“New Zealand Muslims are fortunate to be able to observe their faith in peace and tranquility.”
Mohammed Answar Ali, secretary of the New Zealand Muslim Association.
Although a minority, less than 1% of the total population, the Muslim population in New Zealand is young, energetic and growing. It is estimated that there are approximately 17,000 Muslims in New Zealand representing a wide range of nations including Fiji, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia and Malaysia. The largest proportion of New Zealand’s Muslims originally come from Fiji and are ethnically Fijian Indian. There are also a growing number of local New Zealanders who are converting to Islam.
According to official census figures, the Muslim population has doubled almost every 5 years for the past 25 years.
Auckland, New Zealand
An estimated 63% of New Zealand’s Muslims live in Auckland, but there are also large communities in Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin. There are currently 9 mosques and Islamic centres, 5 of which are in Auckland. Auckland’s largest mosque is in the suburb of Ranui. The first Islamic school, Al Madinah, is in the Auckland suburb of Mangere. According to a recent report, Al Madinah, which has 350 students, has the lowest school grades in New Zealand.
While most of New Zealand’s Muslims are Sunni Muslim there is also a small community of almost 1500 Shia Muslims. Due to recent changes in immigration policies this number has doubled over the past 3 years. During the late 1980′s there were as few as 12 Shia families, however due to new opportunities in New Zealand many professionals have immigrated. Several members of the Shia community are running weekend Arabic schools and they are hoping to build a Shia Islamic school in Auckland soon.
Christian Witness Needed in New Zealand
Christian witness among New Zealand’s Muslims is almost non-existent. Most Muslims in New Zealand will never meet a Christian or even be invited into a local New Zealand home. There is a small number of sincere Christians who pray regularly together and who are quietly reaching out to their Muslim neighbours, but the challenge to mobilise the Church in New Zealand to reach out to their local Muslim community is enormous.
Prayer Guide for New Zealand
* Pray for the migrants and refugees which are arriving in New Zealand almost every day.
* Pray that they would be placed within access to Christian support services.
* Pray for those Muslims who already have contacts with Christians, that their hearts would be opened to receive the Gospel.
* Pray for the children and teachers at Al Madinah School to have access to the Gospel.
* Pray that the Church in New Zealand would have an awareness of their responsibility and a desire to reach out to their local Muslim communities.
Background on New Zealand (World Factbook)
The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand’s full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.
Economy of New Zealand
New Zealand has seen remarkable economic growth over the past two decades. Most of this growth is due to a move away from an agrarian economy to technological and industrial sectors. Although not everyone has gained from this, per capita income rose for 10 years. It achieved 2.1% growth in 2010.
About New Zealand
Population: 4,327,944 (July 2012 est.) World Rank #125
Life Expectancy at Birth: 80.71 years. World Rank #25
Ethnic groups: European 69.8%, Maori 7.9%, Asian 5.7%, Pacific islander 4.4%, other 0.5%, mixed 7.8%, unspecified 3.8%
Religions: Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presbyterian 10.9%, Methodist 2.9%, Pentecostal 1.7%, Baptist 1.3%, other Christian 9.4%, other 3.3%, unspecified 17.2%, none 26%
Languages: English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)
School Life Expectancy: 19 years
“NZ – Islam Nation” – Video
A Documentry piece on what it means to be a Muslim New Zealander.