• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of New Zealand


About 60% of New Zealand's population is ethnically European (these people are sometimes referred to as Pākehā), primarily consisting of ethnicities from Scotland and other parts of the British Isles. The Maori make up about 8% of the population; these people were the first settlers of the islands and are ethnically Polynesian. Oddly, the ancestors of the Maori arrived from eastern Polynesia and their closest relatives are from this region, including French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.

There is a growing Asian population in New Zealand, primarily people from the Far East, as Asians now make up almost 10% of the population. The rest of the population tends to consist of numerous ethnic groups or are a combination of the above mentioned people.


English and Maori are official languages in New Zealand, but English tends to be the language of communication across groups and most of the country's population are native English speakers. In addition to these languages there are multiple other languages spoken in New Zealand, most of which are spoken by first or second generation immigrants in the home. These languages vary drastically, but some of the more common are Samoan, French, Hindi, and Mandarin.

English today is the result of multiple influences, but primarily comes from the Germanic language tree brought to England by the Saxons and Anglos with a heavy influence from latter Norman French. The English spoken in New Zealand has a dialect that distinguishes it from British English, American English, and to a lesser extent Australian English.

Maori, which is sometimes called "Te Reo Maori" (the language of the Maori) is a member of the Austronesian language family and is more specifically a Polynesian language. Maori is closely related to Polynesian languages from the east, including those spoken in the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, like Tahitian. It is also distantly related to the other Polynesian languages including Hawai'ian, and more distantly related to the languages of Samoa, Tuvalu, and Tonga. Although few people (outside the Maori) speak Maori fluently, many Maori words have become common in the daily speech among the English speakers.


A little over half of New Zealand's population follows Christianity; about 40% of the people are Protestant and a little over 10% are Catholic. Nearly a third of the people are atheist and the last 15% or so of the population follows various religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and others. Some of these religions are divided by ethnicity, such as the large British population that follows Anglican and the Indian population that follows Hindi, but in many situations this isn't the case.

This page was last updated: May, 2014