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Hope region’s response to Census 2023 stacks up

Stats NZ is pulling out all the stops for Census 2023, but it’s too early to say whether it will be the redeeming success it’s hoping for.

It’s been almost three weeks since Census Day on March 7, and on paper, Wairarapa returns are currently lower than the abysmal 2018 rate – but Wairarapa area manager Graham Streatfield insists it’s a good sign for the region.

“With the digital 2018 Census, there was an instant response, but a lot of people have chosen to do it on paper this year, which is great.

“It means it was the right thing to do.”

He said comparing Census 2023 with 2018 at this stage in the process was akin to “comparing apples and pears”, citing current rural delays in posting and processing, and the ongoing impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Streatfield said his Wairarapa team had put a huge effort into reaching communities that were overlooked in 2018 – non-English speakers, those with special needs, and transient populations.

He said an event in Tinui this evening is in the spirit of a Census that was being conducted with more empathy and compassion.

“We didn’t want to go to Tinui while they are still mopping up the silt and make life more awkward that it already is.

“But when they were ready, we offered them a community event in their own patch.”

Streatfield said the sad irony was that the group of people who weren’t recorded in the last Census were those that would benefit from the data most.

He said this year the collectors had worked with organisations such as Project Manaaki, which helps rough sleepers get ready for transitional housing.

“But right now, they can’t get them into that housing because they were missed last Census.”

Streatfield urged those who had not yet filled in their papers to do so.

“It’s not too late. We have until the end of April to complete it, March 7 is just the reference point.

“We record the first Tuesday of March every time so we can see the same pattern of life over 150 years.

“If someone needs our help, they can call us – that offer is on the table on for as long as it takes.”

For help completing
Census 2023 contact CAB
or Wairarapa libraries.


  1. Why did they not use the old system for the census, someone drops off the forms, everyone had to fill them out on the evening of the set census day and then the person that dropped them off picks them up, I was to believe that this is law and must be filled out, otherwise if it was not done that person was prosecuted,

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Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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