The New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...
government department Statistics New Zealand
Statistics New Zealand is the national statistical office of New Zealand.-Organisation:New Zealand's Minister of Statistics is Maurice Williamson who serves as a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives and holds several other posts within government...
conducts a census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...
of population and dwellings
every five years. The census scheduled for 2011 was cancelled due to circumstances surrounding the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, however, and legislation introduced to hold the next census in 2013.
The census officially occurs at midnight on a Tuesday in March. These are statistically the month and weekday on which New Zealanders are least likely to be travelling.
Conducting the Census
All census forms are hand-delivered by census workers during the lead-in to the census, with one form per person and a special form with questions about the dwelling. In addition, teams of census workers attempt to cover all hospitals, camp grounds, workplaces and transport systems where people might be found at midnight.
The smallest geographic unit used in the census for population data is the mesh block, which there are 39,300 of, with an average of 110 people in each. http://www.ssrc.canterbury.ac.nz/research/2003-4/census.shtml
The first full census in New Zealand was conducted in 1851, and the census was triennial until 1881, at which time it became five-yearly. The 1931 census was cancelled due to the effects of the Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...
, as was the 1941 census due to World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
. 1951 was the first year in which Māori and European New Zealanders
Pākehā is a Māori language word for New Zealanders who are "of European descent". They are mostly descended from British and to a lesser extent Irish settlers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, although some Pākehā have Dutch, Scandinavian, German, Yugoslav or other ancestry...
were treated equally, with European New Zealanders having had a different census form in previous years and separate censuses in the nineteenth century.
The 2006 census was held on Tuesday, 7 March. For the first time, respondents had the option of completing their census form via the Internet rather than by a printed form.
The 2011 census was to be held on Tuesday, 8 March. However, due to the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011, this was cancelled.
For the first time ever, all 2011 Census forms would have been digitally archived.
On 27 May 2011 Statistics New Zealand issued a press release stating that a census will now take place in March 2013. The legislation required to change the census date was introduced to Parliament in August 2011.
Evasion of the Census
There are a few people who object to the census and attempt to evade it. The most famous of these is The Wizard of New Zealand, Ian Brackenberry Channell, who has variously spent the night in a boat beyond New Zealand's 20 km territorial limit and presented affidavit
An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public...
s from followers who believe that he 'magically disappeared' for the night.