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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




After the War. One of the earliest major movements from Europe to New Zealand after the Second World War was of “displaced persons” admitted by the Government by arrangement with the International Refugee Organisation during 1949 to 1953. Principal countries of origin or last residence were: Rumania, 918; Poland, 847; Latvia, 545; Yugoslavia, 504; Czechoslovakia, 336; Hungary, 280; U.S.S.R., 275; Lithuania, 242; Bulgaria, 199; Estonia, 189; and Ukraine, 179. There were also some Albanians, Austrians, and Germans. In all, arrivals in the official drafts totalled 4,584 and, in addition, there were some 250 fare-paying and sponsored persons.

Dutch immigration was considerable in the early 1950s. The first important group were 856 Dutch persons who came in 1946–47 under the Netherlands East Indies Recuperation Scheme. The Government's decision in 1950 to admit certain categories of non-British immigrants led to a contributory passage scheme being negotiated with the Netherlands Government. Up to 31 March 1963 this scheme brought 6,261 Dutch single men and women. Arrivals were fairly high in 1951–52 and 1952–53 (1,100 and 2,709 respectively) but then declined following the improvement of economic conditions in the Netherlands. It was also found that fewer skilled workers were available than had been expected. The number of Dutch immigrants individually assisted by the New Zealand Government declined to an aggregate of only 369 in the six years ended March 1963, and there have been none since under this scheme. Nevertheless, the Netherlands Government continued to give substantial financial assistance to all Dutch migrants and, in the case of workers in selected categories, the New Zealand Government granted a subsidy to the Netherlands Government in respect of transport costs. Persons assisted in this way are not included in the figures quoted above. The total number of Dutch immigrants who arrived in New Zealand from April 1950 to March 1965 was 25,124.

Other European immigrants who came under Government schemes included (i) single persons from Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium, Malta, and Spain numbering 941 from 1955 to 1965; (ii) Hungarian refugees who came following the Hungarian uprising towards the end of 1956; (iii) some 200 “handicapped” refugee families from Europe; and (iv) 296 Greek girls specially trained for domestic service who arrived in 1962–65.

Prior to the Second World War there were not many Polynesians (other than New Zealand Maoris) in the population, but during the war years the numbers approximately doubled. A further steady increase took place in the late 1940s, and this became a much more rapid flow in the 1950s. Successive censuses gave the following figures for persons of Polynesian blood: 1951 – 3,624; 1956 – 8,103; and 1961 – 14,340. This represented an increase of nearly 300 per cent in 10 years. A notable change took place in that period in the proportions of females: in 1951, there were 102 female Polynesians to every 100 males, but by 1961 this had been reduced to only 91, indicating a fairly heavy migration of men. Not all of the increase is accounted for by additional migration: in 1951, there were 1,056 New Zealand born Polynesians (29 per cent of the total); in 1956, the number was 2,551 (31 per cent of the total); and in 1961, 5,640 (39 per cent of the total). How comparatively recent this migration has been is shown by the fact that, of the 8,700 Polynesians born out of New Zealand, 70 per cent had been in New Zealand less than 10 years and 38 per cent less than five years. None of the above figures include persons of mixed Polynesian and New Zealand Maori blood who are all grouped in the Maori population.

According to the census figures of April 1961, Polynesians were strongly concentrated in two urban areas: 71·3 per cent were located in Auckland, and 17·1 per cent in the Wellington-Hutt area. Most Polynesians have come from Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue Island, and Tonga.

The evidence of the 1961 census concerning the duration of residence in New Zealand of persons born overseas indicates whether or not immigration has been recent. The following table for selected countries shows the proportion who arrived in New Zealand between April 1946 and April 1961 – that is, almost all post war arrivals counted in the 1961 census.

Table 3: Length of Residence of Overseas Born (1961 Census)
Birthplace Per Cent with Under 15 Years' Residence Birthplace Per Cent with Under 15 Years' Residence
England 52·5 Yugoslavia 33·2
Scotland 42·2 India 70·7
Eire 49·5 China 48·5
Northern Ireland 40·7 Western Samoa 86·8
Denmark 71·0 Cook Islands 86·9
Germany 71·6 Fiji 71·3
Netherlands 99·5 Indonesia 96·1
Poland 59·1 U.S.A. 72·4
Italy 50·0 Australia 35·8
Hungary 95·0 South Africa 55·7

Note: It should be observed that birthplace does not indicate the ethnic group or nationality to which the person belongs. For example, most of the persons from Indonesia are Dutch; from Rumania and Turkey they are Greek; and from India and Malaya many are British.

An interesting facet of an analysis of persons in the population born overseas is that men outnumber women by more than 12 per cent. (This is the main reason why the total number of men in the population exceeds that of women.) Out of 87 countries of birth identified in the 1961 census, this rule held good for 67. Most of the exceptions were very small groups, but notable cases where women outnumbered men were persons from Australia, South Africa, Tonga, Estonia, France, and Germany. On the other hand, in groups from some countries the margin in favour of men was quite substantial. The following supplied more than 25 per cent more men than women – Cyprus, Malaya, Isle of Man, Malta, Niue Island, Pitcairn Island, Tokelau Islands, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, Eire, Albania,* Austria,* Bulgaria,* China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Japan,* Korea,* Netherlands, Norway,* Sweden,* Switzerland, Thailand, U.S.A., Yugoslavia. Many of these groups were small, but the total showed that men from these 28 countries outnumbered women by 11,805 or 54 per cent.

(*The excess of men over women exceeded 100 per cent.)