Most people who move to New Zealand are from countries other than Australia

by Ray Clancy on July 31, 2017

While people often move between New Zealand and Australia, the latest analysis of immigration data shows that 80% of those who have moved to the country are from nations other than Australia.

Overall in the 12 months to June 2017 year some 131,400 arrived in New Zealand to stay, up 5% from the previous 12 month period.


New Zealand citizens returning to live in New Zealand accounted for almost a quarter or 32,200 of all migrant arrivals, but most come from other parts seeking a new life abroad, according to the figures from Statistics New Zealand.

Although Australia was the single largest source of migrant arrivals into New Zealand, this only accounted for 19% of arrivals, with the next biggest group from the UK at 12%, then 10% from China and 7% from India.

Most people who move to New Zealand end up living in Auckland, the nation’s biggest urban area with 59,100 or 52% choosing to do so. Some 12,700 or 11% went to the Canterbury region and 10,200 or 9% to the Wellington area.

The majority of people making a new life in New Zealand are aged under 50 with the biggest group, some 51%, aged 20 to 29, followed by 36% aged 30 to 49 and 30% aged 19 or under.

Just over a third, 34%, of all arrivals in the June 2017 year were migrants coming to New Zealand on work visas, followed by New Zealand and Australian citizens relocating or returning to New Zealand at 29% while 18% were students.

Overall 45,100 migrants arrived in New Zealand had work visas of which the largest group was from the UK at 7,500 or 17%, followed by 4,000 or 9% from France, 3,700 or 8% from Germany and 3,600 or 7.8% from Australia.

The data also shows that the largest numbers of students came from India and China, which combined made up almost half of all student arrivals, followed by the Philippines at 6%.

Auckland was by far the most popular destination for students with 11,500 or 57% studying in the city, while 2,200 or 11% went to Canterbury, 1,500 or 8% to Waikato and the same number of Wellington.

Separate research from Statistics New Zealand suggests that when people move to the country they are generally happy with their life and value freedom and the environment as an important part of that.

It found that 83% of people rated their overall life satisfaction at seven or above on a zero to 10 scale and that they have a strong sense of belonging. Freedom, rights, peace and the natural scenery and environment, rated as extremely important factors in defining New Zealand.

Some 18% said they had more than enough money to meet every day needs, up from around 13% in 2008 while just under 11% said they did not have enough money to meet their needs for housing, food, clothing, and necessities, down from 15% in 2008.

‘The economy was shrinking in 2008, with GDP down in each quarter that year and the unemployment rate rising too. In contrast, in 2016 the economy grew more than 3%,’ said senior analyst Rosemary Goodyear.

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