Migration to and from New Zealand

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Migration to and from New Zealand
New Zealand Bound

Period ended 31 March
Year Arrivals  Departures Net
1880 98,877 30,376 68,501
1885 73,861 44,776 29,085
1890 75,063 79,747 -4,684
1895 101,508 88,067 13,441
1900 93,037 84,398 8,639
1905 141,678 99,501 42,177
1910 190,772 146,783 43,989
1915 202,087 165,286 36,801
1920 98,473 90,532 7,941
1925 199,791 151,285 48,506
1930 192,606 167,346 25,260
1935 111,933 118,076 -6,143
1940 171,424 159,514 11,910
1945 35,003 32,414 2,589
1950 158,637 135,439 23,198


306,837 239,148 67,689
2005 August 78,900  72,300. 6600
2006     9740
2007     6600
2008 March 83,500 78,800  4700

In New Zealand people of British origin came to constitute the majority of the population and have made an enduring mark.  Christchurch is known as the most English city outside the UK.  Pakeha migration and settlement began in the 1840's with the most migrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland or Australia.  Between 1922 and 1928, a large number of immigrants came from the United Kingdom because of financial assistance under the Empire Settlement Act 1922.  There was also a large number of migrants from Europe after World War II. Source: 1998 New Zealand Official Yearbook,  Statistics New Zealand Wellington NZ. Article: People on the move - coming to New Zealand School's Corner, Figures and Facts.

1844 New Zealand Company arrivals: 8,893 
1874 Immigrant ships: Auckland 26, Wellington 25, Lyttelton 41, and Port Chalmers 53. Ref: White Wings
1874 Assisted immigrants arrivals 31,774

Urban-Rural Population, 1881-1921 Censuses 
Census Urban Urban Rural Rural
Non-Maori pop. number percent number percent
1881 194,981 40.1 291,238 59.9
1886 245,612 42.9 327,328 57.1
1891 270,343 43.4 352,097 56.6
1896 307,294 44 391,735 56
1901 350,202 45.6 417,596 54.4
1906 424,614 48.1 458,797 51.9
1911 505,598 50.4 496,779 49.6
1916 585,306 53.9 501,259 46.1
1921 681,988 56.2 530,852 43.8

Source:  New Zealand Official Yearbook 1998, Statistics New Zealand

Men outnumbered women, 160 men to every 100 women in 1861 in this rural colony. The permanent gain from 1860 to 1960 was approximately 650,000. New Zealand reached the million mark in 1908 and two million in 1952.  The North Island's population has been always approximately 75% greater population than the South Island's. 

The Times, Friday, Jan 25, 1867
Statistics show the effect of gold discovery in Otago.  In the year 1857 the population of the province of Otago was 4,631, and there were 79 females to every 100 males. That disproportion was rapidly increased on the discovery of gold in the province; and in 1861, the population having risen 27,163 there were only 28 females to 100 males. At the census of 1864 the entire population of 49,010, there were 50 females to 100 male. The immigration into Otago from the United Kingdom on the period reached its highest point in 1863, when it comprised 2,171 males and 1,868 females; the largest additions to the population of Otago have been from Victoria, whence there arrived in 1863 20,150 males and 2,822 females. There were many departures from Otago in the last few years.

Otago Witness Saturday September 18 1869 page 1
Annual Statistics
The whole excess of the arrivals of passengers from beyond seas over departures from the Colony, was but 860. There has been a steady increase in births from 990 in 1855 to 6729 in 1868. During the fourteen years the increase from this cause has been no less than 45,006. Of this number 12,304 belong to the provinces of Otago and Southland. In 1867 the number of births registered in the colony was 8918; in 1868 it was 9391.
Marriages - 1870 - 2,085.  35 in excess of those in the previous year and 47 more than in 1868. In 186 and 1865 there were 1878 and 1908 marriages respectively.

In regard to Immigration from Great Britain, Otago takes first place. Of the 3,022 arrivals in the colony from the old country,
1,157 came to Otago
886 to Canterbury
263 to Auckland
and the rest to Nelson, Wellington and Napier.
From coast wise and overland migrations Otago has added 1,432 to their population. 

Timaru Herald February 28 1887
During the month of January 2072 persons arrived in the colony, and 800 left it.
Of the arrivals 1009 were from the United Kingdom, 493 from New South Wales and 426 from Victoria.
The largest number of arrivals was at Auckland, 729; Dunedin 654; Invercargill 473; Wellington 172; Lyttelton 33.
Of the departures 113 were for the United Kingdom, 352 for NSW, 306 for Victoria, and 44 for Tasmania.
The largest number of departures was from Auckland 362; Invercargill 341; Wellington 130 Lyttelton 35.

Timaru Herald 19 Apr. 1897
Last month 1716 persons arriving in the colony and 2046 persons left, as against 1373 and 2367 for the corresponding month.

The Timaru Herald 12 April 1889 pg3

Daily Southern Cross, 3 May 1873
Of the population of the colony,
53,014 are English
20,033 Irish
32,820 Scotch
1,319 Welsh
Europeans born in the colony, 11,313
Australians, 3,708
born in other British dominions, 1,213
American, 533 ; French, 3,838
German, 3,007
born in other foreign countries, including China, 731
born at sea, 769, whose place of birth is not specified.

Otago Witness, 16 June 1883, Page 17
The census returns for 1881 shows that there were 5004 Chinese in the Colony at that time.

Evening Post, 7 February 1900, Page 4
A statistical return has just been issued by the Registrar-General, showing the arrivals in and departures from the colony during the eight years covering the period from 1892 to 1899 inclusive. The total number of arrivals during that period was 164,545, and the departures 137,220, leaving a balance in favour, of arrivals over departures of 27,325 persons. Every year has shown an excess of arrivals, varying from 895 to 10,412. The latter increase was in 1893, when the arrivals numbered 26,135 and the departures 15,723. The total arrivals include 18,902 children under the age of 12 years, and the departures of children were 13,523. My far the greater proportion of arrivals were from Australia and Tasmania, numbering 136,311 out of the sum total of 164,545. The excess of arrivals from the neighbouring colonies over the departures was 19,196 out of a total excess from all countries of 27,325.

Evening Post, 13 March 1907, Page 3
BIRTHPLACES OF THE PEOPLE. Of the population, exclusive of Maoris 888,578 persons, all but 472 were described as to birthplace on the census schedules The number of Now Zealand born was 606,247, and those born in Australia, Tasmania, and Fiji 47,535, making 653,783 born in in Australasia. The New Zealand-born increase in proportion to the whole with every successive census. In 1886 51.89 per cent, of the population were born in this colony. In 1891 the percentage was 58.61, in 1896 it had reached 62.85, in 1901 the proportion was 66.83, and in 1906, 68.26. A total of 208,931 persons were born in the United Kingdom, or 23.53 per cent, of the population, which was divided as under: �
No. of Birthplace. Persons. Percentage.
England ... 116,560 13.13
Wales ... 2,144 O.24
Scotland . . 47,767 5.38
Ireland ... 42,460 4.78
208,931 23.53
Besides these there were 4280 persons born in other British possessions. Summarsing those results it is found that 866,994 of the population, or 97.62 per cent., were born in the British possessions, made up as follows :
No. of Birthplace. Persons. Percentage.
Australia ... 653,783 73.61
United Kingdom 208,931 23.53
Other British possessions ... 4,280 0.48 866,994 97.62
There then remained 19,867 persons who were born in foreign countries, or 2.24 per cent, of the population, 1245 born at sea, and 472 whose birthplace were not specified. Of those born in British possessions outside of Australasia (4280), 1349 were born in India or Ceylon of European blood, 1547 were born in British North America, 697 in British South Africa, Mauritius, or St. Helena, and 299 in British West Indies. Out of 19,867 persons born abroad, 14, 559 were born in Europe ; 4174 of there were born in Germany, 2277 in Denmark and possessions, 2212 in Austria-Hungary, 1618 in Sweden, 1386 in Norway, 624 in France, 574 in Italy, 464 in Russia, 454 in Switzerland. Outside of Europe, 2010 were found to have been born in the United States and North America not more specifically defined, and 143 in South America. Those born in foreign parts of Asia numbered 3009, 2602 were born in China (53 of European blood), and 361 in Syria (all Asiatic). Only 129 were returned as born in Africa, outside of the British possessions in that Continent. Theo foreign-born decrease at successive census. The figures are compiled by though Registrar-General  - Mr. E. J. Von Dadelzen.

New Zealand Population Totals:
1858 :    115,462
1874 :    344,984
1878 :    458,007
1881 :    534,030
1886 :    620,450
1901 :    815,862
1906 :    936,309
1911 : 1,058,312
1916 : 1,149,225
1921 : 1,271,668
1951 : 1,939,472
1976 : 3,129,383
1996 : 3,681,546
2001 : 3,737,277
                  2006: 4,027,947                   

Wellington - New Zealand's population has topped 3.8 million, official figures showed yesterday. The number of people living in New Zealand in December 1998 was up 0.6 percent on the December 1997 estimate of 3.8 million, Statistics New Zealand deputy chief statistician Dianne Macaskill said. "The annual growth rate is less than half the 1.4 percent average growth rate for the past five years." Ms Macaskill said a "significant turnaround" in the net migration balance - the difference between arrivals and departures - was behind the slower growth. Permanent and long term departures exceeded arrivals by 6300 in the year to December 1998. There were 28,900 more births than deaths in the year to December 1998. Mrs Macaskill noted New Zealand's population was still aging - half the population was now older than 33.9 years, compared with a median age of 31.6 in 1991. NZPA 11 Feb 99

The estimated resident population of New Zealand reached four million on Thursday, 24 April 2003. It took nearly 30 years to reach this milestone, after reaching three million in 1973. Nearly all the population growth from three to four million was due to natural increase. Migration did not contribute significantly to this growth. New Zealand's population reached one million in 1908 and two million about 44 years later in 1952. Driven by strong natural increase and net migration gains, the third million was reached in just 21 years. Statistics New Zealand

Record number of short term visitors in December
04 February 2005

A record number of short term overseas visitors came to New Zealand in December, but long term immigration levels tailed off according to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand. A total of 313,100 short term overseas visitors arrived in the country in December, up 5 per cent or 15,800 on the previous monthly high of 297,300 in December the previous year. The average length of stay for short term visitors was 22 days in both December 2004 and 2003. There were 18,100 or 18 per cent more short term visitors from Australia last month than the same time the previous year; 1900 or 4 per cent more visitors from Britain and 800 or 49 per cent more visitors from Tonga. Visitor arrivals for the year ended December were up 11 per cent on the previous year to 2.348 million. New Zealand residents headed off on 173,700 short term overseas trips in December, up 17 per cent or 25,800 on December 2003. There were 13,100 or 19 per cent more trips to Australia, 2300 or 49 per cent more trips to Fiji, 1100 or 56 per cent more trips to the Cook Islands and 900 or 33 per cent more trips to Samoa. Looking at longer term arrivals, for the year ended December, there was a net migration gain of 15,100, down 57 per cent on the net inflow of 34,900 recorded in the previous year. This resulted from 80,500 permanent and long term arrivals for the year (down 12,200), and 65,400 permanent and long term departures (up 7600).
The net inflow of long term or permanent migrants from Britain fell 11 per cent for the year to 9000. Net permanent or long term migrants from Asia fell to 9800 for the year, from 23,800 in 2003. There was a net outflow to Australia of 14,700 in 2004. NZPA

Drastic drop in immigration
23 September 2005 NZPA
The number of new immigrants or New Zealanders returning home in the year ended August fell 66 per cent compared to the previous year, Statistics New Zealand said today.  For the year ended August there were 78,900 permanent long term (PLT) arrivals, down 3600 or 4 per cent on the previous August year. PLT departures rose 9100 or 14 per cent to 72,300. This led to a net migration gain of 6600 in the August year, 66 per cent lower than the 19,300 people in the previous August year. Permanent and long-term (PLT) arrivals include people who arrive in New Zealand intending to stay for at least 12 months. PLT departures include New Zealanders departing for a period of at least 12 months as well as long term departures by permanent residents and foreign visitors who have been in the country for more than a year.

For the August year foreign arrivals were down 2300 and departures by foreign PLT's were up 2200.

There were 1300 fewer New Zealand citizens arriving back permanently compared to the year-earlier and 6900 more New Zealand citizens leaving on a long term basis. For the month of August there were 600 more PLT arrivals than departures in August, compared with 900 more arrivals than departures the same time last year. Australia remains the destination of choice for New Zealanders leaving home on a long term basis. There was a net outflow to Australia in August, with 1600 more New Zealanders moving across the Tasman than returning home. By contrast there was a net inflow from Britain for the month, of 900 more long term arrivals than people leaving.

They come here for the lifestyle.
4 February 2006 Timaru Herald
The New Zealand lifestyle was drawing foreigners in rapidly-increasing droves. They are professional people, with families. They have money. It is a chance for them to get out of the rat race. Probably 50 per cent of them are back within two years though � they can't handle being five years behind in Coronation Street or whatever.  South Africans followed the British, as the second-most numerous immigrants his company moved. There have always been a few New Zealanders coming back, but never as many as those who go. Now, the emigrants were mostly established professional people, a marked shift from a decade ago. Ten years ago, it used to be all the trades people that were moving. Now, I guess there is enough work for them here. We like the English coming here. They fit in well. Skills they brought were much in demand by local employers. According to Statistics New Zealand, 21,573 immigrants from the United Kingdom came to New Zealand for the year ending June 2005, making the British the largest migrant group. The most popular emigration destination for New Zealanders was Australia, which attracted 334,019 people. Sixty per cent of all new arrivals were under 30 years old.

NZ migration gains increase in March 2006
21 March 2006 NZ Herald
New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted gain of 1830 long-term and permanent migrants in March. The net migration gain compared with the previous month's upwardly revised gain of 1500. On an actual, unadjusted basis, arrivals and departures in March balanced each other out at 6000 each, resulting in a zero balance compared with a net loss of 1400 a year earlier. For the year ended March 31, there was a net gain in permanent and long-term migration of 9740, down 3 per cent on the net inflow of 10,010 people in the previous year ended March. Net annual migration gains, previously a key driver of the strong domestic economy, have fallen since the peak of 42,500 in the year to May 2003, because of tighter immigration rules, a reduction in the number of foreign students studying in New Zealand, fewer New Zealanders returning home and more moving overseas. The number of short-term visitors to New Zealand fell 3 per cent to 227,000 in March compared with the same month a year earlier. There were a total of 2.4 million visitor arrivals for the year through March, virtually unchanged from the previous year. Average length of stay rose to 18 days from 17 days in 2005.

Sharp drop in migration gain
Monday, 31 December 2007 The Dominion Post  
The housing boom started at the end of 2001 and prices have doubled since then to a national median of $352,000. The boom was sparked by rapidly rising net migration after the terrorist attacks in the United States, falling New Zealand interest rates in 2002 and 2003, higher household incomes and the tax treatment of rental properties. Supply could not match demand and prices rose rapidly. But the migration gain has slowed sharply, from 15,000 a year ago to just 6600 more people in the past 12 months. Typically, a 1 per cent gain in total population (41,000 people) tends to lead to a short-term 10 per cent rise in house prices.

April 2008
A net outflow of 3100 (PLT) migrants left this country for Australia in March, up from 2800 in March 2007. The 83,500 PLT arrivals in the year to the end of March was up 1000 from the March 2007 year, while the 78,800 PLT departures was up 8400. The resulting 4700 net migration was down from 12,100 in the March 2007 year. The net PLT outflow of 29,900 to Australia in the March 2008 year was the highest net outflow to Australia since the July 2001 year. It compared with 23,300 in the March 2007 year. The net PLT outflow to Australia for the year to the end of April at 30,600 and compared with 24,000 in the April 2007 year. A net inflow of 6900 migrants came from Britain in the year to the end of March, down from 10,200 the previous year, while net PLT inflows in the latest year also came from India (4200), the Philippines (3300), Fiji (2500), South Africa (2100), China (1900) and Germany (1600).

August 2009
The change from a year ago is almost entirely a result of fewer people leaving New Zealand, including 1500 fewer to Australia and 200 fewer to Britain. On the incoming side there were 400 more returning New Zealanders, offset by 300 fewer immigrants from other countries. Adjusted for seasonal effects the net gain was 2500, reflecting 7600 arrivals offset by 5100 departures. The net gain from migration over the year ended last month was 14,500, compared with an average gain of 11,400 over the past 19 years. The net inflow of the past three months, if sustained for a year, would boost the population by 25,000. The natural increase (births minus deaths) over the year ended June was 34,000.

Years of the Great Famine Ireland
1871 NZ Population figures by region
An Emigrant's Experience

The Tide of Emigration. 1850 wayback
US 2000 census 13,731 New Zealanders

The key to a nation's future is in her past.  A nation that loses it has no future.  For men's deepest desires - the instrument by which a continuing society moulds its - spring from their own inherited experience.  We cannot recreate the past, but we cannot escape it.      Sir Arthur Bryant

Timaru Herald, 14 May 1888, Page 2
The stream of Chinese immigration may he considered as frozen up at its source, by the quarantine law of 1881 which has been dug out of the dust at Wellington. Shipowners will not carry Chinese passengers if their vessels are to be tied up in quarantine when they reach the colonies.