Hinduism in New Zealand

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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 *23 Sep 2019*—    
^Percentages show the average annual growth rates.

^^From 1916-1966, Hindus were counted as "race aliens" [1]

^^^2011 Census was delayed due to the Christchurch Earthquake. 2018 Census results will be released from 23 September 2019.

Hinduism is the second largest and the fastest growing religion in New Zealand, with over 90,000 adherents making up over 2.11% of the population, according to the 2013 Census.[2] The number of Hindus in New Zealand grew modestly until the 1990s with the Immigration Act 1987, the Immigration Amendment Act 1991 and India's economic liberalisation.[3] Hinduism currently makes up 2.1% of the New Zealand population, and is the fastest growing religion in the country.[4]

New Zealand Hindus
Jeetan Patel, Hindu New Zealand Cricketer of Indian Descent.
Total population
90,018 (2013)
2.11% of the New Zealand Population
Regions with significant populations
Auckland · Wellington · Hamilton · Tauranga
English · Hindi · Punjabi · Marathi · Gujarati · Tamil · Kannada · Telugu · Indian Languages
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 2.11% +0.60%
2018 *23 Sep 2019*

Historical Growth in New Zealand[edit]

Early settlement[edit]

In 1836 the missionary William Colenso saw Māori women near Whangarei using a broken bronze bell to boil potatoes. The inscription around the rim read ‘Muhayideen Baksh’s ship’s bell’ 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.[5]

Easing of Immigration Policies and Increased Immigration: 1987-2001[edit]

In the 1991 Census, surging migration as a result of the Immigration Act 1987 made the number of Hindus surpass 17,000.[6][7] 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[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10][11] 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 vs Other Religions[edit]

For more detailed analysis, see Religion in New Zealand

2013[12] 2006[13] 2001 1996 1991
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Roman Catholic 492,384 11.07 508,437 11.87 485,637 12.40 473,112 13.08 498,612 14.78
Anglican 459,771 10.33 554,925 12.95 584,793 14.93 631,764 17.46 732,048 21.70
Presbyterian, Congregational and Reformed 330,903 7.44 400,839 9.36 431,139 11.01 470,442 13.00 553,386 16.40
Christian total 1,933,851 43.47 2,130,315 49.72 2,140,560 54.66 2,189,445 60.51 2,328,759 69.02
Hinduism 90,018 2.11 64,560 1.51 39,864 1.02 25,551 0.71 18,036 0.54
Buddhist 58,440 1.31 52,392 1.22 41,661 1.06 28,131 0.78 12,762 0.38
Muslim 46,194 1.04 36,153 0.84 23,637 0.60 13,545 0.37 6,096 0.18
Sikh 19,191 0.43 9,507 0.22 5,199 0.13 2,817 0.08 2,061 0.06
Other religions 40,365 0.91 42,012 0.99 36,318 0.94 21,957 0.60 26,133 0.78
Non-Christian religions total 254,208 5.71 204,624 4.78 146,682 3.75 92,001 2.54 65,088 1.93
No religion/Object/Not stated total 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 4,242,048 4,027,947 3,737,277 3,618,303 3,373,926

Jews and Hindus hold the highest education level in New Zealand.[14]

Hindu Organisations[edit]

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.[15]

Other Hindu organisations include Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission, Sathya Sai Organisation, Art of Living Foundation, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.[16]


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.


  • Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam http://aalayam.org.nz/ is located in 69, Tidal Road, Mangere, Auckland. It is a temple with South Indian style granite deities. The deities in the temple are Lord Ganesh [ Mahaganapathy], Lord Muruga [Subramaniya Swamy], Lord Shiva [Bhoominathar], Lord Parvati [Tamilarasi Nayagi, Lord Perumal [ Venkatesha Perumal], Lord Hanuman [ Baktha Anjineyar], Lord Kalabairavar, Lord Munneshwarar, Lord Maaduari Veeran, Navagrahas [Nine Planents].
  • The Bharatiya Mandir is located in Balmoral and contains Deities of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Rama and Goddess Seeta, and Lord Hanuman.
  • There is a Tamil-style Thirumurugan Temple in Otahuhu. The temple has Deities of Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan, Goddess Rajarajeswari Amman, Lord Bhairava and the Navagrahas (nine planets).
  • The Sri Ganesh Temple is located in Papakura. The temple has Deities of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Lord Kamakshi, Lord Kartikeya (Murugan)and Parvati (Shakti).
  • There is also a Radha-Krishna Temple in Eden Terrace
  • Ram Krishna Temple in Papatoetoe
  • The International Swaminarayan Satsang Organisation runs a Swaminarayan Temple in Auckland. The main Deities are Ghanshyam Maharaj, Nar Narayan Dev, Radha Krishna Dev and Ram Parivar as well as Kul Devs of the local community.*
  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Avondale, Auckland. The main deities are Akshar-Purshottam Maharaj, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and Pragat Aksharbrahma His Divine Holiness Shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj


  • Wellington Hindus can worship at the Kurinchi Kumaran Temple in Newlands. It has Deities of Lord Ganesh, Lord Murugan and Lord Shiva and many more. 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 with Deities of Lord Rama, Goddess Seeta and Lakshmana, Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna, Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman.[17]


  • Members of the Tauranga Hindu community created the Sanatan Dharam Trust, with the goal of building the Sanatan Dharam Mandir in Tauranga.[18] The trust bought roughly 2150 square meters of land in the suburb of Tauriko for around $400,000.[19] Despite being inaugurated in 2012, work on the actual Hindu Temple did not commence until early 2015.[20] Stage One of the temple was completed by mid-late 2015.[21] The temple is located at 108 Whiore Ave, Tauriko, Tauranga.[22]


  • 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.[23] The mandir was inaugurated on July 26, 2011, after a "Mahapuja".[24] The temple was inaugurated after 12 months of renovations, which the 2011 Christchurch earthquake temporarily halted.[25]


  • The BAPS Sri Swaminarayan Temple, Rotorua's first Hindu Temple, opened in September 2012 for an estimated $1.5 million making it the fourth "BAPS" temple in New Zealand.[26] The temple is located in the suburb of Fenton Park, where Hindus made up 7.5%(95 people) of the total suburb population in the 2013 census.[27] It the only Hindu Temple in the central north island.[28]


Other locations[edit]

  • 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.
  • The International Society of Krishna Consciousness run programs at the university Clubs and Socieites Centre.

Notable Hindus[edit]



  • 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[30]
  • Vanita Prasad, chief reporter, Western Leader
  • Rebecca Singh, openly gay news anchor on the New Zealand television station TV3


See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://teara.govt.nz/en/indians/print
  2. ^ Table 28, 2013 Census Data – QuickStats About Culture and Identity – Tables
  3. ^ http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/immigration-regulation/page-5
  4. ^ http://worldhindunews.com/2014020517591/sikh-and-hindu-religions-had-the-fastest-rates-of-growth-auckland-census-shows/
  5. ^ https://teara.govt.nz/en/diverse-religions/page-2
  6. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10837744
  7. ^ http://www.aen.org.nz/journal/2/2/AENJ.2.2.Nachowitz.pdf
  8. ^ More Hindu temples to come up in New Zealand Hindustan Times - April 20, 2007
  9. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10708648
  10. ^ http://dol.govt.nz/research/migration/monthly-migration-trends/12jun/large.asp?id=fig4
  11. ^ http://www.merinews.com/article/recession-boosts-new-zealand-migration/15764938.shtml
  12. ^ Table 28, 2013 Census Data - Totals by Topic
  13. ^ Table 28, 2006 Census Data – QuickStats About Culture and Identity – Tables.
  14. ^ https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11448269
  15. ^ https://teara.govt.nz/en/diverse-religions/page-2
  16. ^ https://teara.govt.nz/en/diverse-religions/page-2
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ http://sanatandharammandir.org.nz/index.html
  19. ^ http://www.thejetnewspaper.com/2015/01/26/new-zealands-bay-of-plenty-to-have-its-1st-hindu-temple-soon/
  20. ^ http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/en/indian_community_of_tauranga
  21. ^ http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/91775-hindu-temple-build-to-start.html
  22. ^ http://sanatandharammandir.org.nz/where-are-we.html
  23. ^ http://www.bapschristchurchswaminarayanmandir.co.nz
  24. ^ https://www.facebook.com/notes/akshardham/baps-news-mahapuja-to-inaugurate-the-new-baps-shri-swaminarayan-mandir-christchu/10150317450264994
  25. ^ http://www.baps.org/News/2011/Mahapuja-to-Inaugurate-the-New-BAPS-Shri-Swaminarayan-Mandir--2656.aspx
  26. ^ http://www.baps.org/News/2012/Inauguration-of-BAPS-Swaminarayan-Mandir-4066.aspx
  27. ^ http://m.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503438&objectid=11449566
  28. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503438&objectid=11203996
  29. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hamilton-news/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503366&objectid=11417257
  30. ^ Rohit Kumar Happy

External links[edit]