In modern day New Zealand, the predominant religion is Christianity, which accounted for over 50% of responses in the last census. Most respondents don’t appear to be particularly active Christians though, as church attendance in the country lies at just about 15%. Thanks to the fact that New Zealand is such a free and liberal society, it’s no surprise to find “no religion” also featuring highly in the census, with over 40% ticking this box.
Christianity hasn’t always been the major religion in New Zealand – after all, it was only in 1642 that Europeans first found these islands. Before then, the Maori religion was the primary religion in New Zealand. This religion taught that every part of the natural world was connected through a share ancestryNowadays very few people are affiliated with these animist beliefs. There are now more Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims than traditional Maori believers in the country. Many Maori are now Christians, following the Ratana and Ringatu forms of the religion, both of which mix both Maori and Christian beliefs.
Travellers to New Zealand with specific religious beliefs and requirements will find that they are well catered for. New Zealand society is very accepting and you should find no trouble coming your way from the locals. Although Judaism is not a common religion in New Zealand (just 0.15% of the population), it is still possible to get kosher food pretty much all over the place, and the same is true for Muslims looking for halal food. There are also mosques, churches, temples and synagogues throughout the country, making worship something that can be done on a regular basis.
If you do a bit of research into religion in New Zealand, you’ll also find a rather remarkable fast: in 2001, over 50,000 people declared themselves to be Jedi in the census. If this were actually the case, it would make Jedi the second most prominent religion in the country! Unfortunately for the masses of pranksters, the answer was refused by the government, although it proves that the Force is strong with the people of New Zealand…
So, New Zealand will welcome you with open arms, regardless of your religion. Why not take a look at all the different things you could do while in this stunning country?