Muslim, Hindu Totals Surge

April 20, 2007

Author: Martin Johnston

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Mosques and Indian temples are expected to become more familiar sights as the increasing numbers of Muslim and Hindu immigrants seek to express their cultural roots.

While the numbers of people who stated they were Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs in the latest Census remained small compared with the country's main Christian denominations, they have increased dramatically in percentage terms.

The number stating affiliation to Hinduism leaped 61.8 per cent in the five years since the preceding Census, Islam 52.6 per cent and Sikhism 83 per cent.

"The numbers of people affiliating with these non-Christian religions is mainly attributed to migrants, particularly from Asia," said Statistics New Zealand.

Victoria University religious studies lecturer Associate Professor Jim Veitch said the number of Muslims was probably around 50,000, higher than counted in the Census.