Stats NZ has a new website.

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As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

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History of the census in New Zealand

The New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand. The census provides a ‘snapshot’ of our society at a point in our history. Official counting of people in New Zealand goes back as far as 1842. New Zealand’s first official national population census was held in 1851.

Image: Mr and Mrs RJ Parker and family completing their 1966 Census forms in Porirua, Wellington.

Mr and Mrs RJ Parker and family completing 1966 Census forms, Porirua.

Source: Dominion Post

What's available?

The links below lead to information about the history of New Zealand’s censuses, including interesting facts and stories. They give you access to digitised historical materials and outline important dates in New Zealand’s census-taking history.

A history of census-taking in New Zealand – gives an overview of how New Zealand’s census has changed since 1842.

How the census forms have changed over time – provides information about and links to digitised census forms and publications.

Dates of New Zealand censuses since 1851 – includes a list of census dates since 1851 and an interactive timeline that maps the important dates in New Zealand census history. 

Did you know? – some of the most interesting stories from New Zealand’s census history.

List of references for images – gives thumbnail images and reference details for images held at Archives New Zealand, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington Central Library, and Parliamentary Library.

 

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