There is still time to complete the census If you do not have what you need to take part, you do not need to wait for us. You can get an access code sent to you by SMS text message. If you have any questions, please call us on 0800 CENSUS (0800 236 787).

How to do the census on paper Te whakakī i tō tatauranga mā te pepa

Everyone can choose to do the census on paper. Find out how it works.

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What you will need to do the 2023 Census on paper

  • Paper forms. 
    • One Dwelling Form, if you are staying in a non-private dwelling. 
    • One Individual Form for each of the people in your dwelling on census night. 
  • A black pen or a blue pen. 

No matter where you stay on census night, you can do the census on paper 

But the forms you need to complete may differ depending on where you are staying: in a private dwelling, or in a non-private dwelling. 

  • Private dwellings are places where households live. Common types of private dwellings are houses, townhouses, flats, units, and apartments. 
  • Non-private dwellings include places like hotels, hostels, hospitals, and retirement homes. They are places that provide temporary or communal accommodation. 

How to complete your paper census forms if you are staying in a private dwelling on census night 

Depending on where you are in the country: 

  • you may get both an online access code and paper census forms delivered to you, or 
  • you may get only an online access code delivered to you. 

If you do not get paper forms but would prefer to use them, or you need extra Individual Forms, you can order them from us for free. 

Complete your census forms on or before Census Night, Tuesday 7 March 2023.

But whenever you complete your forms, answer the questions as if it was census night. 

In other words, if you complete your forms earlier than this, pretend that it is Tuesday 7 March 2023. 

  • For example, there is a question that asks what kinds of work you have done without pay in the last 4 weeks. Your answer should be about the 4 weeks before Tuesday, 7 March 2023. 

Tips for completing your paper census forms

When you fill in paper forms: 

  • use a blue or black pen 
  • write in CAPITAL LETTERS 
  • write your answers in English or te reo Māori 
  • look at the Guide Notes for help
  • if you make a mistake, draw a line through the incorrect text and rewrite your answer, even if it does not fit within the space.


You have completed the 2023 Census when you have returned all your forms

In a private dwelling, that means: 

  • one Dwelling Form 
  • an Individual Form for every person staying in the dwelling on census night. 

In a non-private dwelling, that means: 

  • an Individual Form for every person staying in your non-private dwelling accommodation on census night. 

After census day, we will follow up with dwellings which have not completed the census 

Some dwellings may complete the census after we have sent a letter, but before the letter arrives at their address. 

If your dwelling receives a reminder letter but has completed the census, please ignore the letter. You have done what you need to do. 

If you are not sure if you have completed the census, or have any questions, contact us. 

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