What is new about the 2023 Census He aha ngā mea hou hei te Tatauranga 2023

Many parts of the 2023 Census are the same as past censuses. But we are doing some things in new ways. These will make it easier to take part, and for us all to see ourselves in the data collected.

Colleagues with coffee

Easier to do

We are making it easier for everyone do the census, in the way they prefer to do it, as early as possible.

More choice between doing the census online, or doing it on paper 

Everyone can choose whether they do the 2023 Census online, or whether they do it on paper. 

  • Every household will receive an access code to do the census online.
  • 44 percent of households will also receive paper forms (up from 3 percent of households in 2018).

If you get paper forms, you can still choose to do the census online. If you do not get paper forms but would like them, you can order them for free.

More support in communities

There will be nearly twice as many census collectors in communities than there were during the 2018 Census. They will be out delivering forms and instructions, and offering support.

There will be more census events in communities. People can complete their census forms at these, or get the support they need to complete them later.

More time to do the census

You do not have to wait until census day to fill out your census forms. You can do it as soon as you get your access code or paper forms.

If you do the census early, your answers should still be about who you are and where you will stay on census night.

Instructions and information in more languages and formats

In addition to English and te reo Māori, census instructions and information will be available on this website in:

  • 27 different languages
  • accessible formats, including:
    • New Zealand Sign Language videos with closed captioning
    • audio
    • Large Print
    • Easy Read
    • Braille-ready files.

Improving the census experience for Māori

The census plays an important role in enabling the data needs and aspirations of iwi and Māori as treaty partners. It collects information that relates specifically to iwi and Māori. This includes Māori descent, iwi affiliation, ethnicity, and the number of te reo Māori speakers.

We are undertaking a range of work to improve the census experience for Māori. It is built around better data outcomes, better people outcomes, and better partnership outcomes.

Read how the 2023 Census Programme will give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Stronger voice for Māori in the Census Programme

  • The Data Iwi Leaders Group is part of the 2023 Census Programme Governance Board and partners through the Mana Ōrite Relationship Agreement with Stats NZ.
  • Te Taumata Whakaritenga Māori ropū provides feedback and input to meaningfully influence the 2023 Census.
  • 2023 Census Te Ao Māori team is part of all census decision-making.

Stronger engagement with Māori

  • Our approach is to build meaningful relationships with people and communities. It is a hand-in-hand approach with our engagement and census operation teams.
  • We have twice as many engagement staff than in 2018. More than half are Māori.
  • Our engagement teams work with iwi, hapū, and Māori communities to help build data capability and increase awareness of and participation in census.

A commitment to te reo Māori

  • The census website and online census form is available in te reo Māori.
  • Bilingual English/te reo Māori paper forms are available to everyone.
  • Other support materials, including telephone support, are available in te reo Māori.

Making it easier to do the census

  • It will be easier to enter iwi affiliation information.
    • People can enter up to 16 iwi online.
    • An online map will help people see and select their iwi.
  • We have more census collectors in communities, from those communities.
    • They receive training in te ao Māori and tikanga.
    • They are delivering more paper forms and offering support to do the census.
  • We are holding events in communities to support people to do the census.

Building Māori capability and capacity

  • Led by the Data Iwi Leaders Group, we are supporting an iwi-led data analytics and collections pilot. As part of this, iwi collectives will collect 2023 Census data in two locations.

Māori-first design approach for the 2023 Census campaign

  • We appointed a creative agency with demonstrated expertise and success reaching Māori.
  • Our communication channels and content will be more relevant to Māori.

Stronger connections with communities

Working in and with communities

Around the country, census teams have been working in and with their own communities. In partnership with other groups and community representatives, they have or will:

  • share what the census is, and what it does for their community and its people
  • learn what people in the community need from the census
  • support people to do the 2023 Census
  • support their communities to make good use of census data.

Sharing how census data helps communities

It is important that people understand how census data helps their communities. So we have made this a central part of the 2023 Census campaign. We are working with organisations around the country to tell the stories of how they use census data.

More opportunities to see ourselves in census data

New questions about gender, sex, variations of sex characteristics, and sexual identity

The 2023 Census will be the first to collect information from people about:

  • gender
  • sexual identity (question only asked of people aged 15 years or older)
  • variations of sex characteristics (question only asked of people aged 15 years or older).

New question about limitation of daily activities

The 2023 Census will ask people whether a disability, long-term condition, or mental health condition limits their ability to carry out activities of daily living.

We will use answers to this question to select the sample for the 2023 New Zealand Disability Survey. We will also ask for people’s phone numbers so we can contact them if they are selected to do the Survey.

Improved data quality

Gathering data through the census is the most accurate way to get a picture of life in Aotearoa New Zealand. But to get the highest-quality data, we will use a 'combined census methodology'.

This means the 2023 Census data we release will be a mix of:

  • 2023 Census answers
  • data from the 2013 and 2018 Censuses
  • statistical imputation
  • data collected by government and private organisations as part of their normal business. This is also known as administrative (admin) data.

During the 2018 Census, we used this approach after the census response period, to address data quality issues. For this census, we have made it an intentional part of the design.