By Amanda Morrall
We like numbers here at interest.co.nz so I could hardly pass up the opportunity of sharing this one with you:
Tomorrow, with the arrival of a returning New Zealand citizen or perhaps the unfurling of a new little Kiwi frond, the population clock will hit the auspicious landmark number of 4,444,444.
Given the mobility of bodies, entries, exits, births and death, it won't sit there for long. According to Statistics New Zealand's population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn, it'll be a fleeting time stamp; probably a quarter of an hour only.
I'm not a numerologist or an actuarial, but as a Buddhist who's into numbers and also a personal finance writer, I think it's rather interesting, if for no other reason than the symmetry.
When I was pregnant with my youngest I remember turning to the clock at exactly 3:33 a.m. and thinking to myself that number would prove significant. The next day I predicted junior would stage his entry into the world at that time.
About a month later, on December, 3, 2003, at 3:53 p.m., my second little bundle of joy popped into the world. Had it not been for a frightening little episode known as shoulder dysplasia I reckon he would have made it on the nose at 3.33.
Apparently, it's not only me who ponders these numerical curiosities as Blackburn uttered a similar suggestion about lucky number 4,444,444 making their presence known at 4:44.
One of my favourite magazines, Harper's (no not Bazaar) also loves number play. Each month, in their legendary index, they come up with a remarkable list of fun facts based around numbers, ratios and equations. Here's a sample to whet your appetite.
Statistics New Zealand does a great job collating information and putting together bulletins and reports containing a range of data current and historical. It's not quite as bizarre as what you'll find in the Harper's Index but imminently readable. (Note they are a recipient of the Plain English Award).
For instance, Blackburn notes that the Australian state of Queensland reached a similar symmetrical population milestone three years ago.
Also of interest perhaps is that the population expansion tomorow will put New Zealand in the same league as both Ireland and Croatia.
In case you were wondering, the estimate for tomorrow's big day is based on births, deaths, and migration since the census was last taken in 2006.
The numbers that many of us are hanging out for (movements related to the Christchurch earthquakes) are yet to come.
The census that was planned for last year (but got bumped as a result of the quakes) has been rescheduled for March 5, 2013; eight days ahead of my brother's birthday March 13, 1973.
I'll have both marked on my calendar.