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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.



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Population Increase

Pomare was convinced that his people would not follow the Tasmanian to extinction; he believed that the destiny of the Maori lay in their absorption by the Pakeha, and that a new race would emerge from the union. In 1906 the census showed that the tide had turned and there was an increase in the Maori population of 4,588. In 1958 the natural increase of the Maori was 37·57 per thousand, as compared with 16·26 per thousand for the non-Maori New Zea-landers. This high natural increase of the Maori is accompanied by a significantly higher birthrate, together with a steadily declining Maori deathrate. The rates for the non-Maori have remained fairly stable. At their present rate of increase the Maoris could comprise 14·7 per cent of the population by the year 2000, as compared with 6·65 per cent in 1959.

This high rate of population increase per thousand of existing population may be transitional as there is a comparatively larger proportion of the Maoris under 21 years of age as compared with 40 per cent of the non-Maoris. For the same reason the death rate, when expressed as a rate per thousand of the population, appears much lower among the Maoris than non-Maoris. There is also a slightly higher proportion of Maori females in the child-bearing ages – 42 per cent, as compared with 39 per cent for non-Maoris. As the Maori population evolves to a more normal distribution of age structure, some fall in the birthrate per thousand of population can be expected, coupled with a rise in the deathrate on the same basis.

Although the Maori deathrate is lower than the European, it should be noted that, because of the different age structure in New Zealand of both populations, a comparison of the European-Maori deathrate, based on specific age rates, gives a totally different picture.