QuickStats About Unpaid Work

QuickStats About Unpaid Work looks at the unpaid work of adults (aged 15 years and over) who usually live in New Zealand. Information in this QuickStats is based on New Zealand’s 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings, held on 7 March 2006.

Summary information on the types of unpaid work people participate in, and the nature of the people who undertake this work, was obtained in the 2006 Census. Respondents were asked to provide information about their participation in unpaid work in the four weeks prior to the census.

Unpaid work, as measured in the 2006 Census, can be broken into three broad categories: unpaid work that occurs within the household; unpaid work that occurs outside the household; and other voluntary work through an organisation, group or marae. QuickStats About Unpaid Work provides details about involvement in these three categories.

Percentages in the text have been rounded to whole numbers, while percentages in the tables have been rounded to one decimal place. No time series information has been included because of differences in the question between censuses.


The majority of New Zealand adults participated in some form of unpaid work in the four weeks preceding census night. Eighty-nine percent of people aged 15 years and over undertook some form of unpaid work within the reference period.

Females had higher rates of participation in unpaid activities than males. Ninety-two percent of women engaged in unpaid work, compared with 86 percent of males.

Māori participation rates in unpaid work were similar to those of the general population, with 89 percent of Māori undertaking some form of unpaid work in the four weeks prior to the 2006 Census. Female and male participation rates for Māori were 92 percent and 85 percent, respectively.