The following lists events that happened during 1972 in New Zealand.
- Estimated population as of 31 December: 2,959,700
- Increase since 31 December 1971: 61,200 (2.11%)
- Males per 100 females: 99.7
Regal and viceregalEdit
- Head of State – Elizabeth II
- Governor-General – Sir Arthur Porritt Bt GCMG GCVO CBE, followed by Sir Denis Blundell GCMG GCVO KBE QSO.
The 36th Parliament of New Zealand concluded. A general election was held on 8 December and saw the second National government defeated by a large margin, with the Labour Party winning 55 of 87 seats in Parliament.
- Speaker of the House – Roy Jack until 8 December, then Alfred Allen.
- Prime Minister – Keith Holyoake then Jack Marshall then Norman Kirk
- Deputy Prime Minister – Jack Marshall then Robert Muldoon then Hugh Watt.
- Minister of Finance – Robert Muldoon then Bill Rowling.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs – Keith Holyoake then Jack Marshall then Norman Kirk.
- Attorney-General – Dan Riddiford until 9 February, then Roy Jack until 8 December, then Martyn Finlay.
- Chief Justice — Sir Richard Wild
Main centre leadersEdit
- 14 September - As a part of the Māori protest movement, activist group Ngā Tamatoa, the Te Reo Māori Society of Victoria University, and Te Huinga Rangatahi (the New Zealand Māori Students’ Association) presented a petition signed by over 33,000 people calling for te Reo Māori to be taught in schools, leading to the creation of te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) in 1975, and a revitalisation of Māori language.
- 20 October – Restrictions on the manufacture and sale of margarine in New Zealand are removed.
- Chile and New Zealand establish embassies in each other's capitals.
- The Values Party is formed.
Arts and literatureEdit
See: 1972 in music
- Benny Award presented by the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand to Jon Zealando and Lou Clauson QSM.
Radio and TelevisionEdit
- The Broadcasting Authority in March grants the right to broadcast a second television channel to the private consortium Independent Television Corporation. After the election of the Labour Government in November, Norman Kirk announces the second channel will be run by NZBC.
- In September, the first live broadcast of an All Black match takes place. The All Blacks played against Australia. 
- Feltex Television Awards:
See: 1972 in New Zealand television, 1972 in television, List of TVNZ television programming, Category:Television in New Zealand, Category:New Zealand television shows, Public broadcasting in New Zealand
- Field events within New Zealand switch from imperial to metric measurements. Track events changed earlier in 1969.
- David McKenzie wins his fourth and last national title in the men's marathon, clocking 2:14:11.2 on 11 March in Dunedin.
- The 79th National Chess Championship is held in Hamilton, and is won by R.J. Sutton of Auckland (his third title).
- New Zealand sends a team of 89 competitors.
- New Zealand sends a team of two alpine skiers.
- New Zealand sends a team of 10 competitors.
- 3 January: Shaun Longstaff, rugby player
- 9 January: Gary Stead, cricketer
- 3 March: Peter O'Leary, soccer referee
- 27 March: David Bain, originally served 12 years for murder of his family, conviction quashed by Privy Council and subsequently found not guilty at retrial.
- 29 March: Paul Kent, swimmer
- 12 April: Jenny Shepherd, field hockey player
- 17 April: Dylan Mika, All Black (died 20 March 2018)
- 16 May: Matthew Hart, cricketer
- 3 June: Robert Kennedy, cricketer
- 7 June: Karl Urban, actor
- 21 June (in South Africa): Irene van Dyk, netball player
- 3 July: Aleksei Kulashko, chess player
- 4 July: Craig Spearman, cricketer
- 12 August: Tony Marsh, rugby player
- 6 October: Brooke Howard-Smith, broadcaster.
- 27 October: John Steel, swimmer
- 16 December: Angela Bloomfield, actress
- 18 December: Julian Arahanga, actor
- 20 December: Jonathan Wyatt, long-distance runner
- Veeshayne Armstrong, television presenter.
- (in Britain): Warwick Murray, academic.
- (in Hong Kong): Jack Yan, publisher, designer and businessman.
- 2 March Billy Wallace, rugby player and All Black
- 4 March: Major-General Sir Harold Eric Barrowclough, former Chief Justice
- 14 April: Bert Hawthorne, motor racing driver
- 10 July: Charles Bowden, politician
- 8 August: Agnes Weston, politician (MLC).
- 5 October: Jim Barclay, politician
- 8 October: Laurie Brownlie, rugby player and All Black
- 20 October: John Pascoe, photographer and mountaineer
- 22 October: James Keir Baxter, poet
- 11 December: John Mills, cricketer
- 26 December Ronald Hugh Morrieson, writer
- "Historical population estimates tables". Statistics New Zealand.
- Statistics New Zealand: New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1990. ISSN 0078-0170 page 52
- Lambert & Palenski: The New Zealand Almanac, 1982. ISBN 0-908570-55-4
- "Elections NZ – Leaders of the Opposition". Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
- Keane, Basil (20 June 2012). "Ngā rōpū tautohetohe – Māori protest movements: Cultural rights". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
- "History of the Māori language: Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
- Margarine Amendment Act 1972 No 127
- "New Zealand and Chile". New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
- List of New Zealand Chess Champions Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- "List of NZ Trotting cup winners". Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
- Auckland Trotting cup at hrnz.co.nz Archived 17 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Chatham Cup records, nzsoccer.com Archived 14 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine