Information for disabled people about the upcoming census field test in the Waikato

What is happening on 9 March 2021?

Stats NZ is holding a test as part of preparing for the 2023 Census. This test will be held on 9 March 2021 in parts of Hamilton (East and West) and in Huntly which is also known by local iwi as Raahui Pookeka.

On 9 February, postcards are being sent to everyone living in the test areas to let them know the test is coming. On 15 February, our staff will start visiting households. They will be in the test areas until the end of March 2021.

The test will help us to understand how the changes we are proposing for the collection of information will work in the community.

The proposed changes to the collection model include:

  • increasing the number of staff who will be visiting households
  • increasing the level of assistance collectors can provide
  • increasing the numbers of paper forms provided
  • recruiting more local people from the test areas.

Unfortunately, for this test information will not be available in alternate formats like braille, large print, easy read and NZSL.

We are committed to having alternate formats available for the 2023 Census. We will be testing these materials separately to make sure we get them right. This will include testing with stakeholders in the disability sector and inclusion of accessible formats in another census test in March 2022.

How can I get support?

In some parts of the test areas, census staff will deliver forms to your letterbox. In others, they will come to the door to speak to you about the census.

If you need support to take part, please let our staff know when they visit.

If you receive forms in your letterbox and you need support, please contact us by emailing or calling the census helpline on 0800 236 787 to let us know what kind of support you need.

If you are asked to take part in the test and have concerns about having a census staff member visit you, please let us know.

A te reo Māori speaker can provide support through the census helpline. Support for other languages is limited for this test.

What will I need to do?

You can complete the census test on either a paper form or online using an access code.

Paper forms are available in both English and te reo Māori. You can get replacement forms if you need them.

Please let our staff know which type of form you would prefer to complete and if you need any help.

If you are using the paper form, staff will provide you with the forms and an envelope to post them back after the census test day on 9 March 2021.

We are doing our best to plan around COVID-19 alert levels and prepare for any changes that might impact the test in February or March 2021.

What is the difference between the test and the official census?

The census test works like a proper census in the areas that have been chosen. The key differences between a test and the real census are:

  • a small number of households will be invited to take part in the test, while in the official census all households and individuals are expected to take part
  • the test is voluntary, which means people can choose whether to participate, but when it comes to the official census in March 2023 you must complete your form because it is a legal requirement
  • because this is a test and you may choose not to take part, we may not follow up with you if you don’t complete your census form
  • we will be re-using some things from 2018 that are not being tested this time, such as branding, staff uniforms, and the design of the form.

What will happen to the information we collect?

This test is to help us find out how our processes and collection methods work. We do not plan to use the personal information you give us. This means we won’t be writing stories or releasing tables using the information we collect on the census test forms we give out.

Even though this is a test, we still need people to complete their forms accurately. It is important that we are able to see how people fill out their forms and whether they can do this easily.

What is Community Counts?

As part of this test, a new initiative focused on community-led engagement is being trialled in Huntly (Raahui Pookeka). We are calling this initiative ‘Community Counts’.

As part of Community Counts, you may be able to go to a community venue to complete your census form. Support people will be available to help you and wifi will be provided if you prefer to complete the form online. Information about the times and location for these assisted events is coming soon.

You can also click on this link to Find out more about Community Counts.

Contact us

If you have questions or feedback about the census test, you can email or call 0800 236 787.

We would like to hear your feedback about what worked well for you, what we could do better, and anything else you would like to say about the process.

Thank you for taking part in this test to help us prepare for the next census.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries related to census or the test, email or call Stephanie Robertson on 027 208 7771.

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