March 5th 2013 was Census Day in New Zealand, and it was the first that our boys were really involved with. This was a re-scheduled Census due to the February 22nd (2011) earthquake in Christchurch, which had put the country into a state of emergency. (8th March 2011 had been the original scheduled date)
We hold a Census every five years and it is illegal to not fill in a form or to fill in forms with incorrect information. The data is used by central government, local government, iwi (Maori tribal groups), businesses and community groups for strategic planning and budget allocation. We have the option of filling them out on paper or on line and we can chose to have forms in either English or Maori.
The boys were very excited, and immediately after dinner was cleared away, the one (how does that happen?) blue pen in the house was found. It was heartening to see the older boys both knew their full names, address, previous address, dates of birth etc and the three year-old was able to tell me his full name too. On asking him where he lived, he looked at me as if I had gone insane and said, Here. When I asked him where he used to live, he said matter of factly, “In our town house.” (I must work on that – the other two could easily rattle off their address and phone number at the same age.) (more…)