Metrication in New Zealand

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New Zealand logo of metrication.

New Zealand started metrication in 1969 with the establishment of the Metric Advisory Board (MAB) and completed metrication on 14 December 1976.[1]

Strategy toward metrication[edit]

The New Zealand metric symbol, which can be seen to the right, was introduced in March 1971. To give metrication a human face, a baby girl whose parents agreed to co-operate was named Miss Metric.[2] News and pictures of her progress were intermingled with press releases about the progress of metrication. By the end of 1972 the temperature scale, road signs, and measures used in the sale of such items as wool and milk had been metricated. Only a few letters voiced outright opposition to the changeover.[dubious ]


Although New Zealand completed metrication in the 1970s, a 1992 study of university students found that at that time there was a continued use of imperial units for birth weight and human height alongside metric units.[3]

The aviation industry is one of the last major users of the old imperial system: altitude and airport elevation is measured in feet. All other aspects (fuel quantity, aircraft weight, runway length, etc.) use metric.

30th and 40th Anniversaries of the Metric System in New Zealand[edit]

On the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the metric system in December 2006, the New Zealand Consumer Affairs Minister, Judith Tizard, commented that "Now 30 years on the metric system is part of our daily lives" but noted some continuing use of imperial measurements in some birth announcement of babies' weights and also with people's height.[4]

On 14 December 2016, the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment marked the 40th anniversary of the International System of Units in New Zealand. “Forty years on, the Metric System has become critical to New Zealand’s domestic and international trade with most goods measured by length, weight and volume using this system." said the Manager of Trading Standards Manager Stephen O’Brien. [5]


  1. ^ Consumer Affairs, November 2006 accessed 28 August 2013
  2. ^,4465370
  3. ^ "Human use of metric measures of length" Archived 9 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Dignan, J. R. E., & O'Shea, R. P. (1995). New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 24, 21–25.
  4. ^ "30 Years of the Metric System". Scoop. Scoop Media. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2017. Press Release: New Zealand Government 
  5. ^ "40th Anniversary of the Metric System celebrated". Scoop. Scoop Media. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2017. Press Release: Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment 

External links[edit]