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Hinduism in New Zealand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Zealander Hindus
Bharatiya Mandir is the oldest and the largest Hindu Temple in New Zealand
Total population
123,534 (2018)
Increase 2.65% of the New Zealand Population
Regions with significant populations
Auckland · Wellington · Hamilton · Tauranga
English · Hindi · Punjabi · Tamil · Gujarati · Marathi · Malayalam · Telugu  · Bengali  · Fiji Hindi · Indian languages

Hinduism is the second largest religion in New Zealand. It is also one of the fastest-growing religions in New Zealand. According to the 2018 census, Hindus form 2.65% of the population of New Zealand. There are about 123,534 Hindus in New Zealand.[1]

Hindus from all over India continue to immigrate today, with the largest Indian ethnic subgroup being Gujaratis. A later wave of immigrants also includes Hindu immigrants who were of Indian descent from nations that were historically under European colonial rule, such as Fiji. Today there are Hindu temples in all major New Zealand cities.



Early settlement


In 1836 the missionary William Colenso saw Māori women near Whangarei using a broken bronze bell to boil potatoes. The inscription is in very old Tamil script. This discovery has led to speculation that Tamil-speaking Hindus may have visited New Zealand hundreds of years ago.

However, the first noted settlement of Hindus in New Zealand dates back to the arrival of sepoys (Indian soldiers) in the 19th century, with the first communities from the Punjab and Gujarat arriving in the 1890s. Until the 1980s almost all Hindu migrants came from Gujarat. Later they arrived from all over India and from elsewhere, including Sri Lanka, Malaysia and South Africa.[2]

Easing of immigration policies and increased immigration: 1987-2001


In the 1991 Census, surging migration as a result of the Immigration Act 1987 made the number of Hindus surpass 17,000.[3][4] India's Economic Liberalisation occurred in the same year, increasing the standard of living and allowing more immigrants to come in the future. The 1996 New Zealand Census showed the eased immigration laws resulted in the number of Hindus growing from 18,000 in 1991 to surpassing 25,000 for the first time. This was largely due to the continued success of the Immigration Act 1987.

Fast growth and slowdown: 2001-2012


In the 2001 Census, the population of Hindus was at almost 40 000, meaning that the number of Hindus tripled in the 10 years since the 1991 census. The 2006 census showed the number of Hindus to be 64,557, an increase of nearly 62% from the previous census in 2001.[5] The growth of the number of Hindus in New Zealand then slowed in the years between the 2006 Census and the 2013 Census because of a mixture of events. The heightened violence against Indian Australians (2007-2010) and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake were the main reasons why growth of Hindus declined. The latter was also the main reason why the Census year was moved from 2011 to 2013.[6] The slowdown in long term migration was partially offset by soaring numbers of Indian Students and Skilled Migrants, whose numbers increased rapidly during the Great Recession partly due to costs being cheaper and a better economic outlook.[7][8] The recently conducted 2013 Census showed the Hindu population made up slightly over 2% of the population, with 90,018 adherents. This increased Hinduism's share of the total New Zealand population by 0.5% despite immigration slowing as a result of the events mentioned earlier.


Historical growth of the Hindu population in New Zealand
YearPop.±% p.a.
1966 3,599—    
1971 3,845+1.33%
1976 5,203+6.24%
1981 6,078+3.16%
1986 8,148+6.04%
1991 17,661+16.73%
1996 25,293+7.45%
2001 39,627+9.40%
2006 64,557+10.25%
2013 90,018+4.86%
2018 123,534+6.53%
^Percentages show the average annual growth rates.

^^From 1916-1966, Hindus were counted as "race aliens" [9]

^^^2011 Census was delayed due to the Christchurch earthquake.

Hindus In Percentage By Years :

Year Percent Increase
1966 0.13% -
1971 0.13% +0.00%
1976 0.17% +0.04%
1981 0.19% +0.02%
1986 0.25% +0.06%
1991 0.54% +0.29
1996 0.71% +0.17%
2001 1.02% +0.31%
2006 1.51% +0.49%
2013 2.12% +0.61%
2018 2.65% +0.53%

Religion data by years

2018 2013[10] 2006[11] 2001 1996 1991
Numbers % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Christian 1,738,638 37.31 1,858,977 47.65 2,027,418 54.16 2,043,843 58.92 2,298,793 63.5 2,621,824 77.7
Hinduism 123,534 2.65 90,018 2.12 64,560 1.51 39,864 1.02 25,551 0.71 18,036 0.54
Māori religions, beliefs and philosophies 62,634 1.34 52,947 1.36 65,550 1.75 63,597 1.83 23,325 0.6 No data No data
Muslim 61,455 1.32 46,194 1.04 36,153 0.84 23,637 0.60 13,545 0.37 6,096 0.18
Buddhist 52,779 1.13 58,440 1.31 52,392 1.22 41,661 1.06 28,131 0.78 12,762 0.38
Sikh 40,908 0.88 19,191 0.43 9,507 0.22 5,199 0.13 2,817 0.08 2,061 0.06
Other religions 42,615 0.91 40,365 0.91 42,012 0.99 36,318 0.94 21,957 0.60 26,133 0.78
No religion/Object/Not stated total 2,577,396 55.3 2,155,722 50.82 1,832,688 45.50 1,554,669 41.60 1,336,854 36.95 980,079 29.05
Total population 4,699,755 4,242,048 4,027,947 3,737,277 3,618,303 3,373,926

Classification and ethnicity


According to the 2018 census:[12]


Ethnicity Percent
Pacific peoples

Majority of the Hindus in New Zealand are Asians, followed by Europeans and Pacific Islanders. There are 3,567 European and 1,857 Pacific peoples following Hinduism. Hinduism also has a small following among Māori. There are 858 Māori following Hinduism [13]

Hindu organisations


The first Hindu organisation - the Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) was formed in the mid-1990s and is affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a global Hindu organisation. HCNZ has hosted annual New Zealand Hindu conferences since 2007. It has also established the Hindu Heritage Centre, Hindu Social Service Foundation, Hindu Elders Foundation and Hindu Youth New Zealand, and runs youth and family camps. In 2010 HCNZ launched Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA), a representative body for Hindu groups in New Zealand.[2]

Other Hindu organisations include Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission, Sathya Sai Organisation, Art of Living Foundation, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu Foundation, Sewa International and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.[2]

Contemporary society

Jeetan Patel, New Zealand Hindu cricketer

According to a survey done by the Victoria University Wellington in 2019,it was found that New Zealanders believe that Hindus are more trustworthy than atheists, Protestants, Muslims, Catholics and Evangelicals. About 28.3 percent of New Zealanders have complete or much trust in Hindus, while 19.9 percent have little or no trust.[14]

Jews and Hindus hold the highest education level in New Zealand.[15]

Hindutva activism and intracommunal tensions


During the 2020s, Hindutva activism within the New Zealand Indian diaspora attracted attention from the media and law enforcement authorities. In February 2020, The Spinoff guest writer Shahid S. claimed that Islamophobia was present among Indian diaspora social media pages, with the circulation of posts attacking Muslim immigration and praising the Xinjiang internment camps that targeted China's predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government's passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens for Assam in 2019 also sparked anti-BJP protests in New Zealand which inflamed BJP supporters in New Zealand. [16]

In May 2021, the Massey University communication professor Dr Mohan Dutta published a two-page white paper called Cultural Hindutva and Islamophobia about alleged Islamophobic elements in Hindutva ideology, calling for a careful examining of its presence in New Zealand. Dutta likened the online communication of Hindutva supporters to that of QAnon followers and the far-right Proud Boys. [17][18] The white paper received a polarising response, with Dutta receiving online abuse and threats from Hindutva supporters. Two Indian community organisations the New Zealand Hindu Council, the affiliated Hindu Youth Association, and the Indian community website The Indian News accusing Dutta and Massey University of promoting Hinduphobia. By contrast, the Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians (AAPI), NZ Indian Association of Minorities, and Hindus for Human Rights Australia and New Zealand defending Dutta's academic freedom, condemning threats against Dutta, and calling for the New Zealand and Australian governments to monitor Hindutva ideology within the Indian diaspora communities.[17][18]

In mid-September 2021, Dutta also participated in a controversial international online academic conference called "Dismantling Hindutva," which was co-sponsored by Massey University and 70 other academic institutions. Dr Sapna Samant of the left-wing advocacy group Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians (AAPI) also claimed that local Hindutva supporters were intimidating her and Dutta.[19] In late September, the New Zealand Police confirmed that they were investigating online threats against Dutta and had put a safety plan in place.[17][18]

Relation with Māori


There are similarities between Hindu and Māori people customs and languages. There are at least 185 Sanskrit and other Indian language words similar to the Māori language. Some Hindu communities also have similar buildings to marae, where people hold meetings and sleep over. Māori also bless new buildings before they open, usually before sunrise, as Hindus do.[20][21]



The following is a list of Hindu temples in major New Zealand cities. Cities are ordered by the number of Hindu Temples. The name of the Mandir is in bold and the location is in italics.


  • Shri Ram Mandir is located at 11 Brick Street, Henderson, Auckland. Ref www.shrirammandir.org.nz
  • Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam is located in 69, Tidal Road, Mangere, Auckland. It is a temple with South Indian style granite deities.[22]
  • Bhartiya Mandir is the oldest and the largest Hindu Temple in New Zealand [23]
  • Thirumurugan Temple in Otahuhu.
  • Sri Ganesh Temple located in Papakura.[24]
  • Radha-Krishna Temple in Eden Terrace
  • Ram Krishna Temple in Papatoetoe
  • Swaminarayan Temple in Auckland, situated in Papatoetoe and run by The International Swaminarayan Satsang Organisation
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Avondale, Auckland.


  • Kurinchi Kumaran Temple, located in Wellington[25] in Newlands. It was the first South Indian style Hindu temple to be established in New Zealand, and it features ancient temple architecture. It is located in 3 Batchelor Street Newlands Wellington.
  • The Wellington Indian Association run a North Indian style Temple.[26]
  • Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple of Wellington[27] is located in Wainuiomata.[28] Sanatana Dharma Paripalana Seva Trust of New Zealand, registered charity in New Zealand established the temple in 2018 with community support and operational from Nov 2019 at 25, Waiu Street, Wainuiomata, Wellington.
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 83A Eastern Hutt Road, Taita, Lower Hutt


  • Sanatan Dharam Mandir, built by the members of the Tauranga Hindu community.[29] The trust bought roughly 2150 square meters of land in the suburb of Tauriko for around $400,000.[30] Despite being inaugurated in 2012, work on the actual Hindu Temple did not commence until early 2015.[31] Stage One of the temple was completed by mid-late 2015.[32] The temple is located at 108 Whiore Ave, Tauriko, Tauranga.[33]


  • Christchurch's and the South Island's only Hindu temple is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Christchurch, located in 19 Frank Street in the suburb of Papanui.[34] The mandir was inaugurated on 2011, after a "Mahapuja".[35] The temple was inaugurated after 12 months of renovations, which the 2011 Christchurch earthquake temporarily halted.[36]


  • The BAPS Sri Swaminarayan Temple, Rotorua's first Hindu Temple, opened in 2012 making it the fourth "BAPS" temple in New Zealand.[37] It the only Hindu Temple in the central north island.[38]


  • The Sri Balaji Temple was opened in March 2015,[39] six years after the founding of the Sri Balaji Temple Charitable Trust[40]
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 10 Tawn Place, Pukete, Hamilton 3200

Other locations

  • The International Society for Krishna Consciousness also has a presence in New Zealand, running temples in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. The Auckland temple is located out of the city, and is built in the Vedic style with a tower over the main shrine.



A West Auckland Hindu temple was the target of an arson attack over Labour weekend. The incident occurred at Shri Ram Mandir on Brick St in Auckland's Henderson on October 21, 2022 about 11.30pm. Temple spokesperson Pravin Kumar said, "It could have been disastrous because, on the premises, we also have a priest's quarters where the family of the priest were present - it's attached to the same building, and people could have died."[41]

In July 2023, multiple Hindu temples received anonymous letters with intimidating Hinduphobic messages denouncing idol worship, polytheism, etc. quoting passages of Quran. Hindu community leaders condemned the hateful messages and appealed for tolerance to avoid clashes between faith based communities.[42]

Notable Hindus





  • Aaradhna Patel, Half Samoan and half Indian R&B artist
  • Shailesh Prajapati, New Zealand actor, known for his role as Ernie in Power Rangers MegaForce


  • Rohit Kumar Happy, editor of Bharat-Darshan, Hindi literary magazine[43]
  • Rebecca Singh, openly gay news anchor on the New Zealand television station TV3



See also



  1. ^ "Table 26, 2018 Census Data – Tables".
  2. ^ a b c Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Hindus". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Christian faiths losing out to other religions". NZ Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ More Hindu temples to come up in New Zealand[dead link] Hindustan Times - April 20, 2007
  6. ^ "Census cancelled over Christchurch earthquake". NZ Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Figure 4 Migration Trends Key Indicators : June 2012 - Department of Labour". Archived from the original on 25 January 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Merinews.com". www.merinews.com.
  9. ^ "Indians". teara.govt.nz.
  10. ^ "2013 Census totals by topic". archive.stats.govt.nz.
  11. ^ Table 28, 2006 Census Data – QuickStats About Culture and Identity – Tables Archived 2017-10-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Table". www.stats.govt.nz. 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Table" (PDF). archive.stats.govt.nz. 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  14. ^ "In New Zealand; Hindus More Trustworthy Than Atheists, Protestants, Muslims, Catholics, Evangelicals". www.face2news.com. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  15. ^ "The state of faith: Muslims most likely to be unemployed". NZ Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  16. ^ S, Shahid (23 February 2020). "An ugly Islamophobia has surfaced in New Zealand, from India". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on 3 October 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Tan, Qiuyi (27 September 2021). "Police aware of concerns about far-right Indian nationalist groups in NZ". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 28 September 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  18. ^ a b c Waters, Laura (3 October 2021). "The rise of Hindutva and hate in Aotearoa's Indian diaspora". Stuff. Archived from the original on 5 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  19. ^ Tan, Qiui (10 September 2021). "Massey University professor hit by right wing Hindu trolls". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Hindu scholar finds similarities with Maori culture". www.rxpgnews.com. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  21. ^ "City scientist to talk about being Hindu in New Zealand". NZ Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  22. ^ AalayamWebAdmin. "Home". Aalayam. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Historic Gajaraj Sthapna at Bhartiya Mandir: Five important things to know". Indian Weekender. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Auckland Sri Ganesh Temple". Archived from the original on 17 February 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
  25. ^ "Kurinchi Kumaran Temple". Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Wellington Indian Association inc". www.wia.org.nz. Archived from the original on 27 August 2008.
  27. ^ "Home | Wellington | Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple of Wellington". SVWT.
  28. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  29. ^ "Sanatan Dharam Trust". sanatandharammandir.org.nz. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015.
  30. ^ "New Zealand's Bay of Plenty to have its 1st Hindu temple soon – THE JET | Fiji's First Community Newspaper". Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  31. ^ "Indian Community of Tauranga - Indian Community of Tauranga - Tauranga Memories". tauranga.kete.net.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  32. ^ "SunLive - Hindu temple build to start - The Bay's News First". www.sunlive.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Sanatan Dharam Trust". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  34. ^ "BAPS Swaminarayan Temple Christchurch®". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  35. ^ "BAPS News: Mahapuja to Inaugurate the New BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Christchurch, New Zealand | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  36. ^ "Mahapuja to Inaugurate the New BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir". BAPS. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  37. ^ "Inauguration of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir". BAPS. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  38. ^ "Hindus look forward to place of worship". NZ Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  39. ^ "SBTT". sites.google.com. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  40. ^ "Hindu temple a valuable asset". NZ Herald.
  41. ^ Horsnell, Jack; Reporter, Digital. "West Auckland Hindu temple target of arson attack". 1 News. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  42. ^ "'Worse than carnage': Anonymous 'intimidating' letters sent to Hindu temples". NZ Herald. 23 July 2023. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  43. ^ "रोहित कुमार 'हैप्पी' | Rohit Kumar 'Happy' - Hindi journalist & writer". www.bharatdarshan.co.nz.