Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

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

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
How big is your whānau?
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  25 October 2012

How big is your whānau?  –  Media Release

A new survey from Statistics New Zealand should provide vital information on whānau sizes and whānau well-being, after a pilot study found whānau sizes ranged from one to 500 people.

Statistics NZ has today released a research report, Kei te pēwhea tō whānau?, which outlines a new Māori-centred approach to measuring whānau and whānau well-being. This approach will be used in Te Kupenga, a survey of Māori well-being that Statistics NZ will run in mid-2013.

In Te Kupenga, 5000 Māori individuals will be asked a range of well-being questions about their whānau, including how they think their whānau is doing, who is in their whānau, and the size of their whānau. The new approach means that rather than restricting respondents to thinking about people in their household, the survey asks them to consider anyone they think of as whānau.

"What we've found in our pilot group is that while some people believe their whānau is around the size of what people might think of as a nuclear family, others see their whānau as having 50, 100, or even 500 people," says Deputy Government Statistician Vince Galvin.

Mr Galvin says it's important to stress that the pilot study is not representative of the whole population, but was instead used to identify how the full survey next year would gather useful information.

He says despite the limitations of the study, some of the pilot study results look encouraging. "We're seeing that by far the majority of participants felt that their whānau was doing well."

"The results are not conclusive, but they indicate what we can learn about whānau if we try different things. For example, we can understand the average size of whānau, how broadly Māori define whānau, and how many Māori include non-blood relatives in their whānau. When the full survey is carried out next year, the information we gather should be useful for the likes of social service providers and policymakers.”

Mr Galvin says the study reflects what Māori researchers and the Māori community have been saying to Statistics NZ about whānau. "Māori have been telling us that whānau live across many households, and can look quite different depending on how you define them. With our new approach, we can find out more about whānau, and meet community needs.”


For media enquiries contact: Authorised by:

Atawhai Tibble
Wellington 021 876 393

Published 25 October 2012

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+