Whanganui has been chosen for a dry run of next year's online census.

Statistics NZ has chosen 19,000 Whanganui households to take part in a census test, to help Statistics NZ prepare for the next census in March 2018.

Next year, in the 2018 Census, Statistics NZ will be encouraging everyone to complete their census information online, so they're building new forms that will work on desktop, tablet and mobile, to make it as easy as possible for people to take part.

The test, which will only be run in Whanganui, will help Statistics NZ check that the new systems and processes they're building for next year are working.

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"We've picked Whanganui because it has a great mix of people and dwellings that will help us test some of the approaches we are developing for the whole country in 2018," said Denise McGregor, General Manager, 2018 Census.

"We'll be testing how we contact people who live in apartment blocks and public buildings, like hotels and motels, and we're also testing how people respond to the online forms we've developed."

"The first step is to make sure that addresses match our list, so Whanganui residents might see some of our staff out and about over the next couple of weeks, checking that we're on track to send out letters with more information about how to take part in late March."

"We really hope Whanganui residents will support this test and take part - the more people who participate, the more information we can gather to help us with our planning for 2018."