Immigration (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about immigration to New Zealand?

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

Entry last updated: 12/08/19


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.

Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This is an excellent website to find information about the different nationalities and cultural groups who have settled in New Zealand. Explore Te Ara's section about New Zealand Peoples. This page starts by summing up some of the different reasons people came to New Zealand. The stories of each group cover their earliest arrivals right up to their recent life in New Zealand and include information on settling in and culture.

Once you have reached the Te Ara home page find the tab headed Sections and click on this, then:

  • scroll down the second column and click on New Zealand Peoples
  • you will then be able to choose from a list of peoples who have chosen to come and live in this country, e.g. Fijians
  • look at the Facts and Figures section of each story to find out how many people of that nationality currently live in New Zealand.

Another story Immigration regulation talks about some of the barriers and regulations put in place to stop people coming in to New Zealand.

You can also look for people from specific countries, like England and Yugoslavia (Dalmatians), from the page titled Peoples – just choose from the map, or the list of peoples underneath it.

Tips: Te Ara links sometimes take you to the short story. Remember to try the Full Story if you want more in-depth information. You can also look at the All images and media link for pictures and photos related to your story.


This website focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from many different websites, including lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers.

To search this collection for cartoons, photographs and other item related to immigration to New Zealand:

  • enter 'immigration' or 'immigrants' into the search box
  • you may like to narrow your search by adding the name of a country, 'Samoa' or 'Ireland' for example,
  • from the search results list click on the Images tab if you just want to see pictures and photos,
  • if you only want to read newspaper articles, select Newspapers from the drop down box on the More tab.
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. EPIC 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.

This resource has lots of New Zealand magazine and newspaper articles. Search for 'Immigrants New Zealand'. You can refine your results using the links on the left of the page, like changing the publication date or limiting your search to newspaper articles.

Opposing Viewpoints Global Issues in Context

This resource has newspaper articles and other resources about issues of international importance like immigration.

  • Search for 'immigrants and immigration'.
  • The topic overview at the top of the results page will give you a summary of the issue.
  • You can use the options on the right of the overview to limit your search to a particular type of result such as images or newspapers.
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 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

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 has a section on the history of immigration to New Zealand. It covers the period from the late 1700s to the 1990s, and includes information about Chinese gold miners and early French and German immigrants. It also has information about the refugees who immigrated during and after the second world war.

  • Click on the Images & media tab on near the top right of the page to view the pictures related to the story. Click the next arrow or previous arrow to scroll through the pictures.


This website has a section on English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh immigration between 1840 and 1914. It has graphs showing what jobs migrants did, and where in Great Britain they came from. It also has information about the assisted immigration scheme, which took place between 1947 and 1975.

Tips: Don't forget to search the other websites we have mentioned in this entry.

Modern immigration to New Zealand

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

New Zealand Now

This website is for anyone planning to come and live in New Zealand from overseas. The short video Why New Zealand has recent immigrants talking about why they moved to New Zealand and their experiences here.

  • To view this and other videos scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link Videos under the heading Resources.
  • If you click on the link Stories instead, you'll be able to read lots of great stories from recent migrants to New Zealand.
  • To find out what kinds of jobs people move to New Zealand to do click on the Work in New Zealand tab at the top of the page, then Job market & key industries.
  • The Choose New Zealand tab has a section titled Regions & cities. It has information about the regions of New Zealand and statistics on what percentage of each region's population was born overseas.
  • It also lists where the majority of immigrants to that region come from, eg Check out Canterbury's Top five migrant populations.

The Southern Institute of Technology

This site has a section for students coming from overseas entitled Living, studying and working in New Zealand. It covers cultural differences and ways to cope with culture shock.

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 an organisation that aims to help people find out about and settle in New Zealand. There's a column on the right side of the screen which lists all the topics covered on their site.

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.


There are lots of different answers to the question 'why not elsewhere?' as well. On Wikipedia you can look at immigration into lots of different countries, and compare the opportunities that immigrants have there, with the opportunities they'd have in New Zealand.

Here are a few examples:

Tips: Wikipedia has great coverage of many topics, including immigration. But you need to be aware that this information is contributed by lots of different people. It always pays to check the information against that on other sites or in books from the library.


You may also like to visit your school or public library and check out the print collection there. Over time there have been many books published telling the stories of people coming to this country.

SCIS no: 1832932

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