Over the next twenty years, not only will New Zealand’s total population increase, but its diversity will too. All ethnic groups are predicted to grow, meaning it’s more important than ever to ensure proper representation in leadership positions and decision-making processes. 

In May 2017, Statistics New Zealand released its population projections, including those of national ethnic population. Until the release of the 2018 Census data next year, we recommend using the population projections, shown below. This snapshot is based on the median projection, to avoid overly conservative or optimistic projections.


Year to 30 June European or Other
(Incl New Zealander)*
Asian Middle Eastern
Latin American
Chinese Indian
2013 3,312,100 541,300 53,100 197,200 178,400
2018 3,489,300 750,000 77,500 263,300 250,300
2023 3,597,800 906,500 100,100 316,200 300,900
2028 3,678,000 1,034,000 122,400 361,000 339,200
2033 3,740,800 1,155,700 146,100 402,300 375,700
2038 3,781,500 1,272,200 171,400 438,900 410,900
*Includes people who belong to the 'European' or 'Other' ethnic groups. If a person belongs to both the 'European' and 'Other' ethnic groups, they have only been counted once. Almost all people in the 'Other' ethnic group belong to the 'New Zealander' sub-group.

Government has set the goal for Government bodies to have balanced membership reflective of our increasingly diverse population. Responding to this goal, last month Hon Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities, announced the collection of ethnicity data for candidates appointed to State sector boards and committees.

“Our State sector boards and committees will gain a broader range of knowledge, skills, perspectives, and relationships in their decision-making at all levels of our society when our ethnic communities are represented at the table,” says Hon Salesa.

The Office of Ethnic Communities keeps a database of New Zealanders from ethnic communities who are suitably qualified to be considered for appointment to a number of government boards, committees and advisory groups, including those of Crown companies.

We know that our ethnic communities are capable of providing fresh perspectives, new ideas, and great skills to enrich New Zealand work places and boards. We encourage members of our ethnic communities to put themselves forward for the database. For more information about our Nomination Service.

For further information see StatsNZ.

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