Demographic data

When demographic data is recorded

Information on the gender, age group, and ethnicity of a person who offends is usually recorded by the prosecuting authority (mostly the Police) at the time a person is arrested or prosecuted.

Gender and age

Data on the gender and date of birth (used to calculate age) of people who offend is generally accurate. The age (in years) is calculated at the time the sentence is handed down.

In New Zealand, criminal responsibility begins at 10 years of age. However, under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, children less than 14 years old cannot be prosecuted except for murder, manslaughter, or for particularly serious offending for 12-13 year olds.

Charges heard in the Youth Court cannot result in a conviction. However, more serious charges involving children or young people who offend may be transferred to a District or High Court where they may be convicted.


'Multiple ethnicity' information is used in this table. This means for each ethnicity a person is counted once per fiscal or calendar year (e.g. they may be counted in both European and Māori). As some people have multiple recorded ethnicities this will result in the sum of ethnicities being greater than the total number of people each year.

Measures of ethnicity can be influenced by the context in which these measures are collected. Assigning ethnicity can be subjective, or people alleged to have offended may not want to provide this information to Police.

Company/organisation prosecutions and convictions

The term ‘corporation’ in the tables refers to convictions against companies or organisations (ie not against a specific person). Company convictions are grouped in the gender, age bands, and ethnicity categories under the heading ‘Unknown/corporation’.

How children and young people are defined

In the children and young people tables, children and young people are people with charges finalised in any court who were aged between 10 and 16 years at the date of the offence:

  • Child/children - aged 10, 11, 12 or 13 years

  • Young person/young people - aged 14, 15 or 16 years (and from 1 July 2019 onwards includes 17-year olds).

Most children and young people in court are aged between 14-16 years old. Children aged 10 or 11 years can only be charged with murder or manslaughter. Children aged 12 or 13 years can be charged with murder or manslaughter. From October 2010, children aged 12 or 13 can also be charged with particularly serious offences (eg offences which have a maximum sentence of 14 years or more, or if they have an offending history, offences with a maximum sentence of 10 years or more).

From July 2019, this the jurisdiction of the Youth Court has been extended to also include 17-year olds. 17-year olds charged with an offence will first appear in the Youth Court. If the offence is specified in Schedule 1A Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 they will automatically be transferred to the District or High Court.