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New Profiles on Pacific Communities

New Profiles on Pacific Communities

Statistics New Zealand today released Pacific Profiles 2001 – a series providing statistics on the seven largest Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand.

Information in the profiles is taken from the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings.

Individual profiles of each Pacific group include information on demographics, language, religion, families and households, education, the labour force, income, housing, and access to amenities such as the Internet.

Samoan people remain the single largest Pacific ethnic group living in New Zealand. In 2001, Samoan people made up 115,000 or 50 percent of New Zealand’s Pacific population. The next largest Pacific ethnic group was Cook Island Maori (52,600 or 23 percent), followed by the Tongan (40,700 or 18 percent), Niuean (20,100 or 9 percent), Fijian (7,000 or 3 percent), Tokelauan (6,200 or 3 percent) and Tuvaluan (2,000 or 1 percent) groups.

The members of these Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand are increasingly likely to have been born here. In 2001, 70 percent of both the Cook Island Maori and Niuean ethnic groups in New Zealand were New Zealand-born – a similar proportion to the Tokelauan ethnic group (66 percent). The majority of the Samoan (58 percent) and Tongan (53 percent) people in New Zealand were also born here. The more recent immigration of Tuvaluan people meant that a relatively low proportion of that population (28 percent) was New Zealand-born in 2001.

There are notable differences between the overseas-born and New Zealand-born
populations in each Pacific ethnic group. For example, New Zealand-born Pacific peoples are less likely than their overseas-born counterparts to be able to speak the indigenous language of their ethnic group. However, New Zealand-born Pacific peoples are more likely than those born overseas to hold a post-school qualification.

Pacific Profiles 2001 follows previous series based on the 1991 and 1996 Censuses. A development in this series is the addition of a Tuvaluan profile. The continued growth of the Tuvaluan ethnic group means Tuvaluan people now form the seventh largest Pacific ethnic group in New Zealand (overtaking Society Islanders/Tahitians). Between 1996 and 2001, the Tuvaluan population more than doubled from 900 to 2,000. In 1991, Tuvaluan people in New Zealand numbered 400.

It is hoped the series will reach a wide audience and support Pacific communities in their capacity building. The Pacific Profiles 2001 series, as well as a range of other statistical information on Pacific peoples in New Zealand, can be found on the Statistics New Zealand website, >

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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