New Zealand Official 1992 Year Book

Te Pukapuka Houanga Whaimana o Aotearoa


Pamela Wolfe Oyster Catcher at Cathedral Cove, 1990.
Enamel on hardboard, 165 × 109 cm.
Private collection, Auckland.

New Zealand Official Yearbook
Cat. no. 01.001
ISSN 0078–0170

Recommended retail price: $59.95 (incl. GST)

Published by the Department of Statistics.

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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 database.

Table of Contents

List of Tables


Table of Contents

This 95th edition of the Yearbook heralds a change in the role and concept of the Department of Statistics' Official New Zealand Yearbook.

Building on the success of the 1990 sesquicentennial edition, similar historically-based yearbooks will be produced every five years, while editions published in the interim will emphasise contemporary issues. These modern editions will provide readers with up-to-date reviews and analyses of recent changes in New Zealand society. The 1992 Yearbook is the first of these yearly reviews.

The format of the Yearbook remains unchanged; the traditional, relevant and summary statistics that have always featured are continued, and in some cases enhanced. Text, tables and graphs all appear in the same form, but the older data has been replaced by the latest available information. For example most tables and graphs now date back only to the 1960s, or in the case of population data to the late 1930s.

As a record of developments in New Zealand society, the yearbooks are unparalleled. They provide a consistent point of reference, based on an authoritative overview of the social, economic and cultural life and institutions of New Zealand. The Yearbook is often used as an excellent introductory source to a diverse range of New Zealand issues, providing detailed information in an understandable, yet technically accurate manner. The Yearbook plays a special role in chronicling events, and issues and making even complex statistics relevant to our understanding of society. It is a statistical chart of the progress of New Zealand society and economy. The Yearbook monitors our place in the world, and recording objectively the comparative position of New Zealand.

Accompanying the text are over 50 special articles detailing the impact of resource management in New Zealand. These articles highlight the wise, efficient and practical use of New Zealand's resources—our people, land, revenues and potential—and map out the resulting impact and inter-relationships.

The Department of Statistics publishes the Yearbook with the help of contributions from many government departments and agencies, private organisations and corporations, and societies. On behalf of the department I would like to thank all the contributors for their time and their efforts, and acknowledge the work of GP Print and the department's editorial and graphic design staff in the production of the 1992 Yearbook.

Government Statistician

April 1992.


The 1992 Yearbook was produced by the Information Services Branch of the Department of Statistics, with the assistance of many individuals and organisations—these are listed in the ‘Contributors’ section at the end of each chapter, but the department wishes to record its thanks here.

Government Statistician: Len Cook.
Manager: Kevin Eddy.

Editor: Jane Evans.
Assistant editor: Patrick Hudson.
Maps and diagrams: Peter McGrath.
Photograph editor: Athol McCredie.
Proofreading: Jane Hunt; Myra Page; Carla Linnell.


Individual photographs are credited separately, usually at the bottom right-hand corner.

The editors record their thanks to the many individuals and institutions who made photographs available.

How to use the 1992 Yearbook

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?

As noted above, 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 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 the latest available at 1 January 1992.


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., 1988–89, and no month is mentioned, it can be assumed the figures are for the year ended 31 March.

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 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.

Chapter 1. Geography

Female Shore Plover, Chatham Islands.

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 270,500 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 at its narrowest point is 20 kilometres wide. 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° to 53° south latitude, and from 162° east to 173° 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 3.


Land areaSize

* These figures were current at 1 December 1989. These areas may be adjusted as more precise boundary definitions are made.

† Includes islands in territorial local authorities.

‡ Excluding islands in territorial local authorities.

Source: Department of Survey and Land Information.

sq. km.
North Island†115777
South Island†151215
Offshore Island‡833
Stewart Island1746
Chatham Islands963

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. The country 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 north-east to 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 peakElevation

* 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*2518
South Island†—
Southern Alps—
     Hicks (St David's Dome)3183
     Malte Brun3155
     Elie de Beaumont3117
     La Perouse3079
     Glacier Peak3007

Campbell Island, one of the Sub Antarctic Islands, 590 kilometres south of Stewart Island.

New Zealand's rivers are mainly swift and difficult to navigate. They are important as sources of hydro-electric power and artificial lakes have been created as part of major hydro-electric schemes.



* 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.

The boundary between the Indo-Australian plate and the Pacific plate runs through New Zealand, and the processes from their collisions have had a profound effect on New Zealand's size, shape and geology.

Rock types

The oldest rocks in New Zealand are found in Nelson, Westland and Fiordland. They have been dated back to the Paleozoic era about 570 million years ago.

Almost three-quarters of New Zealand is covered by sedimentary rocks, created by the interplay of the earth movement and erosion. The most common forms of sedimentary rocks in New Zealand are sandstone, mudstone, greywacke, conglomerate and limestone. 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). Volcanic rocks (basalt, andesite, rhyolite and ignimbrite), are the products of the many volcanic eruptions that have characterised New Zealand's geological history.


Apparent in the New Zealand landscape today is the evidence of episodes of intense mountain building of between six million and one million years ago. During this period the mountain chains were pushed up and there was movement and displacement of the earth's crust along faults. Due to this activity well-preserved tilted fault blocks bounded by fault scarps (steep faces hundreds or even thousands of metres high) are visible in the landscape of some regions. Fault movements continue to the present day and have accompanied several major earthquakes of the past century.

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. Glaciers carved the fiords of Fiordland and the valleys occupied by most of the South Island lakes. Sea-level changes accompanied the formation, and later melting, of global glacial ice. These changes affected the erosion and deposition of the rivers and 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. The largest volcanic outpourings of late geological times were in the region between Tongariro National Park and the Bay of Plenty coast. The most recognisable volancoes in New Zealand now occur in the North Island, where a number are still active. They include Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngaurahoe, 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.


Compared with some other countries lying in 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. A shock of Richter magnitude 6 or above occurs on 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.

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 Northland peninsula, and the part of the South Island north of a line roughly passing 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.

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.

In geophysically disturbed regions (those with both volcanic and earthquake activity), large earthquakes are rare, although small earthquakes usually accompany volcanic eruptions. Regions of active volcanism are also subject to periodic outbreaks of small earthquakes, very numerous and all of similar magnitude. These are known as ‘earthquake swarms’ and although the number of shocks may cause alarm, it is unusual for even minor damage to result.

Earthquakes 1990. There were two earthquakes of Richter magnitude 6.0 or greater in the New Zealand area during 1990 and six exceeding 5.5. The largest earthquake of the year, with a magnitude of 6.3, occurred on May 13 near Weber in Southern Hawke's Bay. It had been preceded, on February 19, by a shock of magnitude 5.9 and was followed by a long sequence of aftershocks, including one of magnitude 5.7 on August 16. Surprisingly, Dannevirke, only 20 kms away, suffered only slight damage.

An earthquake of magnitude 5.8 was felt near Lake Tennyson, north of Lake Hanmer in north Canterbury on February 10. Another earthquake of 5.5 followed within 30 minutes, and after that a long sequence of smaller aftershocks.

Two earthquakes at about 150 kms beneath Rotorua were recorded in 1990: one on March 28 of 6.0 magnitude and another of 5.6 on October 19. On August 14 there was an earthquake 130 km beneath Lake Taupo registering 5.7. Due to the great depth of these earthquakes, they were felt only modestly and caused no damage.

A swarm of earthquakes occurred near Cape Palliser, from October 5 to 15. The largest of these registered at 5.0, and all were sufficiently close to Wellington to cause concern. Many other small earthquakes were recorded, the largest was recorded near Lake Te Anau on 10 July with a magnitude of 5.1.

Earthquakes 1991. There were two earthquakes exceeding Richter magnitude 6 in New Zealand, in 1991, one near Taupo on 12 July (6.4) and one north of Wanganui on 9 September (6.3). Both were of intermediate depth (71 and 87 km respectively) and this reduced their damaging effects significantly. The September shock, felt from Coromandel to Christchurch, resulted in about 2500 claims to the Earthquake and War Damage Commission, mostly from Wanganui. The July shock was also felt as far south as Christchurch, but only at moderate intensities.

There were two more earthquakes exceeding magnitude 6 offshore: 140 km north-east of East Cape on 20 November, and 40 km north of Tauranga but 285 km deep, on 16 November. Neither was felt very strongly onshore.

On 29 January there were two shallow earthquakes within five hours, both about 15 km south of Westport in the area of the lower Buller Gorge. They have been named the Hawk's Crag earthquakes, and were the subject of a field survey and subsequent analysis. Their magnitudes were 5.6 and 5.8. They caused some minor structural damage in Westport, Waimangaroa and Inangahua. On February 15 an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 occurred off the coast from Greymouth. It was felt throughout much of the northern and western South Island, although no damage was reported.

A deep earthquake (106 km) occurred to the south of Patea on 9 June. The magnitude was 5.8, and it was felt from New Plymouth to Greymouth. Earthquakes at that depth are common in the South Taranaki Bight.

Southern Fiordland experienced an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 on 5 September. It was centred near the head of Dusky Sound, and was reported felt as far east as Dunedin. Focal depth was 74 km. On 31 October an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 occurred near East Cape, shaking goods from shelves in Ruatoria.


1.3 Climate

New Zealand is a long, narrow, mountainous country surrounded by a large expanse of ocean. The nearest major land mass is Australia some 1600 kilometres to the west.

The climate of New Zealand is largely influenced by:

  • Its location in a latitude zone where the prevailing wind flow is westerly;

  • Its oceanic environment; and

  • Its mountains, especially the main mountain chain which modifies the weather systems as they pass eastwards, and also provides a sheltering effect on the leeward side of the mountains. Local orography is the cause of a number of different ‘microclimates’ in a given region.

The day-to-day weather is mostly determined by a series of anticyclones and troughs of low pressure in the westerlies. Consequently New Zealand weather is changeable, typically with short periods of a few days of settled or unsettled weather. At times the westerly regime breaks down and there are cold southerly outbreaks (with snow in winter and sometimes spring), or northerly intrusions of warm, moist air when tropical depressions move southwards into New Zealand latitudes in the summer.

The main mountain chain which extends much of the length of the country is a major barrier to weather systems approaching from the west. Consequently there is a marked contrast between the climates of regions west and east of the mountains, and this is much greater than north-south climatic differences.

The surrounding ocean means that New Zealand largely has a ‘marine’ climate—except in Central Otago, which most nearly approaches a ‘continental’ climate (dry with hot summers and cold winters).

Many parts of the country are subject to extremes of wind and rain, giving rise to wind damage to buildings and forests, and flooding as depressions with their fronts pass close to or over the country. The rugged terrain is an important factor in the enhancement of the wind strength and/or rainfall.

Temperature extremes are mainly confined to places east of the main ranges. High temperatures usually occur in warm north-westerly wind conditions due to the so-called föhn effect. These high temperatures are often followed by sudden falls in temperature as a cold front moves up the east coast of both islands.

Weather 1991

Most years in New Zealand are accompanied by at least some significant and memorable climate events. In 1991 these events included flooding, a period of extended dry weather, an exceptionally cold period during winter (in the South Island), and a number of tornadoes and high wind events. For the year, rainfall was 25 percent below average in Northland and Bay of Plenty (Kawerau had its driest year since records began in 1954). Wetter than usual weather prevailed in Wanganui, Manawatu, the North Island central plateau, Fiordland, Southland and central Otago.

The national average temperature for New Zealand of 12.4C was 0.1C below average, the lowest since 1983. Temperatures were 0.5C below average in Fiordland, central Otago and the North Island central plateau.

Skies were cloudier than usual overall, especially along the West Coast of the South Island were sunshine hours were the lowest since records began in 1913. It was also much cloudier than usual in Manawatu.

The most significant weather events were:


There were three major floods during the year, the worst affected regions were Westland, Otago and Wairarapa.

Westland. Torrential rainfall (almost 700 mm) on 28 and 29 January, caused the worst flooding at Kaniere (inland from Hokitika) in 30 years. About 100 people evacuated Kaniere, while further south 140 people evacuated Franz Josef. This rainfall event, together with rain on most days throughout the month, caused Hokitika's January rainfall (555 mm) to be the highest in 125 years.

Otago. Easterlies on 17 and 18 February brought high rainfall (over 100 mm) and severe flooding to coastal areas of Otago, from Dunedin southward. The damage amounted to $1.5 million and was the worst flood in the area since 1980.

The Water of Leith in flood, February 1991, Dunedin.

Wairarapa. Heavy rain in south-easterly conditions caused severe flooding throughout the Wairarapa, from 8 to 11 March. Rainfall was exceptionally high (257 mm) at Castlepoint. Both the Tauherinikau and Waiohine Rivers burst their banks, and flood waters and slips isolated Castlepoint, Riversdale, Tinui and Mauriceville, where stock losses were severe.

This event contributed to the highest March rainfall for more than 50 years in many parts of Wairarapa, and central and southern regions of the North Island.

Dry weather

The El Niño is a very negative phase of the southern oscillation Index (which is a measure of pressure difference over the Indonesian and South Pacific ocean area). Negative phases of the southern oscillation during autumn and winter usually give more southerly winds than usual, with drier weather to inland and western regions of the South Island. An El Niño weather pattern contributed to an extended period of low rainfall along the west coast of the South Island and in the southern lakes area from March through July.


Sunshine hours (annual average to 1990)

There was no significant rainfall on the West Coast during the first three weeks of March. Hokitika's rainfall (39 mm) for the month was the lowest for March since 1866, and Franz Josef's (37 mm) the lowest March rainfall since 1926. The very unusual pattern of dry weather continued through to the end of July, accompanied by high power demand during several weeks of extremely cold weather. The level of the South Island hydro-lakes fell to the lowest levels since the 1950s.

Westerlies and rainfall

There was a break in the El Niño pattern and a change to more normal westerly weather patterns at the beginning of August. The West Coast suffered much rain, while conditions during August were the wettest at Queenstown since 1890 and in other South Island areas since the 1920s. Rainfall and melting snow caused the level of the lakes to rise.

This was in contrast to the conditions occurring in the east of the North Island, where it was the driest August for Napier since 1931 and for Gisborne in over half a century. The lack of rain in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay continued until October, when over the period 28 October through to 5 November there were two periods of substantial rainfall (up to 200 mm).

Cold winter weather

Frequent southerly winds affected the South Island during winter with temperatures for June the lowest in many places since 1976. Exceptionally cold weather, accompanied by showers of hail and snow, prevailed in southern and eastern regions on 20 June. A clearance in the weather was followed by severe frosts in inland Canterbury and Central Otago.

Considerable snow cover in South Island high country areas, together with calm nights, kept both day and night temperatures exceptionally low. This was apparent during the first half of July, when frosts were more severe than in June.

July began with an unofficial minimum air temperature of −21.6°C at Moa Creek (Central Otago), which was lower than the official record low of − 19.7°C at Ophir (also in Central Otago) in July 1943. Temperatures as low as − 13°C and − 15°C were measured at Twizel (inland south Canterbury) and Lauder (Central Otago) on 15 July. The Shotover River near Queenstown froze over on 18 July for the first time this century. Temperatures for July were the lowest in over 60 years in much of Central Otago and the MacKenzie country.

Cold south-west winds brought heavy snow to South Island ski fields and high country areas of Canterbury and Otago from 23 to 25 July.

Heavy snow contributed to frequent avalanches on major ski fields during winter, and caused the loss of life on Mt Ruapehu. The Milford road was closed for two weeks (6–20 August) due to an avalanche and avalanche risk. This resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars to the tourist industry.

Tornadoes and high winds

A number of tornadoes caused damage to property in Northland and Auckland on 24 April when a band of thunderstorms passed over the region; one man was critically hurt. Tornadoes were also seen in Bay of Plenty on 30 April.

High winds during August, attributed to tornadoes, occurred at Motueka during the morning of 16 August, and at New Plymouth on 18 August where winds left a 2 km long trail of destruction. Damage was estimated at $1 million.

On 1 October, the Cook Strait ferry Aratika was buffeted by high waves and southerly winds (gusting up to 130 km/h) during its voyage from Picton to Wellington. The rough conditions through the Strait caused the ferry to turn back and shelter for some hours in Cloudy Bay (near Blenheim).

The southern oscillation and El Niño

When the air pressure is abnormally high in the Indonesian region, it is correspondingly low in the South Pacific and vice versa. This phenomenon is called the ‘southern oscillation’. When southern oscillation episodes occur, the usual weather patterns in the southern Pacific, including New Zealand, are significantly altered.

An index, called the southern oscillation index, has been constructed using pressure recordings from Tahiti and Darwin. Usually there is a lag of some months between a major excursion of the oscillation, either positive (La Niña) or negative (El Niño), and a characteristic weather regime developing. The period of the southern oscillation is very irregular, varying between about two and 10 years with an average period of three to four years. However, once established, significant El Niño and La Niña episodes can persist for six to 12 months.

In general, very negative values of the oscillation index (El Niño's) are associated with an increase in the frequency of southerly winds over New Zealand in winter, and south-westerly winds during spring and summer.

The latest El Niño event, which began in March 1991, resulted in very low rainfall along the West Coast and in South Island hydro-lakes (from May through July). The El Niño also brought very dry conditions to Gisborne and Hawkes Bay from July through late October.

New Doppler radar used to detect water droplets in the atmosphere. Shown is a southerly flow over the Wellington region on 28 February 1992, with the remains of a severe hailstorm which damaged crops near Nelson.

The most significant El Niño this century occurred over the spring and summer of 1982–1983, when the oscillation index reached its largest negative value this century and rainfall was well below average in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.

1.4 Vegetation and wildlife

Uniqueness is a feature of the natural life of New Zealand. Most notable is the absence—apart from two species of bat— of native land mammals. 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 in pre-European 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.

The absence of mammals also meant that birds became important as seed-dispersing agents. As a result most forest plants bear small berries, including the giant conifers (podo-carps), 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.

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 native insects, spiders and snails, and all native earthworms are restricted to New Zealand, as are most native birds and plants, most local freshwater fish (27 species), and all native reptiles (38 species).

The Cromwell Chafer, one of the world's rarest beetles. The beetle has its own conservation reserve — the first in New Zealand to be dedicated to a single invertebrate species.


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
Freshwater fish23†2785

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 through 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. In recent years the urgency for measures to ensure the survival of endangered species has become a world-wide concern.

Southland Museum tuataras.

1.5 Time zone

One uniform time is kept throughout mainland 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, was observed for 1990–1991 from 2 a.m. (N.Z.S.T.) on the first Sunday in October, until 2 a.m. (N.Z.S.T.) on the third Sunday in March. Time kept in the Chatham Islands is 45 minutes ahead of that kept in New Zealand.

One of the DSIR's three atomic clocks, which contribute to “standard world time”.


  • 1.1 Department of Survey and Land Information.

  • 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.

The New Zealand Map Collection. 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. 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.

Chapter 2. Government

Interior of temporary Parliamentary Debating Chamber, Bowen House, Wellington.

2.1 Constitution

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. New Zealand is an independent state; a monarchy with a parliamentary government. Queen Elizabeth II has the title Queen of New Zealand.

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. New Zealand's Constitution Act 1986 brings together in one Act the most important statutory constitutional provisions and clarifies the rules relating to the governmental handover of power. The Act deals with the principal components of New Zealand's statutory constitutional provisions: the Sovereign, the Executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The Act and it's provisions are safeguarded by the requirement of a special procedure to make amendments. The Electoral Act 1956 is the only other New Zealand constitutional statute to have such a provision.

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 and the Habeus Corpus Act 1679.

These Acts are listed and defined in the Imperial Laws' Application Act 1988.

The Crown and the 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 powers of the Governor-General are set out in the Letters Patent 1983, and it is for the courts to decide on the limits of these powers. The Governor-General's main constitutional function is to arrange for the leader of the majority party in Parliament to form a government. Almost all the powers of the Governor-General are now statutory.

The Crown is part of Parliament and the Governor-General's assent is required before bills can become law. The Governor-General is required however, by constitutional convention and the Letters Patent, to follow the advice of ministers. In extraordinary circumstances the Governor-General can reject advice if he or she believes that a government is intending to act unconstitutionally. This is known as the reserve power.

The Sovereign appoints the Governor-General on the Prime Minister's recommendation, normally for a term of five years.


Vice-regal representative*Assumed officeRetired
* Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.
Viscount Cobham, G.C.M.G., T.D.5 Sep 195713 Sep 1962
Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson, G.C.M.G, G.C.V.O., D.S.O., O.B.E.9 Nov 196220 Oct 1967
Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, Bt. G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., C.B.E.1 Dec 19677 Sep 1972
Sir (Edward) Denis Blundell, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.D., K.B.E., Q.S.O.27 Sep 19725 Oct 1977
Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, K.G., G.C.M.G., C.H., Q.S.O.26 Oct 197727 Oct 1980
Hon. Sir David Stuart Beattie, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., Q.S.O., Q.C.6 Nov 198010 Nov 1985
His Excellency The Most Reverend Sir Paul Alfred Reeves, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O.20 Nov 198529 Nov 1990
Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, G.C.M.G., D.B.E.13 Dec 1990 

Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, Governor-General of New Zealand.

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. 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 two-party system however, the Government effectively controls proceedings in Parliament and cases of Government members voting with the Opposition are uncommon.

Recent constitutional reform

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. This Act protects certain fundamental rights and freedoms in New Zealand. These rights include freedom of religion, speech and assembly and the right to protection against discrimination as well as fundamental principles of criminal procedure such as the right of access to lawyers and the right to a fair trial.

The rights and freedoms in the Act are not absolute and may be subject to justified limitations. But the Act provides that any limitations must be reasonable, prescribed by law, and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Unlike some similar documents in other countries the Act is not supreme law. Rather, it is an ordinary statute which can be amended or repealed by simple majority in Parliament. Nor do the Courts have the power to strike down legislation on the basis that is inconsistent with the rights set out in the Act.

However, this does not mean that the Act is a mere statement of rights. The Attorney-General is charged under the Act with the responsibility of alerting Parliament when any provision in a bill before Parliament is inconsistent with those rights. And where the interpretation of a statutory provision is ambiguous, the Courts are required to interpret the provision in a manner consistent with the rights and freedoms in the Act. The Act came into force on 25 September 1990.

Electoral reform. The Electoral Poll Bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on 9 May 1991 and referred to the Electoral Law Select Committee. The bill provides for a poll on electoral reform to be held no later than 30 September 1992. The poll would be divided into two parts. The first part would require voters to choose one of two proposals. The proposals are to either retain the present electoral system or to change it. The second part of the poll would ask voters to select one of three reform options as their most preferred electoral reform option. The reform options are the preferential voting system, the mixed member proportional representation system and the supplementary member system.

If a majority of voters vote for the retention of the present system no further poll on the matter will be held. If a majority of voters vote for a change to the present system then a further poll will be conducted in conjunction with the 1993 General Election. This poll would ask voters to choose between the present first-past-the-post system and the reform option most preferred by voters at the 1992 referendum.

The Electoral Amendment Act 1991 made some significant changes to the composition and procedures of the Representation Commission. The Representation Commission is the body responsible for determining New Zealand's electoral boundaries.

The Act makes provision for the appointment of additional Maori members to the Commission for the purpose of defining the boundaries of Maori seats.

The Act also enables all parties represented in Parliament and any party that achieves five percent of the votes cast at the previous general election to make submissions to the Commission. Previously only parties represented in Parliament and independent Members of Parliament could make submissions.

Privacy of information. In August 1991, the Government introduced the Privacy of Information bill. The bill is currently being studied by a select committee of Parliament. Its purpose is to promote and protect individual privacy in general accordance with the 1980 OECD Guidelines on the protection of Privacy and Transborder flows of Personal Data.

The bill provides that requests by natural persons for information about themselves are to be dealt with in accordance with the new Act rather than the Official Information Act when the relevant sections of the new Act come into force. These sections which are modelled on Parts II and IV of the Official Information Act extend entitlements to access to personal information to information held by private sector agencies. The right of review by the Ombudsmen in respect of refusal of personal information requests is to be replaced by a complaints procedure involving the proposed new office of the Privacy Commissioner. If settlement of the complaint cannot be secured by the Commissioner proceedings may be taken to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, renamed the Human Rights Tribunal. The Official Information Act is amended accordingly in the bill.

2.2 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.

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 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.

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 the Clerk of the House of Representatives who notes all proceedings of the House and of any committee of the House, and provides 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 has been no instance of a successful no-confidence vote in the history of the New Zealand Parliament since 1928.

The House of Representatives is 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.



* Social Credit/Democrats.

† New Labour.

Source: Department of Justice.


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 have taken; and private bills, which are promoted by private individuals or companies also to give themselves special powers.

The procedure for passing a public bill in the House of Representatives is for it to receive a first reading, which is a formal introductory stage, allowing a maximum debating time of two hours. 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 are referred to a select committee unless they are certified by the Speaker as ‘money bills’ (or are particularly urgent). This procedure enables 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 principles of the bill. Following this the bill is considered by the whole House ‘in committee’, 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 approval. On receiving the Royal assent the bill becomes an Act of Parliament 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. 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 first session of the 43rd New Zealand Parliament was called following the General Election of 27 October 1990 and sat from 28 November 1990 to 19 December 1990. The first session concluded when Parliament was prorogued on 18 January 1991, and a new session was called to discuss the outbreak of hostilities on the Gulf. New Zealand's first female Governor-General, Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, delivered the speech from the Throne at the opening of the second session of the 43rd Parliament on 22 January 1991. The House had, on 19 December 1990, adjourned until 19 February 1991. As no power was then vested in the Speaker (or in anyone else) to appoint an earlier meeting time while the House stood and adjourned, the only way in which an accelerated meeting could be effected was by the Crown proroguing Parliament and summoning it to meet in a new session.

One hundred and twenty nine public Acts were passed during the second session of the 42nd Parliament and nine during the first session of the 43rd Parliament.


ParliamentPeriod of session
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Fortieth{7 April 1982-17 December 1982
April 1983-16 December 1983
31 May 1984-14 June 1984
Forty-first{15 August 1984-12 December 1985
26 February 1986-21 July 1987
Forty-second{16 September 1987—12 December 1989
14 February 1990-6 September 1990
Forty-third{29 November 1990-18 January 1991
22 January 1991-



* First session, Forty-second Parliament.

† Second session, Forty-second Parliament.

‡ First session, Forty-third Parliament.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Sitting days1845610
Public bills introduced by Government1804312
Public bills referred to select committees150339

Bowen House, Wellington. Temporary location of Parliament, while restrengthening and restoration work is carried out on Parliament Buildings.

Parliamentary Service.(Te Ratonga Whare Paremata.) The Parliamentary Service provides administrative and support services to the members of Parliament and the House of Representatives. The service is not a department of the executive government nor is it responsible to a minister. It is controlled by the Parliamentary Services 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 from the Opposition.

Among the services provided by the Parliamentary Service are:

  • — personal staff to assist members of Parliament in Parliament House and in the electorate;

  • — the 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;

  • — catering services (Bellamys) for members, staff and guests;

  • — security, 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 Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Salaries and allowances of parliamentarians. These are set out in Table 2.5 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 $7,600 to $18,600. A day allowance of $52 is payable where indicated for each day on which a member attends a sitting of Parliament or a committee, and a night allowance of up to $118 for each night a member requires overnight accommodation away from home by reason of such attendance. Instead of receiving night allowances for each night spent in Wellington on parliamentary business, a member may elect to receive a Wellington Accommodation Allowance to cover costs incurred in retaining or maintaining accommodation. The maximum amount that can be claimed in a period of six months is $6,200.


Annual salary or allowance payable from 1 July 1990
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Members of the Executive
Prime Minister162,000
Deputy Prime Minister127,000
Minister of the Crown113,000
Minister of the Crown without portfolio91,500
Parliamentary under-secretary88,000
Officers of the House of Representatives
Chairman of Committees90,500
Deputy Chairman of Committees68,500
Leader and Deputy of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition113,000
Deputy Leader of the Opposition88,000
Senior Government Whip78,000
Senior Opposition Whip78,000
Junior Government Whip73,500
Junior Opposition Whip73,500
Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament63,500
Prime Minister29,500
Deputy Prime Minister13,000
Minister of the Crown12,000
Minister of the Crown without portfolio9,500
Parliamentary under-secretary89,500
Minister of External Relations and Trade (additional)6,000
Speaker—basic expenses allowance12,000
     (additional allowance (plus day, travelling and house and garden maintenance allowances)8,500
Chairman of Committees—basic expenses allowance9,500
     (additional allowance (plus day and night allowances)7,500
Deputy Chairman of Committee—basic expense allowances6,200
     (additional allowance (plus electorate, day and night allowances)675
Leader of the Opposition—basic expenses allowances (plus house, house and grounds maintenance, day, night and travelling allowances)12,000
Deputy Leader of the Opposition—basic expenses allowances6,200
     (additional allowance (plus day and night allowances)4,800
Members—basic expenses allowances (plus electorate, day and night expenses)6,200

Average number of votes cast per seat at general elections

Members of Parliament.Table 2.6 shows the percentage of women members of Parliament, and members of both sexes of various ages elected in the 1990 general election compared to the voting population.


 Percentage of total members of Parliament*Percentage of total voting-age population†

*As at 1 November 1991.

† 1986 Census figures.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Age groups, both sexes—
     18-29 years3.128.4
     60 years and over3.121.1

Table 2.7 lists members of the House of Representatives at the end of August 1991. The final results of the 1990 general election were printed in the report The General Election (printed as Parl. paper E.9).


Prime Minister—Rt. Hon. J. B. Bolger.
Leader of the Opposition—Rt. Hon. Mike Moore.
Speaker—Hon. Robyn Gray.
Chairman of Committees—R. J. Gerard.
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.

‡Resigned November 1991.

§Won Tamaki by-election 14 February 1992.

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Anderson, Robert†1936FarmerKaimai
Anderton, Jim1938Company directorSydenham
Armstrong, John†1935Company directorNew Plymouth
Austin, Hon. Margaret1933TeacherYaldhurst
Banks, Hon. John†1946RestaurateurWhangarei
Birch, Hon. W. F.†1934Consultant surveyor-engineerMaramarua
Blincoe, John1952Research officerNelson
Bolger, Rt. Hon. J. B.†1935FarmerKing Country
Bradford, Mr Max†1942Secretary-General and consultantTarawera
Braybrooke, Geoff1935Sales managerNapier
Burdon, Hon. Philip†1939Company directorFendalton
Campion, Cameron†1943FarmerWanganui
Carter, John†1950Local government officerBay of Islands
Caygill, Hon. David1948Barrister and solicitorSt Albans
Clark, Rt. Hon. Helen1950LecturerMt Albert
Cliffe, Bruce†1946Managing directorNorth Shore
Cooper, Hon. Warren†1933MotelierOtago
Creech, Hon Wyatt†1946AccountantWairarapa
Cullen, Hon. Dr Michael1945LecturerSt Kilda
Dalziel, Lianne1960Trade unionistChristchurch Central
Davies, Sonja1923Vice-president of Federation of LabourPencarrow
Dunne, Hon. Peter1954Deputy chief executive officerOhariu
East, Hon. Paul†1946Barrister and solicitorRotorua
Elder, Jack1949TeacherWest Auckland
English, Bill†1961FarmerWallace
Falloon, Hon. John†1942Farm management consultantPahiatua
Fletcher, Chris†1955Dairy farm managerEden
Gerard, Mr†1937FarmerRangiora
Graham, Hon. D. A. M.†1942Barrister and solicitorRemuera
Grant, Jeff†1958FarmerAwarua
Gray, Hon. Robin†1931FarmerClutha
Gregory, Dr Bruce1937Doctor of medicineNorthern Maori
Gresham, Peter†1933AccountantWaitotara
Hancock, Hamish†1947LawyerHorowhenua
Hasler, Marie†1945Retail managerTitirangi
Hawkins, George1946TeacherManurewa
Hilt, Peter†1942Company directorGlenfield
Hodgson, Peter1950VeterinarianDunedin North
Hunt, Rt. Hon. Jonathan1938TeacherNew Lynn
Kelly, Graham1941Trade unionistPorirua
Kidd, Hon. Doug†1941Barrister and solicitorMarlborough
Kimber, Wayne†1949Surveyor/plannerGisborne
Kyd, Warren†1939Barrister and solicitorClevedon
Lange, Rt. Hon. David†1942Barrister and solicitorMangere
Laws, Michael†1957Public relations consultantHawke's Bay
Lee, Hon. Graeme†1935Company directorCoromandel
Luxton, Hon. John†1946FarmerMatamata
McCardle, Peter†1951Public servantHeretaunga
McClay, Hon. Roger†1945TeacherWaikaremoana
McCully, Hon. Murray†1953Public relations consultantEast Coast Bays
McIntosh, Ms Gail†1955AccountantLyttelton
MacIntyre, Hamish1951DoctorManawatu
McKinnon, Hon. Don†1939Real estate agentAlbany
McLauchlan, Joy†1948Executive officerWestern Hutt
McTigue, Hon. Maurice†1940FarmerTimaru
Maharey, Steve1953University lecturerPalmerston North
Marshall, Hon. Denis†1943Farmer and company directorRangitikei
Matthewson, Hon. Clive1944Civil engineerDunedin West
Maxwell, Hon. R. F. H.†1941FarmerTaranaki
Meurant, Ross†1947Police inspectorHobson
Moir, Margaret†1941Company directorWest Coast
Moore, Rt. Hon. Mike1949Freezing workerChristchurch North
Muldoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert, G.C.M.G., C.H.†1921AccountantTamaki‡
Munro, R. J. S.†1946Barrister and solicitorInvercargill
Myles, Gilbert1945Company directorRoskill
Neeson, Brian†1945Real estate agentTe Atatu
Neill, Alec†1950Barrister and solicitorWaitaki
O'Regan, Hon. Katherine†1946FarmerWaipa
Peters, Ian†1941Real estate agentTongariro
Peters, Hon. Winston†1945Barrister and solicitorTauranga
Prebble, Hon. Richard1948Barrister and solicitorAuckland Central
Reeves, Graeme†1947Barrister and solicitorMiramar
Revell, Ian†1948Police officerBirkenhead
Richardson, Hon. Ruth†1950Legal adviser/farmerSelwyn
Robertson, H. V. Ross1949Industrial engineerPapatoetoe
Robertson, John†1951AccountantPapakura
Rogers, Mr Trevor†1943ImporterOtara
Ryall, Tony†1964AccountantEast Cape
Shipley, Hon. Jenny†1952FarmerAshburton
Simich, Clem1939General ManagerTamaki§
Smith, Dr Lockwood†1948Managing directorKaipara
Smith, Nick†1964EngineerTasman
Sowry, Roger†1958Retail managerKapiti
Steel, Tony†1941TeacherHamilton East
Storey, Hon. Rob†1936President of Federated FarmersWaikato
Sutherland, Larry1951Trade unionistAvon
Swain, Paul1951Trade unionistEastern Hutt
Tapsell, Hon. Dr Peter M.B.E.1930Doctor of medicineEastern Maori
Tennet, Elizabeth1953Trade unionistIsland Bay
Thomas, Grant†1941Company directorHamilton West
Thorne, Grahame†1946Television producerOnehunga
Tirikatene-Sullivan, Hon. Mrs T. W. M.1932Political scientistSouthern Maori
Tizard, Judith1956Electorate secretaryPanmure
Upton, Hon. Simon†1958Student/teacherRaglan
Wetere, Hon. K. T.1935FarmerWestern Maori
Whittaker, Jeff†1940PharmacistHastings
Wilde, Hon. Fran1948JournalistWellington Central
Williamson, Hon. Maurice†1951Planning analystPakuranga

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 undersecretaries, 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. It is the main vehicle by which the executive decides on major policy issues and legislative proposals, and it coordinates the work of ministers. The Cabinet has a system of communities which can examine subjects in detail and recommend specific policy measures to Cabinet.

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 current Secretary of the Cabinet is also the Clerk of the Executive Council.

Table 2.8. PRIME MINISTERS 1960-1991

Prime Minister*Term(s) of office
* Honours are specified only if held on retirement from office.
Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, G.C.M.G., C.H.National12 Dec 1960-7 Feb 1972
Rt. Hon. John Ross Marshall (later Sir)National7 Feb 1972-8 Dec 1972
Rt. Hon. Norman Eric KirkLabour8 Dec 1972-d31 Aug 1974
Rt. Hon. Wallace Edward Rowling (later Sir)Labour6 Sep 1974-12 Dec 1975
Rt. Hon. Sir Robert David Muldoon, G.C.M.G., C.H.National12 Dec 1975-26 Jul 1984
Rt. Hon. David Russell Lange (later Sir)Labour26 Jul 1984-8 Aug 1989
Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Winston Russell Palmer (later Sir)Labour8 Aug 1989-4 Sep 1990
Rt. Hon. Michael Kenneth MooreLabour4 Sep 1990-2 Nov 1990
Rt. Hon. James Brendan BolgerNational2 Nov 1990


Source: Cabinet Office.
Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard, G.C.M.G., D.B.E.
Official Secretary: Ken Richardson, Q.S.O.
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. J. B. Bolger, Prime Minister.
Hon. D. C. McKinnon, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of External Relations and Trade, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.
Hon. W. F. Birch, Minister of Labour, Minister of State Services, Minister of Employment, Minister of Immigration.
Hon. Ruth Richardson, Minister of Finance.
Hon. P. East, Attorney-General.
Hon. J. Falloon, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Forestry.
Hon. D. L. Kidd, Minister of Maori Affairs, Minister of Fisheries.
Hon. P. Burdon, Minister of Commerce.
Hon. S. Upton, Minister of Health, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Minister of Crown Research Institutes.
Hon. J. Banks, Minister of Police, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Recreation and Sport.
Hon. Jenny Shipley, Minister of Social Welfare, Minister of Women's Affairs.
Hon. W. Cooper, Minister of Defence, Minister of Local Government.
Hon. D. A. M. Graham, Minister of Justice, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Minister of Cultural Affairs.
Hon. Dr. Lockwood Smith, Minister of Education.
Hon. M. McTigue, Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Minister of Railways, Minister of Works and Development.
Hon. R. Storey, Minister of Transport, Minister of Lands, Minister for the Environment.
Hon. D. Marshall, Minister of Conservation, Minister of Science (DSIR).
Hon. J. Luxton, Minister of Housing, Minister of Energy.
Hon W. Creech, Minister of Revenue, Minister for Senior Citizens.
Hon. M. Williamson, Minister of Communications, Minister of Broadcasting, Minister of Statistics.
Ministers not in Cabinet
Hon. Katherine O'Regan, Minister of Consumer Affairs.
Hon. R. McClay, Minister of Youth Affairs.
Hon. G. Lee, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Civil Defence.
Hon. R. F. H. Maxwell, Minister of Business Development.
Hon. M. McCully, Minister of Customs.
Other responsibilities
Ministers with other vote or statutory responsibilities are indicated below. Statutory titles are shown in italics.
Rt. Hon. J. B. Bolger,Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Service.
Hon. W. F. Birch, Accident Compensation Corporation.
Hon. Ruth Richardson, Earthquake and War Damage Corporation, National Provident Fund.
Hon. P. East, Serious Fraud Office, Leader of the House, Audit Department, Minister of Crown Health Enterprises.
Hon. J. Falloon, Minister for Racing.
Hon. D. Kidd, Minister in Charge of Iwi Transition Agency (disestablished 31 December 1991).
Hon. P. Burdon, Minister for Industry, Associate Minister of External Relations and Trade, Minister for Trade Negotiations.
Hon. W. Cooper,Minister in Charge of War Pensions, Television New Zealand Ltd, Radio New Zealand Ltd.
Hon. Dr. Lockwood Smith,Education Review Office, National Library.
Hon. M. McTigue, Associate Minister of Finance, Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited, Coal Corporation of New Zealand Limited, Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Limited, GCS Limited, Government Property Services Limited, Land Corporation Limited, New Zealand Post Limited, New Zealand Rail Limited, New Zealand Timberlands Limited, Timberlands Westcoast Limited, Works and Development Services Corporation (NZ) Limited.
Hon. R. Storey,Minister of Survey and Land Information, Minister in Charge of Valuation Department.
Hon. D. Marshall, Associate Minister of Agriculture, Associate Minister of Employment.
Hon. J. Luxton, Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Minister of Education.
Hon. W. Creech, Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister of Social Welfare, Government Superannuation Fund, Minister in Charge of the Public Trust Office.
Hon. M. Williamson, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Research, Science and Technology.
Hon. Katherine O'Regan, Associate Minister of Women's Affairs, Associate Minister of Health.
Hon. R. McClay, Associate Minister of Education, Associate Minister of Social Welfare, Associate Minister of Pacific Affairs.
Hon. R. F. H. Maxwell, Associate Minister of Employment, Associate Minister of Immigration.
Hon. M. McCully, Associate Minister of Tourism.

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.

Voting. 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. Most electors cast their votes at polling booths in their electorates on polling day, but they may vote as special voters at booths outside their electorate. Special votes may also be cast before polling 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. 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.

Percentage of enrolled electors voting at general elections

Table 2.1. VOTING PATTERNS: 1981-1990

YearElectors on Master RollValid votesInformal votesSpecial votes disallowedVotes cast to electors on Master Roll
Source: Department of Justice.

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 seven members. Four are officials, the Surveyor-General, the Government Statistician, the Chief Electoral Officer 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.

In determining the boundaries of the Maori electoral districts, the commission's membership is supplemented by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Maori Development and two nominations from the House of Representatives (one each from the Government and the Opposition) and appointed by the Governor-General. These additional members to the commission must be Maori.

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.

Provisional boundaries are then settled, maps drawn up and the availability of boundary details announced in the New Zealand Gazette. Any objections and counter-objections to the provisional electoral boundaries are then 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 last held on 27 October 1990. The previous election was held on 15 August 1987. The total number of electors on the master roll for the 1990 election was 2,202,157. A total of 1,877,115 votes were cast; representing 85.24 percent of electors on the master roll.


Political partyNumber of MPs

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

Source: Department of Justice.

New Labour---1



Political partyValid votesPercentage of total valid votes

*Includes adjustments consequent upon the Wairarapa Election Petition Judgment dated 12 July 1988.

†Excludes special votes disallowed.

Source: Department of Justice.

Mana Motuhake8,3325,9899,78910,8690.460.310.530.6
New Labour---94,171---5.16
      Total valid votes1,801,3031,929,2011,831,7771,824,092100.00100.00100.00100.00
Informal votes†8,9987,56511,18410,180


Political partySeats contested

* All those contesting one seat only.

Source: Department of Justice.

New Labour93
Social Credit68
McGillicudy Serious60
Christian Heritage18
Communist League10
New Zealand5
Mana Motuhake4
People's Party4
Blokes Liberation Front3
Legalise Marijuana2
N.Z. Representative2
          Total candidates677

General Licensing Poll. In 1990 the national triennial liquor licensing poll was abolished.

Term Poll. A term poll was held in conjunction with the 1990 General Election. The voting issue was the length of the parliamentary term. The two options offered were either a continuation of the three year term or an extension of the term to four years. The voting was approximately 70 percent in support of retaining a three year term.

Table 2.14. RESULTS OF TERM POLL 1990

Voting issue1990% of vote
Source: Department of Justice.
For a 3 year parliamentary term1,258,01869.33
For a 4 year parliamentary term556,55930.67

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 or by the Governor-General in Council or the Administrator of the Government, 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 1980 conferred new rights to appear and be heard at an inquiry 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. In addition, any person who satisfies the commission that any evidence may adversely affect his or her interests has a right to be given an opportunity to be heard in respect of the matter. Usually such terms of reference for a commission are quite specific. 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 to his or her ministers. The reports are usually published.

Ratio of male to female staff

2.3 State sector

The state sector is responsible for putting the policies of the Government into effect. It comprises government departments, crown agencies, and state-owned enterprises. The state sector is commonly distinguished from the public sector which is made up of public service departments covered by, and listed in, the First Schedule of the State Sector Act 1988.

At 30 June 1991 the number of staff employed in public service departments was 49,290—this compares with 58,038 at 30 June 1989. Much of the decrease in staff levels is due to agencies being converted from departments (as defined in the State Sector Act 1988) to other forms of state sector agency.

Government departments 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 general functions of government departments, although a radical change in policy may be accompanied by organisational change. Departments are required to produce an annual report for parliamentary and public scrutiny.

State sector reform

Over the last six years Government has reformed the machinery of government, across both the state sector and, in particular, departments and agencies. The management reforms contained in the State Sector Act 1988 and the Public Finance Act 1989 are now consolidating. The new emphasis on outputs, rather than on inputs, has focused decision making on reaching the goals of the Government. The new financial reporting requirements provide much better information for those making decisions. The effectiveness of the reforms in improving performance in the public sector has been the subject of a recent review undertaken by the State Services Commission.

The process of state sector reform is continuing. In the area of science and technology the government's policy is to restructure the principal science departments, or parts of departments, into a series of research institutes that will be known as Crown Research Institutes (CRIs). The CRIs are intended to focus on future possibilities for New Zealand industries. These institutes will have a strong commercial orientation toward the long term technological needs of industry. Departments which will be affected by these changes are the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Department of Health and the Ministry of Transport. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries' farm advisory and management service is to be turned into a state-owned enterprise on 1 July 1992 to open the way for further commercialisation of business (see also chapter 13, Science and technology).

Policy changes

Government policy concerning state assets is to sell those it lacks reason to retain. The view of the Government is that public ownership of business enterprises does not provide the right incentives to manage such enterprises successfully. The sales of state assets is also a part of a fiscal strategy to reduce the level of public debt. Several state owned enterprises and trading units of government departments have been sold. Recent sales (in addition to those listed in the 1990 Yearbook) include Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and several state-owned forests.

Widespread changes to the role of the Government in social policy have been initiated. Significant changes in housing, welfare, health, accident compensation and superannuation are under way. The changes include:

  • focusing social assistance in those in genuine need;

  • making providers of social services more responsive to the needs of individual and their families; and

  • providing services that the country can afford.

State Services Commissioner

The State Sector Act 1988 provides for a State Services Commissioner and a deputy to replace the former commission. The commissioner is also the chief executive of the department now known as the State Services Commission. The main functions of the commissioner are:

  • To review the machinery of government, including the allocation of functions to and between departments and the desirability of, or need for, the creation, amalgamation or abolition of departments;

  • To review the performance of each department including the discharge by the chief executive of his or her functions;

  • To appoint chief executives of departments and to negotiate their conditions of employment and maintain, in association with chief executives, a senior executive service for the public service, and to concur with health and education sector councils over the appointment of conditions of employment of health and education sector chief executives;

  • To negotiate conditions of employment of employees in the state services and to concur with health and education sector organisations over the conditions of employment of their employees;

  • To promote and develop personnel policies and standards of personnel administration for the public service, including equal employment opportunity policies and programmes;

  • To advise on management systems and structures, career development and training within the public service;

  • Other functions with respect to the administration and management of the public service as directed by the Prime Minister.

A further feature of the restructuring of government departments has been the separation of the policy and advisory functions from the operations, and the establishment of general policy ministries, e.g., Education, Health, Science and Defence.

Equal employment opportunities. The State Services Commission has the responsibility to promote, develop and monitor equal employment opportunity policies and programmes within the public service departments (under section 6 of the State Sector Act 1988).

An Equal Employment Opportunity programme, as defined in the State Sector Act, is a programme which “is aimed at the identification and elimination of all aspects of policies, procedures and other institutional barriers that cause or perpetuate, or tend to cause or perpetuate, inequality in respect to the employment of any persons or group of persons.”

Each department is required to develop and publish an annual Equal Employment Opportunity programme and to report to the commission on the extent to which the department has implemented the programme.

The commission provides advice and resources to departments on Equal Employment Opportunity, evaluates the presented programmes and monitors the progress reports. The information derived from these processes is then fed back to the departments to assist them in their planning.

Table 2.15 lists the departments of the public service as set out in the first schedule of the State Sector Amendment (No. 2) Act 1989.



*As at 1 February 1992.

† The Iwi Transition Authority and Ministry of Maori Affairs were disestablished at 31 December 1991. In their place the Ministry of Maori Development was established at 1 January 1992.

Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry ofDirector-GeneralR. Ballard
AuditController and Auditor-GeneralB. H. C. Tyler
Commerce, Ministry ofSecretaryM. J. Belgrave
Conservation, Department ofDirector-GeneralW. R. Mansfield
Crown Law OfficeSolicitor-GeneralJ. J. McGrath QC
Cultural Affairs, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveC. H. Blake
CustomsActing ComptrollerG. W. Ludlow
Defence, Ministry ofSecretaryG. C. Hensley
Education, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveM. L. O'Rourke
Education Review OfficeChief ExecutiveJ. E. Aitken
Environment, Ministry for theSecretaryR. W. G. Blakeley
External Relations and Trade, Ministry ofSecretaryR. F. Nottage
Forestry, Ministry ofSecretaryJ. M. Valentine
Government Superannuation FundActing Chief ExecutiveR. J. Wilderspin
Health, Department ofDirector-GeneralJ. C. Lovelace
Housing CorporationActing Director-GeneralD. J. Swallow
Inland RevenueCommissionerD. R. Henry
Internal Affairs, Department ofChief ExecutiveR. P. Cameron
Justice, Department ofSecretaryD. Oughton
Labour, Department ofSecretaryC. J. McKenzie
Maori Development, Ministry of†Chief ExecutiveH. T. Gardiner
National LibraryNational LibrarianP. G. Scott
National Provident FundChief ExecutiveW. J. Perham
Pacific Island AffairsChief ExecutiveA. Rongo-Raea
Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department ofChief ExecutiveS. Murdoch
Public Trust OfficePublic TrusteeW. B. R. Hawkins
Research, Science and Technology, Ministry ofChief ExecutiveB. V. Walker
Scientific and Industrial Research, Department ofDirector-GeneralM. A. Collins
Serious Fraud OfficeChief ExecutiveC. Sturt
Social Welfare, Department ofDirector-GeneralA. Kirkland
State Services CommissionState Services CommissionerD. K. Hunn
Statistics, Department ofGovernment StatisticianL. W. Cook
Survey and Land Information, Department ofDirector-GeneralW. A. Robertson
Transport, Ministry ofSecretaryM. C. Bazley
The TreasurySecretaryG. C. Scott
ValuationValuer-GeneralH. F. McDonald
Women's Affairs, Ministry ofActing SecretaryM. Evans
Youth Affairs, Office ofChief ExecutiveJ. Y. Quinnell

Functions of government departments

The functions of central government are under a continual process of review. The following account of departments was correct as at December 1991.

Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of.(Te Manatu Ahuwhenua, Ahumoana.) The ministry provides policy advice to government designed to create a domestic and international environment favourable to the sustainable and productive use of New Zealand's agricultural and fisheries and resources. It also implements the Government's policies and programmes to drive maximum benefit to the nation from farming, horticulture and fishing.

MAF's programmes aim to protect our competitive advantage as an export nation by monitoring animals, fish and plants, and preventing the introduction of exotic pests and diseases. Also, through quality assurance, it ensures that our export primary produce meets agreed standards. See chapter 15, Agriculture and section 16.3 Fisheries.

Audit Office. See ‘Controller and Auditor-General’ below.

Ministry of Commerce.(Te Manatu Tauhokohoko.) The ministry has advisory, programme and administrative functions in business development, competition policy, business and intellectual law, tariff policy, trade remedies, communications, regional development, energy and resources, consumer affairs and tourism.

The ministry services the portfolios of Commerce, Communications, Consumer Affairs, Energy, Tourism, Industry and Business Development.

Conservation, Department of.(Te Papa Atawhai.) 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, and marine reserves, 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.

Cultural Affairs, Ministry of.(Te Manatu Tikanga-a-Iwi.) The aim of the ministry is to maximise understanding, appreciation, access and participation in New Zealand arts and culture both in New Zealand and overseas, and to promote the enhancement of New Zealand's cultural identity.

The ministry provides advice to Government and the Minister of Cultural Affairs on cultural matters and discharges services relating to the Cultural Affairs portfolio.

Customs Department. The department is charged with the administration of border control and some indirect taxation, and the tendering of advice to the Government on these and associated matters. The department performs a number of roles under the Customs Acts and other enabling legislation. These include: the administration of the tariff at the border, protecting New Zealand's borders by exercising the required control over the export and import of goods and international passengers in accord with the immigration, emigration, quarantine, and other statutory and government policy requirements (with particular attention to controlled drugs); and providing a service to commerce through the effective administration of customs procedures, and the facilitation of cargo movements. In managing its role the department balances these requirements to ensure that there is movement of people and trade, while the border is maintained. See section 22.1, Administration and development of trade.

Defence, Ministry of. The ministry provides advice on defence policy, reports to the Minister of Defence on the performance of the armed forces, and is responsible for the procurement, replacement expenditure or repairs which entail major changes to capability or involve major re-equipment. See section 3.4, Defence.

Education, Ministry of.(Te Tahuhu o te Matauranga.) The ministry is responsible for providing policy advice to the Minister of Education on all aspects of education from early childhood to tertiary; overseeing the implementation of approved policies and ensuring the optimum use of resources devoted to education. See chapter 8, Education.

Education Review Office.(Te Tari Arotake Matauraga.) The purpose of the Education Review Office is to improve the educational performance of schools and early childhood centres through independent evaluation of the standards of achievement of all learners. The performance of schools and centres is checked against the goals and objectives set out in their charters. The office also comments, conducts special reviews and reports on Special Education Service, Early Childhood Development Unit, Ministry of Education, the teacher advisory services of the Colleges of Education, home-based schooling and registration of private educational institutions. See section 8.1, Education.

Environment, Ministry for the. (Te Manatü mō te Taiao.) 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 the Government. It also provides the 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 works towards the 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 Ozone Layer Protection Act 1990 and the Resource Management Act 1991, plus it also has responsibility for regulations made pursuant to the Resource Management Act. See section 14.2, Environmental and resource management.

External Relations and Trade, Ministry of.(Te Manatü Ähuatauga Täwähi, Tauhoko.) The Ministry of External Relations and Trade conducts the Government's business with the government's of foreign countries, and with international organisations. It reviews New Zealand's relations with other countries as a whole and advises the Government on where advantages to New Zealand lie. The ministry draws together the various aspects of New Zealand's national interests, including relevant domestic interests, to achieve most benefits for New Zealand in relation to the Government's security, political, trade and economic objectives.

The ministry administers a network of posts overseas to promote positive political relationships, transact official business and support the international operations and initiatives of the government. See section 3.1, Relations with other countries.

Forestry, Ministry of. (Te Manatü Ngäherehere.) 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 the wood-based industries’. Its functions include research, advice on forestry policy to the Government, advisory and information services, and the collection of forestry related statistics. Other responsibilities of a regulatory nature include quarantine and forest disease control. The research functions of the ministry will be transferred to a new Crown Research Institute in 1992.

Government Superannuation Fund.(Te Putea Penihana.) The function of the fund is to administer the Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956.

Health, Department of.(Te Tari Ora.) The Department of Health is the Government's principal agent and adviser on health. The principal functions of the Department are: (a) to provide the Minister of Health with analysis of health issues and expert advice on health problems; (b) to develop and promulgate health policy; (c) to administer health legislation, regulations and the public funding of health programmes; (d) to ensure the provision of essential health services; (e) to encourage positive interaction between the funders, providers and users of health services; (f) to fund programmes which promote health and prevent disease; (g) to collect and disseminate health information; (h) to monitor and review the outcome of health policies and programmes; and (i) to oversee the effective and efficient provision of health services to ensure that public funds are used appropriately and to best advantage to achieve the outcomes which the Government is seeking. See chapter 7, Health and safety.

Housing Corporation.(Te Kaporeihana Whare.) The corporation is the primary government agency for providing subsidised housing assistance and is the Government's principal adviser 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 private schools and medical centres.

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

Inland Revenue Department.(Te Tari Taake.) 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, 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.(Te Tari Taiwhenua.) The mission of the department is to provide services to the Government and the community that relate to the nation's identity, heritage and administration. It provides services that: (a) protect and develop essential aspects of the nation's character, identity and heritage, including the public record and citizenship rights; (b) support the Crown and Government agencies, taking into account the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi, and including the establishment and nurture of new agencies; (c) provide the link between central and local government; (d) help people to develop their communities; (e) safeguard the public interest in certain leisure activities; and (f) protect people against disaster, and promote fire and building safety.

Iwi Transition Agency.(Te Tira Ahu Iwi.) This agency was disestablished on 31 December 1991. Its functions were taken over by the Ministry of Maori Development. See section 5.4, Maori society.

Justice, Department of. The department has a wide variety of functions including: administration of courts; registration of land transactions, births, deaths and marriages; control of prisoners, probationers and parolees; law reform; commercial affairs (including administration of the Companies Act 1955); 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 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 administer immigration legislation. Among the most important legislation administered are the Employment Contracts Act 1991, the Factories and Commercial Premises Act 1981, the Construction Act 1959 and the Immigration Act 1987.

Maori Affairs, Ministry of.(Te Manatü Mäori). This ministry was disestablished on 31 December 1991. Its functions were taken over by the Ministry of Maori Development. See section 5.4, Maori society.

Maori Development, Ministry of (Te Puni Kokiri). The ministry began operation on 1 January 1992, taking over the residual functions of the Ministry of Maori Affairs and the Iwi Transition Agency (both of which were disestablished on 31 December 1991). This new specialist agency has a narrower focus than previous similar departments, with the main initiatives being the improvement of Maori education, health, employment and economic opportunities.

The broader functions of the ministry include: policy advice to Government on matters affecting Maori; brokerage services to Maori people and agencies, to maximise access to resources in social services and economic resource development; monitoring the performance of other government agencies in meeting Maori needs; and maintaining existing programmes pending their successful placement in mainstream departments or agencies by 30 June 1993.

There are four units within the ministry: the Education Commission, the Health Promotion Unit, the Training Unit and the Economic Resource Development Unit. See section 5.4, Maori society.

National Library of New Zealand.(Te Puna Mätauranga o Aotearoa.) The Library's functions are to: co-ordinate the New Zealand network of libraries and provide collections to ensure there is sufficient depth in the country's collections to satisfy users' needs and that information is accessible and available; compile and make available in New Zealand and overseas bibliographic records of all published New Zealand material; advise the minister on all issues relating to libraries and library development; and to be the principal New Zealand link in international and co-operative library development. See section 10.3, Books and libraries.

National Provident Fund. The fund mainly provides superannuation to employees of local authorities, area health boards, and other governmental and quasi-governmental entities. See section 21.3, Insurance and superannuation.

Pacific Island Affairs, Ministry of. This small group advises the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, while providing administrative back-up and co-ordination of the above council and other programmes. The ministry establishes and maintains liaison with and between Pacific Island communities in New Zealand and government agencies; monitors, reports and promotes issues related to the communities; and is developing a resource base on Pacific Island matters. See section 5.5, Pacific Island Polynesian population.

Police, New Zealand.(Ngä Pirihimana o Aotearoa.) 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. The New Zealand Police is a state agency. See section 9.4, Police.

Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of the. The department provides policy advice to the Prime Minister; constitutional advice and secretarial services to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet; support services to the Governor-General; communications services; and management for the Vice-Regal residences. The department consists of: the Policy Advisory Group, the Cabinet Office, the domestic and External Security Secretariat, Government House and, from 1 July 1991, the External Assessments Bureau which provides intelligence assessments on developments overseas to the Government.

An important function of the department is to help co-ordinate the work of the Government across departmental lines, to test the quality of advice coming from departments and to act as an ‘honest broker’ where there are conflicts over policy advice being offered by different parts of the bureaucracy.

Public Trust Office, The. 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 income earning.

Research, Science and Technology, Ministry of. Established in October 1989, the ministry's primary role is to provide advice to government on the development of research, science and technology policy. Other functions include the development and funding of national priorities; the review and assessment of research science and technology activity and opportunities; the maintenance of international science agreements; and the facilitation of programmes for the dissemination of information on research, science and technology. See section 13.2, Organisation of science.

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 and other government departments, which provide scientific research services, will be reshaped into 10 Crown Research Institutes. See section 13.2, Organisation of science.

Serious Fraud Office. The Serious Fraud Office, which became operational on 26 March 1990, is primarily an operational department whose role is to detect and investigate cases of serious or complex fraud and expeditiously prosecute offenders. Based in Auckland, the office is the only government department to have its Head Office outside Wellington. See section 21.2, Commercial framework.

Social Welfare, Department of.(Te Tari Toko i te Ora.) The principal functions of the Department of Social Welfare are (a) to administer Parts I and III of the Social Security Act 1964, the Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Act 1990, the Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975, the Children and Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, the Social Security (Reciprocity with Australia) Act 1987, the Social Security (Reciprocity with the United Kingdom) Act 1983 and the War Pensions Act 1954; (b) to advice the Minister on the Development of Social Welfare Policies for New Zealand; (c) to provide such welfare services as the Government may from time to time require; (d) to maintain close liaison with and encourage co-operation and co-ordination among any organisations and individuals (including departments of State and other agencies of the Crown) engaged in social welfare activities; (e) to undertake and promote research into aspects of social welfare; (f) to provide such administrative services as the Minister may from time to time direct to such boards, councils, committees, and agencies as he or she may direct; (g) to receive and disburse maintenance payments and enforce maintenance orders and registered agreements under the Family Proceedings Act 1980, and (h) under the Civil Defence Welfare Plan, in time of disaster–to make relief payments authorised by government to the homeless, and–to make payments authorised by government for hosts for billeting evacuees from a disaster area.

State Services Commission,(Te Kömihana o ngä Tari Käwanatanga.) See ‘State Services Commissioner’ above.

Statistics, Department of.(Te Tari Tatau.) 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.(Te Puna Körero Whenua.) The department is the principal government (civil and military) survey and mapping, and land information agency. Through the Office of Crown Lands the department is also the government's principal Crown land administering agency. The department's 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, Public Works Act 1981, Land Settlement Promotion and Land Acquisition Act 1952, Land Act 1948, the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946 and Crown Grants Act 1908. In addition in excess of 50 other statutes empower the department with specific responsibilities for land transactions. Proposals for the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill are also collated by the department. See section 14.1, Land resources and ownership.

Tourism, Ministry of. This ministry operates from within the Ministry of Commerce, providing policy advice to, and representing, the Minister of Tourism and the Government on policy issues relevant to the tourism sector. It advises the Government on the outputs it purchases from the New Zealand Tourism Board, manages government grant schemes relating to the tourism sector, manages land at Rotorua and the Wairakei Tourist Park, and is responsible for the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Act 1991.

Tourism Board, New Zealand. The main functions of the New Zealand Tourism Board (formerly known as the New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department) are to: market and promote New Zealand as a desirable destination overseas; promote and progress New Zealand's tourism development and initiate programmes to foster this development; administer jointly funded public and private sector marketing programmes; and undertake research of visitor arrivals, overseas tourism markets and regional tourism. The New Zealand Tourism Board is headed by a nine member private sector executive board via the Ministry of Tourism. The board has eight overseas marketing offices. See section 11.6, Leisure.

Trade and Development Board, New Zealand. The New Zealand Trade Development Board's function is the development and expansion of New Zealand's foreign exchange earnings. It has an independent board drawn from predominantly private sector backgrounds. The board operates on a project basis with task-based teams of export consultants. There is a network of trade commissioners in our most significant overseas markets. See section 22.1, Administration and development of trade.

Transport, Ministry of.(Te Manatä Waka.) The Ministry of Transport promotes safe, efficient transport that is environmentally and socially responsible and enhances the economy. The Ministry is responsible for administering about 20 principal Acts including the Civil Aviation Act, the Shipping and Seamen Act and the Transport Act.

The Ministry has four operating divisions and a small corporate office. The divisions comprise units dealing with air, land and maritime transport and the Meteorological Service. The latter will be devolved with research activities going into a Crown research institute and forecasting activities being established as a State owned enterprise. There are proposals to establish a separate Civil Aviation Authority and to merge the Traffic Safety Service, currently part of the Land Transport Division, with the New Zealand Police.

Treasury, The. 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. It also includes the Government Actuary's Office.

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. Since 1988 the department has been progressively introducing a three-yearly cycle. 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 house and rural 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.(Te Minitatanga mö ngä Wähine.) This ministry was established in 1984 to assist the Government to improve the status of women and to work towards the achievement of equality in all spheres of social, political and economic activity. The ministry's primary function is to advise the Minister of Women's Affairs. In carrying out this function the ministry provides specialist advice on legislative and other policy matters affecting the status of women and undertakes educational and information programmes designed to increase women's knowledge of and familiarity with the scope and processes of public policy-making. See section 5.3, Human rights, immigration and citizenship.

Youth Affairs, Ministry of.(Te Tari Taiohi.) This ministry was established to represent the youth of New Zealand; to ensure that the concerns of the young people (defined as people from the ages of 12 to 25) of New Zealand are heard by the makers of policies, services and legislation, and to allow young people to make a contribution to the cultural, social and economic development of this country.

One of the four main areas of the ministry is the Conservation Corps. This programme provides young people with opportunities for employment, training and personal development through skill acquisition and involvement in conservation activities of benefit to local communities.

Non-departmental public bodies

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.

Crown agencies. These organisation are defined in the Public Finance Act 1989. ‘Crown agency’ means any entity over which the Crown is able to exercise control as a result of—

  • its ownership of a majority of the shares of the entity; or

  • its power to appoint a majority of the members of the governing body of the entity; or

  • significant financial interdependence–but does not include a department, Office of Parliament, or a state enterprise listed in the First Schedule of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986.

State-Owned Enterprises. State-owned enterprises are companies established by the Government to mange its trading activities. The principle objective of every state enterprise is to operate as a successful business and, to this end, to be:

  • as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown;

  • a good employer; and

  • an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.

An annual statement of intent is signed between the shareholding government ministers and the board of directors of the respective state-owned enterprise. Performance of the enterprise is monitored against this statement.

New Zealand Planning Council

In the July 1991 Budget the Government announced that the New Zealand Planning Council (Te Kaunihera Whakakaupapa Mo Aotearoa) would be abolished; the Planning Council was disestablished on 25 September 1991.

For 14 years, the Planning Council had provided a focus for better information and consultation on the key medium-term issues in New Zealand's development. The council's main task was to monitor and report on trends, prospects, issues, and options in relation to social, economic, cultural and environmental development. The council's work was built around expert monitoring and support groups. The groups included Economic, Population, and Social Monitoring Groups, Income Distribution Group, Maori Round Table, and the National Sectorial, Employment and Environmental Programmes.

The council reported directly to the Government, but retained independence from Government in its choice of work and in publishing its reports. The council's publications foster discussion and understanding of issues among private organisations and the public generally.

In 1990/1991 the council published many reports and papers including: The Australian Maori Population; The Fully Employed High Income Society; Where To Now? New Zealandin the 1990s; Expanding Our Horizons: New Zealand in the Global Economy; Small Business is Big Business and Making a Market for Energy Efficiency.

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. The position is independent of the executive government and only the Governor-General, upon an address from the House of Representatives, can end the tenure. The Controller and Auditor-General and the persons acting under his or her delegation are collectively called ‘the Audit Office’.

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

The Audit Office audits the financial statements of government departments, local authorities, and most government-controlled corporations, boards and companies. The office plays a key part in the accountability by these organisations. It also conducts periodic reviews of financial control systems, 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.

Considerable emphasis is placed on reporting the results of this work. The most visible results are their financial audit reports tabled in Parliament each year.

If shortcomings are discovered during an audit, the principal recourse of the Audit Office is to report to the management of the organisation, to a minister, or to Parliament and its select committees. If there is a deficiency in money or stores, the Auditor-General has the power to surcharge the persons involved to recover the amount. This power is rarely used.

Official information

The Official Information Act 1982 is based on to the principle that information shall be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it. The purposes of the Act are: to provide proper access to official information to the people of New Zealand, to encourage their participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; to promote the accountability of ministers and officials; and to protect official information consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy.

With the exception of the Parliamentary Service, the Official Information Act covers all government departments, state-owned enterprises, and a range of statutory bodies. It does not include courts, tribunals (in relation to their judicial function), or some judicial bodies. All local authorities and statutory boards are covered under either the Official Information Act 1982 or the Local Government Official Information and Meetings 1987.

The Acts provide special rights of access to personal information. The definition of a ‘person’ can include a sole corporation and a body of persons. 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’.

Among the criteria to be considered, when judging whether information should be withheld, are that if the information is released will it prejudice the security, defence, or economic international relations of New Zealand; the maintenance of law and order; the security or defence of the Cook Islands, Tokelau, Niue, or the Ross Dependency; and the safety of any person. The protection of the privacy of natural persons is an important issue, however this consideration may be overturned if it is in the public interest to make the information available.

Ombudsmen can review a decision to refuse information; the investigation is private and free of charge. The formal recommendation of an Ombudsman is binding unless overridden by a minister in accordance with a formal procedure. This procedure necessitates the publishing of the surrounding facts in the New Zealand Gazette.

An information guide concerning access to personal and official information is available from the Official Information Unit of the Department of Justice. In order to provide sufficient data to ease the identification of material and assist in the lodging of requests, reference can be made to the Directory of Official Information. Published every two years, the Directory is a comprehensive guide to all the organisations covered by the Act including their structure, functions, policies, documents held, contact officers and other listings which facilitate the access of information.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Helen R. Hughes.


The principal function of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Investigations (Ombudsman) is to enquire into complaints relating to administrative decisions of government departments and related organisations, education boards and all local authorities. Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 there is provision for the appointment of a Chief Ombudsman and one or more other ombudsmen, in either temporary or permanent positions.

All investigations undertaken by ombudsmen are conducted in private. When an ombudsmen believes a complaint can be sustained, they report their opinion to the government department or organisation concerned along with any recommendation for action. A copy of this report is also made available to the responsible minister. At the local government level, the ombudsman reports the finding to the organisation, and provides a copy of his report to the mayor or chairperson.

Ombudsmen also investigate recommendations made to a minister by any government department, organisation or employee. Similarly, they look into any recommendations made to a full council or board of a local organisation by any committee, sub-committee, officer, employee, or member. It is also the responsibility of the Ombudsmen to investigate any complaints on decisions for request of official information.

Ombudsmen have no authority to investigate complaints against private companies and individuals, decisions of judges, complaints directed at ministerial decisions, or at the full council or local government. They can also decide that certain complaints, although within their sphere, are better suited to other available avenues of administrative redress.


Action on complaintOmbudsmen Act 1975Official Information Act 1982Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

*Year ended 30 June.

Source: Office of the Ombudsmen.

Declined, no jurisdiction257141
Declined or discontinued section 174641376
Resolved in course of investigation19526451
Resolved informally958422
Sustained, recommendation made352012
Sustained, no recommendation made327-
Not sustained3941607
Formal investigation not undertaken, explanation,
advice, or assistance given75613512
Still under investigation as at 31 March61431133

2.4 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 as the powers of local authorities are conferred by Parliament.

Local authorities fall into these categories: regional authorities, territorial authorities and special purpose authorities. Many territorial authority areas contain one or more communities and these are administered by community boards. Community boards are not separate local authorities, they are advocates for their community and any power they have is determined by their parent territorial authority.

All local authorities are established by Act of Parliament, and their powers are defined in the Act. Each local authority operates within a specific district, and all are controlled by their own councils and boards. Funding is derived from rates, levies on other local authorities and/or charges derived from trading utilities under their control. Area health boards are expected from this as they are totally funded from central government.

Central government is precluded from involvement in local government decision-making and is unable to overturn decisions made by local authorities. Although not subject to review by central government, local authorities are accountable to the Ombudsmen and the Controller and Auditor-General in the areas of administration and financing. There are also avenues for review of local government decisions by appeal to the courts and specialised tribunals. Beyond this local authorities are subject to the general power of judicial review by the High Court.

Much emphasis in local government is placed on accountability to the electors. The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 promotes open conduct of local authority meetings and sets our rights of access to official information.

Local government reorganisation

The local Government Commission was required by an amendment to the Local Government Act 1974 to prepare reorganisation schemes by 1 July 1989 for a new system of local government with the following features:

  • regional councils with primary responsibilities for resource management planning and consents. The boundaries of regions were to conform as far as practical with river catchment boundaries;

  • territorial authority (city councils and district councils) with primary responsibilities for the delivery of day-to-day services to local communities;

  • special purpose local authorities were to be eliminated as far as possible.

The commission's decisions on the restructuring of local government were contained in the final reorganised schemes, issued on 12 June 1989. The main features were the provision for:

  • 14 regions, with directly elected regional councils undertaking statutory functions such as regional planning and civil defence, maritime planning and those functions previously exercised by catchment boards, pest destruction boards, noxious plant authorities and, in many cases, harbour boards. (The Gisborne region is unique in that it is administered by a district council, which also has regional powers);

  • 73 territorial authorities (excluding Chatham Islands County);

  • seven special purpose authorities under the commission's jurisdiction (and now reduced to five); and

  • 159 community boards.

Legislative reform. The Local Government Amendment Act (No. 2) 1989 inserted new parts in the Local Government Act 1974 dealing with the general structure of local government, its constitutional and electoral basis, and its organisational and accountability provisions.

For the first time, the legislation includes a statement on the purposes of local government. The relevant section provides:

  • recognition of the existence of different communities in New Zealand;

  • recognition of the identities of different communities in New Zealand;

  • definition and enforcement of appropriate rights within those communities;

  • scope for communities to make choices between different kinds of local public facilities and services;

  • for the operation of trading undertakings of local authorities on a competitively neutral basis;

  • for the delivery of appropriate facilities and services on behalf of central government;

  • recognition of communities of interest;

  • for the efficient and effective exercise of the functions, duties, and powers of the components of local government; and

  • for the effective participation of local persons in local government.

The legislation also includes a significant new accountability regime. Local authorities are required to conduct their affairs in an open and proper manner, separate their regulatory and non-regulatory activities, and adequately inform local communities of their activities. Emphasis is placed on setting objectives and measuring performance. Each local authority is required to prepare a report outlining what it proposes to do over the next year, and how this will be financed, and at the end of the year, report on what it has achieved in terms of its objectives. Each local authority must operate a person policy complying with the principle of a ‘good employer’, as set out in the Labour Relations Act 1987.

The legislation also introduced provisions relating to the optional ‘corporatisation’ of local authority trading activities, excluding airports, seaports and any energy supply operation. Corporatisation is discretionary, but local authorities must consider any benefits, and be able to justify a decision–to the public or to competitors–not to corporatise. The Act has also been amended to require: (a) the corporatisation or establishment as a business unit of any local authority organisation carrying out subsidised road construction work; (b) the sale or other disposal by regional councils of any interest in the provision of public passenger transport; and (c) the corporatisation of any territorial authority public transport undertaking.

Regional councils

The 1989 reform of the structure of local government saw the number of regions reduced from 22 to 14, and now only the Chatham Islands County, because of its isolation, remains outside any region. All regional councils are directly elected, and have the following functions:

  • the functions under the Resource Management Act 1991;

  • the functions under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941;

  • control of pests and noxious plants;

  • harbour regulations and marine pollution control;

  • regional civil defence; and

  • transport planning, licensing and funding of passenger transport operators.

Some regional councils have also been allocated other functions, such as those formerly undertaken by harbour boards (other than those functions of harbour boards transferred to port companies) and land drainage boards.

Since the election of the National Government in October 1990, the role of regional councils has been under review, and at the time of going to press (January 1992), the Government is considering their future.




RegionCouncil members

* District regional council.

Source: Department of Internal Affairs.

North Island
Bay of Plenty12
Gisborne District*16
Hawkes Bay14
South Island
West Coast10

Territorial authorities

Territorial authorities in New Zealand (city councils and district councils) are directly elected, general authorities with responsibility for a wide range of functions. These include: roading, water supply, sewage disposal, rubbish disposal, parks and reserves, libraries, land subdivision, pensioner housing, health and building inspection, urban passenger transport, parking controls, and civil defence.

Cities and districts. The Local Government Commission's final reorganisation schemes constituted 14 cities and 59 districts, with councils all headed by mayors.

New cities can now only be constituted by a reorganisation scheme where a new district is formed and that district–

  • has a population of at least 50000;

  • is predominantly urban; and

  • is a distinct entity and a major centre of activity within the region.


Cities/districtsCouncil members
Source: Department of Internal Affairs.
North Island
North Shore City18
Waitakere City16
Auckland City24
Manukau City24
Hamilton City17
Napier City12
Palmerston North City15
Porirua City13
Upper Hutt City12
Lower Hutt City15
Wellington City21
Far North District13
Whangarei District13
Kaipara District10
Rodney District10
Papakura District12
Franklin District14
Waikato District14
Waipa District13
Otorohanga District10
Waitomo District10
Thames-Coromandel District13
Hauraki District12
Matamata-Piako District12
South Waikato District14
Taupo District15
Tauranga District14
Western Bay of Plenty District12
Rotorua District16
Whakatane District15
Kawerau District10
Opotiki District10
Gisborne District16
Wairoa District9
Hastings District14
Central Hawkes Bay District12
New Plymouth District16
Stratford District12
South Taranaki District12
Ruapehu District14
Wanganui District14
Rangitikei District11
Manawatu District13
Horohenua District12
Tararua District12
Kapiti Coast District14
Masterton District15
Carterton District12
South Wairarapa District10
South Island
Nelson City14
Christchurch City24
Dunedin City21
Tasman District16
Marlborough District17
Kaikoura District7
Buller District11
Grey District12
Westland District12
Hurunui District9
Waimakariri District13
Selwyn District13
Banks Peninsula District10
Ashburton District18
Timaru District16
Mackenzie District10
Waimate District13
Waitaki District15
Queenstown-Lakes District15
Central Otago District15
Clutha District15
Southland District15
Gore District11
Invercargill District15

Community boards

Community boards are partly elected by the community and partly appointed by the territorial authority. Community boards can be established anywhere in New Zealand to serve any number of inhabitants, although the consent of the Local Government Commission is required. The commission's final reorganisation schemes established 159 community boards. Most of these communities cover the entire area of a ward or wards, but some only cover part of a ward.

Community boards must consist of between four and 12 members, with at least four elected. Up to a third of board membership may be appointed members, chosen from among the elected representatives of the territorial authority representing the ward or wards in which the community is situated.

The purposes of community boards are:

  • The consideration of, and reporting on, all matters referred to it by the territorial authority or any matter of interest or concern to the board.

  • The overview of road works, water supply, sewage, stormwater drainage, parks, recreational facilities, community activities, and traffic management within the community.

  • The preparation of an annual submission to the budgetary process of the territorial authority for expenditure within the community.

  • Communication with community organisations and special interest groups within the community.

  • The carrying out of functions delegated by the parent territorial authority.

However, such functions as borrowing money, levying rates, making bylaws, the owning of property and the appointing of staff cannot be delegated.

Special purpose local authorities

Many types of special purpose local authorities were affected by the reform of the structure of local government. Of the around 400 special purpose authorities placed under the Local Government Commission's jurisdiction during the reform, only five remain. These are: the Aotea Centre Board of Management, the Auckland Electric Power Board, the Canterbury Museum Trust Board, the Council Office of the Auckland Institute and Museum and the Marlborough Forestry Corporation. Whole classes of special purpose authorities (most notably catchment boards, harbour boards, pest destruction boards and land drainage boards) disappeared. The functions of those abolished authorities have been reallocated to either regional or territorial authorities.

Functions and powers of local authorities

Local authorities derive their functions and powers from governing statutes. The Local Government Act 1974 is the main statute for territorial authorities, regional councils, and community boards. Special purpose local authorities come under other statutes. Several statutes apply to all local authorities, e.g., the Local Authorities Loans Act 1956.

Local authorities' powers to levy local taxes on land (rates) are contained within the Rating Powers Act 1988. Local authorities can make bylaws within limits defined in their governing Acts. Special purpose local authorities bylaws must be approved by the Minister of Local Government.

Local authorities can promote legislation about matters affecting areas within their jurisdiction which they are not empowered to deal with already. Where permanent or major additional powers are sought, a local bill must be prepared for the consideration of Parliament. If this is enacted its becomes a local Act, and applies only to the particular authority or authorities which promoted it.

Local government elections and membership

Local government elections are held on the second Saturday in October every third year. The next elections will be held in 1992. All regional council, territorial authority, special purpose local authority and community board elections will be conducted at the same time.

In the year before an election regional and territorial authorities are normally required to review the number of members and the number and size of their electorates. In 1991 local authorities had the option of not conducting a review but keeping the membership and the wards or constituencies as in 1989.

Electorates are known as wards in the case of territorial authorities and constituencies in the case of regions. Territorial authorities had the option of deciding whether members would be elected by the electors of the district as a whole. Regions must be divided into constituencies.

The purpose of the review was to give effective representation to communities of interest and fair representation to electors. The review process provided for objections and appeals by the public and where necessary the final decisions were made by the Local Government Commission.

Voting procedures. Any territorial authority may decide whether an election is to be conducted by attendance at a polling booth or by post. The method of casting a vote is similar to parliamentary elections; the surnames of candidates are printed on the ballot paper and electors place a tick after the name of the candidate they wish to vote for.

Local authority franchise. Every parliamentary elector is automatically qualified as a residential elector of a local authority if the address at which the person is registered on the electoral roll is within the district of the local authority.

Ratepayer voting was re-introduced by the Local Government Amendments Act 1991. This entitles ratepayers who are not residents to enrol and vote in any region, district or community in which they pay rates. Rolls are compiled by territorial authorities, who usually compile the rolls and conduct the elections for other authorities as well. The information for the residential electoral roll is obtained from the parliamentary electoral database and the ratepayer roll is compiled from nomination forms sent to ratepayers.

Membership of local authorities. Any person who is a parliamentary elector may be elected to any number or combination of regional councils, territorial authorities and community boards. Vacancies may be filled either by election or appointment, dependent on the act under which the local authority was constituted.

Remuneration of members. Most boards and councils pay their chairperson or mayor an annual salary, while other members are paid a combination of a daily meeting allowance and an annual salary. Rates of remuneration payable to members are determined by the Minister of Local Government. Maximum and minimum salary and allowance levels are set, allowing the council or board the discretion to decide the actual rate within the prescribed limits.

Local Government Commission

The present (eighth) Local Government Commission comprises three members appointed by the Minister for Local Government. Since the enactment of major amendments to the Local Government Act in 1989, the general function of the Commission is to act as a quasi-judicial appeal authority to hear and determine:

  • Appeals against decisions on objections to draft reorganisation schemes.

  • Appeals and counter-objectives relating to ward and membership proposals of a local authority, following its triennial review of representation and membership.

  • Proposals for the reorganisation, or abolition, of communities where there is disagreement between a community board and its parent authority.

In addition to the above roles, the commission is the determining authority for matters still requiring resolution following the implementation of the major local government reorganisation in 1989. In particular the commission may investigate property dealings of former authorities, and also approve changes in use of the special funds of former authorities.

2.5 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 stars with white borders.

New Zealand coat of arms

The New Zealand coat of arms is pictured on the title page 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 and adopted formally as the New Zealand national hymn in 1940. God Defend New Zealand, and the traditional God Save The Queen are the national anthems of New Zealand, both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion.

Dame Whina Cooper, well-respected Maori leader and member of the Order of New Zealand.


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 roa. 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 assal 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 nation's 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.


  • 2.1 Department of Justice.

  • 2.2 Clerk of the House of Representatives; Parliamentary Service; Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Department of Justice; Department of Internal Affairs.

  • 2.3 State Services Commission; government departments as listed; New Zealand Planning Council; Audit Office; Office of the Ombudsmen.

  • 2.4 Department of Internal Affairs; Local Government Commission.

  • 2.5 Department of Internal Affairs.

Further information


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

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

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

Report of Cabinet Office (Parl. paper G. 47).

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

Report of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System; Towards a Better Democracy. (Parl. paper H. 3, 1986).

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

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

State sector

Directory of Official Information. Department of Justice (biennial).

Reports of the Controller and Auditor-General (Parl. paper B. 28).

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

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.

Chapter 3. International relations and defence

RNZAF's new trainer, the Aermacchi MB-339C.

3.1 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. New Zealand had 50 diplomatic and consular posts. Multiple accreditation allows some New Zealand representatives to cover other countries from their bases. In 1991, a new post in Madrid was opened.

The Ministry of External Relations and Trade has the primary responsibility for advising and assisting the Government on its relations with the outside world. 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 external affairs and defence functions for the Cook Islands and Niue, after consultation with their respective heads of government, and administers Tokelau.

In addition, it is responsible for operating and administering the network of diplomatic and consular posts which represent and pursue New Zealand's interests overseas. The posts also perform services overseas on behalf of all government departments and offer assistance to New Zealanders overseas, whether travelling in official or private capacities, and are responsible for the overseas issue of passports and visas.

For the addresses of New Zealand's overseas posts, and for information on diplomatic, consular and other representation in New Zealand refer to the 1988-89 Yearbook. More recent information can also be found in the publications Overseas Posts, and the Diplomatic List: Diplomatic and Consular Representatives in New Zealand.

South Pacific

New Zealand has diplomatic missions in most of the independent countries of the South Pacific and maintains regular contact on a range of bilateral and regional issues. Eighty percent of bilateral development assistance is directed to the South Pacific.

A special relationship exists between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, and Niue. The Cook Islands became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand in 1965, and Niue in 1974. Both governments have full legislative and executive competence, and can conduct their own external relations and enter into international agreements. But a 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’. Tokelau is described in section 3.3, New Zealand territories.

The region (not including Australia) is of growing importance to New Zealand, with exports of $589 million in 1990-91. Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the French Territories are the most important markets. Imports, amounting to about $128 million, came principally from Fiji and Nauru. New Zealand has taken special measures to foster trade with these countries and New Zealand investment in the region. A regional trade agreement, South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA), provides unrestricted duty-free access to New Zealand (and Australia) on a non-reciprocal basis for almost all of the products exported by island countries. The Pacific Islands Industrial Development Scheme (PIIDS) provides financial assistance and incentives for joint ventures between New Zealand companies and Pacific Island 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's armed forces undertake mutual assistance programmes, joint exercises and maritime surveillance which provides immediate help after natural disasters such as cyclones, and undertakes civil development projects in isolated areas

In 1971 the South Pacific Forum was created to build up regional co-operation in the South Pacific. Meetings are held annually, recently at Vila in 1990 and Pohupei in 1991. 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, the environment, the law of the sea, fishing, disaster relief, nuclear testing and decolonisation.

The forum established the Forum Secretariat, which is tasked with the implementation of forum decisions. It works on a broad range of economic and political questions. This agency is located in Suva. The forum 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. Recently the forum encouraged the establishment of an autonomous regional environment agency–the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). This is located in Apia, Western Samoa.

The Pacific Forum Line (PFL) is another endeavour in South Pacific co-operative relations. Ten of the region's nations operate the shipping line; it charters three vessels and is based at Apia. Together with other governments in the region New Zealand has made additional contributions since the PFL began operations in 1978.

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 (trade posts had been established as early as 1906), 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). Complete free trade in goods was achieved on 1 July 1990 providing for the progressive removal of obstacles to the flow of services and investment between the two countries. The agreement will be reviewed again in 1992. See also section 22.2, Trading partners.

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. Australia is a major trading partner for New Zealand, which is in turn Australia's second 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. In 1989, New Zealand agreed to acquire two replacement frigates through the joint ANZAC ship project with Australia. The Australia-New Zealand Foundation sponsors research projects and publications, as well as cultural exchanges. There is free movement of people under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.


New Zealand has developed a pattern of regular economic consultations with the main Asian trading partners and bilateral economic agreements have been signed. Over 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 ASEAN countries include some of the world's fastest growing economies. New Zealand has also followed closely developments in Indochina, especially efforts to get a peace settlement in Cambodia.

Cultural interchange with the countries of Asia has increased steadily. The opening of access, the development of air links and the growth of tourism have also widened the range of contact.

The relationship with Japan, New Zealand's second largest export market and source of imports in 1990, is one of the most important and beneficial the country 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 products that the other needs. Japan has made some welcome moves to open access to its market, particularly to beef. New Zealand continues to seek improved access for other commodities–dairy and horticultural products in particular.

New Zealand has developed a good political relationship with the People's Republic of China, a vast potential market. Although trade has fallen since 1988 there are good longer term prospects.



United States. New Zealand's relationship with the United States is one of the most significant, varied and co-operative that New Zealand maintains. Shared values underpin close governmental and private sector contacts across a broad range of bilateral and multilateral activities. The United States is one of New Zealand's three most important export markets and a major source of New Zealand imports. In the multilateral trade field, the two countries espouse similar open market philosophies. Co-operation is also close on international environmental matters and in Antarctic scientific research. Programmes for scientific, cultural and academic exchange maintain an awareness of New Zealand in the United States and promote the interchange of ideas and experience.

Canada.New Zealand and Canada have long enjoyed a positive and close relationship, based on shared bilateral Commonwealth, United Nations and Pacific Basin interests. Canada is an important market for our agricultural goods, particularly beef. The two countries work closely on a range of issues, including defence and security, environmental concerns, the Pacific and international economic matters, for example in the APEC forum and as members of the Cairns Group in the Uruguay Round of GATT multilateral trade negotiations.

The bilateral economic relationship is governed by the 1982 Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, which provides for regular consultations on trade and economic matters, as well as a framework for closer investment, joint venture and technology transfer activities.

Latin America and the Caribbean.New Zealand is represented in Latin America by embassies in Mexico and Chile. The Ambassador in Mexico is cross-accredited to Colombia and Peru, and the Ambassador in Chile to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The embassies' efforts are supported by honorary consular representatives in Bogota, Lima, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo and Montevideo. The High Commissioner in Ottawa is accredited to the following Caribbean countries: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Trade is the focus of New Zealand's relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly exports of dairy products and meat. There are opportunities for New Zealand involvement in agricultural, forestry and energy technology. New Zealand provides a modest amount of economic and social development assistance to the region. New Zealand's interests in international issues coincide with those of a number of Latin American and Caribbean countries in areas such as international trade, environment, Antarctica and disarmament.

Western Europe

The European Community, which is New Zealand's largest market and the source of about a quarter of its imports, is moving towards the establishment of a Single Market. The process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1992. It will provide an opportunity for New Zealand to boost trade with the community in new ranges of products.

New Zealand's relationship with the twelve-member European Community is very important. An agreement that New Zealand should have regular Ministerial-level consultations with the Presidency of the EC was reached in 1990, and the first meeting was held during the Luxembourg Presidency in 1991. Close contact is maintained with the European Commission in Brussels, and with member states, on a range of political and trade issues.

Negotiations on agricultural access are an important part of New Zealand's dealings with the EC. Restrictions exist on access to the EC for dairy products, and difficulties also arise with the sheepmeat trade. Other New Zealand primary products, such as apples, kiwifruit, fish and timber have largely unrestricted access.

These European countries are also partners in investment, in new technology and expertise. They are a source for tourists and entrepreneurial migrants. In May 1991 a Science and Technology Arrangement with the European Commission was signed. It is hoped that this step will bring about further areas of useful co-operation.

During 1991 a new diplomatic post was opened in Madrid. The small posts in Athens and Vienna were closed, and their responsibilities transferred to Rome and Bonn respectively. Several European posts had their staffing resources strengthened in order to correspond better with the major political changes which have occurred in Europe since 1989.

Central Europe

Developments over the last two year have changed the face of Central Europe. The former German Democratic Republic has been reunited with the Federal Republic of Germany. The overthrow of Communist regimes and the holding of free elections in many of the countries in the region has brought to power governments committed to political pluralism and economic reform. All are moving from centrally planned to market economies, and are looking to strengthen their links with Western Europe and particularly with the European Community.

New Zealand is offering aid to the political and economic reform of Central Europe. Funds have been contributed for technical assistance, vocational and agricultural training, and the promotion of the business ventures between New Zealand and Central European companies. A number of joint ventures, mainly in the field of agricultural technology, have been established in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

As part of a process of restructuring New Zealand's representation in Europe, the embassy in Vienna, which was accredited to a number of Central European countries, was closed. Responsibility for New Zealand's relations with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia has been transferred to the embassy in Bonn.

Soviet Union

Rapid political change continued in the Soviet Union. Following the dissolution of the Union new arrangements have been devised to replace existing state machinery, in particular the implementation of a federal style commonwealth named the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.). Fifteen independent states constitute the commonwealth, these are: Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Estonia; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Moldova; Russia; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; and Uzbekistan. Treaties on economic and military relations are yet to be finalised.

Trade remains the central component of New Zealand's economic relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet market is our eighth largest: exports last year amounted to $293 million (mainly dairy products and wool). Trade was for a time disrupted by delays in payment. These have now been resolved in the case of dairy products and new contracts were concluded. Although $20 million is still outstanding for wool, exporters continued to explore possible new arrangements to permit trade to resume.

The Dairy Board subsidiary, SOVENZ, has continued to expand its joint venture projects in Siberia and in the Soviet Far East. Some 100 New Zealanders are currently employed on short-term contracts in these regions.

Middle East

New Zealand has significant economic interests in the Middle East. Its oil-rich economies are important importers of New Zealand agricultural exports. New Zealand has embassies in Tehran and Riyadh and accreditations to many other Middle Eastern countries. New Zealand has also been involved in international peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East for a number of years.

In 1990-1991, the Gulf War was the predominant factor in the region. New Zealand supported United Nations Security Council resolutions from the outset of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. New Zealand was an active participant in the multinational force which, in accordance with those resolutions, liberated Kuwait from Iraq. New Zealand's participation was based on the international principles at stake: support for UN-authorised action to resist an attempt by one state to extinguish the independent existence of another, a fellow member of the United Nations.

After Kuwait's liberation, New Zealand was closely involved in the international post-war humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. New Zealanders served on a personal basis in the UN's demarcation of the Kuwait/Iraq border. The Government made available military medical personnel to serve with UNSCOM–the international operation designed to find and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and of chemical warfare. New Zealand's Embassy in Iraq was evacuated during the crisis; it has not resumed activities.

The Gulf War opened up a possibility of all-party negotiations leading to long term settlement of the Arab/Israel dispute. New Zealand has maintained an evenhanded policy on the Arab/Israel issue for more than 40 years, consistently upholding the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, equally consistently, Israel's right to exist within secure borders. Since 1982 New Zealand has contributed a contingent to the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) based on the Egypt/Israel border in the Sinai. The Prime Minister, Rt Hon. J Bolger, visited Egypt in October 1991. In the course of the visit, he spent a day with the MFO.


In recent years there has been increased contact between New Zealand and Africa. New Zealand has received visits by the Foreign Ministers of Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Jim Bolger, visited Zimbabwe and Kenya in October 1991–the former in the context of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Harare.

New Zealand's diplomatic coverage in Africa has expanded with the Harare High Commission, in Zimbabwe, now accredited to Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, and Namibia. New Zealand posts in London, Paris and Riyadh are accredited to Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt respectively.

New Zealand has had a long standing involvement in development co-operation in Africa. It also contributes to Commonwealth and other multilateral programmes. New Zealand has also contributed to international relief appeals.

In the international arena New Zealand is active on the issue of apartheid. New Zealand has implemented all economic and other measures against South Africa recommended by the United Nations and the Commonwealth and supports the Commonwealth's programmed management approach to sanctions and the policy of selective sporting contacts. New Zealand does not have diplomatic relations with South Africa.

Total trade with African countries accounts for only a small percentage of New Zealand's global trade. The major exports to the region are dairy products, fish, wool, textiles and electrical equipment. Imports from Africa include cocoa, coffee, sisal and tobacco. Algeria is New Zealand's most important market in the continent.

The Africa Information Centre, in Wellington, serves as a source of information on Africa and African issues for New Zealanders. African countries supply the centre with information material.

Assistance to developing countries

New Zealand's Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a co-operative process, a partnership between peoples and countries. It is pursued bilaterally through governments, through multilateral organisations, through non-government organisations active in developing countries and through the private sector.

The development process encourages individuals, groups and governments to participate actively in all decisions influencing their lives, and through this participation, to attain greater self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

For the 1989–1990 financial year, New Zealand's expenditure on the Official Development Assistance programme was $146.93 million. A new budgetary system was introduced in 1990-1991, under which $148.66 million was allocated by the Government as Payments on Behalf of the Crown (POBOC) for direct transfers of New Zealand goods, services and funding to developing countries through the ODA programme. The overall bilateral allocation was $ 129.60 million, over half of which ($74.43 million) was designated for ODA in the South Pacific. Allocations to the multilateral schedule totalled $17.73 million. Table 3.1 shows the 1990–1991 ODA allocation broken down into some major subtotals.


Source: Ministry of External Relations and Trade.
Bilateral schedule—$(million)
      Cook Islands14,420 
      Western Samoa6,200 
      Papua New Guinea5,110 
      Other Pacific Island Countries11,810 
      South Pacific Regional Programmes11,697 
                    Subtotal 74,427
ASEAN countries9,580
Other country programmes 3,710
Relief operations, voluntary agencies, etc.4,710 
Education and training37,173 
                    Total bilateral schedule129,600
Multilateral schedule—
Commonwealth agencies1,385
United Nations agencies6,225
International financial institutions9,663
Other organisations453
                    Total multilateral schedule17,726
Supplementary estimates and transfers1 336
                    Total official development assistance148,662

Human resources development is a vital feature of the development programme. At current levels, one quarter of ODA expenditure is directed to education and training. This includes the tuition, travel, and living costs of some 700 students from developing countries (692 as at August 1991) nominated by their home governments for ODA Study Awards, and more than 3000 private students from developing countries whose tuition costs are paid for by the ODA Programme under the Fees Scholarships Programme. Under a further short term specialist training and work attachment scheme, 102 men and 12 women from a dozen developing countries received training in 1990. Other aspects of human resource development include advisers and instructors for on-the-job training in the home country. often associated with projects forming part of bilateral New Zealand ODA programmes.

As well as making financial contributions to Commonwealth and UN agencies which run education and training programmes, the ODA programme meets 4 percent of the recurrent budget of the University of the South Pacific. In 1990, 178 third country scholarships were offered to enable students in South Pacific countries to study at educational institutions in the region such as the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education.

This emphasis on human resource development reflects the New Zealand Government's conviction that increasing literacy and learning are fundamental to closing the gap between the developed and developing worlds. It also reflects the Government's conviction that effective study and training makes friends abroad for New Zealand.

Multilateral assistance extends New Zealand's capacity to deliver support to areas of need in regions where New Zealand does not have diplomatic representation. New Zealand participates in international financial institutions, such as the International Development Association (World Bank) and the Asian Development Fund; United Nations agencies, e.g. the United Nations Development Programme; Commonwealth agencies, e.g. the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation; and other multilateral aid, development and humanitarian organisations, e.g. the International Committee for the Red Cross. 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 South Pacific regional organisations, such as the Pacific Forum Secretariat, the South Pacific Commission, the Forum Fisheries Agency, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Pacific Islands Industrial Development Scheme.

Voluntary Agency support is also an important party of New Zealand's development cooperation. This currently takes the form of annual grants to Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), the Voluntary Agency Support Scheme (VASS) and the non-Governmental organisation (NGO) co-ordinating body, the Council for International Development (CID). The VASS operates as a subsidy scheme for programmes supported by New Zealand NGOs in all regions of the less developed world. Recommendations for VASS funding of projects are made by a Project Selection Committee. From 1991–1992 the VASS will also incorporate the Women in Development fund for appropriate activities in the South Pacific, which began in 1988–1989.

3.2 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.

During 1990 New Zealand maintained its firm commitment to UN peacekeeping with its personnel contribution to peacekeeping operations in Iran (UNIIMOG), Lebanon (UNTSO), Pakistan (UNMCTT), Angola (UNAVEMII), Namibia (UNTAG), the latter also comprising a contingent of 32 police. In addition to the provision of personnel New Zealand also contributes financially to peacekeeping operations (see section 3.4, Defence).

New Zealand contributed over $4.6 million to humanitarian relief work in 1990–1991 with nearly $1.75 million going to relieve the destruction and hardship caused by Cyclone Ofa which struck island states of the South Pacific in February 1990. To date (January 1992) $1.5 million in aid (out of a predicted $6 million) has been donated to Western Samoa in the wake of Cyclone Val. ‘Val’ struck the island on 10 December 1991 and caused more extensive damage than 1990's Cyclone Ofa.

Grants worth $1.6 million were made to relief schemes established by various international agencies in the Middle East to assist victims of the Gulf crisis. Support worth $200,000 was provided to the United Nations Border Relief Operation to assist Cambodian refugees located in camps on the Thai border and another $400,000 was given to various UN relief agencies for work inside Cambodia. The Government also contributed $500,000 to the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1990–1991, half for core budget activities and half for general relief work. Other contributions were made to specific UNHCR programmes in the Middle East and Indo-China. A voluntary contribution of $200,000 was passed to the Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East and $850,000 was given to the World Food Programme. An annual grant of $850,000 was made to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). A special contribution of $200,000 was made to Save the Children Fund for work in Sudan. A voluntary contribution of $20,000 was made to the UN Disaster Relief Organisation. A contribution of $300,000 was also made to the UN Secretary-General's special cyclone relief appeal for Bangladesh.

In addition to its contributions to the humanitarian work of the UN and its agencies New Zealand provided a voluntary contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of $200,000. Further grants of $50,000 each were given to Red Cross emergency programmes in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, the Papua New Guinean island of Bougainville and for victims of the Iranian earthquake. Another $100,000 was given to the New Zealand Red Cross Society to enable them to deploy New Zealand personnel in refugee relief activities in a number of countries from Afghanistan to Kampuchea.

Other contributions were also made to assist various relief efforts following natural disasters in Peru ($25,000) and the Philippines ($100,000).

Human rights issues, including United Nations measures to eliminate torture, discrimination against women, and racism and racial discrimination, remain an important concern. During 1990 New Zealand became the first country to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights abolishing the death penalty. It also presented its eighth and ninth consolidated report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. New Zealand has maintained its financial support of the UN's voluntary funds in support of human rights, contributing during 1990 to the separate funds to assist victims of torture, for advisory services, and for indigenous populations.

With the assistance of UNESCO and the Commonwealth Secretariat, New Zealand organised the first training seminar for South Pacific officials on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in Rarotonga in 1990. In 1991 New Zealand, Australia and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women ran a seminar for South Pacific governmental and non-governmental representatives on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, also in Rarotonga.

New Zealand continued to support balanced resolutions at the Commission on Human Rights and in the Third Committee (which deals with human rights matters) at the General Assembly, particularly those in support of the United Nations human rights instruments and the effective functioning of the monitoring bodies they have established.

New Zealand also plays a full part in all aspects of international economic and development activity, not only in the United Nations 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 also contributes to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The specialised agencies. The United Nations 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 United Nations budget are based on members' capacity to pay. In 1990 New Zealand's assessed contribution rate was set at 0.24 percent of the regular budget, resulting in dues of $4 million. Contributions to the budgets of specialised agencies are fixed according to a scale of assessment agreed by the membership as a whole.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).Begun in 1947, as a framework for negotiations to achieve substantial reductions in tariffs and other barriers to trade, GATT's world membership has expanded from 23 original member countries (which included New Zealand) to 96 parties. The GATT membership represents over 80 percent of world trade. The Secretariat for GATT is a United Nations specialised agency, based in Geneva.

The GATT has been founded on the principle of non-discrimination amongst contracting parties, embodied in the most-favoured nation (MFN) obligation. The MFN principle is particularly important to countries such as New Zealand, since it ensures that larger nations cannot exert economic influence through discriminatory trade policies.

A series of multilateral trade negotiations have been held with the aim of reducing obstacles to trade and refine the rules and disciplines.

In 1986 member countries agreed to embark on an eighth round of negotiations, the ‘Uruguay Round’. This is the most ambitious set of negotiations yet, extending to 15 broad areas, many not previously covered by GATT rules. One of New Zealand's main priorities will be to ensure that trade in agricultural products, which has never been fully integrated into the GATT system, is progressively liberalised and brought under effective rules and disciplines (for both barriers and subsidies). The Cairns Group of agricultural trade reformers, of which New Zealand is an active participant, has been working to that end.

The Uruguay Round was scheduled to be complete by the end of 1990. A Ministerial meeting was convened in Brussels in December 1990 to bring the negotiations to a conclusion but it failed to do so. The principal reason for the breakdown was failure to agree on a new regime for agriculture. This aspect of the negotiation is of critical importance to New Zealand.

The main negotiating groups were reconstituted in the first quarter of 1991 and the negotiations engaged afresh. Agriculture remains one of the principal areas to be resolved and the success or failure of the Uruguay Round hangs on resolution in this area. Achieving this remains New Zealand's top foreign policy objective.

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 3.1 (above), includes New Zealand's contributions for 1990–1991.

World Bank

The World Bank is a multilateral lending agency consisting of four closely associated institutions—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The common objective of these institutions is to help raise living standards in developing countries by channelling financial resources from developed countries to them.

The IBRD lends, at market rates, to developing countries with relatively high per capita income. The IDA provides interest-free loans to the poorest of developing countries. The IFC promotes growth in the private sector of developing countries by lending or investing in business enterprises without government guarantees. The MIGA has been recently created to insure investments in developing countries against political risks such as expropriation, war, civil disturbance and breach of contract.

New Zealand has subscribed to a total of 4696 shares in the IBRD, which represents 0.54 percent of the total voting share. The shares have a total par value of US$566 million, although over 90 percent of this amount has not been called up but, together with the uncalled subscription of other member countries, acts as a guarantee for the Bank's borrowing in the financial markets.

Since becoming a member of the IDA in 1975, New Zealand has committed $91.35 million to IDA through periodic replenishments of its fund. New Zealand owns 1583 fully paid shares in the IFC which have a total par value of US$1.6 million.

The Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank's (ADB's) principal function is to promote and finance the economic and social advancement of its 29 developing member countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has 36 member countries in the Asia-Pacific region and 15 member countries in Europe and North America.

New Zealand currently holds 35,085 shares, which make up about two percent of the bank's total share capital. The country also makes contributions to the periodic replenishment of the ADB's Asian Development Fund (ADF), the bank's facility for lending to its poorest developing member countries. New Zealand's contribution to the last replenishment, which was concluded in 1986, came to $27.4 million. New Zealand is currently participating in negotiations for the next replenishment of the fund. Our contribution will be paid in over a six-year period beginning in 1996.


The 50 members and two 'special members' of the Commonwealth include countries in the six continents and the five oceans of the world. 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.

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 co-ordinates a wide range of other activities.

Heads of government meet every second year. The most recent meeting was held in Harare in October 1991. 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 1990–1991. New Zealand also takes part in the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, contributing about $725,000 in 1990–1991. Contributions are made to a range of other intergovernmental Commonwealth co-operative programmes, including, in 1990, $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.

Within the OECD, New Zealand's priorities have been economic, agricultural, and trade issues and, more recently environmental issues have been added. Other areas where New Zealand participates in OECD work include education, science, health, labour, financial and investment affairs, social policy and the organisation's increasingly important work with non-member countries particularly those from the dynamic Asian economies, and central and eastern European countries emerging from Communist rule. 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 the continuing conceptual work being done on the multilateral trading system in parallel to the current Uruguay Round under GATT. This includes work on protectionism in agricultural trade (initiated by New Zealand), subsidies and trade in services.

New Zealand is also a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous body of 19 member countries within the OECD framework. The IEA includes energy-related environmental issues in its overall programme of energy co-ordination, the aim of which is to promote co-operation between energy producing and consuming countries.

International Whaling Commission

New Zealand plays a leading role among the conservationist members of the International Whaling Commission. In recent years we have sought to persuade the IWC to maintain the moratorium on commercial whaling which was imposed in 1985–1986. For the moment the moratorium remains in force, but whaling countries are seeking to have it lifted. The most recent Annual Meeting of the IWC was held in Reykjavik, Iceland, in May 1991.

3.3 New Zealand territories


A territory under New Zealand's administration since 1948, 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 1690 in 1986.

Administrative responsibility for Tokelau lies with the Administrator, Mr Graham Ansell. 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.

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. Delegations from Tokelau visited New York in April 1990, and their message to the United Nations reflected the views expressed on earlier missions that they did not, for the time being, wish to review the existing ties between New Zealand and themselves. New Zealand takes steps to ensure that the Tokelau public service meets Tokelau's administrative, social, economic and development requirements. The public service numbered 199 at 30 June 1990.

New Zealand provided $4.3 million of budgetary aid in the year ended 30 June 1990. 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's economy 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.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency consists of the land, permanent ice-shelf and islands of Antarctica between 160° east and 150° 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. An Antarctic scientific research programme is maintained at the Ross Dependency, with New Zealand operating Scott Base on Ross Island as a permanent base, and two seasonal bases. 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 39 parties to the treaty meet regularly to consider questions within its framework.

3.4 Defence

The Governor-General as Commander-in-Chief is empowered to raise and maintain the New Zealand Naval Forces, the New Zealand Army, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. These forces, together with civilian employees, constitute the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Minister of Defence's power of control of the New Zealand Defence Force is exercised through the Chief of Defence Force. The Chief of Defence Force is the principal military adviser to the minister and responsible for the carrying out of the functions and duties of the Defence Force; the general conduct of the Defence Force; the management of the activities and resources of the Defence Force; and is convenor and chairman of a Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The Secretary of Defence, chief executive of the Ministry of Defence, is the principal civilian adviser to the minister. The secretary is responsible for formulating advice, in consultation with the Chief of Defence Force, on defence policy; the procurement, replacement or repair of defence equipment which has major significance to military capability; and assessment and audit of the Defence Force in relation to any function, duty, or project.

The former Defence Council was abolished in April 1990 with the passing of the Defence Act 1990.

1991 Defence white paper

The Government's white paper, The Defence of New Zealand 1991, provides the foundation for the longer term shaping of New Zealand's defence structure to support the country's security interests.

In updating New Zealand's defence policy the white paper adopts a new approach. It does not try and estimate the likelihood of future threats in the Asia/Pacific region. Instead it looks at the permanent features of New Zealand's geography and situation, the constants that change only slowly if at all, and which shape New Zealand's forces and the tasks they have to carry out

The white paper acknowledges that the defence of New Zealand's territory is a low priority—there is no foreseeable direct threat—and stresses the importance of contributing to the defence of New Zealand's wider interests.

Based upon its assessment of New Zealand's strategic situation and interests, the white paper defines New Zealand's defence policy goals in the following terms:

  • To maintain the sovereignty of New Zealand.

  • To preserve the security and of New Zealand, and its essential interests.

  • To maintain the sovereignty and security of the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.

  • To contribute to the security of the South Pacific states with which New Zealand shares historical or other particular interests and to contribute generally to the security and stability of the South Pacific region.

  • To develop further the existing defence co-operation with Australia, including combined planning, operations, logistics and the industrial base.

  • To maintain and develop defence co-operation with ASEAN countries, and to preserve the partnership obligations of the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

  • To work to re-establish an effective defence relationship with New Zealand's other traditional partners, especially the United States and the United Kingdom.

  • To support the United Nations by contributing forces for peacekeeping or peacemaking duties.

  • To contribute forces to other collective endeavours where New Zealand's national interests are involved.

  • To ensure that the general purpose forces implied by these goals are capable of supporting non-military interests.

The strategy which the white paper concludes best meets New Zealand's defence goals is described as ‘Self Reliance in Partnership’. This strategy links the need for a self reliant capability to handle immediate national tasks—the protection of New Zealand territory and sovereignty—with broader interests shared in partnership with Australia, the South Pacific and the countries beyond.

The white paper also defines the capabilities and funding methods needed to support New Zealand's national goals as economically as possible. It measures the existing Defence Force against the yardstick of the credible minimum force. Minimum because the force must be fiscally sustainable given New Zealand's current economic circumstances. Credible because, even at a minimum level, it must meet the essential aims defined by successive governments, and reassure New Zealand's neighbours and allies that the Government has the resolve and the capability to do so.

The white paper signals the start of the process of reviewing defence. It provides the broad framework and guidance under which detailed planning will be carried out over the next few years.

Lowering of the flag for the last time at Fort Dorset, Wellington, November 1991.

International defence relationships

ANZUS.This security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States came into force in 1952. Each party recognised that an armed attack in the Pacific on any of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declared that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes. However, 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. President Bush's September 1991 announcement of a decision to remove tactical nuclear weapons from United States Navy ships and submarines has removed a major obstacle to the restoration of New Zealand's role in ANZUS and has prompted the New Zealand Government to review the question of nuclear propulsion with the aim of determining whether a regime that fully met safety considerations could be instituted to allow visits by nuclear propelled ships. That examination was underway at the time this material was prepared.

The Five Power Defence Arrangements. The basis of the Five Power Defence Arrangements is not a formal treaty but a statement in the communiqué of the meeting of ministers of Britain, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in 1971. The focus of the arrangements is the action and support available to Malaysia and Singapore if either of these countries was under external threat. Only a small Defence Support Unit in Singapore now supports New Zealand's contribution to the arrangements. Their involvement takes the form of exercise participation, visits, and training assistance and co-operation.

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 repealed.

Co-operation with other countries. To facilitate exchanges on military matters, defence representatives are posted to New Zealand diplomatic missions in London, Canberra, Melbourne, Washington, Ottawa, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby. 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 attachés on the staffs of the French, Indonesian, and United States embassies in Wellington. Several other countries have service attachés accredited to, but not resident in, New Zealand.

Armed forces overseas

Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA). A small administrative element, known as the Defence Support Unit, remains in Singapore to support bilateral exercises under the FPDA and the Mutual Assistance Programme, continued single service deployments and training attachments. An RNZAF officer remains attached to the staff of the FPDA Integrated Air Defence System Headquarters at Butterworth, Malaysia.

United Nations observers. New Zealand has five observers in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation.

Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). This programme was established in April 1982 to verify compliance with the terms of the peace treaty concluded between Egypt and Israel on 26 March 1979. The operational headquarters of MFO is in El Gorah, in the Sinai. Ten countries contribute to MFO, including a 25-man New Zealand contingent, which includes a training and advisory team, a heavy transport section and engineers.

United Nations Iran/Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG). This group was responsible for confirming, supervising and monitoring the cease-fire between Iran and Iraq which came into effect on 20 August 1988. New Zealand's contribution to UNIIMOG comprised 10 army officers and an 18-strong RNZAF flight and ground crew contingent which is operating an RNZAF Andover aircraft. Both groups worked in Iran. Although 26 countries were represented in UNIIMOG, New Zealand was the largest national contributor in terms of both manpower and equipment. The RNZAF detachment was withdrawn in December 1990, and the Army representation concluded with the termination of the mission in February 1991.

United Nations Mine Clearance Training Team. (UNMCTT). This programme was established early in 1989 to train Afghan personnel in mine clearance techniques so that they could undertake mine clearance work in Afghanistan, especially in the border areas through which returning refugees would pass. It is estimated that several million mines of many different types are randomly scattered around the countryside. New Zealand has provided teams of five army personnel since February 1989 for periods of six months. The New Zealand contingent is based in Peshawar, in north-west Pakistan.

United Nations Transitional Assistance Group. This group was responsible for ensuring the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections under the supervision and control of the United Nations. New Zealand contributed 14 army engineers in late September 1989 for a period of six months. The main tasks of the unit were the removal of debris from transport routes, the construction and maintenance of electoral facilities, and assistance with community projects. The New Zealand Army personnel were located in seven different centres; they departed from Namibia in February 1990 on the termination of their mission.

United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM). New Zealand has contributed 12 officers to UNAVEM, which was established on 1 May 1991 to verify the cease-fire between the Angolan Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The UNAVEM mandate will last until the day following the presidential and legislative elections which are to be held between 1 September and 30 November 1992. The New Zealand officers are based in the capital, Luanda, and deployed from there to monitoring sites throughout Angola for specific periods.

Gulf War. In December 1990, an air transport detachment, consisting of two C130 aircraft and 61 personnel was deployed to the Multi-National Force in the Persian Gulf. This was followed on 16 January 1991 by a medical contingent of 32 personnel, forming the 1st New Zealand Army Medical Team. The C130 detachment was integrated into the RAF theatre logistic resupply arrangement operating within Saudi Arabia, while the medical team was attached to the US Navy Fleet Hospital in Bahrain. Following a request for further assistance in providing medical capability, the Government approved the attachment to the United Kingdom armed forces of a 20-member tri-service medical contingent, the New Zealand Defence Force Medical Team, for service with the Multi-National Force. This contingent was based at the RAF hospital in Bahrain. With the exception of five medical personnel who remained attached to the RAF hospital, the medical contingents were withdrawn on 18 March 1991. The air transport contingent and remaining medical personnel were withdrawn early in April 1991.

New Zealand patrolman at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during Gulf War.

United Nations Special Commission on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (UNSCOM). Following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations established a Special Commission to destroy, remove or render harmless weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile capabilities. UNSCOM is based in Bahrain, from where inspection teams (e.g. nuclear, biological, chemical or ballistic missile) visit Iraq to inspect specific installations. New Zealand has contributed 10 military medical personnel who provide pre-deployment training in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare protection and on-site medical coverage to the various inspection teams.

United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC). On 21 October, 1991, the Government agreed to a proposal that New Zealand participate in the United Nations operation in Cambodia. The contribution is a mine awareness team of 22 New Zealand Army personnel. They will have sole responsibility within the UNAMIC for advising the civilian population in North West Cambodia on land mine awareness and disposal procedures. The size of the team makes New Zealand the third largest contributor of the 23 countries invited to join the mission. The tour is expected to last six months.

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 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. During November and December 1990 RNZAF C130 Hercules made 12 return trips to McMurdo Sound, transporting 159,285 kilograms of freight and 372 passengers and 994 kilograms of baggage. All three services provided air cargo handlers at Harewood and McMurdo Sound during the summer season, and specialist personnel such as chefs, communications operators and engineers supported the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme at both Scott and McMurdo Bases.

In addition to the C130 flights the RNZAF has also stationed an Iroquois helicopter at McMurdo in the summer months from November to February to provide additional air support to the antarctic programme in 1985, 1989 and 1990. In 1990 it flew 150 hours, carrying 240 passengers and over 40,000 kilograms of freight to sustain remote field science parties.

Exercises. STARFISH 90 and 91, attended by the Navy and the Air Force and IADS, an integrated air defence exercise, were conducted under the auspices of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. The Navy also took part in TASMANEX 91, a combined martime exercise involving Australia, New Zealand and Canada; SELINDO 91 a combined exercise with the Indonesian Navy; and IVANHOE 91, a joint exercise with the New Zealand Army.

The RNZAF regularly participates in VANGUARD, operating in support of the Five Power Defence Arrangement out of Singapore; FINCASTLE, an anti-submarine warfare competition between Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom; BULLS-EYE a tactical transport competition between Australia, New Zealand and Canada; and HELIMEET a series of helicopter competitions flown by most European nations and Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Battle of Crete 50th Anniversary Celebrations. In May 1991 a 50-man honour guard and the New Zealand Army Band attended the 50th Anniversary celebrations in Crete, to commemorate those New Zealanders who lost their lives.

Community assistance

Hydrographic survey. The Navy is the sole authority for the production of nautical charts in New Zealand and operates a hydrographic 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 1990 Monowai completed a survey of the Auckland Islands and of Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. In addition to completing the overall survey of Taranaki, a special survey of Port Taranaki was carried out. The ship also commenced an updated survey of the Bay of Islands.

Fishery protection. Patrols of the New Zealand 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are conducted by ships of the RNZN and by RNZAF aircraft (principally Orions and Friendships). Surveillance patrols include fishery protection tasks, after which all information is passed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The RNZAF flew 900 hours in 1990 in the maritime surveillance role.

Search and rescue. A search and rescue capability is maintained by the Navy and Air Force, with operational units maintained on a 24-hour stand-by. Both services have assisted in extensive sea rescues, including some that have ranged as far north as the Tokelau Islands and Vanuatu, and the Army has supported the Air Force in land searches. In 1990 the RNZAF flew 279 hours in 59 search and rescues. As well as search and rescue the RNZAF also flies emergency medical evacuation throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific comprising 16 flights in 1990.

New Zealand Cadet Forces. Cadet Forces comprise the Sea Cadets, Air Training Corps and New Zealand Cadet Corps. They are community-based youth training groups, who are supported by the Navy League, Air Cadet League, Returned Servicemens' Association, Army Association and schools.

As at 30 September 1991, there were a total 94 cadet units (18 Sea Cadet, 50 Air Training Corps and 26 Cadet Corps units). Cadet Forces strength at the same date was 440 officers and 5060 cadets.

Other assistance provided to the community included co-operation with the police (field catering and helicopter support) Fire departments (providing an aerial fire fighting platform) and the Departments of Internal Affairs, Conservation, Labour (including explosive ordnance disposal), Customs and Justice, and the Ministries of Civil Defence and Agriculture and Fisheries. In April 1991 Operation Pluto was reactivated for the eighth time in New Zealand history ferrying 116 vehicles and 253 passengers across the Cook Strait.

“Parachutists landing on Galatos” (Crete) by Peter McIntyre.

Disaster relief

The RNZAF undertook relief flights to Western Samoa, Niue, Tokelau and the Cook Islands in March 1990 after Cyclones Ofa and Peni. HMNZS Wellington and Endeavour also delivered relief supplies to Niue, Tokelau and Western Samoa after Cyclone Ofa, and the ships' crews were engaged on a range of reconstruction tasks in Tokelau and Western Samoa.

In May 1991 relief flights were flown by the RNZAF to Cyclone ravaged Bangladesh. In the wake of Cyclone Val in December 1991 the New Zealand Defence Forces supplied a variety of disaster relief including the deployment of RNZAF Orions and Hercules, the HMNZS frigate Canterbury, medical assistance, helicopter transport assistance and expertise in construction and general engineering. January 1992 again saw the RNZAF deploy an Orion to Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Betsi.

Cyclone's weren't the only cause of relief aid distribution. On fleeing from the prospect of the Gulf War in September 1990 more than 1500 starving refugees were airlifted from Jordan to Pakistan, India, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh and Philippines by the RNZAF.

Then some weeks later in April 1991, the RNZAF once again flew relief aid this time to the Kurds in Turkey and Iran taking refuge from the Gulf War.

RNZAF Iroquois helicopter on Savai'i Island, Western Samoa. The Iroquois was part of the New Zealand relief effort sent to Samoa in the wake of Cyclone Val.

Defence expenditure

About 90 percent of Vote: Defence is spent on personnel and operating and capital costs. There is a policy to encourage greater logistic sufficiency, both within New Zealand and in conjunction with Australia.


ItemYear ended 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Travel, transport, and communications31.1337.7641.0443.5650.07
Maintenance, operation, upkeep, and rental66.6589.26102.62111.96111.04
Materials and supplies185.91184.19190.46177.51161.49
Other operating expenditure5.917.8713.7014.5226.37
Grants, contributions, subsidies, advances, GST.0.3849.86114.67133.56140.97
Capital works22.1537.1342.0186.4857.06
Capital equipment148.30200.16201.56157.44195.69

From 1 July 1990 Defence funding was disaggregated to two government departments: the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) under the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) under the Secretary of Defence (Secretary). The Secretary is responsible for policy formulation, major capital procurement and performance audit. CDF is responsible for all operational activities. At the same time, financial management reform within the New Zealand Public Service was changing the department's accounting procedures from simple cash processing to accrual accounting.


As at 31 MarchNavyArmyAir ForceTotalCivilians
Source: New Zealand Defence Force.


 Percentage of GDP
Source: International Institute of Strategic Studies; New Zealand Defence Force.
New Zealand2.
United Kingdom4. 
United States of America6. 

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.

HMNZS Wellington.


Source: Ministry of Defence.
Frigates (Leander class){Wellington
}11th Frigate Squadron.
Fleet tanker Endeavour  
Survey ship Monowai  
Research ship Tui  
Patrol craft{Hawea
}First New Zealand Patrol Craft Squadron.
Inshore survey craft{Takapu
RNZNVR inshore patrol craft{Moa
}Second New Zealand Patrol Craft Squadron.
Diving support vessel Manawanui  
Training tender Kahu  
Dockyard service craft Arataki  

HMNZS Canterbury.

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 Hydro-graphic 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.

HMNZS Southland.


CategoryAt 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Regular forces
     Officers (male and female)370377384393
     Ratings (male and female)2,2272,1982,0832,173
Non-regular forces
     Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve (officers)4111
     Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (all ranks)464508497498
     Royal New Zealand Navy Emergency List (officers)7584....
     Royal New Zealand Naval Fleet Reserve (ratings)701703....

HMNZS Endeavour.


HMNZS Monowai.

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. A deployable Brigade group comprising Regular and Territorial Force personnel.

  3. Force troops, such as the Special Air Service, Force Intelligence Group and Signals to operate with or independently of the Ready Reaction Force and the deployable Brigade group.

  4. A Force Support Group.

Command and administration. The Chief of General Staff commands the Army, supported by the Army General Staff. The Army has the following structure:

  1. Headquarters Land Force Command is responsible for the four operational components of the Army, namely: the Ready Reaction Force, the Integrated Expansion Force, the Force Troops, and the Brigade.

  2. Headquarters Support Command is responsible for the provision of individual training, static support and facilities, and base support.


Army unitsRegular Force unitsMajor integrated units
Regular and territorial unitsMajor weapons and armoured fighting vehicles
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Infantry battalions26 
Armoured squadron12 
Field artillery battery15 
Engineer squadrons12 
Signals squadrons13 
SAS group 1 
Transport squadrons 2 
Field workshops11 
Base workshop12 
Supply companies1  
Base supply battalion1  
Field hospital 1 
Combat reconnaissance vehicles (tracked)  26
M113 armoured personnel-carrier family of vehicles  78
105 mm guns/howitzers  44


CategoryAt 31 March

* Class A and class B reserves.

Source: Ministry of Defence.

Regular forces
     Officers (male and female)814814752662
     Other ranks (male and female)5,0584,9044,4284,226
Non-regular forces
     Territorial Force (all ranks)6,0066,0505,6275,138
     Officers Reserve131120119122
     Other ranks*1,2141,2221,3291,530

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 supported by the Air Staff.

Organisation. 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, basic flying training and ground trades training as well as 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 Force Headquarters. Operational flying units are based at RNZAF Base Auckland, RNZAF Base Ohakea and a Detachment of Iroquois helicopters at RNZAF Base Wigram. RNZAF Base Te Rapa is the RNZAF's stores depot but is scheduled for closure by 1993. The stores held there will be redistributed amongst remaining RNZAF Bases. The RNZAF Museum is located at RNZAF Base Wigram.

Engineering. 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.
Maritime{6 Orions
2 Boeing 727s
9 Andovers
5 Hercules
Helicopters{10 Iroquois
7 Wasps (operated by RNZAF)
Attack/close Air support{21 skyhawks (including 6 based at NAS Nowra, NSW)}RNZAF Base Ohakea
Advanced flying training and attack transition training 14 Strikemasters
6 Aermacchi
Flying training{4 Air tourers
14 Air trainers
5 Sioux helicopters
3 Friendships
}RNZAF Base Wigram
Helicopter support 4 Iroquois  


CategoryAt 31 March
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Regular forces
     Officers (male and female)698542643654
     Airmen and airwomen3,5773,5303,4223,425
Non-regular forces
     Territorial Air Force215224227237
     Active Reserve9619026969
     General Reserve172203156134

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 and to advise ministers on security matters. 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.

During the year ended 31 March 1991, 2 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 nine days. The method of interception used was listening devices.


Year ended 31 MarchGrass expenditureIncrease over previous year
Source: Security Intelligence Service.


  • 3.1-3.3 Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

  • 3.4 Ministry of Defence; New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.

Further information

Diplomatic List. Diplomatic and Consular Representatives in New Zealand. Government Printing Office (twice-yearly).

External Relations and Trade—a Guide to the Ministry and its Work. Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

Information Bulletins (including an annual bulletin on disarmament and arms control). Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

New Zealand External Relations Review. Ministry of External Relations and Trade (quarterly).

Overseas Posts, a List of New Zealand Representatives Abroad. Ministry of External Relations and Trade (twice-yearly).

Report of the Ministry of Defence (Parl. paper G. 4).

Report of the Ministry of External Relations and Trade (Parl. paper A. 1).

Chapter 4. Population

Golden wedding anniversary celebrations, Dunedin.

The demography of New Zealand has changed dramatically in the past hundred years. The nation has passed through a ‘demographic transition’ similar to those experienced by most western countries, and despite continued reliance on agricultural exports, has become highly urbanised.

Family formation patterns have changed radically, the divorce rate has soared, and de facto unions have become common. The average family size has shrunk to less than half of what it was and is now at a historical low. Substantial reductions in mortality mean that New Zealanders now expect to live, on average, over 20 years longer than they did a century ago.

The population age structure has also undergone profound changes, largely as a result of peaks and troughs in the birth rate. The number of elderly New Zealanders has increased over 20-fold since 1876, and the population is ageing—a process that is expected to hasten when the ‘baby boom’ generation reaches retirement age after the turn of the century. Low birth rates, recent emigration levels and the ‘greying’ of population have raised the prospect of a future slow growth or no growth environment.

The following discussions on population issues cover only the years since World War II, and more particularly the past 30 years. The aim is to highlight modern trends in New Zealand's demography and present those population changes from over the last half century which have affected, and continue to affect, the general development of the country.

4.1 Population growth

The dramatic changes in the first 150 years of European settlement in New Zealand were frequently consistent with, and indicative of, international social and economic trends. In a nation of New Zealand's size and youth however, the results of these trends often had a profound effect and impact. The almost cyclic nature of depression and recovery, along with the arrival of gold rushes, world wars and assisted immigration schemes saw New Zealand's population growth rates fluctuate regularly.

The population of New Zealand reached 500,000 in 1880 boosted by the introduction of government-assisted immigration. The first million was surpassed in 1908 following the economic recovery from the Depression of the 1880s and 1890s. In the aftermath of World War II the growth rate climbed dramatically (in comparison to a stagnation in the early 1930s) as the baby-boom and increased immigration made their impact. The second million of population was reached in 1952,44 years after the first million with the third added, only 21 years later, in 1973. Almost one-fifth of this population growth came from net immigration. Since 1973 New Zealand's population has increased by just under one-half of a million to reach 3.45 million at December 1991.

Over the past 20 years there have been significant fluctuations in the population growth rate caused by wide swings in the level and direction of the external migration balance. In absolute terms, New Zealand's population grew by a record 266,752 during 1971-76, only 46,354 over 1976-81, 131,347 during 1981-86 and 127,866 over the latest intercensal period, 1986-91.

The decline in population growth during the 1970s and 1980s was again a noticeable international trend. A number of other developed countries, including Denmark, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, have all experienced reduced growth rates during this period_


Census*Total populationIntercensal increase
NumberPercentAnnual average (percent)
* Omits censuses of 1861, 1864, 1867 and 1871 as censuses of Maori population were not taken in these years.
1858, 24 December115,462
1874, 1 March344,984
1878, 3 March458,007113,02332.767.33
1881, 3 April534,0307602316.605.10
1886, 28 March620,45186,42116.183.07
1891, 5 April668,65148,2007.771.49
1896, 12 April74321474,56311.152.13
1901, 31 March815,86272,6489.771.89
1906, 29 April936,309120,44714.762.75
1911, 2 April1058,312122,00313.032.52
1916, 15 October1,149,22590,9138.591.50
1921, 17 April1,271,668122,44310.652.27
1926, 20 April1,408,139136,47110.732.06
1936, 24 March1573,812165,67311.771.13
1945, 25 September1,702,330128,5188.170.83
1951, 17 April1,93947223714213.932.37
1956, 17 April2,174,062234,59012.102.31
1961, 18 April2,414,984240,92211.082.12
1966, 22 March2,676,91926193510.852.11
1971, 23 March2,862,631185,7126.941.35
1976, 23 March3,129,383266,7529.321.80
1981, 24 March3,175,73746,3541.480.29
1986, 4 March3,307,0841313474.140.82
1991, 5 March3,434,950127,8663.870.77

Table 4.2. ESTIMATED POPULATION, 1939-1991

YearTotal population at 31 DecemberMean population for year ended 31 December

Percentage annual increase

Census enumerator aboard train bound for Wellington.

4.2 Distribution of population

Three major trends stand out prominently in the geographic distribution and redistribution of New Zealand's population over the last 150 years. The first is an increasing proportion of the people living in the north of the country. The second is a tendency for the people to move from the south to the north. The third is for an increasing degree of urbanisation and in particular, a concentration of people in the main urban centres.

North and South Islands

Following the end of the gold boom in the South Island in the 1870s the proportion of the total population living in the South Island began to steadily decrease. From the 1896 census onward the population of the North Island has exceeded that of the South.

Since that time the North Island's population has continued to expand at a greater rate, and its share of the total population has continued to grow. In 1951, 68 percent of the population resided in the North Island, by 1971 this figure has risen to almost 72 percent and in 1991 was at 74 percent.


CensusNorth IslandSouth IslandTotal population

Many influences have contributed to the persistence and amplification of the population differential between the two islands. The North Island has had a higher birth rate, a lower mortality rate and, as a result, a higher rate of natural increase. The bulk of overseas migrants settle in the North Island and people are also gained internally from the South Island.

Internal migration

The movement of people within and between regions is an important determinant of New Zealand's population distribution. Overall, New Zealanders are a mobile people and, while the majority of movement is within regions, there is a significant traffic of people between regions. These latter flows have the greater impact on regional populations. In addition to affecting the size of the population of different regions, inter-regional migration also influences age structures, fertility levels and population growth rates.

For the last hundred years the trend has been for a northward drift of people. During 1981-86, regions in the north of each island gained more people from internal migration than did other regions with the highest growth areas over this period being Northland, Auckland and Bay of Plenty in the North Island and Nelson Bays in the South Island. Also there were two regions—Horowhenua and Clutha-Central Otago—situated in the lower half of each island, which experienced high growth at the expense of their southern neighbours.

Ratio of urban to rural population


Local government regionUsually resident population aged 5 years and over at 1986 censusIn-migration (2)Out-migration (3)Gross migration (2)+(3)=(4)Net migration (2)-(3)=(5)Migration effectiveness ratio (5)/(4)x100
Thames Valley516811103410317213517173.36
Bay of Plenty167907287912306751858572411.04
East Cape485496714823214946−1518−10.16
Hawke's Bay127689144481614030588−1692−5.53
Nelson Bays62439917480251719911496.68
West Coast303784938558610524−648−6.16
Clutha-Central Otago41025889578211671610746.42
Coastal-North Otago126903156331756833201−1935−5.83

Auckland is a key region in internal migration patterns, accruing population at the expense of most other regions. The second major region for receiving migrants was Wellington. It functioned as a redistribution centre. Population was gained from the South Island and also sent to northern regions. Canterbury performed a similar function in the South Island.

In most cases population flows favoured regions to the north. Thus, Southland lost population to Otago, Otago to Canterbury, Canterbury lost to Wellington and Wellington lost to Auckland.

The significance of the ‘drift north’, however, must be put in perspective. Internal migration is not a one-way process. Typically, for each migration stream moving in one direction there is an opposing counter stream. For example, during the early 1980s there was a relatively consistent south-to-north movement of 42,000 people. There was also a north-to-south flow of around 33,000. Further, a sizeable proportion of internal migration occurs between adjacent regions. The major flows over long distances, however, are mainly between major urban areas.

The balance of urban and rural components of population is another major feature of New Zealand's changing demography.


Total population†UrbanRural

* Excludes shipping.

† Urban areas and towns with over 1000 population vs. remaining population.

‡ Based on boundaries at 1 November 1989.


Improved communications and transportation have allowed the centralisation of previously dispersed services, and secondary and tertiary industries continued to expand. Over four-fifths of the population lived in urban areas by 1971, and by 1991 the urban proportion of the population had risen to over 85 percent of the total.

The cities

At the time of the 1991 census, while 85 percent of population lived in urban areas, 68 percent lived in ‘main urban areas’ (places with 30,000 people or over).

A recent feature of urbanisation has been the growing concentration of people in Auckland. In 1991, 26 percent of New Zealand's population lived there, compared with only 15 percent 70 years earlier.

Today, while a large majority of the population live in urban areas, there has been a decline in the growth of many urban areas. Between 1986 and 1991, urban areas that continued to grow were generally situated in the north of each island—between Auckland and Rotorua in the North Island and between Nelson and Christchurch in the South Island. Urban areas in the south of each island experienced virtually no growth nor lost population.


* Estimated as at 5 March 1991.
Palmerston North70951674054318524372
New Plymouth48519473843238718597

Average annual intercensal growth rates for main urban areas

Population of local government areas today

The following tables outline the population of New Zealand's territorial local authority areas and local government regions. All data conforms with the boundaries established after the 1989 reorganisation of local government. For population figures for cities, boroughs and counties in existence before 1 November 1989, refer to the 1988-89 Yearbook.


Territorial authority*Census of Population 1986Census of Population 1991Change 1986-91
* Boundaries as at 5 March 1991.
       North Shore14414915213479855.5
       Palmerston North668217031834975.2
       Upper Hutt3729037092−198−0.5
       Lower Hutt9534294540−802−0.8
              Subtotal, cities17546521829988753364.3
       Far North479125156836567.6
       South Waikato2826626186−2080−7.4
       Western Bay of Plenty2691230137322512.0
       Central Hawke's Bay1305412590−464−3.6
       New Plymouth668786795110731.6
       South Taranaki3077029519−1251−4.1
       Kapiti Coast2975435309555518.7
       South Wairarapa874790372903.3
       Banks Peninsula723276394075.6
       Central Otago1680515696−1109−6.6
              Subtotal, districts15497701602545527753.4
       Chatham Islands County775760−15−1.9
       Population outside territorial authority areas18871657
              Total, New Zealand330708434349501278663.9

Lunch-time crowd, Wellington.


RegionCensus of Population 1986Census of Population 1991Change1986-91

* Boundaries as at 5 March 1991.

† Includes Kermadec Islands and oil rigs.

‡ Includes Chatham Islands County and Campbell Island.

North Islandnumberpercent
Bay of Plenty194622208163135417.0
Hawke's Bay140844139479−1365−1.0
Remainder North Island†17995
                    Subtotal, North Island244161525534131117984.6
South Island
West Coast3637535380−995−2.7
Remainder South Island‡785769
                    Subtotal, South Island865469881537160681.9
                    Total, New Zealand330708434349501278663.9

4.3 Components of population change

Population change has two main components, natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and net migration. To indicate the relative importance of these components, in the period 1858-1989 as a whole, net migration contributed 23 percent of the total population growth in New Zealand, and natural increase the remaining 77 percent.

The relative contribution of the two components has varied from one five-year period to another, but net immigration's share has never exceeded two-fifths. In only three five-year periods (1941-45, 1966-70 and 1981-85), it contributed less than one-tenth of the total population growth, while in three periods (1931-35, 1976-80 and 1986-90) because of a net population outflow, its contribution was negative.

The volatility of migration trends contrasted with the upward trend in natural increase until 1961. The rise in natural increase has been prodigious. In 1861-65, births exceeded deaths by only 16,610. By 1961-65, the margin had soared to 205,164. Since then, the gap between births and deaths has gradually diminished because of a significant drop in the number of live births and a corresponding rise in the number of deaths. In 1981-85, births exceeded deaths by 148,423, a drop of 28 percent on a quarter of a century earlier. The rate of natural increase of population has risen from 0.8 percent to 0.9 percent.

The following text briefly looks at the population processes—fertility, mortality and migration.


Changing levels of fertility have played a major role in determining the size and structure of New Zealand's population over the years.

In 1935 the fertility rate in New Zealand fell to a low of 2.2 births per woman. This lower rate is attributed to fewer and later marriages, and family limitation within marriage exerting their influence.

With the demobilisation of forces after World War II and the resulting increase in marriages and births, the fertility rate recovered to 3.6 births per woman in 1947.


YearTotal live birthsCrude birth rate*Total fertility rate†Gross reproduction rate‡§Net reproduction rate?§||Ex-nuptial birth rate||¶

* Per 1000 mean population.

† Average number of births a woman would have during her reproductive life if she was exposed to the fertility rates experienced during that year.

‡ Average number of daughters a woman would bear during her reproductive life assuming that the age-of-mother-specific birth rates experienced during that year continue to apply.

§ Figures up to 1966 are for non-Maori population.

|| Number of daughters that a woman would bear during her reproductive life assuming that the age-of-mother-specific birth rates and mortality rates experienced during that year continue to apply.

¶ Per 1000 mean number of not-married women aged 15-49 years.


Other features of the post war years were New Zealanders marrying younger, and marriage becoming almost universal. By 1961, half of all women were married before age 22 years, compared with barely a quarter married by that age in the early 1940s. These trends were reinforced by early childbearing and the shortening of birth intervals. In the mid-1950s, age group 20-24 years replaced 25-29 years as the commonest age group for childbearing. The median age at first birth fell from 25.5 years in 1945 to 22.9 years in 1964. Fewer couples remained childless or had only one child. The net result was soaring birth numbers, up from just over 27,000 in 1935, to about 42,000 in 1945 and to over 65,000 in 1961. Over 1.1 million New Zealanders were born between 1945 and 1964—the ‘baby boomers’.

Average number of live births per woman born in any year*

As was the case elsewhere, this burgeoning in the number of births was to reshape the population age-pyramid and pose many and varied problems for policy-makers and planners in both the public and private sectors. At its peak in 1961, the total fertility rate exceeded 4.3 births per woman and significantly exceeded the figures for other developed nations. However, the upward trend was reversed in the early 1960s, just as suddenly as it had begun, which has prompted demographers to suggest that the ‘baby boom’ was merely a temporary diversion from a long-term downward trend.

The turnaround coincided with the introduction of the oral contraceptive pill in the early 1960s, but the ‘cause-and-effect’ relationship is not clear-cut. It is possible that the increased acceptance and use of the pill helped sustain the downward trend. By the mid-1970s, the post-Depression rise in fertility had ended. The total fertility rate fell below the ‘replacement level’ in 1978 and then to an all-time low of 1.92 births per woman in 1983. Its impact on the annual number of births was large. Despite a substantial increase in the number of prospective mothers, caused by the large baby boom cohorts entering the prime reproductive ages, and thus the prospects of an ‘echo boom’, births dropped from over 64 000 in 1971 to below 50,000 in 1982.

Since 1983, there has been a minor resurgence in fertility and the 1990 rate implies a life-time average of 2.15 births per woman, which is barely sufficient for the population to replace itself, without migration. However, it is still too early to suggest whether the upturn is merely a temporary phenomenon, arising largely from the making up of deferred childbearing by women aged 28-36 years, or is a long-term trend, reflecting a permanent shift to later childbearing.

The dynamics of the fertility decline or of the current low fertility levels are complex. Increased use of contraceptives, increased participation of women in the labour force, rising divorce rates and general economic conditions have probably all, directly or indirectly, contributed to it. Patterns of marriage and family formation have changed radically, with a shift away from early marriage and childbearing. Early childbearing has given way to delayed parenthood.

Newborn baby clutches gift of Kowhai tree, presented to mark World Population Day.

Between 1971 and 1986, the first marriage rate for women aged 20-24 years dropped by about two-thirds, from 308 to 112 marriages per 1000 never married women. New Zealand women are now marrying on average, nearly four years later than they did in the early 1970s. The average age at first marriage in 1990 was 24.9 years compared with 21.2 years in 1971-72. A growing proportion are remaining single through their twenties. At the 1991 census, over 19 percent of women aged 30-34 reported themselves as ‘never married’, compared with 6 percent in 1971.

The substantial postponement of marriage has been partly offset by the growth of de facto relationships (cohabitation outside marriage). Such relationships may be either a prelude to or a substitute for formal marriages. At the 1991 census, 12.3 percent and 8.1 percent of New Zealand women aged 25-29 years and 30-34 years, respectively, were living in de facto relationships. The national all age average is 6.2 percent.

These changes partly account for the substantial rise in the number of ex-nuptial births (children born to women who are not legally married), up from just over 5000 in 1962 to over 10,000 in 1977, and to over 21 000 in 1991. Ex-nuptial births comprised 8 percent of all births registered in New Zealand in 1962 and 36 percent in 1991. Changing social norms and the availability of social welfare benefits to single parents have contributed to this increase.

There is also a high incidence of ex-nuptial births among Maori. In 1990, 73 percent of all Maori births were classified as ex-nuptial and they accounted for one-quarter of the country's ex-nuptial births. This atypical situation does not necessarily reflect unconventional attitudes of Maori towards childbearing outside wedlock, but arises partly from the fact that Maori customary marriages are not legally recognised.

At birth of first child

Median age of the total population

As far as the overall fertility levels are concerned, the transition in Maori fertility from relatively large to small families is of more recent origin. Their total fertility rate fell from a high of 6.2 births per woman in 1962 to 2.3 births per woman in 1990, a 65 percent drop. The gap between the Maori and non-Maori fertility has narrowed from 2.2 to 0.2 births per woman during this period. Census-based studies also indicate high fertility among the Pacific Island Polynesians in New Zealand.

Table 4.1. VITAL STATISTICS: 1935-1990

Five-year period ending 31 DecemberTotal births*Total deaths*Natural increase*Life expectancy at birth†‡Average age at death

* For five-year period.

† Excludes Maori population.

‡ At year after each interval, i.e. 1936, 1981.

§ For total population for period 1988-90.



New Zealand has been quite successful in raising the average life expectancy of its population over the past hundred years. A temperate climate, low population density, lack of heavy industry and good nutrition gave New Zealand an early advantage over other nations in terms of health conditions.

From the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1930s, New Zealand had the lowest mortality rates in the world.

Table 4.11. DEATH RATES

YearUnder 1*1-45-1415-2425-3435-4445-5455-6465-7475 and over
* Per 1000 live births.
 rates per 1000 of mean population in each age group
Both sexes

A large part of this improvement in longevity occurred prior to the 1930s, and was due to the saving of life at younger ages. The infant mortality rate fell steadily in association with a major reduction in infectious diseases (and respiratory diseases), which were previously the main causes of death in New Zealand.

In the area of longevity, the significant development over recent years was the slowing down of mortality decline between 1955-57 and 1970-72, although there was a slight deterioration in male mortality during the mid-1960s.

Since 1970-72, there has been a gain of three-and-a-half years in the life expectancy at birth of both sexes. Unlike in earlier years, a major part of this improvement has occurred at the retirement ages. However, this improvement has not altered New Zealand's slightly disadvantaged position internationally. Currently residents of at least 10 other countries can expect to live longer than New Zealanders.

There is still considerable room for improvement, especially with regard to mortality in the first year of life and at retirement ages. Although the infant mortality rate has dropped steadily in the last 50 years—from 41.7 per 1000 in 1939 to 20.5 per 1000 in 1962, and further to 8.3 per 1000 in 1991, it is still high compared with some European countries. For two decades now, its post neo-natal component (i.e., death of a child over 28 days but under 1 year of age) has remained unchanged, at around 4 per 1000 and is significantly higher than the rate recently achieved in Scandinavian countries (see section 7.2, Public health).

Recent data indicates that heart disease, cancer and cerebrovascular diseases (in that order) continue to be the three leading causes of death in New Zealand, and together account for over three-fifths of all deaths among the adult population in any year. Respiratory diseases claim another 10 percent. Motor-vehicle accidents cause another 3 percent of all deaths in a year, with teenagers and those in their early twenties accounting for over four-fifths of these fatalities.

Although the whole nation has benefited from better living standards, advances in medical knowledge and technology, and improvements in health services over the years, some differentials still exist. One notable historical trend is the widening of the male-female differences in mortality. A century ago, women could expect to outlive men by two years. By 1950-52, the female advantage had increased to five years, and by 1988-90, it was about six years.

Life expectancy also varies according to ethnicity, with a substantial reduction in Maori mortality in the last three decades, and a significant convergence in the Maori-pakeha gap in longevity. The life expectancy at birth for Maori males increased from 54.0 years in 1950-52 to 67.4 years in 1985-87, a gain of 13.4 years. That for females rose by 16.5 years, from 55.9 years to 72.4 years. However, in 1985-87, a newborn pakeha male child could expect to outlive his Maori counterpart by 4.1 years. For females, the difference was 5.1 years.

Average age at death


New Zealand1950-5267.271.3
United Kingdom195166.271.2
New Zealand1970-7268.674.6
United Kingdom197168.875.0
New Zealand1980-8270.476.4
United Kingdom198170.876.8
New Zealand1988-9071.978.0
United Kingdom198671.977.6

External migration

New Zealand has traditionally been a country of immigration, although in the last 150 years the country's intake has been small compared with immigration flows to some New World countries, such as Australia, Canada and the United States.

Since 1840 the country has gained over 750,000 people, or just over 5000 each year.

Over the years, immigration has had a major impact on the size, growth rate, age-sex structure and ethnic composition of New Zealand's population, and has been a subject of vigorous public debate, especially when large-scale immigration has tested the amenities and structures of the country.

The end of World War II saw economic stability and the reintroduction, in 1947, of an assisted/free passage scheme to attract working-age industrial and agricultural labour from the United Kingdom. The immigration policy was further liberalised in 1950. Agreements were also negotiated to accept young non-British European migrants. Refugee immigration was allowed on humanitarian grounds. Subsequently, these grounds were to lead to the settlement of just under 4000 Indo-Chinese refugees in New Zealand during the March years 1978-82. Historical and regional considerations also led to the establishment of immigration quotas for small Pacific island countries.

Government adopted a new immigration policy in 1974, which ended unrestricted immigration from the United Kingdom and Ireland and provided for the selection of immigrants from all sources on the same criteria. The reciprocal Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement, which allows free movement of residents between Australia and New Zealand, was not changed. Similarly, the right of free entry into New Zealand was maintained for the people of the Cook Islands, Niue and the Tokelau Islands, who are regarded as New Zealand citizens. As a result, immigrants in post-war years have come from a wider range of countries than before.

Between 1951 and 1966, the country gained roughly 200,000 people. In 12 of the 16 years, net immigration was over 10,000. The economic recession of the late 1960s turned the tide again. A significant drop in immigration and a sharp upturn in emigration, resulted in a net emigration of 15 333 during 1967-69. This was just the beginning of the dramatic events to come.

The last two decades have witnessed some major and unprecedented changes in external migration levels and patterns. The preponderance of immigrants coming from the British Isles has decreased, and migration to and from Australia has become the largest in terms of volume. The rate of migration has increased significantly and there have been dramatic shifts in the flow of migrants.

The total number of arrivals has jumped almost seven-fold, from 254,000 during 1968, to 1.79 million during 1991. This reflects the ease and relatively low cost of international travel, with tourists making up the bulk of the international traffic. Unlike in early years, total departures exceeded total arrivals by an average of 111 people per annum during 1968-91. But this figure disguises the large swings in the external migration balance from one period to another. A large net gain of 116,917 during 1971-75, was followed by a record net outflow of 98,000 during 1976-80, followed in turn by a small net gain of 9687 during 1981-85, and a significant net outflow of 32,571 during 1986-89, and a net influx of 17,367 during 1990-91.

The early 1980s pointed to radical changes in permanent and long-term migration (persons whose stated intention is arriving to settle, or departing for 12 months or more). The number of permanent and long-term departures—which had shown a steep upward trend since 1961, rising from 13,305 to 82,554 in 1979—started to decline, and by 1983 had fallen to 33 871. Departures to Australia accounted for about three-fifths of this decline. In fact, in 1983 more people arrived from, than left for Australia and there was an overall gain of 8285. This turnaround was short-lived, and by 1989 the figure had climbed to 61,535, giving a net emigration of 12,275. However, during 1990, an increase in the number of permanent and long-term arrivals, and a decrease in the number of permanent and long-term departures was recorded. This gave a net gain of 8968. The net gain during 1991 was slightly lower, 6390.

Significantly, immigration from the South Pacific countries, although small in size, is continuing. Moreover, unlike in earlier years, New Zealanders now comprise a significant component of permanent and long-term movements, which are dominated by persons of younger working ages.

Annual net migration and natural increase

Table 4.13. EXTERNAL MIGRATION: 1935-1991

Five-year period ended 31 MarchTotalPermanent and long-termShort-term

4.4 Composition of the population

Age and sex of the population

The age and sex profile of a population represents the cumulative effect of past changes in the dynamics of population growth—fertility, mortality, and migration.

At present the New Zealand population contains slightly more females than males. This contrasts with the situation in the early colonial days when there was a large surplus of males, especially young males.

Each census saw the sex ratio draw closer to parity, with two exceptions when there was a temporary excess of females—during World War I and again during World War II.

In 1968, for the first time in the country's demographic history, females outnumbered males, and since then their advantage has increased steadily. Provisional counts indicate that there were 1,693,200 males and 1,741 750 females in New Zealand at the 1991 census, representing a sex ratio of 97 males per 100 females. The shift largely reflects the preponderance of females among the retirement-age population (60 years and over) which carried a sex ratio of 80 males per 100 females in 1991. At ages below 60 years, men still outnumber women by a small margin.


CensusMalesFemalesTotal populationSex ratio*
*Males per 100 females.

Total population at selected years

Changes in the age structure of New Zealand population have been more profound over the past hundred years. They largely reflect the ‘roller coaster’ movements in the birth rate, with small and large birth cohorts moving into the age structure. However, migration gains/losses (dominated by persons of younger and middle working ages) have added significantly to these structural changes.

The post-war baby boom broadened the base again and lifted the proportion of children in the population to 33 percent in 1961. With almost half of the population aged under 25 years at that time, the population looked youthful once again. The movement of small birth cohorts of the Depression years up the age scale meant a smaller proportion of workers in the population—only 55 percent in 1961. The elderly population increased in size by 84 percent, to make up over 12 percent of the total population. As the ‘youth’ and ‘aged’ components reinforced each other, the dependency ratio lifted sharply to an historical peak of 0.83, even exceeding the 1886 figure.

The subsequent sharp decline in fertility, increased longevity, and the movement of the baby boom ‘bulge’ into working ages has caused a major alignment of the age structure as well as incipient ageing. The median age of the population has risen by more than five years since 1971, from 25.6 years to 30.9 years in 1990. The dependency ratio has fallen to a more favourable 0.61, due largely to a sharp drop in the ‘youth’ component.

At the end of 1990, children under 15 numbered 782,000 (down from 814,000 in 1961) and comprised just under 23 percent of the total population, the lowest percentage on record. Over the same period the working-age population has risen by 775,000 (or 57 percent) to 2.12 million, and in 1990 accounted for 62 percent of the country's 3.43 million population. The aged population has once again showed the largest rise, up 75 percent to well over 522,000, which represents a 23-fold increase over the 1876 census figure of just over 23,000. Within this age group, the number of people aged 80 years and over has risen over the past 100 years from only 1400 to 77 300, a 55-fold increase.

Finally, it is important to note that within New Zealand there are population subgroups with remarkably different age structures. Ethnic groups such as Maori and Pacific Island Polynesians have more youthful populations, commonly characteristic of developing nations. They contain roughly twice as many children under 15 years as their non-Maori, non-Polynesian counterparts (22 percent for the latter); about seven-tenths of their populations are under 30 years, and their median ages are about 12 years lower than their non-Maori, non-Polynesian counterparts (which is 32.2 years). At the other end of the age scale, only 4 percent of Maori, and 3 percent of Pacific Island Polynesians (because of their recent migration to New Zealand) are 60 years or over, compared with 17 percent for the non-Maori, non-Pacific Island Polynesian population.

Ethnic and cultural diversity

The islands of New Zealand have been ethnically and culturally connected to Polynesia for at least 1000 years. Less than 200 years ago, its population and cultural heritage was wholly that of Polynesia, but now New Zealand is dominated by cultural traditions that are mainly European, emanating especially from Britain.

About four-fifths of New Zealanders are of European origin, predominantly of British Isles origin, but also including people from the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Germany and other nations. The indigenous Maori population make up the next largest group of the population, about 12.4 percent in 1986. The third main ethnic group is the Pacific Island Polynesians, who made up around 3.5 percent of the population at the time of the 1986 census.

The ethnic and cultural composition of New Zealand has also been shaped and reshaped by three main demographic processes; international migration, natural increase, and intermarriage between members of different groups. The most important of these processes has been international migration.

As well as those from the British Isles, nationalities from other European countries have influenced the make-up of the New Zealand population. Settlers from non-European sources have also added to the wider ethnic diversity of New Zealand.

Maori population. Estimates of the size of the Maori population at the time of European contact in 1769 vary greatly. Figures ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 have all been advanced (see inset). There is, however, agreement that whatever the original size of the population, a substantial decline occurred over the following 70 years. It is believed that the population had dropped to no more than 100,000 by 1840.

Contact with Europeans had proved disastrous for the Maori population. By the time of the systematic colonisation in the 1840s, the Maori population, estimated at between 120,000 to 150,000 in the 1770s, had dropped to around 100,000. Tuberculosis, typhoid, venereal disease, measles and other diseases new to Maori exacted a heavy toll. The introduction of firearms and subsequent warfare, both inter-tribal and with Europeans, also resulted in a depletion of population. At the time of the first census, in 1858, numbers had been further eroded to less than 60,000. This decline, combined with European immigration, made Maori a minority group in the population by the 1860s. Numbers continued to decline further, at a rate of over 1 percent per annum, until the 1870s.

Proportion of ethnic groups in total population “Other” defined

For the remainder of the nineteenth century population levels fluctuated, suggesting an arrest in the trend towards depopulation. The lowest point was reached in 1896, and from this time onwards there was a recovery in the Maori population.

By the mid-1940s the Maori population had risen to a level comparable to that at the time European colonisation began.

The growth rate accelerated markedly after World War II, and peaked at 4.4 percent per annum during the early 1960s. This is believed to be close to the maximum possible increase for a human population that is ‘closed’ to inward migration. The rate of increase persisted at high levels until the mid-1970s.

Between 1976 and 1986 the rate of increase dropped significantly, averaging 1.2 percent per annum. By 1991, persons with Maori ancestry made up 15 percent of the population and numbered 511,947.

During the 1970s, international migration emerged for the first time as a significant factor in Maori population change. Large numbers of young Maori left New Zealand on a permanent or long-term basis in the 1980s. A population loss of 8100 was recorded between 1981-1986. The main destinations of the migrants were Australia and the United Kingdom. Sizeable Maori communities now exist in Australia—particularly in Sydney. A result of this is that the Maori population is now susceptible to inward migration, both from return migration and the inward migration of Maori born overseas.

Fertility transition—Maori fertility has historically been high. Up to the 1960s the birth rate was around 45 per 1000. However, a transition in fertility from high to low rates occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. Maori experienced one of the most rapid transitions chronicled anywhere in the world when the fertility rate dropped to a level two-fifths of that prior to 1962. The 10 years from 1962-71 saw the total fertility rate begin to decline, from 6 births per woman to 5 births per woman. The rate then began to fall even more sharply, and by 1977 was 2.9 births per woman. This level had only been reached by non-Maori women in 1972. In 1990 the fertility rate was 2.3 births per woman, only slightly higher than that of the total population.

Actually, as the birth rate reduced so did the average Maori family size. In 1962 it was 2.2 children greater than that of non-Maori. By 1990 the difference had narrowed to 0.2 children.

Rural to urban migration—The change from being a largely rural to a predominantly urban population also happened extremely rapidly for Maori. By 1945 around three-quarters lived in rural areas. However, within two decades the majority of the Maori population were living in urban areas. By the mid-1970s, three-quarters lived in urban areas. It is worth noting that at this time a trend for migration from urban to rural ancestral marae became apparent. Initially such migrants were older urban Maori. More recently a wider section of urban Maori have been involved. Nevertheless, by 1981, four-fifths of the Maori population was urban and a majority of Maori have now probably been born and raised in urban areas.

Urbanisation of Maori has been accompanied by wider distribution throughout the country. In the 1920s, 95 percent of Maori lived in the North Island. Countering the trend of the total New Zealand population, Maori began to shift south, to the southern North Island and to the South Island. In 1986, 10 percent lived in the South Island.

Age structure—Youthfulness is the central characteristic that has distinguished the Maori from the non-Maori population structure. Throughout most of this century the Maori population has been concentrated in the younger age groups—a result of the consistently high fertility of Maori.

Between 1926 and 1976, the proportion of children in the Maori population consistently exceeded 43 percent. A peak of 50 percent was achieved in 1966. In 1961, when the impact of the ‘boom’ in fertility was greatest, over 20 percent of the Maori population was less than five years old. Over the 15 years from 1971-86 significant changes to the structure of the Maori population occurred. The transition in fertility experienced in the 1970s had much impact. The median age, the point at which half the population is older and half younger, steadily increased. In 1971 it was 15.3 years, by 1986 it had risen to 18.8 years. The number and proportion of children in the Maori population also changed over this period. Children made up 49 percent of the population in 1971, but this had fallen to 39 percent by 1986.

With the decline in the proportion of children in the population there has been an expansion in the population of the working-age group (15-64 years) and in the women's reproductive age (15-49 years) group. Of the total Maori population in 1971, 49 percent were of working age. In contrast 59 percent were of working-age in 1986. Maori women of reproductive age accounted for 22 percent of the total population in 1971. This proportion had risen to 26 percent by 1986. Both the working age and reproductive age groups have a substantial youthful component. Almost one-third of the total Maori population were aged between 15-29 in 1986 and over three-fifths of women of reproductive ages were also aged between 15 and 29 in the same year.

The Maori population is showing signs of moving towards a more elderly structure, yet it is still far younger than that of non-Maori. In 1986 there were larger proportions of Maori than non-Maori in each age group under 30 years. And the median age of Maori was, in 1986, 12.8 years below that of the non-Maori.

See also section 5.4, Maori society.


CensusTotal populationMaori†Pacific Island PolynesianChineseIndianFijianOther

* Comprises Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, and Niueans.

† Those specifying themselves as half or more New Zealand Maori plus those not specified, the degree of origin. 1986 census figures relate to those persons who stated ‘New Zealand Maori’ as their only ethnic origin.

‡ Usually resident population.

193615738128232698829431200 1486355
1945170229898744215949401554 1594901
19511939472115676362457232425 1812024

Pacific Island Polynesians. Since the early 1960s the cultural and ethnic diversity of New Zealand has been enhanced by the inflow of Pacific Island Polynesians to New Zealand. Over this time, the Pacific Island Polynesian population in New Zealand has grown from a total of just over 14,000 in 1961 to about 115,000 by the mid-1980s. The Pacific Island Polynesian population is concentrated in several areas, particularly in Auckland and Wellington.

In the late 1970s, as a result of economic downturn, immigration of Polynesians dropped sharply and natural increase became the major influence on Polynesian population growth. The 1980s saw a return to substantial net migration gains from Polynesia, and between 1981 and 1986, there were 14,856 more arrivals than departures. These people added the equivalent of 30 percent to the total Pacific Island Polynesian born population enumerated in New Zealand in the 1981 census. Thus international migration remains a very important determinant of growth in this component of New Zealand's population.

See also section 5.5, Pacific Island Polynesian population.

Refugees. Refugees from Europe arrived in the 1930s and again during World War II. Many of these were Jews and Poles. The migration of refugees into New Zealand was intensified after the war. About 6000 refugees from Poland were eventually allowed to settle in New Zealand in the immediate post-war years. Following the 1956 Hungarian uprising, a further limited intake of refugees from Hungary were received by New Zealand. As a result of the conflict in Indo-China, about 7000 Indo-Chinese refugees have been resettled in New Zealand since 1975. This has accounted for over 90 percent of New Zealand's total refugee intake from this time. In addition to the Indo-Chinese refugees, small numbers of Chilean, Russian Jew, East European and Assyrian refugees have also been received at different times.

Teacher and pupils, Newton Central School.

While the cultural diversity of New Zealand is—for the greater part—Eurocentric, the range of cultural norms present in New Zealand that have come from non-European sources, along with the existing Maori culture, suggest that New Zealand will proceed into the next century possessing a wide range of different ethnic and cultural values.

Total population and ethnic groups

For further information on ethnicity and country of birth of the population refer to section 5.3, Human rights, immigration and citizenship.

4.5 Future population issues

What lies ahead in New Zealand's demographic future? Predicting future trends, even beyond the short-term, is a difficult task because population trends and structures influence and are in turn affected by a host of economic, social and other circumstances.

The Department of Statistics regularly prepares a range of projections for the New Zealand population. These combine different scenarios on future changes in fertility, mortality and external migration, which appear likely in the light of the historical trends. These projections are not exactly forecasts, but illustrate what the changes in population size, growth rate and age-sex structure would be if the given assumptions are met.

The 1991-base population projections indicate that New Zealand's population will grow slowly and age steadily over the next four decades to 2031.

Residents of Aroha Home and Hospital, Hutt Valley.

On the basis of natural increase (assuming that New Zealand women continue to have two children on average) and excluding population change through migration, it is projected that the country's population will reach 4.31 million by 2031. This estimate would be an increase of 0.89 million, or 26 percent, over the 31 March 1991 figure of 3.42 million. The pace of growth, however, will slow from a rate of 1.0 percent per year during the 1991-2001 decade to 0.3 percent per year over 2021-2031, reflecting a narrowing of the gap between births and deaths.

In estimating the population including external migration gain, a net gain of 5000 persons a year (the average number over the last 90 years), will mean an extra 270,000 persons, making a total population of 4.58 million by 2031. The Government, however, has expressed a goal of 20,000 net immigrants per annum; if this figure is attained there will be 5.39 million New Zealanders by the year 2031, an increase of 1.97 million or 58 percent during the 40 year period.

There will be profound changes in New Zealand's age structure in the future. With the ‘two child family/no immigration gain’ scenario, the median age of the population (where half the population is above this age) would rise steadily from 31.3 years in 1991 to 39.7 years in 2031. Given the ‘5000’ net immigration scenario the median age of the population in 2031 would be 39.1 years; and using the ‘20,000’ net immigration figure, the median age would be 37.9 years.

Among the various age segments of the population, it is the elderly (aged 65 years and over), which will show the fastest growth over the 1991-2031 period. They will comprise approximately 19 percent of the total population by 2031, compared with only 11 percent in 1991. Under the ‘5000’ net immigration scenario, New Zealand's elderly population will increase by 132 percent, from 385,000 in 1991 to 892,000 in 2031. This increase is indicative of the ‘baby boomers’ aging and reaching retirement age in the next century. By 2031, one in every five New Zealanders will be over 64 years of age, compared with one in nine in 1991. Within the elderly age group, the number of those aged 80 years and over will more than treble from the 1991 figure of 78,000 to 246,000 in 2031. Women in this age group will, by then, outnumber men by three to one.

For total population

Projections of New Zealand's working age population (16-64 years) indicate steady growth, from 2.190 million in 1991 to 2.767 in 2021, an increase of over half a million or 26 percent. This increase is due to the projected annual accession to this age group exceeding retirements by an average of 19,000 persons per year. During 2021-2031 the working age population will remain stable, but will have an older age profile. The proportion of the total population who are in the working age group will drop, from 64 percent in 1991 to approximately 60 percent in 2031.

The number of children under 16 years of age is projected to increase initially from 843,000 in 1991 to peak at 986,000 in 2005, but the number will then drop to 885,000 in 2020 before rising to 928,000 in 2031. These rises and falls reflect swings in the number of births caused by changes in the number of women of childbearing age. Children aged under 16 years will comprise a smaller percentage of the population in the future, decreasing from about 25 percent in 1991 to 20 in 2031.

Table 4.16. POPULATION PROJECTIONS 1991-2031*

Age-group1991 (Base)2001201120212031
* Assuming ‘medium’ fertility and ‘medium’ mortality with long-term annual immigration of 5000 per annum.
        Total population34180003820000412000043640004584000


  • 4.1-4.5 Department of Statistics.

Further information

Census of Population and Dwellings 1986

Ages and Marital Status. Series C, Report 3. Department of Statistics.

1957 Electorate Profiles. Series B, Report 27. Department of Statistics.

Labour Force—Part 1. Series C, Report 4. Department of Statistics.

Local Authority Population and Dwelling Statistics. Series A, Report 2. Department of Statistics.

National Summary. Series C, Report 2. Department of Statistics.

Profiles of New Zealanders: Families and Households. Series E. Report 3. Department of Statistics.

Profiles of New Zealanders: The Labour Force. Series E, Report 2. Department of Statistics.

Regional Statistics. Series B, Reports 2-23. Department of Statistics. (Reports for each local government region.)

Regional Summary. Series B, Report 24. Department of Statistics.

Rural Population Statistics. Series A, Report 3. Department of Statistics.

Usually Resident Population. Series B, Report 25. Department of Statistics.

Dwellings. Series C, Report 11. Department of Statistics.

A full list of 1991 Census of Population and Dwellings publications can be found in the list of Department of Statistics publications at the back of this volume.

Demography, vital statistics, and migration

Demographic Trends. Department of Statistics (annual).

Elderly Population of New Zealand. Department of Statistics, 1990.

External Migration Statistics. Department of Statistics (annual).

Foetal and Infant Deaths. Health Statistical Services (annual).

Hospital and Selected Morbidity Data. Health Statistical Services (annual).

The Human Face of New Zealand: A Context for Population Policy into the Twenty-first Century. Report of the Inter-departmental Committee on Population Policy Guidelines, Department of Statistics, 1990.

Inter-regional Migration in New Zealand, 1971-1981. Department of Statistics, 1986.

Maps of Statistical Boundaries. Department of Statistics. (Map series), 1986.

Key Statistics. Department of Statistics (monthly).

New Zealand Life Tables 1980-82. Department of Statistics, 1986.

New Zealand Sub-national Population Projections 1986-2006. Department of Statistics, 1985.

Profile of Women: A Statistical Comparison of Females and Males in New Zealand 1945-84. Department of Statistics, 1985.

Trends and Patterns in New Zealand Fertility, 1912-1983. Department of Statistics, 1986.

Chapter 5. Social framework

Toddlers, Auckland.

5.1 Households

There was a total of 1,078,005 private households living in permanent dwellings in New Zealand at the Census of Population and Dwellings held on 4 March 1986. This was an increase of 74,892, or 7.5 percent, in the total number of private households since the 1981 census.

Table 5.1 describes the number of households by type counted at the 1986 census. Because the basis for deriving statistics of household composition was changed from ‘census night’ in 1981 to ‘usual composition’ in 1986, no comparable figures are available from the earlier census. A ‘one-family-only’ household consists of a husband and/or wife with or without unmarried children of any age who are living at home. Amounting to 68.7 percent of all private households in New Zealand at the 1986 census, one-family-only households continue to be predominant.

‘One-person’ households are easily the next most common type, comprising 18.6 percent of all private households.

Persons per dwelling


TypeNumber*Percentage of total
* Excludes households where the occupier is an overseas resident, is aged under 15 years, or where the household is composed entirely of visitors.
One family only73426268.7
One family plus other persons561725.3
Two families (with or without other persons)151291.4
Three or more families (with or without other persons)11400.1
Non-family households635795.9
One-person households19916418.6


The total number of dwellings occupied on the night of the Census of Population and Dwellings increased from 1,011,882 in 1981 to 1,095,747 in 1986, a rise of 83,865, or 8.3 percent. This percentage increase was much more than that of the total New Zealand population, leading to a reduction in the average number of people per occupied dwelling. In 1986, the average number of occupants per permanent private dwelling was 2.9, compared with 3.0 five years earlier.

Statistics on types of dwellings are given in Table 5.2


TypeNumber of dwellings1986 census number of occupants
1981 census1986 censusAggregate*Average*

* Total New Zealand census night population including those whose usual place of residence is overseas.

† Sum of two houses or flats joined together or three or more flats (houses) joined together.

‡ Includes mobile or temporary dwellings within a motor camp.

Occupied dwelling—
     Permanent private dwelling—
        Separate house79359986234126827293.1
        Two houses or flats joined together197889†1033382154182.1
        Three or more flats (houses) joined together909841651831.8
        Flat/house attached to business or shop78308190224462.7
        Bach, crib, hut (not in a work camp)37895949122852.1
        Not specified-7209180512.5
                    Total, permanent private dwellings1003107107800531161122.9
Temporary private dwellings237910596‡228932.2
Non-private dwellings6396714916808123.5
                    Total, occupied dwellings1011882109574733070833.0
Unoccupied dwellings—
        Occupants temporarily away3022531128
        Empty habitable dwellings (to let, for sale, etc.)2869835454
        Holiday residences3819340950......
                    Total, unoccupied dwellings97113107535......
Dwellings being built683410440

Table 5.3 shows the number and distribution of occupied permanent private dwellings by number of occupants on census night in 1981 and 1986. Changes in distribution of dwellings by numbers of occupants are a result of demographic, social and economic trends.

Intercensal increases in both the number and percentage of dwellings with one occupant reflect demographic shifts in the population towards increasing numbers of ‘not married’ people at the ages where living alone is most common. However, not all of the increase can be explained by demographic shifts within the population and reflect changes in the attitudes and choices of New Zealanders.

These trends, together with the growing incidence of de facto relationships, solo parents and childless marriages help explain the comparable increases in the number and percentage of dwellings with two or three occupants and the reduced (or negative) growth in dwellings with four or more occupants.


Number of occupants1981 census1986 censusIntercensal percentage change
7 or more288032.9248672.3-13.7
                    Total, occupied1003113100.01078005100.07.5

Tenure of dwellings. A comparison of the 1981 and 1986 census data shows two dominant trends in relation to changes in the tenure of private dwellings. These can be seen in Table 5.4.

Occupied private dwellings owned without a mortgage increased by 18.1 percent during the intercensal period to reach 339,420 in 1986. This category increased its share of total dwellings from 28.8 percent to 31.8 percent. There was also an increase (of 5.4 percent) in the number of occupied dwellings owned with mortgage during this period although the share of total dwellings with this tenure status fell from 42.4 percent in 1981 to 41.9 percent in 1986.


Tenure and category of landlord1981 census1986 censusIntercensal percentage change
Permanent private dwellingsPercentage of total specifiedPermanent private dwellingsPercentage of total specified
     With mortgage42345942.444625341.95.4
     Without mortgage28734328.833942031.818.1
Rented or leased from—
     Private person/company14313614.414880613.94.0
     Housing Corporation570725.7560885.3−1.7
     Other government departments218012.2177391.7−18.6
     Local authority190951.9165241.5−13.5
     Landlord not specified122851.2107311.0−12.6
Total, rented or leased25338925.424989423.4−1.4
Provided free335283.4305852.9−8.8
Not specified538811853120.0
                    Total, permanent private dwellings1003113100.01078005100.07.5

In contrast to the growth in self-owned permanent private dwellings, there was a 1.4 percent decline in the number of rented or leased dwellings during 1981-86. This fall in the rented and leased dwelling stock can be attributed to reduced servicing of the rental housing market by the Housing Corporation, other government departments, and local authorities.

Dwellings rented or leased from individuals and companies increased by 4.0 percent during the 1981-86 intercensal period.

By ethnic composition

Maori and Pacific Island Polynesian households and dwellings

Composition of households. There was a total of 69,477 households in permanent private New Zealand Maori dwellings at the 1986 Census of Population and Dwellings. The corresponding figure for households living in permanent private Pacific Island Polynesian dwellings was 19,962.

In each case, the dwellings are defined in terms of the ethnic origin of the dwelling ‘occupier’ and are based on the number of occupiers of ‘solely New Zealand Maori’ or ‘solely Pacific Island Polynesian’ origin. As a consequence, the 1986 census gives a conservative estimate of the numbers of such dwellings (and, by definition, households). Occupied permanent private dwellings should ideally be defined in terms of the ethnic identity of the majority of household members.

In the case of New Zealand Maori, this problem is compounded by the fact that the preferred definition of a ‘Maori’ is ‘a person of Maori origin, descent or identity’ and includes those both of solely Maori origin and mixed origin including Maori.

No direct comparison of either New Zealand Maori or Pacific Island Polynesian households or dwellings between the 1981 and 1986 censuses is possible because of an amended 1986 census question on ethnic origin which abolished fractions of origin.

Table 5.5 shows the usual composition of New Zealand Maori and Pacific Island Polynesian households by type at the 1986 census. The outstanding feature of this table is that the percentage distribution of Pacific Island Polynesian households is more weighted towards the ‘one family plus other persons’ and ‘two or more families with or without other persons’ categories. Of all Pacific Island Polynesian households, 33.0 percent are in the above categories compared to 21.3 percent of New Zealand Maori households.


Household typeNew Zealand MaoriPacific Island Polynesian
Number†Percentage of totalNumber†Percentage of total

* Private households occupying permanent dwellings where the ‘occupier’ is a person of ‘solely New Zealand Maori origin’ or ‘solely Pacific Island Polynesian origin’.

† Excludes households where the occupier is aged less than 15 years, where the occupier is temporarily resident in the dwelling or where the household is composed entirely of visitors.

One family only4395063.31146957.5
One family plus other persons958513.8440722.1
Two families (with or without other persons)45876.619029.5
Three or more families (with or without other persons)6090.92851.4
Non-family households39755.78374.2
One-person households67719.710625.3

Types of dwellings. An indication of the 1986 census distribution of Maori and Pacific Island Polynesian occupying permanent private dwellings by type is given in Table 5.6. New Zealand Maori show a greater tendency to live in separate houses than Pacific Island Polynesians. The reverse is true for two and three semi-detached houses or flats.


TypeNew Zealand MaoriPacific Island Polynesian
NumberPercentage of total†NumberPercentage of total†

* Permanent dwellings without households where the ‘occupier’ is a person of ‘solely New Zealand Maori origin’ or ‘solely Pacific Island Polynesian origin’.

† Calculated in terms of specified cases.

Occupied permanent private dwellings—
     Separate house5462478.81386068.9
     Two houses or flats joined together65349.4252612.5
     Three or more flats (houses) joined together68649.9352817.5
     Fla/house attached to business or shop5460.81860.9
     Bach, crib, hut (not in work camp)7081.0240.1
     Not specified678114

Number of occupants. The distribution of New Zealand Maori and Pacific Island Polynesian dwellings by number of occupants at the 1986 census (see Table 5.7) reinforces the patterns evident in the usual composition of households by type for these two ethnic groups. Whereas 47.3 percent of Maori dwellings have three or fewer occupants, only 30.0 percent of Pacific Island Polynesian do.

This can be partly explained by the lower average size of Maori families and the tendency for Pacific Island Polynesian dwellings to house more than one family.



Number of occupants†New Zealand MaoriPacific Island Polynesian
DwellingsPercentage of totalDwellingsPercentage of total

* Permanent dwellings with households where the ‘occupier’ is a person of ‘solely New Zealand Maori origin’ or ‘solely Pacific Island Polynesian origin’.

† Refers to the number of people residing in a permanent private dwelling on census night.

Seven or more725710.4459922.7

Tenure. Patterns of tenure and category of landlord shown in 1986 census data reflect the household income and demographic structures of Maori and Pacific Island Polynesian ethnic groups. Table 5.8 shows that Pacific Island Polynesians tend to be more reliant on rented or leased housing than Maori, who, in turn, are almost twice as reliant on rental housing as the general population (see Table 5.4).

For occupier-owned housing, 46.9 percent of Maori dwellings, compared with 42.4 percent of Pacific Island Polynesian dwellings, were owned with or without a mortgage.


Tenure and category of landlordNew Zealand MaoriPacific Island Polynesian
Permanent private dwellingsPercentage of total†Average number of occupants‡Permanent private dwellingsPercentage of total†Average number of occupants‡

* Permanent dwellings where the ‘occupier’ is a person of ‘solely New Zealand Maori origin’ or ‘solely Pacific Island Polynesian origin’.

† Calculated in terms of specified cases.

‡ Refers to the average number of people residing in a permanent private dwelling on census night.

     With mortgage2236232.54.4723636.25.7
     Without mortgage993914.43.612426.24.7
Rented or leased from—
     Private person/company1443921.0..428421.4..
     Housing Corporation1270818.5..539727.0..
     Other government departments30004.4..3211.6..
     Local authority12691.8..3932.0..
     Landlord not specified23463.4..8314.2..
Total, rented or leased3376849.03.61122656.24.5
Provided free27844.03.72701.44.6
Not specified11013.32704.4

Household transport

At the 1986 Census of Population and Dwellings 913,113 households had the use of one or more motor vehicles for private transport. This was an increase of 80,256 over the number of private households (832,857) with the use of vehicles at the 1981 census.

The proportion of private households with one or more motor vehicles remained relatively static at 87.6 percent. Private households without a motor vehicle increased from 12.4 percent to 13.3 percent during the intercensal period, while there was a related decline in the percentage of one-vehicle households.

A small rise in the share of households with two vehicles—from 28.0 percent at the 1981 census to 28.5 percent at the 1986 census—was recorded and is consistent with a decrease in the percentage of households with access to three or more vehicles, during the same period.


Number of motor vehicles*1981 census1986 censusIntercensal percentage change
HouseholdsPercentage of total†HouseholdsxPercentage of total†

* Includes cars, station-wagons, vans, trucks, and other vehicles used on public roads. Business vehicles if available for private use are also included.

† Calculated on specified cases only.

5 or more77250.861260.6−20.7
Not specified51897...24597...−52.6

Household income and expenditure

The New Zealand Household Expenditure and Income Survey is conducted continuously by the Department of Statistics and the results are presented on a March-year basis. It provides statistics on the expenditure patterns and income levels of private households and information on the social and demographic characteristics of households.

A sample of approximately 4500 private households is randomly selected for the survey every fifth year, to provide data for the revision of the Consumers Price Index (see section 23.1, Consumer prices), and a smaller sample of approximately 3000 private households is selected in other years. In the 1990-91 year, 2934 private households (comprising 7941 people) participated in the survey, each household containing an average of 2.71 people. Questionnaires administered to each household include a household questionnaire, an expenditure questionnaire and income questionnaires. In all cases, information as reported or recorded by household members is processed without adjustment for under-reporting of income and expenditure. Overseas experience suggests that expenditure on tobacco and alcohol, meals away from home, and food items such as ice cream and confectionery, tend to be under-reported in household surveys. Other data sources indicate that a similar situation occurs in the New Zealand survey.

In the following tables the aggregate survey income/expenditure has been averaged over all households in the survey, rather than over only those households which reported income/expenditure in particular areas. This averaging procedure has the effect of reducing some average income/expenditure statistics to a level below that which would normally be expected (e.g., expenditure on rent).


Annual incomeApproximate equivalent weekly incomeNumber of householdsAverage weekly income per household

* As estimated from Household Expenditure and Income Survey.

† Including nil and loss.

        $$                    (000)$
Under 11,000†Under 211110.4100.07
11,000-16,999211 and under 326106.6271.15
17,000-19,999326 and under 38498.9351.17
20,000-25,999384 and under 499126.6439.66
26,000-31,999499 and under 61495.2556.27
32,000-39,999614 and under 767117.4685.74
40,000-47,999767 and under 92193.3842.43
48,000-58,999921 and under 1,132116.51,012.76
59,000-74,9991,132 and under 1,438106.81,257.70
75,000 or over1,438 or over            108.92,162.74


Expenditure groupYoung couple*Older coupleCouple with 1 childCouple with 2 childrenCouple with 3 or more childrenSolo parentNon-family householdsExtended family householdsAll households
* Under 35.
Household operations102.5085.4095.7097.9096.6071.1056.2099.6081.80
Other goods78.6055.8090.3097.4086.2050.4044.30103.8068.20
Other services97.6085.80118.00123.00117.3055.2050.80113.9087.30
Total expenditure864.10520.60753.70834.10798.30499.90393.40815.40610.40
Total households (000)47.2224.6119.3143.697.6101.5282.764.11,080.6


Expenditure group and subgroupAverage weekly household expenditure*Percentage of total expenditure
* Averages have been rounded to the nearest 5 cents.
      Farm products, fats, oils13.102.2
      Cereals, cereal products14.302.3
      Sweet products, spreads, beverages11.801.9
      Other foodstuffs8.701.4
      Food consumed in eating places, takeaway foods20.903.4
                    Total, food105.5017.3
      Net capital outlay and related expenses−9.30−1.5
      Mortgage payments50.708.3
      Payments to local authorities12.802.1
      Property maintenance goods17.102.8
      Property maintenance services31.305.1
      Housing expenses not elsewhere classified0.10
                    Total, housing127.4020.9
Household operation—
      Domestic fuel and power17.202.8
      Home appliances18.803.1
      Household equipment and utensils3.200.5
      Floor coverings3.100.5
      Household textiles4.100.7
      Household supplies6.801.1
      Household services17.502.9
                    Total, household operation81.8013.4
      Men's clothing4.600.8
      Women's clothing9.501.6
      Children's clothing2.600.4
      Clothing not otherwise classifiable3.600.6
      Clothing supplies and services2.800.5
      Men's footwear1.100.2
      Women's footwear1.600.3
      Children's footwear0.800.1
      Footwear not otherwise classifiable1.500.2
      Footwear supplies and services0.30
                    Total, apparel28.304.6
      Public transport in N.Z.6.001.0
      Overseas travel24.003.9
      Purchase of road vehicles37.806.2
      Vehicle ownership expenses41.306.8
      Private transport costs n.e.c.2.700.4
                    Total, transportation111.8018.3
Other goods—
      Tobacco products8.201.4
      Medical goods3.200.5
      Toiletries and cosmetics4.300.7
      Personal goods5.901.0
      Pets, racehorses and livestock5.400.9
      Publications, stationery and office-type equipment10.901.8
      Leisure and recreational goods10.101.7
      Recreational vehicles2.600.4
      Goods n.e.c.2.200.4
                    Total, other goods68.2011.2
Other services—
      Health services10.301.7
      Personal services4.100.7
      Educational and tuitional services5.500.9
      Accommodation services3.600.6
      Financial, insurance and legal services14.802.4
      Vocational services2.000.3
      Leisure services11.601.9
      Services n.e.c.3.300.6
      Expenditure n.e.c.12.302.0
      Contributions to savings19.703.2
                    Total, other services87.3014.3
                    Total, net expenditure610.30100.00
                    Number of households surveyed2,934 


Amenity in dwellingPercentage of all surveyed households*
* Household Expenditure and Income Survey.
Electric range or wall oven94.294.3
Gas, coal or oil-fired range9.79.8
Microwave oven51.558.0
Clothes-washing machine96.196.2
Clothes dryer57.560.2
Separate refrigerator33.532.6
Refrigerator/freezer combination75.374.4
Separate deep-freeze unit57.356.3
Dish-washing machine20.822.2
Colour television (owned)88.090.0
Monochrome television (owned)13.411.9
Colour television (rented)9.47.3
No television2.93.3
Video recorder (owned)55.262.0
Video recorder (rented)1.91.5
Home computer (mains operated, with keyboard)11.613.3
Portable electric heater85.083.1
Electric heater fixed in place32.632.0
Portable gas heater9.511.4
Gas heater fixed in place8.99.2
Open fire32.430.2
Slow-combustion fire30.431.3
Portable kerosene heater4.83.9
Wet-back fire of any kind21.320.1
Central heating of any kind4.76.0
Pet dog26.227.3
Pet cat49.547.0

International comparisons of standards of living

Relative standards of living cannot be compared by taking per-head incomes or expenditure alone. Environmental and other factors are increasingly recognised as components of the quality of life—a much less easily measured concept. In assessing standards of living, consideration is now given to the development of social indicators in parallel with purely economic terms of measurement. These include health and personal safety; equality of educational opportunity; employment and quality of working life; leisure satisfaction; social-welfare provisions; social opportunity and quality; social, cultural, and communication capabilities; housing and community facilities; and the physical environment.

Methods of measurement of these factors are being recommended on an international basis. In these wider terms of reference New Zealand's relative position is appreciably improved.

Some comparative indicators related to standards of living are set out in Table 5.14.


ItemNew ZealandUnited StatesCanadaAustraliaUnited KingdomSwedenJapan

* 1991

† 1988

|| 1986

‡ 1985.

Sources: OECD Economic Survey of New Zealand, May 1989; OECD in Figures 1991; World Statistics in Brief (UN Statistical Pocketbook) 1990; UNESCO Statistical Yearbook 1989.

Population density (per km2) 198912.7*
GDP per capita ($ US)—198912503206291601916800146422230322896
Private consumption per capita ($ US)—1987623612232100597389773172737623
Passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants—1987583*731.5579.5552367.3431.7402.3||
Telephones per 1000 inhabitants—1987697..780550‡....555‡
Television sets per 1000 inhabitants—1987358813||546472||534||393||585||
Doctors per 1000 inhabitants—19891.92.3†2.2†..1.4†3.11.6†
Infant mortality (per 1000 live births)—19898.3*9.7†7.2†
Total public education expenditure as percentage of GNP—19895.44.8†6.54.7††
Employment by sector—1989 (percentage):
Wages and prices (average annual percentage increase over 5 years to 1987):

5.2 Marriage

Marriage may be solemnised either by a celebrant or before a registrar of marriages. A licence must be obtained from a registrar before a marriage by a celebrant can be solemnised, and notice must be given by one of the parties. Marriage celebrants may be nominated members of approved (including non-religious) organisations or justices of the peace. People under 20 years of age, not being widowed, require the consent of parents or guardian. In case of refusal, the consent of a District Court judge may be sought.

Triple wedding 1991, Auckland.

The minimum age for marriage is 16 years, no marriage, however, is deemed to be void by reason only of an infringement of the minimum age.


December yearNumber of marriagesMarriage rate

* Per 1000 mean population.

† Per 1000 mean not-married population aged 16 years and over.


Annual rates per 1000 mean population

Marital status of the population

Table 5.16 shows the usually resident New Zealand male and female populations by marital status and age group at the 1986 Census of Population and Dwellings. The numbers ‘never married’ and ‘married’ in each age group reflect the long-term changes that have taken place in the average age at marriage, the marriage rate and the age-sex distribution of the population.

Age-specific marriage rates have, in turn, been affected by the increasing number of people in each age group living in stable ‘de facto’ relationships. General improvements in life expectancy and earlier increases in divorce rates have had a continuing impact on the numbers in the ‘widowed’ and ‘divorced’ categories at all ages.

Population over 20 years of age

The outcome of these changes during the 1981-86 intercensal period is shown in Table 5.17, which shows the numbers of males and females in each marital status category and the percentage distribution of the population by marital status at the 1981 and 1986 censuses. There was a considerable increase in the percentages of both males and females ‘never married’ between the 1981 and 1986 censuses. In contrast, the corresponding percentages for the ‘married’ group showed a compensating decline. Also evident are percentage increases in the numbers ‘separated’, ‘widowed’ and ‘divorced’ during the period.


Age group (years)Never marriedMarried†SeparatedWidowedDivorcedNot specifiedTotal

* Usually resident New Zealand population.

† Includes persons remarried.

75 and over29073036061812903948109848831
75 and over743118603432536701425171683277


Marital status1981 census1986 censusIntercensal increase or decrease (-)
NumberPercentage distribution†NumberPercentage distribution†NumberPercentage

* Usually resident New Zealand population aged 15 years and over.

† Percentages are calculated on specified cases only.

‡ Includes persons remarried.

Never married34647031.339687933.35040914.5
Not specified23586...19671...−3915−16.6
Never married27187523.832463326.25275819.4
Not specified22695...18006...−4689−20.7

Population over 20 years of age

When the living arrangements of the population are studied, i.e., people are classified as living together as husband and wife or as living alone, a trend emerges with reference to the 1981-86 intercensal period which reflects changing attitudes to traditional marriage. The population ‘living together as husband and wife’ consists of those in the ‘married’ category plus those in stable ‘de facto’ relationships but excluding ‘married’ people and those people whose marital status is ‘not specified’.

During the 1981-86 intercensal period, the percentage of males living in a ‘husband and wife’ relationship declined slightly from 62.5 percent at the 1981 census to 61.7 percent at the 1986 census. There was a corresponding trend for females.

Table 5.18 shows the male and female populations living in de facto relationships by age group, irrespective of their legal marital status.


Age group (years)1981 census†1986 census†Intercensal increase or decrease (-)
NumberPercentage distributionNumberPercentage distributionNumberPercentage

* Usually resident New Zealand population.

† Includes people in the ‘married’ and ‘not specified’ marital status categories.

75 and over810.21710.390111.1
75 and over510.11080.257111.8

Age at marriage

In 1990, one bride in every 19 was under 20 years of age. Bridegrooms were usually older than their brides; only one in every 90 was under 20 years of age. Of the people married in 1990, 1516 or 3.2 percent were under 20 years of age; 14,278 or 30.6 percent were aged 20-24 years; 14,099 or 30.2 percent were 25-29 years; 10,531 or 22.6 percent were 30-39 years; and 6258 or 13.4 percent were 40 years of age and over.


Age of bridegroom, in yearsAge of bride, in yearsTotal bridegrooms
Under 2020-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445 and over
Under 20142102184312272
45 and over43912319831744913072437
      Total brides12448661646429371537959153923341

Average age at first marriage for males and females

Table 5.20 gives the average ages at marriage for the seven years to 1988, and these point to a steady trend toward later marriages. New Zealand men and women marrying for the first time in 1990 were on average 1.1 years older than their counterparts in 1984. Also, with an average age of 24.9 years at first marriage brides in 1990 were 2.3 years younger than their grooms (average age 27.2 years).


 age in years

Marriage guidance

A national network of marriage guidance counsellors is funded largely through a grant from central government.

Marriage Guidance New Zealand—which maintains this network—aims to develop positive relationships between partners and within families, whether they live together or apart. Counselling referrals come from the Family Court, Department of Social Welfare, other professionals and social service agencies. However, most are self referrals. Education programmes are conducted by marriage guidance tutors who organise courses covering subjects such as becoming partners, ‘making it alone’ for those separated, and parenting.

Te Korowai Aroha—Aotearoa Inc. Te Korowai Aroha—Aotearoa Inc. is a voluntary Maori counselling service established two years ago. The service is in partnership with Marriage Guidance New Zealand (MGNZ) and focuses on relationship counselling.

Whanau Whanui is the executive committee for Te Korowai Aroha—Aotearoa. Its role is to set policy and direction for Te Korowai Aroha. Komiti Mahi, a sub-committee of Whanau Whanui, develops financial policy for Whanau Whanui. Komiti Whakapumau Take is the Professional Standards and Practice Committee which monitors the training and mahi of Te Korowai Aroha to ensure that the delivery of service to Tauira/Whanau is tika. Funding to Te Korowai Aroha—Aotearoa is by way of an annual grant from MGNZ.

There are nine Iwi Whanau established in Kaikohe, Waikato, Hauraki, Tauranga Moana, Rotorua, Whakatane, Tairawhiti, Napier and Wanganui. Each Iwi Whanau is affiliated to Te Korowai Aroha—Aotearoa.

Dissolution of marriage

There is only one ground on which an order dissolving a marriage can be made—that is, that the marriage has broken down irreconcilably. The Family Proceedings Act 1980, which provides the legal framework for the dissolution of marriage, also makes provision for orders declaring a marriage void and for declarations of presumption of death. To establish that a marriage has broken down irreconcilably, the parties must be living apart, and have done so for the previous two years.

Since 1981, applications for dissolution of marriage have been made to Family Courts, which are less formal and have more simplified procedures than other courts. The following are the main pieces of legislation in the area:

Matrimonial Property Act 1976. This Act provides for the just division of the matrimonial property between the spouses when their marriage ends by separation or dissolution.

Domestic Protection Act 1982. This Act aims to mitigate the effects of domestic violence by providing for non-molestation orders, non-violence orders, and emergency occupation and tenancy orders.

Guardianship Act 1968. This Act requires applications to be heard in a Family Court and makes provision for a Judge to appoint a lawyer to represent the interests of any children involved. The concept emphasised is that the more suitable parent is to be given custody of a child or children irrespective of the sex of the parent or age of the children. An offence of wilfully hindering access to children is defined by the Act, and the court has the power to require medical, psychiatric, or psychological reports on children. The Act also gives Family Courts the power to call witnesses.

Social Security Act 1964. This Act contains a scheme known as the Liable Parent Contribution Scheme, which aims to provide a fair and uniform method of determing the contributions a liable parent must make to support his or her children if the other parent is receiving a domestic purposes benefit. See section 6.2, Income support.

The Child Support Bill 1991 introduces a new regime for assessing non-custodial parental support of children. When enacted it will replace the Liable Parent Contribution Scheme which is presently contained in the Social Security Act 1964 and administered by the Department of Social Welfare. It will also replace court-based maintenance orders in respect of children, presently contained in the Family Proceedings Act 1980.

Under the bill, the Inland Revenue Department (Child Support Agency) is designated the role of administering the new regime. It will assess the amount of child support to be paid by parents according to a specific formula and will collect and pay child support to the Crown when the custodial parents are social welfare beneficiaries, and to custodial parents not receiving social welfare benefits.

In addition, the agency will collect and pay court-ordered spousal maintenance to qualifying spouses and maintenance in respect of spouses and/or children which has been agreed on voluntarily, if and when an application is made to the agency.


Ground or evidence presented198819891990
Applications filed for dissolution of marriage881285559036
Evidence of irreconcilable breakdown—
      Separation order588538494
      Written separation agreement388235083596
      Verbal separation agreement302630913499
      Lived apart, no agreement or order116414111442
                    Total, irreconcilable breakdown866085489031
      Other dissolution orders1175
                    Total, dissolution orders867185559036


Duration of marriage (in years)*Age (in years) at marriage
Under 2020-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445 and over (including not stated)Total
* Duration of marriage calculated from both month and year of dissolution.
Husbands (all petitions and applications)
Under 5434813311408165971238
20 and over19013044701224821202175
Wives (all petitions and applications)
Under 5182569227797849541238
20 and over7831098191482612172175

Ratio of divorces to new marriages


* Includes definition of access for which the original undefined access provisions may not have been the subject of court orders.
Married parties
     Occupancy of home121633911163411057329
Non-married parties
     Occupancy of home312112383156349147

Table 5.24. CUSTODY ORDERS, 1990

Type of partyNumber of children involvedTotal
1234567 or more
* Joint, divided, other party.
     Custody to mother261289131461071745
     Custody to father614914311-129
     Custody, other*296035631-134
          Total orders3513981805514911008
          Total children351796540220705472038
     Custody to mother6141654113---833
     Custody to father782852---113
     Custody, other*1614283---214
          Total orders8532355418---1,160
          Total children85347016272---1,557


* 1989 is the last year for which statistical information is available.

5.3 Human rights, immigration and citizenship

Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission has the general functions of promoting, encouraging, and co-ordinating programmes and activities in the field of human rights, and the specific functions of investigating alleged breaches of the wide-ranging provisions against discrimination on grounds of sex, marital status, or religious or ethical beliefs set out in the Human Rights Commission Act 1977. The commission is made up of the Chief Human Rights Commissioner (the chairperson), the Chief Ombudsman, the Race Relations Conciliator, the Proceedings Commissioner, and up to three others appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

In addition to the statutory requirements to investigate complaints, the commission has a strong educational component. All main regional areas are visited at least once a year in order to meet schools, ACCESS groups, women's organisations, government departments, employer organisations and any other groups or individuals who are interested in learning about the commission's work. A newsletter Tirohia-Focus is published quarterly.

The commission also prepares submissions on legislation and reports with human rights implications. Specific current issues of concern are immigration and refugee matters, privacy, children's rights and matters to do with equal opportunities.

An Equal Opportunities Tribunal was also constituted under the Act. Its function is to adjudicate in civil proceedings brought by the commission alleging discriminatory practice under the Human Rights Act.

Office of the Race Relations Conciliator

The Race Relations Act 1971 affirms and promotes racial equality in New Zealand and implements the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Discrimination is unlawful on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins in: (a) access by the public to places, vehicles, and facilities; (b) provision of goods and services; (c) employment (including employment of independent contractors); and (d) land, housing, and other accommodation. It is also unlawful to publish or display any advertisement or notice which indicates an intention to commit a breach of any of these provisions. The Act also makes it a criminal offence to incite racial disharmony with intent. A breach of any of the provisions may be the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Race Relations Conciliator.

A major role for the office of the conciliator is in the field of education, and in resolving situations where there has been misunderstanding due to different racial backgrounds or concepts on the part of the parties. Potential racial incidents can often by avoided by education and conciliation. This extension of the conciliator's duties from an area confined to complaints and investigation of racial discrimination to one where discrimination may not have occurred, but where racial misunderstanding exists, is in keeping with the aims of the Act of affirming and promoting racial equality in New Zealand.

There are race relations offices in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Women's issues

The Ministry of Women's Affairs, an autonomous department of state, was established to advise the Government on policy matters relating to the equality of women.

The ministry has three units—policy, Te Ohu Whakatupu, and a corporate services unit. The corporate services unit provides information services, management of the department's publications programmes, and financial and administrative support. The unit also administers the Women's Appointment File and the Suffrage Centennial Trust.

The Suffrage Unit liaises with individuals and organisations to develop 1993 projects and events in the community, to recognise the achievements of women and further develop women's knowledge, skills, opportunities and choices.

The 1993 Suffrage Centennial Trust, Whakatu Wahine, chaired by Dame Miriam Dell, was established by the government to manage the trust fund over a three year period. A total of $5 million has been allocated by the government for grants, promotion and administration. This includes a $1 million grant from the Lottery Grants Board, and a generous donation from the Roy McKenzie Foundation.

The Suffrage Unit also liaises with government agencies to co-ordinate and monitor their planned 1993 activities. The unit's role contributes to meeting the government's objective of recognising this significant historical landmark and to acknowledge the contribution women have made, and will continue to make to New Zealand's social, political and economic life.

Te Ohu Whakatupu is responsible for ensuring the specific interests of Maori women are included in all areas of the ministry's work. Its work includes liaison with Maori women in the community and the development of policy which is explicitly addressed to issues of greatest importance for Maori women.

The policy unit prepares policy reports, reviews of legislation, ministerial correspondence, replies to parliamentary questions and cabinet papers. The unit participates directly in numerous interagency activities aimed at social or economic equality.

Major issues affecting women recently include:

Education. There is now an expectation of educators to create an environment in the education system which recognises and broadens the aspirations and achievements of women.

The funding structure of the tertiary education system is monitored by the Ministry of Education to ensure female students are not disadvantaged in gaining access to learning. Additional funding is made available for programmes which encourage access and participation by women. The policy division of the Ministry of Education includes a Girls and Women Section, which develops policy relating to female learning. Also of significance to women is the improvement in quality and accessibility of early childhood care and education.

Te Ohu Whakatupu, of the Ministry of Women's Affairs, takes an interest in all aspects of education that effect Maori girls and women.

Policy advice provided to the Minister included specific areas of Maori education such as kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori. In the climate of education reform, Te Ohu Whakatupu has focused on the particular position of Maori females in the mainstream system. Curriculum content, access to early childhood education, assessment, school leaving age, post-school training, qualifications, and community participation are some of the areas for which there are serious implications for Maori girls and women.

Housing. The Housing Corporation has established a women's policy unit to help improve services to female clients, to ensure its policies and programmes meet the housing needs of women, and to remove the institutional ‘barriers’ which disadvantage women.

The Maori Women's Housing Research Project which was established to document the existing housing situation of Maori women was completed in 1991. The project was managed jointly by government officials and Maori women community representatives. The Ministry of Women's Affairs, Manatu Maori, the Iwi Transition Agency, and the Department of Social Welfare were all contributors to the project. The project report makes a number of recommendations to the Government concerning the housing circumstances and experiences of Maori women and their families and the obstacles that prevent their access adequate to housing.

Paid work-force. The National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) is undertaking a major research project on the position of women in the labour market. Topics covered include occupational segregation, wages and conditions, and assessing how economic and social changes and policies have affected various groups of women.

In line with the Government's preference for a voluntary co-operative approach to equal employment opportunities (EEO) the Employment Equity Act 1990 was repealed. In cooperation with the private sector an EEO Trust has been established to promote equal employment opportunities in the private sector. Additional funding has been made available in a contestable EEO fund.

The work begun in 1990 on the Gender Neutral Job Evaluation Kit was completed. The kit was promoted to all large employers and employee groups with high numbers of women members.

The women's training and employment policy package developed in 1989/90 has proved successful in improving job-seeking and related services for unemployed women.

Measuring unpaid work. The Department of Statistics, with the sponsorship of nine other government agencies, conducted a pilot time use survey in August 1990 to test the feasibility of undertaking a much larger survey of the way New Zealanders use their time. Time use surveys provide a means of measuring the range and extent of unpaid work done by women and men. Unpaid work includes all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, gardening, home maintenance and childcare done for the household, as well as voluntary work and help given to others in the community. The pilot survey showed that women spend an average of about five hours in a 24-hour day on unpaid work, compared to about three hours a day spent by men.

Violence and pornography. In the 1990-91 financial year, 54 women's refuges received $2.87 million and 62 rape/sexual abuse support services received $1.45 million from the Department of Social Welfare's programmes for services for victims of violence against women.

In October 1990 the Department of Justice published a draft proposal for new censorship and pornography legislation. The Ministry of Women's Affairs made both written and oral submissions on this proposal. The ministry hosted a consultation day for women's organisations on the proposed bill. The purpose of the consultation was to provide information and to seek the views held by these organisations.

Childcare. During 1990 two research projects into the provision and demand for out-of-school care and the funding of it were undertaken. The government has yet to decide on policy proposals.

As the funding announced in the 1989 Budget was introduced the number of childcare places, particularly for under two year olds, increased.

Health. In response to the recommendations in the Report of the Cervical Cancer Inquiry (1988), a national cervical screening programme was further developed, draft legislation to establish a Health Commissioner and patient advocates was introduced to the House, and guidelines for informed consent were published.

Preliminary work on establishing a breast cancer screening policy and programme began with the establishment of two pilot mammography programmes in Waikato and Otago/Southland and the publication of policy discussion booklets by the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Department of Health.

The passage of the Nurses Association Act 1990 freed women giving birth to choose to be attended by independent midwives practising autonomously or general practitioners.

A Ministerial Advisory Committee on Women's Health continued to provide policy advice to the Minister of Health. The Department of Health contains a Women's Health Unit.

Te Ohu Whakatupu is analysing possible impacts of the recently announced health reforms on Maori women and their whanau, hapu and iwi. Of particular interest to Maori is the feasibility of Maori-health care plans. Advice was also provided on endometriosis, heart diseases, the under reporting of Maori health statistics and cultural safety-acceptable practices in nursing Maori patients.

A significant initiative of the New Zealand Council of Maori Nurses is the inclusion of a Maori component to nursing training and assessment which will comprise 20 percent of the State Nursing Examination from 1992.

A programme has been designed to encourage Maori women to give up smoking and take on sport. The Maori Women's Welfare League's—Healthy Lifestyles programme aims to reduce the disproportionate incidence of heart disease among Maori women. This year regional and national netball competitions were organised, ranging from golden oldies to junior teams. Approximately 280 teams took part.

The restructuring of the health services has implications for women's health and the Ministry of Women's Affairs published a booklet, ‘Think Women's Health’ to encourage the establishment of structures for liaison between boards and women in their communities.

Both a Women's Health Unit within the Department of Health, and a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Women's Health provide policy advice to the Minister of Health.

Maori women. Examples of issues of concern to Maori women during 1991 included:

Putea pounamu—Maori women elders attended a national gathering of kuia at the invitation of Te Ohu Whakatupu. The purpose of the hui was to allow the kuia to review the work programme of Te Ohu Whakatupu and to identify and discuss social, economic, cultural and political issues that affect Maori women and their iwi.

The Putea Pounamu project initiated by Te Ohu Whakatupu to encourage Maori women to participate in local, regional and national decision making led to Maori women taking further initiatives to continue networking. One outcome of the project has been the establishment of two scholarships. The Putea Pounamu Telecom Scholarship is awarded for a university course of study in business management. The Putea Pounamu Scholarship for a leadership training course in outdoor activities has been sponsored by the Hillary Commission.

Business development—The Review of Enterprise Assistance in 1990 aimed to improve the co-ordination and cost-effectiveness of the delivery of enterprise assistance and business development services. In a similar vein, Te Ohu Whakatupu sought to apply available resources to the target group of Maori women most effectively.

The programme, ‘Wahine Pakari’ uses ‘cascade’ methods of training where Maori women trained as seed trainers or ‘trainovators’ train other Maori women in entrepreneurship and business management skills. In 1990-91, ‘Wahine Pakari’ achieved the design of a culturally and gender appropriate training course, the production of a manual embodying the programme and the training of 27 Maori women from throughout the country.

Maori women and lenders came together through a research project and a seminar to address issues in obtaining business development finance. Consequently, a booklet for Maori business women as borrowers was published. A video and accompanying booklet portraying successful Maori business women as role models were also produced. A range of reports were also produced covering the statistics of Maori women in business, Maori businesswoman and banking, and the role of small business in the New Zealand economy.

On the policy front, Te Ohu Whakatupu has been working to create a greater awareness amongst policy-makers of:

  • the need to consider Maori women as a growing entity in the world of business who have specific problems and needs in business development; and

  • the benefits to the growth of New Zealand and in particular to the Maori community of enhancing and increasing Maori women's contribution to and participation in business and enterprise development.

Religious professions

At the 1986 Census of Population and Dwellings the number of New Zealanders identifying with a prominent religion showed an increase from those recorded in the 1981 census, in most cases. The exceptions were Anglicans, ‘Christian n.e.s.’, Brethren, the Salvation Army and ‘other specified religions’, which showed a decline in support during the 1981-86 intercensal period. In the case of Anglicans, Brethren and the Salvation Army this was a continuation of the trend first evident in the intercensal period 1976–81.

People reporting themselves as having no religion increased more than threefold, while those not specifying any religion or objecting to provide the requested information were nearly halved between the 1981 census and the 1986 census. As shown in Table 5.26, this was apparently the result of New Zealanders reclassifying themselves as having ‘no religion’, rather than exercising their right to object or failing to specify a religious profession.

Among the most significant facts to emerge from the table is the long-term decline in the percentage of the resident population identifying with the four traditional major religions: Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Methodist. From 69.1 percent at the 1976 census, the share of the population in these categories fell to 63.3 percent at the 1986 census.

Stated religious beliefs


Religious professionNumberPercentage

* Usually resident New Zealand population.

† Major religious professions within the Associated Pentecostal Churches.

‡ Includes some cases of facetious answers and also those which were not specified in sufficient detail to allow precise classification.

§ This is the only census question carrying a statutory right to object to providing the information sought.

Anglican (Church of England)90841580713579184729.626.624.7
Roman Catholic (incl. catholic undefined)47545245287149615815.514.915.5
Christian n.e.s.51963100815423511.73.31.3
Mormon (Latter Day Saints)3595837431371461.21.21.2
Salvation Army2195120406168210.70.70.5
Jehovah's Witness1333813689163770.40.50.5
Pentecostal n.e.s.†48306369157170.20.20.5
Assemblies of God554712465143520.20.40.4
Seventh Day Adventist1187711427120150.40.40.4
Other specified‡1581361640581151825.25.43.6
No religion1003981660145337663.35.516.7
Not specified3546010431058686.........

Hindu worshippers purify temple, Auckland.


Before the 1986 census, questions on the ethnic origins of the population asked respondents to describe their descent using fractions. For the 1986 census, and in line with practice in other countries, the use of fractions was dropped and a new system of classification adopted. In addition, a related priority convention for deriving ethnic origins where a person had equal fractions of two origins (used in the 1981 and earlier censuses) was eliminated as far as possible. To allow comparison between the 1986 and earlier censuses, considerable reprocessing of earlier census data had to be completed.

In response to requests from the census users, the Department of Statistics produced a series of ethnic definitions to assist users to classify people of ‘one origin’ and ‘mixed origin’. Statistics based on these definitions were derived to ensure the greatest possible comparability of 1986 census data on ethnic origin with that from previous censuses.

To meet the varying present day requirements, two optional definitions have been adopted for each major ethnic origin category. ‘One ethnic origin’, which is the series derived on a group affiliation concept based on cultural and ancestral criteria, is regarded as more relevant to current needs by most ethnic groups. The populations derived using this concept give census time-series numbers which, although generally smaller than those previously based on the relevant ‘half or more’ or ‘more than half’ origin definitions, show stable trends.

‘Ethnic origin or descent’, which is closely comparable with previous census statistics on a descent basis, provides populations with a common biological (or ancestral) background, and, with the exception of New Zealand Maori groups, is considered by most users to be of less relevance to present requirements.

Table 5.27 compares the population of major ethnic groups at the 1981 and 1986 censuses in terms of the new classification adopted.


Ethnic origin1981 census1986 censusIntercensal percentage change
NumberPercentage of totalNumberPercentage of total

* Includes other ethnic origins not elsewhere counted.

† Comprises combinations of the Pacific Island Polynesian ethnic origins specified in the ‘one ethnic origin’ category.

‡ Includes all other two ethnic origin combinations not elsewhere counted.

§ Persons of New Zealand Maori or Pacific Island Polynesian origin are obtained from the one, two and three ethnic origin categories and include those of mixed New Zealand Maori-Pacific Island Polynesian origin in both cases.

One ethnic origin—
     New Zealand Maori273,6308.8295,3179.27.9
     Pacific Island Polynesian—
        Cook Island Maori19,9710.623,9730.720.0
        Other Pacific Island Polynesian2,9940.1474−84.2
        Total, Pacific Island Polynesian73,6952.494,6562.928.4
Total, one ethnic origin2,971,63895.73,087,46595.73.9
Two ethnic origins—
     European-New Zealand Maori105,8493.494,8842.9−10.4
     European-Pacific Island Polynesian11,8980.414,7960.524.4
     European-other ethnic origins6,1620.28,0550.230.7
     New Zealand Maori-Pacific Island Polynesian4,2420.16,0900.243.6
     New Zealand Maori-other ethnic origin1,2121,6590.136.9
     Mixed Pacific Island Polynesian†2,4300.12,6340.18.4
     Pacific Island Polynesian-other ethnic origins8011,20950.9
     Other combinations of two ethnic origins‡765723−5.5
Total, two ethnic origins133,3594.3130,0474.0-2.5
Three ethnic origins1,6980.19,2100.3442.4
Not specified36,612...36,561...−0.1
Persons of New Zealand Maori origin§384,93312.4404,77812.55.2
Persons of Pacific Island Polynesian origin§93,0663.0125,8503.935.2

All the largest ‘one ethnic origin’ groups in the New Zealand population experienced growth during the 1981-86 intercensal period. Increases ranged from 2.3 percent for European to 107.3 percent for the ‘other’ category. Pacific Island Polynesians achieved a high growth rate of 28.4 percent, while New Zealand Maori increased by 7.9 percent. The ‘European’ group's share of the population decreased from 83.4 percent at the 1981 census to 82.2 percent at the 1986 census. This was offset by increases in the proportion of the population in ‘Pacific Island Polynesian’ and ‘New Zealand Maori’ categories during the intercensal period.

An interesting trend in the mixed-origin population was the 10.4 percent decline in the ‘European-New Zealand Maori’ category during the 1981-86 intercensal period.

Changes in the size of populations belonging to the different ethnic origin categories and in their shares of the total population over the 1981-86 intercensal period reflect the different levels of natural increase, the size and directions of external migration flows, intermarriage between ethnic group, and inter-ethnic mobility.

Table 5.28 gives a comparison of the age structure of New Zealand's major ethnic groups. ‘Age-sex pyramids’ derived from the data are continued in section 4.4. Composition of the population.


Age group (years)Percentage of population in age group
European†New Zealand Maori‡Pacific Island Polynesian†Chinese†Indian†Other§

* Usually resident New Zealand population.

† Persons of single ethnic origin.

‡ Persons of origin or descent.

§ Includes persons of ‘other’ single ethnic origin, and persons of two and three ethnic origins (except where one origin is New Zealand Maori).

80 and over2.

Country of birth

Since 1945, the percentage of the resident population born in New Zealand has remained almost stable. At the 1981 and 1986 censuses, 85.6 percent and 85.1 percent, respectively, of the population was New Zealand born, as can be seen in Table 5.29.

The small intercensal decline in the percentage of New Zealand born is a consequence of the rise in natural increase (live births less deaths) recorded which was more than offset by the substantial net inflow of overseas-born migrants—especially Pacific Island Polynesian during the period. Also evident is the reduced importance of the United Kingdom and Ireland as a source of new settlers.


Country of birth1981 census1986 censusPercentage intercensal change
NumberPercentage of specified casesNumberPercentage of specified cases

* Usually resident New Zealand population.

† Persons who did not specify a country of birth.

New Zealand2,679,05485.62,759,17885.13.0
Pacific Islands57,9991.972,9632.325.8
United Kingdom and Ireland257,5898.2255,7627.9−0.7
United States of America6,1080.27,3620.220.5
South Africa3,9990.14,3200.18.0
Not specified†13,31421,55561.9

Immigrant family from Taiwan.

Table 5.30 shows the overseas born population by years of usual residence at the 1981 and 1986 censuses. The intercensal decline in some categories is mainly the result of emigration_


Years of residence1981 census1986 censusPercentage intercensal change
Number born overseas*Percentage of specified casesNumber born overseas*Percentage of specified cases

* Usually resident New Zealand population.

† Includes persons who specified an overseas birthplace but who did not specify a duration of residence in New Zealand.

‡ Excludes persons who specified a duration of residence in New Zealand but who did not specify an overseas birthplace.

20 and over180,56141.8210,24046.416.4
Not specified†32,766...29,871...−8.8

Country of birth of population


The current legislation of New Zealand citizenship is the Citizenship Act 1977, and the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 together with the Citizenship Regulations 1978.

Under the Citizenship Act 1977, New Zealand citizenship may be established in the following ways: by birth in New Zealand; by descent (i.e., birth outside New Zealand); or by grant of citizenship.

Citizens under the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 (whether by birth, descent, naturalisation, registration or under transitional provisions) at 31 December 1977, retain their status under the 1977 Act. This Act also introduced citizenship by descent through the female line, and citizenship by recognition of adoption and paternity.

For people (other than spouses of New Zealand citizens or those under 18 years) who want New Zealand citizenship, the eligibility criteria are that they must:

  1. Have resided in New Zealand for the three years immediately preceding the date of application;

  2. Be entitled in the terms of the Immigration Act 1987 to reside in New Zealand permanently;

  3. Be of full capacity;

  4. Be of good character;

  5. Have sufficient knowledge of the English language and of the responsibilities and privileges attaching to New Zealand citizenship; and

  6. Intend to continue to reside in New Zealand or to enter or continue Crown service under the New Zealand Government, or service in the employment of a person, company, society, or other body of persons resident or established in New Zealand.

Citizenship can be granted also to those who marry New Zealand citizens, and to their children. Sometimes, citizenship can be granted in cases of hardship, statelessness or where the relevant parent was a citizen by descent only.

The Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 provides primarily for the grant of citizenship to any person who can establish that he or she is a Western Samoan citizen or that he or she comes within the specified degrees of association with Western Samoa; and who either:

  1. Was in New Zealand at any time on 14 September 1982; or

  2. Lawfully entered New Zealand on or after 15 September 1982 and is entitled to reside in New Zealand permanently in terms of the Immigration Act 1987.

Adults who obtain New Zealand citizenship by grant may be asked to swear allegiance to the Queen of New Zealand. Commonwealth citizens (British subjects) whose country recognises Queen Elizabeth II as head of state are asked to take the oath on the application form. Other persons holding citizenship of a country which does not give this recognition are conditionally approved as New Zealand citizens, and are required to swear allegiance at a private or public ceremony to make the grant effective. Apart from this, the Citizenship Act treats citizens of countries other than Commonwealth on exactly the same basis as citizens of Commonwealth countries.

New Zealand citizens can have their citizenship taken away if they:

  • Choose a foreign nationality by any formal act other than by marriage; and have acted in a manner which is contrary to the interests of New Zealand; or

  • Choose to exercise any of the privileges or perform any of the duties of another nationality or citizenship which is contrary to the interests of New Zealand; or

  • Have obtained citizenship by fraud, false representation, mistake, or wilful concealment of relevant information.

Sometimes people can renounce New Zealand citizenship, e.g., when required to by countries such as Germany, which won't accept dual citizenship. However, New Zealand citizenship must be renounced formally. This is because the New Zealand government insists that New Zealand citizens should not become stateless during changes of citizenship. To protect citizens, government requires proof of citizenship in another country before giving approval to renounce New Zealand citizenship.

A total of 13,098 people were granted citizenship for the year ended 31 March 1991, compared with 13,176 in the previous year.

Number of applications granted


New Zealand's experience of immigration and emigration since the mid-1970s has been one of continued large increase in the total numbers of persons arriving in and departing from New Zealand. There has also been, from year to year, great variability in the net balance of migration flows. In some years there have been net losses of as many as 26,000; in others annual gains of up to 15,000 people. Within these figures, permanent and long-term migration—that is, movements of people who have arrived in or left New Zealand with the stated intention of staying at least 12 months—has varied from a net loss of 40,000 in 1979, to a net gain of 6500 in 1984. Figures for the year ended 31 March 1991 showed a net gain of 11 616. (See also section 4.3, Components of population change.)

A significant element of these flows is the travel overseas—and return—of New Zealand citizens, who are not subject to permit controls under the Immigration Act 1987.

New Zealand's immigration policies have for a number of years covered four broad categories of permanent migration: occupational migration (on the basis of work skills assessed as being in short supply in New Zealand); a ‘business immigration’ policy, allowing the entry of people with proven business skills and experience and investment capital, which would create employment opportunities and exports; family reunion (enabling people settled in New Zealand to sponsor the entry of family members); and humanitarian programmes (including an annual programme for the settlement of refugees).

The main thrust of policy on occupational grounds has been to encourage the entry of people having (and proposing to use) a level of skills or qualifications and experience not currently available in New Zealand. The main group were approved on the basis of the Occupational Priority List.

Policy in the temporary entry field has been aimed to facilitate the entry of tourist and business visitors, and New Zealand has arrangements for visa-free entry for citizens of over 25 countries. Applications for work permits are considered in the light of the local labour market. Policy allows entry on student visas of people wishing to undertake long-term courses at universities and other tertiary institutions, although some courses of less than three months' duration can be attended without a student permit. Provision is also made for people to enter New Zealand for medical treatment in certain circumstances.

In tandem with the controls over who may be given a permit to be in New Zealand, there are compliance mechanisms to locate and ensure the departure of those who remain in the country unlawfully. People who remain unlawfully in New Zealand are liable to removal under a civil offence procedure. Those convicted of criminal offences are liable to be deported. Deportation has more serious consequences, including lifetime prohibition from further entry to New Zealand and, possibly, to other countries.

The objectives of the New Zealand Immigration Service are to improve the economic and social well-being of New Zealand by assisting both the facilitation and control of flows across New Zealand's borders of immigrants and temporary visitors requiring permits to be in New Zealand, in a manner consistent with statutory requirements and government policy.

In July 1990, the Minister of Immigration introduced the Immigration Amendment Bill into Parliament. The bill amends the Immigration Act 1987 to strengthen and more clearly define the legal framework for the implementation of Government Immigration Policy. The bill provides for the setting up of a streamlined appeal avenue and the strengthening of compliance provisions in the Act.

At the same time the Minister announced proposed changes to immigration policy. The main changes will affect the Occupational and Business categories of entry. Applicants will now be able to be assessed under a points system which awards points to migrants for age, employability and settlement factors and then ranks them. Applicants with the highest number of points will be given residence. The existing Business Immigration Policy will be tightened to ensure that the NZ$500,000 investment capital brought into the country under the scheme remains in New Zealand for at least two years.

Notwithstanding the above changes, below is a summary of New Zealand's existing immigration requirements.

Production of travel documents on arrival. All travellers, including New Zealand citizens, who arrive in New Zealand are required to produce a valid passport or some other acceptable recognised travel document.

Permits to be in New Zealand. Except for New Zealand citizens and certain other categories of travellers specified under the Immigration Act 1987, everyone entering New Zealand are required to obtain permits to be in New Zealand. Anyone intending residence or to work or study or undergo medical treatment in New Zealand should seek a visa before setting out on their journey.

Visitors. Visitor permits for people wishing to make tourist or business visits to New Zealand are generally granted for an initial period of three months and may be extended up to 12 months. Visitors from a number of countries do not require visas provided the purpose of entry is for tourism, for business, or to visit family and friends, and the traveller has outward tickets and adequate means of support.

Returning residents. Residence and other permits are deemed to expire when the holders leave New Zealand. Non-New Zealand citizens who have been granted residence and who wish to preserve this status on return from overseas travel should therefore obtain a Returning Resident's Visa. These are normally current for a period of four years (and may be replaced) and entitle the holder to leave and return to New Zealand on any number of occasions while the visa remains valid.

Australian citizens and residents. Australian citizens travelling on Australian passports do not require visas, are exempt from New Zealand permit requirements (but not from other provisions of the Immigration Act), and may stay indefinitely in New Zealand. Australian residents with current Australian resident return visas do not require visas to come to New Zealand and are granted residence permits on arrival.

Migration on occupational grounds. Applications for residence on occupational grounds are considered in the light of the current demand in the New Zealand labour market for particular skills or qualifications. Skill shortages are identified by national surveys of job vacancies and consultation with central employer, manufacturer and union organisations. The Occupational Priority List identifies those skills for which employers may recruit qualified migrants overseas. Applicants whose skills are not on the list may also be approved provided certain extra conditions are met by the applicant and prospective employer. A firm job offer from a New Zealand employer in a field appropriate to the applicant's skills and qualifications is required in all cases.

In general the main applicant for residence on occupational grounds must be aged under 46 years of age and all family members must meet normal health and character requirements. If married with dependent children applicants are subject to an income test to ensure they can obtain adequate accommodation without government assistance. An interview to assess the settlement prospects and English language capacity of the principal applicant and spouse is normally required.

Business immigration. Applicants under the business immigration policy are assessed on their potential contribution to New Zealand, with account being taken of previous demonstrated business record and skills, investment capital available (in addition to funds required for personal establishment in New Zealand) and intended business activities. Applicants are expected to become genuine residents contributing fully to the New Zealand community. The main applicant and family need to satisfy standard health, character and interview requirements.

Family relationship. Spouses of New Zealand citizens or residents are eligible to be granted residence subject to the immigration authorities being satisfied that the relationship is a bona fide one.

Parents with no dependent children are eligible to be reunited with their adult children who are citizens or residents of New Zealand, if they have no children in their home country; or more children in New Zealand than in any other single country; or where they have an equal number of children in New Zealand and in the home country.

Parents with dependent children are eligible for residence if the number of dependent children is the same as (or less than) the number of adult children resident in New Zealand.

Real estate agent offices' adapt to influx of Asian immigrants.

Unmarried dependent children (under 17 years of age) are eligible if they have no children of their own and they were declared in their parent's application for residence in New Zealand. Adult children, brothers and sisters are eligible if they are single, without children and alone in their home country.

Adult children, brothers and sisters (whether or not married or with children) can be formally sponsored for settlement in New Zealand by a brother, sister or parent, who has been a lawful resident of New Zealand for three years. To be eligible, the overseas relative must be under 46 years of age, have a worthwhile skill (and meet skill level and work experience requirements) and either have the offer of a skilled job not able to be filled from the local labour market, or submit evidence of their intention to buy or establish a business (or enter a business partnership) in New Zealand.

All family reunion applicants must meet health and character requirements. In addition, adult children, brothers and sisters sponsored on the basis of a worthwhile skill (and all members of their families over 12 years of age) must have adequate English language skills.

Netherlands quota. Under a longstanding bilateral agreement up to 1000 occupational migrants from the Netherlands may be accepted annually, subject to standard age, health and character requirements, but with employment and accommodation aspects guaranteed by the Netherlands Emigration Service.

Western Samoan quota. A long standing arrangement (dating from the 1960s) provides that up to 1100 Western Samoan citizens (including dependants) may be accepted for residence each year subject to a guarantee of employment without specific skill requirements and to standard age, health and character requirements.

Refugees. The admission and settlement of refugees who come within the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees operates under an annual intake of up to 800 persons subject to the availability of community sponsorship. Allocation of settlement places within this intake is determined by the Minister of Immigration in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other agencies, and selection takes into account the humanitarian circumstances of each case and any previous association or links with New Zealand.

Temporary workers. People who wish to work in New Zealand on a temporary basis (usually up to three years) may be issued visas to travel for that purpose. This facility may be used by people on exchange programmes, people with finite work contracts, people coming from overseas to honour service contracts on equipment, and in similar cases. Visitors who wish to work while in New Zealand, whether for a New Zealand employer or on behalf of an overseas company, must apply for a work permit; otherwise visitors are prohibited from working here. This requirement does not, however, affect Australian citizens or permanent residents who wish to work while in New Zealand, nor does it affect people born in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau who are New Zealand citizens and therefore have unrestricted right to be in New Zealand.

South Pacific work permit schemes. New Zealand has special work permit schemes in operation for citizens of Tonga, Western Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu under which selected workers may undertake employment in response to specific job offers from New Zealand employers. Appropriate arrangements are required on the part of employers and/or nominating governments to ensure the financial and other welfare and accommodation of participants.

Students. Visas may be issued to overseas students to undertake approved courses of study, provided they make prior application and meet a number of requirements (including producing evidence of payment of course fees, and the availability of the necessary funds for their maintenance and return home when their course is completed). Students from developing nations may be eligible for full scholarship or study awards administered by the Ministry of External Relations and Trade.

Removal or deportation. The Immigration Act 1987 makes provision for the removal of people who are unlawfully in New Zealand. People who are removed from New Zealand are not eligible to return for a period of five years from the date of their departure from New Zealand. The Act also provides for a right of appeal against removal warrant through two avenues. There is an appeal to the High Court against the issue of the warrant by a District Court (with provision for a further appeal to the Court of Appeal on a question of law), and an appeal to the minister based on humanitarian grounds and on the fact that it would not be contrary to the public interest to allow the appellant to remain in New Zealand. Appeals must be received within 21 days.

The Immigration Act 1987 also provides for the deportation of people threatening national security; suspected terrorists; and criminal offenders. A deportation order remains in force from the date on which it is served until the person named in the order leaves New Zealand, unless it has been quashed or revoked under the provisions of the Act. A deportee is not permitted to return to New Zealand at any time or for any purpose without special permission from the Minister of Immigration.

Administration and information. Immigration legislation and policy are administered by the New Zealand Immigration Service of the Department of Labour. Officers also operate under delegated authority in New Zealand's diplomatic and consular missions overseas, and at ports of entry to New Zealand.

Further information about immigration policy, and/or application forms and details of fees and charges, may be obtained from the nearest Immigration Service regional or branch office in New Zealand or from New Zealand diplomatic and consular representatives overseas.

5.4 Maori society


Statistics on the New Zealand Maori population from the 1986 census are based on the ‘origin or descent’ concept (see Ethnicity in preceding section) and are closely comparable with previous census statistics. This definition was adopted as the best option for analysing Maori population growth and distribution. It was also considered more relevant to the present day requirements of users in that it is referred to in legislation pertaining to New Zealand Maori and used to measure the Maori electoral population. People who described themselves as belonging to one, two or three ethnic categories, one of which is ‘New Zealand Maori’, are defined as belonging to the ‘origin or descent’ category.

Age distribution.Table 5.31 compares the Maori population usually resident in New Zealand at the 1981 and 1986 censuses by age group.

When the intercensal change is analysed on a consistent age group basis, i.e., the age groups 0-4 years, etc., at the 1981 census, are compared with the 5-9 years age groups, etc., at the 1986 census, the contribution made by net external migration and natural increase to New Zealand Maori population growth can be seen.


Age group (years)1981 census1986 censusIntercensal change (percent)
* Persons of Maori origin or descent usually resident in New Zealand
80 and over8910.211640.330.6

At the 1986 census, the New Zealand Maori population was significantly younger in age structure than the total population. This youthfulness is demonstrated by the fact that 39.0 percent of Maori were under 15 years of age, compared with 24.4 percent of the total population. In contrast, only 3.9 percent of Maori were 60 years of age and over at that time, the corresponding figure for the total population being 14.7 percent.

These differences reflect both the higher historical fertility (in terms of birth numbers) and mortality levels of the Maori population relative to the total population. The impact of the levels and directions of net external migration on the age structures of the two populations has been much less.

The decline in the New Zealand Maori populations in all age groups (except the 0-4 years age group) at the 1986 census relative to the adjacent younger age group at the 1981 census, indicates a net external emigration of Maori during the intercensal period. At the older age groups, the impact of mortality has also influenced this decrease. Maori birth numbers during this period have remained stable as can be seen from the 1981 and 1986 census populations in the 0-4 age group.

Geographical distribution. Changes in the regional distribution of the Maori population between the 1981 and 1986 censuses are shown in Table 5.32. Maori continue to be concentrated in the North Island regions (where 89.1 percent live) and more especially in the northern local government regions—Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato. However, the proportion of the Maori population in the North Island regions declined slightly, from 89.6 percent at the 1981 census to 89.1 percent at the 1986 census.

The South Island's share of the Maori population accordingly showed a slight increase, from 10.1 percent to 10.4 percent, during the intercensal period. Canterbury, the only local government region in the South Island with a significant level of Maori settlement, received the bulk of this increased share and contained 4.2 percent of the Maori population at the 1986 census.


Redistribution of the New Zealand Maori population during 1981-86 is the result of variations in the relative levels of natural increase (births less deaths) in the local government regions and the impact of both internal and external migration flows. The South Island has received small net gains in its Maori population through net internal migration.


Local government region1981 census1986 censusIntercensal change (percent)

* People of Maori origin or descent usually resident in New Zealand.

† Includes population of Great Barrier Island County, Chatham Islands County, extra-county islands, and shipping.

North Island—
     Thames Valley62341.662221.5−0.2
     Bay of Plenty4337711.344,57411.02.8
     East Cape201155.2206645.12.7
     Hawkes Bay262476.8273186.74.1
          Total, North Island345,04889.6360,54389.14.5
South Island—
     Nelson Bays27360.729130.76.5
     West Coast15810.418270.415.6
     Clutha-Central Otago17190.420970.522.0
     Coastal-North Otago41911.147491.213.3
          Total, South Island3902410.14228210.48.3
     Extra-county islands and shipping†5010.15910.118.0
     Not specified/no fixed abode3570.113740.3285.0
          Total, New Zealand384933100.0404775100.05.2

Male-female ratio. At the 1986 census, for the first time, females outnumbered males in the Maori population. There were 201129 males and 202056 females in the total Maori population, representing a sex ratio of 100.5 females to every 100 males.

Dynamics of population change. The Maori have a substantially higher rate of natural increase than non-Maori, due largely to a higher birth rate, which in turn is due mainly to the more youthful age structure. Table 5.33 shows demographic indexes based on those of half or more New Zealand Maori descent.

The Maori fertility rate has undergone a decline in the last three decades, falling from an estimated 6.18 births per woman in 1962 to 2.16 births per woman in 1986 and stood at 2.28 in 1990. As a consequence, the gap between Maori and non-Maori average family size, as implied by total fertility rate, has narrowed over the years. In 1962 the difference between the Maori and non-Maori total fertility rates was 2.0 births per woman; by 1990 this had narrowed to 0.2 births per woman. However, unlike their non-Maori counterparts, Maori women are still reproducing at above the ‘replacement level’ and have an earlier childbearing pattern. In 1990, the median age at childbearing was 24.6 years for Maori women and 28.0 years for non-Maori women.


YearLive birthsDeathsRate of natural increase*‡Reproduction rates
NumberCrude birth rate*Total fertility rate†NumberCrude death rate*GrossNet

* Per 1000 of mean population.

† Average number of births a woman would have during her reproductive life if she was exposed to the fertility rates characteristic of various childbearing age-groups.

‡ Excess of births over deaths.


Life expectancy. In 1985-87, the average life expectancy of Maori males was 67.4 years, compared with 72.3 years for Maori females, while for non-Maori, life expectancies were 71.4 years for males and 77.4 years for females. Therefore, Maori females were expected to outlive Maori males by nearly five years, and non-Maori females were expected to outlive non-Maori males by six years. Over the past 35 years, the difference in life expectancies for Maori and non-Maori has been converging, due to significant gains made by the Maori population, as shown in Table 5.34. In spite of these gains, however, the life expectancy for Maori males is still four years lower and that for Maori females is about five years lower than for non-Maori males and females respectively.


YearLife expectancy at birth (years)

1991 marked the 25th anniversary of the coronation of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu as the Maori Queen and leader of the Kingitanga movement. She is the first woman to head the movement. Te Atairangikaahu belongs to the Waikato confederation of tribes and is a direct descendant of the famous Waikato leader Te Puea Herangi.

The Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi has recently been brought to the forefront of debate on race relations in New Zealand (see section 2.1, Constitution).

The treaty has always been recognised within Maori society as an affirmation of rights and highly valued as a taonga, a sacred pact, entered into by the ancestors of today's New Zealanders. It has moved from obscurity through various levels of importance and now occupies an important position in relation to much of the Government's activities.

The landmark 1987 Court of Appeal case, New Zealand Maori Council v the Crown saw the special relationship between the Maori people and the Crown as one of an ongoing partnership, requiring the partners to act reasonably and with the utmost good faith towards each other.

Waitangi Tribunal. This tribunal considers claims from any Maori who considers he or she or any group of Maori of which he or she is a member, is prejudiced by any legislation, policy or practice by or on behalf of the Crown which is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The tribunal is made up of a chairperson and sixteen members appointed by the Governor-General. The chairperson is the Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court, and four of the tribunal members must be Maori.

In 1990-91 several major claims were considered by the tribunal including issues arising from the allocation of radio broadcast frequencies and the Ngai Tahu and Ngai Rangiteao land claims.

There are a number of reports on claims expected by June of 1992. Some of the areas under examination are the Wellington Tenths; Ngai Tahu Fisheries, Ngai Tahu Undergrowth (i.e. smaller) claims; Muriwhenua land (Northland); Waikareao Estuary (Tauranga); Te Roroa (Dargaville area); and Poukani (Central North Island).

Restructuring of Maori affairs administration

On 21 April 1988 the Minister of Maori Affairs released a discussion paper He Tirohanga Rangapü (Partnership Perspectives). That paper proposed a number of changes to improve the services that Maori people receive from government agencies. After wide consultation in May and June 1988 and further submissions, a policy statement Te Urupare Rangapü (Partnership Response) was published in November 1988.

The policy statement proposed a number of measures, among which was the establishment of a Ministry of Maori Affairs to provide a Maori perspective in policy making.

The Ministry of Maori Affairs (Manatu Maori) commenced operation on 1 July 1989. The Department of Maori Affairs ceased operation on 30 September 1989 and was replaced by the Iwi Transition Agency (Te Tira Ahu Iwi) on 1 October 1989.

A Ministerial Planning Group was appointed on 7 January 1991, to develop recommendations on Government policy for Maori Affairs by the Minister of Maori Affairs. The report of the Ministerial Planning Group was entitled Ka Awatea (It is day) and was released on 5 March 1991. The report analyses the position of Maori in society and recommended fundamental institutional, policy and operational changes and was approved by Cabinet on 13 May 1991.

The Ministry of Maori Affairs and the Iwi Transition Agency ceased operation on 31 December 1991. They were replaced by the new agency, the Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puna Kokiri). The establishment unit for the new ministry commenced operation on 1 July 1991 with the Ministry of Maori Development fully operational on 1 January 1992.

The responsibilities of the ministry as stated in the Ministry of Maori Development Act 1991, include:

  • Promoting increases in the levels of achievement attained by Maori with respect to education; training and employment; health; and economic resource development.

  • Monitoring, and liaising with, each department and agency that provides or has a responsibility to provide services to or for Maori for the purpose of ensuring the adequacy of those services.

The areas of activity (or outputs) of the Ministry of Maori Development are:

  • — Maori education;

  • — Maori health;

  • — Maori assets management;

  • — Maori labour resources;

  • — the relationship between Maori and the Crown;

  • — Maori potential;

  • — local facilitation;

  • — administration of residual services (Iwi Transition Agency/Ministry of Maori Affairs);

  • — administration of receipts and payments on behalf of the Crown;

  • — ministerial servicing; and

  • — services to the Maori Trustee.

Maori tribal developments

A recent trend has seen the increased willingness of government to channel communications and resources through tribal organisations to the ‘flax roots’ of Maoridom. Runanga or trust boards have a key role to play in the implementation of development schemes, the development of a comprehensive Maori fisheries policy, the administration of Maori language boards and cultural wananga, and other activities.

Tribal structures are ideally placed to represent the whole range of Maori opinion, and because they operate in a Maori framework, they can harness the enthusiasm and commitment of groups more effectively. As this strategy is pursued, the Government expects to benefit from improved liaison with the Maori community.

There are also major benefits for Maori people. Tribal identity and pride are enhanced and there is even greater incentive for Maori people to participate in tribal affairs. Traditional institutions and networks have been revitalised and new runanga and trust boards have been established in areas where they did not exist. This strong tribal infrastructure is a key element in the emerging biculturalism in New Zealand, Maori economic development, and the adaptation of traditional strengths to meet contemporary needs, which are features of Maori society today.

Maori community services

A range of community services tailored to meet the specific needs of the Maori people are overseen by the Iwi Transition Agency.

The Maori Community Services Programme, as these services are collectively known, has as its legislative basis the Maori Community Development Act 1962, the Maori Affairs Act 1953 and the Maori Purposes Fund Act 1934-35. The primary functions of community services in terms of the legislation are to advise and assist the Maori people in respect of their general welfare and, in particular, in respect of health, housing, education, vocational training and employment.

However, the very nature of the responsibilities of the various Maori community workers, particularly those employed by the agency, working with and alongside communities and Maori organisations involves them in the broad spectrum of community life and a wide range of peripheral concerns of Maori communities.

Statutory Maori organisations working alongside and partially resourced by the Ministry of Maori Development are:

  • The New Zealand Maori Council; District Maori Councils; Maori executive committees and Maori communities;

  • Maori wardens; and

  • Honorary community officers.

Additionally, there are a number of ad hoc voluntary organisations initiated at community level and providing services in areas of social concern including health; drug, alcohol and solvent abuse; criminal rehabilitation; family violence; skills training; and employment and education. These organisations include the Maori Women's Welfare League, Maatua Whangai, kohanga reo whanau and Kokiri management committees.

New Zealand Maori Council. The activities of the New Zealand Maori Council embrace almost every facet of Maori life including social, economic, and cultural matters and the maintenance of good race relations.

District Maori Councils have the same aims and functions as the national body and are additionally responsible for the nomination and the renomination of Maori wardens for approval, and for screening applications for marae subsidies in their regions. Each council is represented on the New Zealand Maori Council.

Maori executive committees represent defined sub-tribal areas within district Maori council boundaries and are responsible for the same functions as the national and district councils. Each executive committee is represented on the District Maori Council.

Maori wardens. These voluntary workers, among other things, provide liaison between police, the courts and the Maori people.

Recently there has been recognition that, with escalating social problems, there is a need for a high degree of expertise and training and courses are being organised to meet this need. There are approximately 1200 wardens nationally.

Community officers. Community officers employed by the Ministry of Maori Development carry out different functions from traditional social workers in that they address the requirements of communities as a whole or community groups, with little involvement in individual casework. Their task has been and continues to be one of support and involvement in community initiatives and to provide a positive link between government and communities.

Maori Women's Welfare League. The league is a national Maori organisation, its members spread throughout all regions. The league has emerged as an important link within Maoridom. Its purpose is to enable its members to play an effective part in the cultural, social, educational and economic development of Maori people, and the people of New Zealand.

The league has always been in the forefront of efforts towards the social advancement of the Maori people. Emphasis in 1990-91 has been on immunisation promotion, extension of the healthy lifestyle programme, a new mental health initiative, positive parenting, projects for the elderly, and the Maori Womens' Development fund.

Kohanga reo. A kohanga reo is a whanau/family group where a deliberate effort is made to create a Maori cultural environment, in which Maori language values and customs are naturally acquired by pre-school children from their kaumatua (elders). Through the example of the whanau, the children learn aroha (love, compassion), manaakitanga (caring, hospitality), whanaungatanga (family responsibilities) and are taught traditional knowledge, crafts and customs, all through the medium of Maori language.

The kohanga reo movement has demonstrated how Maori culture could be maintained and developed in modern society and has been the springboard for other community education and development programmes.

Maatua whangai is a scheme whereby young Maori people at risk of offending are directed to the care of members of their whanau, hapu or iwi. In return for the commitment of the Maori community, government provides some assistance with boarding costs and housing loans if necessary. Funds have also been allocated to help reinforce family networks which underpin this programme.

Rapu mahi/Hanga mahi. This is a scheme to increase employment opportunities for young Maori people by matching individuals who are known to be unemployed with organisations which are found to have jobs or training opportunities, and creating employment opportunities in areas of Maori investment or economic growth.

Kokiri centres are primarily basic skills centres set up with financial assistance from Maori Development, and run by independent executive management committees. Many operate from a marae base while others, particularly in major urban areas, have set up their headquarters in various buildings suitable for their needs.

Most kokiri centres are recognised or are in the process of gaining recognition as ACCESS/Maori ACCESS training providers. Other community programmes can also operate out of kokiri centres, such as kohanga reo, maatu whangai and health programmes. Some centres have fully-appointed health centres operating as part of the complex.

Marae subsidies. Marae are traditional centres of Maori tribal life, the venue for major social, political and ceremonial activity. The Iwi Transition Agency supplements money raised by marae committees to renovate and maintain marae, and to provide necessary facilities so they can serve their communities effectively.

Employment and training. See section 12.3, Training and employment assistance.

Te reo Maori

Taketake ake nö Aotearoa te reo Mäori, ä, he ähua 50,000 ngä tängata ko te reo Mäori tö rätou ake reo. Ko te reo Mäori o Aotearoa tëtahi o ngä reo o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, ä, he reo e whanaunga ana ki ngä reo o Rarotonga, o Tahiti me Hawai'i.

Nä te kaha o te reo Päkehä i ruarua haere ai te hunga körero Mäori mai i te tïmatanga o tënei rautau; otirä, mai i te tïmatanga o tënei ngahurutanga, kua oho ake te aroha o te iwi Mäori ki töna reo. Tokohia kë nei ngä tamariki kei ngä Köhanga Reo, kei ngä Kura Kaupapa Mäori ränei e whakaakona ki te reo Mäori. He maha ngä reo irirangi Mäori kua whakaütia, ä, e whiriwhirihia ana inäianei ko te whakapähotanga Mäori.

Ko te ture i kïia ai ko te reo Mäori he reo mana nö Aotearoa, i whakatüria ai hoki Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Mäori i te tau 1987, i whakatakotoria hei urupare ki te pürongo e tata tonu ana te puta i Te Röpü Whakamana I Te Tiriti O Waitangi—e pä ana taua pürongo ki te reo Mäori me töna türanga i ngä whare whakawä, i ngä kura, i ngä mahi päho me ngä tari käwanatanga.

Ahakoa käore i rite i Te Ture Reo Mäori 1987 te katoa o ngä whakahau a Te Röpü Whakamana I Te Tiriti O Waitangi, i kïia te reo Mäori he reo mana, ä, ka ähei hold te tangata ki te körero Mäori i ngä whare whakawä o te motu.

Ko ngä uaratanga o Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori he whakatairanga, he whakaü i te reo Mäori hei reo e körerotia whänuitia ana, kia ora tonu ai, ä, he whakaörite i te reo Mäori me te reo Päkehä ki tä te ture titiro. Hei hanga i tëtahi Aotearoa e ähei ana ngä tängata katoa ki te körero i tö rätou ake reo, ahakoa ko te reo Mäori, ko te reo Päkehä ränei, e aro nui atu ana Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Mäori ki ngä röpü e toru e whai ake nei: ki te iwi Mäori, ki te hunga o ngä tari käwanatanga me te iwi whänui.

Kei te iwi Mäori tonu te uara whakaora ake i töna reo, inä hoki kei reira te tino mätauranga ki te reo. Ko te hunga matatau ki te reo e whakahauria ana e Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Mäori kia tukua iho e rätou tënei taonga ki te mätätahi e tupu haere nei, ki te mätäpuputu hoki käore i te möhio ki te reo o öna mätua tïpuna. I tua atu i te wero atu ki te iwi Mäori kia matapakitia, kia whakatutukia he kaupapa mö te reo, ko tëtahi o ngä mahi a Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Mäori he tito, he kohi kupu hou mai hei whakamahi mä te hunga körero Mäori (hei tauira, ‘waea whakaahua’ facsimile device, fax).

E akiakitia ana ngä tari käwanatanga kia aro mai ki ngä awhero o te iwi Mäori e pä ana ki te reo. Ko tëtahi atu o ngä mahi a Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Mäori he äwhina i aua tari ki te whakarite ratonga reo Mäori. Kei te nui ngä pänui türanga watea kua puta kë i ngä nüpepa o te motu, i ëtahi atu wähi hoki, ki ngä reo e rua, ä, kei te nui ngä pukapuka körero whänui kua tängia këtia ki te reo Päkehä me te reo Mäori, ä, i ëtahi wä hoki, ki ngä reo o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

E whakaohongia ana te iwi whänui ki ngä wawata o te iwi Mäori e pä ana ki te reo, tae atu hoki ki ngä kura kaupapa Mäori me te päho reo Mäori. Ahakoa ka riro mä te iwi Mäori anö ënei kaupapa e whakahaere, e tika ana kia tautokona e te iwi whänui kia pümau ai te mana o te reo mö ake tonu atu.

New Zealand Maori, a Polynesian language closely related to Cook Islands Maori, Tahitian and Hawaiian, is the indigenous language of New Zealand, and the first language of some 50,000 Maori New Zealanders.

The number of native speakers of Maori has been declining throughout this century in the face of strong competition from English, but over the last decade there has been a renewal of interest in the language on the part of the Kohanga Reo (Maori-language preschool movement) and, more recently, the Kura Kaupapa Maori (Maori-language immersion primary schools). Many Maori radio stations have now been established and there are moves at present to establish Maori television.

The legislation that led to the declaration of Maori as an official language of New Zealand and the establishment in 1987 of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori (the Maori Language Commission) was drafted in response to the imminent publication of the Waitangi Tribunal's finding on a claim relating to the use of the Maori language in courts of law, the education system, broadcasting and the public service. Although the Maori Language Act 1987 fell short of the tribunal's final recommendations, the language was declared ‘official’ and the right to speak Maori in courts of law and before a number of tribunals was established.

The mission of the Maori Language Commission is to contribute to the growth and maintenance of the Maori language as a living, widely used means of communication with a legal status equal to that of English. In working towards a society where all New Zealanders feel able to communicate in the official language of their choice, either English or Maori, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori is initially addressing three main groups: the Maori people, the state sector and the general population.

Maori people themselves possess the essential element in the revitalisation of the Maori language: knowledge of the language. Those who currently speak Maori are urged to pass their knowledge on to younger generations and to others who were not brought up speaking the language. As well as offering a forum where language policy can be discussed, developed and promoted, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori offers a technical service by undertaking language research, including the creation and collection of new terms in the Maori language such as waea whakaahua ‘facsimile device; fax’.

The state sector is encouraged to respond to the language needs of its Maori-speaking clientele. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mäori assists government departments and other Crown agencies in offering a range of services in Maori. Already, large numbers of advertisements for positions in the public service appear in daily newspapers and elsewhere in a bilingual format, and much public information is now published in English and Maori, and often also in other Polynesian languages.

The general population is gradually being made aware of the language concerns of the Maori people, including the need for Maori-medium schooling and broadcasting. While it is the Maori people who are the key players in issues concerning the revitalisation of the language, the goodwill and support of the general population is required if the Maori language is to achieve status as a fully official language.

5.5 Pacific Island Polynesian population


The 1986 census provides the most accurate and complete data on New Zealand's Pacific Island Polynesian population. The following tables use a ‘sole origin’ series, which is derived on a group affiliation concept based on cultural and ancestral criteria, and allows comparison between the 1981 and 1986 census data. This population includes the categories of Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Niuean, Tokelauan, and other Pacific Island Polynesian e.g., Hawaiian, Tahitian. Persons who specified themselves as belonging to one, two or three island categories within the Pacific Island Polynesian group are defined as ‘solely Pacific Island Polynesian’.

Age distribution. Table 6.35 compares the Pacific Island Polynesian populations at the 1981 and 1986 censuses on an age group basis.

When intercensal population growth is analysed on a consistent age group basis, i.e., the age group 0-4 years at the 1981 census is compared with the 5-9 years group at the 1986 census, etc., a major contribution made by net immigration to the increase in the Pacific Island Polynesian population during the period is evident.

In addition, the high growth of 21441 (28.2 percent) in the resident Pacific Island Polynesian population during the 1981-86 intercensal period was partly a result of significant natural increase (births less deaths) for this ethnic group.


Age group (years)1981 census†1986 census†Intercensal change (percent)

* Persons of solely Pacific Island Polynesian origin usually resident in New Zealand

† Includes combinations of two and three Pacific Island Polynesian ethnic groups specified in the ‘one ethnic origin’ category.