Kaumātua population doubles in 10 years

Around 1 in 7 New Zealanders are Māori, and today more than twice as many Māori are aged over 80 years than a decade ago.
  • Image, connected paper cut-outs of people.

    At 30 June 2012, 682,200 people in the country identified as Māori, according to Statistics NZ’s population estimates. The total New Zealand population at the same time was estimated at 4,433,000. This means that 15.4 percent of the population were Māori, up from 15.1 percent in 2002.

    However, this increase is a slower rate of change than in the previous decade (1992–2002). For that decade, the Māori population grew from 13.6 percent to 15.1 percent of the total New Zealand population.

    Figure 1

    The population change for Māori between 2002 and 2012 was marked in the over-80s group. In 2012 about 5,000 Māori were 80 years or older, while 10 years earlier there were only 2,400.

    According to estimates, the proportion of Māori men living longer has also been growing faster in the past decade – from a 0.1 percent increase for 1992–2002 to a 0.3 percent increase for 2002–12.

     Figure 2

    Total population also ageing

    People aged 65 years and over now make up 14 percent of New Zealand’s total population. This is a 2 percent increase in the last decade. Between 2002 and 2012, New Zealand also gained more people aged 85 years and over (up from 1.3 percent to 1.7 percent of the total population). However, the proportion of the population aged 0–14 years dropped over the decade, from 22 percent to 20 percent.

    At 30 June 2012 the total estimated population of New Zealand was 4,433,000. This was up 27,900 (0.63 percent) from June 2011.

    Natural increase (an excess of births over the number of deaths) contributed 31,100 New Zealanders to our population between June 2011 and 2012. Net migration (number of immigrants minus emigrants) lost us 3,200 people. This made population growth rather slow between June 2011 and June 2012. In fact, population growth hasn't been this low since the year between June 2000 and 2001.

    In comparison, Australia’s population was estimated to be 22,683,600 at 30 June 2012, 359,600 (1.5 percent) more than at June 2011. Ireland’s population is similar to ours, with 4,585,100 people in 2012.

    Median age creeps up

    Since 2002 New Zealand's population has continued to age. The median age (half the population is older and half is younger) increased from 34.8 years in 2002 to 37.0 years in 2012. The median was older for both males (up from 34 to 35.7 years) and females (up from 35.6 to 38.2 years).

    The median age for Māori has increased more slowly than for the total New Zealand population over the last two decades. For Māori, it has grown from 20.3 years in 1992 to 23.2 years in 2012. For males the median age was 22 years in 2012 (up from 19.8) and for females it increased to 24.5 years (from 20.8) over the 20 years.

    Table 1

    Median age of population (years)
    1992 2002 2012
    Male 19.8 21.2 22.0
    Female 20.8 23.2 24.5
    Total 20.3 22.1 23.2
    New Zealand population
    Male 31.0 34.0 35.7
    Female 32.2 35.6 38.2
    Total 31.7 34.8 37.0

    Source: Statistics New Zealand

Since 2002, New Zealand's population has continued to age.
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