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National interest

Here are some census stories with themes of national interest; such as ethnic diversity, disability, our youngest kiwis, and our families. These stories show how the information you provided in the 2006 Census has been used to benefit New Zealand. You can also download these stories using the pdf in the available files box here.

Calculating electorate numbers and boundaries

Information from the census helps determine the number of Māori electorates, the number of North Island general electorates and the number of list seats in Parliament. The census underpins the process that ensures the number of people in each electorate reflects changes in population.

Statistics New Zealand updates the number of electorates every five years, after the census and a Māori Electoral Option in which Māori electors choose to be on either the Māori or general electoral roll. Census counts of Māori and non-Māori are combined with Māori electoral registrations to calculate Māori and general electoral populations.

Electorates must have similar numbers of people in them and, by law, the South Island always has 16 general electorates. The North Island is divided into general electorates with about the same population as each South Island general electorate. The number of Māori electorates is calculated by dividing the total Māori electoral population by the average population of the South Island general electorates.

Following these calculations, the Representation Commission reviews electorate names and boundaries. The public can make submissions on changes proposed by the commission.

Currently there are 70 electorates – 63 general electorates and seven Māori electorates. Counts from the 2011 Census will help determine the number of electorates for the 2014 General Election.

Number of electorates since 1996
Election year  Electorates
 General  Māori  Total
 1996  60  5  65
 1999  61  6  67
 2002  62  7  69
 2005  62  7  69
 2008  63  7  70
 2011  63  7  70

A new disability centre for Queenstown

The disAbilities Resource Centre Southland found it was fielding many enquiries from the Queenstown area, including requests for equipment, advice and other services for the disabled. The centre is in Invercargill, and the drive to Queenstown takes approximately three hours. The roads are often dangerous or closed during winter.

The centre decided to assess the need for another centre in the Queenstown area. In doing so, it discovered an increasing need for disability services in the area. 2006 Census population data revealed a 34.7 percent population increase in the Queenstown-Lakes district between 2001 and 2006, the highest percentage growth of all territorial authorities in the country. The data also showed that, like in many parts of New Zealand, the district’s population is ageing. With ageing comes an increased occurrence of disability.

A disability resource centre is now planned to open in 2010 in Frankton, just outside Queenstown. By including related service providers and community groups, it’s intended to be a one-stop shop for people with disabilities, their families and friends. The centre will provide information and equipment, raise awareness about disability and issues such as access, and advocate for people with disabilities.


Ethnic diversity in the volunteer sector

Volunteer Wellington’s mission is to create opportunities for engagement in the community through volunteering. It supports more than 370 community-based agencies and their volunteers, through advice, recruitment, consultancy services and training.

Volunteer Wellington noticed increasing numbers of migrants wanting to take part in volunteer work. It wanted to involve these people and realised it needed to promote the benefits of involving migrant volunteers to its member organisations.

Volunteer Wellington used 2006 Census data to raise its members’ awareness of the increase in the number of migrants in the area. The data showed nearly three times as many people who were living in Wellington City arrived in New Zealand in 2005, compared with the number who arrived in 1996. As a result, training forums were provided that were dedicated to cultural diversity and ways to respond to the needs of volunteers.

Volunteers and members have benefited from this initiative. For migrants, volunteer work gives them greater confidence and helps their integration into the community, language and vocational skills. In some cases, their involvement has resulted in paid employment. The organisation, in turn, benefits from the richness of having a diverse team.


Responding to the community

(This story was revised on 2 March 2010.)

Randwick Park Community House is in Manurewa, Manukau City.

Community house staff were concerned that with a large population of young Māori, there were few services in the immediate area catering to this group. The community house needed to be sure its services were targeted to its community. 2006 Census data confirmed the high numbers of Māori youth, with 47.9 percent of Manukau City’s Māori population aged 19 years and under. It also showed that there were many single parent families in the area.

Staff surveyed the local neighbourhood about the services they’d like the community house to provide. Many wanted classes in Te Reo, driver licensing and activities for youth such as hip hop classes and afterschool care.

The community house has responded by providing these as well as weaving classes, a youth drop-in centre and free clothing days. Those using the services are enjoying the programmes, with many gaining confidence to move onto further learning opportunities.


Families in Parks

Families in Parks are summertime events in parks and reserves in North Shore City. They’re a way to bring families and communities together to enjoy the outdoors, o promote recreation, and for community groups and councils to get first-hand feedback about community issues.

While these events have been successful in attracting large numbers in other parts of the North Shore, the Takapuna event didn’t have the same support. Fewer people seemed aware of the event and attendance was low.

The Takapuna Community Trust decided that to raise awareness of and involvement in the event it needed to better understand its community. 2006 Census data was used to profile family types within different areas of Takapuna. This highlighted areas such as Sunnynook, where 66.7% of families have children. As a result, communication about the events is better targeted and parks are selected in areas which are representative of the proportion of families with children in the area.

In 2006, the Families in Parks Takapuna event saw a groundswell of support, with over 3,000 people taking part.


Wainuiomata youth are on air

The Wainuiomata Community Centre knew that while there were lots of young people living in their area, there was also a shortage of activities specifically for youth.

In 2003, the centre held a youth hui where young people came together and suggested the activities they’d like the centre to provide. One idea was a youth radio station.

The centre investigated the idea and found it to be feasible – they just needed to source funds to get the station up and running. The latest census data from 2006 shows that more than a third of Wainuiomata’s population is aged 19 years and under, confirming the high numbers of young people in the area. As a result of using the census data, the centre put together a successful funding application. The radio station could be set up!

Initially, workshops were held to train young volunteers interested in DJ-ing on RageFM. A peer training system was established so that as DJs became more experienced, they could train others who were keen to DJ too. As well as gaining valuable leadership and training skills, some of the young people involved in RageFM are keen to further their careers in broadcasting and journalism.


Saving the Niuean language

Over time, people of Niuean ethnicity in New Zealand have been losing their mother tongue. Many fluent speakers have not transferred the language to their children and grandchildren. As they have passed away, the number of speakers necessary to keep the language alive has dwindled.

NIU Development Inc used census data to gain government support to foster the Niuean language. 2006 Census data showed that only 11 percent of the New Zealand-born Niuean population who could speak a language were able to hold an everyday conversation in Niuean.

With a population of approximately 22,000 people of Niuean ethnicity in New Zealand, compared with approximately 1,600 in Niue, this was of concern to NIU Development Inc.

The result has been a programme produced with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs called Mind Your Language. It includes booklets and CDs that enable fluent speakers to teach the Niuean language without teaching qualifications. Access Radio provides Niuean language lessons on air, and a website and DVD are under development.

Ensuring future generations of Niuean people learn their language strengthens their identity and enriches our country. Similar programmes to safeguard the Cook Island Maori and Tokelaun languages are underway.


Learning centres for our youngest Kiwis

Barnardos has 24 early learning centres throughout New Zealand for children under five years of age. They are constantly researching new areas to assess the need for further centres and aim to boost the number of centres to 40 by 2012.

Barnardos uses census data to find the population of under fives in a given area. This is then compared with the number involved in pre-school education, to determine whether there is a need for a new centre. When assessing Oamaru, Barnardos found no learning facilities for children two years and under, yet 2006 Census data showed there were more than 300 children in that age group in the Oamaru community. Barnardos included the research in a funding proposal, and has since established a centre there.

Barnardos also uses census data to decide whether additional services are required – such as budgeting advice in low socioeconomic areas, or childcare facilities where there’s a high proportion of single-parent families. In this way, the centres do more than prepare children for school – they cater to parents and provide an important hub within the community.


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