Who needs to do the census?

A census form needs to be completed for every person and dwelling in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The census aims to count everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes:

  • people on land 
  • people on a boat or ship in New Zealand waters 
  • people who usually live overseas but are in Aotearoa New Zealand on census day 
  • people transitioning through Aotearoa New Zealand, such as those on airport stopovers 
  • people in prisons or in jail 
  • people in hospitals 
  • people camping or living off-grid in rural or isolated locations or who are staying on offshore islands for work or research 
  • anyone staying in a Department of Conservation hut or at a campsite 
  • people who do not have permanent accommodation or who live on the streets or in a shelter 
  • babies and small children 
  • all people in diplomatic residences, including staff  
  • overseas military personnel and their families in Aotearoa New Zealand (including people in New Zealand territorial waters) 
  • people who are not citizens or residents of Aotearoa New Zealand, including people who may not be in New Zealand legally. It is safe for you to tell us this; we do not ask about your right to be in Aotearoa New Zealand, and we do not share your personal information with anyone. 

If you usually live in Aotearoa New Zealand, or you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, but you are overseas on census day then you do not need to fill in a census form. 

Grandparents smile while carrying their young grandaughterFor the purposes of the census, Aotearoa New Zealand includes: 

  • North Island and South Island 
  • Stewart Island 
  • Chatham Islands 
  • All islands in the Hauraki Gulf 
  • Kermadec Islands 
  • Three Kings Islands 
  • Mayor Island 
  • Mōtītī Island 
  • White Island 
  • Moutohora Island 
  • Bounty Islands 
  • Snares Islands 
  • Antipodes Islands 
  • Auckland Islands 
  • Campbell Island 
  • All other islands covered by a local or regional council and the waters around these locations.  

Non-private dwellings

The census should also be completed by people living or staying in a non-private dwelling on the night of the census. The key difference in this setting is that you will only need to fill out an Individual Form. These include:

  • Residential care for older people
  • Public hospital
  • Private hospital
  • Residential and community care facilities
  • Welfare institution
  • Educational institution
  • Religious institution
  • Prison or correctional facility
  • Defence establishment
  • Night shelter
  • Hotel, motel, or guest accommodation
  • Emergency/transitional accommodation
  • Boarding house
  • Motor camp/camping ground
  • Work, construction, or training camp
  • Youth, school, or Scout/Guide camp
  • Communal staff quarters
  • Commercial marine vessel
  • Marae complex
  • Airport