Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings
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.
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, campgrounds, workplaces and transport systems where people might be found at midnight.
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, as was the 1941 census due to World War II. 1951 was the first year in which Maori and European New Zealanders were treated equally, with Maori having had a different census form in previous years and separate censuses in the nineteenth century.
The 2006 census will be held at midnight on Tuesday 7th March, 2006. For the first time, respondents will have the option of completing their census form via the internet rather than by a printed form.
A few people 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 affidavits from followers who believe that he 'magically disappeared' for the night.
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