Immigration (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about immigration to New Zealand?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Painting from 1844 of a Scottish family ready to board a ship to Aotearoa NZ.

Image: The emigrants by William Allsworth. Collection: Te Papa.

Entry last updated: 28/04/22


The movement of people from one place to another is called migration, when people enter a new country to live, it is called immigration.

Aotearoa New Zealand has long been a country people have chosen to immigrate to. In this entry we’ll look at historical immigration to New Zealand as well as the reasons people are choosing to move here today.

General websites

In this section we'll explore different aspects of immigration to New Zealand. These websites have great information about the different peoples who have settled here, as well as pictures, videos and newspaper articles.


This website focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from many different websites, including lots of primary sources.

  • Enter 'immigration' or 'immigrants' into the search box.

  • You can narrow your search by adding the name of a country eg 'Immigration Samoa' or 'Immigrants Ireland'.

  • Explore the range of images, audio, videos and stories. The tab called More has links to historic newspapers, articles, research papers and books etc on this topic.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. Just remember to check out each site, looking for clues that the information is trustworthy.

Australia/NewZealand Reference Centre

This is one of the EPIC resources, which is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • Search for 'Immigrants New Zealand' or 'Immigration New Zealand'.

  • You can refine your results using the options found on the left of the page, eg changing the publication date or limiting your search to newspaper articles or magazine articles.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Topic Explorer (National Library)

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of quality resources in a variety of formats eg images, video, audio, websites, articles, primary sources, etc.

Tips: The resources for Topic Explorer are selected from reliable national and international sources.

Historical immigration to New Zealand

In the 1800s immigrating to New Zealand meant a long and often dangerous journey, and the early settlers weren’t always sure what they would find in their new home. This section looks at who these early settlers were and why they chose to move here.

Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for finding information on different culturesthat have settled in Aotearoa New Zealand. The website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Scroll down the page to Sections and select the one called New Zealand Peoples.

  • The link on Origins and arrivals will lead to the History of immigration and immigration regulation which is about rules and policies on immigration over the years.

  • The link on Peoples will take you to the history and statistics of different nationalities that have come to New Zealand, eg Fijians, English, Dutch and Chinese.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Scroll down the page and select Culture and Society

  • Find the heading called Immigration.

  • Check the link British & Irish immigration, 1840-1914 for information on English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh immigration what jobs migrants did, and where in Great Britain they came from.

  • Check the link Assisted immigration, 1947-75 for information about the assisted immigration scheme.

Tips: Don't forget to search the pages on 'Further information' to explore other websites that contain relevant information on this topic.

New Zealand Parliament

New Zealand Parliament is all about parliamentary business, offices, members and how parliament works. It also has useful information about immigration to New Zealand.

  • Go to the tab on Parliamentary Business and select Library Research Papers from the drop down menu.

  • Then go to Research Papers and find Immigration chronology: selected events 1840-2018.

  • This paper is about key immigration events that have had an impacts on New Zealand society since 1840, such as World War Two assisted settlement, Migrant categories, and Immigration Acts over the years.

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand.

Modern immigration to New Zealand

This section looks at why people move to New Zealand today, where they come from, and what life is like for them in New Zealand.

New Zealand Now

This reliable website from Immigration New Zealand is for anyone planning to come and live in New Zealand.

Each tab has information to guide migrants with their decision to move and live in New Zealand.

  • The tab Choose is about why New Zealand is a good country to move to.

  • Movehas useful tips on the process for applying, which includes visas.

  • Explore the other tabs to see what guidance they have for new immigrants.

  • Scroll to the bottom of the page to find Resourcesfor videos, articles, and stories that talk about immigrant experiences.

The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)

SIT is a famous New Zealand polytechnic that has branches across the South Island.

  • Select the tab Welcome to International Students at the top of the page.

  • Choose Living, studying and working in New Zealand from the dropdown menu.

  • Have a look at the information under the Cultural Differences and Culture shock / Homesickness headings.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


ENZ is a non profit organisation that aims to help people find out about and settle in New Zealand.

  • The column on the right side of the screen lists all the topics covered on the site.

  • Select the Personal experiences link at the top of the column to read stories by recent immigrants.

  • Select Facts and Statistics from the column and then scroll down the page to the link for New Zealand Migrants.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About Us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.


Over time there have been many books published telling the stories of people coming to this country. Visit your school or public library to check out the print collection there.

Here are some titles to begin with.

SCIS no: 1832932

Topics covered

Related content

Back to Many Answers