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Cultural diversity

Māori make up 14.9 percent of the population

  • The percentage of the population who identified themselves as belonging to the Māori ethnic group in 2013 (14.9 percent or 598,605 people) was similar to that of the 2006 Census (14.6 percent or 565,326 people).
  • Pacific peoples made up 7.4 percent of the population in 2013, which was a slight increase from 6.9 percent in 2006.
  • Nearly three-quarters of the population (74.0 percent) identified themselves as being of European ethnicity, which was an increase from 67.6 percent in 2006. This increase seems to be partly due to fewer people identifying themselves as 'New Zealander'.
  • In 2013, 65,973 people identified as 'New Zealander' on their census form, compared with 429,429 people in 2006. There was a media campaign in 2006 that encouraged people to give the response 'New Zealander'.

Asian ethnic groups almost double in size since 2001

  • Asian ethnic groups continued to grow, almost doubling in size since 2001. The percentage of the population who identified as Asian in the last three censuses was:
    • 2013 – 11.8 percent
    • 2006 – 9.2 percent
    • 2001 – 6.6 percent.
Ethnic groups
For the census usually resident population count
2013 Census
Ethnic group(1) Number Percent
European 2,969,391 74.0
Māori 598,605 14.9
Pacific peoples 295,944 7.4
Asian 471,711 11.8
Middle Eastern, Latin American, African 46,953 1.2
Other ethnicity 67,752 1.7
1. People were able to identify with more than one ethnic group and therefore percentages do not add up to 100.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Māori and Pacific peoples are youthful populations

  • The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) was lower for Māori and Pacific peoples than for the European and Asian ethnic groups.
  • The median age for each of these ethnic groups was:
    • European – 41.0 years
    • Māori – 23.9 years
    • Pacific peoples – 22.1 years
    • Asian – 30.6 years.
  • The median age of Māori and Pacific peoples increased since 2006, when it was 22.7 years for Māori and 21.1 years for Pacific peoples.

Graph, Age distrubution for selected ethnic groups, 2013 Census.

A quarter of the population is overseas-born

  • The percentage of the usually resident population who were born overseas increased. In 2013, 25.2 percent of people were born overseas, compared with 22.9 percent in 2006.
  • The percentage of overseas-born people living in New Zealand who were born in Asia has been increasing, rising to 31.6 percent in 2013. Asia is now the most common region of birth for the overseas-born.

Graph, Birthplace for the overseas born usually resident population, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses.

  • Of those born overseas, the three most common countries of birth were:
    • England (215,589 people)
    • The People’s Republic of China (89,121 people)
    • India (67,176 people).
Ten most common countries of birth
For the overseas born usually resident population
2013 Census
Country of birth Overseas-born living in New Zealand  Proportion of overseas-born people
Number Percent 
England 215,589 21.5
China, People's Republic of 89,121 8.9
India 67,176 6.7
Australia 62,712 6.3
South Africa 54,279 5.4
Fiji 52,755 5.3
Samoa 50,658 5.1
Philippines 37,299 3.7
Korea, Republic of 26,601 2.7
Scotland 25,953 2.6
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Hindi now the fourth most common language

  • English was the most common language in which people could hold a conversation about everyday things, with 3,819,972 speakers (96.1 percent of the population).
  • The next most common languages were:
    • Māori (148,395 people)
    • Samoan (86,406 people)
    • Hindi (66,312 people).
  • There was a slight decrease in the percentage of the population who spoke Māori, at 3.7 percent in 2013 compared with 4.1 percent in 2006. Younger people were more likely to speak Māori than older people.

Graph, Speakers of te reo Māori as a proportion of the census usually resident population, by age, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses.

  • The number of people who reported that they could speak Hindi nearly tripled since 2001, rising to 66,312 people in 2013 from 22,749 people in 2001. Hindi replaced French as the fourth most common language spoken.
  • Use of New Zealand Sign Language fell. In 2013, 20,235 people used New Zealand Sign Language, down from 24,087 people in 2006.
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