About Pacific peoples in New Zealand

Photo of Pacific woman's faceNew Zealand’s Pacific people are a dynamic and diverse group.

By 2026, it is projected that Pacific people will be 10% of the population, compared to 6.5 % in 2001. The Pacific population in New Zealand will produce an increasing portion of the nation’s births, its student body, workforce, taxpayer base, voters and consumers of both public and private goods and services.

Who are Pacific peoples?

Photo of Pacific woman's facePacific people in New Zealand are represented by at least 13 distinct languages and cultural groups. The Pacific population includes people born in the Pacific Islands and in New Zealand.

The many Pacific ethnicities are represented primarily by Samoan, Cook Islands, Tongan, Niuean, Fijian and Tokelauan groups, with smaller numbers from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and the small island states of Micronesia.

bullet point icon  Majority now born in New Zealand

Photo of Pacific babyThe Pacific community in New Zealand, numbering 265,974 at Census 2006, has diverse origins. Migration to New Zealand has been significant since the 1950s. Today more than 60% of New Zealanders who define themselves as part of the Pacific community were born in New Zealand and are growing up here.

bullet  point icon  Ethnic groups

This New Zealand-based Pacific population consists of a number of diverse ethnic communities.

Pacific people here have high rates of inter-marriage with other New Zealanders – including Pakeha and Maori. Pacific communities are not static – they are changing and redefining themselves.

bullet point icon  Urban living

Pacific people live largely in urban centres in the North Island.

bullet point icon  Northern Region

The largest Pacific population in the world resides in Auckland. Click here to view a profile of Pacific people in the Northern Region

The importance of successful Pacific people to the ongoing economic and social development of the Auckland region underpins our focus on work in the Northern Region. For more details see our 'Auckland Pacific Strategy' (PDF)

bullet point icon  Central Region

Click here to view a profile of Pacific people in the Central Region.

bullet point icon  Southern Region

Click here to view a profile of Pacific people in the Southern Region.

bullet point icon  Young population

Photo of Pacific familyOf particular importance is the youthfulness of the Pacific population, with 38% (100,344 people) aged under 15 years. Their median age is 21.1 years compared to 35.9 years for the New Zealand population overall. In 15–20 years one in five New Zealand children will be Pacific. In the younger (15–39) workforce Pacific people will be one in eight.

Read more about the demographics of Pacific people living in New Zealand.

Pacific Island Governments

Pacific Island Government websites:

In New Zealand:

Contact Pacific nations' embassies and diplomats in New Zealand.