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Cultural diversity

One in five people in the greater Christchurch area were born overseas

At the 2013 Census, 21.1 percent of people in greater Christchurch were born overseas, compared with 19.6 percent in 2006. This was slightly lower than the national trend – nationally, 25.2 percent were born overseas, compared with 22.9 percent in 2006.

Of those born overseas and living in greater Christchurch at the 2013 Census, the three most common countries of birth were:

  • England – 24,750 people (28.3 percent of greater Christchurch's overseas-born population)
  • Australia – 7,077 people (8.1 percent)
  • The People’s Republic of China – 6,717 people (7.7 percent).

Of recent immigrants (who had lived in New Zealand for two years or less at the 2013 Census, or since the 2010–11 earthquakes) living in greater Christchurch, numbers for selected countries of birth were:

  • People’s Republic of China – 1,320 people
  • Philippines – 1,080 people
  • India – 942 people
  • Ireland – 867.

Over half (54.5 percent) of all those born in Ireland and living in greater Christchurch at the 2013 Census, who stated how long they had been in New Zealand, arrived since the earthquakes. 

Selected countries of birth by years since arrival in New Zealand
For people whose area of usual residence is greater Christchurch
2013 Census
 Country of birth  Total in greater Christchurch Two years or less in New Zealand 
Number Percent
England 24,279 2,085 8.6
Australia  6,804 915 13.4
China, People's Republic of   6,423 1,320 20.6
Philippines 3,468 1,080 31.1
South Africa 3,378 450 13.3
India  2,544 942 37.0
Ireland 1,590 867 54.5
Note: The numbers in this table are for those who stated their years since arrival in New Zealand.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Decrease in greater Christchurch people who were living overseas five years before the 2013 Census

At the time of the 2013 Census, 27,729 people were living in greater Christchurch who lived overseas five years earlier (including 7,008 people who were New Zealand-born).

At the 2006 Census, 36,183 people were living in greater Christchurch who lived overseas five years earlier (including 9,126 people who were New Zealand-born).

Increase in Māori living in greater Christchurch

The number of people in greater Christchurch belonging to the Māori ethnic group increased between the 2013 Census and the 2006 Census (up 34,371 people). Increases in the Māori ethnic group for New Zealand's three main urban areas were:

  • Greater Christchurch – up 12.4 percent
  • Auckland – up 4.0 percent
  • Wellington area – up 4.7 percent.

The largest iwi for people of Māori descent living in greater Christchurch in 2013 was Ngāi Tahu, with 12,249 people (29.7 percent of the area's Māori descent population). For matawaka (other people of Māori descent) the largest iwi were Ngāpuhi (4,689 people) and Ngāti Porou (3,579 people).

Five largest iwi by population
For greater Christchurch
2006 and 2013 Censuses
Iwi 2006 Census 2013 Census Percentage change
Ngāi Tahu / Kāi Tahu 10,965 12,249 11.7
Ngāpuhi 4,329 4,689 8.3
Ngāti Porou 3,426 3,579 4.5
Ngāti Tūwharetoa 1,464 1,596 9.0
Waikato 1,173 1,452 23.8
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Of New Zealanders belonging to the Ngāi Tahu iwi in 2013, 22.3 percent were living in greater Christchurch, while 32.1 percent lived in the rest of the South Island.

In 2013, 42.3 percent of Ngāi Tahu living in greater Christchurch were under 20 years of age. This was higher than the overall New Zealand population – nationally, 27.4 percent of people were under 20 years of age. In 2013, the median age of Ngāi Tahu living in greater Christchurch was 24.4 years.  

Area of usual residence
For Ngāi Tahu iwi
2013 Census
Area Number Percent
North Island 24,972 45.6
Rest of South Island 17,595 32.1
Waimakariri district 1,746 3.2
Christchurch city 9,408 17.2
Selwyn district 1,095 2.0
Total greater Christchurch 12,249 22.3
Total 54,819 100.0
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Over 1,000 Ngāi Tahu moved to greater Christchurch since the earthquakes

Of Ngāi Tahu who moved since 2008, were present in New Zealand on census night, and had been at their new address for two years or less at the 2013 Census (that is, had moved since the earthquakes) most moved from:

  • elsewhere in the South Island to greater Christchurch – 516 people
  • the North Island to greater Christchurch – 312
  • overseas to greater Christchurch – 225
  • greater Christchurch to elsewhere in the South Island – 591
  • greater Christchurch to the North Island – 468.

Note that no information is available on departures of Ngāi Tahu to other countries.

Six out of seven people in greater Christchurch identify as European

The majority of greater Christchurch residents identified as European at the 2013 Census (85.9 percent). This ranged from 93.8 percent in Waimakariri district to 83.9 percent in Christchurch city.

Of all people in greater Christchurch, 7.9 percent identified with one or more Asian ethnic groups, compared with 6.7 percent in 2006. Of those who identified with one or more Asian ethnic groups, 20.9 percent were born in New Zealand.

Of people in the greater Christchurch area, 2.6 percent identified with one or more Pacific peoples ethnic groups in 2013, compared with 2.4 percent in 2006. Of the Pacific peoples in greater Christchurch, 63.1 percent were born in New Zealand.  

Ethnic group (grouped total responses)(1)
By New Zealand-born or overseas-born, for greater Christchurch
2013 Census
Ethnic group New Zealand born Overseas-born Total stated
European 300,012 54,288 354,303
Māori 33,327 657 33,984
Pacific peoples 6,864 4,017 10,881
Asian 6,825 25,764 32,589
Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 798 2,895 3,693
Other ethnicity(2) 7,647 537 8,184
Total stated 325,890 86,592 412,482
1. Includes all people who stated each ethnic group, whether as their only ethnic group or as one of several. Where a person reported more than one ethnic group, they have been counted in each applicable group.
2. Consists of responses for a number of small ethnic groups and for New Zealander.
Source: Statistics New Zealand
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