New Zealand Official Yearbook 1988 • 1989


This publication was produced in the Information Services Division of the Department of Statistics.

Deputy Government Statistician: L. W. Cook.

Manager: K. W. Eddy.

Editor: R. W. White.

Assistant editors: J. H. Macdonald; E. Stone; I. R. Malcolm.

Maps and diagrams: P. J. McGrath; M. A. Metcalfe.

Cover design: A. J. Stewart.

Photograph editor: A. J. McCredie.

Proofreading: J. W. Hunt; M. S. Page.


Rita Angus, Sheds, Hawke's Bay 1965–66,

oil on hardboard 585 X 600 mm.

Private collection, Auckland.

Rita Angus (1908–70) was a New Zealand painter who tried through her landscapes to capture the distinctive colour and hard light of New Zealand.


CAT. NO. 01.001

ISSN 0078-0170



Table of Contents

List of Tables


Table of Contents

The 93rd edition of the New Zealand Official Yearbook continues our tradition of providing an authoritative description of a country and its people in one volume.

Since 1893 the Yearbook has given New Zealand and overseas readers an Introduction to the nation's social, economic and cultural life and institutions. For specialist users, it is designed as a first point of reference, with relevant basic statistics and reference material, as well as directions to further sources of information.

Compilation of this edition of the Yearbook has gone on amid sweeping reforms in many areas of the New Zealand society and economy. The editors have made every effort to keep information on institutions and legislation current, with a cut-off date of September 1988. However, some statistical series are slower to reflect change, and there may be some minor inconsistencies between the text and tabular material.

Revision of the structure and presentation of the Yearbook has continued. Several chapters have been substantially revised and many subject areas have been augmented. The number and variety of graphics has also increased.

There is a strong focus on social issues; with special articles on the Maori language, immigration policy, and the Royal Commission on Social Policy (which reported during 1988).

This is the last edition of the Yearbook produced in the current format. Major changes are now being planned, both to further upgrade the publication, and to reflect New Zealand's 1990 celebrations.

The Department of Statistics can only publish the Yearbook with the help of contributions from many other government departments and official organisations. I would like to again thank all contributors, the Government Printing Office, and departmental editorial staff for their efforts.

S. Kuzmicich,Government StatisticianOctober 1988.

Department of Statistics

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AUCKLANDTelephone (09) 31-055
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Census of Population and DwellingsPrivate Bag
Winchester HouseTelephone (03) 791–716
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Norwich Union BuildingPrivate Bag
Corner Bond and Rattray StreetsTelephone (024) 777-511

The Department of Statistics has an information desk at every office. In answer to a letter, visit, or telephone call, information officers can provide statistical information, or tell you more about the department's other services, including access to statistics on the INFOS computer data base.

How to use this book

As a new reader of the New Zealand Official Yearbook you may be surprised at the range of information within its pages. But, like any other reference work, the Yearbook is only as effective as its information is accessible. The following notes are therefore included to familiarise you with the book.

What is the Yearbook?

During its long history the aims and functions of the New Zealand Official Yearbook have changed with the times. Today, its editors publish with two main purposes in mind. Firstly, it is a compendium of facts and figures on New Zealand. Secondly, it is an annual describing major changes in New Zealand's administrative framework for the year preceding publication.

The Yearbook does not usually contain the latest or most detailed statistics on particular topics, but it does tell its readers where the latest, or more detailed, figures or information are available.

Finding your way

There are two likely ways you will look for information.

If your question is general, for example “How is New Zealand governed?”, then you will probably refer firstly to the table of contents (beginning overleaf) which lists not only chapter headings but major sections within chapters. In approaching the book this way it is worth bearing in mind that the 26 chapters follow a ‘logical’ progression. The first few chapters describe the physical setting as well as New Zealand's history, system of government and international relations. A description of its people comes next, followed by social framework and institutions. Chapters 12–21 describe New Zealand's work-force and industries, while the final chapters of the book discuss the nation in broad economic terms.

Throughout the book cross references are made, usually by reference to numbered sections within chapters (which appear at the head of each right hand page).

If, on the other hand, your question is more specific, for example “How many people drown while boating each year?”, then the book is thoroughly indexed, and a brief note on the system used can be found at the beginning of the index.

Deadline for statistics

Because the Yearbook covers such a broad range of subjects, few of its statistics are being published for the first time. Many statistics from government departments and other organisations have been published late in the year preceding publication.

For this edition the figures published are at least the latest available at 1 January 1988.


If the source of a particular table is other than the Department of Statistics, then it is noted at the base of the table. Tables are usually for the year ended 31 March, or for the calendar year. Most tables indicate the months in which the years end, and where a single year is indicated and no month is mentioned the figures can be assumed to be for the calendar year. Where two years are given together, e.g., 1986–87, and no month is mentioned, it can be assumed the figures are for the year ended 31 March.

The following symbols are used in all the tables:

Figures are often rounded-off to the nearest thousand or some convenient unit. Sometimes this rounding results in tables with totals which disagree slightly with the total of the individual items shown.

Statistics from the 1981 and 1986 Censuses of Population and Dwellings have been subject to a process of random rounding, whereby all cell values, including row and column totals, have been rounded. Individual figures will therefore not necessarily add up to the stated totals.

Weights and measures, and a glossary of statistical terms used, are given at the back of the book.

Further information

If you require general information on a topic, the ‘Further information’ section at the end of each chapter provides a brief list of official publications relevant to that chapter. The bibliography, Books about New Zealand, lists current books on New Zealand under subject headings. It is followed by a list of some of the publications of the Department of Statistics.

Contributing organisations are also listed in the order of appearance at the end of each chapter.


Major changes are planned for the next edition of the Yearbook, which will appear in 1990. The new book will be slimmer and reflect the celebrations in that year.

Your suggestions for the contents of it and subsequent Yearbooks are welcome. Send them to the Editor, New Zealand Official Yearbook, Department of Statistics, PO Box 2922, Wellington.

Maps and diagrams

Location of earthquakes and volcanic activity8
1987 Electoral districts—North Island71
1987 Electoral districts—South Island72
Age pyramid of population by sex 1971 and 1987141
Migration patterns between local government regions, 1976–81144
Rate of change in total population 1981–86147
External migration—excluding through passengers and crew156
Vital statistics162
Age of population—historical and projected165
Percentage of workforce employed in community, social and personal services176
Net population change—through permanent and long-term migration196
Percentage of population other than European and Maori199
Maori population209
Maori tribal locations215
Royal Commission on Social Policy—subject areas covered by submissions235
Enrolment growth—up to secondary level351
Teacher-pupil ratio in state schools354
University degrees awarded—selected years, 1967–87360
Percentage of bachelor (incl. honours) degrees awarded to women in selected fields, 1977 and 1987363
Enrolment growth—tertiary366
Hierarchy of courts375
Labour force—historical and projected by working-age and sex433
Unemployment—registered unemployed including vacation workers443
Real disposable income indexes—full-time wage and salary earners450
Work stoppages—all industries460
Reallocation of public lands, 1987496
Percentage of workforce employed in agricultural contracting, hunting, forestry and fishing521
Meat production—bone-in basis533
Sawn timber production561
Pulp and paper industry565
Percentage of workforce employed in electricity, gas and water industry581
Electricity generation587
Metal, mining and prospecting; past and present595
Non-metallic minerals597
Percentage of workforce employed in mining and quarrying599
Percentage of workforce employed in manufacturing608
Building permits—new dwellings632
Percentage of workforce employed in building and construction634
Percentage of workforce employed in transport, storage and communication640
Domestic air travel—passenger volumes, 1987651
Share prices—New Zealand Stock Exchange Gross Index687
Retail trade701
Percentage of workforce employed in financing, insurance and real estate702
Percentage of workforce employed in wholesale/retail trade, restaurants and hotels705
Volume of exports723
Trans-Tasman trade balance726
Consumers Price Index—all groups annual average745
Consumers Price Index—percentage change by quarter747
Key market rates—monthly averages769
Trade weighted exchange rate index771
Overseas debt—to selected countries795
Index of total GDP—at constant prices820

Chapter 1. Geography

Marlborough Sounds.

1.1 Physical features

New Zealand lies in the south-west Pacific Ocean and consists of two main, and a number of smaller islands, whose combined area of 268 000 square kilometres is similar to the size of Japan or the British Isles.

The main North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait, which is relatively narrow. They lie on an axis running from north-east to south-west, except for the low-lying Northland peninsula. The administrative boundaries of New Zealand extend from 33 degrees to 53 degrees south latitude, and from 162 degrees east to 173 degrees west longitude. In addition to the main and nearby islands, New Zealand also includes the following small inhabited outlying islands: the Chatham Islands, 850 kilometres east of Christchurch; Raoul Island in the Kermadec Group, 930 kilometres north-east of the Bay of Islands; and Campbell Island, 590 kilometres south of Stewart Island. New Zealand also has jurisdiction over the territories of Tokelau and the Ross Dependency, which are described in chapter 4.


Land areaSize

* These figures were current at 1 April 1988, although new mapping techniques mean there are regular small adjustments.

Includes islands in territorial local authorities.

Excluding islands in territorial local authorities.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

sq. km.
North Island114,821
South Island149,463
Offshore islands833
Stewart Island1,746
Chatham Islands963
                    Total267 844

New Zealand is more than 1600 kilometres long and 450 kilometres wide at its widest part, and has a long coastline for its area. The coast is very indented in places, providing many natural harbours.

New Zealand is also very mountainous, with less than a quarter of the land less than 200 metres above sea level. In the North Island the main ranges run generally south-west, parallel to the coast, from East Cape to Cook Strait, with further ranges and four volcanic peaks to the north-west. The South Island is much more mountainous than the North Island. A massive mountain chain, the Southern Alps, runs almost the length of the island. There are many outlying ranges to the Southern Alps in the north, and the south-west of the South Island. There are at least 223 named peaks higher than 2300 metres. There are also 360 glaciers in the Southern Alps. The largest are, on the east, the Tasman (length 29 kilometres), Murchison (17 kilometres), Mueller (13 kilometres), Godley (13 kilometres) and the Hooker (11 kilometres), and, on the west, the Fox (15 kilometres) and the Franz Josef (13 kilometres).


Mountain or peakHeight

* Since 1986 both the Maori and European names of this mountain have had official recognition.

Peaks over 3000 metres.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

North Island—
     Taranaki or Egmont*2,518
South Island
Southern Alps
     Mt Hicks (St David's Dome)3,183
     Malte Brun3,155
     Elie de Beaumont3,117
     La Perouse3,079
     Glacier Peak3,007

New Zealand's rivers are mainly swift and difficult to navigate. They are important as sources of hydro-electric power and many artificial lakes have been created as part of major hydro-electric schemes. New Zealand also has numerous natural lakes of great scenic beauty.



* Over 150 kilometres in length from the mouth to the farthest point in the river system irrespective of name, including estimated courses through lakes.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

North Island—
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean
Flowing into the Tasman Sea
South Island—
Flowing into Cook Strait
Flowing into the Pacific Ocean
Flowing into Foveaux Strait
Flowing into the Tasman Sea



* Over 20 square kilometres in area.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

sq. km
North Island—
South Island—
     Te Anau344
     Benmore (artificial)75
     Aviemore (artificial)29
     Mahinerangi (artificial)21

1.2 Geology

New Zealand is in an area of the world characterised by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. The ‘ring of fire’, as this area is known, forms a belt that surrounds the Pacific Ocean and is the surface expression of a series of boundaries between the plates that make up the earth's crust. Plate tectonics is a theory used to explain the fundamental geological features of the earth. According to the theory the crust of the earth is made up of a series of plates, rather like a jigsaw puzzle. Although these surface plates are rigid, the rocks of the underlying layer of the earth, its upper mantle, are partially molten. This provides the convection mechanism for movement of the overlying plates. Over millions of years these plates have moved in relation to each other, colliding together, pulling apart, or sometimes sliding past each other. The boundary between the Indian-Australian plate and the Pacific plate runs through New Zealand, and the processes resulting from their collision have had a profound effect on New Zealand's geology. When two plates collide, one is pushed beneath the other in a process known as subduction. Zones of subduction are defined by two deep sea trenches to the north and south of New Zealand, which are connected by the Alpine Fault. The size, shape and geology of New Zealand reflects the long process of construction and deformation along this plate boundary.

Rock types

The interplay of earth movements and erosion has created the sedimentary rocks that cover almost three-quarters of New Zealand. Erosion of land produced sand, mud, gravel and other debris which was carried out to sea, where it accumulated in great thicknesses to form rocks such as sandstone, mudstone, greywacke and conglomerate. The shells and skeletons of sea creatures also accumulated and formed thick layers of limestone. Most sedimentary rocks are formed in near horizontal layers called strata. Earth movements later raised the rocks above the sea to form land, and the strata were in many places tilted and folded by pressure. Seas advanced and retreated over the New Zealand area many times and the sedimentary rocks represent almost every geological period since the Cambrian (see time scale). Their age is revealed by the fossils they contain or may be determined by various radiometric techniques.

As well as the sedimentary rocks of various ages, New Zealand incorporates in its complex structure metamorphic rocks (schist, gneiss and marble), and intrusive igneous rocks (granite, gabbro, diorite and serpentine). Many of these metamorphic and intrusive igneous rocks are hundreds of millions of years old.

Intrusive rocks are generally considered to have entered the outer crust in a molten state, often during periods of mountain building. Some may, however, result from the intense metamorphism (melting) of pre-existing sediments. Intrusive rocks contain large crystals and have a coarse-grained texture.

Metamorphic rocks are formed when previously existing rocks are subjected to high temperatures and pressures while buried deep within the earth's crust. During metamorphism new minerals and structures develop within a rock due to the great temperatures and pressures. Such metamorphism often takes place during relatively short periods of mountain building.

Volcanic rocks (basalt, andesite, rhyolite and ignimbrite), are the products of many volcanic eruptions that have characterised New Zealand's geological history. The most recognisable volcanoes in New Zealand now occur in the North Island, where a number are active. They include those in Tongariro National Park, White Island and Mount Tarawera. Others such as Mount Taranaki (or Egmont), and Rangitoto may be considered dormant at present although they are still regarded as significant hazards. Sporadic episodes of volcanic activity have also occurred in the South Island with Timaru, Lyttelton, Oamaru and Dunedin all having basaltic volcanoes less than 13 million years old.

Geological history

The oldest rocks in New Zealand are found in Nelson, Westland and Fiordland. They were formed in the Paleozoic era about 570 million years ago, but some in Westland may be older. They include thick sedimentary rocks which suggest that to yield the great volume of sediments a large landmass existed nearby at that time, although so far little has been deduced about its shape or position.

The history of the later part of the Paleozoic era, and the Mesozoic era, is rather better understood. For a vast span of time from the Carboniferous period, probably until the early Cretaceous period, an extensive depositional basin occupied the New Zealand region. At first, during much of the late Paleozoic, huge quantities of submarine lava and volcanic ash were included in the materials that accumulated. In the later Permian and Mesozoic times sediments were mainly sand and mud, probably derived from some landmass west of present New Zealand. These rocks have been compacted into hard greywacke (a type of sandstone), and argillite (hard, dark mudstone).

In the early Cretaceous period one of the main mountain-building episodes in New Zealand's history took place. Although basinal sedimentation continued through the Cretaceous period in eastern New Zealand, elsewhere this basin was compressed, and the sediments were intensely crumpled, broken and raised above the sea, probably forming a large, mountainous landmass. Some of the geoclinal sediments, now exposed over much of Otago, alpine Westland, and parts of the Marlborough Sounds, were metamorphosed into schist and gneiss by high temperatures and the tremendous deforming pressures to which the geocline was subjected. This intense folding of the strata occurred approximately 100 million years ago in the mid-Cretaceous period. Slowly the mountains were eroded and gradually a land of low relief was produced. The sea gradually advanced over the eroded stumps of the Mesozoic mountains, beginning its transgression earlier in some areas than in others. In the early Cretaceous period the land became submerged in the region of present Northland and the eastern margins of the North and South Islands, and thick deposits of mudstone and sandstone accumulated in some of these areas. At the close of the Mesozoic era, and in the very early Tertiary era, the land became so reduced in size that little sediment was produced and only comparatively thin deposits of bentonitic and sulphurous muds, and fine, white foraminiferal limestone accumulated. During this time, New Zealand's main coal deposits accumulated in swamps on the surface of the old land. These became buried by marine deposits as the sea continued its transgression in the Eocene period. By the Oligocene period most of the land was submerged and in shallow waters free of land sediments, thick deposits of shell and foraminiferal limestone accumulated. Scattered remnants of this Oligocene limestone are used for most of New Zealand's cement and agricultural lime.


After the Oligocene submergence, earth movements became more vigorous; many ridges rose from the sea as islands, and sank or were worn down again; sea basins formed and were rapidly filled with sediments. New Zealand's late Tertiary environment has been described by Sir Charles Fleming (Tuatara, June 1962) as follows: “The pattern of folds, belts and troughs that developed was on a finer scale than in the Mesozoic… the land moved up and down as a series of narrow, short, interfingering or branching folds …. We can think of Tertiary New Zealand as an archipelago … a kind of writhing of part of the mobile Pacific margin seems to have gone on.” The thick deposits of soft grey sandstone and mudstone that now make up large areas of the North Island and some parts of the South Island, are the deposits that accumulated in the many sea basins that developed in the later Tertiary.

Recent geological history

Late in the Cenozoic era, in the Pliocene and Pleistocene periods between 6 million and 1 million years ago, another great episode of mountain building took place. Earth movements became intense, and slowly pushed up the Southern Alps and New Zealand's other main mountain chains. It was during this period that the general size and shape of the present islands of New Zealand was determined. Much of the movement during this mountain-building period (the Kaikoura Orogeny) took the form of displacement of blocks of the earth's crust along fractures called faults. The total movement of blocks adjacent to major faults amounted to thousands of metres. It must have been achieved very slowly, probably by innumerable small movements, each less than a few metres. The blocks adjacent to ‘transcurrent’ faults moved both vertically and laterally along the faults. The New Zealand landscape today in some regions shows well-preserved, tilted fault blocks bounded by fault scarps (steep faces hundreds or even thousands of metres high). From Milford Sound to Cook Strait, an almost unbroken depression, formed by river valleys and low saddles on the intervening ridges, marks the line of New Zealand's Alpine Fault. Contrasting rock types occur on either side of the fault. This is illustrated by the 480 kilometre separation of Permian igneous rocks, which occur in Nelson and western Otago. Fault movements continue to the present day and have accompanied several major earthquakes of the past century. Many minor but revealing landscape features, such as scarplets or offset ridges, or streams, show where the movement has been occurring over recent centuries.

Erosion has transformed the landscape during this time, carving detailed patterns of peaks, ridges, valleys and gorges. The deposition of debris has built up alluvial plains, shingle fans and other construction forms. At the coast, waves have eaten back the headlands and built beaches, spits and bars. The late Pleistocene glaciers carved the fiords of Fiordland and the valleys occupied by most of the South Island lakes; there were also small glaciers on Ruapehu, where remnants survive, on Mount Taranaki and the Tararua Range. Sea-level changes accompanied the formation and later melting of global glacial ice, affecting the erosion and deposition of the rivers. These changes were responsible for the formation of many prominent river terraces.

Volcanic activity over the past few million years has played an important part in shaping the landscape. Banks Peninsula, a twin volcanic dome in Canterbury, also achieved much of its growth then. The largest volcanic outpourings of late geological times in New Zealand has been in the region between Tongariro National Park and the Bay of Plenty coast; andesite lava, scoria, and ash were erupted in the Pleistocene period and later, to build the volcanoes, Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe. More than 8000 cubic kilometres of molten rhyolitic magma was erupted in the form of ignimbrite pumice and rhyolite lava, building up the Volcanic Plateau, which is one of the largest and youngest accumulations of acid volcanic rocks in the world. Mount Taranaki is an andesitic stratovolcano, with the remnants of three other volcanic cones nearby; all are of Pleistocene age. In the Waikato there are eroded Pleistocene cones of andesitic composition associated with a number of alkaline eruptive centres. The largest is Pirongia, a basaltic andesite cone some 900 metres high. Auckland city and the area just south has been the scene of many eruptions of basalt lava and scoria in Pleistocene and Holocene times, and many small scoria cones can be seen there. Late Tertiary and Quaternary basaltic eruptions in North Auckland have built lava plateaus and many young cones. From these volcanic outpourings some valuable mineral resources have been derived. The ironsands mined on the west coast of the North Island are concentrations of magnetite and ilmenite, which have been eroded from volcanic rocks.


Compared with some other parts of the almost continuous belt of earthquake activity around the rim of the Pacific—such as Japan, Chile, and the Philippines—the level of seismic activity in New Zealand is moderate, although earthquakes are common. It may be roughly compared with that prevailing in California. A shock of Richter magnitude 6 or above occurs on the average about once a year, a shock of magnitude 7 or above once in 10 years, and a shock of about magnitude 8 perhaps once a century, but in historic times only one shock (the south-west Wairarapa earthquake in 1855) is known to have reached this magnitude.

Other natural disasters and accidents are together responsible for more casualties than earthquakes. The most serious seismic disasters in New Zealand have been the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931 in which 256 deaths occurred, and the Buller earthquake of 1929 in which there were 17 deaths. The total resulting from all other shocks since 1840 is less than 15 deaths. The last earthquake to cause deaths occurred at Inangahua in 1968, when three people died, while the most recent damaging earthquake was at Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty in March 1987.

The process of earthquake occurrence is understood in terms of a large volume of the earth's crust being subjected to strain by the relentless movement of the great plates of the earth's surface against each other. The strain eventually exceeds the strength of the rock, which ruptures. Energy is radiated outwards in the form of elastic waves, which can be felt at places near the origin, and detected by sensitive instruments at greater distances. In large shallow earthquakes the rupture may appear at the surface, forming or renewing movement on a geological fault. In regions where the majority of earthquakes are very shallow, such as California, there is a tendency for the earthquake origins to cluster near geological fault traces, but in regions of deeper activity, such as New Zealand, this is not so. There is little activity near the Alpine Fault, which stretches for some 500 kilometres from Milford Sound to Lake Rotoiti, and is considered one of the world's largest and most active faults.

Within New Zealand at least two separate systems of seismic activity can be distinguished. The Main Seismic Region covers the whole of the North Island except the Northland peninsula, and the part of the South Island north of a line passing roughly between Banks Peninsula and Cape Foulwind. The Southern, or Fiordland, Seismic Region includes southern Westland, western Southland, and western Otago. Less clearly defined activity covers the remainder of the two main islands, and extends eastwards from Banks Peninsula to include the Chatham Islands.

Shallow earthquakes, which are the most numerous, originate within the Earth's crust which in New Zealand has an average thickness of some 35 kilometres. These shocks are responsible for almost all damage to property, and are widely scattered throughout the country. In historically recent times, the Main and Fiordland Seismic Regions have been significantly more active than the rest of New Zealand, but neither the Central Seismic Region, which lies between them, nor the northern peninsula has been free from damaging shocks. The details of the present pattern are not necessarily unchanging, and could alter significantly after the occurrence of a major earthquake. Because of this, because of the broader geophysical setting, and because of the distance to which the effects of a large earthquake extend, it would be highly imprudent to treat any part of New Zealand as completely free from the risk of serious earthquake damage.


Many active regions of the Earth have only shallow earthquakes, but in others shocks have been known to occur at depths as great as 700 kilometres below the surface. It is thought that these deep shocks originate within the edges of crustal plates that have been drawn down or thrust beneath their neighbours. Such deep events are common in both the Main and Fiordland Seismic Regions of New Zealand, but their relative positions with respect to the shallow activity and to other geophysical features are rough mirror images. This is believed to indicate that in the North Island the edge of the Pacific Plate lies below that of the Indian Plate, while in the south of the South Island the Pacific Plate is uppermost and the Indian Plate has been thrust beneath it.

The most important system of deep shocks in New Zealand lies in a well-defined zone beneath the Main Seismic Region, stretching from the Bay of Plenty to Nelson and Marlborough. The maximum depth of occurrence is about 400 kilometres at the northern end, and decreases evenly to a depth of about 200 kilometres before the southern boundary of the region is reached. Along the whole of the system, there is also a regular decrease in depth from west to east. In northern Taranaki, near the western limit of this activity, a small isolated group of shocks at a depth of about 600 kilometres has also been recorded. In the Central Seismic Region only shallow shocks are known. The maximum depth of earthquakes appears to be less than 150 kilometres in the Fiordland Region where the deep activity is more concentrated than in the north, lying close to Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri.

Both earthquakes and volcanoes are found in geophysically disturbed regions, but large earthquakes are rare, although small earthquakes usually accompany volcanic eruptions. Regions of active volcanism are also subject to periodic outbreaks of small earthquakes, all of similar magnitude, and very numerous, known as ‘earthquake swarms’. Although the number of shocks may cause alarm, it is unusual for even minor damage to result. There is not often a simultaneous volcanic outbreak, but swarms are rare in non-volcanic regions. In New Zealand they have occurred in the volcanic zone that includes Mount Ruapehu and White Island, the Coromandel Peninsula, parts of Northland, and Taranaki.

Earthquakes in 1987. The largest was the Edgecumbe earthquake on 2 March, with a magnitude of 6.3. The next most damaging was that four days later, in Pegasus Bay, which caused some damage in Christchurch and North Canterbury.

Many other earthquakes occurred at greater depths in the earth, and so were not dangerous. The largest of these was on 23 March, just north of Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty. It was of magnitude 6.0, but was 350 km deep and so was felt only slightly, but as far south as Wellington.

Each year analysis of earthquake data from a network of record stations is completed by the Seismological Observatory of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. This analysis allows scientists to pinpoint the location, intensity and depth of earthquakes—information that can be used to pick trends and in the theory of plate tectonics.

1.3 Climate

New Zealand lies in the mid-latitude zone of westerly winds, in the path of an irregular succession of anticyclones, which move eastwards every six to seven days. The centres of these anticyclones generally track across the North Island, more northerly paths being followed in spring, and southerly paths in autumn and winter. Anticyclones are areas of descending air, and settled weather, with little or no rain, which may bring clear skies, or low cloud and fog. Between the anticyclones are troughs of low pressure, which extend northwards from low pressure depressions moving eastwards far to the south of New Zealand. Within these troughs there are often cold fronts, oriented north-west to south-east, which produce one of the commonest types of weather sequence over the country: as the front approaches from the west, north-westerly winds become stronger and cloud increases, followed by a period of rain for several hours as the front passes over, and then a change to cold showery south-westerly winds.

The mountain chain extending the length of the country has a major effect on the climate of its various regions, and produces much sharper climatic contrasts from west to east, than from north to south. In some inland areas of the South Island, just east of the mountains, the climate is distinctly ‘continental’ in character, with large daily and seasonal temperature variations, despite the fact that no part of the country is more than 130 kilometres from the sea. Ophir in Central Otago has the greatest extreme temperature range of 55°c.


The prevailing wind direction is westerly, although in individual months easterlies may predominate, and north of Taranaki the general flow is south-westerly. In the North Island winds generally decrease for a period in the summer or early autumn, but in many parts of the South Island July and August are the least windy months. The blocking effect of the mountain ranges modifies the westerly wind pattern. Wind strength decreases on the western side, but increases through Cook Strait, Foveaux Strait, and about the Manawatu Gorge. Air is also forced upwards over the ranges, which results in a warm drying (föhn) wind in the lee areas to the east of both islands. Wellington averages 173 days a year with wind gusts greater than about 60km/h, compared with 30 for Rotorua, 31 for Timaru, and 35 for Nelson. Sea breezes are the predominant winds in summer in many coastal places, such as Canterbury, where the north-easterlies are almost as frequent as the predominant south-westerlies.


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 ranges from as little as 300 mm in a small area of Central Otago to over 8000 mm in the Southern Alps. The average for the whole country is high, but for the greater part lies between 600 mm and 1500 mm. The only areas with average rainfalls under 600 mm are found in the South Island to the east of the main ranges, and include most of Central and North Otago, and South Canterbury. In the North Island, the driest areas are central and southern Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, and Manawatu, where the average rainfall is 700–1000 mm a year. Of the remainder, much valuable farm land, chiefly in northern Taranaki and Northland, has upwards of 1500 mm. Over a considerable area of both islands rainfall exceeds 2500 mm a year.

For a large part of the country the rainfall is spread evenly through the year. The greatest contrast is found in the north, where winter has almost twice as much rain as summer. However, the 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.

Rainfall is also influenced by seasonal variations in the strength of the westerly winds. Spring rainfall is increased west of, and in, the ranges as the westerlies rise to their maximum about October, with a complementary decrease of rainfall 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 there are at least 130 rain days a year (days with at least 1.0 mm of rain)—except to the east of the ranges where in places there are fewer than 110 rain days. Those areas of the South Island with annual rainfall under 600 mm generally have about 80 rain days a year. In the far south the frequency of rain increases sharply, rain days exceeding 200 a year in Stewart Island and Fiordland.

On the whole the seasonal rainfall does not vary greatly from year to year, its reliability in spring being particularly advantageous for agriculture. 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 582 mm, which occurred at Rapid Creek (Hokitika), where the mean annual rainfall exceeds 6000 mm. Areas with a marked lower annual rainfall can be subject to very heavy daily falls: such areas are found in northern Hawke's Bay and north-eastern districts in the Auckland province. By contrast, in the Manawatu district, Otago, and Southland, daily falls reaching 80 mm are very rare.


Mean temperatures at sea level decrease steadily southwards from 15°C in the far north to 9°C in the south of the South Island. Temperatures also drop with altitude: by about 2°C per 300 metres. January and February, with approximately the same mean temperature, are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest. Highest temperatures are recorded east of the main ranges, where they exceed 30°C on a few afternoons in most summers. The extremes for New Zealand are 42°C which has been recorded in three places, at Awatere Valley (Marlborough), Christchurch, and Rangiora (Canterbury); and — 19°C at Ophir (Central Otago). The annual range of mean temperature (the difference between the mean temperature of the warmest and coldest months) is small. In Northland and in western districts of both islands it is about 8°C and for the remainder of the North Island and east coast districts of the South Island it is 9 to 10°C. Further inland the annual range exceeds 11°C in places, reaching a maximum of 14°C in Central Otago, where there is an approach to a ‘continental’ type of climate.


The sunniest places are near Blenheim, the Nelson-Motueka area, and Whakatane, where the average duration of bright sunshine exceeds 2350 hours a year. The rest of the Bay of Plenty and Napier are only slightly less sunny. A large portion of the country has at least 2000 hours, and even Westland, despite its high rainfall, has 1800 hours. Southland and coastal Otago, where sunshine drops sharply to about 1700 hours a year, lie on the northern fringe of a broad zone of increasing cloudiness. A pleasant feature of the New Zealand climate is the high proportion of sunshine during the winter months. Although there is a marked increase in cloudiness in the North Island in winter, there is little seasonal change in the South Island, except in Southland.

Hail, thunderstorms, and tornadoes

The number of severe hailstorms reported annually over the whole country averages nine, but this figure varies yearly from four to 20. Severe hailstorms occur widely throughout the country, but the areas most affected are Canterbury, the low country of central Hawke's Bay, and a small area south and west of Nelson. Most of the hailstones are small, but occasionally larger stones cause local damage to glasshouses and orchards. Thunderstorms are not numerous. Their frequency is greatest in the north and western side of the country, where thunder is heard on 15 to 20 days a year. On the east coast of the South Island the average is commonly less than five. Tornadoes show a similar pattern to thunderstorms, except that maximum frequency occurs in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. An average of about 20 tornadoes and waterspouts is reported each year, but most of these are small.

Frost and snow

Local variations in frostiness are considerable, even within quite small areas. For example, at Albert Park, Auckland, the screen minimum thermometer has registered below 0°C only once in 65 years, while further up the harbour at Whenuapai aerodrome there are on average eight screen frosts each year. Favourable sites in coastal areas of Northland are free of frost, although further inland light frosts occur frequently in the winter months. Excluding the uninhabited alpine areas, the coldest winter conditions are experienced in Central Otago, the Mackenzie Plains of inland Canterbury, and on the central plateau of the North Island, but even in these areas night temperatures of — 12°C are rarely recorded. Elsewhere in the North Island the winters are mild, and in both islands sheep and cattle remain in the open all year round.

The North Island has a small permanent snow field above 2500 metres on the central plateau, but the snow line rarely descends below 600 metres even for brief periods in winter. In the South Island snow falls on a few days each year in eastern coastal districts, where in some years it may lie for a day or two even at sea level, but in Westland it does not lie at sea level. The snow line on the Southern Alps is about 2000 metres in summer, being slightly lower on the western side where the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers descend through heavy bush to within 300 metres of sea level. In inland Canterbury and Otago, where there are considerable areas of grazing lands above 300 metres, snowfalls are heavier and more persistent, and have caused serious sheep losses during severe winters. In that area, however, it is rare for the winter snow line to remain below 1000 metres for extended periods.

Relative humidity

Humidity is commonly between 70 and 80 percent in coastal areas and about 10 percent lower inland. The daily variation is greater than the difference between summer and winter. Very low humidity (from 30 percent down to 5 percent) occurs at times in the lee of the Southern Alps, where the föhn wind (the Canterbury nor-wester) is often very marked. 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 oppressive, although temperatures rarely reach 30°C. Dull, humid spells are generally not prolonged anywhere, but their frequency shows a marked increase in the south.


StationHeightRainfallScreen frost†Ground frost‡Bright sunshine
AnnualRain days*

* A rain day is one when 1.0 mm or more of rain was recorded.

† A screen (or air) frost occurs when the temperature in the screen (at 1.3 metres above ground) falls below 0°C.

‡ A ground frost occurs when the grass minimum thermometer (25 mm above short grass) reads − 1.0°C or lower.

Source: New Zealand Meteorological Service.

 metresmm no. daysno. dayshours
Kaitaia Airport801,41813801.72,113
Auckland (Albert Park)491,18514004.22,102
Tauranga Airport41,3491185.356.92,277
Hamilton (Ruakura)401,20113125.571.82,006
Rotorua Airport2871,49112321.256.9..
Gisborne Airport41,0581136.840.72,204
New Plymouth Airport271,5291442.012.82,165
Palmerston North (DSIR)3499512613.554.41,794
Masterton (Waingawa)11497112431.489.12,004
Wellington (Kelburn)1261,240125015.02,019
Nelson Airport29869937.789.72,397
Westport Airport22,1921681.039.31,925
Hanmer Forest3871,16311481.7139.51,898
Hokitika Airport392,78316816.056.41,846
Lake Tekapo68359772100.1175.82,217
Dunedin (Musselburgh)27841209.777.71,676
Invercargill Airport01,03715746.3111.11,621
Milford Sound36,26718228.556.1..


 Mean daily*Daily maximumDaily minimumAnnual extremes

* The mean daily temperature is the average of the maximum and minimum temperature for a given day.

Source: New Zealand Meteorological Service.

 degrees Celsius
Kaitaia Airport19.311.723.815.
Auckland (Albert Park)19.410.923.
Tauranga Airport18.59.323.614.113.34.533.3-5.3
Hamilton (Ruakura)17.88.323.913.511.63.134.7-9.9
Rotorua Airport17.67.522.811.912.43.029.8-5.7
Gisborne Airport18.79.124.413.813.04.438.1-3.4
New Plymouth Airport17.19.121.413.012.75.330.3-2.4
Palmerston North (DSIR)
Masterton (Waingawa)
Wellington (Kelburn)
Nelson Airport17.26.521.911.912.51.136.3-6.6
Westport Airport15.88.219.512.012.04.328.6-3.5
Hanmer Forest15.63.922.29.29.0-1.337.1-13.2
Hokitika Airport15.
Lake Tekapo14.81.621.36.08.3-2.833.3-15.6
Dunedin (Musselburgh)15.06.419.09.911.12.934.5-8.0
Invercargill Airport13.
Milford Sound14.45.418.59.310.31.528.3-4.9

1.4 Vegetation and wildlife

The vegetation and wildlife of New Zealand are the product of not only natural factors during tens of millions of years, but also human factors over the last 1000 years. The New Zealand landmass is a fragment of the ancient southern continent of Gondwanaland, which has been isolated for over 100 million years, allowing many ancient plants and animals to survive. Although New Zealand has undergone many physical and climatic changes, such as mountain building, volcanic activity, and glaciation, parts of the landmass have remained in continuous existence with part of their original complement of plants and animals.

New Zealand is now a very diverse land and changes from being almost subtropical (‘winterless’) in the north, to cool temperate, even subantarctic in the south, with a very wet, mild climate in the west, and a much drier, sometimes almost continental climate, in the east. A long and exceptionally diverse coastline, with many islands, produces habitats for coastal and lowland plants and animals, and there are extensive montane and alpine habitats as well. Geological variation has meant species have adapted to habitats based on soils derived from limestone, volcanic rock, serpentine, alluvial muds and gravels, and peat. Such diversity has led to New Zealand being classified into over 260 ecological districts, each with a distinct blend of topography, climate, vegetation, and wildlife.

Superimposed on natural diversity has been 1000 years of human activity; harvesting of naturally occurring species, introduction of species from elsewhere, and transformation of natural vegetation into farmland by fire, logging, and drainage. While approximately 80 percent of the land area was forested before humans arrived, only 23 percent remains forested, mainly in the mountainous hinterland.

Origins of plants and animals

The vegetation and wildlife of New Zealand today is made up of different bio-geographic elements. The Gondwanaland element, consists of ancient plants and animals: conifers such as kauri (Agathis australis), frogs (Leiopelma), reptiles like tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), large ground snails (Powelliphanta), and flightless birds such as the kiwi (Apteryx spp.) and the now extinct moa (Dinothiformes). A tropical element includes the nikau palm, kie kie (Freycenetia), tree ferns, many northern forest trees, tropical snails (Placostylis), and earthworms. An Australian element includes many ferns, orchids, small seeded tree species like manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), insects, and birds (such as the nectar-feeding tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae), parakeets, and many wetland birds). A Pacific element includes trees like pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), numerous ferns, and migratory birds like the shining cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus). A subantarctic or circumpolar element includes beech (Nothofagus), which occurs also in South America and Southern Australia and was once present on Antarctica, and the world's largest assemblage of several characteristically southern bird groups such as penguins, albatrosses, and petrels. A South American element includes Fuchsia. A cosmopolitan mountain element entered New Zealand along the mountain and island chain from South-east Asia and includes plants such as buttercups, daisies, veronicas and gentians. A cultural element of recent human origin comes from all parts of the world (particularly Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa), and consists of trees, horticultural plants, weeds, mammals, birds, and many other groups.

Everlasting daisies, North-west Nelson Forest Park.

Northern (subtropical), central (temperate), and southern (subantarctic) marine areas can also be recognised, each with characteristic species; for instance rock oyster, blue mussel and dredge oyster, respectively. Bull kelp is a notable southern species. Some very unusual marine animals occur, including black coral and ancient brachiopods in the southern fiords, and recently discovered sea daisies—starfish relatives which live on sunken wood at a depth of 1000 metres. The complex sea floor means that shore, continental shelf, and deep water species occur close together, resulting in diverse marine life.

Vegetation and wildlife today

Uniqueness is a feature of the natural life of New Zealand. Foremost is the absence, apart from two species of bat, of local land mammals, which had not evolved at the time New Zealand became separate. Many flightless birds and insects have evolved. The most remarkable birds were some 12 species of moa, forest and shrub browsers that took the place of large herbivores in other parts of the world. Moa became extinct during Maori times, but other flightless birds remain, including kiwi, kakapo (a nocturnal parrot—the largest in the world), and weka (a scavenging rail). Flightless insects are numerous, including many large beetles and cricket-like weta.

Albatross chick, Otago.

The absence of mammals also meant that birds became important as seed-dispersing agents, so that most forest plants bear small berries, including the giant conifers (podocarps), the smaller canopy trees, and even some forest-floor herbs. Some alpine plants produce berries, dispersed by the New Zealand pipit and the kea (mountain parrot). As a consequence of the great physical and climatic upheavals which New Zealand has undergone the forest has been influenced by extinction. Coconut palms once occurred in New Zealand, and fossil remains of kauri, now limited to the northern North Island, have been found south to Canterbury. Some tropical plant groups are represented by a single species, surviving only on protected islands, or in the far north. Some, like Tecomanthe are known from only a single plant in the wild.

The range of bird species is also very limited in comparison with other temperate land masses of similar size. The endemic family of wattle birds contains only four species. One of these, the huia, is now extinct and considerable natural extinction has occurred in the past. On the other hand, there has been great diversification among smaller life-forms, such as tiny forest-floor snails, spiders, aquatic caddis flies, lichens, mosses and liverworts. Of note is the diversity of alpine plants such as daisies (Celmisia, Senecio), veronica (Hebe), native carrot (Aciphylla) and buttercups. Many of these plants produce rosettes of large leaves, which seem to adapt the plants to cold, windy, subantarctic conditions in the relatively recently-formed high mountains. A second group of plants adapted to cold, windy conditions are cushion plants, some of which form remarkable mounds called ‘vegetable sheep’.

In the forest and along its margins divaricating shrubs occur with tangled and crisscrossed branches bearing tiny leaves. Sometimes these shrubs are the juvenile forms of tree species, but more often are the adult itself. Nowhere else in the world is this peculiar growth form so abundant. It may be an adaptation to browsing by the now extinct moa, or it may help plants to adapt to cold or dry conditions.

Although many New Zealand plants and animals occupy very specialised habitats, droughts, high winds, floods, and erosion mean that many species need to be highly adaptable. Accordingly, many insects, such as native bees, gather food from a wide variety of sources, and some forest species, like beech, regenerate best after the parent forest has been destroyed (by volcanic eruption for example).

However, the overwhelming character of the land-based wildlife is its dependence on forest, and its vulnerability to introduced predators such as rats. The forests and natural grasslands have also been severely modified by introduced browsers such as possums, deer and goats, and some introduced plants, like marram grass, have taken over the places where native species would normally grow.

A vast proportion of the native animals and plant species are found only in New Zealand. Virtually all insects, spiders and snails, and all earthworms are restricted to New Zealand, as are most birds and plants, most freshwater fish (27 species), and all reptiles (38 species).

Table 1.8 summarises the numbers of native and introduced species in New Zealand today, although many figures are approximate and may change after future scientific investigation.


GroupNumber of speciesPercentage endemic*

* Native species not found anywhere else.

† Estimated.

Source: Department of Conservation.

Marine algae (seaweeds)3900†43
Ferns and allies2016341
Flowering plants1 7001 81384
Spiders/harvestmen602 500†90
Insects1 1009 46090
Freshwater fish23†2785

Forests. Apart from mountains above bush-line, swamps, coastal dunes, and some dry inland basins, most of New Zealand was originally forest-covered. The forests were reduced by a third by Maori clearance before European settlement, and a further third by European clearance over the last 150 years, so that now only 23 percent of New Zealand remains in native forest. Much occurs in mountainous areas, and most is now protected.

There is a wide range of natural forest types. Around the coast is a fragmented narrow band of plants with varying degrees of salt tolerance, (including mangroves, nikau palm and mostly tropical Pacific species, such as karaka and pohutukawa. Coastal forests are particularly important habitats for marine birds (for example various petrels and penguins), and offshore islands form refuges for tuatara, flightless, insects and snails. The characteristic New Zealand forest type is warm temperate evergreen rain forest. In the far north this is dominated by kauri and various broad-leved species, though little original forest remains. Swamp forest dominated by the podocarp kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) was once extensive, and remains prominent in the western South Island. Elsewhere the podocarps (rimu, totara, matai, and miro) are associated with a diverse range of broad-leaved evergreen tree species, ferns, vines and epiphytes, forming dense and complex multi-storeyed communities at low altitudes. The range of species gradually diminishes with both increasing altitude and increasing latitude. Evergreen beech forest is characteristic of the central and southern North Island and South Island, above 300 metres altitude. These montane forests have fewer species than lowland forests, and extensive areas may be dominated by a single tree species. The bush-line, usually of mountain or silver beech, is located generally between 1350 and 1500 metres.

A wide range of secondary forest types have developed since human arrival, notably kanuka forests east of the main divide, manuka and kanuka forests in northern New Zealand, and a range of broad-leaved tree and tree-fern forest types on abandoned farmland.

Cool moist climates produce an abundance of ferns in New Zealand forests, not only giant tree ferns, but also filmy ferns which clothe tree trunks, and ground ferns.

Shrublands. Natural shrublands are rare and usually occur where soil or water factors restrict forest development, such as the margins of coastal estuaries and other wetlands, and rocky bluffs. Immediately above the bushline, a narrow band of diverse shrubland often occurs, dominated by the heath Dracophyllum, shrub daisies, hebes, and alpine podocarps. The most extensive shrublands occur in the once-forested dryland of eastern New Zealand, where small-leaved sometimes spiny shrubs occur, notably matagouri (Discaria), tauhinu (Cassinia), and divaricating coprosmas. These shrublands are stages in the re-establishment of forest. Fernland, particularly bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum), once a staple Maori food, is very widespread throughout deforested New Zealand hill country. Like shrubland it serves as a nurse-bed for forest species.

Wetlands. A rise in sea-level inundated coastal valleys formed during the ice-age. This created extensive estuaries, rich in worms, molluscs and eelgrass, which are important habitats for marine birds, such as oyster-catchers and a refuge for migratory waders. In the north the estuaries support dense groves of low mangroves, while elsewhere there are extensive rush and sedge wetlands which are spawning grounds for whitebait or inanga (Galaxias spp.). The numerous rivers of New Zealand created extensive freshwater wetlands dominated by harakeke or flax (Phormium), raupo (Typha) and sedges. These have mostly been drained but are extensive in the western South Island. Numerous small swamps and lakes have been formed to the lee of sand dunes deposited along western coasts by prevailing westerly winds. Lakes, swamps and bogs made by glaciers are features of the South Island high country.

Dune lands. Coastal sand deposits were once colonised by the now threatened pingao (Desmochoenus spiralis), a sedge used for traditional Maori weavings. The areas have been stabilised by marram grass, lupins and pines, which have displaced native species, and so few remain in their natural state.

Grasslands. When Europeans arrived in the nineteenth century much of the eastern South Island was covered by short tussock grassland or silver tussock and fescue, which had become established after Maori fires removed forests. Before the Maori the only naturally occurring lowland tussock was in the dry interior of Central Otago. Pastoral farming and introduced grasses have now largely destroyed short tussock grassland. However, at higher altitudes, especially above the bush-line, extensive areas of natural tall snow tussock (Chionochloa spp.) occur.

Alpine vegetation. Large-leaved herbs, mat plants, and cushion plants occur throughout the tall tussocks, and in places dominate and form herb fields of great beauty in flower. Scree supports a range of specialised, often fleshy, drought-resistant plants. Alpine bluffs support a scattered cover of shrubs, herbs and cushion plants, adapted to extreme climate and sometimes possessing very strange form, such as the vegetable sheep (Raoulia spp, Haastia spp).

Introduced vegetation and wildlife. The New Zealand landscape is now dominated by introduced animals and plants. Over 1500 exotic plants grow wild, some (like rye-grass, browntop, gorse and sweet briar), over large areas. Although introduced plants have seldom colonised extensive areas of native vegetation, wild animals (deer, pigs, goats, possums, stoats and rats) are widespread, and some introduced birds, such as blackbirds, occur everywhere. Urban vegetation is largely exotic and domestic stock dominate agricultural areas throughout the lowlands.

Introduced plants and animals have greatly increased the diversity of species in New Zealand. However, their increase has been associated with a decrease in the area dominated by native species. Today a large number of native species are very rare and seldom seen. Some of these are ancient and stamp uniqueness on New Zealand as a living museum. Urgent measures are needed to ensure the healthy survival of this unique heritage of international importance.

1.5 Time zone

One uniform time is kept throughout New Zealand. This is the time 12 hours ahead of Co-ordinated Universal Time, and is named New Zealand Standard Time (N.Z.S.T.). It is an atomic standard, and is maintained by the New Zealand Time Service of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). One hour of daylight saving, named New Zealand Daylight Time, which is 13 hours ahead of Co-ordinated Universal Time, is observed from 2 a.m. (N.Z.S.T.) on the last Sunday in October, until 2 a.m. (N.Z.S.T.) on the first Sunday in March the next year. Time kept in the Chatham Islands is 45 minutes ahead of that kept in New Zealand.


  • 1.1 New Zealand Geographic Board/DOSLI.

  • 1.2 Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

  • 1.3 New Zealand Meteorological Service.

  • 1.4 Department of Conservation.

  • 1.5 Department of Internal Affairs.

Further information


New Zealand Atlas. Ward, I., ed. Government Printer, 1976.

Catalogue of Maps. Department of Survey and Land Information.


Gage, M. Legends in the Rocks—An Outline of New Zealand Geology. Whitcoulls, 1980.

Lillie, A. R. Strata and Structure in New Zealand. Tohunga Press, 1980.

Riddolls, P. M. New Zealand Geology—Containing Geological Maps of New Zealand 1:2 000 000. DSIR, Science Information Publishing Centre, 1987.

Searle, E. J. City of Volcanoes. 2nd edition. Longman Paul, 1981.

Smith, I. E. M., ed. Late Cenozoic Volcanism in New Zealand. Bulletin 23, Royal Society of New Zealand, 1986.

Soons, J.; Selby, M., eds. Landforms of New Zealand. Longman Paul, 1982.

Speden, I. G.; Keyes, I. W. Illustrations of New Zealand Fossils. DSIR Information Series 150, 1981.

Stevens, G. R. Lands in Collision: Discovering New Zealand's Past Geography. DSIR Information Series 161, 1985.

Stevens, G. R. New Zealand Adrift: The Theory of Continental Drift in a New Zealand Setting. A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1980.

Stevens, G. R. Rugged Landscape. A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1974.

Suggate, R. P.; Stevens, G. R.; Te Punga, M. T., eds. The Geology of New Zealand. 2 vols. Government Printer, 1978.

Thornton, J. Field Guide to New Zealand Geology. Reed Methuen, 1985.

Williams, G. J. Economic Geology of New Zealand. AusIMM Monograph Series 4, 1974.


An Encyclopedia of New Zealand. McLintock, A. H., ed. Vol. 1. Government Printer, 1966.

Johnson, K. F. Bibliography of New Zealand Meteorological Service Publications 1892–1985. New Zealand Meteorological Service, 1986.

New Zealand Atlas. Ward, I., ed. Government Printer, 1976.

The Meteorological Service publishes monthly summaries of:

Climate Observations (Misc. Pub. 109) and Rainfall Observations (Misc. Pub. 110) annually; Climate Observations which are updated every 10 years, e.g. 1980 (Misc. Pub. 177); Rainfall Normals (averages) for 30-year periods, e.g. 1951–1980 (Misc. Pub. 185); Sunshine Normals (averages) for 30-year periods, e.g. 1951–1980 (Misc. Pub. 186); and Temperature Normals (averages) for 30-year periods, e.g. 1951–1980 (Misc. Pub. 183). The service also produces regional climatologies (Misc. Pub. 115), maps and many other publications.

Vegetation and wildlife

Enting, B.; Molloy, L. The Ancient Islands. Port Nicholson Press, 1982.

Kuschel, G., ed. Bio-geography and Ecology in New Zealand. W. Junk, 1975.

Salmon, J. J. The Native Trees of New Zealand. Reed Methuen, 1980.

Stevens, G. R. Lands in Collision: Discovering New Zealand's Past Geography. DSIR, 1985.

See also the bibliography, Books about New Zealand, at the back of this volume.

Chapter 2. History

2.1 New Zealand before 1840

Archaeology and oral tradition are the main sources for present-day knowledge of the origins and way of life of the early Polynesian inhabitants of the islands in the Pacific which became known as Aotearoa (literally ‘the land of the long white cloud’). Archaeology encompasses physical anthropology, linguistic evidence, and traditional accounts, as well as sophisticated examination of the tangible relics of human occupation. Oral traditions did not simply describe what happened. They also explained and justified past events, and were often the accounts of the victors in inter-tribal conflict. Both are of much value to historians, and also pose problems. Statements about New Zealand's Polynesian past must therefore remain tentative.

An outpost of Polynesia

The ancestors of Aotearoa's earliest inhabitants are thought to have reached the Western Pacific some 4000 years ago, and gradually made their way along the Melanesian chain of islands. Long ocean journeys became possible for them with the introduction of the sail and the invention of the outrigger, which stabilised canoes in rough seas. They reached Fiji and Tonga by about 1000 B.C., and in this area many of the distinctive features of Polynesian social organisation and language developed. About 2000 years ago there was a further eastward movement to the Society, Marquesas, and Cook Islands, at the heart of the Polynesian triangle. Probably from this region, the most isolated parts of Polynesia were settled—New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter Island. There has been much controversy as to the nature of, and reasons for, undertaking such long ocean voyages. Some would have been accidental, the result of canoes being blown off shore. At other times, refugees from defeated tribes or over-populated areas may well have set off into the unknown, confident that they were likely to make a safe landfall somewhere. Knowledge of stars, currents, bird migrations, and the signs of distant land was such that the possibility of controlled journeys over even thousands of kilometres cannot be discounted. The canoe or canoes which brought the first successful colonists to Aotearoa must have carried men and women, dogs, rats, vegetables for cultivation, and a variety of tools and ornaments for practical use and as models for those to be made subsequently. Such a well-equipped expedition is unlikely to have been completely accidental.

Polynesian people, known today as Maori, have lived in New Zealand since about the eighth century A.D. They came in one or more groups from the same general area of eastern Polynesia, known as Hawaiki. There are traditions of numerous voyages from Hawaiki, and of a number of famous canoes, whose occupants were the founders of tribal groupings which remain distinctive today. Some of these stories probably refer to migrations within New Zealand; a few to voyages elsewhere in Polynesia. After the initial period of settlement there were probably few or no continuing contacts with the outside world. Maori culture developed characteristics which reflected both its Polynesian roots and its new physical environment.

Maori agriculture

By the twelfth century settlements were scattered over most of the country. At first their inhabitants tried to reproduce a tropical Polynesian economy. Their ideal subsistence base was kumara (sweet potato) horticulture, supplemented by fishing, hunting, and plant gathering, but there was no typical form of subsistence. In the tropical Pacific the kumara is a perennial and can be propagated by direct transfer. Under New Zealand conditions it was necessary to store the crop over winter in sunken cellars and underground pits to provide tubers for winter consumption and seed tubers for spring planting. This adaptation of kumara cultivation was a great agricultural achievement. Gourds were also grown widely, and taro was important in a few favoured northern areas, while yam and paper mulberry cultivation was barely possible. Kumara would not grow in the southern part of Te Waipounamu (the South Island). Here people lived by hunting, fishing, and food gathering, and moved seasonally between areas with different resources.

In the early centuries of settlement the plains of Te Waipounamu, in particular, supported huge numbers of large flightless birds called moa. These provided an excellent food source, substituting for native land mammals, which were almost non-existent. Until moa numbers were seriously depleted, by hunting and by the destruction of the forest cover on which they depended for food, the eastern South Island seems to have been the most densely peopled part of New Zealand. The decline of the moa was probably accompanied by climatic changes which made horticulture more difficult and made the inhabitants more dependent on fish, shellfish, and marine mammals. After about 1400 the population of the South Island fell. In the most closely settled parts of Te Ika a Maui (the North Island), such as the Tamaki isthmus (now the site of Auckland), hunting and trapping declined rapidly, and fishing and shellfish gathering provided the main sources of protein. Here cultivations were more extensive and productive, and most people lived in settled communities, in which pa (earthwork forts) became increasingly common as the population grew, and competition for the most valuable land led to greater conflict.

Maori social organisation

Maori society comprised groups of varying size: whanau (extended families of perhaps 10 to 30 people), hapu (subscribes, with up to 500 members) and iwi (tribes). Membership of these groups was usually based on descent from a common ancestor. There were also waka, loose groupings of tribes whose claimed descent from people who had sailed on the same migratory canoe. Components of the system changed over time. Large whanau evolved into hapu, and large hapu came to be considered tribes, while other related branches declined. In everyday life hapu were probably the largest significant groups. They were the basis of the larger settlements and probably formed the normal fighting units in warfare. In response to major external threats, however, people would congregate at a few large pa setting aside quarrels to face the common tribal enemy. Settlement styles varied greatly, influenced by patterns of subsistence, climate, and the extent to which local relationships were peaceful or warlike. James Cook's 1769 expedition observed pa sizes ranging between three and 500 houses. People lived in dispersed hamlets, in large fortified pa and, in some areas, in isolated households. As with economic life, there was no single characteristic form of social organisation.

For most Maori life was fundamentally a communal experience, in which all aspects of living were inter-related. Economic and social activities were shared, and carried out on behalf of the whole community. Land, which was by far the most important form of property, belonged to the tribe as a whole, although smaller groups had traditional rights to use particular areas and resources. Kaumatua (elders) headed families. Communities were nominally—and to a significant degree, actually—ruled by rangatira (chiefs), whose positions were hereditary but had in practice to be reinforced by performance. Nor could rangatira ignore public opinion as expressed at tribal meetings by kaumatua. Chiefs and their possessions were to some extent tapu (sacred) and thereby protected against harm. Tapu also safeguarded cultivations and burial grounds, and functioned as an agency of social control more effective than any police force. Tapu was regulated by tohunga (priests or experts). Those of highest status interpreted the will of the gods and embodied tribal history and knowledge; lesser tohunga were specialists in such things as carving, tattooing, and canoe-building.

Relations between tribes

Tribal groups interacted through both trade and warfare. Regional specialities such as greenstone (jade) and titi (muttonbirds) were often transported long distances for bartering, probably at first mainly by ocean-going canoes. Knowledge also was transferred between tribes; Cook found at some landfalls that news of his coming had preceded him.

Making war was probably an important feature of life from the earliest times, although particular areas might be free of it for long periods. Competition for status and authority, and the desire for mana (prestige), motivated both individuals and whole tribes. Reasons for continuing conflicts were seldom absent: the importance of the concept of utu (the principle that acts should be repaid equally) meant that at least one party to a dispute usually felt justified in carrying it on. War was also a means of gaining control over land, which was valued for its fertility or its resources, such as stone for tool-making. But fighting was usually seasonal, fitting in with the cycles of subsistence, and conducted by small raiding parties carrying out sporadic attacks which produced few casualties. The construction of elaborate fortified pa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries suggests that warfare intensified in that period. Particularly in the warm, fertile northern part of Te Ika a Maui, where an increasing population made natural resources scarcer and more valuable. At times, economic pressures or military defeat displaced hapu or whole tribes into less desirable areas, whose occupants were in turn driven out or enslaved. But in many regions there was unbroken occupation by the same group of people over long periods.

Life in pre-European New Zealand has been seen by various writers as embodying ‘manly’ virtues, ideal communism, nature-centred spirituality, or healthy rural simplicity. It had elements of all these qualities, but it could also be ‘nasty, brutish and short’. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Maori were relatively tall and sturdy, free from infectious diseases, adequately fed, and fairly unlikely to die violently. But the average life span was only about 30 years, similar to that in most societies up to the twentieth century. Many adults suffered from arthritis brought on by constant physical labour, and from gum infections and tooth loss resulting from their diets.

By the late eighteenth century there were probably rather more than 100 000 ‘New Zealanders’, all but a few thousand of them living in the North Island. Fiercely protective of their social identities, they were deeply attached to the land which gave them physical and spiritual life. Their ways of living had evolved many local variations. They had no concepts of nationhood or race; as they began to encounter Europeans, they saw them as members of another, if stranger, rival tribe.

European exploration

There is no convincing evidence to support ingenious theories that New Zealand was the landfall for one or several long-forgotten European voyagers before the 1640s. It seems clear that the first arrivals from overseas for several centuries were the members of a Dutch East India Company expedition commanded by Abel Tasman. He was sent in quest of the riches of the Great South Land which was supposed to balance the land mass of Eurasia in the Northern Hemisphere. On 13 December 1642 he sighted ‘a large, high-lying land’ which he named Staten Landt. It was the west coast of the South Island of the soon-to-be-renamed ‘Nieeuw Zeeland’. Tasman anchored a few days later, and lost four men when local Maori interpreted an exchange of trumpet fanfares as a prelude to battle. Sailing away up the west coast of the North Island, he did not again attempt to land, and so found none of the ‘treasures or matters of great profit’ which were the object of his voyage. Aotearoa was now represented by a jagged line on European maps, but Tasman's experience did not encourage explorers or fortune-seekers to follow in his wake.

Europeans did not return until 1769. This time those seeking the mythical southern continent were British, the expedition's ostensible purposes were scientific, and its leader was the great explorer James Cook. On his first visit he circumnavigated New Zealand; his published journal and the reports of the scientists and artists on board made it known to the outside world. He returned in 1773–74 and 1777. There were misunderstandings and violence: a Maori was killed at Cook's first landfall and, in 1773, 10 of his men were killed and eaten at Arapawa Island. But he persevered, finding most encounters characterised by mutual curiosity and eagerness to barter. His respect for the Maori as ‘noble savages’ excited European imaginations, and foreshadowed attitudes which were to be important later.

Other explorers soon followed, the Frenchman Jean de Surville only two months after Cook first arrived. Ill-treating the local inhabitants, he set the scene for the blunders which three years later led to the deaths of his countryman Marion du Fresne and some two dozen crew. Julien Crozet, du Fresne's second-in-command, massacred about 250 Maori in retaliation. Further expeditions under the Englishman Vancouver, the Frenchman D'Entrecasteaux, and the Italian Malaspina (leading a Spanish fleet) ensured that New Zealand was not again forgotten in Europe.

Trade and religion

Two early British schemes to colonise New Zealand came to nothing. But soon after a penal colony was established at Port Jackson (now Sydney) in 1788, commercial exploitation of Aotearoa's resources became practicable. New Zealand became, in economic terms, an offshoot of New South Wales. In 1792 the first sealing vessel in New Zealand waters left a gang at Dusky Sound in Fiordland. Americans soon played a major role in sealing, which was mostly carried out in the far south, from Dusky Sound to Otago. It reached a peak in the first decade of the nineteenth century, after which over-exploitation brought a shift in the focus of activity to the newly-discovered sub-antarctic Campbell and Macquarie Islands.

Deep-sea whaling in New Zealand waters began in 1791, and remained important for about half a century, reaching a peak in the 1830s. Most whalers were American or British, although Australian, French, and Portuguese vessels were involved late in this period. Increasingly whaling vessels called at New Zealand harbours, notably the Bay of Islands, for rest, recreation, and replenishment of supplies. While whalers’ visits were usually brief, they became frequent enough to have a significant impact on local Maori communities. From 1829 bay whaling stations were established around the coasts of the South Island and the southern half of the North Island. These bases were usually quasi-permanent, and often became focal points for European settlement, as their activities included farming and trade.

Flax was seen as an important commodity from Cook's time. It was the intended economic basis for several abortive colonisation schemes. A boom in flax exports from the late 1820s proved to be short-lived, but it did result in more settlers joining the bay whalers and the already well-entrenched missionaries. Scraping flax was very laborious work, and the ropes and cordage made from it varied in quality. Timber was the next major primary product, with exports reaching a peak about 1840. Mills were opened around the richly-forested northern coasts, most notably around Hokianga Harbour, where a number of European timber millers settled, and a shipyard was established in 1826. Agricultural exports also increased. Potatoes (introduced by Cook or du Fresne) and pigs (landed at the orders of Governor King of New South Wales in the 1790s) were being traded with visiting ships by the early 1800s. From this time wheat and maize were cultivated by Bay of Islands Maori. By 1836 it was said that New Zealand was ‘becoming a perfect granary for New South Wales’. Missionaries had introduced horses and cattle in 1814, and later set up demonstration farms. Bay whalers and other traders also grew crops and ran stock. European enterprise developed side by side with such Maori adaptations as the rapid acceptance of the potato as a staple food.

New Zealand's first mission station was established at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands in 1814, under the auspices of the Church of England's Church Missionary Society. The man most responsible for its formation was Samuel Marsden, senior chaplain to the New South Wales penal colony from 1800 until his death in 1838. An entrepreneur as well as a stern propagator of the faith, he was a successful breeder of sheep and cattle, pioneered grape growing in New South Wales, and owned mills and ships. Under his supervision the society's mission at first comprised men with practical skills, who were encouraged to engage in trade. Indeed they had no choice, as the first station was on a site too poor to support even subsistence agriculture. The community barely survived isolation, internal squabbles, and the uncertain patronage of local chiefs. Preaching the faith did not really begin until the determined Henry Williams arrived to set up a new station at Paihia in 1823. The establishment of a farm inland at Waimate in 1831 was followed late in the decade by expansion of Anglican missions southwards as far as the Waikato, Rotorua, and Gisborne, and (in 1839) to the coast north of Wellington. From 1827 Maori language translations of the Bible were made, and the teaching of reading and writing in Maori was emphasised. The Wesleyans had opened a mission in the Hokianga area in 1823, and also set up stations further south in the 1830s. A Roman Catholic Marist mission, led by Bishop Pompallier, began in Northland in 1838. From the mid-1830s many Maori converted to Christianity. Movements which blended Maori and Christian ideas also developed. An example was that of Te Atua Wera/Papahurihia in the Bay of Islands-Hokianga area. They were part of the adjustment of traditional social patterns to new realities.

Changes in Maori society

It is difficult to assess what effect the presence of Europeans—around the coasts and venturing into the interior in the last few years before 1840—had on the indigenous inhabitants. It has been asserted that the Maori population declined by nearly 50 percent between 1770 and 1840; and, alternatively, that it was about the same in both years. Both sides put the 1840 figure at between 100 000 and 125 000. Differences of this scale over such a basic issue suggest how difficult it is to make firm statements about Maori society in the period. Areas such as the Bay of Islands and the Hokianga, where contact with Europeans was greatest, underwent changes in a few decades which had taken centuries to transform Europe. Maori society was resilient and able to adapt to the revolution in technology and ideas with which it was confronted. The European impact varied greatly. In the Bay of Islands there was an intermittent pakeha (non-Maori) presence from the 1790s, and permanent settlers from 1814; these numbered several hundred by 1839. In contrast, areas such as the Urewera mountains had not been visited by Europeans when British sovereignty was declared. Other regions had varying exposure to direct and indirect contact.

European diseases seem to have first reached epidemic proportions in the 1790s. The Maori initially had no immunity to them, and they were made more vulnerable by their communal lifestyle. Dysentery, diphtheria and influenza took many lives in the following decades. But some of the world's most lethal diseases, including yellow fever, typhus, and cholera, were not introduced, and by 1840 immunities to the more common types of sickness were beginning to develop. Some health problems resulting from pakeha presence were very localised—alcoholism and prostitution were confined to the few zones of intense contact. Other effects were widespread. European-introduced animals were both a source of food and rivals for scarce resources, while new plants such as potatoes and corn eventually became staples of Maori diet. The ability to purchase desired European goods depended on income-generating activities which often necessitated debilitating labour, such as raising commercial crops, felling and transporting timber, and stripping flax. Sometimes whanau or hapu moved to unhealthy lowland areas to be close to now-valued resources. New fashions in clothing, such as the wearing of European suits or blankets, regardless of their unsuitability in hot or wet weather, also increased susceptibility to sickness.

The nature of Maori warfare was altered by the introduction of muskets in the early 1800s. These were first used in small numbers as close-combat weapons of the traditional kind. By 1818 the Ngapuhi confederation—because of geography the pioneers of much social change in the period—discovered that the firing of many weapons at a distance created enough terror to enable the rout of an enemy to be completed by traditional means. From 1820, when their great chief Hongi Hika returned from a missionary-inspired visit to England with 300 muskets, Ngapuhi and their allies rampaged across the North Island on a series of expeditions which took many lives, settled old scores, and raised the mana of the victors to unprecedented heights. As muskets became widely available, other tribes took advantage of temporary leads in local arms races to attack their neighbours. By 1840 the balance of power was such that inter-tribal warfare had virtually ceased. One later effect of these campaigns was the migration of perhaps 30 000 people and, as a consequence, intractable disagreements about land rights in some areas.

Maori people were eager to adopt European goods and ideas: muskets, agricultural techniques, literacy, and Christianity were all enthusiastically embraced, and some (such as firearms) rapidly became necessities. Some Maori even travelled the world as crew members on European ships. But pakeha innovations were used in Maori ways for Maori purposes. If they did not serve these purposes they tended to be abandoned. The increased rate of conversions to Christianity just before 1840, for example, can be understood in terms of changes in Maori society, as well as seen as a consequence of more effective missionary activity. Social dislocation which resulted from inter-tribal fighting fed a need for spiritual explanation. But the new religion was also fashionable, and the mana which was granted to the literate brought many eager students to mission schools. Missionary teaching was a means to the end of gaining European knowledge. For Maori the most important function of a pakeha was to provide trade goods. Europeans lived in New Zealand on Maori terms, and in 1839 there were still only a few more than 1000 scattered over the whole country.

British sovereignty established

The vagueness of their instructions allowed early Governors of New South Wales to view New Zealand as a political as well as an economic ‘dependency’, and also to encourage plans for settlement. In 1804 Governor King ordered investigations into charges that brutalities had been inflicted on Maori by a ship's captain. This was the first of many attempts to regulate the behaviour of British subjects in New Zealand. In 1814 the Maori people were declared to be ‘under the protection of His Majesty’, and the missionary Thomas Kendall was appointed as a justice of the peace to maintain order in co-operation with local chiefs. He had no effective force at his disposal. Prisoners had to be sent to Sydney for trial. In 1817 Britain declared New Zealand to be outside its legal jurisdiction, although British subjects could be charged for serious crimes committed there. Schemes for colonisation continued, and in 1826 settlers selected by the first New Zealand Company arrived. While many went straight on to Sydney, some established themselves at the Hokianga. As trade and settlement increased, New Zealand moved further into the British sphere of influence. In 1832 James Busby was appointed British Resident at the Bay of Islands. He was a ‘watchdog without teeth’, having very few legal powers (he was not even a justice of the peace) and no reliable means of coercing British subjects. His authority rested on occasional visits by British warships. In 1837 one of three Europeans who had plundered the home of a Kororareka storekeeper was hanged in Sydney. British subjects fomenting disorder in New Zealand were clearly now subject, at least potentially, to legal retribution.

In May 1837 a combination of the remnants of the earlier New Zealand Company and others interested in profiting from Edward Gibbon Wakefield's ideas of transplanting the pre-industrial English class structure to the colonies formed what was soon to be named the New Zealand Company. An attempt at the ‘systematic colonisation’ of New Zealand was now imminent. Wakefield's vision was of the migration of integrated communities comprising all social strata from gentry to respectable working folk, while excluding the nobility and the very poor. The key to success was to set a ‘sufficient’ price for land. If land was too cheap it would be bought by both speculators and labourers, with ‘undesirable’ consequences; but the price was to be low enough to enable working class people to settle on the land after some years of thrift and honest toil, their purchases financing a fresh influx of labourers and ensuring continued economic growth. The eventual form of settlement owed little to this theory, but Wakefield's energy and the strength of his backers ensured that large-scale colonisation would take place. The company sent an expedition in 1839 to find a site for a colony. It acted in haste because the decision to annex New Zealand had already been made, and it wished to buy land before its dealings could be regulated by officials. Even before word reached England that any land had been bought, ships full of emigrants had departed, the first (the Tory) arriving at Port Nicholson (Wellington) on 22 January 1840.

British sovereignty over New Zealand was established in international law by New South Wales Governor Gipps’ proclamation on 14 January 1840 that his frontiers included New Zealand, and that Captain William Hobson was appointed his Lieutenant-Governor there. Hobson arrived at the Bay of Islands with a small entourage of officials on 24 January, and at Waitangi on 6 February 1840 he obtained from local Maori chiefs the first signatures to the ‘Treaty of Waitangi’. The significance of this document has been debated ever since. In its English-language original all rights and powers of sovereignty were ceded to Queen Victoria, while in return the possession of land, forests and fisheries was secured to the chiefs, with the Crown alone having the right to purchase land. The Queen extended her protection and all the rights and privileges of British subjects to the Maori people. The Maori-language version, hastily translated by the missionary Henry Williams, was couched in considerably vaguer terms, partly because of the difficulty of conveying European legal concepts. Maori signatories assented to the Queen taking over the rights of ‘kawanatanga’ (governorship). As their only example of the exercise of such authority was the ineffective James Busby, it is unlikely they understood the possible implications of their agreement. Over the next few months signatures to several differing versions of the treaty were collected around the country. Important tribes such as Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato did not regard it as a matter deserving serious consideration, and failed to sign; Ngapuhi were resented for their role as first signatories. To further complicate matters, on 21 May 1840, while signatures were still being sought, Hobson proclaimed British sovereignty over the North Island by virtue of the treaty, and over the South and Stewart Islands on the basis of Cook's discoveries. In 1841 New Zealand became a colony in its own right, and the capital followed a shift in the balance of European settlement from its first site at Russell in the Bay of Islands to the new town of Auckland on the Tamaki isthmus, which was both strategically located and surrounded by land ideal for farming.

2.2 European and Maori, 1840 to 1890

Growth of European settlement

New Zealand Company settlements were founded at Wellington in 1840, Wanganui and New Plymouth in 1841, and Nelson in 1842. By 1845 the company had brought about 9000 settlers to the country. In 1842 the main towns had non-Maori populations of 3800 in Wellington, 2900 in Auckland, 2500 in Nelson, 900 in New Plymouth, 650 in Russell and Hokianga combined (which shows how quickly this area was bypassed by settlers), and 200 in Akaroa, where colonists were landed by the French Nanto-Bordelaise Company in 1840. These European enclaves were ‘mere encampments on the fringe of Polynesia’; their very existence was dependent on the tolerance of local Maori. This could scarcely be relied on, as the New Zealand Company had bought land in such haste, and with such little regard for the communal nature of Maori land tenure, that war was at least threatened at each of their sites within a few years. In 1843 a number of Europeans were killed in the Wairau area when they illegally tried to arrest two Ngati Toa chiefs, Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, for resisting the survey of land that the chiefs denied having sold. Tribespeople led by these chiefs were involved in fighting in the hinterland of the Wellington settlement in 1846; again, Maori were opposing settler encroachment onto land that the Maori held was still theirs. There were several attacks on the town of Wanganui in 1847. In Taranaki the two races teetered on the brink of war for nearly 20 years. After two official investigations of the company's land purchase, the New Plymouth settlers were left to occupy a few thousand acres adjacent to the town. The scarcity of land suitable for agriculture blighted life within the towns. Uncertainty of tenure, and the mediocre quality of much of what was available, slowed sales and led to the acquisition of an increasing number of sections by absentee speculators (a problem which had impeded development in the New Zealand Company towns from the beginning). The resulting under-employment of Wakefield's ‘respectable’ labourers and artisans produced recurrent poverty and unrest. Only the later settlements of Otago and Canterbury could be considered successes. Otago was established in 1848 under the auspices of the New Zealand Company and in co-operation with the Free Church of Scotland. Canterbury followed in 1850, with the support of the Church of England. There were only 2000 Maori in the whole of the South Island, and land purchases there were not disputed at the time.

War and politics in the 1840s and 1850s

New Zealand's first Governors—Hobson and Robert FitzRoy—were hamstrung by their acute lack of resources. The British Colonial Office required its colonies to be self-supporting; they were expected to pay their way through customs revenue and land sales. But the New Zealand state was at first unable to obtain much land, despite its monopoly on purchases from the Maori. The latter were not eager to sell at less than a fair market price, which the state could not afford to offer them. The imposition of customs duties drove away traders and raised the price of imported goods. The administration, at times insolvent, survived on Maori goodwill and economic assistance, and minimal financial support from London. In 1844 FitzRoy abolished customs duties, imposed a property tax, and allowed limited direct land dealings between settlers and Maori. The practical effect of these measures was the loss of his only potential sources of substantial revenue. The measures were insufficient to conciliate the Ngapuhi chief Hone Heke, who was concerned at the decline of the Bay of Islands as a centre for European trade and settlement, and at the government's efforts to diminish chiefly authority by partially replacing it with its own. Heke's quarrel was with the state alone; he wanted to preserve the valuable Maori-European economic relationship. He allied himself with the resourceful chief Kawiti, who adapted traditional pa design to successfully withstand artillery bombardment and inflicted a serious defeat on British regular troops at Ohaeawai in mid-1845. Their combined forces had the better of a 10-month campaign which ended after an inconclusive engagement at Ruapekapeka in January 1846. Heke continued to be the most powerful man in the North until his death in 1850, and government influence there remained low. No punishment was imposed on the ‘rebels’.

FitzRoy was replaced during the Northern War by George Grey, who was to rule as Governor until 1853, and again (less autocratically) from 1861 to 1868. Backed, as his predecessors had not been, by adequate financial support from Britain, he was better equipped than they to mollify pakeha grievances about the slow growth of the colony. The European population had reached only 32 500 by 1854, when an elected General Assembly first met in Auckland. Demands for local self-government had nevertheless been voiced since 1840, when a New Zealand Company-appointed regime had ‘ruled’ for several months at Port Nicholson until Hobson declared it illegal. The ‘Wakefield’ settlements were led by well-educated gentry and middle-class families who expected to govern themselves. After Grey successfully argued against the implementation of an 1846 British Act conferring representative institutions, on the grounds that the state of race relations in the North necessitated his being in total control, constitutional associations in several centres agitated for elected assemblies.

The British Constitution Act of 1852 conferred a General Assembly with two chambers—an elected House of Representatives and a nominated Legislative Council—and divided the colony into six provinces (centred on the five Wakefield settlements and Auckland), each with an elected Provincial Council, and headed by a separately-elected Superintendent. The vote was granted to all pakeha men aged 21 or more who met minimal property-owning requirements. Maori were in practice nearly all disfranchised. The Provincial Councils were subordinate to the General Assembly, and were barred from legislating on a range of subjects, including customs duties, currency, the justice system, postal services, and marriage. The central settler government was competent to act in most areas, but ‘native’ policy remained in the hands of the Governor until 1864, and foreign policy was made by the British government. In areas of domestic policy the General Assembly was not completely its own master. The Governor was empowered to reserve New Zealand legislation for the Sovereign's assent, and the Sovereign could disallow legislation after the Governor had assented to it. Both these powers were used, although rarely. The United Kingdom Parliament also had the authority to pass legislation applying to New Zealand, even overriding New Zealand legislation. After considerable confusion, Parliament's right to appoint ministers (whose advice the Governor was normally obliged to take) was recognised and in 1856 Henry Sewell became Premier and formed the first responsible ministry.

Despite the comparatively wide franchise, for several decades only a minority of European males participated in electoral politics. The property test eliminated some, and many who were eligible did not register on the electoral rolls. Until 1879 polls in which fewer than half of those registered voted were common. Most people had more pressing concerns. A small group of men with sufficient leisure time to engage in politics easily dominated the scene; many were elected and re-elected unopposed. While there was a rapid turnover of MPs and ministries in the absence of any party organisation, there was considerable continuity in administration. A core of able men was essential for any ministry which was to last for long.

Most politicians put the interests of their own provinces before the colony's. Having been firmly established for several years before responsible central government came into effect, the provinces had taken over many key matters, including immigration, roading, land administration, policing, education, and hospitals. In 1856 their entitlement to land revenue and a share of customs duties was confirmed. In return they accepted responsibility for colonisation and development. Wide regional and local disparities resulted. The North Island provinces, particularly Auckland and Taranaki, had little land to sell and were always short of funds. Their South Island counterparts, especially Canterbury and Otago, had ample land and were to profit from economic booms which accompanied gold rushes in the 1860s, when they embarked on ambitious road, harbour, tunnelling, and immigration programmes. Wealthy provinces resented central government interference in their affairs, and southerners saw their revenues threatened by increased military expenditure in the North Island in the 1860s. Poor provinces looked to the capital for salvation from insolvency. Within each province the main towns were dominant, and little money reached outlying districts. This stimulated a desire for local autonomy which bore fruit in the creation of the new provinces of Hawke's Bay, Marlborough, Southland, and later Westland. Except for Hawke's Bay, they conspicuously failed to prosper, and their Lilliputian crises brought the whole system into disrepute. Nevertheless, European settlers identified strongly with their own communities, and the difficulty of communication between the areas they occupied made considerable regional autonomy essential.

Maori society from 1840 to 1860

In the 1840s the Maori were still preoccupied with their own concerns. Inter-hapu and inter-tribal competition was of paramount importance, and society remained fragmented. The very use of the word ‘Maori’, which implied the existence of a common race and culture, was mainly confined to pakeha until the 1850s. European innovations provided new ways to pursue traditional social and economic rivalries. Christianity offered literacy, a skill prized as a new basis for competition. Introduced foodstuffs such as potatoes and pigs, which could be raised in abundance with comparatively little effort, transformed the conspicuous production and ceremonial display of food—the yardstick shifted from quality to quantity. Maori participated vigorously in the colonial economy, exporting potatoes, wheat, and pigs throughout Australasia, and to the Californian goldfields. Maori farmers produced the bulk of New Zealand's exports to the Australian diggings. Horses, sheep, schooners, and flour mills were acquired as symbols of wealth as well as means to its creation. However, Maori agricultural production declined after an 1856 slump in the market in Victoria. European farmers had the advantage of individualised land tenure and, with access to credit, could make better use of technological innovations.

The first census of the Maori population in 1857–58 put the total at about 56 000, less than the pakeha population and only half of Dieffenbach's 1843 estimate. Both figures are doubtful, but the trend was clear. To the toll of diseases such as influenza, whooping cough, dysentery, and measles was added the effects of tuberculosis, bronchitis, and other respiratory tract infections, and low fertility caused by the previous generation's ill-health. High mortality rates contributed to the survival of belief in tapu and makutu (magic). The rituals of Christianity were widely adhered to, but for many Maori offered only partial explanations of an unsettled world.

As more European colonists arrived, questions of land ownership became more pressing. The traditional Maori practice was to reinforce claims to land by regularly using its resources. From this perspective, settlers who paid for land, built houses, and planted crops were generally accepted, but people who piled goods on the shore and disappeared were not taken seriously. From 1840 Maori people quickly became aware of the significance to the pakeha of the land deed itself, and the permanent nature of the alienation which followed its transfer. Yet they offered much land for sale over the next two decades. Many Maori were anxious to have settler communities in their midst as a guarantee of long-term progress. Land sales gave a unique opportunity to vindicate claims to customary title over rivals. The ceremony of payment was usually a vital part of the transaction, while the price paid was less important. Tensions between claimants often made sales acrimonious. Few chiefs obstructed sales on principle, just as few were committed to a policy of selling land. The goal was rather the advantage of one's own hapu.

Extensive land purchases by the Crown during Grey's first governorship were masterminded by his able lieutenant Donald McLean. Most of the South Island was bought for only £15,000, and 13 million hectares throughout New Zealand had been obtained by 1853 at a total cost of £50,000. McLean made huge purchases in the Manawatu, Wairarapa, and Hawke's Bay, while the boundaries of settlement advanced more slowly in the Auckland area. Maori tribes remained in control of a broad belt of territory stretching across the North Island from Taranaki to the Bay of Plenty and the East Coast. Grey's successor, Thomas Gore Browne, was unable to buy much land in this region, even when McLean resorted to secret deals and other underhand tactics in response to increasing settler pressure. Maori attempts to prevent land sales culminated in a pan-tribal movement, the Kingitanga, which in 1858 installed the venerable Waikato chief Te Wherowhero as King Potatau I. Its promoters hoped to end the chronic disputes by placing all Maori land under the King's mana and making its ownership subject to the decisions of his magistrates. But Maori society had no precedents for allegiance to a central judicial or administrative authority. Tribes of the Tainui confederation generally supported the King, but many others did not. The Kingitanga meant more to the chiefs, as a means of bolstering their mana—threatened by European-inspired individualism—than it did to their followers.

The struggle for supremacy: 1860–1872

Grey hoped to gradually transform the Maori into brown-skinned pakeha, who would ultimately be absorbed by inter-marriage into a predominantly European population. Grey's policy would require radical changes in Maori lifestyle, which he encouraged in a variety of ways. He financed English-language education of Maori children, fostered Maori agriculture and commerce with gifts of ploughs, mills, seeds, and schooners, and employed Maori and pakeha on ostensibly equal terms in the police forces that he controlled. In his second term Grey established a scheme for local administration under which Maori runanga (assemblies) would gradually introduce European concepts of law. The purpose of these ‘new institutions’ illustrates Grey's overall aim: the ‘amalgamation of the races’ was to occur on pakeha terms. Britain had asserted since 1840 that its law applied throughout Aotearoa, but in 1860 much of the North Island was still effectively beyond government control. The war which now broke out had much to do with the contest for land, but it was also a struggle for authority over the people that the land sustained, and for mana.

Fighting began in Taranaki in March 1860, when British troops attempted to remove Te Atiawa tribespeople from land at Waitara which the Crown had allegedly bought, but which most of its claimants had refused to sell. Te Atiawa were soon reinforced by the Taranaki and Ngati Ruanui tribes, and later by Kingite forces from the Waikato region. In June, 350 Imperial troops were heavily defeated when they assaulted a pa at Puketakauere which contained both dummy and concealed defensive positions. For a year the civilian pakeha population remained virtually under siege in New Plymouth, while the British military vainly sought to engage the Maori in a decisive battle. Eventually the British embarked, under cover of a series of redoubts, on a laborious advance, which had achieved no tangible success by the time a truce was agreed in March 1861. Fewer than 1000 Maori warriors had not lost any territory to some 3500 opponents, and were also able to keep the considerable resources plundered from abandoned European properties.

With Grey's return in 1861 the focus shifted to the Waikato. Imperial troops were steadily augmented, a military road was constructed from Auckland to the Waikato River, and the heartland of Kingite power was invaded in July 1863. British forces eventually numbered 14 000 effective troops (more than were available for the defence of England) and were led by a highly competent staff under General Sir Duncan Cameron, but they had great difficulty pushing back Maori opponents who never numbered more than 2000 at one time. Given the inability of the Maori economy to sustain an army continuously in the field, and the many obstacles to effective inter-tribal military co-operation, the Kingite resistance was remarkably successful, but by mid-1864 the Waikato Basin had been occupied up to the Puniu River. The search for a decisive victory now led Cameron to Tauranga, where he was stunningly defeated in a frontal attack on a superbly-designed fortress at Gate Pa, but was able to partially avenge this reverse at Te Ranga a few weeks later.

Armed constabulary officers, Waikaremoana Expedition 1869.

The territory occupied in the ‘Waikato War’, about 400 000 hectares, was confiscated by the colonial government, but fighting was far from over. Imperial troops campaigned on the west coast in 1865–66, while colonial units and allied kupapa (pro-government Maori) fought in the east. Both opposed adherents of the new religion of Pai Marire, which combined elements of traditional Maori beliefs, Christianity, and the innovations of its Taranaki prophet, Te Ua Haumene. In 1868, with Imperial forces now withdrawn from active service and ‘native’ policy firmly in the hands of the settler government, a grave crisis abruptly confronted pakeha New Zealand. Belated attempts to implement years-old land confiscations provoked a campaign by the Ngati Ruanui chief Titokowaru, who with a few hundred warriors repeatedly defeated much larger colonial forces until dissension among his followers brought his advance to an end. Simultaneously, the Rongowhakata prophet Te Kooti Rikirangi conducted a brilliant guerrilla campaign in the Poverty Bay area after escaping with some 160 prisoners of war from exile in the Chatham Islands. He proved far less adept than Titokowaru at pa construction and defence, however, and armed support for his cause dwindled until he was forced to seek sanctuary in Kingite territory early in 1872. The zone of effective Maori autonomy had now shrunk, but it still encompassed the ‘King Country’ in the central North Island, South Taranaki, and the Urewera district. Pakeha sovereignty was now an established fact, but it was by no means absolute.

Pastoralism and gold

The huge Grey/McLean land purchases were the basis for an expansion of European economic activity. The Canterbury settlement, whose social composition came closest to Wakefield's ideal, was for a few years the colony's best approximation to a concentrated agricultural community. Soon, however, it became the most important base for a rapidly expanding pastoral economy. From the late 1840s, sheep grazing spread across the open country along the east coasts of both islands. Australian ‘squatters’ sold surplus merinos to New Zealand colonists with capital, and from the early 1850s many crossed the Tasman themselves to take up cheap long-term grazing leases. Grey reduced the price of rural land in 1853, ostensibly to help small farmers. The main effect, however, was to allow runholders to consolidate their holdings. By the mid-1860s many had secure tenure. During this ‘golden age’ of pastoralism, overseas prices for wool rose steadily, and sheep numbers increased from 750 000 in 1855 to 10 million in 1870. Wool was king, and the pastoralist came in some ways to resemble Wakefield's rural gentleman, pre-eminent economically, socially, and politically in his domain. But the scale of pastoral farming was very different from the intensive agriculture Wakefield had envisaged. Much of the work (e.g., shearing) was seasonal and undertaken by itinerant labourers; station homesteads were often quite primitive, and usually far from neighbours. Transience and loneliness thus accompanied economic growth.

The quest for wealth from a second staple product—gold—brought more hardship and isolation in the 1860s, even as the population rose rapidly. Beginning in 1861, a series of gold rushes transformed Otago virtually overnight. The province's population increased fivefold (to 60 000) between 1861 and 1863. Then the main focus of activity shifted to the west coast of the South Island, where by 1867 there were 29 000 inhabitants in an area almost unoccupied three years earlier. Mining declined rather quickly in Otago, more slowly in Westland. From the 1880s expensive dredging techniques revived the industry in both regions. The ‘diggers’ had profited less than had merchants, bankers, and farmers. Farmers also benefited from the influx of British troops during the Waikato war. Briefly, their provisioning was one of the colony's main sources of income. Equally briefly, small mixed farms became profitable.

In the 1860s, while the European population of the North Island rose to 97 000, the South Island's European population increased to 159 000. Unequal growth brought political change in 1865, when the capital was moved south to Wellington and the South Island gained 13 additional parliamentary seats. Otago was transformed from an obscure Presbyterian outpost into the foremost commercial and industrial province, with a quarter of the colony's pakeha population producing one-third of its exports. Secondary industries, largest in Otago and Auckland, manufactured a wide range of products for local markets and by 1871 about 10 000 people were employed in manufacturing. The larger towns now contained groups of artisans and labourers with some capacity for combined action. In Dunedin the unemployed demanded relief work as boom turned to slump in the late 1860s.

‘Vogelism’: immigration and public works

The Otago-based businessman and politician Julius Vogel became Colonial Treasurer in 1869, and dominated political life until his departure for London in 1876 as Agent-General (a post which combined diplomacy and business promotion). When he took office the income-generating British troops had almost all left and the colony had just survived the severe military crisis of 1868–69. Dependence on world commodity prices had proved to be a mixed blessing, since receipts for wool and gold exports had slumped. The average wool price had fallen to 11 pence per pound in 1870 from 16 pence in 1860. Faced with the prospect of a serious depression, Vogel persuaded his cabinet colleagues to approve a programme of public borrowing to finance growth. Twenty million pounds were borrowed in a decade, mostly from Britain. The role of the state grew; there were four times as many civil servants in 1877 (some 7200) than a decade earlier. A large publicly-owned infrastructure of transport, communication, and other services was established. The 234 kilometres of public railways in 1873 became 1840 kilometres by 1880. One-third of public expenditure in the decade to 1881 went on roads and bridges, which had more practical effect than railways in improving communications in most areas. Also, 6500 kilometres of telegraph lines were built in the 1870s (their construction had begun for military reasons in the previous decade). Expensive harbour projects were undertaken around the country, and there was a boom in residential, business, and public building. Government spending in 1872 was said to be 13 times that of Canada on a per capita basis.

The 1870s was a decade of large-scale emigration from Europe. Most migrants went to America, a significant fraction to Australasia. The arrival in New Zealand within nine years of 115 000 government-assisted immigrants contributed to the near-doubling of the non-Maori population to 490 000 in 1880. Organised communities of Scandinavian, English and Irish came out under special settlement schemes. The first group were prominent in the clearing of the ‘Great Bush’ which covered much of the southern half of the North Island. This unremitting toil, like that of the railway and road builders, laid the foundations for much future development. The immediate result of Vogel's policies, however, was a substantial enlargement of New Zealand society without any corresponding strengthening of the economy. The colony had become more, rather than less dependent on Britain as a source of both capital and income. By 1881 more than 90 percent of export revenue came from the United Kingdom, whereas Australia had taken over half New Zealand's exports in the 1860s. Wool had regained the status of largest overseas earner from gold.

The development of a centralised colonial economy linked by modern communications had political implications. While the implementation of ‘Vogelism’ was much influenced by regional pressures, it transformed the balance of power between centre and provinces. Provincial governments, designed in part as agents of colonisation, were now proving superfluous in this role. In 1871 the central government took over sole responsibility for immigration and railway construction. Opposition to some of Vogel's policies by provincialists in the House led ultimately to the end of the provincial system in 1876, over the protests of wealthy Canterbury and Otago. A network of county councils now joined existing borough councils, road boards, and harbour boards as the units of local government. Regional education, hospital, and land boards soon followed.

The 1880s: stagnation and innovation

A credit squeeze in 1878–79 ushered in some 15 years of economic stagnation, during which export and import prices, and wages all fell roughly in proportion. Burdened with the overseas debts incurred in the 1870s, New Zealand remained dependent on the ability of a depressed British working class to buy its primary products. The most promising development was the beginning of frozen meat exports with the voyage of the Dunedin to the United Kingdom in 1882. This trade grew slowly at first. While there were 21 freezing works in 1892, they were not working to capacity. By then, however, meat exports exceeded £1 million in value annually, second only to wool. Experimentation produced new breeds of sheep, which provided good quality mutton as well as wool, and were suited to the country's dryers pastures. In 1882 New Zealand's first dairy factory opened at Edendale in Southland. Exports of dairy produce also grew slowly, with banks reluctant to finance small farmers’ production of perishable butter and cheese. Mechanisation in processing was paralleled by technological innovations in farming itself. Horse-drawn reapers and binders began to replace men. Traction engines and mechanical threshing mills appeared in the 1880s, as a boom in wheat production saw exports peak at more than £1 million in 1883. Local manufacturers ingeniously adapted agricultural equipment to local needs. The introduction of shearing machines in the late 1880s further reduced the demand for rural labour.

Other products enjoyed fluctuating fortunes. Most important in Auckland ‘province’ (provincial identity long outlived the institutions themselves), timber processing became the country's largest manufacturing enterprise between 1875 and 1885. A substantial export trade in kauri timber was vulnerable to erratic prices, as was the ‘poor man's industry’ of extracting kauri-gum (resin) deposits. Coal was exported from Westland from the mid-1880s. Urban manufacturing continued to grow until about 1886, after which the availability of cheap imports brought a decade of decline. By 1886 the number of industrial workers, including those making handicrafts, had reached 39 000. Most industries were small concerns serving local needs. In 1891 one-third of factory employees produced clothing and textiles, while a fifth made building materials, and another fifth food, drink, and tobacco products. Local manufacturers received some protection in 1888, when the Atkinson ministry imposed a 20 percent tariff on imported goods which competed with locally-made products. Not for the last time, a conservative government proved willing to use the power of the state for economic ends. The low-cost, low-wage conditions under which New Zealand industry operated were highlighted by the report of the 1890 Sweating Commission, which revealed exploitation of women and children in industry. The failure of the 1890 Maritime Strike by seamen, watersiders, miners, and railwaymen emphasised the relative weakness of urban labour in a mainly rural, export-dependent economy.

Maori society to 1890

The wars of the 1860s had brought both unprecedented Maori unity and new divisions. Alliance with the pakeha had offered some tribes the opportunity to settle old scores. While some kupapa fought defensive actions on their own soil, others ranged across the North Island in a manner reminiscent of the large supra-tribal war parties of earlier in the century. Co-operation and resistance continued to be twin motifs of Maori response to the pakeha for several decades after overt warfare ended. On balance, it seems that in this period collaboration was the less successful means of preserving tribal autonomy.

Kupapa and ‘rebels’ both suffered from the land confiscations of the 1860s. Fertility and strategic location were more important considerations for the settler government than the owners’ part in rebellion. The operations of the Native Land Court, established under the Native Lands Act 1865, which permitted the leasing or purchase of land from Maori named in the court's certificates of title, efficiently parted the Maori from much of their remaining land. From 1873, the court operated under a system that was even more clearly weighted in favour of Maori wishing to sell land. In the 1880s land in the King Country itself—where King movement supporters had continued to live in effective independence—began to come before the court, and this paved the way for its purchase. Construction of the Auckland–Wellington railway through Ngati Maniapoto territory symbolised the end of an autonomous Maori zone. By 1892 less than one-sixth of the country remained in Maori ownership, and a quarter of that was leased to Europeans. Most Maori-owned land was rugged and bush-clad. Maori were now only 7 percent of the population; epidemics had reduced their numbers to 42 000 by 1896. Living in poor conditions—many in insanitary, makeshift camps—they grew scarcely enough for their own needs and relied increasingly on public works and seasonal work on European farms.

Yet Maori society remained resilient and adaptable. This was a time of intense political activity, of large tribal and supra-tribal meetings held in splendid new meeting-houses, and of negotiations with pakeha politicians. ‘Loyal’ Maori had been rewarded with four seats in the House of Representatives in 1867 and Maori MPs became increasingly skilled advocates of Maori rights. Ngati Kahungunu kupapa leaders organised a Repudiation movement to challenge the Hawke's Bay land sales of the 1860s. Kepa te Rangihiwinui, who had been one of the pakeha's main military allies, led an anti-land-sales group in Wanganui in the 1880s. In Te Waipounamu, the prophet Te Maiharoa led a heke (migration) of Ngai Tahu, which peacefully reoccupied tribal land in the Waitaki valley for two years, until evicted by armed police in 1879. In Taranaki, land proclaimed confiscated was left in Maori hands for more than a decade before pakeha settlers sought to occupy it. Here Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi, based at Parihaka, led a movement of passive resistance which attracted wide support, and was only subdued in 1881 by a massive show of military force. The two leaders and many of their followers were temporarily exiled to the South Island. Maori spiritual values remained strong. King Tawhiao's Tariao (‘morning star’) faith recognised guardian spirits and ancestors, and drew on the teachings of Te Ua. Te Kooti proved ultimately more significant as founder of the comprehensive and sophisticated Ringatu faith than as a warrior. The mission-trained Te Whiti claimed God's special protection for the Maori and preached predestination.

While Maori people now participated in the pakeha economy, they generally did so in family groups rather than as isolated individuals. The Maori remained separated from pakeha life by language and culture, as well as by geography. While there was no rigid segregation, they were still a distinct ethnic and social group. In the context of nineteenth-century European expansion world wide, this was no small achievement.

2.3 Development and depression: 1890 to 1935

The Liberals in power

Although 1890 came to be seen as a watershed year in New Zealand history, its significance was less apparent at the time. A general election resulted in a fragile majority for the loosely-organised team supporting Liberal leader John Ballance, who differed from Premier Harry Atkinson chiefly in proposing a graduated land tax which would encourage large landowners to reduce the size of their holdings and allow more small farmers on to the land. In Dunedin and Christchurch, increased awareness of political issues among wage-earners after the defeat of the Maritime Strike had electoral consequences, with the return of candidates sympathetic to labour. In rural electorates, by contrast, abstention from voting remained the most typical form of political activity. The abolition of plural voting had reduced the direct political power of those who owned property in several constituencies, but there was still a ‘country quota’ which gave rural voters 28 percent more strength than was justified by their share of the total population.

Ballance became assured of a viable majority in the House only after Atkinson alienated a number of members by stacking the Legislative Council with new appointees, in a bid to establish an unassailable majority there. The conservative ‘Continuous Ministry’ at last left office, leaving a legacy of constitutional controversy, which did much to unify the Liberal alliance. Ballance now sought to make his own appointments to the upper house. After two years’ argument the British Colonial Secretary instructed New Zealand's Governor to acquiesce. This ended the Governor's substantive role in politics. An Act set a seven-year term (as against tenure for life) for future legislative councillors and reduced the upper house to the effective status of a debating chamber. These events, together with the extension of the franchise to women in 1893—a result of the unwillingness of the new Liberal leader Richard John Seddon to alienate a powerful feminist-temperance alliance—gave New Zealand politics a markedly more democratic appearance.

Premier Richard Seddon (right) addressing a rally near Greytown in the late 1890s.

Liberal legislation at first focused on land issues. The Land and Income Assessment Act 1891 imposed a modest, and modestly-graduated, tax on unimproved land values. This tax was a minimal imposition on prospering pastoralists, who sold up (when they did so) because rising land prices made it worthwhile. In 1892, Minister of Lands John McKenzie offered Crown lessees an optional 999-year lease without revaluation—this was freehold tenure in all but name. By 1907 more than 5000 Crown tenants had taken up some 1 million hectares under this tenure. These measures fostered Liberal support in the country-side, and in the 1893 election the party doubled its rural representation. Overall it now held 51 of the 74 European seats. The Advances to Settlers Act 1894 offered state loans to (non-Maori) settlers at reasonable interest rates. Its chief beneficiaries were not new ‘bush farmers’, but established farmers who could borrow to make improvements.

The success of these policies was much enhanced by a steady rise in export receipts after 1894. This income allowed the government to borrow for public works construction, land purchase, and loans to farmers, and enabled farmers to service their mortgages from increased earnings. By the end of the 1890s the full impact of refrigeration was bringing significant economic changes. In 1901 there were nearly 5000 dairy farmers, and by 1911—when they totalled one-third of all farmers—there were three times as many. The trend towards intensive farming was firmly established, as small-scale production became commercially viable. Before 1890 it took many sheep or a substantial herd of cattle to make a living; by 1900 a few hundred sheep or a handful of dairy cattle would suffice. Subsistence farming, widespread in the nineteenth century, now declined. Farming became a business, and increasingly a family business, as mechanisation brought a decline in the number of rural labourers. There were now three farm-produced export staples rather than one, although earnings from wool continued to be greater than those from meat or dairy products.

Townspeople profited from an expanding rural economy. Urban workers also benefited from legislation sponsored by the Liberals’ first Minister of Labour, William Pember Reeves. The Factories Act 1894 provided for regular inspection of factories, closely regulated the conditions of employment of women and children, and restricted the working week in most industries to 48 hours. The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1894 set up a mechanism for peacefully settling industrial disputes, and in the process elevated unions to equal status with employers in the bargaining process. Disputes not resolved by negotiation were to be settled by a central Arbitration Court, whose decisions were binding. Registration of unions was voluntary, and direct collective bargaining remained an option. But the collapse of unionism after 1890 made the new system appear attractive, and most unions sought the recognition offered. Union membership soared from some 8000 in 1896 to 57 000 in 1910. Reeves was not present to witness this growth of the labour movement. In 1896, unable to win support from his colleagues for a new round of radical legislation, he became Agent-General in London. His departure left urban wage-earners without an effective voice in the government, which was now dominated by the populist improvisation of Seddon, McKenzie, and a latter-day Vogel, Colonial Treasurer Joseph Ward.

Growth of the public sector

The Liberals created 12 new government departments, of which two were particularly notable. The Labour Department, initially set up in 1891 as the Bureau of Industries, was envisaged by its first Secretary, Edward Tregear, as a ‘benevolent bureaucracy’ which would act as a buffer between capital and labour. His staff, who numbered 83 full-timers and many part-time inspectors by 1908, administered Reeves’ legacy. The Department of Agriculture, also created in 1891, increasingly assumed important regulatory functions. Systematic grading and branding of export produce was carried out at major ports. Farm inspectors ensured hygienic milking and milk storage, and campaigns against pests and stock diseases were stepped up. The Journal of Agriculture was founded in 1910. In 1893 the government took over direct control of the railway system, and set about expanding it. The country had 3200 kilometres of line by 1896 and 4800 kilometres by 1914. The North Island main trunk line was completed in 1908. Railways opened up whole areas for settlement—notably the hinterland of Auckland ‘province’—by making practicable the movement of supplies and farm produce. Provision of railways and roads remained of vital importance in local and national politics, and not only for economic reasons. Improved communications did much to reduce the demoralising isolation of backblocks living.

Other government functions also expanded. In 1903 the state asserted its control of all future hydro-electric power generation, and in 1911 the first large power station was completed at Lake Coleridge in Canterbury. Old-age pensions were introduced in 1898 to assist the growing numbers of destitute elderly people. As immigration grew relatively less important and family size also fell—women who married in 1880 averaged 6.5 live births, compared with 2.4 for those married in 1923—the proportion of the aged in the population grew. Young people also benefited from the government's increased social role. The 1877 Education Act had set up a colony-wide system of primary education, through which four-fifths of the country's five to 15-year-olds were receiving instruction by 1891. After George Hogben became administrative head of the Education Department in 1899 the primary school service was much improved, the secondary system expanded, and technical education introduced. Activity in all these areas (and in others, such as health) required many more civil servants. In the past, government ministers had made most appointments, and controlled much of the day-to-day administration of ‘their’ departments. This became impractical as the functions of the bureaucracy grew more specialised. From 1912 appointment on merit, job classification, and standardised procedures were the norm. As in other Western economies at this time, private bureaucracies were also growing, and wage and salary earners made up an increasing proportion of the work-force.

The rise of Reform

By 1900 the Liberal Party had a mass organisation as well as strong leadership. The Liberal-Labour Federation united regional associations through a national council and annual conferences. For the first time ordinary people could become members of a political party. But, while the Liberals remained dominant in Parliament after Ward became Prime Minister on Seddon's death in 1906, social and economic forces gradually split the alliance between urban wage-earners and small-to-middling farmers which sustained them in power. As they became more established, small dairy and mixed farmers grew more critical of the government which had in many cases given them their start on the land. Demand for the freehold became a rallying cry. Free trade, unrestricted access to Maori land, and freedom from government regulation, and from the spectre of socialist trade unionism, were other demands. The New Zealand Farmers’ Union, launched in 1899, spread especially rapidly in newly-opened North Island districts. Its leadership soon comprised established as well as struggling farmers, and increasingly it supported the new Reform Party, led by William Ferguson Massey, which also gained the backing of protection-dependent urban businessmen after dropping free trade as party policy.

Meanwhile, urban workers grew disenchanted with the government as their share of the country's growing prosperity diminished after 1900. Real wages fell as the Arbitration Court delivered more miserly and belated award increases. In addition, up to 10 percent of the work-force continued to be intermittently or seasonally unemployed. Although this was much less than the one-third comparably affected in Edwardian England, rising national income was clearly being distributed unequally. Both the arbitration system and the political alliance which had produced it were called into question. Unionists and socialists formed a Socialist Party, a Federation of Miners, and (in 1909) a Federation of Labour, which urged member unions to refuse arbitration and take direct action to achieve radical goals. Many leading militants had come from Australia, where an Irish-dominated working-class culture had developed nationalist, anti-British characteristics. In the decades around 1900 there was much movement of labour between New Zealand and Australia as economic conditions fluctuated. Many sheep-shearing gangs followed a regular seasonal route through both countries. A few socialists came from the United States, where revolutionary organisations like the Industrial Workers of the World preached the overthrow of capitalism through the unification of workers into ‘one big union’ with the strength to confront the state.

Class conflict and world war

Losing support at both ends of the political spectrum, the Liberals failed to gain a clear majority in the 1911 election, and in 1912 enough MPs crossed the floor of the House to bring down the government. Massey now led a Reform Party government which in effect offered a more efficient administration of the Liberals’ heritage. He moved first to defeat the challenge from the left. A 1912 dispute at the Waihi goldmine, over whether workers should accept arbitration under the 1894 Act, eventually ended in police-backed violence. In 1913 a ‘lock-out’ on the Wellington waterfront led to a general strike by watersiders, seamen, and coalminers. This was defeated after thousands of middle-class and farmer ‘special constables’, supporting the regular police and sustained by logistical backing from the military, fought with unionists on the streets of Auckland and Wellington. Clearly unable to overthrow the government by direct action, the militants turned to more conventional politics. A total of six ‘Social Democrat’ and Labour MPs were elected in 1914, and in 1916 a Labour Party was formed. If any one cause united Labour supporters behind their new party, it was opposition to military conscription, which was introduced in 1916, as New Zealand troops began to suffer the torments of the Western Front. The ‘Great War’ also marked the development of a sense of national identity in many New Zealanders. Since 1870, when dissatisfaction with Imperial troop withdrawals and declining prices on London markets had led to talk of secession and alliance with the United States, pakeha New Zealanders had taken for granted a position of loyal subordination within the British Empire. Remoteness from its centre was offset by the guarantee of security provided by the Royal Navy, and the facts of economic dependence. Throughout the period from 1875 until the Second World War, roughly 80 percent of New Zealand's exports were sold to the United Kingdom, and at least half its imports came from that country. Failure to join the Australian federation (created in 1901) was in large part an acknowledgment that New Zealand's most vital interests lay elsewhere. The ‘colony’ was officially renamed a ‘dominion’ in 1907, but this was seen as recognition of autonomy rather than full nationhood.

Wartime support for Britain modified attitudes of dependence. The 6500 volunteers who went to the South African War (1899–1902) saw themselves as superior mentally and physically to their British regular-force counterparts. The experience of the First World War—103 000 New Zealanders served abroad, and some 18 000 died, out of a total population of little more than a million—reinforced claims of military excellence. These were enhanced by the heroic assault on Chunuk Bair in August 1915, during the Gallipoli campaign; achievements at Passchendaele in October 1917; and the role of the New Zealand Division in helping stop the great German advance in the spring of 1918. Although Massey claimed (unconvincingly) that in signing the Treaty of Versailles he did not act as the agent of a sovereign state, many New Zealanders felt they had earned statehood. The country was now a minor colonial power in its own right, having annexed the Cook Islands in 1901 and bloodlessly conquered German Samoa in August 1914. Prowess at the ‘national sport’ of rugby football had also become a source of (mostly male) patriotic pride after an all-but-undefeated tour of the British Isles by a representative team in 1905–6.

Uncertainty and depression

War had widened domestic divisions. While farmers profited from the commandeer system, under which the British government guaranteed purchase of New Zealand's main exports, the cost of living rose in towns and cities, and by 1919 real wages were lower than at any time since the turn of the century. The Protestant Political Association, which claimed to have 200 000 members in 1919, vigorously opposed ‘Rum’, ‘Romanism’ (i.e., Roman Catholicism) and ‘Rebellion’ (i.e., the Labour Party). Massey won his first decisive electoral victory in 1919. Reform now had 46 seats to the Liberals’ 20 and Labour's eight. But the government had won only 36 percent of the vote, and Labour's share had reached 24 percent. Throughout the 1920s the existence of a three-party system was to lead to much greater fluctuations in seats won than in voting patterns.

Political instability reflected economic uncertainty. Soldiers had returned to promises of a ‘land fit for heroes to live in’—the state would put them on farms, or at least provide loans for this purpose. But government resettlement policies further fuelled a rise in land values initially sparked by wartime guarantees of markets. Between 1915 and 1925 some 40 percent of occupied land changed ownership, much of it for a great deal more than it was worth. Rural prosperity ended abruptly in 1921–22, when export prices fell sharply. In response, the government legislated. The Meat Export Control Act 1922 established a board to handle beef and mutton exports, and a 1923 Act regulated dairy exporting. Massey's successor as Reform Party leader and Prime Minister, J. Gordon Coates, was responsible for the Rural Advances Act 1926, which created a new section of the State Advances Department to grant rural first-mortgage loans, and also for the Rural Intermediate Credit Act 1927. Coates’ government implemented a substantial public works programme, building hydro-electric power stations, railways, and roads. It also introduced a child allowance in 1926. Once again, a purportedly conservative administration was expanding the state's economic role.

Urban wage-earners, whose incomes were cut during the 1921–22 slump, looked to Labour to protect their interests. Labour now had to modify its radicalism to expand its appeal. It could not hope to govern without rural votes, which were denied Labour so long as they were seen as advocates of land nationalisation. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with Coates’ leadership grew among businessmen who resented his promotion of state activity, and farmers who had looked to him to break the bitter cycle of falling returns, fixed mortgage repayments, and increasing costs. The temporary beneficiaries of this disillusionment were the Liberals, who (renamed United and again led by the now ageing and ailing Ward) won more seats than either of their rivals in the 1928 election by opting for the old policy of borrowing for development. But, as export prices plummeted, depression deepened and borrowing proved impracticable. In 1930 United and Reform formed a coalition which comfortably won the 1931 election. This government moved to assist farmers through a 25 percent devaluation of the currency, a series of mortgage adjustment Acts, and lowered freight and interest rates. These measures did little to reduce growing support for radical monetary reform, which was advocated by the Douglas Credit movement and influenced Labour policy.

Giving priority to defending farmers’ incomes worsened conditions in the cities. Most wages and salaries were cut by 10 percent in both 1931 and 1932. Such savage deflation in an already contracting economy led to an eighth of the work-force being unemployed by 1933. Government determination that the jobless should earn the meagre relief provided under the 1930 Unemployment Act (which levied a special tax on all males aged over 20) resulted in labour-intensive make-work projects and the establishment of spartan camps for single men in isolated areas. Sporadic outbreaks of violent protest in the main cities in 1932 were blamed by Prime Minister George Forbes on a ‘lawless minority’ and Communist agitation. His response was the Public Safety Conservation Act, which empowered the government to proclaim a national emergency and assume Draconian powers when public order was thought to be endangered. ‘Disloyal’ public servants, including those who protested against wage cuts, could now be dismissed under the Finance Act 1932. Resentment of the government became widespread.

Other social and economic developments

New Zealand's non-Maori population grew from 625 000 in 1891 to almost 1.5 million in 1936. This increase was uninterrupted, but slowed markedly in the 1930s as hard times led to fewer births and a net outflow of migrants. Until then immigration was continuous—there was a net inflow of some 200 000 between 1901 and 1928—but immigrants were a steadily diminishing proportion of the population. For this reason, and also because there was an even balance of the sexes among immigrants in later decades, the proportion of women to men increased. At the height of the gold rushes in the 1860s there had been only five pakeha women in the colony for every eight men. The ratio had reached nine to 10 by 1901, and 97 to 100 by 1936. As unmarried men grew relatively fewer, some of the characteristic problems of frontier societies—such as alcoholism, crime, and loneliness—became less prevalent. The transience (enforced by the ephemeral nature of much employment) which had seen a majority of income-earners changing localities several times each decade also gradually diminished. The rural frontier moved forward more slowly, and in the 1930s contracted, as many marginal back-country farms were abandoned.

Youth employment promotion, Wellington 1932.

There was a gradual but persistent movement of population from rural to urban areas, although this was arrested in the 1930s by the growth of public works camps. In 1896, 29 percent of the non-Maori population lived in towns of more than 8000 people; by 1936 the figure was 49 percent. The opening-up of the North Island's farming hinterland before the First World War, and industrial development between the wars, saw its share of the population rise from half in 1900 to 65 percent in 1936. Non-Maori people were nearly all of northern European origin. Gold had attracted 5000 Chinese migrants by 1874, but discrimination and restrictions on immigration saw their numbers fall to little more than 2000 by 1916. About the same number of people of Yugoslav birth were living in New Zealand in 1911—most in the North Auckland peninsula. By 1936 some 1200 Indians were resident in the country.

Mechanisation brought substantial productivity increases in the primary sector, whose share of the total work-force fell from 42 percent in 1896 to 30 percent in 1926. Some primary industries declined in absolute terms, not merely relatively, as resources were concentrated on the three major export products. Kauri-gum production fell from a 1903 peak, the flax industry declined in the 1930s after fluctuating wildly, and gold and timber had ceased to be significant exports by 1914. Coal mining, which had expanded chiefly to provide fuel for the growing railway system, stagnated as railway construction slowed down. Urbanisation was paralleled by the growth and diversification of secondary industries. By the 1920s the manufacturing industry's share of the gross domestic product was only slightly less than that in Australia and the United States, despite New Zealand's relative lack of protective barriers. Industry was typically small-scale, mixed, and unsophisticated, and processed imported components. In the 1920s motor-vehicle assembly and metalworking expanded significantly. By 1926 some 45 percent of the work-force were employed in the tertiary sector (providing services and doing ‘white-collar’ work). New Zealand had become a predominantly urban, yet farming-dependent, nation. It remained Britain's outlying farm as it developed many of the social and demographic characteristics of an industrialised society.

Maori society 1890–1935

Even after 1890, Maori resistance to pakeha dominance was occasionally physical. In 1895 Urewera Maori obstructed a survey until overawed by a military party. In 1898, 120 men of the regular army confronted followers of the Hokianga tohunga Hone Toia. Serious bloodshed in this ‘Dog Tax War’ was averted only by the timely intervention of the MP Hone Heke Rankin. In 1916 ‘the last shooting in the Anglo-Maori wars’ occurred when armed police fought a gun battle with followers of the Tuhoe leader Rua Kenana (founder of the Wairua Tapu religion), killing two of them. Increasingly, resistance took new forms. Petitioners sought the aid of the Crown in persuading the New Zealand Government to honour the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi, which now gained a status among Maori which many had not granted it in 1840. The King movement set up its own parliament (Kauhanganui) under a constitution promulgated in 1894. More significant—even though pakeha legislators refused to acknowledge it—was the rival Kotahitanga parliament, promoted chiefly by kupapa leaders, which met annually from 1892 to 1902.

Expansion of the ‘native schools’ system in the 1870s (there were 57 by 1879) laid the basis for an influx of gifted students into church boarding-schools such as Te Aute and St Stephen's Colleges in succeeding decades. A group of former Te Aute students took the Irish-Maori MP James Carroll as their mentor (he held a general electorate from 1893 to 1919, having earlier represented Eastern Maori). They called themselves the Young Maori Party and advocated the wholesale adoption of pakeha culture. ‘There is no alternative but to become a pakeha’, said Maui Pomare, who had become the first Maori Health Officer in 1900. Pomare and his assistant Te Rangihiroa (Peter Buck), who was Director of Maori Hygiene from 1920, worked for improvements in sanitation and living conditions. The Maori population rose from 45 500 in 1901 to 57 000 in 1921, due to a decline in the frequency of epidemics, the gradual acquisition of immunity to them, and an increase of numbers in the child-bearing age group. Life expectancy rose from around 25 years in 1890 to 35 in 1905. But Maori health was still comparatively poor. The death rate in the influenza pandemic of 1918 was seven times that for Europeans.

Although Carroll was Minister of Native Affairs, the Liberals transferred 1.2 million hectares of Maori land to pakeha ownership. Reform alienated a further 1.4 million hectares. ‘Maori landowners, rather than the squattocracy, were vanquished by the state's promotion of closer settlement.’ Improvements in Maori farming came through communal initiatives. In the 1890s the Ngati Porou tribe, who retained much land on the East Coast of the North Island, embarked on large-scale pastoralism. By the mid-1920s they owned a million sheep, as well as a dairy factory, a finance company, and a co-operative store. Apirana Ngata (himself a Ngati Porou) as Native Minister sponsored a 1929 Act which channelled state credit to Maori farmers through the Department of Native Affairs. By 1937, the 750 000 acres being developed under this scheme were supporting about 18 000 people, most of whom lived in communities on or near the land they were working. Ngata, although a member of the Young Maori Party, believed in fostering a communal rural lifestyle which continued Maori traditions.

While Maori in Parliament became skilful practitioners of taha pakeha (the European aspects of living), local leaders continued to have the most effective influence over Maori community life. None gained more stature than Te Puea Herangi, a member of the Waikato kahui ariki (paramount family), who came to prominence in the Kingitanga by leading a campaign against the conscription of Waikato Maori during the First World War. In 1921 she established a model pa at Ngaruawahia, and from the 1920s she was a figure of national importance for Maori. With her support, Ngata's land development schemes allowed Waikato communities to preserve their traditional way of life, while productively occupying their own lands.

Gordon Coates was the first pakeha politician to provide leadership on Maori issues. As Minister of Native Affairs between 1921 and 1928 he was determined to ‘remove the old grievances so that economic and social change could proceed’. Among many initiatives, he established the Sim Commission to investigate the Waikato and Taranaki land confiscations (its findings largely upheld Maori grievances), and also the Maori Purposes Fund to make grants for educational, social, and cultural activities. With Ngata as Native Minister from 1928 to 1934 the momentum of reform continued. But the leadership of these two politicians began to be challenged by the spiritual leader Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, who was an advocate for the interests of the ‘morehu’—detribalised, non-chiefly common people—to whom he offered a vision of spiritual and material betterment. His teachings seemed increasingly attractive as the Depression worsened. Maori are thought to have comprised some 40 percent of the jobless, and by 1933 three out of every four adult male Maori were registered as unemployed.

2.4 The mid-twentieth century

Labour's first term (1935–38)

The Labour Party won power in the 1935 election, when it gained a total of 59 seats (counting a few sympathetic independent MPs) compared to the 19 retained by the Coalition government's candidates. In 1938 it was re-elected, with an increased share of the vote and 53 seats to the new National Party's 25. These successes inaugurated a 14-year tenure of office which, like the Liberal era of the 1890s, was to establish new patterns and set the terms of economic and political debate for the next 40 years. Like the Liberals, Labour benefited by being elected as the economy recovered from depression. And, as befell the Liberals, the administration of Labour's achievement was eventually to be taken over by its conservative political opponents.

Labour won office because it was seen to represent a genuine alternative to the orthodox economic policies which had entailed hardship for too many. In addition, although export prices and the general economy were recovering in 1935, dairy produce receipts were still low. Discontented dairy farmers, who approved Labour's promises of guaranteed prices and cheap credit, were decisive in turning the Coalition's defeat into a rout. Led by the former ‘Red Fed’ and Socialist Party militant Michael Joseph Savage, the Labour government moved to restore and direct the economy and introduce a comprehensive social welfare system.

Previous cuts in wages and conditions of employment were reversed, and the normal manufacturing working week was reduced to 40 hours. Pay rates for relief work were substantially increased. Unemployment fell to 38 000 in 1936, and continued economic growth combined with a large public works programme to leave only about 8000 on ‘sustenance and relief’ by December 1937. In 1936 full jurisdiction was restored to the Arbitration Court, and union membership was made compulsory for all workers subject to awards. The number of unionists rose in consequence from 103 000 in 1935 to 249 000 in 1938. The Agricultural Workers Act 1936 set a minimum pay rate for previously unprotected rural labourers, and required the provision of decent living conditions for them. By buying out private shareholding in the Reserve Bank (created by Coates in 1933 to give the state some control over monetary policy), the government assumed conclusively the power to use the ‘people's credit’. Finance issued by the Reserve Bank underwrote housing construction, public works, and guaranteed prices for dairy products. Cheap mortgages from the revitalised, government-controlled State Advances Corporation helped efficient but indebted farmers remain on the land.

During Labour's 14 years in power some 30 000 ‘state houses’ (government-owned, privately-built rental dwellings) were constructed. State Advances mortgages financed a further 19 000 houses built for private ownership in the same period. The two schemes together gave government assistance to two in every five houses built. Spreading state house suburbs whose inhabitants shared similar lifestyles came to symbolise an egalitarian ‘levelling upwards’ in the quality of New Zealand life. Educational reforms included the lowering of the school-entry age from six to five. The primary-level Proficiency examination was abolished and, after the leaving age was raised to 15, was effectively replaced by the new School Certificate. These changes required much greater spending on school construction and teachers’ salaries. The landmark Social Security Act of 1938 was intended not merely to provide a subsistence income but to meet the ‘normal needs’ of beneficiaries. Essentially free general medical care was introduced against the bitter opposition of doctors, who, ironically, were to be the group who benefited most from the new ‘welfare state’. Social security and public admiration for Savage were major factors in Labour's 1938 electoral triumph, which was blighted only by the recapture of some rural seats by a more united parliamentary opposition.

War and rehabilitation

The government now looked forward to years of development, but was immediately reminded that New Zealand remained a small, dependent trading economy. Withdrawal of private capital combined with the expense of overseas-purchased machinery and supplies to reduce the country's sterling reserves from £29 million to £8 million in the six months before foreign exchange controls were introduced in December 1938. Minister of Finance Walter Nash won few concessions in months of negotiation with the British government and financiers. But bleak prospects were transformed by the outbreak of the Second World War. Britain rapidly agreed to bulk purchase arrangements at prices favourable to New Zealand for meat and dairy products, and later wool. Imports declined as European production was diverted to war purposes or made unobtainable by shipping difficulties. The exchange crisis was quickly succeeded by a healthy balance of payments surplus, which even allowed the repayment of some earlier loans.

As in the First World War, the country's major contribution to the Allied effort was the provision of food, which went mostly to Britain, and later to the Pacific theatre. While the war claimed some 12 000 New Zealand lives and saw 17 000 wounded, these were significantly lower casualties than the First World War inflicted on a society of half a million fewer people. Nevertheless, some 150 000 were serving in the armed forces when they were at their peak, and civilians were mobilised in support of the war effort. Prices and wages were tightly controlled, and the labour force was subject to direction into essential occupations. Secondary industry, already stimulated by economic expansion, public works, and import licensing, was now boosted by the need for greater self-sufficiency. A ‘hot-house growth of manufacturing’ resulted as many small, previously marginal ventures secured a disciplined labour force and guaranteed markets. The strongest growth occurred in Auckland, which was the largest focus for the urbanisation which had resumed with the end of the Depression. With so many men in the armed forces, women entered the work-force in large numbers. The proportion of Public Service clerical workers who were female rose from 5 percent in 1939 to 25 percent in 1947. By 1945 nearly 15 percent of married women under 30 were in full-time employment, a percentage which was not to decline after the war ended. From national necessity, many women entered rural and industrial occupations previously assumed to be ‘men's work’.

As with perceptions of women's role in society, assumptions about New Zealand's place in the world were irrevocably altered by the Second World War. The Balfour Report of 1926 recognised that Britain's dominions were de facto independent states. The Statute of Westminster of 1931 effectively relinquished the British parliament's power to make laws for the dominions. New Zealand was not to accept this formally until 1947. The Labour government, like its conservative predecessors, sought consultation with Britain rather than an independent foreign policy. In the late 1930s New Zealand's support for the League of Nations and collective security brought disagreement with the appeasement-minded British. In 1945 Prime Minister Peter Fraser was to be a leading advocate for the rights of the small nations represented in the new United Nations organisation. In the intervening years the limits of British power had been particularly brought home by the rapid capitulation to the Japanese in 1942 of the vaunted Singapore military base. The necessity of reliance on United States protection was underlined by the wartime presence of 100 000 American ‘GIs’ at New Zealand staging bases. Unlike Australia, New Zealand kept its best fighting troops in the Mediterranean theatre throughout the war. After participating in the unsuccessful defence of Greece and Crete in 1941, they endured the hardships of the North African desert and the slow, difficult advance through Italy. Although operating within the British command structure, New Zealand troops remained under New Zealand Government control. The war also stimulated a redirection of New Zealand trade. New Zealand's exports to non-British markets doubled to about 40 percent of all its exports in the decade after 1941, and were never to return to the levels of the previous half-century.

Maori Battalion reinforcements leave Rotorua, 1944.

While a multi-party War Cabinet made the major decisions, Labour's regular Cabinet continued its largely domestic business. Pragmatic politics counterpoised national sacrifice. The 1943 Servicemen's Settlement and Land Sales Act empowered the government to control prices in all land transactions, and to buy land suitable for subdivision. Farmers hoping to profit as before from a wartime rise in land values, and dissatisfied with the level of guaranteed prices, turned against the government. Despite its abolition of the country quota, Labour won a majority of only four seats in the 1946 election. In contrast with 1919, the reintegration of returning service personnel into the economy was impressively successful, backed as it was by full employment, enforced wartime savings, and guaranteed markets abroad. But the continuation of many wartime restrictions—symbolised by the 1948 Economic Stabilisation Act—was irksome. Maintaining supplies to impoverished Britain required continued rationing, electricity use was limited, and soaring marriage and birth rates outstripped house building.

National in office

The post-war National Party promised more efficient management of key Labour gains and greater personal freedom (such as the right of purchase for state house tenants). Led by Sidney Holland, National won the 1949 election. In 1951 it increased its majority in a rare snap election called to take advantage of the government's crushing termination of a major industrial dispute which had been precipitated by a breakdown in relations between water-front workers and their employers. The Labour Party, though clearly not laggards in their enthusiasm for the ‘Cold War’—they introduced peacetime compulsory military training in 1949—were outmanoeuvred by a government which consolidated its support around the popular themes of ‘law and order’, anti-communism, and curbing the unions. Labour's ambivalence towards the strikers reflected divisions within the union movement, inside which a militant Trade Union Congress had emerged in opposition to the cautious Federation of Labour.

National continued to present itself to the electorate as the party which would best defend the ‘national interest’ against divisive sectional concerns. Buoyed by continuing prosperity, it was interrupted in its self-stated role as the ‘natural party of government’ only by the one-term Labour administrations of 1957–60 and 1972–75. Both these periods saw adverse alterations in New Zealand's terms of trade. Both Labour cabinets made changes too rapidly for the liking of an electorate more comfortable with the ‘steady-does-it’ approach epitomised by (later Sir) Keith Holyoake's term as Prime Minister in the 1960s. In that decade political life sometimes seemed to dimly reflect the American scene; New Zealand troops fought in Vietnam, New Zealand youth rebelled against their parents’ staidness and complacency and the voices of New Zealand's indigenous inhabitants began to be heard by the wider society. Seen as more efficient at managing a mixed economy, the National Party retained power even in the troubled economic times between 1975 and 1984.

Economic and social modernisation

In the quarter-century after 1950, New Zealand for many at last lived up to Seddon's characterisation of it as ‘God's Own Country’. National wealth per head rose continuously, if at varying rates, until the ‘oil crisis’ of 1973 began a period of stagnation. Standards of living mirrored this ‘pervasive prosperity’. The proportion of houses owned rather than rented rose from 61 percent to 69 percent during the 1950s. Low-cost suburban bungalows of uniform style were furnished with a widening range of consumer durables. Electric stoves, refrigerators, and washing-machines, found in only about half of all houses in the 1940s, were nearly universal by the mid-1960s (as were radiograms and, eventually, television sets). New Zealanders had more choice in spending their increasing discretionary incomes. Although many men remained preoccupied with sport, home-centred leisure (gardening, reading, television watching) increased with suburbanisation. Car ownership and substantial expenditure on roading (secondary routes as well as showpiece motorways) brought unparalleled mobility to many. Passenger use of railways declined as air transport came to dominate long-distance personal travel.

The dream of creating a materialist Utopia in New Zealand was kept alive by the unprecedented continuation of full employment for 30 years after the Second World War, when for the first time there had been the possibility of a job for almost everyone who wanted one. More white-collar work balanced a continuing relative decline in rural employment. The proportion of the labour force employed in agriculture fell from about one-third in 1938 to an eighth in the early 1970s, while farming productivity rose at about 1 percent annually, as all aspects of farm management became more sophisticated. Capital improvements compensated for a diminishing labour force: tractor numbers increased tenfold from 1938 to the 1970s, and aircraft were widely used to spread fertiliser. By 1972 the number of farms had fallen by nearly a third from the post-war peak of 92 000 reached in 1955. The number of dairy farmers declined particularly dramatically, from nearly 40 000 in 1950 to about 17 000 in 1976. This reflected changes in the relative profitability of different types of farming, as well as a general exodus from the ranks of the small farmer. Meanwhile, male, blue-collar employment rose steadily, roughly in proportion to the overall growth of the labour force. By 1976 there were more than 400 000 blue-collar workers, 47 percent of the male work-force. Most rapid expansion came in white-collar employment, which occupied a quarter of working men in 1951, a third in 1971. The same proportions of all women aged over 15 were in paid employment in each of these years. In 1971, 62 percent of working women had white-collar jobs. Most women continued to work in jobs performed mostly by women. At the beginning of the century the majority of working women had been employed in one of nine major occupational groups: nurses, teachers, servants, domestics, drapers’ assistants, shop assistants, clerks, tailoresses, and farmers’ wives. These occupations remained female-intensive.

The goal of being one's own boss’ became less attainable; between 1951 and 1971 small proprietors fell from one-fifth to an eighth of the work-force. Small business operators, like small farmers, felt themselves vulnerable to growing pressure from larger rivals and increasing regulation. The resentments of these two groups were reflected in the support they gave the Social Credit party in the 1960s and 1970s (although this was too geographically diffuse for the party to gain more than token parliamentary representation). By the early 1970s about 40 percent of the work-force belonged to bureaucracies—organisations with specialised jobs structured in a hierarchy, and governed by formal rules and regulations. The public sector, with about 250 000 employees, had grown by 100 000 in 20 years although contrary to widespread popular belief, it had not increased its share of the work-force, or of national resources. Private bureaucracies now employed some 200 000 people. The growth of both sectors was closely linked to the expansion of post-primary education. Between 1945 and 1970 spending on education rose from 6 percent to 14 percent of government expenditure, and the number of secondary school students more than trebled. By 1971 one person in every three participated directly in the education system, as full-time student, teacher or administrator. Seven-eighths of all pupils attended state-run schools. Public education, like the state's housing policy, was based on an ethos which emphasised equality of access, social integration, and cultural uniformity. University students doubled in numbers in the 1960s, becoming 10 percent of the school-leaving age-group by the end of the decade.

The pakeha birth rate had fallen steadily from the 1880s to the mid-1930s, prompting fears of a near-stationary population. This at last came to pass in the late 1970s, but only after a period of unprecedented growth, from 1.7 million in 1945 to more than 3 million. One-third of the increase was due to immigration, at first from war-ravaged Europe, later from the Pacific Islands. Both Western Samoa and the Cook Islands gained effective independence in the 1960s, but their citizens retained rights of entry to New Zealand. By 1976, 61 000 Pacific Island Polynesians lived in New Zealand. The bulk of the population growth, however, came from natural increase—the postwar ‘baby boom’, which lasted until use of effective contraception became more widespread during the 1960s. By 1961 a third of New Zealanders were aged under 15. This generation put stress on the education system and then on the job market, and seemed likely to overload superannuation schemes and health resources as it aged. Other demographic trends were continued movements from country to town and from south to north. By 1976 only one-sixth of New Zealanders lived outside urban areas. In that year 73 percent of the population lived in the North Island. The Auckland conurbation alone had a quarter of the country's people and a third of those employed in manufacturing. Whereas the greatest number of Vogel-period immigrants had settled in Canterbury and Otago, the latest wave of European migrants went disproportionately to the cities of Auckland and Wellington, as did newly-arriving Pacific Islanders and Maori leaving rural areas.

Self-reliance and self-doubt

New Zealand's modernising society became more complex, more distinctive, and less self-confident as a Maori cultural renaissance began to affect the cities, more than a century of migration from Europe diminished to a trickle, and the country finally lost its secure place as Britain's offshore farm. In the 1970s greatly-increased oil prices, and the global economy's inability to distribute the world's food production effectively, led to an apparently irreversible decline in the terms of New Zealand's trade with the outside world. Primary products—wood-pulp and paper as well as wool, meat, and dairy produce—continued to be export staples, but their share of total exports fell to 60 percent by 1975. In that year Britain (which had cut the symbolic umbilical cord by joining the protectionist European Economic Community) took only one-fifth of New Zealand's exports, and the country's four major markets (the others being Australia, the United States, and Japan) only three-fifths between them. An increasing variety of agricultural and manufactured products were sold in a growing range of markets. Primary produce sales were increasingly handled by centralised producer boards. The main focus of secondary industry was still the further processing of imported goods for local markets. Although import licensing was said to shelter inefficient industries, the average level of protection was not high by world standards. Nor is it clear that New Zealand output or standards of living have lagged nearly as far behind other developed countries as figures based on exchange-rate comparisons suggest. At worst, the country's economic performance has been an average one.

Much the same could be said in social terms. In New Zealand many features of Western social change have been experienced on a smaller scale. These have included the rise of youth culture (as both a new form of consumerism and a serious attempt to transform styles of living), the revitalisation of ethnic minorities, and the assertion by women of their right to participate fully in all aspects of economic and social life. Equal pay for equal work became a legal requirement in 1972, showing the extent of change since 1936, when the first minimum-wage legislation had set the female minimum rate at 47 percent of the male. But women remained over-represented in low-status occupations, and the twentieth-century idealisation of motherhood continued to be a potent source of guilt for mothers who, from necessity, took paid employment. As age, ethnic, and gender distinctions came to matter more, class divisions grew more subtle and apparently less important. Although extremes of wealth and poverty were rare, equality of income and status had been brought no closer by decades of formal equality of access to society's resources. And social consensus as to the desirability of relative equality and social security was being eroded by harsh economic realities and the diversification of individual aspirations.

Maori society after 1935

The state of Maori health still caused concern in the 1930s. In 1938 the Maori death rate was 24 per 1000, compared with 10 for pakeha, and the infant mortality rate was 153 for each 1000 live births, as against 37 for non-Maori. In 1940, 36 percent of Maori people were said to live in houses unfit for habitation by minimum pakeha standards. Funding by the first Labour government of the Native Housing Act 1935 resulted in the construction of some 3000 houses by 1951. More systematic efforts to improve Maori health saw experts such as H. B. Turbott combine with community leaders like Te Puea to introduce health programmes. Effective control of diseases such as tuberculosis and typhoid, and falling infant mortality, led to a rise in Maori life expectancy from 46 years in 1925 to 58 in 1956. These factors, and a continuing high birth rate, saw the Maori population double in 30 years to reach 116 000 in 1951. In that year 57 percent of Maori people were aged under 21, compared with 35 percent of non-Maori. In 1955 the Maori birth rate was 44 per 1000, as against 25 for non-Maori. By 1966 half of all Maori were aged under 15. Continuing high fertility and improved health saw the Maori population reach 270 000 in 1976. Maori now comprised 9 percent of all New Zealanders.

Movement of Maori to the cities began during the Second World War, when manpower regulations and the work of the Maori War Effort Organisation opened up a variety of urban employment opportunities. In any case, farming could not have sustained the rapid increase in numbers. Eleven percent of Maori people had lived in urban areas in 1936. Forty years later, three-quarters of the Maori people were urbanised, and a fifth lived in Auckland, the Maori population of which doubled during the 1960s. Migration to the cities meant improved housing conditions, but most Maori could not afford to live outside areas offering low-cost accommodation. Urbanisation was reflected in employment data. While 40 percent of male Maori had worked in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in 1951, only 16 percent did so by 1971. The respective figures for blue-collar employment were 52 percent and 70 percent. Over the same period, the proportion of Maori women in service occupations fell from 42 percent to 23 percent, while the percentage in blue-collar work rose from 24 percent to 36 percent. By the late 1960s, Maori and Pacific Islanders in Auckland and Wellington formed a ‘new under-class’, most holding poorly-paid jobs which offered little security or prospects for advancement.

Maori education benefited from the first Labour government's introduction of free secondary education and a school-leaving age of 15. By 1953, while special Maori schools (directly administered by the Department of Education) were still numerous, 60 percent of Maori children attended ordinary state primary schools. By 1960 most Maori children went on to secondary school; but they did so on average at a later age, and left earlier with fewer qualifications than pakeha children. In 1960, 5 percent of Maori pupils gained School Certificate, compared with 30 percent of non-Maori of the same age. The state school system was still almost entirely monocultural. Educational under-achievement was both a cause and an effect of low occupational status.

From 1943, with the defeat of Apirana Ngata, the Ratana-Labour alliance held all four Maori parliamentary seats. Much of the discrimination against Maori workers was removed by the first Labour government, and Maori shared in the general expansion of economic activity and in social security provisions. The Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act 1945 set up tribal committees and executives concerned especially with welfare and marae administration. In 1947 the word ‘Maori’ replaced ‘Native’ in all official usage, an acknowledgment that Polynesian New Zealanders now more than before saw themselves as one people. National organisations such as the Maori Women's Welfare League (formed in 1951) and the Maori Council (established in 1962) helped strengthen the authority of a post-war generation of leaders. Many had served with distinction in the Maori Battalion in North Africa and Italy, or in essential industries. Returning servicemen were able to demand equality with more success than had their counterparts in the First World War Pioneer Battalion, who had received no rehabilitation assistance. Maori sporting ability (demonstrated particularly in rugby union and league) also earned respect from the wider community.

In the 1940s Ngata spoke of the need for a “continuous attempt to interpret the Maori point of view to the pakeha in power”. Te Puea argued that “unity of Maori and Pakeha can only grow from each sharing the worthwhile elements in the other's culture”. As urbanisation brought the two races together, discrimination and the lack of equal opportunity grew more visible. Maori were told they must adapt to the pakeha way of life; there was no equivalent pressure on pakeha. From the late 1960s groups such as Nga Tamatoa (‘the young warriors’) challenged the continuing loss of land, declining use of the Maori language, and what came to be called ‘institutional racism’ in pakeha-dominated society. A cultural resurgence which emphasised tribal identity, traditions, and protocol developed in parallel with a drive to establish urban marae. Under the third Labour government, multiculturalism replaced integration as official policy. Maoritanga (the experience and expression of Maoriness) had an officially recognised place in the future of Aotearoa.

2.5 Chronology of main events

c 800 Arrival of first Polynesian settlers in Aotearoa.

1642 European discovery by Abel Tasman.

1769 James Cook's first visit to New Zealand.

c 1790 First severe epidemic among Maori population.

1792 First sealing gang left on New Zealand coast at Dusky Sound.

1806 First pakeha women arrive in New Zealand.

1814 Arrival of Rev. Samuel Marsden, and establishment of Anglican mission station.

1820 Hongi's visit to England.

1826 Attempt at European settlement under Captain Herd.

1831 Tory Channel whaling station established.

1833 James Busby appointed British Resident at Bay of Islands.

1839 Governor of New South Wales authorised to annex New Zealand Preliminary expedition of New Zealand Company under Colonel Wakefield to Port Nicholson.

1840 Arrival of New Zealand Company's settlers at Port Nicholson. New Zealand annexed, Captain Hobson arrives as Lieutenant-Governor, and Treaty of Waitangi signed. Settlement formed at Akaroa.

1841 New Zealand proclaimed independent of New South Wales. Arrival of New Plymouth and Wanganui settlers.

1842 Settlement founded at Nelson.

1843 Affray at Wairau.

1845 ‘Northern War’.

1846 Fighting near Wellington. New Zealand divided into two provinces, New Munster and New Ulster. Exploration of West Coast by Thomas Brunner party begins.

1848 Otago settlement founded.

1850 Canterbury settlement founded.

1852 Constitution Act passed by Imperial Parliament, granting representative institutions to New Zealand, and dividing country into six provinces.

1854 Opening at Auckland of first session of General Assembly.

1855 First members elected to the House of Representatives under system of responsible government. Severe earthquake on both sides of Cook Strait.

1856 Appointment of first ministry under system of responsible government.

1858 Te Wherowhero (Potatau) becomes Maori King.

1860 ‘Taranaki War’.

1861 Bank of New Zealand incorporated. Gold discovery at Gabriel's Gully, Otago.

1862 First electric telegraph line opened—Christchurch to Lyttelton.

1863 Commencement of ‘Waikato War’. Wreck of HMS Orpheus on Manukau Bar. First railway in New Zealand opened.

1864 Hostilities in Waikato end. Discovery of gold on West Coast.

1865 Seat of Government transferred to Wellington.

1866 Cook Strait submarine telegraph cable laid.

1867 Opening of Thames goldfield Lyttelton railway tunnel completed. Four Maori seats provided in House of Representatives. Armed constabulary established.

1869 Government Life Insurance Office founded.

1870 Last pitched battles of ‘New Zealand Wars’. First rugby match in New Zealand. Commencement of San Francisco mail service. Inauguration of Vogel public works policy.

1873 Establishment of New Zealand Shipping Co.

1876 New Zealand-Australia cable. Provinces abolished.

1877 Education Act passed, providing for free, compulsory education.

1878 Completion of the Christchurch-Invercargill railway.

1879 Triennial Parliaments Act passed. Adult male suffrage introduced. Kaitangata coal mine explosion. Annual property tax introduced.

1881 Parihaka community forcibly broken up. Wreck of s.s. Tararua, with loss of 130 lives.

1882 First shipment of frozen meat from New Zealand.

1883 Direct steamer link established between New Zealand and Britain.

1884 Construction of King Country section of North Island main trunk railway begins.

1886 Tarawera eruption and destruction of Pink and White Terraces.

1887 First national park created.

1888 Birth of writer Katherine Mansfield.

1890 Great maritime strike. First election on one-man-one-vote basis; Liberal government elected.

1891 Land and Income Assessment Act passed.

1893 Franchise extended to women. Liquor licensing poll introduced. Elizabeth Yates elected Mayor of Onehunga.

1894 Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act passed. Government Advances to Settlers Act passed. Wreck of s.s. Wairarapa. First ascent of Mt Cook/Aorangi.

1896 Brunner Mine explosion. Abolition of non-residential or property qualification to vote. National Council of Women founded.

1898 Old-age Pensions Act passed.

1899 New Zealand army contingent sent to South African War.

1901 Cook and other Pacific Islands annexed.

1902 Pacific cable opened.

1903 Richard Pearse achieves semi-controlled flight near Timaru. State Insurance Office founded.

1906 Death of Premier Seddon.

1907 New Zealand given name of Dominion.

1908 North Island main trunk railway opened. Ernest Rutherford awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

1909 S.s. Penguin wrecked in Cook Strait, with loss of 75 lives. Battle cruiser presented by New Zealand to Imperial Government. System of compulsory military training introduced.

1911 Wireless telegraphy installed in New Zealand. Widows’ Pensions Act passed. First poll on national prohibition taken.

1912 Civil service placed under control of Public Service Commissioner. Waihi strike. Reform ministry formed.

1913 Extensive strikes with confrontations in Auckland and Wellington.

1914 First World War begins. German Samoa occupied. New Zealand Expeditionary force despatched.

1915 Gallipoli campaign.

1916 New Zealand Division transferred to Western Front. Battle of the Somme. Conscription introduced Lake Coleridge electricity supply scheme opened.

1918 End of First World War. Great influenza epidemic kills 8000 New Zealanders.

1919 Women eligible for Parliament. New Zealand represented at Peace Conference by Prime Minister.

1920 First aeroplane flight over Cook Strait. League of Nations mandate to administer Western Samoa.

1921 New Zealand Division of Royal Navy established.

1922 Meat export trade placed under control of a board.

1923 Death of writer Katherine Mansfield. Opening of Otira Tunnel. Ross Dependency proclaimed. Dairy Produce Export Control Act passed.

1924 Direct radio communication with England.

1925 Death of Prime Minister Massey.

1926 Department of Scientific and Industrial Research founded.

1928 First flight across Tasman Sea. United government elected.

1929 Severe earthquake in Murchison-Karamea district.

1930 Legislation provides for relief of unemployment.

1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake. General reduction of 10 percent in wages and salaries. Mortgagors’ relief legislation passed.

1932 Reductions in old-age and other pensions, in salaries of state employees, and in rentals, interest rates and other fixed charges. Sporadic rioting in main centres. Ottawa Conference.

1933 Elizabeth McCombs becomes first woman M.P.

1934 First trans-Tasman airmail. Reserve Bank incorporated.

1935 First Labour government elected.

1936 Inauguration of inter-island trunk air services. Reserve Bank nationalised. System of basic prices for butter and cheese introduced. 40-hour week introduced.

1937 Royal New Zealand Air Force established.

1938 Social Security Act passed. Introduction of import control.

1939 Second World War begins. HMS Achilles takes part in Battle of the River Plate.

1940 Death of Savage. 2nd NZEF despatched and sees action in Greece, Crete and North Africa.

1941 War with Japan begins.

1942 Complete mobilisation. Rationing introduced Mobilisation of women for essential work. Battle of El Alamein.

1943 New Zealand Division serves in Italy.

1945 War in Europe ends (8 May). War in Pacific ends (15 August). National Airways Corporation founded.

1946 Family benefit of £1 per week made universal as from 1 April. Bank of New Zealand nationalised.

1947 Statute of Westminster adopted by New Zealand Parliament.

1949 Referendum agrees to compulsory military training. National government elected.

1950 Legislative Council Abolition Act passed. Naval and ground forces sent to Korean War. Wool boom.

1951 Prolonged waterfront dispute. United States, Australia, and New Zealand signed ANZUS Treaty. Maori Women's Welfare League established.

1952 New Zealand troops sent to Malaya.

1953 Railway disaster at Tangiwai. First tour by reigning monarch.

1954 New Zealand signs South-east Asia Collective Defence Treaty.

1955 Pulp and paper mill at Kawerau opened. Rimutaka rail tunnel opened.

1956 Roxburgh and Whakamaru power stations in operation.

1957 Scott Base established in Ross Dependency. Last hanging in New Zealand. Labour government elected.

1958 PAYE taxation introduced.

1959 Auckland Harbour Bridge opened. Antarctic Treaty signed.

1960 Regular television programmes began in Auckland. National government elected. Government Service Equal Pay Act passed.

1961 New Zealand joined IMF.

1962 Cook Strait rail-ferry service commenced with Aramoana. Western Samoa becomes independent.

1964 Cook Strait power cables laid. Oil refinery opened at Whangarei.

1965 Limited free trade agreement negotiated with Australia. Cook Islands became self-governing. Combat force sent to Vietnam.

1966 National Library of New Zealand created.

1967 Decimal currency introduced. Referendum extends hotel hours.

1968 T.e.v. Wahine founders in Wellington Harbour.

1969 Vote extended to 20-year-olds.

1970 Natural gas from Kapuni supplied to Auckland.

1971 Negotiations by Britain with members of European Economic Community secure New Zealand's butter and cheese exports to the United Kingdom. Bluff aluminium smelter in commercial operation. Generators installed at Manapouri hydroelectric station. Metric conversion for weights and measures.

1972 Labour government elected.

1973 Britain joins European Economic Community. Colour television introduced. First step of Equal Pay Act in effect. First United Women's Convention.

1974 Death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Commonwealth Games, Christchurch.

1975 National government elected. Waitangi Tribunal established.

1976 Cuts in subsidies on electricity, rail charges, and Post Office charges. Subsidies on bread, eggs, butter, and flour abolished. New Zealand's sporting links with South Africa resulted in walk-out at Olympic Games in Montreal.

1977 National superannuation scheme begins. New Zealand signs Gleneagles agreement on sporting contacts with South Africa. 200-mile exclusive economic zone established.

1978 National government re-elected.

1979 First stage of Maui gasfield development completed. Severe landslip at Abbotsford. Air New Zealand crash on Mount Erebus.

1980 Expansion of Marsden Point oil refinery. New methanol plant and expansion of New Zealand Steel Ltd plant approved. Saturday retail trading legalised.

1981 Butter deal concluded with EEC. Controversial tour of New Zealand by South African rugby team. National government re-elected.

1982 Contract for Motunui synthetic fuel plant signed. Twelve-month wage, price, and rent freeze imposed. Ammonia-urea plant at Kapuni commenced production. Kohanga reo (language nurseries) established to encourage revival of Maori.

1983 Signing of Closer Economic Relations Agreement with Australia. New Zealand's triple A international credit rating reduced by Standard and Poor's Corporation. Wage-Price Freeze extended until 1984. Regulations limiting interest rates on first mortgages. Phased deregulation of land transport introduced, and abolition of restrictions against competition with Railways Corporation.

1984 Price freeze lifted. The Labour Party wins snap General Election. Government devalues the New Zealand dollar by 20 percent and re-imposes price freeze. Interest rate restrictions are lifted. Economic summit conference. Maori summit conference. Budget introduces Family Care and tax surcharge on national superannuation, and lifts price freeze. Wage guidelines introduced. Queen Street riot, Auckland. New Zealand ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

1985 United States request for visit by USS Buchanan declined. New Zealand dollar floated. University Entrance examinations abolished. All Black rugby tour of South Africa cancelled. Greenpeace protest vessel Rainbow Warrior bombed and sunk by French agents.

1986 (Feb) Soviet cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov sinks in Marlborough Sounds. (Mar) Government announces cuts in wholesale tax in preparation for goods and services tax. (Apr) Unofficial tour of South Africa by rebel New Zealand rugby players. Protest march on Parliament by farmers. (Jun) Property qualifications for voting in local body elections abolished. Trustee savings banks announce merger. (Jul) United Nations Secretary-General rules that the French agents jailed in New Zealand for their part in the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior will be detained for three years on the island of Hao; France to make an unqualified formal apology to New Zealand and pay about $13 million in compensation. Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed. Notice given that School Certificate to be abolished and replaced with internal assessment within four years. (Sep) Tasman pulp and paper mill at Kawerau reopens. (Oct) Goods and services tax (GST) comes into effect. (Nov) First visit by Pope.

1987 (Feb) Ansett Airlines begins services on New Zealand domestic routes. United States ends special arrangement that allowed New Zealand to buy military equipment at wholesale rates. (Mar) Flooding in Southland. Bay of Plenty earthquake causes widespread damage. (Apr) Soviet diplomat expelled. (May) Air New Zealand 747 hijacked at Nadi Airport. (Jun) Non-nuclear legislation becomes law. Petrocorp shares issued. Commission of enquiry ordered into cervical cancer research programme at National Women's Hospital. First Budget surplus in 35 years announced. Court of Appeal ruling that Maori land claims would not be affected by transfer of assets to new state-owned enterprises. (Jul) $1.5 billion modernisation programme for Navy announced. (Aug) First lotto draw. General Election returns Labour government. Third television channel licence granted. (Oct) NZ Post announces closure of 432 branch post offices. Council of Trade Unions formed. Sharemarket crash. (Nov) Australian Prime Minister Hawke visits. (Dec) New Zealand's first heart transplant performed. Waitangi Tribunal given power to decide which Crown land has Maori claimants. State Sector Bill introduced to Parliament. Economic package introduces, among other things, major tax reforms.


  • 2.1–2.4 Historical Publications Branch, Department of Internal Affairs.

  • 2.5 Department of Statistics.

Further information

See under historical works in the bibliography, Books about New Zealand, at the end of this volume.

Chapter 3. Government

3.1 Constitution

New Zealand is a monarchy with a parliamentary government. The Crown is vested in the same person as the British Crown and Queen Elizabeth II has the title Queen of New Zealand.

Although an independent state today, New Zealand's constitutional history can be traced back to 1840 when by the Treaty of Waitangi the Maori people exchanged their sovereignty for the guarantees of the treaty and New Zealand became a British colony.

A constitution is concerned with the establishment and composition of the legislative, executive, and judicial organs of government, their powers and duties, and the relationship between these organs. In New Zealand, the constitution is not contained in a single document that can be referred to as ‘the Constitution’, although the Constitution Act 1986 brought together in one statute the most important statutory constitutional provisions. Some United Kingdom statutes, constitutional conventions, and case law add to the body of New Zealand constitutional law.

A feature of constitutional documents in some countries is that their provisions are safeguarded by requiring a special procedure to amend them. Only two New Zealand constitutional statutes have a requirement of this nature. They are the Electoral Act 1956 and the Constitution Act 1986. Some sections of the Electoral Act 1956 require a 75 percent majority in Parliament to change them, or a majority of votes cast at a referendum. However, the 75 percent requirement could itself be removed by a simple majority in Parliament. In this sense, the protection is political rather than legal. One of the entrenched, or protected, sections in the Electoral Act 1956 was transferred to the Constitution Act 1986, where it retains the protection previously provided.

Important sources of constitutional law include, the Constitution Act 1986, which replaced the Constitution Act 1852 (the 1986 Act is discussed in more detail below); the U.K. Habeas Corpus Act 1679, and Bill of Rights 1689, which respectively protect the individual against arbitrary detention, and define some of the relative powers of the Crown and Parliament; the Electoral Act 1956, which provides procedures for Parliamentary elections; and the Letters Patent 1983, which set out the Governor-General's powers.

The Crown and Governor-General

The Governor-General is the representative of the Sovereign in New Zealand and exercises the royal powers derived from statute and the general law (prerogative powers). The Governor-General possesses only those prerogative powers delegated in the Letters Patent, and the courts may decide on the limits of them. Almost all of the Governor-General's powers are now statutory, and this has the effect of abridging any of the prerogative powers that cover the same ground. The Sovereign appoints the Governor-General on the Prime Minister's recommendation, normally for a term of five years.

The Governor-General's main constitutional function is to arrange for the leader of the majority party in Parliament to form a government. By constitutional convention and the Letters Patent, the Governor-General is required to follow the advice of ministers. By convention the Governor-General can in extraordinary circumstances reject advice if he or she believes that a government is intending to act unconstitutionally—known as the reserve power. The extent of these powers in New Zealand is unclear, and events in Australia in 1975 demonstrated how controversial the use of the reserve powers can be.

Section of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Parliamentary tradition

A feature of New Zealand's constitution is that, although it is a monarchy in form, it operates democratically because of a long political tradition of parliamentary government and a network of constitutional principles. This tradition developed during the course of British history, and was transferred to New Zealand. Some principles have legal status, and some exist as constitutional conventions.

The Crown is still the formal legal repository of much power. The Crown is part of Parliament, and the Governor-General's assent is required before bills can become law. Government administration is formally carried out by the Crown through its ministers and state servants. However, the Crown must act according to its ministers’ wishes, and they, in turn, must retain parliamentary support. The Government cannot act effectively without Parliament, because it cannot raise or spend money without parliamentary approval, and for most categories of expenditure this approval takes the form of an annual vote of funds to the Government. Parliament therefore has to be assembled regularly and has the opportunity to hold the Government to account. Under the modern two-party system, however, the Government effectively controls proceedings in Parliament and cases of Government members voting with the Opposition are very uncommon.

Judges are also appointed by the Crown, and there is a strong tradition of independence for judges and various mechanisms to protect it.

Recent constitutional reform

Events immediately after the July 1984 general election highlighted a need for constitutional reform. Difficulties experienced by the incoming government, in taking what was considered urgent action, revealed uncertainties in the rules for the handing over of power from an outgoing to an incoming government.

An officials committee was set up to examine and report on the rules for the handing over of power and to carry out a general reorganisation of statutory constitutional provisions. The committee's recommendations included a draft bill which eventually led to the Constitution Act 1986.

The Act, which came into effect on 1 January 1987, clarifies the rules relating to the handover of power and brings together in one Act the most important statutory constitutional provisions. It deals with the principal components of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements: the Sovereign, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Part I of the Act concerns the Sovereign. It contains the essence of the Royal Titles Act 1974 and replaces the Royal Powers Act 1983. It deals with the Sovereign as the Head of State of New Zealand and expressly recognises the role of the Governor-General. Part I also deals with the exercise of royal powers by either the Sovereign or the Governor-General, and with the legal effects of a death of the Sovereign (the demise of the Crown).

Part II deals with the Executive. It restates the rule that no person may be a minister of the Crown or member of the Executive Council unless that person is a member of Parliament. However, due to the uncertainties in applying this rule created by the events of 1984, an exception was provided. A non-member of Parliament may now be appointed as a minister or member of the Executive Council if that person was a candidate at the general election immediately before appointment. However, if within 40 days that person does not become a member of Parliament he or she must vacate office.

There is a further exception which re-enacts, with some amendment, a provision authorising ministers of an outgoing government to continue to hold office for 28 days after ceasing to be members of Parliament. Part II also deals with the power of ministers to act for other ministers, and the appointment and powers of parliamentary under-secretaries.

Part III of the Act concerns the law-making body, the legislature: what it does and how it is to do it. The Act confirms the existing power of the New Zealand Parliament to make laws. The Act declares that the Parliament of New Zealand “continues to have full power to make laws”. It also removes the residual power of the United Kingdom Parliament to make laws for New Zealand which is now inappropriate given New Zealand's independent status. To this end the Act also repealed the Statute of Westminster 1931 (in relation to New Zealand) and other linked legislation. Under the Statute of Westminster the United Kingdom Parliament could make law for New Zealand Parliament.

The Act also alters the composition of Parliament to consist of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand, rather than, as previously, the Governor-General, and the House of Representatives. The new description is more appropriate to New Zealand's independent constitutional status. This part also deals with matters such as the election and term of the Speaker, the royal assent to bills, and the procedure for the summoning, proroguing, and dissolution of Parliament. The Act also requires Parliament to meet not later than six weeks after the date fixed for the return of the writs from the election. This embodies the important constitutional principle that Parliaments should meet frequently, as set out in the Bill of Rights 1689.

There remain a number of United Kingdom Acts (referred to as ‘Imperial Acts’) which are in force as part of the law of New Zealand. Some are historic constitutional Acts, such as the Magna Carta, the Habeus Corpus Act 1679, and the Bill of Rights 1689. Other Imperial Acts covering a wide range of subject matter also remain in effect in New Zealand.

For some time it has been proposed to enact legislation clarifying the effect of these Imperial laws in New Zealand. Those still important and relevant would be retained, while those which are obsolete would be repealed in relation to New Zealand. This, together with the Constitution Act 1986, would simplify access to statutory constitutional law.

In Part IV of the Act are found some of the important constitutional rules governing the judiciary, their tenure, and salaries. The Act also empowers the Sovereign, or the Governor-General, to remove High Court judges and sets out how, and on what grounds, they can be removed. The Constitution Act 1986 made some changes to the law on these matters. It enabled the Governor-General in Council to remove judges and abolished the power of suspension. It also clarified uncertainties about the method and grounds for removal.

In summary, although the Constitution Act 1986 is not and does not purport to be a ‘written’ constitution in the technical sense, it contains most of the provisions found in written constitutions of unitary (i.e., non-federal) countries. However, as mentioned above, only one of its provisions is specially protected. Nor does it include one feature of a number of written constitutions of other countries, namely, a statement of fundamental human rights, such as freedom of religion, speech, and assembly. This was the subject of a White Paper on a Bill of Rights for New Zealand, which was tabled in the House of Representatives in 1985. The paper contained a draft bill which would protect fundamental civil and political rights. If the bill is adopted legislation which was inconsistent with the rights in the bill would, when successfully challenged in court, be of no effect.

The officials committee commented that its report and draft bill dealt “only with what might be called the European side of our constitutional law”. The committee noted that what might be termed the Maori side of New Zealand law formed part of the subject matter of the draft bill contained in the White Paper on a Bill of Rights for New Zealand. That bill would incorporate the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 into a bill of rights.

3.2 Parliament and the Cabinet

House of Representatives

At the heart of the parliamentary system lies the power to make laws that is vested by the Constitution Act 1986 in the Parliament of New Zealand, which consists of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand (normally represented by the Governor-General) and an elected House of Representatives.

The principal functions of Parliament are to enact laws, supervise the Government's administration, vote supply, provide a government, and redress grievances by way of petition.

The Constitution Act 1986 forbids the House to allocate public funds for any purpose unless first recommended by the Crown. Although the reasons for this provision are historical, it is also used by governments to defeat legislation brought forward by individual members which ministers are unwilling to support or adopt. On the other hand, the law forbids the Crown to tax citizens without express parliamentary approval.

Swearing in members of Parliament.

Constitutional law includes the law and custom of Parliament, itself derived from a variety of sources. The Bill of Rights 1689 saves any proceeding in Parliament from being questioned in any forum, other than the House itself, and the Legislature Act 1908 provides that the powers, privileges, rights, and immunities of the House (and its committees and members) are those possessed by the British House of Commons on 1 January 1865. One aspect of the powers of the House is the ability to make rules for the conduct of its business. Most of these are contained in the Standing Orders, although some are made on a sessional, and others on an ad hoc basis. The traditional three readings given to a bill are part of Standing Orders, but it is open to the House to alter or suspend its rules at any time. The House has retained the right to punish breaches of its privileges, whether by members or citizens, from which there is no appeal (although the courts could be asked to decide whether the privilege claimed is one recognised by law).

Perhaps the most important privilege of the House is that of freedom of speech, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights 1689, and claimed by the Speaker upon confirmation in office by the Governor-General.

The House meets as Parliament in answer to a summons from the Governor-General. Sessions of Parliament are marked by a formal opening when the Government's legislative programme is described in the Speech from the Throne, read by the Governor-General in the absence of the Sovereign, and a closing prorogation by proclamation. Unless the House, by resolution made under the authority of the Constitution Act 1986, carries forward business to the next session, all business before the House or prorogation lapses. Parliament is either dissolved by the Governor-General or expires after three years, and another general election is held.

Because control of the House's business lies with the Government, many of the rules and customs of the House are designed to ensure that members are given a full opportunity to debate any aspect of government proposals. A central figure in Parliament is the Speaker, who is elected to act as an impartial chairman when the House is in session. The Speaker controls debates and the conduct of members, and ensures the Standing Orders are complied with. The Speaker is assisted by permanent officials, headed by the Clerk of the House, who is charged with the administration of the House and the provision of advice on parliamentary law and custom.

Parliamentary opposition

As the name suggests, it is the job of the opposition party with the highest number of seats to oppose the Government. Its role is to present itself to the people as an alternative government. It will attack government policy and attempt to demonstrate inefficiency, and government or departmental mismanagement. The party system means it is unlikely that the Opposition could bring down a government by a no-confidence vote—there is no instance of a successful no-confidence vote in the history of the New Zealand Parliament since 1928.

In modern times Parliament has been characterised by having two large, dominant parties, with the majority party forming the Government and the minority party forming the Opposition. In recent years, however, members of a third party have been elected to Parliament, and from time to time members have left one of the parties and have continued to sit as independent members. Because of the growth of a largely two-party system and the importance that the parties have assumed within the political framework, the party caucus (a meeting of each party's members of Parliament in closed session at regular intervals, once a week when Parliament is in session) is a primary means of developing policies and tactics. Caucus committees of the parties travel around the country frequently, investigating issues of interest or concern to them. Although the existence of the caucuses and their committees is not recognised by the law, indirect recognition has been given. For example, travelling allowances are payable to members when travelling as members of a caucus committee.

Process of legislation

Proposed laws are placed before the House in the form of draft laws known as ‘bills’. There are three types of bill: public bills, which deal with the most important subjects of a public and general nature (most public bills are introduced by the Government); local bills, which are promoted by local authorities to give themselves special powers or validate unlawful action they may take; and private bills, which are promoted by private individuals or companies also to give themselves special powers.

His Excellency the Governor-General, the Most Reverend Sir Paul Reeves.

Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. David Lange.

The Speaker, Hon. Kerry Burke.

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. J. B. Bolger.

The procedure for passing a public bill in Parliament is for it to receive a first reading, which is a formal introductory stage. This will have a maximum debating time of two hours, although often no debate occurs. Almost all bills are then sent to a select committee. Detailed scrutiny of legislation and facets of executive activity, e.g., expenditure of public money, is carried out by select committees which consist of a small number of members, and report their findings and recommendations to the House. Since 1980 all Government bills stand referred to a select committee unless they are certified by the Speaker as ‘money bills’ (or are particularly urgent). The procedure is intended to enable the public and interested bodies to make submissions, in the expectation that better laws will result. Following its deliberations the select committee will report the bill back with any proposed amendments. On the second reading the formal debate will occur on the substance of the bill. Following this the bill is considered by the whole House ‘in committee’, when the Committee of the whole House considers the bill clause by clause. This may involve considerable debating time. The entire bill is considered in this way and formally reported back to the House for its third reading, with any amendments that have been agreed. Debate may also take place on the bill's third reading, after which it is forwarded to the Governor-General for his approval. On receiving the Royal Assent the bill becomes an Act and part of the law of New Zealand.

The various stages of the bill do not always follow any set time pattern. Weeks or even months can elapse between readings. Bills normally have explanatory notes on the front, which detail the contents. These do not appear on the Act. Local and private bills pass through similar stages to those for a public bill, however in these two types of bills the person or body promoting the bill must also advertise the bill before it can be introduced.

Sessions of Parliament

The New Zealand Parliament is now in its forty-second session, which was called following the general election of 15 August 1987. In line with Government policy, Parliament will sit continuously, with short breaks, until the next election is called.

During the parliamentary session of 1987, 201 public Acts were passed. Other aspects of parliamentary activity are summarised in the following tables, and a list of public Acts in force and their administering departments can be found at the end of section 3.3, State sector.


Parliament Period of session
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Thirty-ninth17 May 1979–14 December 1979
15 May 1980–12 December 1980
20 May 1981–23 October 1981
Fortieth7 April 1982–17 December 1982
7 April 1983–16 December 1983
31 May 1984–14 June 1984
Forty-first15 August 1984–12 December 1985
26 February 1986–21 July 1987
Forty-second16 September 1987—



*First session, Forty-first Parliament.

Second session, Forty-first Parliament.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Sitting days157135
Public bills introduced by Government139107
Public bills referred to select committees10183

Parliamentary Service. Established in 1985 to replace the Legislative Department, the Parliamentary Service provides administrative and support services to the members of Parliament and the House of Representatives.

The Parliamentary Service is not a department of the Executive Government and is not responsible to a minister. It is controlled by the Parliamentary Service Commission which consists of the Speaker of the House of Representatives as chairperson, and six members, three of whom are members of the Government and three of the Opposition.

Among the services provided by the Parliamentary Service are:

  • Parliamentary Library—to provide library, information and research facilities to members of Parliament;

  • Hansard—to provide an official record of the proceedings of the House of Representatives.

  • Security, secretarial, messenger and other services needed for the day-to-day running of Parliament; and

  • Personnel, finance and administrative services to members of Parliament and other agencies operating within Parliament House including the Clerk's Office, the parliamentary party research offices, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and Bellamy's.

Salaries and allowances of parliamentarians. These are set out in table 3.3 below. An electorate allowance is also paid at a rate dependent on the nature of each member's electorate, e.g., urban, rural, or semi-rural, and ranges from $7,500 to $17,000. A day allowance of $40 is payable where indicated for each day on which a member attends a sitting of Parliament or a committee, and a night allowance of $50 for each night a member requires overnight accommodation away from home by reason of such attendance. In addition to the allowances in the table, a once-only setting-up allowance is paid towards the purchase of a motor vehicle to members elected for the first time. The amount paid varies between $6,750 and $15,300 depending on the nature of the member's electorate.


 Annual salary or allowance payable from 1 April 1988
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Members of the Executive 
Prime Minister141,500
Deputy Prime Minister110,800
Minister of the Crown98,800
Minister of the Crown without portfolio80,000
Parliamentary under-secretary77,100
Officers of the House of Representatives 
Chairman of Committees78,900
Deputy Chairman of Committees59,100
Leader and Deputy of the Opposition 
Leader of the Opposition98,800
Deputy Leader of the Opposition77,100
Chief Government Whip68,000
Chief Opposition Whip68,000
Junior Government Whip63,800
Junior Opposition Whip63,800
Members of Parliament 
Member of Parliament54,200
Prime Minister23,400
Deputy Prime Minister10,200
Minister of the Crown9,600
Minister of the Crown without portfolio7,500
Parliamentary under-secretary7,500
Minister of Foreign Affairs (additional)6,000
(additional allowance as Speaker, plus electorate allowance abated by one-third of the appropriate rate, and day allowance)7,800
Chairman of Committees4,800
(additional allowance as Chairman plus electorate allowance abated by one-third of the appropriate rate, and day allowance)4,500
Deputy Chairman of Committees4,800
(additional allowance as Deputy Chairman, and day allowance)500
Leader of the Opposition (plus house and travelling allowances)9,600
Deputy Leader of the Opposition4,800
(plus additional allowance as deputy and electorate, night, and day allowances at appropriate rates)3,750
Members (plus electorate, day, and night allowances at appropriate rates)4,800

Members of Parliament. Table 3.4 shows the percentage of women members of Parliament, and members of various ages elected in the 1987 general election compared to the voting population.

Table 3.5 lists members of the House of Representatives at the end of August 1988. Provisional results of the 1987 general election were printed in the last edition of the Yearbook, and final results in the Report of the General Election (Parl. paper E.9). However, it should be noted that both of these lists do not include the result of an electoral petition which saw the Government member for Wairarapa replaced by a National Party candidate during 1988.


 Percentage of total members of ParliamentPercentage of total voting-age population*

*As at 30 September 1984.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Age groups—  
18–29 years2.130.0
60 years and over5.220.7


Prime Minister—Rt. Hon. David Lange.
Leader of the Opposition—Hon. J. B. Bolger
Speaker—Hon. Kerry Burke.
Chairman of Committees—J. J. Terris.
Clerk of the House—D. G. McGee.
Member of Parliament*Year of birthPrevious occupationElectoral district

* Names are given in the form in which individual members prefer to be addressed.

Government member.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Anderson, Robert1936FarmerKaimai
Anderton, J. P$1†1938Company directorSydenham
Angus, D. A.1938Freezing company stock buyerWallace
Austin, Margaret†1933TeacherYaldhurst
Banks, John1946RestaurateurWhangarei
Bassett, Hon. Dr Michael†1938LecturerTe Atatu
Birch, Hon. W. F.1934Consultant surveyor-engineerMaramarua
Bolger, Hon. J. B.1935FarmerKing Country
Braybrooke, G. B$1†1935Sales managerNapier
Burdon, P. R.1939Company directorFendalton
Burke, Hon. Kerry†1942TeacherWest Coast
Butcher, Hon. David†1948Research officerHastings
Carter, John1950Local government officerBay of Islands
Caygill, Hon. David†1948Barrister and solicitorSt Albans
Clark, Hon. Helen†1950LecturerMt Albert
Cooper, Hon. Warren1933MotelierOtago
Creech, W. B.1946AccountantWairarapa
Cullen, Hon. Dr M$1†1945LecturerSt Kilda
Davies, Sonja†1923Vice-president of Federation of LabourPencarrow
de Cleene, Hon. Trevor†1933Barrister and solicitorPalmerston North
Dillon, Bill†1933Barrister and solicitorHamilton East
Douglas, Hon. R. O$1†1937Company secretaryManurewa
Dunne, P. F$1†1954Deputy chief executive officerOhariu
Duynhoven, Harry†1955TeacherNew Plymouth
East, Paul1946Barrister and solicitorRotorua
Elder, Jack†1949TeacherWest Auckland
Falloon, Hon. J. H.1942Farm management consultantPahiatua
Fraser, Anne†1954TeacherEast Cape
Gair, Hon. G. F.1926Personal assistant to general manager, Air New ZealandNorth Shore
Gerard, R. J.1937FarmerRangiora
Gerbic, F. M$1†1932Industrial conciliatorOnehunga
Goff, Hon. P. B$1†1953LecturerRoskill
Graham, D. A. M.1942Barrister and solicitorRemuera
Grant, Jeff1958FarmerAwarua
Gray, R. M.1931FarmerClutha
Gregory, Dr B$1†1937Doctor of medicineNorthern Maori
Hunt, Hon. Jonathan†1938TeacherNew Lynn
Jeffries, Hon. W. P$1†1945Barrister and solicitorHeretaunga
Keall, Judy†1942TeacherGlenfield
Kelly, Graham†1941Trade unionistPorirua
Kidd, Doug1941Barrister and solicitorMarlborough
King, Annette†1947Dental tutorHorowhenua
Kirk, Jenny†1945JournalistBirkenhead
Kyd, Warren1939Barrister and solicitorClevedon
Lange, Rt. Hon. David†1942Barrister and solicitorMangere
Lee, G. E.1935Company directorCoromandel
Luxton, John1946FarmerMatamata
McClay, R. N.1945TeacherWaikaremoana
McCully, Murray1953Public relations consultantEast Coast Bays
McKinnon, D. C.1939Real estate agentAlbany
McLean, I.1935FarmerTarawera
McTigue, M. P.1940FarmerTimaru
Mallard, Trevor†1954TeacherHamilton West
Marshall, Hon. Russell†1936Minister and teacherWanganui
Marshall, Denis1943Farmer and company directorRangitikei
Matthewson, Clive†1944Civil engineerDunedin West
Maxwell, Ralph†1934TeacherTitirangi
Maxwell, R. F. H.1941FarmerTaranaki
Meurant, Ross1947Police inspectorHobson
Moore, Hon. Mike†1949Freezing workerChristchurch North
Moyle, Hon. Colin†1929Teacher/farmerOtara
Muldoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert, G.C.M.G., C.H.1921AccountantTamaki
Munro, R. J. S.1946Barrister and solicitorInvercargill
Neilson, Hon. Peter†1954Civil servantMiramar
Northey, Richard†1945Advisory officerEden
O'Regan, Katherine1946FarmerWaipa
Palmer, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey†1942LecturerChristchurch Central
Peters, W. R.1945Barrister and solicitorTauranga
Prebble, Hon. Richard†1948Barrister and solicitorAuckland Central
Richardson, Ruth1950Legal adviser/farmerSelwyn
Robertson, H. V. Ross†1949Industrial engineerPapatoetoe
Robinson, Dave†1951Probation officerManawatu
Rodger, Hon. Stan†1940M.O.W.D. employeeDunedin North
Scott, Noel†1929Education administratorTongariro
Shields, Hon. Margaret†1941Research workerKapiti
Shipley, Jenny1952FarmerAshburton
Shirley, K. L$1†1950ScientistTasman
Simpson, Dr Peter†1942LecturerLyttelton
Smith, Dr Lockwood1948Managing directorKaipara
Storey, W. R.1936President of Federated FarmersWaikato
Sutherland, Larry†1951Trade unionistAvon
Sutton, J. R$1†1941FarmerWaitaki
Sutton, Dr Bill†1944ScientistHawke's Bay
Tapsell, Hon. Dr Peter M.B.E$1†1930Doctor of medicineEastern Maori
Tennet, Elizabeth† Trade unionistIsland Bay
Terris, J. J$1†1939BroadcasterWestern Hutt
Tirikatene-Sullivan, Hon. Mrs T. W. M$1†1932Political scientistSouthern Maori
Tizard, Rt. Hon. R. J$1†1924TeacherPanmure
Upton, S. D.1958Student/teacherRaglan
Wallbank, A. R$1†1937FarmerGisborne
Wellington, Hon. M. L.1940TeacherPapakura
Wetere, Hon. K. T$1†1935FarmerWestern Maori
Wilde, Hon. Fran†1948JournalistWellington Central
Williamson, Maurice1951Planning analystPakuranga
Woollaston, Hon. P. T. E$1†1944TeacherNelson
Young, T. J$1†1925General superintendent of New Zealand AllianceEastern Hutt
Young. Hon. V. S.1929FarmerWaitotara

Executive government

The executive government of New Zealand is carried out on behalf of the Sovereign by the ministers of the Crown, who make up the members of the Cabinet and the Executive Council, and control the state services. Ministers are responsible to Parliament for their official actions by constitutional convention, and are required to be members of Parliament by the Constitution Act 1986.

After a general election the Governor-General invites the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives to accept office as Prime Minister, and form a government. On the new Prime Minister's advice the Governor-General appoints a number of members of Parliament as ministers, generally with responsibilities for various areas of government administration (portfolios). The Governor-General may also appoint parliamentary under-secretaries, who are not ministers and not members of the Executive Council, to assist ministers.

Cabinet and the Executive Council. The Cabinet and the Executive Council have separate functions. All members of Cabinet are members of the Executive Council, as are the ministers not in the Cabinet.

The Executive Council is a formal body with formal functions, whereas the Cabinet is an informal body with deliberative functions; the Executive Council tenders advice to the Governor-General on the basis of policy formulated in the Cabinet. The council is established under Clause VII of the Letters Patent and is the main legal vehicle for promulgating government decisions that will form part of the law, such as statutory regulations, which are made by Order-in-Council.

The Cabinet is in effect the highest council of government. In it the government of the day decides on administrative and legislative proposals and policies, and co-ordinates the work of ministers. The Cabinet has a system of subcommittees with authority to make decisions on various subjects, whose members are the ministers concerned. There are standing Cabinet committees at present on the following subjects: development and marketing; domestic and external security; honours, appointments and travel; legislation; management and state employment; policy; social equity; state-owned enterprises; and transport and communications.

The proceedings of the Cabinet are informal and confidential, which encourages consensus decisions. By constitutional convention the Cabinet accepts collective responsibility for its decisions, which ensures that ministers will have the support of the Government as a whole in Parliament for their legislative and other proposals. The Cabinet Office provides services for the Cabinet and its committees. The secretary of that office is also the Clerk of the Executive Council.


Source: Cabinet Office.
His Excellency The Most Reverend Sir Paul Reeves, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.
Official Secretary: Paul Canham
Executive Council
Membership of the Executive Council comprises all ministers with the Governor-General presiding. The Clerk of the Executive Council is Marie Shroff.
The Cabinet
Rt. Hon. David Lange, Prime Minister, Minister of Education.
Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Palmer, Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Minister of Justice, Minister for the Environment.
Hon. Mike Moore, Deputy Minister of Finance, Minister of External Relations and Trade.
Hon. R. O. Douglas, Minister of Finance.
Hon. Richard Prebble, Minister for State-owned Enterprises, Postmaster-General, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister of Works and Development.
Hon. K. T. Wetere, Minister of Maori Affairs.
Hon. David Caygill, Minister of Health, Deputy Minister of Finance.
Hon. Russell Marshall, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control.
Hon. Dr M. E. R. Bassett, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Local Government, Minister of Civil Defence, Minister of Arts and Culture.
Hon. Jonathan Hunt, Minister of State, Leader of the House, Minister of Tourism.
Rt. Hon. R. J. Tizard, Minister of Defence, Minister of Science and Technology.
Hon. Colin Moyle, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Fisheries.
Hon. Stan Rodger, Minister of Labour, Minister of State Services, Minister of Immigration.
Hon. P. B. Goff, Minister of Employment, Minister of Youth Affairs, Associate Minister of Education.
Hon. Margaret Shields, Minister of Women's Affairs, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Minister of Statistics.
Hon. Peter Tapsell, M.B.E. Minister of Police, Minister of Forestry, Minister of Lands, Minister of Recreation and Sport.
Hon. Helen Clark, Minister of Housing, Minister of Conservation.
Hon. Dr M. J. Cullen, Minister of Social Welfare, Associate Minister of Health.
Hon. W. P. Jeffries, Minister of Transport, Minister of Civil Aviation and Meteorological Services.
Hon. D. J. Butcher, Minister of Energy, Minister of Regional Development, Minister of Commerce.
Ministers not in Cabinet
Hon. T. A. de Cleene, Minister of Revenue, Minister of Customs.
Hon. Fran Wilde, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Associate Minister of Housing, Associate Minister of Conservation.
Hon. P. T. E. Woolaston, Minister Assisting the Deputy Prime Minister, Associate Minister of Justice, Associate Minister for the Environment.
Hon. P. Neilson, Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister for State-owned Enterprises.
Parliamentary under-secretaries
P. F. Dunne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health, and Trade and Industry.
F. Gerbic, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport, Civil Aviation and Meteorological Services, and Immigration.
A. F. King, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Employment, Youth Affairs, Tourism, and Social Welfare.
R. Maxwell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Agriculture, and Fisheries.
Other responsibilities
Ministers with other vote or statutory responsibilities are indicated below. Statutory titles are shown in italics.
Rt. Hon. D. R. Lange, Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.
Rt. Hon. G. W. R. Palmer, Audit Department.
Hon. M. K. Moore, Minister in Charge of Publicity.
Hon. R. W. Prebble, Air New Zealand, Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, Minister of Broadcasting, Coal Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, Government Computing Service, Government Life Insurance Corporation, Government Printing Office, Government Property Services Lid, Land Corporation Ltd, New Zealand Forestry Corporation Ltd, New Zealand Post Ltd, Post Office Bank Ltd, Minister in Charge of Public Trust Office, Minister of Railways, Rural Banking and Finance Corporation, Shipping Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, State Insurance Office, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, Works and Development Services Corporation.
Hon. D. F. Caygill, Member, New Zealand Planning Council.
Hon. P. Tapsell, Minister of Survey and Land Information, Minister in Charge of Valuation Department.
Hon. Dr. M. J. Cullen, Minister in Charge of War Pensions.

Parliamentary elections

Persons 18 years and over have the right to vote in parliamentary elections. Enrolment as an elector is compulsory, but voting is not. To qualify for enrolment persons must (i) be at least 18 years old; (ii) be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents; (iii) have lived continuously in New Zealand for at least a year at some time; and (iv) have last lived continuously for one month in the electorate they are to be enrolled in. Maoris, including persons of Maori descent, may choose to enrol for either a Maori or general electorate, but may make the choice only at certain times. The electoral rolls are maintained by New Zealand Post.


The conduct of polls is the responsibility of the Department of Justice, and is controlled by a returning officer in each electorate, who arranges voting facilities and staff, conducts the election, supervises counting of votes, and declares the result. Generally only persons whose names are validly enrolled before an election are qualified to vote. General elections and by-elections are held on Saturdays, and polling booths are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Most electors cast their votes at polling booths in their electorates on election day, but they may vote as special voters at booths outside their electorate. Special votes may also be cast before election day at issuing offices or at home because of sickness, travel, or similar reasons. Provision is also made for voting overseas.

Voting is by secret ballot. Ballot papers list the surnames of candidates for the electorate concerned, and electors indicate their choice by striking out the names of every other candidate. A preliminary count of ordinary votes is available for each electorate on election night, and final results are normally available a fortnight later, once special and overseas votes have been received and counted. The candidate with the most votes is elected member of Parliament for the electorate concerned.

Electoral boundaries

The boundaries of electorates are revised every five years after the Census of Population and Dwellings, and the new boundaries come into effect at the expiry of the parliamentary term during which the revision is finalised. The Department of Statistics supplies figures for revision purposes on the general electoral population. This is defined as the total electoral population except: (a) the Maori electoral population (This is the number of adult Maoris enrolled in the four Maori electorates, adjusted to include children. Maoris have been defined since 1980 as persons of the Maori race of New Zealand including any of their descendants.); and (b) some temporary residents of various kinds.



The Representation Commission is responsible for defining the boundaries of electorates based on the population census. The commission has eight members. Five are officials, the Surveyor-General, the Government Statistician, the Chief Electoral Officer, and until 1987 the Director-General of the Post Office, and the Chairman of the Local Government Commission (the latter cannot vote). Two members are nominated by the House of Representatives to represent the Government and Opposition respectively, and the final member is appointed to chair the commission on the nomination of the other members. The appointments of the unofficial members lapse at the next census.

The number of general electorates is based on a formula that allocates 25 electorates to the South Island. The general electoral population of the South Island is divided by 25, and the population quota for each South Island electorate is divided into the general electoral population of the North Island to give the number of electorates required in the North Island. In addition there is a fixed number of four Maori electorates. Once the provisional electoral boundaries have been settled, maps of the proposals are drawn, and boundary details published in the New Zealand Gazette. Objections may be lodged within one month of publication. They are then published, and there are a further two weeks for lodging counter-objections. The objections and counter-objections are considered by the Representation Commission, which makes a final decision on the boundaries that define the new electoral districts.

General election results. A triennial general election of members of Parliament was held on 15 August 1987. The previous election was held on 14 July 1984. The total number of electors on the master roll for the 1987 election was 2 114 656. A total of 1 883 394 votes were cast; representing 89.06 percent of electors on the master roll.


Number of MPs
Political party 19661969197219751978198119841987*

*Includes result of electoral petition which was upheld and saw Wairarapa seat pass from Labour to National in July 1988.

Source: Department of Justice.

Democrats 1---122-
Labour 3539553240435657
National 4445325551473740


 Valid votes Percentage of total valid votes
Political party19781981198419871978198119841987

*Excludes special votes disallowed.

Source: Department of Justice.

Mana Motuhake8,3325,9899,789  0.460.310.53
New Zealand Party236,3855,306    12.250.29
Total valid votes1,710,1731,801,3031,929,2011,831,902100.00100.00100.00100.00
Informal votes*11,2708,9987,56511,185    


Political partySeats Contested

*All those contesting one seat only.

Source: Department of Justice

New Zealand Party31
McGillicuddy Serious19
Mana Motuhake7
Imperial British Conservative3
Independent Labour3
Labour Independent2
Socialist Action League2

National licensing poll. The licensing poll held in conjunction with the 1987 General Election was the twentieth at which the three options—national continuance, state purchase and control, and national prohibition (without compensation)—were submitted to the electors.


Voting issue197219751978198119841987
Source: Department of Justice.
For national continuance931,7781,094,4451,053,2681,124,2581,319,5181,212,989
For state purchase and control244,003235,374252,154247,217222,049217,290
For national prohibition203,791250,640374,194384,780352,949372,364

Royal commissions and commissions of inquiry

The Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, provides that the Governor-General may by Order-in-Council, appoint any person or persons to be a commission to inquire into and report upon any question arising out of, or concerning: (a) the administration of the Government; (b) the working of any existing law; (c) the necessity or expediency of any legislation; (d) the conduct of any officer in the service of the Crown; (e) any disaster or accident (whether due to natural causes or otherwise) in which members of the public were killed, injured, or were or might have been exposed to risk of death or injury; and (f) any other matter of public importance.

A royal commission is appointed by the Governor-General pursuant to the Letters Patent, but in other respects derives its powers from the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. Royal commissions are generally regarded as having greater prestige. A committee of inquiry may be set up by a minister to investigate some matter, but such a committee normally has no statutory basis although there are ancillary powers in some instances.

Amendments to the legislation in 1979 and 1980 confer new rights upon any person if he or she is a party to the inquiry or satisfies the commission that he or she has an interest in the inquiry apart from any interest in common with the public. Usually the terms of reference for a commission are quite specific. While there is frequently a final term of reference which appears to include everything else, this term of reference must be considered in context. It does not confer the right on almost anyone to become a party or participant in the inquiry.

The Department of Internal Affairs administers the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 and provides basic services to commissions. These inquiries are not part of the justice system, nor are they part of the conventional administrative bureaucracy. The department retains important constitutional responsibilities, and is held responsible to ensure that complete independence and impartiality of the investigations is maintained.

Commissions of inquiry must report to the Governor-General, who in turn refers the findings and report to his or her ministers. It is frequently the custom for the report to be published.

3.3 State sector

The state sector is responsible for putting the policies of the Government into effect. It comprises government departments, the education, health and defence services, and statutory organisations (quangos). The state sector made up just over 22 percent of the estimated labour force at 31 March, 1987, although this figure has since fallen in the wake of public sector reforms described below.

Recent reform

Until recently several government departments and other government-owned organisations combined trading and regulatory or policy functions. This was seen as an impediment to organisations fulfilling either of these roles, and a major thrust of recent public sector reform has been clarification of the distinction between public service departments with regulatory, social and other functions on the one hand, and trading enterprises owned by government, on the other. A significant stage in this process was the establishment of several state-owned enterprises from former government departments or divisions of departments from 1 April 1987. These were:

Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited;

Coal Corporation of New Zealand Limited;

Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Limited;

Government Life Insurance Corporation;

Government Property Services Limited;

Land Corporation Limited;

New Zealand Forestry Corporation Limited;

New Zealand Post Limited;

Post Office Bank Limited; and

Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Limited.

Other state-owned enterprises already in existence, such as Air New Zealand Limited, and the Shipping Corporation of New Zealand Limited, also came under the provisions of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986.

The process has continued, and the Works and Development Services Corporation and Government Computing Service Limited were established in 1988, with other new state-owned enterprises likely to follow. An overview of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986, and the formation of these organisations is given in the last edition of the Yearbook. In this edition the activities of the various state-owned enterprises are described in the relevant chapters, e.g., New Zealand Railways Corporation, New Zealand Post Limited, and Telecom Corporation of New Zealand are described in chapter 20, Transport and communications.

The specialised government services, i.e., the armed forces, police, health, and education, are also described in the relevant chapters.

Government departments are the main instruments for giving effect to government policy when Parliament has passed the necessary legislation. They may, and often do, work with and through local authorities, statutory boards and government-sponsored organisations operating under various degrees of government control. A change of government does not necessarily affect the number of general functions of government departments, although a radical change in policy may be accompanied by some organisational change. Each year departments are required to produce an annual report for parliamentary and public scrutiny. At 31 March 1988 the number of staff employed in the public service was 60 940, compared with 72 417 the year before and 89 105 at 31 March 1986.

Reform of the state sector, as distinct from the state-owned enterprises described above, continued during 1988 and is another major element of Government's policy to improve the efficiency of the public sector. Forecast 1987–88 total net government expenditure amounted to 38.8 percent of gross domestic product, meaning significant benefits are available from even relatively small improvements in state sector efficiency.

The State Sector Act 1988, which became law on 1 April 1988, replaced the State Services Act 1962 and the State Services Conditions of Employment Act 1977 (which set common conditions of employment for all departments). The new legislation provides senior Public Service management with increased flexibility, but this is linked to greater accountability.

The Act aligned the Public Service with the private sector by bringing it under the provisions of the Labour Relations Act 1987 (see section 12.4, Labour relations). It redefined the role of the State Services Commission (see below) and reshaped senior levels of the Public Service, with new appointment provisions for senior executives.

Heads of departments, previously known as ‘permanent heads’, are now known as ‘chief executives’, although they may retain specific designations required by departmental legislation. A Senior Executive Service has been established to provide a core of key senior managers. Members of this service may number up to 500. Both chief executives and members of the Senior Executive Service are engaged on contract for a maximum term of five years. The State Services Commission provides training and development opportunities for the Senior Executive Service.

Within departments the broader personnel functions formerly discharged by the State Services Commission are now the responsibility of each chief executive. The Act also removes the preference which formerly existed for Public Service applicants for departmental vacancies.

Operating under the State Sector Act 1988, the State Services Commission retains a review capacity and thus serves as a source of advice to the Government on the performance of the Public Service. With the former emphasis on centralised controls diminished, the commission is expected to concentrate on the provision of specialist advice and support to departments in the personnel and industrial relations fields.

State Services Commission

The State Sector Act 1988 provides for a State Services Commission of up to four persons (appointed by the Governor-General in Council), and for a department of state known as the Office of the State Services Commission. Although the two bodies are technically distinct, the Chief Commissioner is also the Chief Executive of The Office of the State Services Commission. The principle functions of the commission are:

  • To review the machinery of government, including the allocation of functions to and between departments, the desirability or need for the creation of new departments and the amalgamation or abolition of existing departments, and the co-ordination of the activities of departments;

  • To review the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of each department, including the discharge of the chief executive of his or her functions;

  • To negotiate conditions of employment of employees in the Public Service;

  • To promote, develop and monitor in each department personnel policies and standards of personnel administration, and equal employment opportunities policies and programmes;

  • To advise departments on management systems, structures and organisations;

  • To advise and assist departments on, and assist with, the training and career development of staff; and

  • Other functions in connection with the administration and management of the Public Service as directed by the Prime Minister.

Equal employment opportunities. The State Services Commission has the overall responsibility for the promotion and monitoring of equal employment opportunity policies, programmes and practices within the Public Service.

A network has been set up to facilitate the co-ordination between the commission and departments at central and regional levels. In every government department, the senior management responsible for the promotion, development, and co-ordination of equal employment opportunity policy reports progress achieved in accordance with the policy. Each department is required to develop a plan which outlines specific action to be taken.

The commission promulgates positive action programmes which target the most employment-disadvantaged groups in the Public Service. Regular seminars and workshops are organised on equal employment principles and strategies for departmental managers, equal employment opportunities liaison officers, and training staff.


* As at 1 September 1988.
Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry ofDirector-GeneralM. L. Cameron
AuditController and Auditor-GeneralB. H. C. Tyler
ConservationDirector-GeneralD. K. McDowell
Crown LawSolicitor-GeneralD. P. Neazor
CustomsComptrollerM. W. Taylor
Defence, Ministry ofSecretaryD. B. G. McLean
EducationDirector-GeneralR. Ballard
Energy, Ministry ofSecretaryB. V. Walker
Environment, Ministry for theSecretaryR. W. G. Blakeley
Foreign Affairs, Ministry ofSecretaryM. Norrish
Forestry, Ministry ofSecretaryT. R. Cutler (acting)
Government Printing OfficeGovernment PrinterV. R. Ward
HealthDirector-GeneralG. C. Salmond
Housing CorporationDirector-GeneralD. G. P. Cattanach (acting)
Inland RevenueCommissionerJ. Simcock
Internal AffairsSecretaryP. W. Boag
JusticeSecretaryD. Oughton
LabourSecretaryC. J. McKenzie
Maori AffairsSecretary and Maori TrusteeT. M. Reedy
PoliceCommissionerM. T. Churches
Prime Minister's OfficeDirectorJ. T. Henderson
Public Trust OfficePublic TrusteeW. B. R. Hawkins
Rural Banking and Finance CorporationGeneral ManagerR. J. Chappell
Scientific and Industrial ResearchDirector-GeneralA. J. Ellis
Social WelfareDirector-GeneralJ. W. Grant
State Insurance OfficeGeneral ManagerJ. F. Stirton
State Services CommissionChief CommissionerD. K. Hunn
StatisticsGovernment StatisticianS. S. R. Kuzmicich
Survey and Land InformationDirector-General/Surveyor GeneralW. N. Hawkey
Tourist and PublicityGeneral ManagerW. N. Plimmer
Trade and IndustrySecretaryE. A. Woodfield (acting)
Transport, Ministry ofSecretaryM. C. Bazley
TreasurySecretaryG. C. Scott
Valuation New ZealandValuer-GeneralH. F. McDonald
Women's Affairs, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveJ. E. Aitken

Functions of government departments

The functions of central government are under a continual process of review. The following account of departments was correct at the time of going to press (September 1988), but it should be pointed out that at that time organisational changes were being considered and were likely to be implemented during 1989, particularly in the areas of any remaining trading activities by departments (such as the Government Printing Office and the Rural Banking and Finance Corporation), and in the wake of the creation of new Ministries of Commerce, and External Relations and Trade, with the reorganisation of departments that will result. Change was also expected in the administration of education.

Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of

The ministry implements the Government's policies and programmes to derive maximum benefit to the nation from farming, horticulture, and fishing. Its programmes aim to improve: productivity, through research, advisory and management services; protection, by monitoring animals, fish and plants and preventing the introduction of exotic pets and diseases; and quality assurance, by assuring overseas agencies that primary produce meets agreed standards. The ministry also provides policy advice to the Government. Where feasible, costs are recovered by charging for services. See chapter 15, Agriculture and chapter 16, Forestry and fishing.

Audit Office

See ‘Controller and Auditor-General’ below.

Conservation, Department of

The department is responsible for the management of much of New Zealand's natural lands and water, as well as historic places and wildlife. In addition to managing national parks and reserves, farm and forest parks, the public aspects of harbours and foreshores, marine reserves, and unallocated Crown lands, the department is also the Government's advocate in conservation issues. See chapter 14, Land and environment.

Crown Law Office

The Crown Law Office is the legal adviser to, and provides counsel in court for, the Government and ministers in matters affecting the Crown and government departments. The Solicitor-General, who heads the office, performs most of the statutory and ex-officio duties of the Attorney-General and is entrusted by statute with various specific rights, duties and functions. The range of the Crown Law Office's legal work corresponds with the activities of the Government itself.

Customs Department

The Customs Department is a statutory agency responsible for giving advice to the Government on the development and administration of border control, indirect taxation, and for tariff-related policies.

The department's roles under the Customs Acts and other enabling legislation are: (a) to administer the Customs Tariff and customs procedures consistent with the Government's economic, industrial assistance and trade policy objectives and international obligations; (b) to ensure import/export transactions comply with government trade and revenue objectives as expressed in customs legislation, particularly in the fields of valuation, preference, dumping and countervailing. (c) to protect New Zealand's borders by exercising required control over the import and export of goods; (d) to administer the passage and transit of international passengers in relation to the Government's immigration, emigration and quarantine requirements; and (e) to protect, collect and account for customs and excise duties, and GST and other revenue charges. See chapter 22, Overseas trade.

Defence, Ministry of

The functions of the ministry include providing the resources required to enable defence headquarters to undertake the central command, control, management, and administration of the defence forces. See section 4.5, Defence.

Education, Department of

The primary objective of the department is to ensure that suitable education programmes, facilities, staffing, and services are readily available for: pre-school children; children of compulsory school age (6–15 years); for children who by choice start school at the age of 5 years; for pupils over the age of 15 who stay on at school; for suitably qualified school-leavers who seek education and training at teachers colleges or polytechnics; and for adults wishing to continue their education, whether for vocational or non-vocational purposes. See chapter 9, Education.

Energy, Ministry of

The Ministry of Energy advises the Government on the formulation, implementation, co-ordination, and continuing review of energy policies for New Zealand. In carrying out this function the ministry must take into account energy sources and resources; exploration, assessment, research and development; production, supply, and distribution; consumption and conservation; needs of industry, commerce, transport, and domestic users; needs of regions; international responsibilities; environmental and social issues; organisational and administrative methods; and future patterns, changes, problems, and the need for planning. The ministry also has regulatory functions, and a Gas and Geothermal Trading Group is maintained as a separate trading arm to manage specific Crown interests in the petroleum and geothermal sectors. See chapter 17, Minerals and energy.

Environment, Ministry for the

The ministry advises Government on all forms of environmental administration. This includes: policies for influencing the management of natural and physical resources and ecosystems, so as to achieve the objectives of the Environment Act 1986; possible consequences for the environment of proposed developments by either the private or public sector, particularly any developments not adequately covered by legislative or other environmental assessment requirements; and ways of providing effective public participation in environmental planning and policy formulation.

To carry out its role, the ministry gathers information and may conduct and commission research necessary for formulating advice to Government. It also provides Government, its agencies, and other public authorities, with advice on: the application, operation, and effectiveness of legislation relevant to achieving the objectives of the Environment Act; procedures for assessing and monitoring environmental impacts; pollution control and the management of pollutants; identification and likelihood of natural hazards, and the reduction of their effects; and the control of hazardous substances, during the management of their manufacture, storage, transport, and disposal.

As well, the ministry facilitates and encourages resolution of conflicts relating to policies and proposals which may affect the environment. It also provides and disseminates information on environmental policies.

Besides the Environment Act 1986, the ministry administers the Town and Country Planning Act 1977, the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967, and the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941.

Foreign Affairs, Ministry of

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assists the Government in the conduct of all its foreign relations and administers the network of diplomatic and consular posts overseas. See chapter 4, International relations and defence.

In September 1988 the formation of a new Ministry of External Relations and Trade was announced. It will include the existing ministry and a trade policy division from the Department of Trade and Industry and come into being on 1 December 1988.

Forestry, Ministry of

The ministry is responsible for providing forestry sector services and policy advice to the Government. Its mission is to ‘promote the national interest through forestry, including wood based industries’. Its functions include research, advice on forestry policy to the Government, advisory services, collection of statistics, and training. Other responsibilities of a regulatory nature include quarantine and forest disease control, and timber inspection and grading.

Government Printing Office

The mission of the Government Printing Office is primarily to meet the needs of Parliament and the Government in their printing, publishing, and information processing requirements, including the marketing of legislation. This must be reconciled with commercial viability in the provision of services of: printing, publishing, stationery, information processing, and forms storage and distribution to other government departments and agencies, the wider public sector, and the private sector where there is a market.

Health, Department of

The principal functions of the Department of Health are: (a) to administer all public Acts relating to the promotion or conservation of human health; (b) to advise local authorities in matters relating to environmental health; (c) to prevent, limit, and suppress communicable and other diseases; (d) to promote or carry out research and investigation in public health fields and in the prevention and treatment of disease; (e) to carry out inspections of factories in relation to matters concerning the public health and the prevention or treatment of disease, and to carry out all such inspections as may be required or authorised by any Act; (f) to publish reports, information, and advice concerning public health; (g) to organise and control medical, dental, and nursing services, so far as such services are paid for out of public moneys; (h) generally to take all such steps as may be desirable to secure the preparation, effective carrying out, and co-ordination of measures conducive to public health; and (i) to provide advisory information and processing services to hospital boards and various health agencies. See chapter 8, Health and safety.

Housing Corporation

The corporation is the primary government agency for providing subsidised housing assistance and is the Government's principal advisor on housing issues. Its major activities are the provision of rental housing and housing finance for low- and modest-income earners. It also provides home improvement loans, mortgage guarantees and refinance/‘second chance’ lending. Other activities include the purchase, development and sale of land; construction and sale of houses; management of its rental housing stock; loans and subsidies for housing for the elderly; and assistance for urban renewal and redevelopment.

The corporation administers the Homestart Scheme, which provides deposit-gap assistance for first home purchase. A programme for lending on multiply-owned Maori land uses the house rather than the land as security.

A number of lending activities are administered by the corporation either on an agency basis or in its own right. These include: loans to state servants on transfer; rehabilitation concessions to ex-service personnel; subsidies for hostel accommodation for young people; and loans for hotel and motel accommodation, private schools and medical centres.

The corporation also administers the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. It provides information on tenancy law for landlords and tenants, provides a tenancy mediation service and acts as an office for the Tenancy Tribunal. See chapter 19, Housing and construction.

Inland Revenue Department

The main function of the Inland Revenue Department is to assess and collect various taxes and duties. The principal tax is income tax, which is collected in part by pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) deductions from salaries and wages, in part by the payment of provisional tax during the year of derivation of income, and in part by an end-of-year assessment. Of the other revenues collected the most significant are goods and services tax, stamp duty, estate and gift duties, land tax, fringe benefit tax, and totalisator duty. The department also collects accident compensation levies on behalf of the Accident Compensation Corporation. See chapter 25, Public sector finance.

Internal Affairs, Department of

The department has a variety of responsibilities related to New Zealand's national identity, cultural heritage and community wellbeing. It works to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and seven Cabinet portfolios (actually four cabinet ministers); Arts and Culture, Civil Defence, Internal Affairs, Local Government, Pacific Island Affairs, Recreation and Sport, and Youth Affairs. Services are provided in the following five main areas:

Constitutional services—The department provides constitutional services to central government and citizens, including: issuing passports and granting New Zealand citizenship; protection of national emblems, flags and names; arranging some documentation of Parliament and elections as required by constitution; ministerial services; administering commissions of inquiry; and reception of distinguished visitors.

Local government services—The department provides the main link between central and local government and is responsible for: local government legislation, research and reviews; the Local Government Commission; and related functions.

Cultural heritage and community development services—The department works to promote national and cultural identity, enhance wellbeing and preserve the people's heritage. This involves responsibility for a wide range of activities including: the 1990 Commission, Historical Publications Branch and the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography; Film and Video recording censorship; control of gaming, racing and lotteries; the Museum of New Zealand Planning Committee; the Ministry of Civil Defence; and the National Archives.

Government agency and statutory body services—The department provides financial and/or administrative services to organisations such as the Pacific Island Affairs Unit; the Board of Trustees of the National Art Gallery, Museum and War Memorial; the Hillary Commission for Recreation and Sport; and a number of others.

Commercial services—The department provides a translation service for government departments and exporters; the Government Cleaning Service operates on a commercial basis; and National Archives provides records management consultancy on a cost-recovery basis.

Many of the functions of the department are described in the relevant chapters of this book.

Justice, Department of

The department's functions may be classified broadly under the following headings: administration of courts; registration of patents, land transactions, births, deaths and marriages; control of prisoners, probationers and parolees; law reform; commercial affairs (including administration of the Companies Act); electoral work; and administrative work for the many authorities and tribunals. The tribunals, authorities, and committees serviced by the department help administer Acts, or advise the Government. The Department of Justice is responsible for the administration of about 160 Acts of Parliament.

Labour, Department of

The principal responsibilities of the Department of labour are to promote full employment through the provision of an employment and vocational guidance service; to ensure through the work of its field staff that workers are employed under safe and healthy working conditions; to assist and promote good industrial relations; and to collect and publish relevant information. In addition, it administers a range of statutes; among the most important are the Labour Relations Act 1987, the Factories and Commercial Premises Act 1981, the Construction Act 1959, and Acts dealing with weights and measures, apprenticeship, training, immigration, dangerous goods, and explosives.

A division of the department, the New Zealand Immigration Service, is responsible for the administration of the Immigration Act 1987.

Lands, Department of

An interim Department of Lands was established to continue and complete the disestablishment work of the former Department of Lands and Survey and to administer legislation, functions and land unallocated to the newly formed state-owned enterprises and government departments at 1 April 1987. The department is required to investigate and report to the Government on policy, legislative and administrative changes needed to provide an ultimate permanent home for the remaining functions and for Crown land not allocated.

Maori Affairs, Department of

The department exists to deliver government services to the Maori people. Its statutory obligations are those defined in the Maori Affairs Act 1953. The department also has a responsibility to advise the Government of the nature, effectiveness and efficiency with which these services are administered.

The fundamental role of the Department of Maori Affairs is to promote the development of Maori people in order that they may contribute fully to New Zealand's social, cultural, and economic life, and to foster the transmission of Maori cultural values deemed important to the identity of New Zealand as a nation. See section 6.4, Maori population.

Police, New Zealand

The mission of the police is protecting life and property; preventing crime; maintaining the peace; detecting offenders by assisting and working together with the community and other agencies; and maintaining a police organisation capable of providing a high quality of service. See section 10.4, Police.

Prime Minister's Office

The Prime Minister's Office provides services in support of the Prime Minister as head and co-ordinator of Government. The staff of the Office of the Prime Minister provides the normal ministerial services. A press office is responsible for news media and public information relating to the Prime Minister and the general coordination of ministerial publicity. An advisory group advises the Prime Minister on policy matters referred to it.

Public Trust Office

The Public Trust Office provides a wide range of services as trustee, executor, manager, and attorney. It also acts as sinking fund or depreciation fund commissioner for many local authorities when so appointed, and additionally holds other funds on their behalf. It is also required to provide a number of statutory services irrespective of whether these are remunerative.

Rural Banking and Finance Corporation

The corporation has the principal function of making loans to farming and other primary industries and related service industries. See section 24.1, Financial institutions.

Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of

The department's role is to advance, maintain, and apply scientific and technical knowledge for the benefit of New Zealand's social and economic development. DSIR research is described in chapter 13, Science and technology.

Social Welfare, Department of

The principal functions of the Department of Social Welfare are (a) to administer the Department of Social Welfare Act 1971, the Children and Young Persons Act 1974, Parts I and III of the Social Security Act 1964, and to provide for the effective administration and servicing of the War Pensions Act 1954, the Rehabilitation Act 1941, and the Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975; (b) to advise the minister on the development of social-welfare policies; (c) to provide such social-welfare services as the minister may from time to time direct; (d) to provide for the training of persons to undertake social-welfare activities; (e) to maintain close liaison with and encourage co-operation and co-ordination among any organisations and individuals engaged in social-welfare activities; and (f) to undertake and promote research into aspects of social welfare. See chapter 7, Social welfare.

State Insurance Office

The State Insurance Office transacts all classes of fire, accident, and marine insurance. Its function is to maintain a competitive insurance service. It also administers the Export Guarantee Office, which provides credit insurance for exporters.

Statistics, Department of

The main functions of the department are: (a) to provide a statistical service relevant to the needs of governmental and community users, covering economic; demographic, and social activity; (b) to advise the Minister of Statistics on statistical policy matters; (c) to define and promote standard concepts, procedures, definitions, and classifications for use in official statistics; (d) to examine proposals by government departments for commencing or commissioning new statistical surveys, and to prepare submissions to the Minister of Statistics for approval or otherwise; (e) to review the collection, compilation, analyses, abstraction, and publication of official statistics produced in both the department and other government departments; and (f) to maintain liaison with international organisations or agencies requiring or making use of New Zealand official statistics.

Survey and Land Information, Department of

The department is the principal government (civil and military) survey and mapping, and land information agency. Its work includes control surveys as the basis for cadastral surveys and basic topographic mapping, land title surveys, investigations into the status of Crown land and Maori land, large scale topographical surveys for engineering and management purposes, land development servicing, fixing of marine and air navigation aids, aerodrome obstruction surveys, earth deformation studies, environmental planning of land, and a graphic support for the electoral system.

The main Acts administered by the department are the Survey Act 1986, the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946, and the Crown Grants Act 1908. Proposals for the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill are also collated by the department each year. See also section 14.1, Land resources and ownership.

Tourist and Publicity Department, New Zealand

The main functions of the New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department are to promote travel to, within, and beyond New Zealand; to develop domestic tourism and stimulate off-season travel; to promote New Zealand overseas in the interests of tourism industry development; to administer schemes for financial assistance for the provision of accommodation and other tourist facilities and for expanding private sector marketing overseas; to undertake research into overseas tourism markets and into domestic tourism; to operate and sell tours and to provide a complete travel service to assist overseas travel agents; and to provide film and video production, processing, sales and consultancy services through the National Film Unit and supply visual image material and services through Communicate New Zealand. It also provides research services for the New Zealand Tourism Council, an advisory body reporting and making recommendations to the Minister of Tourism on all aspects of tourism. See also section 11.6, Tourism.

Trade and Industry, Department of

In its corporate plan, the department is committed “to promote in accordance with the Government's policies an environment within New Zealand and overseas that encourages the growth of internationally competitive, efficient, and market oriented business that will contribute to New Zealand's economic development and the welfare of its people.” The department provides business policy advice to the Government and supplies comprehensive, authoritative and timely business information. These tasks are performed in six operating divisions: Business Operations; Business Environment; Business Competition and Corporate Affairs; International Trade Relations; the New Zealand Trade Commission (which includes a network of trade commissioners overseas) and Communications Division (which includes the Radio Frequency Service). Corporate services and support services for the whole department are provided by another division. Also included in the department is the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which operates as a separate division reporting to the Minister of Consumer Affairs. In addition, the department services the portfolio of the Minister of Regional Development.

In September 1988 it was announced that the Department of Trade and Industry would shed the New Zealand Trade Commission and the International Trade Relations Division and some other functions before becoming the Ministry of Commerce from 1 December 1988.

Transport, Ministry of

The ministry is responsible for providing the Government with the information and advice necessary for the development and implementation of strategies to ensure a safe, effective and economic transport system.

The ministry achieves this through four main divisions: Road Transport, Marine, Civil Aviation, and the Meteorological Service.

The Meteorological Service is responsible for providing information and advice to all sections of the community on the atmosphere, environment, weather, climatic conditions, and pollution of the air. It also promotes meteorological research and atmospheric science, and advises the Government on meteorological matters.

In addition to these operating divisions, the ministry has policy, economics, finance, and corporate services divisions. During 1988 a major reorganisation of the ministry was announced. It was being implemented at the time of going to press.


The principal functions of Treasury are to: provide the Government with independent economic and financial advice; implement the Government's economic and financial policies; control and account for the receipt and payment of government finances; and to provide financial information on the operations of the Government.

The Treasury assists informed public discussion of economic and financial matters, subject to the discretion required by its constitutional position, and administers responsibilities such as the Government Superannuation Fund and the coinage. It also includes the Government Actuary's Office. Until recently the National Provident Fund was administered by the Treasury.

Valuation New Zealand

The major activity of the department is to prepare valuation rolls for all districts in New Zealand, to keep these rolls up to date with changes in property holdings, ownership, occupancy, and development, and to revise the values at not more than five-yearly intervals. Between the five-yearly general revaluations current market values of individual properties are assessed as required. Values set by the department are used by other authorities to levy rates, land tax, estate, stamp and gift duties, and also by most government departments and agencies involved in land transactions. The department does research work on real estate markets and compiles section and house price indexes. It provides an advisory service to local authorities on all matters relating to rating. The department's extensive property record system is used to furnish data for land use, town planning and similar surveys both to local authorities and other public sector organisations. See section 14.1, Land resources and ownership.

Women's Affairs, Ministry of

This change-oriented ministry ensures that the interests of women are considered by decision-makers in all economic, legislative and social policy areas. The ministry has the following functions: (a) advising the Minister of Women's Affairs on the implications of the Government's policies, and public sector plans and expenditure programmes in terms of their differential impact on women; (b) monitoring and initiating legislation and regulations in order to promote equality of opportunity for women; (c) advising the Minister of Women's Affairs of suitable nominees for the appointment of women to statutory bodies and other quasi-governmental bodies; and (d) advising the Minister of Women's Affairs on any matter relevant to the implementation of the Government's manifesto where this has implications for, or explicitly refers to women.

Non-departmental public bodies (quangos)

In addition to the state service organisations there is a multitude of advisory bodies, statutory corporations, companies, councils, commissions, committees, tribunals and other organisations loosely connected to the Government.

They are popularly known as quangos (quasi-autonomous non-government organisations) and include: (a) some public corporations; (b) agricultural marketing boards; and (c) other non-departmental public bodies such as: (i) bodies with executive, administrative, regulatory, or commercial functions; (ii) bodies whose role is to advise ministers or departments; and (iii) tribunals and other judicial bodies.

These types of organisations have been established for various reasons such as: independence from political control and direct ministerial responsibility; freedom from departmental procedures and controls; impartiality in carrying out regulatory functions; participation of non-departmental personnel in advisory and decision-making functions; and representation of special interests in administration. The Government conducted a review of quangos in 1986, and subsequently terminated a number of them.

Most quangos are listed in the Register of Statutory and Allied Organisations issued by the Cabinet Office.

New Zealand Planning Council

The Planning Council provides a focus for better information and consultation on the key medium-term issues in New Zealand's development. It was set up in 1977 as a result of recommendations by a Task Force on Economic and Social Planning which aimed to produce a more relevant planning framework for New Zealand. Original 1982 legislation provided the basis for the council to be independent of the Government in its choice of work and in publishing its reports. The New Zealand Planning Act 1982 confirmed this independence and defined the council's main task as being to monitor and report on trends, prospects, issues, and options in relation to social, economic and cultural development. An amendment passed in 1987 added environmental development to the council's sphere of operation. This amendment also gave the council the status of body corporate and made several changes which enhance the independence of the Planning Council. As well as reporting directly to the Government and working with government departments, the council uses published reports to foster understanding and discussion of issues among private organisations and the public generally.

The council itself has 12 members, including two co-opted members, drawn from different disciplines and areas of interest. The membership therefore reflects wide experience in many fields rather than representing particular sectional interests. A minister of the Crown nominated by the Prime Minister is a member of the council in an ex-officio capacity. There is also a full-time multi-disciplinary secretariat of around 17 people.

The council's work is built around a set of expert monitoring and support groups. An Economic Monitoring Group (EMG), building on the role of the earlier Monetary and Economic Council, analyses and stimulates discussion on issues of continuing concern in management of the economy. The role of the Population Monitoring Group (PMG) is to identify important population issues, monitor trends, and examine their implications for planning and policy-making. The Social Monitoring Group (SMG) was set up jointly by the Planning Council and the former Social Advisory Council early in 1984. Its role is to document trends relevant to social development in New Zealand, exploring their implications and significance and to comment on the social implications of economic policies. In 1986, the council established the Income Distribution Group to monitor aspects of income and wealth distribution in New Zealand and to explore the information base available to do this, with the aim of improving its usefulness. Similar expert groups are brought together to support council's work in other areas such as Maori development, sectoral patterns of economic activity, employment issues, and environmental resource management.

During 1987 the New Zealand Planning Council published the following reports: NZPC Monitoring Report series—Tracking Down the Deficit (EMG Report No. 8); Care and Control—The Role of Institutions in New Zealand (SMG Report No. 2); Planning Papers—No. 29 Maori Land; NZPC Series—No. 23 Social Policy Options; and Other Publications Series—The 1981/82 Government Budget and Household Income Distribution; and New Zealand After Nuclear War.

Controller and Auditor-General

The Controller and Auditor-General is an officer of the Crown appointed by the Governor-General under the Public Finance Act 1977. Much like the judiciary, he or she is independent of the executive government and can only be removed from office by the Governor-General upon an address from the House of Representatives. There is also a Deputy Controller and Auditor-General, whose mode of appointment and tenure of office are the same. The Controller and Auditor-General, and persons acting under delegation from him or her, are collectively called the ‘Audit Office’. No minister is in any way responsible for the carrying out or exercise by the Audit Office of its functions, duties and powers.

The constitutionary important role of the Audit Office is to act as a monitor on behalf of Parliament, and take part in the procedures laid down in the Public Finance Act 1977 to control issues of money out of the Public Account. The Audit Office has to be satisfied that all issues from the Public Account to meet the Government's expenditure requirements are within the appropriations and other authorities granted by Parliament. This role is crucial to the ability of Parliament to control the supply of funds to the Crown, and in certain circumstances the Audit Office may prevent the issue of money from the Public Account.

The Audit Office audits the financial statements of government departments, local authorities, and most government-controlled corporations, boards and companies. As auditor of organisations in the public sector the Audit Office plays a key part in the process of accountability by those organisations, and accordingly it has a range of responsibilities much more extensive than that accepted by auditors whose role is confined to the traditional financial audit. In addition to carrying out audits leading to the expression of an opinion on financial statements, the Audit Office conducts periodic reviews of financial control systems and of selected programmes or operations to ascertain whether resources have been applied effectively and efficiently in a manner consistent with the policies of the governing bodies.

The Audit Office also places considerable emphasis on reporting the results of its work. The most visible result of that emphasis is the reports tabled in Parliament each year, which deal with issues ranging from those arising from particular audits to matters concerning financial management and administration in the public sector.

To enable it to carry out its functions, the Audit Office has a number of powers. These include rights of access to the books, accounts, and property of its clients, and the right to require persons to supply information, or deliver up books and accounts in their possession or under their control.

The Controller and Auditor-General has no general power of sanction to remedy shortcomings discovered during an audit. The principal recourse is to report to the management of the organisation either by letter or in the formal audit opinion on financial statements, to a minister, or to Parliament and its select committees. If there is a deficiency or loss of public money or stores, the Controller and Auditor-General has the power to surcharge the persons responsible to recover the amount involved. This power is rarely used.

Official information

The Official Information Act 1982 gives effect to the principle that information shall be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it. It establishes a flexible mechanism, capable of contributing to and being responsive to changing attitudes and circumstances, and leading to increased availability of information. The purposes of the Act are: (a) to increase progressively the availability of official information to the people of New Zealand to facilitate their more effective participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; and to promote the accountability of ministers and officials, and thereby enhance respect for the law and promote the good government of New Zealand; (b) to provide for proper access by each person to official information relating to that person; and (c) to protect official information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy.

With the exception of the Parliamentary Service, the Act covers all government departments—but it does not include courts, tribunals (in relation to their judicial functions), or some other judicial bodies. The Act also covers state-owned enterprises, education and health authorities, and a range of statutory bodies.

In addition, statutory boards and all local authorities are now covered by official information legislative requirements, either in the form of the Official Information Act 1982 or the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

The Acts provide special rights of access to personal information, which means any official information held about an identifiable person. A ‘person’ is defined as including a sole corporation and a body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate. Where it is necessary to make a distinction between a human being, and other entities legally described as ‘persons’, the former is referred to as a ‘natural person’.

Withholding information

In legislating for increased openness in the release and dissemination of information, Parliament recognised that there may be good reasons for withholding some information. The criteria which may justify not releasing information are set down in sections 6 and 7 of the Official Information Act 1982 and cover information which, if released, would be likely to prejudice: (a) the security, defence, or international relations of New Zealand; (b) the entrusting of information to the Government of New Zealand on a basis of confidence by the government or a government agency of another country, or any international organisation; (c) the maintenance of law and order; (d) the safety of any person; (e) the economic interests of New Zealand; and (f) the security or defence of the Cook Islands, Tokelau, Niue, or the Ross Dependency. Section 9 sets out other good reasons for withholding official information, unless in the circumstances of the particular case the withholding of that information is outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable in the public interest to make that information available.

Applications for access

Requests for information do not have to be made in any prescribed form. They may be made by telephone, in person, or in writing. Requests should however provide sufficient detail to allow the relevant material or documents to be identified. Sometimes applicants will need assistance with this task and the Act makes the provision of reasonable assistance a duty. Information guides concerning access to personal and official information are available. Organisations covered by the Act are required to respond to requests within specified time limits.

To assist the lodging of requests, reference can be made to the Directory of Official Information, published every two years and available at public libraries and Citizens’ Advice Bureaus. This gives a complete list of organisations covered by the Act, their structure and function, a general description of all kinds of documents held; a list of all manuals, and similar types of documents which contain policies, principles, rules, or guidelines, in accordance with which decisions are made; and how to obtain access to information, including details of contact officers.

Review by an ombudsman

The Ombudsman can review a decision to refuse information. There is no charge and the investigation is private. The Ombudsman's formal recommendations are binding unless overridden by a minister in accordance with a formal procedure. That procedure requires that where a minister declines to accept an ombudsman's recommendation, the decision, the grounds for it, and (except on the grounds of national security), the source and purport of any advice on which it was based are to be published in the New Zealand Gazette. If an ombudsman concludes that any complaint made under the Act cannot be sustained, he or she will explain the reasons to the complainant.


The position of Parliamentary Commissioner for Investigations (Ombudsman) was created in 1962. Until 1968 the principal function of the Ombudsman was to enquire into complaints relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organisations. In 1968 the jurisdiction was extended to hospital boards and education boards. Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 the jurisdiction was further extended to all local authorities. Under the 1975 Act, provision was made for the appointment of a Chief Ombudsman and one or more other ombudsmen, whose appointments could be permanent or temporary.

Complaints to the Ombudsmen must be made in writing, and investigations are conducted in private. An ombudsman may decide not to investigate a complaint where there appears to be an alternative administrative avenue of redress available to the complainant; where the complaint relates to a matter which has been within the complainant's knowledge for more than 12 months; where the complaint is trivial; or where the complainant has not a sufficient personal interest in the subject-matter of the complaint. The Ombudsmen have no authority to investigate certain complaints, for example, complaints against private companies and individuals, decisions of judges, complaints directed at ministerial decisions, or at the full council or board of a local organisation. However, an ombudsman may investigate recommendations made to a minister by any government department, organisation or employee, or to a full council by any committee, sub-committee, officer, employee, or member. An ombudsman may not investigate a complaint where the complainant has a statutory right of appeal on the merits of the case to a court or statutory tribunal, unless there are special circumstances why it would not be reasonable to expect that person to have exercised the right of appeal.

Where an ombudsman forms the opinion that a complaint can be sustained, he or she reports his or her opinion to the government department or government organisation concerned with any recommendation that he or she may make for remedial action. A copy of the report is also made available to the responsible minister. In the case of a local organisation, the ombudsman reports the opinion to that organisation and makes a copy of his report available to the mayor or chairperson.

The Ombudsmen have also assumed certain responsibilities under the Official Information Act 1982 and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. On receipt of a written complaint an ombudsman has a responsibility to investigate any decision made on a request for information: for example, a refusal of the whole or part of the request; or a decision on what charge is to be made for providing the information. An ombudsman may also investigate undue delays in responding to requests.


Action on complaintOmbudsmen Act 1975Official Information Act 1982

*Year ended 31 March.

Source: Office of the Ombudsmen.

Declined, no jurisdiction2357
Declined or discontinued section 1738872
Resolved in course of investigation168181
Resolved informally4711
Sustained, recommendation made3410
Sustained, no recommendation made592
Not sustained35866
Formal investigation not undertaken, explanation, advice, or assistance given46061
Still under investigation as at 31 March39880

Public Acts in force

Table 3.13 lists the public Acts of general application in New Zealand, and administering departments at 1 January 1988. The list does not refer to amending, appropriation, finance or other Acts containing miscellaneous provisions for local government and other areas.

For a complete list of Acts and regulations in force see Tables of Acts and Statutory Regulations in Force, issued annually by the Government Printing Office.

It should also be noted that state sector reorganisation during 1988 means that the administering departments for some Acts have changed, or are the process of changing.


ActAdministering department
Source: Parliamentary Service
Accident Compensation Act 1982Accident Compensation Corporation
Acts Interpretation Act 1924Justice
Administration Act 1969Justice
Admiralty Act 1973Justice
Adoption Act 1955Justice
Adult Adoption Information Act 1985Justice
Adult Education Act 1963Education
Age of Majority Act 1970Justice
Aged and Infirm Persons Protection Act 1912Justice
Agricultural and Pastoral Societies Act 1908Agriculture and Fisheries
Agricultural Pesticides Act 1983Agriculture and Fisheries
Agricultural Pests Destruction Act 1967Agriculture and Fisheries
Agricultural Workers Act 1977Labour
Agriculture (Emergency Powers) Act 1934Agriculture and Fisheries
Agriculture (Emergency Regulations Confirmation) ActsAgriculture and Fisheries
Air Services Licensing Act 1983Transport
Aircrew Industrial Tribunal Act 1971Labour
Airport Authorities Act 1966Transport
Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council Act 1976Justice
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966Health
Animal Remedies Act 1967Agriculture and Fisheries
Animals Act 1967Agriculture and Fisheries
Animals Protection Act 1960Agriculture and Fisheries
Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act 1981Foreign Affairs
Antarctica Act 1960Foreign Affairs
Antiquities Act 1975Internal Affairs
Anzac Day Act 1966Internal Affairs
Apiaries Act 1969Agriculture and Fisheries
Apple and Pear Marketing Act 1971Agriculture and Fisheries
Apprenticeship Act 1983Labour
Arbitration Act 1908Justice
Arbitration Clauses (Protocol) and the Arbitration (Foreign Awards) Act 1933Justice
Arbitration (Foreign Agreements and Awards) Act 1982Justice
Arbitration (International Investments Disputes) Act 1979Justice
Architects Act 1963Internal Affairs
Archives Act 1957Internal Affairs
Area Health Boards Act 1983Health
Armed Forces Canteens Act 1948Defence
Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971Defence
Arms Act 1983Police
Atomic Energy Act 1945Energy
Auckland Airport Act 1987Transport
Auctioneers Act 1928Justice
Aviation Crimes Act 1972Justice
Bank of New Zealand Act 1979Treasury
Banking Act 1982Reserve Bank
Beer Act 1977Customs
Berryfruit Levy Act 1967Agriculture and Fisheries
Bills of Exchange Act 1908Justice
Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951Justice
Boilers, Lifts, and Cranes Act 1950Transport
Boxing and Wrestling Act 1981Internal Affairs
Broadcasting Act 1976Broadcasting Corporation
Building Research Levy Act 1969Scientific and Industrial Research
Building Societies Act 1965Treasury
Burial and Cremation Act 1964Health
Bush Workers Act 1945Labour
Bylaws Act 1910Internal Affairs
Canterbury Provincial Buildings Vesting Act 1928Conservation
Carriage by Air Act 1967Transport
Carriage of Goods Act 1979Justice
Charitable Trusts Act 1957Justice
Chateau Companies Act 1977Justice
Chattels Transfer Act 1924Justice
Cheques Act 1960Justice
Children and Young Persons Act 1974Social Welfare
Children's Health Camps Act 1972Health
Chiropractors Act 1982Health
Citizenship Act 1977Internal Affairs
Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982Internal Affairs
Civil Aviation Act 1964Transport
Civil Defence Act 1983Internal Affairs
Civil List Act 1979Prime Minister's
Clean Air Act 1972Health Works and
Clerks of Works Act 1944Development
Coal Mines Act 1979Energy
Commerce Act 1986Trade and Industry
Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908Internal Affairs
Commonwealth Countries Act 1977Foreign Affairs
Commonwealth Games Symbol Protection Act 1974Internal Affairs
Companies Act 1955Justice
Companies (Bondholders Incorporation) Act 1934–35Justice
Companies Special Investigation Act 1958Justice
Conservation Act 1987Conservation
Constitution Act 1986Justice
Construction Act 1959Labour
Consular Privileges and Immunities Act 1971Foreign Affairs
Consumer Council Act 1966Trade and Industry
Continental Shelf Act 1964Foreign Affairs
Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977Justice
Contracts Enforcement Act 1956Justice
Contracts (Privity) Act 1982Justice
Contractual Mistakes Act 1977Justice
Contractual Remedies Act 1979Justice
Contributory Negligence Act 1947Justice
Cook Islands Act 1915Foreign Affairs
Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964Foreign Affairs
Co-operative Companies Act 1956Justice
Co-operative Dairy Companies Act 1949Justice
Co-operative Forestry Companies Act 1978Justice
Co-operative Freezing Companies Act 1960Justice
Copyright Act 1962Justice
Cornish Companies Management Act 1974Justice
Coroners Act 1951Justice
Costs In Criminal Cases Act 1967Justice
Counties Insurance Empowering Act 1941Internal Affairs
Courts Martial Appeals Act 1953Defence
Credit Contracts Act 1981Justice
Crimes Act 1961Justice
Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons and Hostages) Act 1980Justice
Criminal Justice Act 1985Justice
Crown Grants Act 1908Survey and Land Information
Crown Proceedings Act 1950Justice
Customs Act 1966Customs
Customs Law Act 1908Customs
Customs Orders Confirmation Act 1987Customs
Dairy Board Act 1961Agriculture and Fisheries
Dairy Industry Act 1952Agriculture and Fisheries
Dangerous Goods Act 1974Labour
Deaths By Accidents Compensation Act 1952Justice
Decimal Currency Act 1964Treasury
Declaratory Judgments Act 1908Justice
Deeds Registration Act 1908Justice
Defamation Act 1954Justice
Defence Act 1971Defence
Dental Act 1963Health
Department of Social Welfare Act 1971Social Welfare
Designs Act 1953Justice
Development Finance Corporation of New Zealand Act 1986Trade and Industry
Dietitians Act 1950Health
Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968Foreign Affairs
Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975Social Welfare
Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Act 1960Labour
Distillation Act 1971Customs
Distress and Replevin Act 1908Justice
District Courts Act 1947Justice
District Railways Act 1908Works and Development
Dog Control and Hydatids Act 1982Internal Affairs and Agriculture and Fisheries
Domestic Actions Act 1975Justice
Domestic Protection Act 1982Justice
Domicile Act 1976Justice
Door To Door Sales Act 1967Trade and Industry
Earthquake and War Damage Act 1944Earthquake and War Damage Commission
Education Act 1964Education
Education Lands Act 1949Education
Electoral Act 1956Justice
Electric Linemen Act 1959Energy
Electric Power Boards Act 1925Energy
Electrical Registration Act 1979Energy
Electricity Supply Association Act 1930Energy
Electricity Act 1968Energy
Electricity Operators Act 1987Energy
Emergency Forces Rehabilitation Act 1953Social Welfare
Enemy Property Act 1951Public Trust
Energy Resources Levy Act 1976Energy
Engineering Associates Act 1961Works and Development
Engineers Registration Act 1924Works and Development
English Laws Act 1908Justice
Environment Act 1986Environment
Equal Pay Act 1972Labour
Estate and Gift Duties Act 1968Inland Revenue
Evidence Act 1908Justice
Explosives Act 1957Labour State Insurance
Export Guarantee Act 1964Office
Extradition Act 1965Justice
Factories and Commercial Premises Act 1981Labour
Fair Trading Act 1986Trade and Industry
Family Benefits (Home Ownership) Act 1964Social Welfare
Family Courts Act 1980Justice
Family Proceedings Act 1980Justice
Family Protection Act 1955Justice
Farm Ownership Savings Act 1974Rural Banking and Finance Corporation
Fees and Travelling Allowances Act 1951Treasury
Fencing Act 1978Justice
Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987Internal Affairs
Fertilisers Act 1960Agriculture and Fisheries
Films Act 1983Internal Affairs
Fire Service Act 1975Internal Affairs
Fish Royalties Act 1985Agriculture and Fisheries/Conservation
Fisheries Act 1983Agriculture and Fisheries/Conservation
Fishing Industry Board Act 1963Agriculture and Fisheries
Fishing Vessel Ownership Savings Act 1977Rural Banking and Finance Corporation
Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981Internal Affairs
Food Act 1981Health
Foreign Affairs and Overseas Service Act 1983Foreign Affairs
Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977Ministry of Forestry
Forestry Encouragement Act 1962Ministry of Forestry
Forestry Rights Registration Act 1983Ministry of Forestry
Forests Act 1949Ministry of Forestry
Franklin-Manukau Pest Destruction Act 1971Agriculture and Fisheries
Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982Treasury
Frustrated Contracts Act 1944Justice
Fugitive Offenders Act 1881 (U.K.)Justice
Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977Internal Affairs
Gaming Duties Act 1971Inland Revenue
Gas Act 1982Energy
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Act 1948Customs
Geneva Conventions Act 1958Foreign Affairs
Geothermal Energy Act 1953Energy
Goods and Services Tax Act 1985Inland Revenue
Government Life Insurance Corporation Act 1987Government Life Insurance Corporation
Government Service Equal Pay Act 1960State Services Commission
Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956Treasury
Guardianship Act 1968Justice
Harbours Act 1950Transport
Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park Act 1967Conservation
Health Act 1956Health
Health Benefits (Reciprocity with Australia) Act 1986Health
Health Benefits (Reciprocity with the United Kingdom) Act 1982Health
Health Service Personnel Act 1983Health
Heavy Engineering Research Levy Act 1978Scientific and Industrial Research
Higher Salaries Commission Act 1977Labour
Hire Purchase Act 1971Justice
Historic Places Act 1980Conservation
Hive Levy Act 1978Agriculture and Fisheries
Holidays Act 1981Labour
Home Ownership Savings Act 1974Housing Corporation
Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986Justice
Hospitals Act 1957Health
Hotel Association of New Zealand Act 1969Justice
Housing Act 1955Housing Corporation
Housing Corporation Act 1974Housing Corporation
Hovercraft Act 1971Transport
Human Rights Commission Act 1977Justice
Human Tissues Act 1964Health
Hunter Gift for the Settlement of Discharged Soldiers Act 1921Lands
Illegal Contracts Act 1970Justice
Immigration Act 1987Labour
Impounding Act 1955Internal Affairs
Imprisonment for Debt Limitation Act 1908Justice
Income Tax Act 1976Inland Revenue
Income Tax (Annual) ActsInland Revenue
Incorporated Societies Act 1908Justice
Indecent Publications Act 1963Justice
Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1908Justice
Industrial Design Act 1966Trade and Industry
Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1908Trade and Industry
Industrial Training Levies Act 1978Labour
Infants Act 1908Justice
Inferior Courts Procedure Act 1909Justice
Inland Revenue Department Act 1974Inland Revenue
Innkeepers Act 1962Justice
Insolvency Act 1967Justice
Insurance Companies’ Deposits Act 1953Justice
Insurance Law Reform Act 1977Justice
Insurance Law Reform Act 1985Justice
International Air Services Licensing Act 1947Transport
Internal Energy Agreement Act 1976Energy
International Finance Agreements Act 1961Treasury
International Terrorism (Emergency Powers) Act 1987Prime Minister's
Iron and Steel Industry Act 1959Energy
Joint Council for Local Authorities Services Act 1977Internal Affairs
Joint Family Homes Act 1964Justice
Judicature Act 1908Justice
Juries Act 1981Justice
Justices of the Peace Act 1957Justice
Kapiti Island Public Reserves Act 1897Conservation
Kermadec Islands Act 1887Foreign Affairs
Kitchener Memorial Scholarship Trust Act 1941Education
Labour Department Act 1954Labour
Labour Relations Act 1987Labour
Lake Waikaremoana Act 1971Maori Affairs
Lake Wanaka Preservation Act 1973Conservation
Land Act 1948Survey and Land Information
Land Drainage Act 1908Internal Affairs
Land Settlement, Promotion, and Land Acquisition Act 1952Lands
Land Tax Act 1976Inland Revenue
Land Transfer Act 1952Justice
Land Transfer (Hawke's Bay) Act 1931Justice
Land Valuation Proceedings Act 1948Justice
Law Commission Act 1985Justice
Law Practitioners Act 1982Justice
Law Reform Act 1936Justice
Law Reform Act 1944Justice
Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949Justice
Layby Sales Act 1971Justice
Legal Aid Act 1969Justice
Legislative Council Abolition Act 1950Legislative
Legislature Act 1908Legislative
Libraries and Mechanics’ Institutes Act 1908Internal Affairs
Licensing Act 1908Justice
Licensing Trusts Act 1949Justice
Life Insurance Act 1908Justice
Limitation Act 1950Justice
Lincoln College Act 1961Education
Litter Act 1979Internal Affairs
Local Authorities (Employment Protection) Act 1963Internal Affairs
Local Authorities Loans Act 1956Treasury
Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968Internal Affairs
Local Elections and Polls Act 1976Internal Affairs
Local Government Act 1974Internal Affairs
Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987Internal Affairs
Local Railways Act 1914Works and Development
Machinery Act 1950Labour
Manapouri - Te Anau Development Act 1963Energy
Maori Affairs Act 1953Maori Affairs
Maori Community Development Act 1962Maori Affairs
Maori Education Foundation Act 1961Education
Maori Housing Act 1935Maori Affairs
Maori Language Act 1987Maori Affairs
Maori Purposes Acts 1931–1985Maori Affairs
Maori Purposes Funds Act 1934–35Maori Affairs
Maori Reserved Land Act 1955Maori Affairs
Maori Soldiers Trust Act 1957Maori Affairs
Maori Trust Boards Act 1955Maori Affairs
Maori Trustee Act 1953Maori Affairs
Maori Vested Lands Administration Act 1954Maori Affairs
Margarine Act 1908Agriculture and Fisheries
Marine and Power Engineers’ Institute Industrial Disputes Act 1974Labour
Marine Farming Act 1971Agriculture and Fisheries
Marine Insurance Act 1908Justice
Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978Conservation
Marine Pollution Act 1974Transport
Marine Reserves Act 1971Conservation
Marketing Act 1936Agriculture and Fisheries
Marriage Act 1955Justice
Massage Parlours Act 1978Justice University Grants
Massey University Act 1963Committee
Masterton Licensing Trust Act 1947Justice
Maternal Mortality Research Act 1968Health
Matrimonial Property Act 1976Justice
Meat Act 1981Agriculture and Fisheries
Meat Export Control Act 1921–22Agriculture and Fisheries
Meat Export Prices Act 1976Agriculture and Fisheries
Medical and Dental Auxiliaries Act 1966Health
Medical Practitioners Act 1968Health
Medical Research Council Act 1950Health
Medicines Act 1981Health
Mental Health Act 1969Health
Mercantile Law Act 1908Justice
Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918Defence
Military Manoeuvres Act 1915Defence
Milk Act 1967Agriculture and Fisheries
Minimum Wage Act 1983Labour
Mining Act 1971Energy
Mining Tenures Registration Act 1962Justice
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Act 1953Agriculture and Fisheries
Ministry of Energy Act 1977Energy
Ministry of Transport Act 1968Transport
Minors’ Contracts Act 1969Justice
Misuse of Drugs Act 1975Health
Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 1978 Pt. IIHealth
Mortgagors and Lessees Rehabilitation Act 1936Justice
Motor Spirits Distribution Act 1953Trade and Industry
Motor Spirits (Regulation of Prices) Act 1933Energy
Motor-Vehicle Dealers Act 1975Justice
Mount Egmont Vesting Act 1978Conservation
Municipal Association Act 1939Internal Affairs
Municipal Insurance Act 1960Internal Affairs
Music Teachers Act 1981Education
Mutual Insurance Act 1955Justice
National Art Gallery, Museum, and War Memorial Act 1972Internal Affairs
National Expenditure Adjustment Act 1932Treasury
National Library Act 1965Education
National Parks Act 1980Conservation
National Provident Fund Act 1950Treasury
National Research Advisory Council Act 1963State Services Commission
National Roads Act 1953Works and Development
Native Plants Protection Act 1934Conservation
Nature Conservation Council Act 1962Conservation
Naval and Victualling Stores Act 1908Defence
New Zealand Boundaries Act 1863 (U.K.)Internal Affairs
New Zealand Council for Educational Research Act 1972Education
New Zealand Council for Postgraduate Medical Education Act 1978Health
New Zealand Council of Law Reporting Act 1938Justice
New Zealand Export-Import Corporation Act 1974Trade and Industry
New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978Internal Affairs
New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946Survey and Land Information
New Zealand Government Property Corporation Act 1953Foreign Affairs
New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority Act 1987Agriculture and Fisheries
New Zealand Library Association Act 1939Education
New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Act 1963Tourist and Publicity
New Zealand Market Development Board Act 1986Trade and Industry
New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987Foreign Affairs
New Zealand Planning Act 1982New Zealand Planning Council
New Zealand Ports Authority Act 1968Transport New Zealand
New Zealand Railways Corporation Act 1981Railways Corporation
New Zealand Register of Osteopaths Incorporated Act 1978Health
New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
New Zealand Society of Accountants Act 1958Treasury
New Zealand Walkways Act 1975Conservation
Newspapers and Printers Act 1955Justice
Ngarimu V.C. and 28th (Maori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Act 1945Education
Niue Act 1966Foreign Affairs
Niue Constitution Act 1974Foreign Affairs
Noise Control Act 1982Health
Noxious Plants Act 1978Agriculture and Fisheries
Nurses Act 1977Health
Oaths and Declarations Act 1957Justice
Occupational Therapy Act 1949Health
Occupiers Liability Act 1962Justice
Offenders Legal Aid Act 1954Justice
Official Appointments and Documents Act 1919Internal Affairs
Official Information Act 1982Justice
Ombudsmen Act 1975Justice
Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Act 1976Health
Orakei Block (Vesting and Use) Act 1978Lands
Orchard Levy Act 1953Agriculture and Fisheries
Overseas Investment Act 1973Reserve Bank
Pacific Islands Polynesian Education Foundation Act 1972Education
Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987Labour
Parliamentary Service Act 1985Parliamentary Service
Partnership Act 1908Justice
Passports Act 1980Internal Affairs
Patents Act 1953Justice
Patriotic and Canteen Funds Act 1947Internal Affairs
Pawnbrokers Act 1908Justice
Penal Institutions Act 1954Justice
Perpetuities Act 1964Justice
Pesticides Act 1979Agriculture and Fisheries
Petroleum Act 1937Energy
Petroleum Demand Restraint Act 1981Energy
Pharmacy Act 1970Health
Phosphate Commission of New Zealand Act 1981Agriculture and Fisheries
Physiotherapy Act 1949Health
Plant Varieties Act 1973Agriculture and Fisheries
Plant Variety Rights Act 1987Agriculture and Fisheries
Plants Act 1970Agriculture and Fisheries
Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 1976Health
Police Act 1958Police
Political Disabilities Removal Act 1960Justice
Pork Industry Board Act 1982Agriculture and Fisheries
Post Office Bank Act 1987Treasury
Postal Services Act 1987Trade and Industry
Potato Industry Act 1977Agriculture and Fisheries
Poultry Act 1968Agriculture and Fisheries
Poultry Board Act 1980Agriculture and Fisheries
Primary Products Marketing Act 1953Agriculture and Fisheries
Primary Products Marketing Regulations Confirmation Act 1985Agriculture and Fisheries
Private Investigators and Security Guards Act 1974Justice
Private Savings Banks Act 1983Reserve Bank
Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975Education
Property Law Act 1952Justice
Psychologists Act 1981Health
Public Authorities (Party Wall) Empowering Act 1919Internal Affairs
Public Bodies’ Contracts Act 1959Internal Affairs
Public Bodies’ Leases Act 1969Internal Affairs
Public Contracts Act 1908Internal Affairs
Public Finance Act 1977Treasury
Public Service Investment Society Management Act (No. 2) 1979Justice
Public Trust Office Act 1957Public Trust
Public Works Act 1981Works and Development
Quantity Surveyors Act 1968Works and Development
Quarries and Tunnels Act 1982Energy
Queen Elizabeth The Second Arts Council of New Zealand Act 1974Internal Affairs
Queen Elizabeth The Second National Trust Act 1977Conservation
Queen Elizabeth The Second Postgraduate Fellowship of New Zealand Act 1963Education
Queen Elizabeth The Second Technicians Study Award Act 1970Education
Queenstown Reserves Vesting and Empowering Act 1971Conservation
Race Relations Act 1971Justice
Racing Act 1971Internal Affairs
Radiation Protection Act 1965Health
Rangitaiki Land Drainage Act 1956Internal Affairs
Rates Rebate Act 1973Internal Affairs
Rating Act 1967Internal Affairs
Real Estate Agents Act 1976Justice
Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act 1934Justice
Recreation and Sport Act 1987Internal Affairs
Regulations Act 1936Justice
Rehabilitation Act 1941Social Welfare
Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1964Reserve Bank
Reserves Act 1977Conservation
Residential Tenancies Act 1986Housing Corporation
River Boards Act 1908Internal Affairs
Road User Charges Act 1977Works and Development
Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind Act 1963Education
Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Act 1953Agriculture and Fisheries
Royal Society of New Zealand Act 1965Scientific and Industrial Research
Royal Titles Act 1974Internal Affairs
Rural Banking and Finance Corporation Act 1974Rural Banking and Finance Corporation
Rural Intermediate Credit Act 1927Rural Banking and Finance Corporation
Sale of Goods Act 1908Justice
Sale of Liquor Act 1962Justice
Sand Drift Act 1908Conservation
Scientific and Industrial Research Act 1974Scientific and Industrial Research
Sea Carriage of Goods Act 1940Transport
Seal of New Zealand Act 1977Internal Affairs
Seamen's Union Funds Act 1971Labour
Secondhand Dealers Act 1963Justice
Secret Commissions Act 1910Justice
Securities Act 1978Justice
Securities Transfer Act 1977Justice
Sharebrokers Act 1908Justice
Sharemilking Agreements Act 1937Labour
Shearers Act 1962Labour
Shipping Act 1987Transport
Shipping and Seamen Act 1952Transport
Shipping Corporation of New Zealand Act 1973Transport
Shop Trading Hours Act 1977Labour
Simultaneous Deaths Act 1958Justice
Small Claims Tribunals Act 1976Justice
Social Security Act 1964—Part 1Social Welfare
Social Security Act 1964—Part 2Health
Social Security (Reciprocity with Australia) Act 1987Social Welfare
Social Security (Reciprocity with the United Kingdom) Act 1983Social Welfare
Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941Works and Development
Southland Electric Power Supply Act 1936Energy
Sovereign's Birthday Observance Act 1952Internal Affairs
Stamp and Cheque Duties Act 1971Inland Revenue
Standards Act 1965Trade and Industry
State Advances Corporation Act 1965Housing Corporation State Insurance
State Insurance Act 1963Office State Services
State Services Act 1962Commission
State Services Conditions of Employment Act 1977State Services Commission
State Owned Enterprises Act 1986Treasury
Statistics Act 1975Statistics
Status of Children Act 1969Justice
Statutues Drafting and Compilation Act 1920Parliamentary Counsel Office
Statutory Land Charges Registration Act 1928Justice
Stewart Island Reserves Empowering Act 1976Conservation
Stock Foods Act 1946Agriculture and Fisheries
Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1966Transport
Summary Offences Act 1981Justice
Summary Proceedings Act 1957Justice
Superannuation Schemes Act 1976Treasury Survey and Land
Survey Act 1986Information
Swamp Drainage Act 1915Lands
Synthetic Fuels Plant (Effluent Disposal) Empowering Act 1983Energy
Taranaki Harbour Act 1965Transport
Taranaki Scholarships Trusts Board Act 1957Education
Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre (Wairarapa) Act 1969Agriculture and Fisheries
Tarawera Forest Act 1967Maori Affairs
Tauranga Moana Maori Trust Board Act 1981Maori Affairs
Taxation Acts Repeal Act 1986Inland Revenue
Te Runanga O Ngati Porou Act 1987Maori Affairs
Technicians Training Act 1967Labour
Telecommunications Act 1987Trade and Industry
Temporary Safeguard Authorities Act 1987Trade and Industry
Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977Foreign Affairs
Testing Laboratory Registration Act 1972Scientific and Industrial Research
Time Act 1974Internal Affairs
Tobacco Growing Industry Repeal Act 1987Trade and Industry
Tokelau Act 1948Foreign Affairs
Tokelau (Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone) Act 1977Foreign Affairs
Tourist and Health Resorts Control Act 1908Tourist and Publicity
Tourist and Publicity Department Act 1963Tourist and Publicity
Tourist Hotel Corporation Act 1974Tourist Hotel Corporation
Town and Country Planning Act 1977Works and Development
Toxic Substances Act 1979Health
Trade and Industry Act 1956Trade and Industry
Trade Marks Act 1953Justice
Trade Unions Act 1908Labour
Trades Certification Act 1966Education
Tramways Act 1908Works and Development
Transport Act 1962Transport
Transport (Vehicle and Driver Registration and Licensing) Act 1986Transport
Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975Maori Affairs
Tresspass Act 1980Justice
Trustee Act 1956Justice
Trustee Banks Act 1983Reserve Bank
Trustee Companies Act 1967Justice
Trustee Companies Management Act 1975Justice
Tuberculosis Act 1948Health
Unclaimed Money Act 1971Reserve Bank
Union Representatives Education Leave Act 1986Labour
Unit Titles Act 1972Justice
Unit Trusts Act 1960Justice
United Nations Act 1946Foreign Affairs
United Nations (Police) Act 1964Police
Universities Act 1961University Grants Committee
University of Albany Act 1972University Grants Committee
University of Auckland Act 1961University Grants Committee
University of Canterbury Act 1961University Grants Committee
University of Otago Amendment Act 1961University Grants Committee
University of Waikato Act 1963University Grants Committee
Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1975Justice
Urban Transport Act 1980Transport
Valuation of Land Act 1951Valuation
Valuers Act 1948Valuation
Vegetables Levy Act 1957Agriculture and Fisheries
Veterinary Services Act 1946Agriculture and Fisheries
Veterinary Surgeons Act 1956Agriculture and Fisheries
Victims of Offences Act 1987Justice
Victoria University of Wellington Act 1961University Grants Committee
Video Recordings Act 1987Internal Affairs
Visiting Forces Act 1939Foreign Affairs
Vocational Awards Act 1979Education
Vocational Training Council Act 1982Labour
Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973Labour
Wages Protection Act 1983Labour
Waikato Valley Authority Act 1956Works and Development
Waitangi Day Act 1976Internal Affairs
Waitangi Endowment Act 1932–33Conservation
Waitangi National Trust Board Act 1932Conservation
Wanganui Computer Centre Act 1976State Services Commission
War Funds Act 1915Internal Affairs
War Pensions Act 1954Social Welfare
Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967Works and Development
Waterfront Industry Commission Act 1976Labour
Weights and Measures Act 1987Labour
Western Samoa Act 1961Foreign Affairs
Westport Harbour Act 1920Transport
Wheat Producers Levy Act 1987Agriculture and Fisheries
Wheat Research Levy Act 1974Scientific and Industrial Research
Wild Animal Control Act 1977Conservation
Wildlife Act 1953Conservation
Wills Act 1837 (U.K.)Justice
Wine Makers Act 1981Justice
Wine Makers Levy Act 1976Agriculture and Fisheries
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Act 1965Internal Affairs
Wool Industry Act 1977Agriculture and Fisheries
Wool Testing Authority Act 1964Agriculture and Fisheries
Workers Compensation Act 1956Labour

3.4 Local government

New Zealand has a separate system of local government, made up of many local authorities. It is mainly independent of the central executive government. However, it has a subordinate role in the constitution because the powers of local authorities are conferred on them by Parliament, and do not originate in the authorities themselves. Local authorities fall into four categories: territorial authorities, special purpose authorities, regional authorities, and community councils.

Local government in general is characterised by six principles:

  1. Every local authority is created by Act of Parliament (either by a special or local statute or, more commonly, general legislation);

  2. Every local authority has its powers defined in the Act under which it is established, and under other general local government legislation;

  3. Each local authority has a specific district in which it operates;

  4. Every local authority is controlled by its own council;

  5. All local authorities, except for hospital boards and area health boards, rely on one or more of the following sources of funding: local taxes on land (rates); levies on other local authorities; and/or charges derived from trading utilities under their control. (Hospital boards and area health boards are totally funded by central government); and

  6. All local authorities can determine their own expenditure priorities, and are free to set their own overall levels of expenditure except for hospital boards and area health boards.

Local government in New Zealand is not involved in the funding, administration or management of education, social welfare, police, or urban fire services. Except for a few specified urban areas, it is not involved in traffic control and enforcement. These services are either the responsibility of central government, or specialised agencies closely associated with central government. For example, urban fire services are provided by the New Zealand Fire Service Commission, and education is provided through various bodies funded by central government.

The emphasis in local government is on local accountability to electors. This precludes central government from becoming directly involved in local government decision-making, although in the case of catchment authorities nasella tussock boards and pest destruction boards, there is some central government involvement through representation on each authority or board. It also means that the decisions of local authorities cannot be reviewed or overturned by central government. Although hospital boards and area health boards are funded from central government, they have always been locally responsible for meeting the health needs of their districts.

Although central government is unable to review decisions made by local authorities, they are subject to other types of review. There is provision for the Ombudsmen to investigate cases of maladministration in local government. There is also provision for the Controller and Auditor-General to investigate financial misconduct or conflict of interest on the part of local government officers or elected members. Such investigations can result in automatic forfeiture of office and/or prosecution under the Local Authorities (Members Interests) Act 1968 or the Local Government Act 1974. There is further scope for review of local government decisions in a limited number of areas by appeal to various judicial tribunals or to the District Court. The Planning Tribunal is the appeal body on land-use planning and related issues.

Local authorities are subject to the general power of judicial review of the High Court. The Administrative Division of the High Court has jurisdiction to consider appeals from the Planning Tribunal on points of law. In addition the Administrative Division has general jurisdiction to review the exercise of any statutory power by any local authority. Under the Bylaws Act 1910 the Administrative Division of the High Court can quash or amend local authority bylaws on the grounds that they are ultra vires the local authority, or repugnant to the laws of New Zealand, or unreasonable.

The ability of a local authority to incur debts is also subject to control. All local authorities were subject to loan-raising controls which are exercised by the Local Authorities Loans Board. Since 1986, many local authorities and categories of loans have been exempted by central government on the recommendation of the board. Local authority finance is described in section 25.4.

The provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 parallel closely those of the Official Information Act 1982 (see above section). Local authorities are required to supply official information on request, subject to certain safeguards, and give proper access to any person to official information relating to them. The Act is intended to promote more open conduct of local authority meetings and protect official information consistent with the public interest and personal privacy. All local authorities are covered by some form of official information legislation with this new Act.

Local government reform

Government announced a complete and comprehensive review of local government as part of its economic statement released on 17 December 1987. The review will cover the functions, structure, funding, organisation and accountability of local government. Organisations subject to review include not only regional and territorial authorities but also special purpose authorities and other sub-national organisations such as district roads councils.

The first phase of the review is now complete. The broad policy to govern the reform has been determined and the Local Government Act 1974 amended to require the Local Government Commission to give priority to the preparation of reorganisation schemes to establish, for all of New Zealand, by 1 July 1989, a new system of local government.

Significant features of the policy are:

  • There will be two principal types of local authorities—

    1. Directly elected regional councils with a major role in resource management functions.

    2. Directly elected district councils carrying out functions at a more local level.

  • Special purpose authorities will exist only in a very limited range of circumstances.

  • There will be provision in future legislation for clear separation between regulatory and service delivery functions, and between trading and other activities.

The review is expected to be complete by 1 July 1989 so that new local authorities may be established at the local authority elections due in October 1989.

Bearing in mind that all aspects of local government will be considered in the above review, the following is a description of the system of local government in existence until the 1989 elections.

Territorial authorities

Territorial authorities in New Zealand are directly elected, general purpose authorities with responsibilities for roading, water supply, sewage disposal, rubbish disposal, parks and reserves, libraries, community development, land subdivision, land-use planning, pensioner housing, health and building inspection, urban passenger transport, parking meter enforcement, and civil defence. The present system of territorial government in New Zealand has evolved since the abolition of provincial government in 1876, when a system was established of locally-elected general purpose territorial local authorities funded from local taxes on land (rates). Municipalities were provided for in urban areas, including 36 municipalities already in existence, which had been incorporated under earlier legislation. The remainder of the North and South Islands, and Stewart Island, was divided into counties, although in sparsely settled counties councils were not established immediately. The last of these counties to come under the control of a county council was Fiord County when it was included in Wallace County in 1981.

Since then county councils have been established for the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island, and Waiheke and nearby islands. New Zealand has been covered by 217 elected territorial authorities as from 31 December 1987, which leaves only some small, uninhabited, offshore islands outside territorial authority boundaries.

Territorial government includes five types of councils: borough, city, district, county and town councils; all constituted under the Local Government Act 1974.

Borough and city councils

Borough councils look after the needs of urban areas. Until 1978, there had to be a population of at least 1500 with an average density of at least one person per 4000 square metres before a borough could be constituted, but this requirement no longer applies. The number of borough councils has decreased from 146 in 1955 to 89 as at 31 December 1987.

In legal terms, a city is a borough which has a population of more than 20 000 and has been designated a city by Proclamation. The number of city councils has increased from 15 in 1955 to 27 in 1987. Every borough and city council has a mayor, who is elected by the residents. The legal powers of mayors are no greater than the powers of council members apart from presiding at all council meetings.

County councils

County councils look after the needs of rural areas. They have a chairperson, who is elected by council members every three years. There were 80 county councils as at 31 December 1987.

District councils

Many territorial authorities are not entirely urban or rural and the district council type of authority was introduced in recognition of the fact. There were 20 district councils as at 31 December 1987.

A district council can be formed either by Local Government Commission schemes when boroughs, counties or cities merge; or when borough or county councils decide to become a district council.

Some district councils have a chairperson, who is elected by council members every three years, while other district councils have a mayor, who is elected by residents every three years in the same way as mayors of borough or city councils are elected. The Governor-General can designate a district under a district council as a city if he thinks the area is predominantly urban and has a population of no fewer than 20 000.

Town councils

Town councils look after the needs of areas which have some urban residents but not enough to justify forming a borough. Town councils have a chairperson elected by council members every three years. Legally, it has not been possible to form new town councils since 1978 and only one, Hikurangi Town Council, remains.

Special purpose authorities

Various purpose local authorities have been established to carry out specific tasks thought to be beyond the capacity of territorial authorities. Special purpose authorities are charged with only one major function. The boundaries of special purpose authorities often have little relationship to the districts of territorial authorities in the same area and usually include all or part of a number of territorial authority districts. Sometimes territorial authorities undertake the same functions as special purpose authorities.

The more important special purpose authorities are those administering harbours, hospital services, retail distribution of electricity, soil conservation and rivers control (including management and allocation of water resources). Other special purpose authorities are involved in water supply, urban drainage and transport, pest destruction, nassella tussock control, land drainage, and, in some areas, the liquor and hotel trade. Territorial authorities also function as harbour boards in seven cases, as pest destruction boards in 30 cases, and as electric power supply authorities in 24 cases.

Most special purpose authorities are directly elected, although a minority are indirectly elected as their members are representatives from other local authorities. Apart from catchment authorities, pest destruction, and nassella tussock boards, there are no government representatives on any local authorities.

The major categories of special purpose local authorities and the number involved in each category are hospital boards and area health boards (30); electric power boards (including one energy or electric power and gas board) (38); harbour boards (15); and catchment authorities (including the Waikato Valley Authority) (18). These categories of special purpose authorities are found throughout New Zealand. Electric power boards and harbour boards are all directly elected local authorities. Of the 18 catchment authorities, 13 are directly elected catchment boards (although with some government representation, not exceeding one-third of the membership of any catchment board); four are catchment commissions, with the majority of their members appointed to represent constituent territorial authorities, and a minority of their members appointed to represent central government; and the remaining one is the Waikato Valley Authority, which is also appointed. Catchment authorities are responsible for soil conservation and rivers control (including management and allocation of water resources).

There are various minor categories of special purpose authorities, which are found only in some parts of New Zealand. These include 28 elected licensing trusts (see section 21.1, Controls on trading.); 53 elected pest destruction boards; 2 elected and 2 indirectly elected urban drainage boards: 23 elected (rural) land drainage boards; 6 elected river boards (2 of which are also land drainage boards); 2 elected charitable lands trusts; 1 elected transport board, and 1 elected rural water supply board.

Regional government

In 1963 the Auckland Regional Authority was established as a directly elected regional council to carry out a range of regional functions in the Auckland metropolitan area and adjoining rural districts. The functions of the authority include urban public passenger transport, regional planning, regional parks and reserves, regional urban water supply, regional drainage, regional refuse collection and disposal, regional roads, community development, regional civil defence, assistance to beach patrol and rescue services, and the regional orchestra. The Auckland Regional Authority is also the catchment authority for its region.

The Wellington Regional Council, established in 1980, carries out catchment authority responsibilities in its region and is responsible for regional planning, civil defence, parks and reserves, urban water supply, forestry and urban public passenger transport planning. A Northland Regional Council was established in March 1987.

From 1977 to 1983, united councils were established in 20 regions. They were seen as providing a form of regional government for regions not warranting the expense of a regional council. Particular features of united councils, which distinguish them from regional councils are: (a) the members are appointed by the territorial authorities of the region, not elected; (b) the finance of the united council is by levy on the territorial authorities, not by rates; and (c) a united council must have the prior consent of the majority of territorial authorities in its region (weighted by capital value, population and area) before it can take on any new function.

Most united councils have their staff seconded to them by one of the territorial authorities of the region, which is known as ‘the administering authority’. Regional councils employ their own staff and resources.

Every united or regional council has three mandatory functions: regional planning, regional civil defence and petrol rationing planning. A united or regional council may also undertake functions relating to regional reserves, forestry, roading, and community services, with qualifications in some cases. A united or regional council may, in certain circumstances, undertake the functions of any territorial authority, or (where a special purpose authority or the appropriate minister of the Crown concurs) the functions of that special purpose authority. A united or regional council is empowered to undertake, exclusively, any new regional function which is not undertaken by any other local authority in the region and may also enter into an agreement with a constituent authority to undertake any function of that authority where, in the opinion of either party, that function would be more effectively and economically undertaken by the regional body. Finally, united and regional councils may enter into agreements with the Crown whereby they may exercise any function or provide any service for the Crown.

The regions of the 22 united councils and regional councils cover all the country, except for Great Barrier Island County, which is not yet included in any region, and the Chatham Islands County, which is not part of a region because of its isolation.

Community councils

Legally, community councils rank lower than territorial authorities but can be established within the districts of territorial authorities. Since 1976 community councils can be established in either: (a) an urban area within the rural part of a territorial authority district which is mainly urban in character; (b) an urban area within a territorial authority district which is mainly rural in character; or (c) the whole of the area of one or more offshore islands which are a part of a territorial authority district.

These provisions are mainly the same as earlier provisions for county towns and county boroughs and most communities are former county towns or boroughs. However, a number of towns in rural areas do not have community status because, usually, they are large enough for their interests not to be overlooked by their territorial authority. Every community has either a district community council or a community council of no fewer than five, or more than 12 members, elected by residents for a three-year term.

Community councils are not represented directly on their parent territorial authorities. They derive their powers by discretionary delegation from their parent authorities, except for powers dealing with finance, staff and planning. The general purpose of community councils is to co-ordinate and express the views of the community on any matter of concern to it and to undertake, encourage and co-ordinate activities for their general wellbeing. Community councils are entitled to have one of their members attend meetings of their territorial authorities with speaking rights on community issues. There were 121 community councils as at 31 December 1987.

District community councils. District community councils may be established only for communities with populations of no fewer than 1500 and are represented directly on their parent territorial authorities. District community councils can exercise all the powers and functions of their parent authorities, except for certain reserved powers dealing with finance, staff and planning. There were 15 district community councils as at 31 December 1987.

Powers of local authorities

Local authorities get their powers from governing statutes. The Local Government Act 1974 is the main statute for territorial authorities, regional authorities and community councils. Special purpose authorities come under other statutes.

Several statutes apply to all local authorities, e.g., the Local Authorities (Members Interests) Act 1968, and the Local Authorities Loans Act 1956. Other statutes apply to territorial, regional and various other types of local authorities, e.g. the Rating Act 1967, the Local Elections and Polls Act 1976, the Public Bodies Leases Act 1969, the Town and Country Planning Act 1977, the Public Works Act 1981, the Reserves Act 1977, the Health Act 1956, the Local Authorities (Employment Protection) Act 1963, the Joint Council for Local Authorities Services Act 1977, and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Local authorities’ powers to levy local taxes on land (rates) are dealt with in section 25.4, Local government finance. Local authorities can make bylaws within limits defined in their governing Acts. Special purpose authorities’ bylaws must be approved by the Minister of Local Government. Territorial authorities and regional councils do not have to get approval from the minister if their bylaws have been made solely under the Local Government Act 1974, except for fire bylaws.

Local authorities can promote bylaws about matters affecting areas within their jurisdiction which they are not empowered to deal with already. These bylaws are of two main types: transient and permanent. Usually, transient non-contentious bylaws which deal with one-off matters, e.g., permitting the sale of a parcel of land, are included in a section of the annual Local Legislation Act. Bylaws seeking permanent or major additional powers must be presented to Parliament in a local bill. The bill becomes an Act when Parliament has approved and enacted it.

Local government elections and membership

Local government elections are held on the second Saturday in October every third year. General elections will be held again in 1989 (except for the Auckland Regional Authority's triennial election, held in 1988). All territorial authorities conduct their own elections at the same time as conducting elections for the special purpose authorities and regional and community councils for their districts.

Each territorial authority must use its electoral roll for regional, community and district community council elections and for the election of all special purpose authorities other than land drainage boards, river boards and pest destruction boards.

Where a territorial authority has a population of less than 70 000, it must choose every three years, whether the whole district is to be one electorate; or whether the district should be separate electorates (known as ‘wards’ in cities and boroughs, and ‘ridings’ in counties); or if the elections could be held with some members elected from the district as a whole, and others from separate wards or ridings. The council has sole responsibility for determining the number of wards or ridings, and the area, population and representation of each. But where a territorial authority has a population of 70 000 or more, it must hold its elections on a ward basis as determined by the Local Government Commission.

The districts of regional councils and most special purpose authorities are divided into separate electorates, which usually coincide with territorial authority boundaries. The electorates of regional councils and special purpose authorities are determined on the bases specified in the various Acts of Parliament under which these authorities are constituted. The Local Government Amendment Act (No. 2) 1986 determined that the Auckland Regional Authority's electorates should coincide with the parliamentary electorates in the region.

Voting procedures

Any territorial authority may decide whether an election is to be conducted by attendance at a polling booth or by post. If the election is at a polling booth, the authority may decide to conduct it over a period of not more than 11 consecutive days instead of on a single day.

The method of casting a vote is similar to parliamentary elections. The names of candidates are printed on the ballot paper and the elector must indicate on the paper the candidates for whom he or she wishes to vote. The number of candidates chosen must not exceed the number of positions shown on the ballot paper. An elector may not allocate more than one vote for any candidate, nor is there any provision for an elector to indicate a preference for any candidate.

Local authority franchise

With the passing of the Local Government Amendment Act 1986 the franchise for local government electors was changed significantly.

A local government elector must be a parliamentary elector with an address in the relevant territorial authority district. Territorial authorities are still responsible for compiling their own electoral rolls, but the data for these rolls now must be taken from the computerised parliamentary electoral data base and any person who is a parliamentary elector is automatically a local government elector for the same address. The effect has been to do away with ratepayer voting, with exceptions, and with the requirement that people often had to enrol separately for local government and parliamentary elections.

The franchise provisions outlined above apply to territorial authorities, community and district community councils, regional councils, and all special purpose authorities, except pest destruction, land drainage, and river boards where the ratepayer franchise remains.

Membership of local authorities

Since the Local Government Amendment Act 1986 a parliamentary elector anywhere in New Zealand may stand for election for any local authority, although he or she cannot stand for election in more than one constituency of the same district. The only exceptions are pest destruction, land drainage and river boards, and licensing trusts where eligibility is still restricted to electors of the authority's district. Vacancies in the elected membership of the council of the local authority may be filled either by election or appointment depending on the Act under which the local authority is constituted. In the case of a territorial authority or a regional council, a petition by 5 percent of the electors is sufficient to require a by-election. Extraordinary vacancies on the Auckland Regional Authority must be filled by election. In the case of most special purpose authorities any vacancy in membership is filled by appointment by the relevant territorial authorities.

The number of women members of local authorities has increased steadily over recent years. Since the 1986 local government elections, 15 of 127 mayoralties are held by women. Women hold the following numbers and percentages of total membership of city, borough, county, district and town councils: city councils 114 (30 percent); borough councils 177 (22 percent); county councils 85 (11 percent); district councils 26 (14 percent); and town districts 5 (25 percent).

Remuneration of members

Remuneration for mayors, chairpersons, and members of regional territorial authorities and special purpose authorities is governed by the Local Government Act 1974. Most boards and councils pay their mayor or chairperson an annual allowance, while other members are paid a combination of daily meeting allowance and an annual allowance.

The Higher Salaries Commission is responsible for determining the maxima or actual annual allowances for mayors and chairpersons of the major regional and territorial authorities and for chairpersons of one authority in each class of special purpose authority. The Minister of Local Government's responsibility is to then, acting with consent of the appropriate minister, determine the annual allowances and daily remuneration rate for mayors, chairpersons and members of the remaining local authorities. All remuneration rates determined by the minister are maxima so it is up to the discretion of the council or board to decide the actual remuneration rate with the prescribed limits.

Local Government Commission

The Local Government Commission comprises six members appointed by the Minister of Local Government. The commission's general functions are to review the structure of local government to ensure that it is most appropriate for the needs of individual districts.

The commission may prepare reorganisation schemes for the union of local authority districts, the constitution or abolition of a district, the alteration of boundaries, or the transfer of functions from one local authority to another.

Since the current commission came into office on 1 April 1985, 17 final reorganisation schemes for the union of territorial authority districts and the constitution of new districts have been issued and one has been issued for the constitution of a regional council.


Source: Local Government Commission.
1986North Taranaki District Dannevirke District
 Rangiora District Woodville District
 Tamaki City Waimate Plains District
 Wairoa District1988Northland Regional Council
 Eltham District Manawatu District
 Inglewood District Waimarino District
 Patea District Wanganui County
 Queenstown-Lakes District Taupo District
 Bruce District Carterton District
1987Patea District Masterton District

The Local Government Commission has a major role in the implementation of the review described near the beginning of this section. Following consideration by the Government of the findings of the Officials Co-ordinating Committee on Local Government, the Local Government Amendment Act (No. 3) 1988 was enacted.

It charges the commission with carrying out substantial reorganisation of local government throughout New Zealand by 1 July 1989, so that changes can be in place in time for the local authority elections in October. The Act also sets out principles to be observed by the commission in reorganising local government and provides a new set of procedures for the commission to operate under. All local authorities other than electric power boards, area health boards and hospital boards are within the commission's jurisdiction for the purposes of the review.

3.5 National emblems and anthems

New Zealand flag

Under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 the flag, previously known as the New Zealand ensign, was declared to be the national flag of New Zealand. It is the symbol of the realm, Government and people of New Zealand. The basis of the New Zealand flag is the Union Flag (Jack) in the upper left quarter, and on a blue ground to the right the Southern Cross is represented by four five-pointed red stars with white borders.

New Zealand coat of arms

The New Zealand coat of arms was pictured and described as a frontispiece in the 1969 and earlier issues of the Yearbook. It appears on the title page and the spine of this volume. The coat of arms is protected under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981, and its lawful use is confined to official purposes.

National anthems

God Defend New Zealand, the words written by Thomas Bracken and the music composed by John J. Woods, was first performed in public in 1876. In 1940, the Crown acquired the copyright as part of New Zealand's centennial celebrations, and it was adopted formally as the New Zealand national hymn. In 1977 it was announced that, with the Queen's consent, the Government had decided that the national anthems of New Zealand be the traditional anthem, God Save the Queen, and God Defend New Zealand, both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion.

In 1979 the Minister of Internal Affairs published a specially-commissioned arrangement of God Defend New Zealand more suited to general or massed singing than the original score, which lent itself best to solo or choral singing. The new arrangement was published as a supplement to the New Zealand Gazette dated 31 May 1979.


1. God of nations at Thy feet In the bonds of love we meet. Hear our voices, we entreat, God defend our free land. Guard Pacific's triple star From the shafts of strife and war, Make her praises heard afar, God defend New Zealand.1. E Ihoa Atua O nga Iwi! Matoura, Ata whaka rongona; Me aroha noa. Kia hua ko te pai; Kia tau to atawhai; Manaakitia mai Aotearoa.
2. Men of ev'ry creed and race Gather here before Thy face, Asking Thee to bless this place, God defend our free land. From dissension, envy, hate, And corruption guard our state, Make our country good and great, God defend New Zealand.2. Ona mano tangata Kiri whero, kiri ma, Iwi Maori Pakeha, Repeke katoa, Nei ka tono ko nga he Mau e whakaahu ke, Kia ora marire Aotearoa.
3. Peace, not war, shall be our boast, But, should foes assail our coast, Make us then a mighty host, God defend our free land. Lord of battles in Thy might, Put our enemies to flight, Let our cause be just and right, God defend New Zealand.3. Tona mana kia tu! Tona kaha kia u; Tona rongo hei paku Ki te ao katoa Aua rawa nga whawhai, Nga tutu a tata mai; Kia tupu nui ai Aotearoa.
4. Let our love for Thee increase, May Thy blessings never cease, Give us plenty, give us peace, God defend our free land. From dishonour and from shame Guard our country's spotless name, Crown her with immortal fame, God defend New Zealand.4. Waiho tona takiwa Ko te ao marama; Kia whiti tona ra Taiawhio noa. Ko te hae me te ngangau Meinga kia kore kau; Waiho i te rongo mau Aotearoa.
5. May our mountains ever be Freedom's ramparts on the sea, Make us faithful unto Thee, God defend our free land. Guide her in the nations’ van, Preaching love and truth to man, Working out Thy glorious plan. God defend New Zealand.5. Tona pai me toitu; Tika rawa, pono pu; Tona noho, tana tu; Iwi no Ihoa. Kaua mona whakama; Kia hau te ingoa; Kia tu hei tauira; Aotearoa.


  • 3.1 Department of Justice.

  • 3.2 Clerk of the House of Representatives; Parliamentary Service; Cabinet Office; Department of Justice; Department of Internal Affairs.

  • 3.3 State Services Commission; Department of Statistics; Government departments as listed; New Zealand Planning Council; Audit Office; Office of the Ombudsmen; Parliamentary Service.

  • 3.4 Department of Internal Affairs; Local Government Commission.

Further information


Constitutional Reform: Reports of an Officials Committee. Department of Justice, 1986.

Introduction to New Zealand Legal System. Mulholland, R. D., Butterworths, 6th ed., 1985.

New Zealand: The Development of its Laws and Constitution. Robson, J. L. and others. Stevens, 2nd ed., 1967.

The New Zealand Constitution. Scott, K. J., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962.

Parliament and the Cabinet

A Checklist: New Zealand Royal Commissions, Commissions and Committees of Inquiry, 1864–1981. New Zealand Library Association, 1982.

New Zealand Parliamentary Record 1840–1984. Wilson, J. O., Government Printer, 1985.

Parliamentary Bulletin. Government Printer (weekly when Parliament is in session).

Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand. McGee, D. G., Government Printer, 1985.

Report of the Department of Internal Affairs (Parl. paper G. 7).

Report of the General Election 1987 and the Timaru By-election 1985 (Parl. paper E. 9).

Report of the Licensing Polls 1987 (Parl. paper E. 9B, 1987).

Report of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System; Towards a Better Democracy. Government Printer, 1986.

Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry. Government Printer, 1974.

Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. Government Printer, 1986.

The Upper House in Colonial New Zealand. McLintock, A. H. and Wood, G. A. Government Printer, 1987.

Who's Who in the New Zealand Parliament. Parliamentary Service, 1987.

State sector

Directory of Official Information. State Services Commission (biennial).

Eighth Compendium of Case Notes of the Ombudsmen. Office of the Ombudsmen, 1987.

Register of Statutory and Allied Organisations. Cabinet Office (annual).

Report of the Controller and Auditor-General (Parl. paper B. 1, [Part III]).

Report of the Ombudsmen (Parl. paper A. 3).

Report of the New Zealand Planning Council (Parl paper D. 9).

Report of the State Services Commission (Parl. paper G. 3).

Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations in Force. Government Printer (annual).

All government departments and statutory organisations publish annual reports in the parliamentary paper series.

Local government

Local Authority Election Statistics. Department of Internal Affairs, 1985.

Report of the Department of Internal Affairs (Parl. paper G. 7).

Report of the Local Government Commission (Parl. paper G. 9).

Statement on Reform of Local and Regional Government by Minister of Local Government. Local Government Commission, 1988.

Synopsis of Submissions on Reform of Local Government. Department of Internal Affairs, 1988.

Chapter 4. International relations and defence

4.1 Relations with other countries

An independent New Zealand foreign policy dates from 1935. In 1943 the Government established a career foreign affairs service, and began to station its own diplomatic representatives overseas. The first expansion came in the 1950s with recognition that New Zealand's security was bound up with South-east Asia, and diplomatic relations were established with five Asian countries. In the 1960s diplomatic posts were set up in Western Europe, as Britain negotiated its entry to the European Community. At the same time in the South Pacific, a number of posts were opened. In the 1970s and early 1980s the search for new trading opportunities led to strengthening posts in Asia and the Pacific, and opening embassies in the Middle East, Latin America and China. Posts were re-opened in the Soviet Union and India. In 1986 a post was opened in Zimbabwe, and in 1987, one in Vanuatu. In addition to the 50 diplomatic and consular posts, multiple accreditation allows some New Zealand representatives to cover other countries from their bases.

South Pacific

In the 1960s there was a dramatic emergence of new nations in the South Pacific. New Zealand led this development in its own territories.

Western Samoa became an independent state in 1962. The Cook Islands became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand in 1965, and Niue in 1974. The Cook Islands and Niue governments have full legislative and executive competence. The constitutional relationship provides for the exercise by New Zealand of certain responsibilities for defence and external relations. This does not confer any rights of control. Cook Islanders and Niueans are New Zealand citizens. The relationship between the Cook Islands and New Zealand was elaborated in 1973 as ‘one of partnership, freely entered into and freely maintained’. The Cook Islands or Niue can end the ‘free association’ status in favour of complete independence at any time. The Cook Islands and Niue can conduct their own external relations and enter into international agreements. Their capacity is limited only by the extent to which the governments of other states will deal with them. In practice, the Cook Islands and Niue have participated on an equal basis with sovereign states in the South Pacific. Tokelau is described in section 4.4, New Zealand territories.

There are now diplomatic missions in most of the independent countries of the South Pacific and regular contacts with those countries on a range of bilateral and regional issues. Eighty percent of bilateral development assistance is directed to the South Pacific.

The region (not including Australia) is of growing importance to New Zealand, with exports of $382 million in 1986–87. Fiji and Papua New Guinea are the most important markets. Imports, amounting to about $94 million, came principally from Christmas Island, Nauru, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. New Zealand has taken special measures to foster Pacific Island exports to these countries and New Zealand investment in the region. A regional trade agreement, SPARTECA, provides unrestricted duty-free access to New Zealand (and Australia) on a non-reciprocal basis for most of the products exported by island countries. The Pacific Islands Industrial Development Scheme (PIIDS) provides financial assistance and incentives for New Zealand companies developing approved manufacturing operations in selected Pacific countries. Its objective is to foster economic development and employment opportunities there.

There is close co-operation with the South Pacific on defence matters. New Zealand has mutual assistance programmes with a number of South Pacific countries which have armed forces and the New Zealand armed forces undertake joint exercises in various parts of the region. They also assist with maritime surveillance (a task of great importance to countries with vast exclusive economic zones), provide immediate help after natural disasters such as cyclones, and undertake civil development projects in isolated areas.

New Zealand has also helped build up regional co-operation in the South Pacific. A major step in this direction was the creation of the South Pacific Forum in 1971. Since then meetings have been held annually, recently at Apia in 1987 and Nuku'alofa in 1988. The forum provides an opportunity for states to discuss common problems, exchange views, consider priorities, and plan programmes for mutual and regional benefit. The topics considered include regional trade, shipping, civil aviation, telecommunications, education, the law of the sea, fishing, disaster relief, nuclear testing and decolonisation.

The forum has established the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC), which advises members on ways of promoting regional trade and free trade among island members and encourages collaboration in areas such as regional transport which will assist the economic development of the island members. Its headquarters are in Suva. It has also set up the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency to facilitate the rational utilisation and conservation of the region's marine resources. Its headquarters are in Honiara.

The Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Western Samoa established the Pacific Forum Line (PFL) in 1977. The Solomon Islands and Tuvalu joined later, and Australia and Niue have made financial contributions. This shipping line is based at Apia, and charters three vessels, the Forum New Zealand, the Forum Samoa and the Fua Kavenga, owned by New Zealand, Western Samoa, and Tonga. Together with other governments in the region, New Zealand has made additional contributions since the PFL began operations in 1978. Although the line initially incurred heavy financial losses, in 1985 it achieved a trading profit for the first time and has continued to operate profitably. (See section 20.1, Shipping.)

The South Pacific Commission is primarily a technical assistance organisation, and has accomplished much in promoting the economic and social welfare of the South Pacific peoples as well as in helping to build a sense of regional identity. Its annual budget is mainly funded from proportional contributions by member governments.


A diplomatic office was established in Australia in 1943, and in 1944 the Australia-New Zealand Agreement (known also as the ANZAC Pact or the Canberra Pact) was signed. In 1983, the two countries concluded the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA or CER for short). It will bring about complete free trade in goods no later than 1995 and provides for the progressive removal of obstacles to the flow of services and investment between the two countries.

In matters of foreign policy, defence and economics, regular and increasingly frequent bilateral meetings take place with a minimum of formality covering almost all government activity. New Zealand ministers participate in a wide range of regular meetings between and with Australian federal and state ministers. There is free movement of people under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. Australia is a major trading partner for New Zealand, which is in turn Australia's largest single market for manufactured exports. In defence, the Anzac partners continue to co-operate closely in training programmes, exercises and the acquisition of equipment and other supplies. The Australia-New Zealand Foundation sponsors research projects and publications, as well as cultural exchanges.


New Zealand has a direct interest in the maintenance of peace and the growth of prosperity in Asia. A pattern of regular economic consultations with the main Asian trading partners has been developed and bilateral economic agreements have been signed. About a third of New Zealand's export receipts come from Asia. Political contacts with countries of the area have been developed including diplomatic representation, high-level exchanges of visits and regular bilateral consultations.

New Zealand is closely associated with the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN), and has initiated a number of joint projects with ASEAN for development and trade co-operation. The massive outflow of refugees from Vietnam and Kampuchea, and the political uncertainties stemming from the continued presence in Kampuchea of Vietnamese forces have posed difficult problems for the countries of the region, and New Zealand has kept in close touch with the ASEAN countries over these developments.

Cultural interchange with the countries of Asia has increased steadily. Professional bodies, sporting associations, cultural groups and universities today have links with similar organisations in Asia. The development of air links and the growth of tourism have also helped to bring a wider range of contacts.

The relationship with Japan, its largest export market in 1987, is one of the most important and beneficial that New Zealand has. The elements are varied—trade, fishing and a growing range of cultural, educational, sporting and personal ties. The conditions for a developing trading relationship are ideal, for the two countries are located in different hemispheres, their economies are complementary, and each has in abundance some things that the other needs. New Zealand continues to seek improved access for some commodities, including dairy products and beef. Meanwhile, there is also steady growth in the extent and cordiality of relations with the People's Republic of China. China is both an important export market and a major regional power with a leading role in Asia.


United States. Since 1941 close consultations have been held with the United States on many bilateral questions and international issues. Basic similarities in political philosophy and social and economic processes have encouraged the development of close governmental relations, supported by increasing contacts, both official and non-official, across a broad range of activities.

This relationship finds expression in political, economic and cultural fields. New Zealand, the United States and Australia are allied under the ANZUS Treaty, although in practical terms the treaty is currently inoperative, due to the suspension by the United States of its security obligations to New Zealand as a consequence of New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy. The United States is New Zealand's single most important market. Programmes for scientific and technical co-operation, and academic and cultural exchanges maintain an awareness of New Zealand in the United States and promote the interchange of ideas and experience. The two countries work closely in Antarctic scientific research and operate a joint logistics pool for their Antarctic programmes.


New Zealand and Canada have traditionally enjoyed a close and easy relationship. Since 1942, there have been ministerial and official exchanges in many fields and both countries take a close interest in developments in the Pacific Basin.

The Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement, which came into effect in 1982, is intended to encourage economic co-operation. In addition to consultations on trade and economic issues, the agreement calls for increased co-operation in investment, joint ventures and technology transfer.

South and Central America and the Caribbean

In 1972 the Government opened diplomatic missions in Chile and Peru, primarily to support an expanding trade in dairy products. By cross-accreditation, diplomatic relations have since been established with Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. An embassy was opened in Mexico City in 1983.

A 1986 trade mission to Peru, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico strengthened economic ties and the flow of exports to the region expanded markedly in 1986–87, in particular lamb and dairy products to Peru, and dairy products to Brazil. Chile has become an important destination for New Zealand overseas investment. Since 1974 the High Commissioner in Ottawa has been cross-accredited to Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana.

Western Europe

Developments in Western Europe exert a strong influence on New Zealand life. The importance of the European Community as a market for agricultural exports and as a competitor in world markets for meat and dairy products has highlighted the economic aspects of the relationship. The EC is New Zealand's largest export market and trading partner. Although New Zealand exports have diversified considerably since Britain joined the EC, the Community remains a key market for sheepmeat and butter. New Zealand exports in a range of non-traditional products also show encouraging growth. Community imports into New Zealand are substantial and growing.

The range of other contacts with the individual countries of Western Europe is steadily expanding. New Zealand has consultative links with the Community on a range of political and economic issues. New Zealand and Western Europe co-operate closely on international issues and exchange information through multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and the OECD.

Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

New Zealand has developed stable working relationships with the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe. Trading and economic concerns dominate. The Soviet Union has become a significant market for primary commodities, particularly meat and dairy products, but trade with Eastern Europe since the late 1970s has not fulfilled earlier hopes and remains small although it is expanding. For the Soviet Union the fisheries resources of New Zealand's 200-mile zone are an additional source of economic interest. (A fisheries agreement was signed in 1978.)

Political relations with the Soviet Union were interrupted in 1979 by that country's intervention in Afghanistan, but were subsequently normalised with the return of ambassadorial representation in Wellington and Moscow in 1984. The embassy in Vienna is accredited to five East European countries—Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic—and the embassy in Rome to Yugoslavia.

Middle East

Involvement in the Middle East has increased markedly within the past decade. For more than 30 years New Zealand has watched the Arab-Israeli conflict with concern, if from a distance. Recognising the implications for world peace, this country has contributed personnel to United Nations truce observation teams. Since 1982 it has also supplied a small contingent to the Sinai peace-keeping force. New Zealand has consistently upheld the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, equally consistently, Israel's right to exist.

Since 1973, when Middle East members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) emerged as a major economic force in the world, the area has become increasingly important for this country. The wealth of the Gulf region has created new markets for export. The region absorbs a high proportion of New Zealand's sheepmeat exports.

Egypt and Israel have embassies in Wellington, while Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia have cross-accreditation from Canberra, and Oman and Qatar from Tokyo. New Zealand opened resident missions in Iran and Iraq in 1975, and in 1977 established a consulate-general in Bahrain which was upgraded to an embassy in 1984 when an embassy in Riyadh was also established. The pattern of representation is rounded out by the cross-accreditation of the Ambassador in Riyadh to Egypt, Qatar and Oman, the Ambassador in Paris to Algeria, the Ambassador in The Hague to Israel, the Ambassador in Bahrain to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates and the Ambassador in Baghdad to Jordan.


Relations with Africa have been given new emphasis and new dimensions since the 1984 General Election. The South African Consulate-General in Wellington was closed; the Government announced a policy which barred South African sports teams and individual representatives from competing in New Zealand, and sought to discourage contacts in South Africa or other countries. At the United Nations, New Zealand has co-sponsored wide-ranging resolutions on international action against apartheid. In conformity with the Accord on Southern Africa agreed to at Nassau by Commonwealth heads of government, the Government in November 1985 introduced certain measures against trade with South Africa. In August 1986, after the failure of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group to persuade the South African Government to enter into negotiations directed at bringing about political change, the Government adopted a further set of measures recommended by Commonwealth leaders.

In 1986 New Zealand's first resident diplomatic mission in Africa was established in Harare, Zimbabwe, with cross-accreditation to Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. This step implemented an undertaking made by the Prime Minister on his official visit to Africa a year before. The High Commissioner in London was accredited to Nigeria.

New Zealand has joined the international donor community in responding to the emergency relief and rehabilitation needs of African countries. The Government contributed through a range of international and voluntary agencies. The community has also responded generously to international relief appeals.

New Zealand contributes to technical co-operation projects in African countries through bilateral assistance and by contributions to Commonwealth and other multilateral programmes, including those sponsored by the Southern Africa Development Co-ordination Committee.

Total trade with African countries amounts to only a modest percentage of New Zealand's global trade. The major New Zealand exports are dairy products, fish, wool, textiles and non-electrical machinery. The main imports from Africa are cocoa, coffee, sisal and tobacco.

Assistance to developing countries

The New Zealand Government decided in 1986 to adopt a target for official development assistance (ODA) of 0.51 percent of gross national product (GNP) by 1990–91. In the 1986 calendar year ODA disbursements amounted to $143.7 million, compared with $108.7 million in 1985. New Zealand's volume of aid in 1985 and 1986 averaged 0.27 percent of GNP, compared with the average ratio of 0.35 percent recorded by the nations belonging to the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (which has 18 members including New Zealand, with volumes ranging between 1.11 percent given by Norway to 0.23 percent from the United States). As a longer-term goal, New Zealand also adopted the United Nation target ratio of 0.7 percent of aid volume to GNP.

In 1986–87 New Zealand's total official development assistance was $148.5 million. New Zealand's expenditure under the official development assistance programme. Of this, $118.5 million was disbursed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was about $21.5 million over the previous year's total. The balance was made up of efforts by other government departments, contributions to international financial organisations and a portion of the administrative costs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Service. New Zealand increased its contributions to multilateral organisations from $15 million in 1985–86 to $21 million, to reverse a decline in real terms of such funding in recent years. The United Nations Development Programme, as a prime co-ordinator of multilateral assistance, received the main increase. In the bilateral category, expenditure increased by $14 million from $69 million in 1985–86 to $83 million. Overall bilateral disbursements amounted to 70 percent of official development assistance expenditure. South Pacific countries received 79 percent of the bilateral expenditure. The main recipients were the Cook Islands ($14.3 million), Niue ($7.5 million), Western Samoa ($7.2 million), Tuvalu ($6.8 million), Fiji ($6.5 million), and Tonga ($5.2 million). Tokelau received $3.6 million, Papua New Guinea $3.4 million, Kiribati $3.1 million, Solomon Islands $3.0 million, and Vanuatu $2.4 million. The Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, Palau and the Marshall Islands received smaller amounts (from $5,000 to $66,000). Countries in Southeast Asia received 12 percent of bilateral expenditure. Of the 15 recipients in Asia, New Zealand's main partners were Indonesia ($4.1 million), the Philippines ($1.5 million) and Thailand ($1.5 million).


*Funded from Vote Foreign Affairs only.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Bilateral assistance—$(000)
South Pacific68,160
South America and Central America621
Other (NZ study and training institutes, voluntary agencies, information, etc.)3,088
Total bilateral83,354
Multilateral assistance— 
South Pacific institutions2,747
Development finance institutions7,173
Commonwealth programmes1,238
United Nations institutions6,572
African relief and rehabilitation1,998
Other contributions1,157
Total multilateral20,885
South Pacific shipping11,864

The official development assistance programme involves the skills and experience of hundreds of New Zealanders, as well as capital and technical support. Through the bilateral (country-to-country) programmes, New Zealand responds to the development priorities established by developing countries. Development projects are the main form of assistance. New Zealand supports hundreds of projects and often commits expertise and/or material and capital resources for several years ahead. The main purpose of bilateral assistance is to promote the economic and social development of the partner countries and to raise living standards. Emphasis is placed on increasing productivity through livestock and pasture improvement programmes, assistance with crops, and the development of forestry, fisheries and energy resources.

New Zealand aid project in Indonesia which aimed to improve village pottery to a standard that can be sold abroad.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a register of potential advisers from New Zealand's private and public sectors who are willing to be assigned to overseas projects. At any time there are usually about 40 advisers on two-year assignments overseas, with many more on shorter visits. Advisers usually train local counterparts, some of whom consolidate their training with visits to New Zealand. The ministry also employs agents from the private and public sectors to manage projects overseas.

Education and training are a vital feature of the development programme. On-the-job training is an essential part of most projects supported by New Zealand. In addition study and training opportunities are provided for students from about 40 developing countries. Government sponsors about 670 students and trainees from overseas to attend secondary schools, tertiary institutions and special practical courses in New Zealand. (Only students from some Pacific Island states are eligible for sponsored secondary schooling.) New Zealand also supports the education of about 210 students and trainees at institutions in other countries. Development funds also support three New Zealand organisations that attract students from developing countries: the Seed Technology Centre at Massey University; the English Language Institute at Victoria University; and the Geothermal Institute at Auckland University. New Zealand supplies 4 percent of the University of the South Pacific's annual budget and gives grants to various Commonwealth training programmes.

Multilateral assistance extends New Zealand's capacity to deliver support to areas of need. International relief and development institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, the International Development Association, the United Nations Development Programme, World Food Programme, UNICEF, and other United Nations agencies channel assistance to regions where New Zealand does not have diplomatic representation. This avenue enables New Zealand to help victims of famine, drought, conflict and other crises. New Zealand promotes development of the South Pacific region as a whole with contributions to the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation, the Forum Fisheries Agency and the South Pacific Commission.

Voluntary agency support is an increasingly significant feature of New Zealand's development co-operation. Many New Zealand voluntary agencies are active in small village-level projects overseas. Government support of such agencies has increased in recent years, particularly through assistance to Volunteer Service Abroad, the Voluntary Agency Support Scheme, and the Development Education Fund (which began in 1986–87).

4.2 International organisations

United Nations

New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations organisation in 1945 and successive governments have strongly supported it as a major instrument for maintaining peace and security, developing friendly relations among countries, encouraging international co-operation aimed at solving economic and social problems, and promoting respect for human rights. Over the years the range and complexity of functions of the United Nations and its specialised agencies have steadily grown. New Zealand concentrates on areas where it can play a useful role in matters directly affecting its interests.

In pursuit of its anti-nuclear commitment, New Zealand has continued to press for progress on a wide range of arms control and disarmament issues. New Zealand was pleased by the progress in superpower relations achieved in 1987 with the signing of an INF (intermediate-range nuclear forces) agreement. New Zealand's views on disarmament and arms control were presented at a number of forums including the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where its representative made statements calling for a ban on all nuclear testing and the conclusion of a treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons. New Zealand took part in the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development which was held in New York in September 1987, and co-sponsored a number of arms control and disarmament resolutions at the 1987 session of the General Assembly. New Zealand took the lead in 1988 with a resolution calling for a comprehensive test ban and this resolution received considerable support in the General Assembly. At the regional level, New Zealand has been a strong supporter of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (SPNFZ), which it ratified on 13 November 1986. The treaty came into force on 11 December of the same year. Eleven South Pacific Forum members have signed the treaty to date.

At the national level, the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Disarmament and Arms Control Act came into force on 8 June 1987. The Act bans nuclear weapons from New Zealand, implements New Zealand's responsibilities under SPNFZ and incorporates into New Zealand law a number of other existing arms control agreements, such as the Non Proliferation Treaty.

New Zealand army officers served with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Operation in 1987, and financial contributions were made to the various peacekeeping operations (see section 4.5, Defence).

New Zealand has continued to participate in humanitarian relief work, for example, working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) particularly to resettle Indo-Chinese refugees. The Government also contributed $500,000 to UNHCR in 1987–88 and made another grant of $100,000 for Mozambican refugees in Zambia and $25,000 for assistance to returning refugees in Sri Lanka. In 1986 $250,000 was paid as a voluntary contribution to the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and $1 million was given to the World Food Programme, plus a special grant of $500,000 for its programme of assistance to Mozambique. There has been an annual grant of $1 million to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), plus a special grant in 1986 of $500,000 for its African operations.

In addition to its contributions to the humanitarian relief work of the UN and its agencies, New Zealand's voluntary contribution to the International Red Cross (ICRC) was increased to $175,000. An additional $75,000 was contributed for the ICRC's emergency programmes, and $50,000 (to the New Zealand Red Cross Society) to assist Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Human rights issues, including the eradication of discrimination against women and the removal of all forms of racism and racial discrimination, remain an important concern. During 1987 New Zealand's seventh periodic report on this subject was examined by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In the same year New Zealand increased its contribution (to $28,000) to the United Nations fund for the rehabilitation of torture victims. New Zealand continued to support balanced resolutions at the Commission on Human Rights and at the UN General Assembly designed to set relevant new standards to protect human rights or to encourage nations to uphold the principles of the UN human rights instruments.

New Zealand also plays a full part in all aspects of international economic and development activity, not only in the UN agencies but also in the annual meetings of the IBRD (World Bank) and the IMF, and in Commonwealth and regional groupings that seek to stabilise international trade and finance. New Zealand continues to emphasise the special requirements of the South Pacific island countries, some of which are not represented at the UN. New Zealand contributed substantially ($3.5 million in 1987–88) to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and is on the Governing Council of UNDP from January 1986 to December 1988.

United Nations General Assembly

The delegation to the 42nd session of the General Assembly, in 1987, was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Russell Marshall. In his speech in the general debate he placed special emphasis on the need for the international community to work for an urgent reduction in nuclear weapons. He also spoke about New Caledonia, the struggle against apartheid, the UN's work in codifying universal human rights, New Zealand's interest in becoming more involved in UN peace-keeping activities, measures against international terrorism, the Antarctic treaty system, the revitalisation of the UN by functional reform, and other matters. Subsequent debate centred on recent events. These included global economic issues, racism and apartheid, the Middle East, refugees, arms control and disarmament, humanitarian relief for Africa, human rights, and the UN's financial crisis. New Zealand contributed by either co-sponsoring or supporting proposals intended to remove the potential for armed conflict, eliminate international tension, create fair and just economic and political systems, facilitate decolonisation and provide humanitarian relief and development assistance to the needy.

The specialised agencies

The UN system encompasses 16 autonomous organisations, known as the specialised agencies, and a large number of additional bodies with their own secretariats, budgets and operations. Among the largest of these is the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which aims to raise levels of nutrition and global living standards, to promote agriculture and food security, and to expand the world economy. Similarly the World Health Organisation (WHO) seeks ‘the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health’, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) seeks to improve working and living conditions and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) seeks to increase international co-operation through education, science and culture.

Four agencies participate in efforts to promote the international flow of capital for productive purposes and facilitate the economic development of less developed countries. These are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, or the World Bank), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Other UN special agencies of which New Zealand is a member, are concerned with civil aviation (ICAO), agricultural development (IFAD), maritime safety (IMO), telecommunications (ITU), postal services (UPU), patents and trademarks (WIPO), and climate and weather (WMO) and industrial development (UNIDO).

Contributions to United Nations

Contributions to the UN budget are based on members’ capacity to pay. In 1987 New Zealand's assessed contribution rate was set at 0.24 percent of the regular budget, resulting in dues of $3,030,479.

Along with many other countries, New Zealand has been concerned at the rapidly rising costs of running the United Nations and related bodies. Moreover, the failure of certain members to either pay their dues on time, or in full, coupled with administrative inefficiencies has led to a serious financial crisis. New Zealand supported the establishment of a group of experts to deal with this situation and has sought to ensure that the group's recommendations for financial and administrative reform can be implemented. Contributions to the budgets of specialised agencies are also fixed according to a scale of assessment agreed by the membership as a whole.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

The GATT was established in 1948 to provide rules for international trade and a forum for the settlement of trade problems. New Zealand was one of the original 23 signatories, and there are now 94 members.

The main objective is the reduction of trade barriers and other protectionist measures which distort international competition. Seven rounds of multilateral trade negotiations have been conducted under GATT auspices and have achieved a progressive reduction in tariffs and a refinement of the rules for international trade. In 1986 member countries agreed to embark on an eighth round of negotiations and New Zealand's priority is to ensure that trade in agricultural products, which has never been fully integrated into the GATT system, is brought under effective rules and disciplines (for both barriers and subsidies). The Cairns Group of agricultural trade liberalisers, of which New Zealand is a member, has become a strong proponent of this. Other major issues include the negotiation of rules for trade in services and improved rules and disciplines for dispute settlement and trade in intellectual property. The Uruguay (eighth) Round is expected to last four years.

Other UN bodies

In addition to the specialised agencies, many UN organisations help to seek solutions to international problems through diverse economic, development, humanitarian and technical activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established ‘under the aegis of the United Nations’, supports peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while several bodies encourage economic development (UNDP, UNCTAD, IFAD), and others address issues as diverse and necessary as environmental protection, tourist promotion, drug abuse and population planning. Humanitarian concerns include the health and welfare of children (UNICEF), assistance to refugees (UNHCR and UNRWA) and the elimination of racism and of discrimination against women. Contributions are usually voluntary, and table 4.1 (above), includes New Zealand's contributions for 1986–87.

World Bank

The World Bank group is comprised of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The common objective of these institutions is to help raise standards of living in developing countries by channelling financial resources from developed countries to them. The IBRD's lending operations are directed towards developing countries at more advanced stages of economic and social development, whereas the IDA provides loans of a highly concessional nature to the poorest of the developing nations. The IFC promotes growth in the private sector of developing countries by lending or investing in business enterprises without government guarantees.

New Zealand joined the IBRD in 1961. It has subscribed to a total of 4061 shares in the bank, which is about 0.5 percent of the total capital. The shares have a total par value of US$489.9 million, although over 90 percent of this amount has not been called-up but, together with the uncalled subscriptions of other member countries, acts as a guarantee for the IBRD's borrowing in the financial markets.

New Zealand joined the IDA in 1975, having earlier made a voluntary contribution of $5 million to the association. Since becoming a member, New Zealand has committed a further $54.8 million to IDA through having participated in its fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth replenishments of funds and its fiscal year 1984 account. New Zealand owns 923 fully-paid shares in the IFC, which have a total par value of US$1.6 million.

Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank's (ADB's) principal function is to promote and finance the economic and social advancement of its 28 developing member countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has 32 member countries in the Asia-Pacific area and 15 member countries in Europe and North America. The ADB's financial structure is similar to that of the World Bank.

New Zealand first took up shares in the ADB when it was established in 1966. The country currently holds 27 170 shares, which make up about 2 percent of the bank's total share capital.

New Zealand also makes contributions to the ADB's Asian Development Fund (ADF) and Technical Assistance Special Fund (TASF). The ADF is the bank's facility for lending to its poorest developing member countries, to which New Zealand contributed a total of approximately US$17.3 million up to the end of 1987. New Zealand has granted a total of US$1,096,000 to the TASF since 1969, with the most recent contribution of $75,000 being in the 1986–87 financial year.


The 48 members and two ‘special members’ of the Commonwealth include countries in the six continents and the five oceans of the world. The South Pacific region is represented by Tonga, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand. (Fiji's membership lapsed in October 1987.). Nauru and Tuvalu have special membership status. The Cook Islands and Niue are not eligible for full membership because of their continuing constitutional association with New Zealand. In consequence they do not attend Commonwealth heads of government meetings, but are entitled to participate in Commonwealth meetings dealing with those subjects for which their governments are responsible.

A permanent Commonwealth Secretariat is the main agency for multilateral communication between governments. The secretariat promotes consultation, disseminates information on matters of common concern, organises meetings and conferences, and coordinates a wide range of other activities.

Heads of government meet every second year. The most recent meeting was held in Vancouver in 1987. Heads of government of the Asia-Pacific region have also met since 1978, most recently in Port Moresby in 1984. Commonwealth finance ministers meet annually, and ministers of agriculture, labour, health, education and other portfolios also meet at varying intervals.

The Commonwealth's principal official development assistance programmes are financed by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, to which New Zealand contributed $1 million in 1987–88. New Zealand also takes part in the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, contributing about $750,000 in 1987–88. Contributions are made to a range of other intergovernmental Commonwealth co-operative programmes, including, in 1987, $250,000 to the Commonwealth fund for Mozambique and $50,000 for Commonwealth co-operation on distance education, and to agencies, including the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the Commonwealth Science Council, the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaus and the Asia-Pacific regional working groups. In the non-governmental area, New Zealand's main contribution is to the Commonwealth Foundation, established to promote close links in the professions throughout the Commonwealth.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Paris-based OECD aims to foster intergovernmental co-operation amongst its 24 members on matters relating to economic and social policy. The majority of its members are the large industrialised countries of the world and New Zealand joined in 1973 with the intention of voicing its opinions in OECD forums, which were of increasing importance in international decision-making.

New Zealand has concentrated on economic, agricultural, trade and energy consultations in the OECD, but has also been involved in education, labour affairs, shipping and environment work. The OECD exchanges, analyses and disseminates a wide variety of information, including the OECD forecasts (Economic Outlook) and reports on individual countries. The New Zealand economy is periodically subjected to a thorough review within the OECD system. Its aid policy is reviewed regularly by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee.

An example of the benefits of OECD membership is current work on protectionism in agricultural trade, initiated by New Zealand, with the aim of quantifying levels of agricultural protectionism and finding ways of reducing it. This work is particularly relevant to the current Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations.

New Zealand is also a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous body within the OECD framework. The IEA carries out a comprehensive programme of energy co-operation among 19 countries and works to promote co-operation between energy producing and consuming countries.

International Whaling Commission

Since New Zealand rejoined this commission in 1976, it has played an active role among the conservationist member nations. In June 1985 the New Zealand Whaling Commissioner, Mr I. L. G. Stewart, was elected Chairman of the IWC for a three-year term. In 1988 the fortieth annual meeting of the IWC took place in Auckland.

4.3 Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic posts

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the primary responsibility for advising and assisting the Government on its relations with the outside world. This includes advising foreign governments of New Zealand's policies and keeping the Government informed of overseas developments affecting New Zealand's interests. Policy formulation is undertaken in relation to the country's economic, trade, political and security needs, and recommendations to the Government are prepared in close association with other government departments.

Other functions include the administration of the official programme of aid to developing countries, and responsibility for all official New Zealand information and publicity activities overseas other than those relating specifically to trade promotion or tourism.

The ministry is the agency through which other governments and their representatives in New Zealand communicate with the Government. It also undertakes foreign affairs and defence functions for the Cook Islands and Niue after consultation with their respective heads of government. It administers Tokelau.

In addition, it is responsible for operating and administering the network of diplomatic and consular posts listed below. These posts represent and pursue New Zealand's interests overseas through a variety of ways, including participation in international negotiations, the gathering of information, and the promotion of a favourable New Zealand image. The posts perform services overseas on behalf of all government departments and give assistance to New Zealanders overseas, whether travelling in official or private capacities, and are responsible for the overseas issue of passports and visas.

In September 1988 it was announced that a new Ministry of External Relations and Trade will be formed from 1 December 1988. It will incorporate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (disestablished as such) and the International Trade Relation Division of the Department of Trade and Industry (also disestablished).

New Zealand's overseas posts

For further information on the overseas posts listed below, refer to the publication New Zealand Representatives Overseas, on sale at Government Bookshops.

Australia—High Commission, Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600.

Consulate, Standard Chartered Bank Building (8th Floor), 26 Flinders Street, Adelaide, (G.P.O. Box 1744) South Australia 5001.

Consulate-General, Watkins Place Building, 288 Edward Street, Brisbane, (G.P.O. Box 62) Qld. 4001.

New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Office, Brisbane, (as for Consulate-General).

Consulate-General, 330 Collins Street, Melbourne, (G.P.O. Box 2136 T) Vic. 3001.

New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department Office, 270 Flinders Street, Melbourne, (G.P.O. Box 2136 T) Vic. 3001.

Consulate, 16 St. George's Terrace (10th floor), Perth, (G.P.O. Box X2227) W.A. 6001.

Consulate-General, State Bank Centre (25th floor), 52 Martin Place, Sydney, (G.P.O. Box 365) N.S.W. 2001.

New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department Office, AMEV-UDC House, 84 Pitt Street, Sydney, (G.P.O. Box 614) N.S.W. 2000.

Austria—Embassy, Lugeck 1, Vienna 1 (P.O. Box 1471, A-1011 Vienna).

Bahrain—Embassy, Manama Centre Building (1st floor), Government Road, Manama (P.O. Box 5881).

Bangladesh—High Commissioner resident in New Delhi (see under India).

Barbados—High Commissioner resident in Ottawa (see under Canada).

Belgium—Embassy, Boulevard du Regent 47–48, 1000 Brussels.

Botswana—High Commissioner resident in Harare.

Brazil—Ambassador resident in Santiago (see under Chile). Consulate, Rua Hungria 888–6, CEP 01455, Sao Paulo.

Britain—High Commission, New Zealand House, Haymarket, London SW 1Y 4TQ.

Brunei—High Commissioner resident in Kuala Lumpur (see under Malaysia).

Burma—Ambassador resident in Bangkok (see under Thailand).

Canada—High Commission, Metropolitan House (Suite 801), 99 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6G3. Consulate, Suite 1260–701, West Georgia Street, I.B.M. Tower, Vancouver, (P.O. Box 10071, Pacific Centre) B.C. V7Y 1B6.

Chile—Embassy, Avenida Isidora Goyenechea 3516, Las Condes, Santiago (Casilla 112, Correo).

China—Embassy, Ritan Dongerjie No. 1, Chaoyang District, Peking.

Colombia—Ambassador resident in Lima (see under Peru).

Cook Islands—New Zealand Representative, 1st Floor, Philatelic Bureau Building, Takuvaine Road, Avarua, (P.O. Box 21) Rarotonga.

Cyprus—High Commissioner resident in Athens (see under Greece).

Czechoslovakia—Ambassador resident in Vienna (see under Austria).

Denmark—Ambassador resident in Brussels (see under Belgium).

Ecuador—Ambassador resident in Lima (see under Peru).

Egypt—Ambassador resident in Riyadh (see under Saudi Arabia).

European Communities—Ambassador resident in Brussels (see under Belgium).

Fiji—Embassy, Reserve Bank of Fiji Building, Pratt Street (P.O. Box 1378), Suva.

Finland—Ambassador resident in Moscow (see under U.S.S.R.).

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)—See under United Nations.

France—Embassy, 7 ter, rue Leonard de Vinci, 75116 Paris. Consulate-General, 4 Boulevard Vauban, (BP 2219) Noumea, New Caledonia. New Zealand Consulate, c/o Air New Zealand Ltd, Vaima Centre, (BP 73) Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia.

German Democratic Republic—Ambassador resident in Vienna (see under Austria).

Germany, Federal Republic of—Embassy, Bonn-Center, H1 902, Bundeskanzlerplatz, 5300 Bonn. New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department Office, Kaiserhofstrasse 7, 6000 Frankfurt/Main.

Greece—Embassy, An. Tsoha 15–17, Ambelokipi, 115 21 Athens.

Guyana—High Commissioner resident in Ottawa (see under Canada).

Holy See—Ambassador resident in Paris (see under France).

Hong Kong—High Commission 3414 Connaught Centre, Connaught Road (G.P.O. Box 2790), Hong Kong.

Hungary—Ambassador resident in Vienna (see under Austria).

India—High Commission, 25 Golf Links, New Delhi, 110003.

Indonesia—Embassy, Jalan Diponegoro No. 41, Menteng, (P.O. Box 2439 JKT) Jakarta.

Iran—Embassy, Avenue Mirza-ye-Shirazi, Shahid Ali-ye-Mirza, Hassani St, No. 29 (P.O. Box 11365–436), Tehran.

Iraq—Embassy, 2D/19 Zuwiyah 2, Jadriyah (near Baghdad University), (P.O. Box 2350, Alwiyah), Baghdad.

Ireland—Ambassador resident in London (see under Britain).

Israel—Ambassador resident in The Hague (see under Netherlands).

Italy—Embassy, Via Zara 28, Rome 00198.

Jamaica—High Commissioner resident in Ottawa (see under Canada).

Japan—Embassy, 20–40 Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150.

Consulate-General, Daiwabank Semba Building 9F, 4–21 Minamisemba 4-chome, Minamiku, Osaka 542.

Jordan—Ambassador resident in Baghdad (see under Iraq).

Kenya—High Commissioner resident in Harare (see under Zimbabwe).

Kiribati—High Commissioner resident in Suva (see under Fiji).

Korea, Republic of—Embassy, Kyobo Building, 1 Chongno 1-ga, Chongno-gu, (G.P.O. Box 1059), Seoul.

Laos—Ambassador resident in Bangkok (see under Thailand).

Luxembourg—Ambassador resident in Brussels (see under Belgium).

Macau—Commissioner resident in Hong Kong.

Malaysia—High Commission, 193 Jalan Tun Razak, (P.O. Box 12003), Kuala Lumpur 50764.

Maldives—High Commissioner resident in Singapore.

Mauritius—Consulate, 29 Edgar Aubert Street, (P.O. Box 687) Port Louis.

Mexico—Embassy, Homero 229 Piso 8, 11570 Mexico D.F.

Nauru—High Commissioner resident in Suva (see under Fiji).

Nepal—High Commissioner resident in New Delhi (see under India).

Netherlands—Embassy, Mauritskade 25, 2514 HD The Hague.

New Caledonia—See under France.

Nigeria—High Commissioner resident in London (see under Britain).

Niue—New Zealand Representative, Tapeu, Alofi (P.O. Box 78), Niue.

Norway—Ambassador resident in The Hague (see under Netherlands).

Oman—Ambassador resident in Riyadh (see under Saudi Arabia).

OECD—N.Z. Permanent Delegation is located at the Embassy in Paris (see under France).

Pakistan—Ambassador resident in Tehran (see under Iran).

Papua New Guinea—High Commission, Waigani (P.O. Box 1144, Boroko) Port Moresby.

Peru—Embassy, Avenida Salaverry 3006, San Isidro, (Casilla 5587, Lima 100) Lima 27.

Philippines—Embassy, Gammon Centre, 3rd Floor, 126 Alfaro Street, Salcedo Village, Makati (Box 2208, Makati Central P.O.) Metro Manila.

Poland—Ambassador resident in Vienna (see under Austria).

Qatar—Ambassador resident in Riyadh (see under Saudi Arabia).

Portugal—Ambassador resident in Rome (see under Italy).

Romania—Ambassador resident in Vienna (see under Austria).

Saudi Arabia—Embassy, Al Hamidi Commercial Centre, Sitteen Street, (P.O. Box 94397), Riyadh 11693.

Singapore—High Commission, 13 Nassim Road, Singapore 1025.

Solomon Islands—High Commission, Soltel House, Mendana Avenue (P.O. Box 697), Honiara.

Spain—Ambassador resident in Paris (see under France).

Sri Lanka—High Commissioner resident in Singapore.

Sweden—Ambassador resident in The Hague (see under Netherlands).

Switzerland—Ambassador resident in Bonn (see under Germany, Federal Republic of). Consulate-General, 28A Chemin du Petit-Saconnex, CH-1209 Geneva (P.O. Box 334, CH-1211 Geneva 19).

Tahiti—See under France.

Tanzania—High Commissioner resident in Harare (see under Zimbabwe).

Thailand—Embassy, 93 Wireless Road (P.O. Box 2719), Bangkok 5.

Tokelau—Office for Tokelau Affairs, Savalalo Street, (P.O. Box 865) Apia, Western Samoa.

Tonga—High Commission, Corner Taufa'ahau and Salote Roads, (P.O. Box 830) Nuku'alofa.

Trinidad and Tobago—High Commission resident in Ottawa (see under Canada). Consulate, Ansa Building, Endeavour Road, Uriah Butler Highway, Chaguanas, (P.O. Box 823) Port of Spain, Trinidad W.I.

Tuvalu—High Commissioner resident in Suva (see under Fiji).

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—Embassy, 44 Ulitsa Vorovskovo, Moscow 121069.

United Kingdom—see Britain.

United Nations—Permanent Mission to the U.N. One U.N. Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10017, U.S.A.

Permanent Mission, Geneva, located at Consulate-General in Geneva (see under Switzerland).

Permanent Mission, Vienna, located at Embassy in Vienna (see under Austria).

Permanent Delegation FAO, located at Embassy in Rome (see under Italy).

Permanent Delegation to UNESCO located at Embassy in Paris (see under France).

Permanent Delegation to U.N. Environment Programme (U.N.E.P.) located at Embassy in Athens.

United States—Embassy, 37 Observatory Circle N.W., Washington, D.C. 2008.

Consulate-General, Suite 1530, Tishman Building, 10960 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, Ca. 90024.

New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department Central Reservations Office, Plaza La Reina, Suite 1270, 6033 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, Ca 90045.

Consulate-General, Suite 530, Rockefeller Center, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10111.

Trade Commission and Tourist and Publicity Department Office, Citicorp Center Suite 810, 1 Sansome Street, San Francisco, Ca 94104.

Vanuatu—High Commission Prouds Building, Kumul Highway, (P.O. Box 161) Port Vila.

Vatican—see Holy See

Venezuela—Ambassador resident in Lima (see under Peru).

Vietnam—Ambassador resident in Bangkok (see under Thailand).

Western Samoa—High Commission, Beach Road (F.O. Box 208), Apia.

Yugoslavia—Ambassador resident in Athens (see under Greece).

Zambia—High Commissioner resident in Harare (see under Zimbabwe).

Zimbabwe—High Commission, 6th floor, Batanai Gardens, 57 Stanley Avenue, (P.O. Box 5448), Harare.

Diplomatic, consular, and other representation in New Zealand

For further information on the official overseas representation in New Zealand listed below refer to the publication Diplomatic List: Diplomatic and Consular Representatives in New Zealand on sale at Government Bookshops.

Argentina—Consul-General, Harbour View Building, 52 Quay Street, Auckland.

Australia—Australian High Commission, 72–78 Hobson Street, Wellington.

Consulate-General, 8th Floor, Union House, 32–38 Quay Street, Auckland.

Austria—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Herd Street, Wellington. Hon. Consul, 1 McColl Street, Auckland.

Bangladesh—High Commissioner resident in Canberra.

Belgium—Embassy of Belgium, Robert Jones House, 1–3 Willeston Street, Wellington. Hon. Consul, Penthouse, Fisher International Building, 18 Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland. Hon. Consul, 56A Clyde Road, Christchurch.

Brazil—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, 8 Commerce Street, Auckland.

Britain—British High Commission, Reserve Bank Building, 2 The Terrace, Wellington. Consulate-General, Norwich Union Building, Queen Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 5A Cranmer Square, Christchurch.

Brunei Darussalam—High Commissioner resident in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Burma—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Canada—Canadian High Commission, ICI House, 67 Molesworth Street, Wellington. Vice-Consul (Commercial), Princes Court, 2 Princes Street, Auckland.

Chile—Embassy of the Republic of Chile, Robert Jones House, 1–3 Willeston Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, 21–39 Jellicoe Road, Panmure, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch.

China—Embassy of the People's Republic of China, 2–6 Glenmore Street, Wellington.

Colombia—Ambassador resident in Jakarta.

Cook Islands—Office of the Cook Islands Representative, 61 Kanpur Road, Broadmeadows, Wellington.

Consular Office of the Cook Islands, 330 Parnell Rd, Parnell, Auckland.

Costa Rica—Hon. Consul-General, 50 Lunn Avenue, Mt Wellington, Auckland.

Cyprus—High Commissioner resident in Canberra.

Czechoslovakia—Embassy of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, 12 Anne Street, Wellington.

Denmark—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul-General, 105–109 The Terrace, Wellington.

Hon. Consul-General, Equiticorp Building, 73 Symonds Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 35A Wairarapa Terrace, Christchurch.

Hon. Consul, 18 Danube Street, Vauxhall, Dunedin.

Ecuador—Ambassador resident in Tokyo.

Hon. Consul, Wool House, 10 Brandon Street, Wellington.

Egypt—Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dalmuir House, 114 The Terrace, Wellington.

El Salvador—Hon. Consul, 24 Seccombes Road, Epsom, Auckland.

European Communities—Head of Delegation resident in Canberra.

Fiji—Embassy of the Republic of Fiji, Robert Jones House, 1–3 Willeston Street, Wellington.

Finland—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul-General, 25–33 Victoria Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, 20 Dilworth Avenue, Remuera, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, Durham Courts, 16 Wordsworth Street, Sydenham, Christchurch.

Hon. Consul, MFL Building, 11 Bond Street, Dunedin.

France—Embassy of France, Robert Jones House, 1–3 Willeston Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, corner of Princes Street and Eden Crescent, Auckland.

Consul (Commercial), Wyndham Towers, Wyndham Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, c/o Teachers College, Christchurch.

Hon. Consul, c/o University of Otago, Dunedin.

German Democratic Republic—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Germany, Federal Republic—Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, 90–92 Hobson Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, 17 Albert Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 71 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch.

Greece—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul-General, Cumberland House, 237 Willis Street, Wellington.

Holy See—Apostolic Nunciature, 112 Queen's Drive, Lyall Bay, Wellington.

Hungary—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Iceland—Hon. Consul-General, 88 Oriental Parade, Wellington.

India—Office of the High Commissioner for India, Princess Towers, 180 Molesworth Street, Wellington.

Indonesia— of the Republic of Indonesia, 70 Glen Road, Kelburn, Wellington.

Iran—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Iraq—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Ireland—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, Dingwall Building, 87 Queen Street, Auckland.

Israel—Embassy of Israel, Plimmer City Centre, Plimmer Steps, Wellington.

Italy—Embassy of Italy, 34 Grant Road, Wellington.

Hon. Consular Agent, Dingwall Building, 87–93 Queen Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consular Agent, 48 Seven Oaks Drive, Bryndwr, Christchurch.

Hon. Consular Agent, 14 Shandon Road, Waverley, Dunedin.

Japan—Embassy of Japan, Norwich Insurance House, 3–11 Hunter Street, Wellington.

Consulate-General of Japan, National Mutual Building, 37–45 Shortland Street, Auckland.

Consular Office of Japan, General Building, 77 Hereford Street, Christchurch.

Kiribati—High Commissioner resident in Tarawa.

Hon. Consul, 33 Great South Road, Otahuhu, Auckland.

Korea—Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Plimmer City Centre, Plimmer Steps, Wellington. Hon. Consul. Great Northern Centre, cnr Queen and Customs Streets, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 126 Cashel Street, Christchurch.

Laos—Charge d' Affaires resident in Canberra.

Lebanon—Charge d' Affaires resident in Canberra.

Libya—Secretary of the People's Committee resident in Canberra.

Malaysia—High Commission of Malaysia, 10 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, Wellington, Hon. Consul, 14 Hazeldean Road, Christchurch.

Mali—Ambassador resident in Beijing.

Mexico—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, 1–3 Arawa Street, Grafton, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, Tatra House, 96 Tory Street, Wellington.

Mongolia—Ambassador resident in Tokyo.

Nauru—Consulate-General, Samoa House, 283 Karangahape Road, Auckland.

Nepal—Ambassador resident in Tokyo.

Netherlands—Royal Netherlands Embassy, Investment Centre, cnr Ballance and Featherston Streets, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, Aetna House, 57 Symonds Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, Amsterdam House, 161–163 Kilmore Street, Christchurch.

Nigeria—High Commissioner resident in Canberra.

Niue—Consular Office, Samoa House, 283 Karangahape Road, Auckland.

Norway—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul-General, Hamilton Chambers, 199–201 Lambton Quay, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, Westpac Security Building, 120 Albert Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, Scales House, 321 Manchester Street, Christchurch.

Hon. Consul, 365 Princes Street, Dunedin.

Oman—Ambassador resident in Tokyo.

Pakistan—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, Commerce Building, 14 Emily Place, Auckland.

Papua New Guinea—Papua New Guinea High Commission, Princess Towers, 180 Molesworth Street, Wellington.

Peru—Embassy of Peru, 35–37 Victoria Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, 45 Neilson Street, Onehunga, Auckland.

Philippines—Embassy of the Philippines, 50 Hobson Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul-General, 93–97 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1.

Poland—Embassy of the Polish People's Republic, Apartment D, 196 The Terrace, Wellington.

Portugal—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, Southpac House, 1 Victoria Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, 117 Arney Road, Remuera, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 29 Newington Avenue, Dunedin.

Qatar—Ambassador resident in Tokyo.

Romania—Embassy, 31 Doris Gordon Crescent, Crofton Downs, Wellington.

Saudi Arabia—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Singapore—High Commission, 17 Kabul Street, Khandallah, Wellington.

Solomon Islands—High Commissioner resident in Honiara.

Spain—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul, P.O. Box 71, Papakura, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 148 Lichfield Street, Christchurch

Sri Lanka—High Commissioner resident in Canberra.

Consular of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Norwich Insurance House, 117 Queen Street, Auckland.

Sweden—Royal Swedish Embassy, Greenock House, 39 The Terrace, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, Emcom House, 75 Queen Street, Auckland.

Hon. Consul, 178 Cashel Street, Christchurch.

Hon. Consul, 40 Jetty Street, Dunedin.

Switzerland—Embassy of Switzerland, Panama House, 22–24 Panama Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, 48 Carr Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland.

Thailand—Royal Thai Embassy, 2 Cook Street, Karori, Wellington.

Tonga—Agents for Tonga, 655 Great South Road, Penrose, Auckland.

Turkey—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Hon. Consul-General, 201 Symonds Street, Auckland.

Tuvalu—Hon. Consul, 33 Great South Road, Otahuhu, Auckland.

U.S.A.—Embassy of the United States of America, 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Wellington.

Consulate-General, General Building, cnr Shortland and O'Connell Streets, Auckland.

Consular Agent, c/o Lawrence Anderson Buddle, P.O. Box 13250, Christchurch.

U.S.S.R.—Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 57 Messines Road, Karori, Wellington.

Uruguay—Charge d'Affaires resident in Canberra.

Vanuatu—High Commissioner resident in Port Vila.

Venezuela—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Vietnam—Ambassador resident in Canberra.

Western S—High Commission for Western Samoa, 1A Wesley Road, Kelburn, Wellington.

Consulate-General, Samoa House, 283 Karangahape Road, Auckland.

Yugoslavia—Embassy of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 24 Hatton Street, Wellington.

Hon. Consul, A.M.P. Building, cnr Queen and Victoria Streets, Auckland.

Zambia—High Commissioner resident in Canberra.

4.4 New Zealand territories


A territory under New Zealand's administration, Tokelau is a scattered group of three atolls in the South Pacific with a total land area of about 12 square kilometres and a population of 1694 in 1986. Sovereignty was transferred from Britain, and Tokelau included within the boundaries of New Zealand, in 1948. Tokelau lies between Micronesia and Polynesia, but its inhabitants are Polynesian. They retain linguistic, family and cultural links with Western Samoa, although the culture of Tokelau is shaped by its atoll environment. Tokelauan is spoken, with English as a second language.

Administrative responsibility for Tokelau lies with the Administrator, Mr Neil Walter, Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Wellington. Many of his powers are delegated to the Official Secretary who heads the Office for Tokelau Affairs, based in Apia by agreement with Western Samoa. The Administrator reports annually to the New Zealand Parliament.

New Zealand is committed to helping Tokelau towards greater self-government and economic self-sufficiency. Invited missions from the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation visited Tokelau and were advised by the people that they did not, for the time being, wish to review the existing ties between New Zealand and the territory. A delegation from Tokelau visited New York in June 1987, and its message to the United Nations reflected the views expressed to earlier missions. New Zealand takes steps to ensure that the Tokelau Public Service meets Tokelau's administrative, social, economic and development requirements. The Public Service numbered 166 at 31 March 1987. Almost all public servants are Tokelauans.

New Zealand provided $3.8 million of budgetary aid in the year ended 31 March 1988. Tokelau also receives considerable assistance from various international agencies, the UN Development Programme being the largest donor. Western Samoa gives much practical assistance, particularly medical.

Tokelau has a separate legal system, and local government is conducted through representative institutions. The Faipule and Pulenuku are elected every three years by adult suffrage.

Tokelau's economy, largely subsistence, is based on fishing, crops and livestock, although the soil is barren and resists fertilisation. The territory's size, isolation and lack of land-based resources give little scope for economic development, although measures have been taken to redistribute available cash income. Each atoll has a small general hospital and a primary school.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency consists of the land, permanent ice-shelf and islands of Antarctica between 160 degrees east and 150 degrees west. The land is almost all covered by ice, and is uninhabited except for people working on scientific research programmes. New Zealand has exercised jurisdiction over the territory since 1923, has maintained Antarctic Scientific Research Programme since 1957 and operates Scott Base on Ross Island as a permanent base, with a seasonal base at Lake Vanda in the Dry Valleys region. New Zealand is an original party to the Antarctic Treaty, which requires Antarctica to be used for peaceful purposes only and promotes international co-operation, freedom of scientific investigation, and exchange of information and scientific personnel. The 32 parties to the treaty meet regularly to consider questions within its framework.

4.5 Defence

Control and co-ordination of defence

The Governor-General as Commander-in-Chief is empowered to raise and maintain the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. These forces, together with civilian employees constitute the Ministry of Defence, which is responsible under the Minister of Defence for the central control of the whole field of national defence.

The Secretary of Defence is chief executive of the ministry and principal civilian adviser to the minister, responsible in particular for co-ordinating the business of the ministry as a whole, including long-term financial planning as well as supervision of defence expenditure.

The Chief of Defence Staff is principal military adviser to the minister, and convenor and chairperson of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The Chief of Defence Staff carries out inspections of the services and reports to the minister.

Defence Council

The Defence Council is responsible for the administration and, through the officers appointed for the purpose, the command of the New Zealand armed forces. The Defence Council, with the minister as chairperson, includes the Secretary of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Chiefs of Staff of the three services. The Secretary to the Treasury and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs are associate members. In addition, the council may from time to time co-opt officers of other government departments. Without limiting the duties of the Secretary of Defence or the Chief of Defence Staff, the Defence Council assists the minister in formulating defence policy or recommendations.

Combined RNZAF/NZ Army exercise.

Defence policy

The Government's comprehensive review of defence policy concluded with the release of a white paper, entitled Defence of New Zealand: Review of Defence Policy 1987. A feature of the review was the extensive consultation with the public, unprecedented in past defence reviews. The white paper highlights the need for greater defence self-reliance, the importance of closer defence co-operation with Australia, and the need to give practical effect to the greater emphasis on New Zealand's defence role in the South Pacific.

Resource management review

A resource management review of the Ministry of Defence was begun in 1988 to consider how best to achieve efficient and economical use of resources, in order to give New Zealand operationally effective and increasingly self-reliant armed forces. The review will be wide ranging, covering organisation, personnel, scientific and electronic data processing activities, equipment (including operational equipment, communications and reserve stocks), training, programme management, and cost recovery. It will also include rationalising real estate holdings. It will not, however, reopen the issues in the 1987 review of defence policy, nor will it cut across established force structures or command responsibilities.

Defence science

The Defence Scientific Establishment at Devonport is the main research centre in the Ministry of Defence; its work relates mainly to the operation of defence equipment in New Zealand conditions. It specialises in the fields of metallurgy, underwater acoustics, mine warfare and systems engineering. The research ship HMNZS Tui is operated by the Navy to meet the requirements of the defence science programme.

Missions of the New Zealand Armed Forces

To achieve current defence policy objectives, the armed forces have the following missions:

  1. To preserve the security and integrity of New Zealand, its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone, and the island states (the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau) for which New Zealand has defence responsibilities.

  2. To be able to mount an effective military response to any low level contingency within our areas of direct strategic concern. (This is the area which would have to be traversed if New Zealand was to be directly threatened by attack or invasion. It includes mainland Australia, and extends north through Papua New Guinea to Kiribati, east to the Cook Islands, and south to the Ross Dependency in Antarctica.)

  3. To maintain an expansion base which would enable New Zealand to respond to higher level contingencies within our area of direct strategic concern.

  4. To promote the security and stable development of the South Pacific by providing practical assistance in defence matters to the countries of the South Pacific region.

  5. To maintain close defence co-operation with Australia, and in particular areas (such as defence procurement, logistic support, and co-ordination of defence activities in the South Pacific) to develop a closer defence relationship.

  6. To continue to meet ANZUS obligations in conventional terms.

  7. To maintain an ability to operate in New Zealand's southern maritime region, and provide logistic support to New Zealand activities in Antarctica.

  8. To contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in South-east Asia by continuing to maintain an active role in the Five Power Defence Arrangements and mutually beneficial military assistance, training and exchange programmes with the countries of the region.

  9. To provide disaster relief assistance, resource protection, rescue and medical evacuation services to the community in New Zealand, and in the South Pacific.

  10. To promote peace and international security through contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations.

International defence relationships

ANZUS. This security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States came into force in 1952. Each party recognises that an armed attack in the Pacific on any of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. Because of the dispute between New Zealand and the United States over the introduction of nuclear weapons into New Zealand ports and over visits of nuclear-propelled vessels, the ANZUS Council has not met since 1984. The Government considers that New Zealand can best meet its ANZUS obligations, and make an effective contribution to Western security, by playing a constructive role in promoting the collective security of New Zealand's part of the world.

The Five Power Defence Arrangements

The basis of the Five Power Defence Arrangements is not a formal treaty but a statement in the communiqu$eA of the meeting of ministers of Britain, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in 1971. The ministers declared, “that in the event of any form of armed attack externally organised or supported or the threat of such attack against Malaysia or Singapore, their governments would immediately consult together for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken jointly or separately in relation to such attack or threat”. Under these arrangements Australia maintains an RAAF presence in Malaysia, while New Zealand has maintained a contingent in Singapore (known as New Zealand Force South-east Asia).

Manila Treaty

Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States signed the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty, or the Manila Treaty, in 1954. Although the South-east Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) established under the treaty was phased out in 1977, the treaty was not abrogated.

Co-operation with other countries

To facilitate exchanges on military matters, defence representatives are posted to New Zealand diplomatic missions in London, Canberra, Washington, Ottawa, and Jakarta and with the New Zealand Force South-east Asia (accredited to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Brunei). In addition, some members of these staffs are also accredited to other countries. The United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia have service representatives attached to their respective High Commissions in Wellington and there are service attach$eAs on the staffs of the French, Indonesian, and United States embassies in Wellington. Several other countries have service attach$eAs accredited to, but not resident in, New Zealand.

Armed forces overseas

Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)

In 1986 the Government announced that New Zealand Force South-east Asia would return to New Zealand by December 1989. During 1987 the Minister of Defence and officials’ working groups visited Singapore and Malaysia to confirm an agreed timetable for withdrawal. The sequence will be tied to the development of Linton Camp. A small administrative element will remain in Singapore to support bilateral exercises under the FPDA and the Mutual Assistance Programme, continued single service deployments and training attachments. An RNZAF officer will remain attached to the staff of the FPDA Integrated Air Defence System Headquarters at Butterworth, Malaysia.

United Nations observers

New Zealand has four observers in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation.

Sinai Multinational Force and Observers

New Zealand is a contributor to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai which was set up to verify compliance with the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. New Zealand has contributed a 14-man Army training and advisory team on a rotational six month tour of duty since April 1986. An officer attached to the MFO Headquarters commands the team and a warrant officer administers the 12 soldier instructors.

Mutual Assistance Programme

ASEAN and South Pacific countries participate in New Zealand's Mutual Assistance Programme. The programme is a practical demonstration of New Zealand's commitment to regional security. It contributes to the effectiveness of the armed forces in New Zealand's South Pacific neighbourhood and in South-east Asia through training and advisory assistance; and by assisting in development projects utilising the armed forces engineering and trade skills. The range and scope of activities is determined by New Zealand's partners, who have widely different needs. The most common forms of assistance are the provision of formal courses or on-the-job training attachments in New Zealand, the deployment of training and technical teams overseas, the attachment of military instructors to other armed forces for periods of up to two years, and civic action projects in the engineering and medical fields.

Antarctica support

From October to December 1987 RNZAF C130 Hercules made 14 return trips to McMurdo Sound, transporting 191 025 kg of freight and 437 passengers. All three services provided air cargo handlers at Harewood and McMurdo Sound during the summer season, and specialist personnel filled a number of roles at Scott Base. Eighteen Army Engineers assisted in the rebuilding programme at Scott Base and six RNZAF personnel assisted in maintenance of Butter Point Camp.


Two joint exercises were conducted in the South Pacific in 1987. Exercise Swift Venture, in June, involved the Army's 1st NZSAS Group and Navy elements operating in Tokelau for five days. In October, Exercise Tropic Venture involved a total of 245 Army and Air Force personnel in a combined tactical transport and communications exercise in Vanuatu.

Community assistance

Hydrographic survey

The Navy is the sole authority for the production of nautical charts in New Zealand and operates a survey ship, HMNZS Monowai and two inshore survey craft, HMNZ ships Takapu and Tarapunga. The Hydrographic Office also provides tidal analysis data and predictions. During 1987 Monowai conducted surveys around the East Cape of the North Island and deployed twice to Fiji following the military coups there. Takapu and Tarapunga conducted mine countermeasure exercises at Lyttelton and Dunedin among other survey tasks.

Fishery protection

The Navy's frigates are employed part-time and the four patrol craft are employed full-time on fishery protection patrols within New Zealand's 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Surveillance flights of the zone are undertaken by RNZAF Orion, Andover and Friendship aircraft.

Search and rescue

Both the Air Force and the Navy maintain a search and rescue capability, and both services have taken part in extensive sea and land searches in the past 12 months. During this period the Air Force flew 57 missions and rescued 40 people.

New Zealand Cadet Forces

Cadet forces comprise the Sea Cadets, Air Training Corps and New Zealand Cadet Corps (previously known as the School Cadet Corps). They are community-based youth training groups aimed at teaching leadership, comradeship, self-confidence and good citizenship to young people between the ages of 13 and 18 years. The Cadet Forces are supported by the Navy League, Air Cadet League, Returned Servicemens’ Association, Army Association and schools. The Ministry of Defence assists only to the extent necessary to preserve the special military character of the organisation.

As at 31 December 1987, there were a total of 83 cadet units (17 sea cadet, 49 air training corps and 17 cadet corps units). Cadet Forces strength at the same date was 323 officers and 4051 cadets.

Other assistance provided to the community included co-operation with the police (field catering and helicopter support) and the Departments of Maori Affairs, Internal Affairs (including explosive ordnance disposal), Customs and Justice, and the Ministries of Civil Defence and Agriculture and Fisheries.

Disaster relief

Cook Islands

Five C130 Hercules relief flights were sent to the Cook Islands in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Sally in January 1987. Army and Navy personnel were also deployed to repair damaged buildings and raise a sunken barge.


After tropical cyclone Uma struck during February 1987, a P3K Orion undertook reconnaissance flights for the Vanuatu Government to determine the overall damage.


Following a tidal surge in March 1987 the RNZAF air-dropped food and supplies to the three atolls.

Defence expenditure

About 70 percent of Vote Defence was spent in New Zealand in 1986–87, mainly on salaries, capital works, servicing, and general operating costs. There is a policy to encourage greater logistic self-sufficiency, both within New Zealand and in conjunction with Australia.


 Year ended 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Travel, transport, and communications26.3128.7831.1337.76 
Maintenance, operation, upkeep, and rental48.3054.2866.6589.26 
Materials and supplies139.15150.60185.91184.19 
Other operating expenditure4.936.195.917.87 
Grants, contributions, subsidies0.330.360.3849.86 
Capital works18.4716.6722.1537.13 
Capital equipment85.42127.33148.30200.16 


As at 31 MarchNavyArmyAir ForceTotalCivilians
Source: Ministry of Defence.


 Percentage of GDP
Source: International Institute of Strategic Studies.
New Zealand2.
United Kingdom4.
United States of America5.

Royal New Zealand Navy

Command and administration

The Chief of Naval Staff exercises command and control of the Royal New Zealand Navy and is assisted by the Naval Staff as well as the integrated staff of Defence Headquarters.


*On loan from U.S. Navy.

Source: Ministry of Defence.

Frigates (Leander class)Wellington
11th Frigate Squadron.
Survey shipMonowai 
Research shipTui* 
Patrol craftHawea
First New Zealand Patrol Craft Squadron.
Inshore survey craftTakapu
RNZNVR inshore patrol craftMoa
Diving tenderManawanui 
Dockyard service craftArataki 

A tanker constructed in South Korea was commissioned during 1988 under the name HMNZS Endeavour.

Shore establishments

The naval base at Devonport, Auckland, consists of the office of the Commodore Auckland (the operational authority of the RNZN), HMNZS Philomel (the naval barracks and base support establishment), the Royal New Zealand Naval Hospital, the Naval Supply Depot, and the Dockyard. The dockyard is capable of refitting all units of the Navy. HMNZS Tamaki is the naval training establishment at Narrow Neck, Devonport, Auckland. The RNZN Armament Depot is situated at Kauri Point and the RNZN Hydrographic Office is at Takapuna. HMNZS Irirangi is the naval radio receiving and transmitting station at Waiouru. HMNZS Wakefield is the administrative unit for RNZN personnel in the Wellington area.


 At 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Regular forces    
Officers (male and female)404396366286
Ratings (male and female)2,3412,2912,2531,976
Total2 7452 6872 6192 262
Non-regular forces    
Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve (officers)4444
Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (all ranks)439462475447
Royal New Zealand Navy Emergency List (officers)35525258
Royal New Zealand Naval Fleet Reserve (ratings)772712762794
Total1 2501 2301 2931 303

Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve—There is a division of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve in each of the four main centres where reservists are given basic naval training.

New Zealand Army

The Army comprises regular, territorial, and reserve elements and is structured to provide the following operational options:

  1. A Ready Reaction Force based on an infantry battalion group consisting of Regular Force personnel.

  2. An Integrated Expansion Force of brigade group size, made up of Regular and Territorial Force personnel.

  3. A deployable Force Maintenance Group, comprising Regular and Territorial Force personnel.

  4. A further expansion capability based on existing units which would be expanded when required.

Command and administration

The Chief of General Staff commands the Army, supported by the General Staff and the staff of Defence Headquarters. Command over New Zealand Army units is exercised as follows:

  1. Headquarters Land Force Command is responsible for provision of the Ready Reaction Force, Integrated Expansion Force, Territorial Force manpower management, collective training and Army input into any deployed national headquarters.

  2. Headquarters Support Command is responsible for provision of the Force Maintenance Group, individual training, force logistic support and base (home) support.


 Major integrated units
Army unitsRegular Force unitsRegular and territorial unitsMajor weapons and armoured fighting vehicles
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Infantry battalions (1 in Singapore)2  
Armoured reconnaissance squadron1  
Field artillery battery1  
Infantry battalions 6 
Artillery regiments 2 
Armoured squadrons (1 reconnaissance, 1 armoured personnel-carrier, 1 Ready Reaction Force armoured element); 3 
Engineer squadrons 4 
Signals squadrons 4 
SAS group 1 
Transport squadrons 3 
Composite transport squadrons 5 
Field workshops 4 
Base workshop 1 
Supply companies 3 
Base supply battalion 1 
Medical battalions 2 
Field hospital 1 
Combat reconnaissance vehicles (tracked)  26
Ml 13 armoured personnel-carrier family of vehicles  78
5.5 inch medium guns  10
105 mm guns/howitzers  52
106 mm recoilless rifles  19


CategoryAt 31 March

*Class A and class B reserves.

Source: Ministry of Defence.

Regular forces    
Officers (male and female)802778824831
Other ranks (male and female)4,7614,6534,9905,041
Total5 5635 4315 8145 872
Non-regular forces    
Territorial Force (all ranks)6,2995,9635,8215,921
Officers Reserve613626610621
Other ranks*1,1301,2631,2591,547
Total8 0427 8527 6908 089

Royal New Zealand Air Force

Command and administration

The RNZAF is structured to provide forces for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, offensive air support and air transport in New Zealand's area of interest.

The Chief of Air Staff commands the Royal New Zealand Air Force and is supported by the Air Staff and the staff of Defence Headquarters.


The RNZAF in New Zealand is organised into two functional groups: Operations Group, with its headquarters at RNZAF Base Auckland, is responsible for all operational functions and operational flying training; Support Group, with its headquarters at RNZAF Base Wigram, is responsible for all recruitment, formal individual training (except advanced pilot training) and certain support functions such as supply and depot level maintenance. RNZAF Base Shelly Bay acts as the administrative and domestic base for all RNZAF personnel assigned to Wellington for duty in Air Staff and Defence Headquarters. Operational flying units are based at RNZAF Base Auckland, RNZAF Base Ohakea and a VIP flying unit at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. Flying training is conducted at RNZAF Base Wigram while ground training is carried out at RNZAF Bases Auckland, Woodbourne and Wigram. RNZAF Base Te Rapa is the RNZAF's stores depot. A museum and historical centre is located at Wigram.

The RNZAF also has personnel and helicopters serving with New Zealand Force South-east Asia.


Aircraft technical services are co-ordinated by Air Staff with specific levels of aircraft maintenance assigned to the bases and squadrons. The overhaul, repair and some manufacturing of aeronautical equipment is carried out at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. A proportion of repair and overhaul work is contracted to the private sector in New Zealand and overseas.


Operational units roleAircraftLocation
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Maritime6 OrionsRNZAF Base Auckland
Air transport2 Boeing 727s
7 Andovers
5 Hercules
Helicopters11 Iroquois
3 Sioux
7 Wasps (operated by RNZN)
3 Iroquois are in Singapore
Offensive air support22 SkyhawksRNZAF Base Ohakea
Advanced flying training and attack transition training15 Strikemasters
VIP transport3 Cessna 421 CsRNZAF Base Woodbourne
Flying training4 Air tourers
15 Air trainers
2 Sioux helicopters
3 Friendships
RNZAF Base Wigram


 CategoryAt 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Regular forces    
Officers (male and female)744730717731
Airmen and airwomen3,5523,5763,4593,464
Total4 2964 3064 1764 195
Non-regular forces    
Territorial Air Force204213224216
Active Reserve734685817697
General Reserve95105176103
Total1 0331 0031 2171 016

Security Intelligence Service

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969 gives statutory recognition to the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.

Subject to the control of the Minister in Charge of the Security Intelligence Service, the functions of the service are to obtain, correlate, and evaluate intelligence relevant to security; to advise ministers on security matters; and to inform the New Zealand Intelligence Council on any new area of potential espionage, sabotage, terrorism, or subversion. The Security Intelligence Service does not enforce security measures. Nor does it institute surveillance of any person or class of persons by reason only of his, her, or their involvement in lawful protest or dissent in respect of any matter affecting the constitution, laws, or government of New Zealand.

There is a Commissioner of Security Appeals, to whom complaints may be made in writing at the office of the High Court in Wellington.

During the year ended 31 March 1987, three interception warrants were issued for the ‘detection of activities prejudicial to security’ (section 4A (1) (a) (i) of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969). The average term of each warrant was five months and 10 days. The methods of interception used were listening devices and copying of documents.


Year ended 31 MarchGross expenditureIncrease over previous year
Source: Security Intelligence Service.


  • 4.1–4.4 Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • 4.5 Ministry of Defence; New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.

Further information

Defence of New Zealand: Review of Defence Policy 1987. Government Printing Office, 1987.

Diplomatic List. Government Printing Office (twice-yearly).

Information Bulletins (including an annual bulletin on disarmament and arms control). Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Review. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (quarterly).

New Zealand Representatives Overseas. Government Printing Office (twice-yearly).

Report of the Ministry of Defence (Parl. paper G. 4).

Report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Parl. paper A. 1).

Chapter 5. Population

Rugby World Cup final. Auckland.

5.1 Demographic change

By world standards New Zealand's population is small, at approximately 3.3 million. The country's first million of population was reached in 1908; the second 44 years later, in 1952. After that a growth rate averaging roughly 2.0 percent per annum meant it took only 21 years to add the third million—the population grew from 2.02 million at 31 December 1952 to 3.02 million at 31 December 1973. In the 14 years since then, New Zealand's population has grown by barely one-third of a million, to reach an estimated 3.35 million at 31 December 1987.

These broad patterns, however, mask the substantial fluctuations in the intercensal rate of population growth, especially since the early 1960s (see table 5.1). New Zealand's population grew at an average rate of 2.11 percent per annum during 1961–66, 1.35 percent during 1966–71, 1.80 percent during 1971–76, but only 0.29 percent during 1976–81. The growth rate recovered to 0.82 percent during the latest interval 1981–86, but apart from the preceding intercensal period it was still well below that recorded for any intercensal period this century.


 Total population*Intercensal/annual increase

*New Zealand armed forces overseas are excluded.

At census date
18 April 19611,213,3761,201,6082,414,984240,92211.08
22 March 19661,343,7431,333,1762,676,919261,93510.85
23 March 19711,430,8561,431,7752,862,631185,7126.94
23 March 19761,562,0421,567,3413,129,383266,7529.32
24 March 19811,578,9271,596,8103,175,73746,3541.48
4 March 19861 638 356x1 668 728x3,307,084131,3474.14
At 31 December
1987P  3 349 20032,5000.98

Population growth has two main components: natural increase (or excess of births over deaths) and net migration (or excess of arrivals over departures). Table 5.2 indicates the relative contribution of the two factors to population change during 1979–87. Natural increase has accounted for over three-quarters of the growth in New Zealand's population during this century. However, the rate of natural increase has halved since the early 1960s–sliding from 1.8 percent in 1960–61 to 1.4 percent in 1969–70, and further to 6.2 percent in 1986–87. Two opposing factors have contributed to this slower natural growth regime, viz. a steep decline in fertility to below replacement level and a contemporary small rise in the number of deaths. The ageing of New Zealand people and the resultant increase in the number of deaths is expected to contract the natural increase component further.


 Population change due to 
December yearBirthsDeathsArrivalsDeparturesNatural increaseNet migration*xTotal population change x

*Excludes armed forces, through passengers and crews.

197952,27925,340902,148928,46926,939-26 321618
198050,54226,676982,094993,73623,866-11 64212,224
198150,79425,150958,105964,79625,644-6 69118,953
198551,79827,4801,078,7121,091,60824,318-12 89611,422
198652,82427,0451,256,1161,267,57125,779-11 45514,324

It is important to note though, that compared with some European countries New Zealand's rate of natural increase is still relatively high. In 1986, England and Wales, Norway, Scotland and Sweden all recorded natural increase rates of less than 0.2 percent, while in Austria, Denmark and West Germany deaths exceeded births.

In contrast with the transition in natural increase, the migration trends have been characteristically volatile. The external migration balance has fluctuated from a net immigration (excess of arrivals over departures) of 103 826 during the March years 1972–76 to a net emigration (excess of departures over arrivals) of 102 493 during the March years 1977–81, and back again to a net immigration of 2955 during the March years 1982–86. Net migration contributed one-third of the total population growth during 1971–76, but less than 3 percent during 1981–86, while during 1976–81 because of a net outflow, its contribution was negative. Latest figures indicate that swings in the migration balance have continued almost unabated, with pronounced effects on population growth rates.

Age and sex of the population

Males and females. Large-scale changes in the dynamics of population growth have affected the population size and composition measurably. The sex structure of New Zealand's population, which had always contained slightly more males, has also changed. In 1971, for the first time, a census of population recorded a slight excess of females—1 430 856 males and 1 431 775 females, a ‘sex ratio’ of 999 males per 1000 females. By 31 March 1987, this ratio had dropped to 980 males per 1000 females. There are marked differences in the sex composition of the population of different parts of New Zealand. Females tend to outnumber males in urban areas and to be outnumbered in rural areas. One important reason is the generally better employment and educational opportunities for women and girls in the larger industrial and commercial centres.

Age structure. The age structure of a population is the result of past trends in fertility, mortality, and migration. In New Zealand, as in most Western nations, the peaks and troughs in fertility, especially the low birth rates of the Depression years and the post-war baby boom, have had major bearings on the age structure of the population this century. The main changes in the age structure of New Zealand's population during 1961–87 are summarised in table 5.3. The age-sex pyramid illustrates the shifts between 1971 and 1987.


Age group (years)196119761987*196119761987*

*Estimated as at 31 March 1987.

Under 5292,073296,105255,11012.19.57.7
65 and over208,649279,507351,9408.68.910.6
              Total2 414 9843 129 3833 319 600100.0100.0100.0

The effect of low fertility and the ageing of the baby boom generations is clearly evident in the narrowing base and a slightly bulging mid-section of the pyramid. While 33.1 percent of the population was under 15 years of age in 1961, the figure had dropped to 23.7 percent in 1987. Moreover, in 1961 children under five and the retirement-age population (aged 60 years and over) made up about the same percentage (12 percent) of New Zealand population. At 31 March 1987, there were nearly twice as many people aged 60 years and over (493 730) as children under five years of age (255 110), and they accounted for 14.9 percent of the total New Zealand population. Among the elderly, the most rapidly increasing group is those aged 75 years and over. Their numbers increased by 73 percent from 79 350 in 1961 to 137 150 at 31 March 1987, and their proportion of the total New Zealand population rose from 3.3 percent to 4.1 percent over the same period. Another trend which has major socio-economic significance is the steady rise in the proportion of total population in the younger working ages, 20–44 years; from less than 32 percent in 1961 to 38 percent at 31 March 1987—a consequence of the post-World War II high birth numbers.

New Zealand's population, like those of other developed nations, is becoming steadily older. The median age—the age at which half the population is younger and half is older—has risen by 2.8 years in the last quarter century, from 27.3 years in 1961 to 30.1 years in 1987 and this continued ageing of the population has manifold implications for policy development and planning.


Population data

Population statistics are based primarily on the Census of Population and Dwellings, which is taken every five years by the Department of Statistics. The most recent Census of Population and Dwellings was taken on 4 March 1986. Post-censal population estimates are based on final counts from the latest census, adjusted in accordance with subsequent figures for births, deaths and migration. Population estimates for sub-national areas (e.g. boroughs, cities and counties) also take into account local economic development, building activity, primary school rolls, boundary changes and other factors leading to, or indicating, changes in population.

Population censuses, and other population statistics in New Zealand, are generally on a ‘de facto’ basis, that is they refer to the population physically present at the place of enumeration on census night. All references to New Zealand relate solely to geographic New Zealand.

5.2 Distribution of population

The distribution of population, and changes to it, are important elements in social and economic planning. Many official publications provide benchmark information on the size and composition of sub-national populations. Detailed final statistics from the 1986 Census of Population and Dwellings have been published by the Department of Statistics in three parts. These are: Series A, Report 2, Local Authority Population and Dwelling Statistics;Series A, Report 3, Rural Population Statistics; and Series B, Report 25, Usually Resident Population. Before publication of the 1986 census subject-matter reports, a series of 22 Regional Statistics reports (Series B) were published, each giving final demographic, dwelling and other household statistics by local authority and area unit for each local government region.

Every year the Department of Statistics also derives population estimates (as at 31 March) for local authority areas (boroughs, cities, counties, etc.) and other non-administrative entities, and these are published in the Monthly Abstract of Statistics and Demographic Trends. Beginning in 1987, the department has also generated population estimates by sex and five-year age groups for local authority areas and ad hoc districts, to help planning and decision making in both the public and private sectors. The following sections describe principal trends in sub-national growth and in the geographic redistribution of population in New Zealand.

North and South Islands

Beyond the national level, the broadest geographic division is between the North and South Islands, which are separated by the Cook Strait. In 1858, the North Island had a larger population than the South, but this was reversed at the next census, and the South Island was more populated at each census from 1861 to 1896. As the following table shows, the North Island was found to have more people in 1901, and since then its population has continued to grow at a greater rate than that of the South Island.

Many factors have contributed to this differential. The North Island has higher birth rate, lower mortality rate, and consequently, a higher rate of natural increase. Besides attracting the bulk of the overseas migrants, the North Island generally gains population from the South Island. Between the 1981 and 1986 censuses, the North Island's population increased by 5.1 percent compared with corresponding population growth in the South Island of 1.5 percent. As at 31 March 1987, the North Island had an estimated population of 2 455 500 (or 74.0 percent of the total New Zealand population) while the South Island had an estimated population of 864 100 (or 26.0 percent).


 Total populationPercentage of population
Census yearNorth

Internal migration

New Zealand has a mobile population, although regional population dynamics are much more complex, and therefore difficult to measure, than national demography. At the sub-national level, migration usually has a greater impact on the size, structure and geographical distribution of population than births and deaths. Because it affects both the community at origin and at destination as well as migrants themselves, internal migration also has wider social and economic implications.

Prior to 1971, no direct information on population movements within New Zealand was available except for whatever could be gleaned from small-scale local surveys. Population analysts relied mainly on demographic techniques to derive indirect estimates of net migration (both total and age-sex specific) for assessing mobility patterns. Because those estimates incorporated both the internal and external migration components and did not identify the in-migration and out-migration streams, their analytical potentials were rather limited. Since 1971, the Census of Population and Dwellings questionnaire has carried questions on the respondent's current place of residence and the place of residence at a prior date. This information provides an opportunity to determine the migration status of the respondent, by comparing his/her place of residence at the two given dates. Those whose current place of residence is different from that at the previous date are considered to be migrants. Although subject to some limitations, such an approach does provide useful data for analysing migration patterns and processes, and for studying characteristics of migrants.

Using the data collected at the 1976 and 1981 censuses, a recent Department of Statistics study analysed selected aspects of population movements in New Zealand during 1971–81. The study found that over 43 percent of New Zealanders changed their residence during the intercensal interval 1976–81. Much of this movement was local, such as moving houses within the same locality. However, a significant proportion involved movements across local authority and regional boundaries. A total of 78 369 people were found to have moved between the North Island and South Island, with 35 055 moved from the North to the South and 43 314 in the opposite direction. This resulted in a net gain to the North Island of 8259 people.

Population exchanges between the country's 22 local government regions exhibited a diversity of demographic patterns and experiences (see map). Like the North-South situation, most regional exchanges involved a two-way process. For every migration stream moving in one direction there was usually a well developed counter-stream moving in the opposite direction, so that the net gain/loss to any region was usually a small percentage of the gross interchange between the two regions involved. During 1976–81, in none of the 22 regions did net gain/loss reach 15 percent of total population exchanges (in- and out-migration combined). In at least eight regions, the figure was less than 5 percent.

A total of 371 205 people moved inter-regionally during 1976–81, that is a migration rate of 16.7 per 1000 mean population. Most migration occurred over short distances. Fifteen out of 22 regions received at least one-third of their in-migrants from, or sent their out-migrants to, the adjacent regions. The major flows over long distances were almost always between regions that contained major urban centres. In most cases population flows favoured regions to the north. Thus, Southland lost population to Otago, Otago lost to Canterbury, Canterbury lost to Wellington, and Wellington lost to Auckland. A great majority of the regions in the southern North Island also lost population to their northern neighbours.

Four North Island regions, viz., Northland, Auckland, Thames Valley and Bay of Plenty, together gained 26 424 people during 1976–81 (see table 5.5). The country's most populous region, Auckland, was the principal destination for inter-regional migrants. It alone gained 16 347 people with 70 percent of this gain being at the expense of four highly urbanised regions, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Coastal-North Otago, reflecting the urban-to-urban character of population movements.

Conversely, the largest net exodus of population (9642) was from the Wellington region, which contains the country's capital and three other cities, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua. It is the second major destination of inter-regional migrants, but its position appears to be that of a redistribution centre: it gained population from all South Island regions, and lost to all North Island regions (except Wanganui and Wairarapa). The Canterbury region appears to perform a similar function in the South Island. However, its net gain from other South Island regions (except its northern neighbours, Marlborough and Nelson Bays), outweighed the net population loss to the North Island regions.


The important feature of internal migration in New Zealand to emerge from the study was the slow drift of population northwards and to major urban centres. A turnaround in the traditional pattern was also observed during the early 1970s, with metropolitan areas losing population to the rural areas. While patterns in gross and net migration emerge, the underlying factors are much more difficult to determine, although economic circumstances generally play an important role in the decision to move as well as in the choice of destination.


Local government regionUsually
aged 5 years
and over at
1981 census
Thames Valley49,08010,50310,22720,7302761.3
Bay of Plenty154,82129,49622,08651,5827,41014.4
Waikato200,91331,44033,21964,659-1 779-2.8
East Cape48,4626,9758,24715,222-1 272-8.4
Hawke's Bay125,09416,31116,09532,4062160.7
Taranaki95,13310,11912,51022,629-2 391-10.6
Wanganui62,30411,03113,05324,084-2 022-8.4
Wellington296,46635,44245,08480,526-9 642-12.0
Wairarapa35,8415,2267,35012,576-2 124-16.9
Nelson Bays59,7849,5527,86617,4181,6869.7
West Coast30,1114,6445,69410,338-1 050-10.2
Aorangi78,0879,63311,97921,612-2 346-10.9
Clutha-Central Otago38,6318,4217,81216,2336093.8
Coastal-North Otago126,51314,51418,93633,450-4 422-13.2
Southland97,3359,37812,96022,338-3 582-16.0

Population of local government regions

Local government regions were constituted under the Local Government Act of 1974, and their mandatory functions are regional planning and civil defence. There are currently 22 regions (14 in the North Island), covering every territorial local authority area in New Zealand, except the counties Great Barrier Island and Chatham Islands. Demographically, the regions differ significantly in terms of their population size and composition, fertility levels, net migration patterns, as well as the degree of urbanisation. Some regions, notably East Cape, Wairarapa, West Coast and those in the southern part of the South Island, have a history of net outward migration and slow population growth. Conversely, regions comprising major urban centres have traditionally benefited from the general south to north, and rural to urban, drift of population.

Table 5.6 gives the total population of the 22 local government regions as enumerated at the 1981 and 1986 censuses and estimated at 31 March 1987. At the regional level, most population growth has been concentrated in the Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury regions. With the exception of Canterbury, all these regions are located in the northern half of the North Island. The Auckland region alone grew by 70000 during 1981–87 and at 31 March 1987 it contained 897 400 people, i.e., 33 300 more than the whole of the South Island.


Local government regionTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*Includes the populations of islands not within county, city or borough boundaries and people on board vessels in New Zealand waters. Also includes the populations of Great Barrier Island and Chatham Islands Counties.

Bay of Plenty172,480187,462189,6009.9
Hawke's Bay137,840140,709140,9002.2
Coastal-North Otago138,164137,393137,000-0.8
Nelson Bays65,93469,64870,3006.6
Thames Valley54,34358,66559,3009.1
East Cape53,29553,96853,7000.8
Clutha-Central Otago45,40248,77149,0007.9
West Coast34,17834,94235,1002.7
                  Total, local government regions3,169,9423,301,8523,314,3004.6
                  Total, New Zealand3 175 7373 307 0843 319 6004.5

Population of urban areas

‘Urban areas’ are statistical concepts covering areas of unified community, economic and social interests. In addition to the central city or borough, urban areas include neighbouring boroughs and town districts, and parts of counties which are regarded as suburban to the centre of population. Minor adjustments of main urban area boundaries have been made because of peripheral population growth in some of these areas since the boundaries were fixed at the 1971 census.

Main urban areas

The population criterion for a ‘main urban area’ is 30 000 or more, although Timaru is classified as a main urban area because it displays the other characteristics of such an area. At 31 March 1987 there were 17 main urban areas, with the two largest urban centres—Auckland and Wellington—being subdivided into four zones (see table 5.7). Before 1981 these zones were classified independently as ‘main urban areas’.

The intercensal rate of growth of the 17 main urban areas for 1981–86 was 4.2 percent, or approximately three times greater than that recorded for the 1976–81 period. The wide range of intercensal change experienced by the main urban areas reflects their different demographic, economic and social characteristics.



Main urban areaTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March
    Northern Auckland Zone149,321162,614164,40010.1
    Western Auckland Zone116,407125,282127,6009.6
    Central Auckland Zone275,914285,097285,4003.4
    Southern Auckland Zone227,916247,76125180010.5
    Upper Hutt Valley Zone36,52536,04635,900-1.7
    Lower Hutt Valley Zone94,73294,87794,600-0.1
    Porirua Basin Zone54,65357,86358,5007.0
    Wellington City Zone135,094136,911135,4000.2
Palmerston North66,69167,40567,5001.2
New Plymouth44,09547,38447,4007.5
            Total, main urban areas2 140 0462 230 8472 239 4004.6

Those areas with ‘young’ population age structures and a significant New Zealand Maori and/or Pacific Island Polynesian content in their populations tended to be the fastest growing during the 1981–86 intercensal period. Most of these main areas are located in the northern half of the North Island. Also contributing to population increase in the high-growth areas are the greater economic opportunities existing in them and/or their special importance as tourist centres (Rotorua) and retirement areas (Tauranga). While the Auckland main urban area recorded the largest numeric increase (51 196) between the 1981 and 1986 censuses, Tauranga recorded the highest percentage increase (11.9 percent). The impact of energy projects in Northland and Taranaki could also be seen in the growth recorded in Whangarei (9.5 percent) and New Plymouth (7.5 percent) during the intercensal period.

Secondary urban areas

The criteria for secondary urban areas are similar to those for main urban areas, except that their populations should be between 10 000 and 29 999. Fourteen secondary urban areas have been defined (see table 5.8)

The total population of secondary urban areas is increasing, but not as rapidly as main urban areas. The intercensal rate of growth of secondary urban areas was 2.5 percent for 1981–86, which was approximately twice the rate recorded for the 1976–81 intercensal period.

There was a wide range of percentage changes in the populations of these areas during the 1981–86 intercensai period reflecting their different demographic composition and location. Servicing centres for the farming community tended to lose population because of the rural economic downturn. Other secondary urban areas increased their populations due to their close vicinity to main urban areas, growth in tourism, and the development of intensive horticulture, other primary, and some manufacturing industries. Kapiti, Taupo, and Levin experienced significant rates of population increase, whereas Tokoroa, Greymouth, and Gore experienced an increase in the rate of decline in their populations.


Secondary urban areaTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March
            Total, secondary urban areas220 998226 582227 2002.8

Minor urban areas

These consist of all centres with a population of more than 1000 which are not already classified as part of a main or secondary urban area. They include communities, district communities, town districts, townships, and the urban divisions of districts. With the exception of ‘townships’, the other areas have administrative functions and are defined in the next section. The population of all minor urban areas increased from 296 805 at the 1981 census to 311 332 at the 1986 census, a growth of 4.9 percent, compared with 3.2 percent during the 1976–81 intercensal period.

Urban-rural population

The rural areas of New Zealand are those which are not specifically designated as urban. They include centres of less than 1000 population plus administrative county territory where this is not included in a main, secondary or minor urban area. Extra-county islands are included in the rural population.

New Zealand's rural population increased by 4.2 percent between the 1981 and 1986 censuses, a significantly higher growth than the 1.6 percent experienced during the 1976–81 intercensal period and indicating that the trend towards rural population, which first appeared between 1976 and 1981, is continuing.


Area typeTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*While estimates are given at 31 March 1987, they relate to local authority boundaries existing at 1 April 1987.

Main urban areas2,140,0462,230,8472,239,4004.6
Secondary urban areas220,998226,582227,2002.8
Minor urban areas296,805311,332312,5005.3
                  Total, urban areas2 657 8492 768 7612 779 1004.6
Rural areas513,542534,950537,1004.6
                  Total, New Zealand3 175 7373 307 0843 319 6004.5

Population of local authority areas

Local authorities include cities, boroughs, counties, districts, and town districts. These are legally and geographically defined administrative territories whose status is decided upon from population size and other criteria. Current definitions are given in section 3.4, Local government.

In terms of percentage changes during the intercensal period 1981–86, the populations of individual areas within the various categories of local authorities showed a wide variation. Whether a local authority increased or declined between the 1981 and 1986 censuses was dependent on its location, its demographic composition, and economic situation.


Generally, those cities experiencing high population growth were in the northern half of the North Island for the reasons given previously. Cities showing intercensal declines in population were, for the most part, those with net internal outward migration caused by narrow economic bases. Also, the cities which have traditionally formed the central business districts of the largest urban areas experienced little or no growth.

A territorial local authority with a population of 20 000 may proclaim itself a city.


CityTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*Relate to local authority boundaries existing at 1 April 1987.

Lower Hutt63,24563,86263,7000.7
Palmerston North60,10560,50360,6000.8
New Plymouth41,81244,46444,5006.4
East Coast Bays28,35731,32531,60011.4
Upper Hutt31,40531,13031,000-1.3
Mt Albert26,46227,57927,8005.1
Total, cities1 650 2871 717 7631 723 3004.4


Similar comments to those on population changes in cities apply to boroughs. Population change is related to demographic factors, location, and the major economic role of boroughs e.g., the servicing of farming areas, tourist centres, or retirement areas.


BoroughTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*Relate to local authority boundaries existing at 1 April 1987.

Mt Roskill33,57735,15835,4005.4
Mt Eden18,30518,87719,0003.8
Mt Maunganui11,39112,37512,4509.3
One Tree Hill11,07811,16511,2001.1
New Lynn10,44510,49810,5000.5
Glen Eden9,4069,6799,7303.4
Havelock North8,5079,0369,0706.6
Te Awamutu7,9228,0968,1402.8
Green Island6,8996,5766,530-5.3
St. Kilda6,1476,2016,2000.9
Te Puke4,5835,1125,20013.5
Te Aroha3,4183,5103,5403.6
Port Chalmers2,9172,8712,870-1.6
            Total, boroughs587 710603 982605 7003.1


A county is a legally and geographically defined area which excludes any town districts, boroughs or cities that are located within the overall geographic area.

The high growth counties tend to be situated either on the peripherals of main or secondary urban areas, more especially in the northern part of the North Island. Alternatively, they can be achieving economic progress through the introduction of horticulture of other primary industries, and the expansion of tourism.


Administrative countyTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*Relate to local authority boundaries existing at 1 April 1987.

At the 1981 Census of Population and Dwellings, 1385 Army personnel were temporarily based in Marlborough County on Armed Forces exercises. A large number of these persons were from Burnham Military Camp (Malvern County).

Hawke's Bay20,30220,73120,8002.5
Bay of Islands18,96120,74520,6008.6
Hauraki Plains5,1575,1025,100-1.1
Golden Bay4,2124,6474,74012.5
Wairarapa South2,4772,4342,430-1.9
Waimate West1,9441,8621,840-5.3
Mount Herbert1,0361,1451,17012.9
Great Barrier Island57285891059.1
Chatham Islands7517757803.9
Stewart Island660542540-10.0
                    Total, counties636 101668 337671 9005.6


A district is a territorial local authority that is neither wholly urban nor wholly rural and has been re-designated by the Local Government Commission as a district. By 31 March 1987, 17 districts had been constituted.

Districts are to varying degrees both urban and rural in nature, and this tended to have a marked influence on their intercensal population changes both positive and negative during 1981–86. Those that form part of, or are in close proximity to, main or secondary urban areas, have generally achieved significant positive growth during the intercensal period, e.g., Rotorua, Waimairi and Rangiora. In contrast, those of a more rural nature, such as Hawera, Waitomo and Waipawa have undergone population decline or small increases over the period.


DistrictTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*Relate to local authority boundaries existing at 1 April 1987.

North Taranaki12,44413,94814,20014.1
            Total, districts294 608311 053312 8006.2


Town districtTotal populationEstimated
population at
31 March

*Relate to local authority boundaries existing at 1 April 1987.

Total, town districts2 2892 3502 3502.7

5.3 External migration

The last year in which New Zealand's population increased through external migration was 1984.

Total migration figures (excluding only movements of armed forces) are shown in tables 5.15 and 5.16 ‘Long-term’ indicates arrivals or departures for an intended stay of 12 months or more. Conversely, ‘short-term’ refers to less than 12 months. A minus sign in migration tables denotes an excess of departures over arrivals.


  Short-term movements 
Year ended
31 March


  Short-term movements 
Year ended
31 March
All passenger departures



Year ended
31 March
ArrivalsDeparturesExcess of
1986591,900520,0261,111,926599,841530,6031,130,444-18 518


 Long-term (including permanent) arrivalsLong-term (including permanent) departures
Year ended
31 March
Permanent arrivalsLong-termPermanent and long-term arrivals (immigrants)Permanent departures of New Zealand residentsLong-termPermanent and long-term departures (emigrants)
Long-term visitorsN.Z. residents departingLong-term visitors departing

Long-term migration. Table 5.18 gives an analysis of long-term (including permanent) arrivals and departures for March years. ‘Long-term arrivals’ are defined as residents returning after an absence of, or visitors intending to stay, 12 months or more. ‘Long-term departures’ are defined as residents intending to stay away for, or visitors leaving after a stay of, 12 months or more. In the year ended March 1987 there was a net loss of 14 269 from permanent and long-term migration. The main area of change was in the number of arrivals, which increased by 8378 or 23.3 percent over the corresponding figures for the previous year.

See also the special article, New Zealand's immigration policy in the following chapter.


Age, in yearsPermanent and long-term arrivalsPermanent and long-term departuresExcess of arrivals over departures
Under 154,7134,4369,1494,9004,5349,434-285
15-191,6711,8293,5002,5773,5706,147-2 647
20-243,5994,2947,8939,1028,57617,678-9 785
45 and over1,9801,8983,8782,4902,3634,853-975
              Total22 5352182544 36030 56328 06658 629-14 269

5.4 Births and deaths



The law on registration of births is contained in the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951. A birth is normally registered at the office of the registrar nearest the place of birth. Birth statistics are compiled by the Department of Statistics from the Registrar-General's records, and the births covered by a year's statistics are those registered during the year. The figures do not include stillbirths, except where multiple births are discussed. A special classification of stillbirths is given later in this subsection.

There is provision for births not registered in the ordinary way to be recorded at a later date in a special register kept by the Registrar-General. Such cases include elderly people requiring evidence of age for social-welfare purposes.

Numbers and rates

Table 5.20 shows the numbers of births and selected fertility indexes. Late registrations have been excluded from the figures. The crude birth rate fell in the early 1960s, and in the later 1960s appeared to stabilise at 22 to 23 births per 1000 of mean population. During the 1970s the crude birth rate continued to decline, and following a period of stability in the late 1970s, fell again.

A more refined cross-sectional measure called the ‘total fertility rate’ is also shown in the table. This is the average number of births a woman would have during her reproductive life. if she was exposed to the fertility rates characteristic of various child bearing age-groups. The total fertility rate has fallen below the intrinsic replacement level since 1979 and in recent years has been stable at a rate just above 1.9 births per woman. The total fertility rate at which any population replaces itself, under certain conditions, is approximately 2.10 births per woman.

Reproduction rates

The reproduction indexes shown in table 5.20 are based on the fact that the future size of a population is related to the number of female children born to women in the reproductive age groups at any given time. The gross reproduction rate is based on the average number of girls that will be born to a woman during her reproductive life, given the prevailing age-specific fertility rates. The net rate takes into account prevailing mortality rates. A net reproduction rate of 1.0 indicates zero population growth if the population is closed to migration, and its age-sex structure has long-term stability.

Table 5.20. BIRTHS

  Reproduction rates
Calendar yearLive

*Per 1000 of mean population.


Sex of children born

The numbers of boys and girls born during the years 1982-86 are given in table 5.21. In each year more boys than girls are born, a disparity in births that is outweighed by the higher death rates of males at all age levels. The death rate per 1000 live births for babies under 12 months of age in 1986 was 12.50 for boys and 9.87 for girls. Per 1000 mean population the death rate for children of from one to four years of age was 0.86 for boys and 0.48 for girls; for children aged five to 14 years it was 0.34 for boys and 0.26 for girls; and the pattern repeated itself for each age group through adolescence and adult life.


YearNumber of births ofMale births per 1000 female births

Multiple births

In 1986 there were 553 confinements resulting in all live multiple births, including nine cases of triplets and one case of quadruplets. There were also 10 cases where one of the twins was stillborn and one case where one triplet was stillborn.

Ages of parents

Information on the relative ages of parents of nuptial living children whose births were registered in 1986 is shown in table 5.22. Late registrations of births under section 14 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1951 are excluded.

New Year's Day babies and mothers, Wellington.

Table 5.22. BIRTHS: AGES OF PARENTS, 1986

Age of motherAge of father, in years
20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-6465 and
total births registered
Under 20934001182363----643