Father of demography, Ian Pool, passes away

03 May 2022

The University’s flag is flying at half-mast to acknowledge the passing of Emeritus Professor Ian Pool CNZM.

Emeritus Professor Ian Pool CNZM

Widely known as the 'father of demography' in Aotearoa, Professor Pool joined the University in 1978. He started the Population Studies Centre (PSC) in 1982 and was its Director for more than 20 years. He was also a driving force behind the PSC's successor, the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), now known as Te Ngira.

Professor Pool’s research was extensive, and his contributions recognised both nationally and internationally. His books, The Māori Population of New Zealand 1769-1971, and Te Iwi Māori: A New Zealand Population, Past, Present and Projected, remain definitive texts on Māori population dynamics in New Zealand. In 2015 he extended these works with the publication of  Colonization and development in New Zealand between 1769 and 1900: The seeds of Rangiatea.

Offshore, he worked for many years on population issues in both Francophone and Anglophone Africa, directing field surveys and carrying out missions for international agencies. He was also recruited to work on the world's largest survey, The International Statistical Institute's World Fertility Survey, and was appointed Scientific Consultant to CICRED, a French-based demographic research organisation coordinating 700 population centres worldwide.

Over the years Professor Pool won many awards and accolades, including being elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society in 1994, receiving a James Cook Fellowship from the Royal Society in 2004 and receiving the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Rangi Hiroa medal in 2009.

In 2007 he was elected to the Society's Academy Council for a six-year term and was made a Life Member of the Population Association of New Zealand.

Professor Pool was made an Emeritus Professor in 2010 and after retiring, his legacy was acknowledged with a 'festschrift' Special Issue of the New Zealand Population Review in 2011, with contributions made by many of his former students and colleagues. He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2013 for services to demography.

While Professor Pool had been unwell for some time, he continued to give his time generously with guest lectures for our students, and we were privileged to have him present at the NIDEA 10th year anniversary symposium last year.

Our thoughts are with Ian's wife Dr Janet Sceats, their children Felicity and Jonathan, and their four mokopuna.



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