Data1850 is an interactive website that allows you to explore, visualise, compare and download long-term economic data for New Zealand. This long-term dataset provides invaluable information about the country’s past economic performance and helps people consider the future.

NZIER has made all of this long-term data easily accessible by creating the Data1850 website – the fastest way to graph, visualise, compare and download New Zealand's oldest economic data. Data1850 is free to use and available to anyone.

The data behind Data1850 is organised into five key areas: Government, Economic Activity, Prices, International Linkages, and People. These areas are based on the sections of the book ‘Looking at the Numbers’ by Phil Briggs – the definitive economic history of New Zealand. Data1850 also provides summaries from this book available for download.

The development of Data1850 was funded as part of NZIER’s Public Good programme. The programme aims to promote a better understanding of New Zealand’s important economic challenges and opportunities.

Why use the Data1850 website?

There is no reliable economic or statistics data available for years prior to 1850. The earliest data we have included in Data1850 comes from a publication titled "Statistics of New Zealand for the Crown Colony Period 1840-1852”. For the early years after 1850, we use the historical estimates prepared by economic historians augmented by other sources including early Official Yearbooks and Censuses. These have been linked to regular statistical series such as Treasury fiscal data and Statistics NZ publications.