Be on the lookout for your Census forms

By Mike Dinsdale

Almost 73,000 Northland homes and 2800 other dwellings - whether they be houses, tents, boats or even prison - will get forms in the mail from today to take part in New Zealand's largest information gathering exercise: the 2013 Census.

The Census is normally carried out every five years, but the 2011 Census was delayed for two years because of the Christchurch earthquake with the big day on March 5.

From today the forms that everybody has to fill in - it's an offence not to take part - will start turning up in letter boxes, with Northland Census 2013 area manager Lyndsay Elliot saying 286 Northland Census collectors were being trained this week.

Mr Elliot said the collectors had been employed on six-week, part-time positions, and between them were expected to visit around 73,000 private dwellings and 2800 non-private dwellings such as motels, hotels and hospitals to collect forms.

Upper North Island regional Census collector trainer Mate Pivac said many people were expected to take up the option of filling out the Census online, which saved time.

Ms Pivac was training a bunch of collectors at Portland Recreation Centre yesterday ahead of the forms being delivered, ensuring they knew what to do with the big blue bags they will carry with them that will, with their yellow name tag, identify them as an official Census collector.

"They have to collect some vital information and we have to ensure it's done correctly, such as the exact address and the number of forms they give out. They will be visiting every dwelling occupied on Census day, and that could be a house or caravan, or even a tent or boat," she said.

The Census is used to gather information on the country's population and dwellings, which is used for local and national planning purposes, including how much health funding to give to regions based on its resident population.

It provides a snapshot of how many people live in New Zealand and the number of dwellings there are in the country, as well as a host of other useful information such as incomes, religious status and educational achievements.

It is an offence not to take part in the official Census and inmates at the Northland Regional Corrections Facility, Ngawha Prison, will also take part.

Every five years Statistics NZ takes an official count of the country's population and dwellings. However, the 2011 Census was not held as planned, due to the Christchurch earthquake.


Northland in a nutshell from the 2006 Census

  • Northland's population grew by 5.9 per cent from the 2001 Census from 140,133 to 148,470

  • Maori population up almost 8 per cent, from 40,737 in 2001 to 43,527

  • 14,682 Northlanders regarded themselves simply as New Zealander (a new category from 2001).

  • Ngapuhi was NZ's largest iwi with 122,211 members

  • Asian population grew by 22.5 per cent from 1995 to 2580

  • Median age rose from 36.7 to 37.5 years

  • 55,932 occupied houses, compared with 52,089 in 2001.

  • 35,367 men between the ages of 20 and 59 compared with 38,152 women - a shortfall of 2785 men.

  • Whangarei District population grew 9.4 per cent, from 68,094 to 74,463.

  • The Far North grew 2.3 per cent from 54,576 to 55,845.

  • Thirty people in the region were not assigned to any of the three districts and could be living on boats.

- Northern Advocate

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