Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Review of the Measurement of Ethnicity

Implementation of the Statistical Standard for Ethnicity 2005

The RME team have visited many agencies to discuss the changes that the new Statistical Standard for Ethnicity 2005 brings and issues that arise for individual agencies. Contact with organisations has informed them of the impact of standardising ethnicity data and offered them support.

A timeline for implementation by agencies has been drawn up from these discussions with the majority standardising by mid 2007. If you require information please contact us at the email address below.


Technical support papers April 2005 and October 2005

Three technical support papers have been written to support users in collection and output of ethnicity data. These papers are now available.


Ethnicity Review Findings

Statistics New Zealand completed a review of the measurement of ethnicity in 2004.

The main findings of the review are:

  • the continued need for collection of detailed ethnicity data
  • that ethnicity be measured in a consistent way across all official statistics
  • that the 2006 Census use the same ethnicity question as that used in the 2001 Census
  • that Statistics New Zealand continue to educate respondents, users and producers of ethnicity data about the concept of ethnicity
  • that a comprehensive programme of research into the measurement of ethnicity in official statistics be completed by the end of 2009
  • that all collections of official statistics measuring ethnicity should have the capacity to record multiple ethnicity responses
  • that the method of reporting ethnicity in all collections of official statistics be self-identification
  • that the response 'New Zealander', 'Kiwi' and like responses be separately coded
  • the practice of prioritising ethnic group responses to one per individual will be discontinued'.

Since the last review of ethnic statistics in 1988 there have been changes in New Zealand society, the requirements of users and the collection of ethnicity data by other agencies. Consequently there was a need to re-examine both the concepts and classifications of ethnicity. The aim of the review was to produce a measure that is relevant to users and the public as suppliers of this information.

Every effort will be made to contact those who made submissions to make them aware of the outcome of the review and thank them again for their input.


Future developments

Research needs indicated in the RME report 2004 have been programmed to be completed before 2009. This research will guide any future changes in the way ethnicity data is collected or output.



These are the guidelines which the review team worked within:

  1. To evaluate the concepts of ethnicity that are used in official social statistics.
  2. To define and categorise 'ethnicity', after exploring its association with variables such as nationality, 'race', ancestry, identity, and citizenship.
  3. To produce a revised statistical standard for ethnicity, and for any applications of it, such as prioritisation and measuring strength of identity.
  4. To take account of the need for the standard to measure all ethnic groups currently in New Zealand, and be robust enough to measure new groups arriving in the next ten years.
  5. To obtain a balance between the need for contemporary relevance and historical continuity.
  6. To produce a report for the Government Statistician, which contains recommendations on the measurement of ethnicity for at least the next ten years.
  7. To produce a plan for implementing the review's recommendations, across all official social statistics.
  8. To carry out the project with regard to Statistics New Zealand's commitment to the Crown's obligation to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.
  9. To complete the review by mid-2002, so as to contribute to the development of the 2006 Census of Population.


Contact Information

For more information regarding the project, please contact:

Phone: (04) 931-4600
Fax: (04) 931-4316

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+