062112
2 years301949
3 years222446
4 years161430
5–9 years553893
10–14 years542377
15–19 years8431115
20–24 years10934143
25–29 years9649145
30–34 years12062182
35–39 years142101243
40–44 years188137325
45–49 years353233586
50–54 years479283762
55–59 years7164021,118
60–64 years9335941,527
65–69 years1,1698372,006
70–74 years1,5461,1902,736
75–79 years1,7391,5433,282
80–84 years1,3591,3902,749
85–89 years7559101,665
90–94 years251345596
95–99 years5274126
100 years167
101 years-11
102 years1-1
103 years1-1
104 years-11
106 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 birthrate over the period; and the great increase in the proportion of old people in the community.

Age, in YearsNumber of DeathsPercentage of Total
Under 19249901,0081,0897.576.936.035.50
1 and under 53272051992372.681.441.191.20
5 and under 101679887931.370.690.520.47
10 and under 1510510864770.860.760.380.39
15 and under 202221511201151.821.060.720.58
20 and under 253152471581432.581.730.950.72
25 and under 303372701421452.761.890.850.73
30 and under 353372901911822.762.031.140.92
35 and under 403743202752433.072.241.651.23
40 and under 454783623283253.922.531.961.64
45 and under 506404725225865.253.303.122.96
50 and under 557947986977626.515.594.173.84
55 and under 608811,1451,0211,1187.
60 and under 651,0031,4611,5031,5278.2210.238.997.71
65 and under 701,0771,6972,1702,0068.8311.8812.9810.12
70 and under 751,1711,7722,5362,7369.6012.4115.1713.81
75 and under 801,2421,5562,3163,28210.1810.8913.8616.56
80 and over1,8052,3403,3785,14814.8016.3820.2125.98

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. Of special significance are the low rates recorded in the childhood and early adult life age groups in recent years. The female rate for the various age groups is now lower than the male rate in all instances, with the exception of the one and under five years group. The increase in the death rate (per 1,000 of population) at successive age groups from 15 years onwards 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 Under 7575 and Over
*Per 1,000 live births in this case.
(rates per 1,000 of mean population)
Both Sexes

The average (arithmetic mean) age at death of persons of each sex at 10-yearly intervals since 1901 and during each of the last four years was as follows.

age (years)

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 depicting the pattern of mortality over the age span of life for the non-Maori* component of New Zealand's population have been constructed at various times since 1880. The most recent tables are based on the 1956 population census, together with mortality statistics for 1955–57. As the pattern of mortality among non-Maoris has stabilised in recent years, these latest life tables give an accurate statistical summary of current mortality experience.

Life tables contain a measure of the degree of longevity of the population called the “expectation of life”. The expectation of life at any age is the average remaining lifetime for persons of this age, assuming that mortality rates at each age continue at the level shown by the life table. The life expectancy at selected ages at the present time, for the non-Maori population in New Zealand, is shown in the table below. The overall longer span of life enjoyed by females, compared with males, is evident, as is the improvement in life expectancy once the first year of life is survived.


Exact Age (Years)Life Expectancy (Years)

Improvement in non-Maori life expectancy since 1880, for both sexes, has been most striking for the younger ages, but has been relatively small for the advanced ages. Progress in medical science, coupled with improved social conditions, has resulted in substantial reductions in mortality among infants and children from infectious diseases; on the other hand, diseases of middle and old age are less amenable to control. It is unlikely, therefore, that increases in life expectancy in the future will occur on the scale of the past, but will be quite small and will happen very slowly. The table below displays the life expectancy revealed by each life table compiled since 1880 for the three exact ages of 0, 20, and 60 years.


Life TableLife Expectancy (Years)
Males AgedFemales Aged

*A table showing the expectation of life of the Maori population is given in Section 4E.

Prior to the Second World War the New Zealand non-Maori population were probably the longest lived of any national population group in the world. This pre-eminent position has not been maintained, however, although New Zealand still takes a very high place in the international ranking list. The table below compares the life expectancy at birth for the non-Maori population with that for selected overseas countries. In all cases the expectancies are the most recent available.


CountryPeriodLife Expectancy at Birth (Years)

*Non-Maori population.

†White population.

New Zealand*1955–5768.8873.88
England and Wales195667.7673.36
Union of South Africa1945–4763.7868.31
United States of America195667.373.7

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 legislative and educative measures — the latter conducted by the State as well as by various organisations (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 1950–60 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 Demographic Yearbook 1959. It is interesting to observe that the distinction of having the lowest infant-mortality rate in the world belongs to Sweden, which achieved the phenomenally low ratio of 17 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1954–58, as compared with New Zealand's 20 for the same quinquennium. In the case of the United States of America, the Union of South Africa, and New Zealand the European population only has been taken into account.

CountryQuinquenniaDeaths Under 1 Year Per 1,000 Live Births
New Zealand (excluding Maoris)1954–5820
United Kingdom1954–5824
United States of America (excluding coloured population)1954–5826
Union of South Africa (excluding coloured population)1954–5831
China (Taiwan)1954–5834
Republic of Ireland1954–5836
West Germany1954–5839
East Germany1954–5847

The male rate of infant mortality is considerably above the female rate, the average for New Zealand over the five-year period 1955–59 being 23.4 male deaths per 1,000 male births and 17.2 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 11 years.


YearUnder 1 Day1 Day and Under 2 Days2 Days and Under 1 WeekTotal Under 1 Week1 Week and Under 2 Weeks2 Weeks and Under 3 Weeks3 Weeks and Under 1 MonthTotal Under 1 Month1 Month and Under 12 MonthTotal Under 1 Year

Infants who die in the first year of life may be grouped roughly into two main classes, viz, those dying within one month of birth and those surviving the first month of life but dying before the first anniversary of their birth. Deaths 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 per cent lower than in the quinquennium 1881–85, the rate for children who had survived the first month of life was only approximately one-tenth as high as in the eighties. In other words, whereas formerly over 60 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 the 1941–45 rate, 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, and the relatively steady low rate of recent years.

Causes of Infant Mortality — The principal causes of infant mortality over the last 10 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) and Seventh (1955) Revisions of the International List.

Causes of DeathNumber of Deaths
Tuberculosis, all forms-142-221-1
Congenital syphilis--1--1---1
Enteric fever and other salmonella infections3----2----
Dysentery, all forms-----1----
Whooping cough12464211-62
Meningococcal infections25107798952
Influenza, pneumonia, and bronchitis after the first four weeks of life539679737779841078791
Pneumonia of the newborn22302224282135263130
Gastro-enteritis after the first four weeks of life1526101216101410916
Diarrhoea of the newborn3-15132335
Congenital malformations198151205163208196186165223231
Birth injury142146118127110144143135123119
Asphyxia and atelectasis128164174152110137128172134124
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis)50383437404039265043
Immaturity unqualified225191191162198162143176132167
Other and undefined causes122131129136152164166167213228
Causes of DeathRates per 1,000 Live Births
*Less than 0.1.
Tuberculosis, all forms-*0.1*-***-*
Congenital syphilis--*--*---*
Enteric fever and other salmonella infections0.1----*----
Dysentery, all forms-----*----
Whooping cough0.*0.1*
Meningococcal infections0.*
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 newborn0.1-*0.1*0.1*0.1*0.1
Congenital malformations4.
Birth injury3.
Asphyxia and atelectasis2.
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis)
Immaturity unqualified5.
Other and undefined causes2.

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 for 1957–59. 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 was 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.

In 1957–59, 45 per cent of deaths from epidemic diseases were due to influenza, 27 per cent to meningococcal infections, 13 per cent to whooping cough, 7 per cent to infectious encephalitis, 7 per cent to chickenpox, and 1 per cent to other epidemic diseases.

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 reassembled 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 deaths in the first week of life together, as they are largely the result of common causes. The combined group is termed perinatal mortality. The term is particularly appropriate when we consider how deaths in the newborn crowd closely towards the day of birth. This is clearly shown in the table on page 106. Still births, deaths in the first week of life, and perinatal deaths (still births plus deaths in the first week) are shown in the following table. The still births and the perinatal mortality rate are calculated per 1,000 total births (still births plus live births), while the death rate for the first week of life is calculated per 1,000 live births.

YearStill BirthsDeaths Under 1 WeekPerinatal Mortality

The combined rate has shown a steady improvement, due principally to the reduction in the still-birth rate. It is observed that a considerable proportion of the live-born babies who would previously have been still births would be delicate, immature infants with a high risk of dying in the first week of life. Consequently the death rate for the first week has not changed noticeably.

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. 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 805 still births registered during 1959 classified (a) according to maternal causes and (b) according to foetal causes.

Causes of Still-BirthNumber of Cases
(a) Maternal Causes   
Chronic disease in mother13821
Acute disease in mother3912
Diseases and conditions of pregnancy and childbirth9470164
Difficulties in labour394382
Other causes in mother336
(b) Foetal Causes   
Placental and cord conditions122119241
Birth injury549
Congenital malformation of foetus383876
Diseases of foetus and ill defined causes9896194
Totals, all causes415390805

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 50 per cent die in the first day of life and 85 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 1959 are set out in accordance with the International List of 1955.

Causes of DeathUnder 1 Day1 Day and Under 1 Week1 Week and Under 2 Weeks2 Weeks and Under 3 Weeks3 Weeks and Under 1 MonthTotal Under 1 Month
Congenital malformations425617129136
Injury at birth373351-76
Injury at birth with prematurity2320---43
Post-natal asphyxia and atelectasis23172--42
Post-natal asphyxia and atelectasis, with prematurity55241--80
Pneumonia of newborn4464321
Pneumonia of newborn, with prematurity231219
Disorders arising from maternal toxaemia43---7
Disorders arising from maternal toxaemia, with prematurity229---31
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis)12721-22
Haemolytic disease of newborn (erythroblastosis), with prematurity982--19
Haemorrhagic disease of newborn25-1-8
Haemorrhagic disease of newborn, with prematurity142--7
Diarrhoea of newborn--2--2
Diarrhoea of newborn with prematurity--12-3
Ill-defined diseases peculiar to early infancy6611-14
Ill-defined diseases peculiar to early infancy, with prematurity17171--35
Immaturity with mention of any other subsidiary condition22---4
Immaturity, unqualified116483--167
Pemphigus neonatorum--1--1
Umbilical sepsis---112
Umbilical sepsis with prematurity------
Other sepsis of newborn-1--23
Other sepsis of newborn, with prematurity--1--1
External causes12---3
Other causes9742426

A total of 167, or 22 per cent, of all neo-natal deaths are directly attributed to immaturity, and a further 233 deaths are associated with it. The principal conditions of early infancy with which immaturity is associated are: (1) asphyxia in 80 cases (10.5 per cent of all neo-natal deaths); (2) birth injury in 56 cases (7.3 per cent); and (3) diseases peculiar to early infancy in 35 cases (4.6 per cent).

In the case of still births, out of 805 in 1959 there were 479 cases, or 59 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. Almost all countries are member States of the World Health Organisation, and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death has world-wide application.

The Seventh (1955) Revision of the Classification was applied to New Zealand in 1958. Like the Sixth Revision, this assigns the cause of death to the underlying cause. This is 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.

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

Causes of DeathNumbers align="center"Rates per Million of Mean Population
*Less than one.
Tuberculosis of respiratory system195146163121859771785739
Tuberculosis, other forms23142117131171086
Syphilis and its sequelae26172818141381386
Dysentery, all forms41-312*-1*
Scarlet fever and streptococcal sore throat11-1-**-*-
Whooping cough22-7211-31
Meningococcal infections16161610889854
Acute poliomyelitis2950251142412*
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic85778471964238403344
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues3,0773,0513,1103,1923,2201,5341,4921,4891,4931,477
Benign and unspecified neoplasms35434335311721211614
Diabetes mellitus205215271273232102105130128106
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system2,2812,2562,4572,5502,5171,1371,1031,1761,1931,154
Non-meningococcal meningitis27312431351315111516
Rheumatic fever5785523422
Chronic rheumatic heart disease202171201218197101849610290
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease4,7705,0235,1855,1665,4762,3782,4562,4822,4172,511
Other diseases of the heart702707716747851350346343350390
Hypertension with heart disease630546557443447314267267207205
Hypertension without mention of heart1221401261401186168606654
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum1721772021671708687977878
Intestinal obstruction and hernia931261641431324662786761
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhoea of newborn8799100921034348484347
Cirrhosis of liver70647052593531342427
Nephritis and nephrosis1601191421431078058686749
Hyperplasia of prostate1421651441321367181696262
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium22203522271110171012
Congenital malformations266255240316307133125115148141
Birth injuries, post-natal asphyxia, and atelectasis281271307257243140133147120111
Infections of the newborn27444149451321202321
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity unqualified254241256273322127118123128148
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill defined, and unknown causes161143961111118070465251
All other diseases1,6841,9161,9181,8501,924840937918865882
Motor-vehicle accidents313294336353308156144161165141
All other accidents571525662610611285258317285280
Suicide and self-inflicted injury18119420921119890951009991
Homicide and operations of war171013141885678

TUBERCULOSIS — The death toll from tuberculosis of the respiratory system has declined steadily for many years and is still doing so. During the last 10 years the fall has been particularly steep, as is shown in the following average rates for the past five quinquennia: 1933–37, 333 per million of population; 1938–42, 323 per million; 1943–47, 294 per million; 1948–52, 186 per million; 1953–57, 87 per million. The rate of 39 for 1959 is a reduction of 50 per cent of the 1957 rate.

The latest triennial figures available show New Zealand in eighth place out of 37 countries for which death rates from respiratory tuberculosis were compiled. The countries with lower rates than New Zealand were Denmark, 4.4; Netherlands, 4.6; Israel, 5.5; Australia, 6.6; Union of South Africa (white), 6.8; Canada, 6.9; United States of America, 8.1. The New Zealand rate was 8.2 per 100,000.

In addition to the 85 deaths from tuberculosis of the respiratory system during 1959, there were 13 deaths from other forms of tuberculosis, comprised of:

Tuberculosis of meninges and nervous system4
Tuberculosis of intestines, peritoneum, and mesentery2
Tuberculosis of bones and joints4
Tuberculosis of lymphatic system1
Tuberculosis of genito-urinary system1
Tuberculosis of adrenal glands1

Deaths from tuberculosis of sites other than pulmonary have also declined greatly in recent years, the death rate from these causes having been reduced from 82 per million of population in 1933–37 to 7 per million in 1958–59. The principal factor in this reduction has been tuberculosis of the meninges and central nervous system. In 1933 there were 43 deaths from this cause, compared with only 4 in 1959.

The following table shows the number of deaths from tuberculosis in 1959, classified according to sex and age groups. Of those dying from this cause in 1959, persons under the age of 45 years formed 18 per cent.

Age, in YearsMalesFemalesTotal
Under 5123
5 and under 10-11
10 and under 15-11
15 and under 20---
20 and under 251-1
25 and under 301-1
30 and under 35314
35 and under 401-1
40 and under 45336
45 and under 506410
50 and under 557613
55 and under 6010-10
60 and under 6512315
65 and under 70639
70 and under 75639
75 and under 807310
80 and over314

CANCER — A detailed report on cancer mortality and morbidity in New Zealand was issued in 1958 by the Medical Statistics Branch of the Department of Health. This report covers mortality from cancer from 1941 to 1955, and also surveys all cases reported to the National Cancer Register by the various cancer clinics established in New Zealand under the auspices of the British Empire Cancer Campaign Society. In addition to discussion of the total cancer picture in New Zealand, an analysis, with discussion, is made by specific sites broken down under the following subheadings: the age and sex of new cases registered, incidence, survival experience, treatment, stage of disease at time of diagnosis, and period elapsing between first symptoms and diagnosis. Under each of these headings a comparison is made between the local figures and those available from other countries, while in the principal sites the New Zealand mortality is contrasted with that of generally 24 other countries of the world.

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 lifespan. With the inclusion of Hodgkin's disease and leukaemia under the cancer heading, the disease assumes a very high position as a cause of death among children and adolescents. It is interesting to compare the decline in the death rate from tuberculosis with the rise in the cancer death rate. These rates are set out in the following table and diagram. The fall in the tuberculosis rate may be said to reflect the achievements of the public health service, whilst the rise in the cancer rate portrays the increasing age of the population.

This is illustrated by the following figures.

 Average Death Rates per 10,000 of Population

The relative movements in the death rates from cancer and tuberculosis are further illustrated in the following diagram, which shows the rates at five-yearly intervals since 1875, and annually since 1950.

In 1959 there were 3,220 deaths from cancer in New Zealand, a proportion of 14.77 per 10,000 of mean population. Figures in this table are all inclusive of Hodgkin's disease, leukaemia, etc. A summary for the latest 11 years is given below.

YearNumber of Deaths from CancerRecorded Death RateStandardised Death Rate*
*Standard population used for standardised rates — England and Wales 1901.

A summary showing the location of the disease in deaths from cancer during 1959 is given in the following table.

Site of DiseaseNumbersRates per Million of Mean Population
Buccal cavity and pharynx421759381627
Intestine, except rectum163195358149180164
Trachea, and of bronchus and lung specified as secondary3525440632150186
Cervix uteri-103103-9547
Other and unspecified parts of uterus-4747-4322
Bone and connective tissue171229161113
All other and unspecified sites407381788371351361
Leukaemia and aleukaemia8575160786973
Lymphosarcoma and other neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic system562985512739

The standardised 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 stabilised. A classification according to sex and age groups for 1959 is now given.

Age, in YearsMalesFemalesTotal
Under 591625
5 and under 1012820
10 and under 1512517
15 and under 204610
20 and under 2511516
25 and under 30131326
30 and under 35232346
35 and under 40243458
40 and under 45315788
45 and under 508999188
50 and under 55104106210
55 and under 60133134267
60 and under 65206165371
65 and under 70224182406
70 and under 75287193480
75 and under 80303208511
80 and over260221481

Ninety per cent of the deaths from cancer during 1959 were at ages 45 years and upwards, and 58 per cent at ages 65 years and upwards. Approximately one death in every six of persons who die after the age of 50 years is due to cancer.

PUERPERAL CAUSES — In point of numbers of deaths, puerperal accidents and diseases do not rank high among causes of death. Nevertheless, deaths from puerperal causes are of special importance and significance. The rate per 1,000 live births in each of the latest 20 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 few since 1949, but the 13 deaths in this category in 1957, as well as the 10 deaths attributed to toxaemic conditions, were the main factors in bringing the 1957 rate up to the highest since 1952.

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 1957 to 1959 are shown in the following summary.

Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate per 10,000 Live Births
Toxaemias of pregnancy7851.351.480.91
Placenta praevia-1--0.18-
Other haemorrhage of pregnancy12-0.190.37-
Ectopic pregnancy1--0.19--
Other complications arising from pregnancy3-10.58-0.18
Abortion without mention of sepsis or toxaemia1340.190.550.73
Abortion with sepsis3140.580.180.73
Abortion with toxaemia1--0.19--
Delivery complicated by placenta praevia or antepartum haemorrhage31-0.580.18-
Delivery complicated by retained placenta2--0.39--
Delivery complicated by other post-partum haemorrhage2120.390.180.37
Delivery complicated by disproportion or malposition of foetus--1--0.18
Delivery complicated by prolonged labour of other origin2--0.39--
Delivery with trauma3220.580.370.37
Delivery with other complications of childbirth1--0.19--
Sepsis of childbirth and the puerperium1120.190.180.37
Puerperal phlebitis and thrombosis-12-0.180.37
Puerperal pulmonary embolism-13-0.180.55
Puerperal eclampsia------
Puerperal toxaemia2--0.39--
Other and unspecified complications of the puerperium1--0.19--
Mastitis and other disorders of lactation1-10.19-0.18
Totals, including septic abortion3522274.754.094.93
Totals, excluding septic abortion3221236.173.904.20

A summary of maternal mortality from all puerperal causes, in triennial periods since 1933, is now given.

Causes of Death1933–351936–381939–411942–441945–471948–501951–531954–561957–59
Puerperal sepsis394446301263-4
Eclampsia and other toxaemias939480586242302020
Septic abortion9168586133207128
Accidents, haemorrhage, and other mortality104911359411073493552
Total maternal mortality327297319243217141896784
Maternal mortality, excluding septic abortion236229261182184121825576

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 1957, 1958, and 1959 according to the Intermediate List of the 1955 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 accidents336364308161170141
Other transport accidents879057424226
Accidental poisoning26183212815
Accidental falls25020426812095123
Accident caused by machinery403927191812
Accident caused by fire and explosion of combustible material28301713148
Accident caused by hot substance, corrosive liquid, steam, and radiation8137463
Accident caused by firearm151710785
Accidental drowning and submersion1078183513838
All other accidental causes101108110485150
Homicide and injury purposely inflicted by other persons (not in war)131318668

The number of deaths recorded from all accidental causes in 1959 was 919, corresponding to a rate of 4.21 per 10,000 of population.

Drownings are a leading cause of accidental death in New Zealand. Included in the preceding table as transport accidents are a further 21 deaths due to drowning. Twelve of these were from the capsize of small boats, whilst the remaining 9 deaths involved principally the larger type of boat. The year 1959 shows a fall in the death rate from external causes; this is due mainly to a reduction in the number of deaths in transport accidents.

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 11 years are as follows.

YearDeaths Due to AccidentRate per 10,000 of Mean Population
RailwayTramwayMotor VehicleAircraftRailwayTramwayMotor VehicleAircraft
*Less than 0.01.

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 one was a Maori, and seven were registered as unidentified bodies.

New Zealand's worst air disaster occurred in 1949, when 15 lives were lost in a crash at Waikanae. In recent years the wide use of aircraft in agricultural operations such as aerial topdressing has resulted in a number of deaths from aircraft accidents.

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 as there was less traffic on the roads owing to restrictions on the use of motor spirits and the supply of rubber tyres. Since the war the number of fatalities from motor-vehicle accidents progressively increased up to 1958, with the exception of small declines in 1952 and again in 1956. The year 1958 was a particularly bad year from the accident point of view, especially those involving motor vehicles.

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 1959 there were 14 deaths from such accidents, bringing the total number of deaths in cases where a motor vehicle was involved up to 308. The corresponding figure for 1958 was 364.

Non-transport Accidents — The 1955 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 1957, 1958, and 1959 according to this classification.

Place of OccurrenceNumberRate per Million of Mean Population
Home (including home premises and vicinity and non-institutional place of residence)294222260141104119
Farm (including buildings and land under cultivation, but excluding farm and home premises)455735222716
Mine and quarry6146373
Industrial place and premises18282991313
Place for recreation and sport5614236
Street and highway249181148
Public building (building used by the general public particular group of the public)101014556
Resident institution (homes, hospitals, etc.)515055242325
Other specified places1018092483742
Place not specified1125165127

One in every two fatal non-traffic accidents occurs in or about the home. The year 1957 was a particularly bad one for this type of mishap.

The chief killer in the home is falls, which exacts a heavy toll of the aged and infirm. This is clearly illustrated in a special report on domestic accidents issued by the Department of Health in 1960. The second important cause of death in the home is asphyxia from regurgitation of food 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 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 vicinity of the home.

Nineteen of the 35 accidental deaths on farms in 1959 were caused by farm machinery (usually tractors). Further data regarding accidents will be found elsewhere in this volume (see Index). A later section is devoted wholly to statistics of industrial accidents.

Suicide — There were 198 suicidal deaths in 1959 — 151 males and 47 females — the death rates per 100,000 of population being 13.8 for males and 4.3 for females.

Rates per 100,000 of population showing the age distributions, averaged over the years 1957, 1958, and 1959 are shown next.


These figures show the typical increase in the suicide rates with increasing age and the fall in the female rate after the age of 75.

The next table presents the average, over three-yearly periods since 1921, of standardised suicide rates per 100,000 of mean population.

Annual Average DuringMalesFemales

The male rate fell sharply after the depression years, while the female rate has remained fairly constant.

The following table provides an international comparison of suicide rates for various countries. The figures have been calculated from material in the United Nations Demographic Yearbooks.

CountryTrienniumRate per 100,000 of Population
Republic of Ireland1955–572.5
Union of South Africa (coloured)1955–572.8
Northern Ireland1955–573.6
United States of America (coloured)1954–563.9
New Zealand (Maori)1955–574.1
New Zealand (European)1955–579.5
Union of South Africa (Asiatic)1955–579.7
United States of America (white)1954–5610.1
Union of South Africa (white)1955–5711.2
England and Wales1954–5611.5
Southern Rhodesia1954–5614.9
West Germany1955–5718.8


GENERAL — 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 was, for many years, below that of the European section of the population of New Zealand. This was due partly to difficulties of language, educational status, etc., and partly to problems of access. This latter difficulty arose 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 was 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, and it is now believed that Maori registrations are very little inferior, if at all, to those of Europeans.

MAORI BIRTHS — 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 230, most of these being in the North Island, where over 96 per cent 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 1960 was 7,415 (3,774 males, 3,641 females). The Maori birth rate in 1960 was almost twice the European birth rate (25.00 per 1,000). Registrations of Maori births in each of the last 11 years were as follows.

YearNumber of Maori BirthsRate per 1,000 of Mean Maori Population

For registration purposes 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 — From 1 April 1952 all Maori marriages have been subject to the ordinary laws affecting European marriages, and no marriage according to Maori custom subsequent to that date is 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.

MAORI DEATHS — Registrations of Maori deaths during each of the last 11 years have been as follows.

YearNumberRate per 1,000 of Mean Maori Population

The rates for the two sexes are 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. The rate in 1960 is the second lowest ever recorded for Maoris, and indeed is lower than that recorded for Europeans. Further improvement in the infant-mortality rate for Maoris could result in an even lower death rate in the near future.

Apart from mere numbers by sex, statistics of Maori deaths are not available prior to 1920, but annual tabulations are now made on the bases of age and cause of death. The ages of Maoris whose deaths were registered during the year 1959 were as shown in the following table.

Age, in YearsMalesFemalesTotal
Under 1224164388
1 and under 5484088
5 and under 10131427
10 and under 1512517
15 and under 20171229
20 and under 25231235
25 and under 3019928
30 and under 35171734
35 and under 40221941
40 and under 45172845
45 and under 50303565
50 and under 55333366
55 and under 60473885
60 and under 65303464
65 and under 70473279
70 and under 75363268
75 and under 80293160
80 and under 85262147
85 and under 90101020
90 and under 959615
95 and under 100448
100 and over415

EXPECTATION OF LIFE — The expectation of life at various ages for the Maori population is shown below. These expectations are taken from Maori Life Tables, 1955–57.

Age (Years)Life Expectancy (Years)

Life expectancy at birth for a Maori male increased by 3.18 years in the interval 1950–52 to 1955–57, with that for females increasing by 2.80 years. This was a substantial increase in a short period and is evidence that, although Maori life expectancy is relatively low, it is improving at a fast rate. In this interval between the construction of the first and second sets of Maori life tables the improvement was not so spectacular at higher ages, however.

The expectation of life of Maoris is much shorter than that of the European population. A comparison at age 0 shows a life expectation which is 11.65 years longer for European males and 15.20 years longer for European females.

A similar table to the above for Europeans will be found in Section 4D.

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

The rates set out in the following table are crude rates, i.e., the number of deaths attributed to the disease per 10,000 of the total Maori population. Taken at their face value the figures show the Maori as having a very low mortality from certain diseases which rank high as causes of death among the European population. These diseases are those which generally affect persons of more advanced ages, such as cancer, diabetes, vascular lesions of the central nervous system, arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease, and kidney disease. The Maori population has a comparatively small proportion of its total in the older age groups, and if allowance is made for the low numbers who would be susceptible to these conditions, it is apparent that the Maori is affected in much the same proportion as the European. This position is revealed by the calculation of age-specific rates, which are the number of deaths from a disease in a specified age group per 10,000 of the population in that age group. It is unfortunate that both the absolute numbers of deaths as well as the population at risk in the older ages is too small to permit of the calculation, for the Maori, of standardised rates which smooth out these age-structure disparities.

The Introduction of the Sixth (1948) Revision of the International Classification of Causes of Death in 1950, together with the change to assignment according to the underlying cause of death, prevent accurate comparisons being made between the 1950 and subsequent mortality tabulations and those for earlier years. The following table shows the Maori deaths for 1957 to 1959 classified according to the Abbreviated List of the 1948 and 1955 Revisions.

Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate per 10,000 of Mean Maori Population
Tuberculosis of respiratory system6347334.403.172.14
Tuberculosis, other forms71560.491.010.39
Syphilis and its sequelae5430.350.270.19
Typhoid fever3110.210.070.06
Dysentery, all forms13-0.070.20-
Whooping cough1260.070.130.39
Meningococcal infections6830.420.540.19
Acute poliomyelitis-1--0.07-
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic2120201.471.351.30
Malignant neoplasms, including neoplasms of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissues1031051197.197.017.72
Benign and unspecified neoplasms2230.140.130.19
Diabetes mellitus151381.050.880.52
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system6256534.333.773.44
Non-meningococcal meningitis1115150.771.010.97
Rheumatic fever9530.630.340.19
Chronic rheumatic heart disease5453373.773.572.40
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease15713913910.969.369.02
Other diseases of the heart5461713.774.124.61
Hypertension with heart disease1618231.121.211.49
Hypertension without mention of heart4450.280.270.32
Ulcer of stomach and duodenum5370.350.200.45
Causes of DeathNumber of DeathsRate per 10,000 of Mean Maori Population
Intestinal obstruction and hernia168141.120.540.91
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhoea of the newborn5442493.772.833.18
Cirrhosis of liver5420.350.270.13
Nephritis and nephrosis1815121.261.010.78
Hyperplasia of prostate6310.420.200.06
Complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium9990.630.600.58
Congenital malformations3738362.582.562.34
Birth injuries, post-natal asphyxia, and atelectasis6261514.334.113.31
Infections of the newborn1418160.981.211.04
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy, and immaturity unqualified4660513.214.043.31
Senility without mention of psychosis, ill-defined, and unknown causes12670.840.400.45
All other diseases15811310611.037.626.88
Motor-vehicle accidents7152544.963.503.50
All other accidents6974724.824.994.67
Suicide and self-inflicted injury6960.420.610.39
Homicide and operations of war21170.140.740.45

The 1957 Maori death rate was the highest recorded since 1953. The influenza epidemic, as well as substantial increases in the totals for pneumonia and motor-vehicle accidents, contributed to the rise.

MAORI INFANT MORTALITY — As regards infant mortality, the Maori rate is much higher and more variable than the European, principally owing to the ravages of epidemic diseases, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and diarrhoeal diseases. The infant-mortality rate for the first year of life was 56.7 per 1,000 births in the case of Maoris for the five years 1955–59, as compared with 19.8 per 1,000 among European infants. There has, however, been a substantial decrease in Maori infant mortality in recent years.

The numbers and rates per 1,000 live births for the last 11 years are given in the next table.

Number of Deaths Under One YearRate per 1,000 Live BirthsNumber of Deaths Under One YearRate per 1,000 Live Births

The next table shows for the year 1959 the principal causes of death of Maori infants in the various subdivisions of the first year of life. The classification is according to the Seventh (1955) Revision of the International Classification of Causes of Death.

Causes of DeathUnder 1 Day1 Day and Under 2 Days2 Days and Under 1 Week1 Week an Under 2 Weeks2 Weeks and Under 3 Weeks3 Weeks and Under 1 Months1 Week an Under 2 Weeks2 Months an Under 3 Months3 Months and Under 6 Months6 Months and Under 9 Months9 Months and Under 12 MonthsTotal
Whooping cough-------13-15
All other diseases classified as infective and parasitic---2----1249
Non-meningococcal meningitis------1231-7
Pneumonia, except of newborn------1113433622125
Intestinal obstruction and hernia---1-2-121-7
Gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, and colitis, except diarrhoea of newborn------571411441
Congenital malformations716113-212428
Birth injuries14753--1-1--31
Post-natal asphyxia and atelectasis1135---1----20
Infections of the newborn1-1536-----16
Immaturity unqualified2473--------34
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy6611----11117
Other diseases-------195217

Immaturity unqualified accounted for 34 infant deaths, but in a further 33 deaths due to diseases of early infancy, prematurity was an associated condition.

The great achievement in reducing the infant-mortality rate for the European population has been accomplished during the period after the first month of life up to the end of the first year. Conversely, the causes of the high Maori mortality rates are to be found in the same period of life. In recent years the Maori rate for the under one month group has been in the proportion of one and a half times that of the European, whereas in those between one and 12 months, the Maori rate is over six times that of the European. This is indicated in the next table, which contrasts the mortality rates per 1,000 live births for European and Maori infants respectively for the last 21 years.

Under One MonthOne and Under Twelve MonthsTotal Under One YearUnder One MonthOne and Under Twelve MonthsTotal Under One Year

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

Comparing the average rates for the first five-year period in the above table. 1940–44, with those for the five years, 1955–59, it is seen that European neo-natal mortality has been reduced by 33 per cent over the period in contrast to a much lower reduction in the Maori of 7 per cent; for those aged between one and 12 months the European reduction of 37 per cent is less favourable than that in the Maori at 54 per cent.

Birth injury and prematurity are two diseases in the neo-natal group in which Maori rates are considerably higher than the European. Contributing towards this disparity is the higher proportion of Maori confinements outside of hospital as well as a reluctance on the part of many Maori mothers to seek ante-natal care.

The Maori infant who survives the first month of life is especially susceptible to gastro-intestinal disorders such as diarrhoea, colitis, and gastro-enteritis, and to respiratory conditions such as influenza, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Certain environmental conditions and circumstances are known to underlie these diseases, such as unsatisfactory feeding associated with the failure to seek or heed skilled advice from Plunket or district nurses, and in many instances poor housing and sanitary conditions.


GENERAL — Comparisons of healthiness of a community over a period of years which are based on death rates do not fully take into account the effect of the advance of medical science in recent years. It is common knowledge that many diseases regarded a few decades ago as incurable now show a fair proportion of recoveries. Similarly, the death rates in epidemics are in general much lower now than formerly, owing partly to the steps taken to prevent the spread of the disease, partly to the necessity of early notification in most countries, and partly to increased medical knowledge. Again, many diseases seldom if ever result fatally. Death-rate statistics are therefore supplemented by data relating to illness.

The principal source of statistics of illness in New Zealand, apart from that resulting in death, comes from the public hospitals, to which some 85 per cent of all hospital inpatients are admitted. Information concerning every person discharged from a public hospital is collected and tabulated in accordance with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death, and published annually in the Department of Health publication Medical Statistics. Similar information was formerly published in the Annual Report on Vital Statistics issued by the Department of Statistics. Other morbidity statistics in New Zealand are those concerning certain notifiable diseases, shown in Section 5A, those about industrial accidents reported in Section 37B, those concerning benefits granted under the Social Security Act reported in Section 6A, those of sick members of friendly societies mentioned in Section 6E, and those about people in mental hospitals reported in Section 5C.

NOTIFICATION OF DISEASES — The numbers of all notifiable diseases reported during the calendar year 1959 are shown in the following table; the total figures (including Maoris) are given month by month, with the totals for Maoris being shown in the last column.

DiseaseAll CasesMao
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberTotalsTotals Only
Enteric fever—
    Other forms1715142281424231324131620375
Cerebrospinal meningitis8733679910121128721
Pneumonic influenza1021146116432-505
Ornithosis (psittacosis)-----2------2-
Puerperal fever—
    Following abortion43-121-1122219-
Ophthalmia neonatorum1182011101111131637612720
Food poisoning62141597132168148141131047
Undulant fever312912113445364
Lethargic encephalitis-------1----11
Infective hepatitis1631651581321161671492091371742251781,973134
Pemphigus neonatorum25143821249177131012919926
Staphylococcal pneumonia and septicaemia-1-3131135-2201
Septicaemia (following abortion or miscarriage)---1--------1-

Total notifications for each of the latest five years for all cases and for Maoris for some of the notifiable diseases are shown in the following table. Attention is drawn to the fact that these figures are not considered to be a complete coverage of the incidence of these diseases as medical practitioners frequently overlook the necessity of notifying the Medical Officer of Health.

DiphtheriaAll cases5131311618
Typhoid and paratyphoid feverAll cases6067494466
Pulmonary tuberculosisAll cases1,6401,5651,5301,4251,203
Cerebrospinal meningitisAll cases91721025387
PoliomyelitisAll cases703897635716
Puerperal fever and septic abortionAll cases3946405835
TetanusAll cases3223333239
HydatidsAll cases3638566169
Food poisoningAll cases198184384285310
Bacillary dysenteryAll cases457201165438679
Undulant feverAll cases4432233836
Infective hepatitisAll cases....1,4431,8931,973

Diphtheria — In 1959 the number of cases, 18, was the second lowest on record.

Typhoid and Paratyphoid Fever — In 1959 the incidence was somewhat greater than in 1958.

Cerebrospinal Meningitis — The notifications in 1959 showed an increase on the 1958 figures.

Poliomyelitis — There was a considerable drop in incidence in 1959. Vaccination against poliomyelitis has been completed in the age groups up to 21 years, and is now practically confined to the infants under 12 months of age and expectant mothers.

Hydatids — There are two main sources of information about hydatid disease in New Zealand: patients admitted to public hospitals, and cases notified to the district offices of the Department of Health. A register of hydatid disease patients treated in public hospitals is kept by the Medical Statistics Branch, Department of Health. Reference to the register makes it possible to distinguish between new cases and readmissions. Until recently the number of new public hospital cases registered each year has been considerably greater than the number of cases notified to District Health Officers in the same year. This apparent discrepancy was caused through incomplete notification. A recent study showed that in some districts less than one-third of new cases treated in public hospitals had been notified to the District Health Office.

The following table, which includes Maoris, shows the number of new public hospital cases admitted, the number of public hospital cases readmitted, and the number of notifications for the latest 10 years.

YearNumber of New Public Hospital CasesPublic Hospital Cases ReadmittedTotal Public Hospital CasesNotifications
*Provisional figures.

The numbers of deaths from hydatid disease in New Zealand for the years 1948–59 are shown below by site of disease. The figures include Maoris. The numbers of deaths have been much lower since 1957.

YearLiverLungOther SitesTotal

The educational activities of the Department of Health, carried out in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, were continued and farmers are more conscious of the need to control this disease.

Food Poisoning — Notifications in 1959 were similar in number to those in 1958. It is certain, however, that while outbreaks involving numbers of people are generally reported there must be many sporadic cases and family outbreaks which are dismissed as “summer sickness” or “gastric ‘flu”.

Infective Hepatitis — During 1959 there were 1,973 cases reported, an increase of 80 over the total for 1958. This disease continues to gain ground and is becoming one of the most serious public health problems.


Bacillary Dysentery — There was a further marked increase in notifications during 1959. This disease is one of the most infectious diseases.

Tuberculosis — With an intensification of case finding by all tuberculosis workers in recent years the notification of tuberculosis has improved to a degree that enables a reasonable picture of the disease to be presented as it affects this country. Annual notifications are now on the decline. The Department of Health is continuing its efforts to reduce further both incidence and mortality. In fact the mortality per 100,000 of population has decreased from 28.3 in 1951 to 5.9 in 1959. The number of public health nurses available for tuberculosis case-finding work has been increased, and hospital clinics in the charge of chest specialists have been provided to give a wide coverage. The responsibilities of the Department of Health in case finding and domiciliary care are coordinated with those of the hospital boards, which are responsible for diagnosis and treatment.

Medical officers of the Department of Health assist the public health nurses in the examination of contacts and arrange tuberculin tests and X-ray examinations. There are at present some 10 mass miniature X-ray units strategically sited throughout the country. In 1959 nine of these carried out a total of 256,332 chest X-ray examinations, and found that 1.08 in every thousand examined required supervision and treatment for tuberculous disease. In addition to tuberculosis, many other conditions of lungs and heart were discovered and, where necessary, were referred to the individual's private doctor for further investigation and follow-up.

As a contribution to prophylaxis, B.C.G. vaccination against tuberculosis, which was commenced in hospital staffs, contacts, and adolescents, is being maintained in these groups. During 1959 vaccinations were performed in 34,669 persons after preliminary Mantoux testing, and the results of this activity should become manifest in the years to come.

The Department of Health maintains a Tuberculosis Register, which classifies all notified cases, and a clearer conception of the type, form, and extent of the disease is being obtained. The number of cases on the Register (inclusive of Maoris) at 31 December 1959 was 13,035, of which 12,080 were respiratory and 955 non-respiratory. The number of new cases notified in 1959 was 1,406, of which 925 were European and 481 Maori. Of the European cases, 797 were respiratory and 128 non-respiratory, and in the Maori cases the figures were 406 and 75 respectively. Some of these cases may have since been proved non-tuberculous and subsequently deregistered.

The total number of European persons on the Register at the end of 1959 amounted to 39.1 per 10,000 of the European population and the Maori rate was 292 per 10,000 of the Maori population. The combined figure was 55.9 per 10,000.

PUBLIC HOSPITALS — Detailed statistical information is supplied to the Department of Health about every patient, except normal maternity cases, discharged from or dying in public hospitals in New Zealand. The following tables have been compiled from that information for the years specified below.

Patients Treated — The following table shows the number of patients treated in public hospitals for the latest five years.

YearRemaining on 1 January from Previous YearAdmissionsDischargesDeathsTotal Number of Indoor PatientsRemaining on 31 December

*Does not include seven patients in hospitals from which returns were not collected after 31 December 1954.

†Does not include 16 patients in hospitals from which returns were not collected after 31 December 1955.

†Does not include 75 psychiatric patients in Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs, previously included in the total remaining on 31 December 1958.


Age and Sex of Patients — The age and sex of patients discharged from or dying in public hospitals during 1958 are shown below.

Age GroupsMalesFemalesTotal
Under 1 year4,2873,0957,382
1 and under 2 years2,2851,6153,900
2 and under 3 years1,9821,3633,345
3 and under 4 years1,8021,2453,047
4 and under 5 years1,8341,4303,264
5 and under 10 years8,4626,4924,954
10 and under 15 years6,1554,38810,543
15 and under 20 years6,0796,83812,917
20 and under 25 years5,4487,60013,048
25 and under 30 years4,5327,14611,678
30 and under 35 years4,2826,53010,812
35 and under 40 years3,9535,6619,614
40 and under 45 years3,8555,1078,962
45 and under 50 years4,1794,7328,911
50 and under 55 years4,3754,1308,505
55 and under 60 years4,4253,5657,990
60 and under 65 years3,9443,5977,541
65 and under 70 years4,0563,5297,585
70 and under 75 years4,1083,4987,606
75 and under 80 years3,7463,0566,802
80 and under 85 years2,0161,9503,966
85 years and over1,2161,1412,357

Although there is little overall difference in the totals of males and females, there is a well defined pattern when figures for each sex are compared, age group by age group. In all ages under 15 years there is a preponderance of males. This difference is common to most disease groups but is mere marked in diseases of the digestive and respiratory systems, in congenital malformations, and in accidental injuries. For the ages between 15 and 50 years there are more females than males. This age group covers the child-bearing ages in women, and the higher proportion of female patients is a reflection of this fact. Apart from conditions associated with pregnancy, abortion, delivery, and the puerperium, female patients outnumbered male patients in both malignant and non-malignant tumours and in diseases of the genito-urinary system. In the remaining age group, that for ages over 50 years, the males once more predominate, particularly in diseases of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems, and in infective and parasitic diseases.

Principal Diseases — The following summary shows the principal diseases treated, together with the number of deaths and the fatality rate per cent in public hospitals in 1958. The disease headings are the subtitles of the International Classification of Diseases. More detailed information is published annually in Medical Statistics.


It should be noted that the disease or condition for which a patient is admitted to hospital is not necessarily that which would rank as the cause of death in mortality statistics. Congestive heart failure, for instance, is comparatively highly ranked in hospital cases as the condition immediately affecting the patient, but is frequently only the consequence of some underlying disease, which would take precedence over congestive heart failure in the statistics of causes of death. Hospital returns show each disease for which the patient was treated while in hospital, but the classification for statistical purposes has been made on the basis of the principal disease for which the patient was admitted, regardless of what other unrelated diseases may have been present or developed during the stay in hospital. In mortality statistics, on the other hand, the underlying cause of death is of paramount importance. In the summary below a patient admitted on account of an injury is classified according to the nature of the injury. Should the patient die, however, the death would be classified in the mortality statistics according to the cause of the injury, e.g., motor-vehicle accident, accidental fall, etc.


DiseasesTotal Discharges and Deaths in Public HospitalsDeaths in Public HospitalsFatality Rate Per Cent
Tuberculosis of respiratory system2,2571044.6
Tuberculosis — other forms595284.7
Syphilis and its sequelae1141614.0
Gonococcal infection and other venereal diseases49--
Infectious diseases commonly arising in intestinal tract33161.8
Other bacterial diseases5257414.1
Spirochaetal diseases except syphilis91--
Diseases attributable to viruses1,654442.7
Other infective and parasitic diseases37510.3
Cancer, malignant disease7,4471,79724.1
Benign neoplasm3,663260.7
Neoplasm of unspecified nature10532.9
Allergic disorders1,718412.4
Diseases of thyroid gland844101.2
Diabetes mellitus1,6391448.8
Diseases of other endocrine glands236104.2
Avitaminoses and other metabolic diseases325154.6
Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs761455.9
Psychoneurotic disorders1,72740.2
Disorders of character, behaviour and intelligence1,094131.2
Vascular lesions affecting central nervous system3,0341,34444.3
Inflammatory diseases of central nervous system5608014.3
Other diseases of central nervous system1,57718311.6
Diseases of nerves and peripheral ganglia34582.3
Inflammatory diseases of eye56430.5
Other diseases and conditions of eye2,678130.5
Diseases of ear and mastoid process1,48990.6
Rheumatic fever536152.8
Chronic rheumatic heart disease4007619.0
Arteriosclerotic and degenerative heart disease4,0271,04525.9
Other heart diseases1,92753027.5
Hypertensive disease1,16515113.0
Disease of arteries83721525.7
Diseases of veins and other diseases of circulatory system4,323611.4
Upper respiratory tract infections1,71480.5
Other diseases of respiratory system12,623870.7


DiseasesTotal Discharges and Deaths in Public HospitalsDeaths in Public HospitalsFatality Rate Per Cent
Diseases of buccal cavity and oesophagus1,953130.7
Diseases of stomach and duodenum2,5601335.2
Hernia of abdominal cavity4,253390.9
Other diseases of intestine and peritoneum4,1362165.2
Diseases of liver, gallbladder, and pancreas3,1611264.0
Nephritis and nephrosis6379615.1
Other diseases of urinary system2,3391064.5
Diseases of male genital organs2,4541385.6
Diseases of breast, ovary, Fallopian tube, and parametrium1,21040.3
Diseases of uterus and other female genital organs6,240120.2
Complications of pregnancy2,71060.2
Delivery without complications595--
Delivery with specified complications1,14450.4
Complications of the puerperium1,11610.1
Infections of skin and subcutaneous tissue4,591140.3
Other diseases of skin and subcutaneous tissue1,984251.3
Arthritis and rheumatism, except rheumatic fever2,141663.1
Osteomyelitis and other diseases of bone and joint3,549371.0
Other diseases of musculoskeletal system2,13550.2
Congenital malformations2,4021918.0
Birth injuries, asphyxia, and infections of newborn62711017.5
Other diseases peculiar to early infancy1,1711059.0
Ill defined symptoms referable to systems and organs8,580120.1
Senility and ill defined diseases1,22423219.0
Fracture of skull, spine, and trunk2,2921275.5
Fracture of upper limb3,39790.3
Fracture of lower limb4,1422726.6
Dislocation without fracture670--
Sprains and strains of joints and adjacent muscles556--
Head injuries (excluding skull fracture)4,989741.5
Internal injury of chest, abdomen, and pelvis2923913.4
Laceration and open wound of face, neck, and trunk99520.2
Laceration and open wound of upper limb2,5531-
Laceration and open wound of lower limb1,121--
Laceration and open wounds of multiple location122--
Superficial injury288--
Contusion and crushing with intact skin surface1,17520.2
Effects of foreign body entering through orifice76840.5
Injury to nerves and spinal cord without bone injury10111.0
Effects of poisons1,377231.7
Effects of weather, exposure, and related conditions5623.6
Other and unspecified injuries and reactions76660.8
Special conditions and examinations without sickness2,020--
Admission for convalescent care, plastic treatment, and prosthetic devices35--

Deaths in Public Hospitals — The proportion of deaths in public hospitals to all deaths has increased over the last 30 years. Examination of the following table shows the trend.

YearDeaths in Public HospitalsTotal DeathsProportion of Deaths in Public Hospitals to Total Deaths
1947 17,442 

Duration of Stay in Public Hospitals — The average duration of stay of patients in public hospitals is shown for selected diseases in the following table.


DiseasesTotal Discharges and Deaths in Public HospitalsAverage Stay (Days)
Respiratory tuberculosis2,257129.0
Non-respiratory tuberculosis59575.5
Infective and parasitic diseases other than tuberculosis3,15821.5
Otitis media and mastoiditis1,11112.4
Rheumatic fever53660.6
Chronic rheumatic heart disease40032.3
Acute upper respiratory infections, influenza, and acute bronchitis2,8877.9
Chronic or unqualified bronchitis1,10926.3
Hypertrophied tonsils and adenoids, and quinsy9,9914.1
Gastro-enteritis (acute)1,2279.0
Infections of skin and subcutaneous tissue4,59110.6
Osteomyelitis and periostitis1,06936.2
Malignant neoplasms7,44726.5
Benign tumours of uterus, ovary, and female genital organs1,63912.1
Allergic disorders1,71821.4
Psychoneurotic disorders1,72729.5
Vascular lesions of central nervous system3,03454.3
Arteriosclerotic, hypertensive and degenerative heart disease, and general arteriosclerosis5,52639.0
Varicose veins and phlebitis2,36415.1
Dental caries and other diseases of teeth and supporting structures1,4472.5
Peptic ulcer2,14123.1
Gallbladder disease2,75416.9
Nephritis and nephrosis63734.9
Urinary infections and calculus1,55915.8
Hyperplasia of prostate1,22530.8
Disease of female genital organs (excluding tumours)6,9189.6
Muscular rheumatism, neuralgia, and neuritis56718.7
Synovitis and other inflammatory diseases of tendons and fascia7689.3
Symptoms, senility, and ill defined conditions9,80419.3
Accidents, poisoning, and violence27,15414.6
Deliveries and complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and puerperium10,2678.4

Accident Cases — A summary is given below of accident cases treated as inpatients in public hospitals during 1958.

Type of AccidentTotal CasesPercentage of All Accident CasesAggregate Stay (Days)Average Stay (Days)Aggregate Stay as Percentage of Total
    Motor-vehicle traffic5,27118.384,24116.019.1
    Motor-vehicle non-traffic1480.52,34315.80.5
    Other road vehicles1,6995.916,1599.53.7
Total transport7,45525.9109,13114.624.8
    Accidental poisoning1,0603.73,1943.00.7
    Accidental falls7,11024.7164,36223.137.3
    Other accidents10,43136.3119,22811.427.1
Total non-transport18,60164.7286,78415.465.1
Complications due to non-therapeutic medical and surgical procedures850.33494.10.1
Therapeutic misadventure and late complications of therapeutic procedures1,5705.528,59818.26.5
Late effects of injury and poisoning3351.29,44528.22.1
Suicide and self-inflicted injury3601.33,1378.70.7
Homicide and injury purposely inflicted by other persons3531.23,2639.20.7
Injury resulting from operations of war2-4--
Grand totals28,761100.0440,71115.3100.0

Most cases come under the heading “Non-transport — Other accidents”, which includes accidents caused by cutting and piercing instruments, machinery, falling objects, fire and hot objects, and so on. Of these most occurred in the home.

The second largest group is “Accidental falls”, which has an aggregate stay greater than any other group. This is due to the long periods spent in hospital by elderly people who have sustained serious falls.

Motor-vehicle traffic accidents comprise the third largest group, and have the third largest aggregate stay. It is interesting to note that there were three and a half times as many admissions to hospital and nearly three and a half times as many beds occupied by people injured in non-transport accidents as there were for motor-vehicle traffic accidents.



DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES IN NEW ZEALAND - The Public Health Act 1900 placed public health administration in New Zealand on an efficient basis. A separate Department of Public Health was set up under its own Minister; the country was divided into a number of health districts, and properly trained and qualified staff were appointed to administer the Act. In the years following the establishment of the Department steady progress was made in the building up of a public health organisation. Acts were passed dealing with the sale of food and drugs; the registration of medical practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and midwives, plumbers; the prevention of quackery; and the control of venereal disease. Sanatoria were established to help in the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. Attention was given to problems of maternal welfare. Medical supervision of school children came into operation, at first under the control of the Department of Education, then after 1921 under the Department of Health.

In 1909 a closer link between curative and preventive medicine was forged by merging the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Department into the Department of Public Health's organisation.

During the years 1900 to 1920 there was an increasing public interest taken in health matters. As a result a number of voluntary health organisations were established with the objects of diffusing knowledge of infant welfare, first aid, and home nursing.

The 1918–19 influenza epidemic brought to light a number of defects in the public health organisation, particularly the need for a simplification of existing health legislation and the need for a clear definition of the duties of local authorities, hospital boards, and the Department of Health. The result of this experience was the passing of the Health Act 1920 under which, with its amendments, the Department of Health operated until 1956.

Following the passing of this Act new health districts were created and the existing activities of the Department were expanded. Among the more important of the new activities of the Department were the establishment of a School Dental Service in 1920, the building up of health education work, and, in 1937, the institution of the Medical Research Council. Registration was widened to include dentists, opticians, and masseurs.

Developments since the Second World War included a more positive attack on tuberculosis marked by the passing of the Tuberculosis Act 1948, the establishment as a Government agency of the Dominion X-ray and Radium Laboratory existing at Christchurch, and the creation of the National Health Institute in Wellington. At the end of 1947 the Mental Hospitals Department ceased to be a separate Government Department, and became the Division of Mental Hygiene of the Department of Health. Occupational therapists and dietitians are further professional classes with legislation providing for national registration.

The Health Act 1956 consolidated and amended the law relating to public health.

A more detailed outline of the development of public health services in New Zealand up to 1939 will be found in the annual report of the Department of Health for that year.

PRESENT ORGANISATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES - Local Authorities: Part II of the Health Act 1956 lays definite obligations on local authorities in regard to public health. Each local authority must either appoint its own health inspectors or contribute to the salary of an inspector of the Department of Health. Each inspector must hold a certificate of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (or certain equivalents) before he can be appointed. A local authority's responsibility in health matters is wide. It must promote and conserve the public health within its district - a function which includes regular inspections of its district; abatement of nuisances as defined in the Health Act; provision of efficient refuse, nightsoil, and sanitary services; protection and purification of water supplies; closing and demolition of insanitary buildings; registration and regulation of cattle saleyards; and the enforcement of certain minimum sanitary requirements for residences and business premises. It may also make bylaws dealing with public health matters.

Department of Health: The chief administrative officer of the Department is the Director-General of Health. He is assisted by two Deputy Director-Generals, and the work of the Department is divided among the following divisions: Public Health, Hospitals, Child Health, Nursing, Clinical Services, Tuberculosis, Health Education, Maternal Welfare, Dental Health, and Physical Medicine. There is also the Division of Mental Health, the activities of which are described in Section 5c. New Zealand as a whole is divided into 19 health districts, each under the control of a medical officer of health, a medical practitioner with special qualifications in sanitary science.

The Department is required to secure the preparation, effective carrying out, and coordination of measures necessary to promote public health. It administers all Acts relating to public health; it advises local authorities on public health; it must do whatever is possible to prevent, limit, or suppress disease; it promotes research into public health fields and the prevention and treatment of disease; it conducts health publicity and organises and controls medical, dental, and nursing services paid from public funds. With the authority of the Minister, a medical officer of health may exercise very wide powers in the event of an epidemic or serious outbreak of infectious disease, including the requisitioning of land and buildings, prohibition of public gatherings, and controlling the movements of cases and contacts of any infectious disease. Certain diseases, mostly infectious, but including some non-communicable, must be notified by medical practitioners. Provisions relating to quarantine are included in the Health Act; and extensive power is given to make regulations relating to the conservation and promotion of public health.

The Department's organisation includes a Board of Health. The Health Act 1956 reconstituted the Board of Health and widened the scope of its functions. While the former Board of Health was principally concerned with water supply and drainage, the new Board, in addition to its responsibilities in relation to local authorities and their sanitary works, has the much wider function of giving the Minister authoritative advice on the broad aspects of public health policy and the relationship between the various health services.

In addition to the Health Act 1956, the following Acts are administered by the Department:

Cemeteries Act 1908
Dangerous Drugs Act 1927
Dentists Act 1936
Dietitians Act 1950
Food and Drugs Act 1947
Hospitals Act 1957
King George the Fifth Memorial
Children's Health Camps Act 1953
Medical Act 1908 (Part II)
Medical Advertisements Act 1942
Medical Practitioners Act 1950
Medical Research Council Act 1950
Mental Health Act 1911
Nurses and Midwives Act 1945
Occupational Therapy Act 1949
Opticians Act 1928
Physiotherapy Act 1949
Plumbers Registration Act 1953
Poisons Act 1960
Radioactive Substances Act 1949
Social Security Act 1938 (Part III)
Tuberculosis Act 1948

A detailed report of the activities of the Department of Health is given in the annual report of the Director-General of Health (parliamentary paper H. 31).

The net expenditure of the Department (excluding capital expenditure from the Public Works Account) for the years ended 31 March 1959 and 1960 is given in the following table.

Vote “Health”–£££
    General health services1,594,3421,592,907– 1,435
    Dental health945,4831,042,34196,858
    Departmental hospitals and institutions (other than mental health)519,466562,48943,023
    Mental health3,479,6213,777,632298,011
    Health education28,65529,596941
    Medical Research Council104,872107,6232,751
    Homes for the aged209,539479,035269,496
    Pensioners housing: Local authorities176,019203,00826,989
    Youth hostels12,2198,325– 3,894
    Plunket Society subsidies120,956128,1137,157
    Miscellaneous grants and subsidies90,52094,7784,258
    Bursaries42,59442,487– 107
Vote “Public Hospitals”–
    Grants to hospital boards15,774,32417,204,7511,430,427
Vote “Medical, Hospital, etc., Benefits”18,650,60119,886,9571,236,356
Grand totals41,749,21145,160,0423,410,831

NOTE - Minus sign (–) denotes a decrease.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIVITIES – This account covers measures relating to “preventive” medicine, as distinct from activities in “curative” medicine, which are dealt with elsewhere in this volume – see Section 5B (Hospitals) and Section 5C (Mental Hospitals). Information on medical, hospital, and other related benefits, which are administered by the Department of Health, is given in Section 6A (Social Security).

It is convenient to consider public health activities under headings which correspond generally to certain of the divisions within the Department of Health. These headings are:

Public Health
Occupational Health
Child Health
Dental Health
Health Education
Maternal Welfare
Radiation Protection
Physical Medicine

PUBLIC HEALTH – The Health Act places responsibility for the maintenance of the public health largely on the Department, but local authorities have powers and duties to perform in a number of sanitary and inspection services. Each of the 19 health districts in New Zealand is under the control of a medical officer whose duties include the administration of all enactments relating to public health and who can provide local governing bodies with expert advice in this field. Public hygiene is concerned more particularly with the control of infectious disease, environmental hygiene, food and drugs, poisons and addiction-producing drugs, and burial and cremation.

Disease: The control of disease is based on a system of notification which has long been in force. The present list of notifiable diseases is as follows.

Notifiable Infectious Diseases:
Cerebro-spinal fever (cerebro-spinal meningitis)
Dysentery (amoebic and bacillary)
Encephalitis lethargica
Enteric fever (typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever)
Fulminant influenza
Infective hepatitis
Leptospiral infections
Ophthalmia neonatorum
Ornithosis (psittacosis)
Pemphigus neonatorum, impetigo, or pustular lesions of the skin of the newborn infant
Plague (bubonic or pneumonic)
Pneumonic influenza
Other Notifiable Diseases:
Anchylostomiasis (hookworm disease)
Bilharziasis (endemic haematuria, Egyptian haematuria)
Chronic lead poisoning
Compressed-air illness arising from occupation
Damage to eyesight arising from occupation
Diseases of the respiratory system arising from occupation
Food poisoning
Puerperal fever involving any form of septicaemia, sepsis, or sapraemia
Relapsing fever
Salmonella infections
Septicaemia, sepsis, or sapraemia, in any form, following abortion or miscarriage
Septicaemic influenza
Smallpox (variola, including varioloid and alastrim)
Staphylococcal pneumonia of the newborn infant
Staphylococcal septicaemia of the newborn infant
Trachoma (granular conjunctivitis, granular ophthalmia, granular eyelids)
Undulant fever
Yellow fever
Hydatid disease
Impaired hearing arising from occupation
Phosphorus poisoning
Poisoning from any insecticide, weedicide, fungicide, or animal poison met with at work
Poisoning from any gas, fumigant, or refrigerant met with at work
Poisoning from any solvent met with at work
Poisoning from any metal or salt of any metal met with at work
Skin diseases arising from occupation

All forms of tuberculosis are notifiable under the Tuberculosis Act 1948.

Venereal Diseases: Venereal diseases are only notifiable if the patient discontinues treatment before cure is effected. The Venereal Diseases Regulations 1941 give adequate powers for the examination and treatment of persons suspected of suffering from the diseases. Free treatment has been established in the larger cities and treatment is available to seamen at the main ports in accordance with the Brussels Agreement. Restrictions are also placed on the nature of the employment such persons may undertake if they are suffering from the diseases in a communicable form.

In the administration of the regulations, every precaution is taken to ensure the avoidance of publicity.

Environmental Hygiene is concerned with the provision and proper maintenance of public water supplies and sewerage systems, the disposal of refuse, the condition of dwellinghouses, the control of offensive trades, and the hygiene of premises in which food is manufactured and sold, including eating houses. These matters are primarily the responsibility of the local authorities, but the Department of Health acts in a general advisory capacity. In the case of many of the smaller local authorities the necessary inspections are made by departmental inspectors on behalf of and by arrangement with the local authorities.

Food and Drugs: The Food and Drugs Act 1947 provides for the analysis, by analysts appointed under the Act, of any article of food or drink, or of any drug, which may be sold, offered for sale, or exposed for sale, and for the inspection of any place where there is any food or drug intended for sale. If any such article is proved to be unfit for human consumption heavy penalties may be inflicted on the person or persons responsible. Stringent measures are provided for the prevention of adulteration of food, drink, or drugs, and for the inspection of places where such goods are manufactured or packed. Control is also established over all utensils and appliances coming into contact with food and drugs.

Considerable progress has been made in implementing the purposes of the Act. All the common foodstuffs are standardised, and the labelling of packages is controlled by regulations, which are revised and added to as the necessity arises. Regular sampling of foods, particularly milk, is undertaken by departmental inspectors, and these samples are analysed in the Dominion Laboratory and its branch