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School Students Lead Census Taking

With the next population census only six months away, more than 950 New Zealand schools are taking the lead with their own census project.

CensusAtSchool New Zealand is a joint undertaking by Statistics New Zealand, the University of Auckland and the Ministry of Education. The month-long project, which kicks off at the start of Maths Week on 15 August, will involve more than 1,500 teachers around New Zealand working with students in Years 5 to 10.

Now in its third year, CensusAtSchool is part of an international initiative involving students from Canada, Australia, South Africa and Great Britain in collecting data that is relevant to their lives.

The data collected by New Zealand students will be added to an international database, providing opportunities for students to compare themselves with other students in New Zealand and in participating countries overseas. By using real information about themselves, students are more likely to engage with statistics enthusiastically. They will also be primed for the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings.

Government Statistician Brian Pink said, “This is a great undertaking by New Zealand students, and we are delighted to support a project that generates enthusiasm and learning about the value of good statistics in the lead-up to our national census in March 2006.” .Auckland schools are currently the leading participants in the project, with more than 40 percent of all schools in the Auckland region enrolled.

The New Zealand project organisers are looking to extend the project for a further year by developing teaching resources based on the data the students have collected. For more information or to enrol in CensusAtSchool, visit

Brian Pink
Government Statistician