Jan 16th 2019

A Survey of New Zealanders’ Perceptions of their National Identity (December, 2018)

Prior to the Second World War, the majority of immigrants to New Zealand came from the United Kingdom, with small numbers of immigrants coming from other English-speaking countries and Europe. After the Second World War immigration from European countries other than the United Kingdom increased markedly, and more recently, the number of immigrants from China and other Asian countries has increased.

At the time of the 2013 Census, 75 percent of people living in the country reported that they were born in New Zealand, while 25 percent were born overseas. That survey found that one-in-two New Zealanders (48 percent) identified or had an affinity with New Zealand and only with New Zealand. A similar proportion (50 percent) had an affinity with New Zealand and at least one other country.

The survey repeated in 2018 found that one-in-two New Zealanders (51%) have an affinity ‘mainly for New Zealand’ or ‘for New Zealand and at least one other country’. Forty-nine percent have an ‘affinity for only New Zealand’. As expected, respondents born in New Zealand were more likely to state they ‘had affinity for only New Zealand), compared with those born overseas (58% and 11% respectively). However, it is important to note that 42% of respondents born in New Zealand had ‘affinity mainly for New Zealand’ or ‘affinity for New Zealand and at least one other country’. As expected, this was more likely the case for the large majority (78%) of respondents born overseas.

The key findings from the 2018 National Identity Survey are as follows:

  • New Zealand’s population is becoming diverse.
  • One-in-five respondents (19%) stated they were born overseas.
  • Many New Zealanders born overseas are recent arrivals.
  • Over one-half of those born overseas (51%) came to New Zealand in the last 20 years.
  • While the United Kingdom continues to account for the greatest percentage of people born overseas (45%), significant percentages are accounted for by Asia (collectively, 19%) and ‘other’ European countries (9%).

For more information

A Survey of New Zealanders’ Perceptions of their National Identity (December, 2018)