The Faith and Belief in New Zealand Report, commissioned by the Wilberforce Foundation, explores attitudes towards religion, spirituality and Christianity in New Zealand.
This research employed qualitative and quantitative methods to explore perceptions and attitudes towards religion and spirituality. McCrindle conducted a nationally representative survey of Kiwis, a series of focus groups with non-Christians in Auckland and analysis of Census data from Statistics New Zealand to derive the insights. Ashley Fell, McCrindle’s Head of Communications, then presented the results in Auckland in May 2018.
New Zealand is becoming an increasingly secular nation.
More than half of New Zealanders (55%) do not identify with any main religion. One in five have spiritual beliefs (20%) whilst more than one in three (35%) do not identify with any religion or spiritual belief. A third of Kiwis (33%) identify with Christianity (either Protestant or Catholic), whilst another 6% identify with other major religions. These results show that New Zealand is a largely secular nation.
This secularisation has been steadily increasing over the last decade or so. In the 2006 Census, half of New Zealand’s population (49%) identified as Christian, and three in ten (31%) identified as non-religious. Seven years later, in the 2013 Census, the proportion of Christians had dropped to 43% whilst those identifying as non-religious had increased to almost two in five (38%).
Despite increasing secularisation, Kiwis remain open to exploring religion and spirituality.
Given the right circumstances and evidence, just over one in ten New Zealanders (12%) would be very open (significantly/extremely) to changing their religious views. A further two in five (42%) suggest they are somewhat or slightly open to exploring other religious views.
Kiwis are most likely to be attracted to exploring religion and spirituality further by seeing first hand people who live out a genuine faith. Three in five (59%) suggest this would either somewhat or strongly attract them to investigating religion and spirituality further. For many, conversations with people (27%) have been the main catalyst for thinking about spiritual, religious or metaphysical things.
Positive impacts of the Church are recognised in New Zealand.
Despite low levels of engagement and knowledge about the Church in New Zealand, Kiwis do appreciate the work the Church does in helping those in need. Kiwis most value the work of the Church and Christian organisations in providing disaster relief assistance, with almost seven in ten (68%) indicating they extremely or somewhat value the work in this area. Following this, two thirds of New Zealanders value the Church and Christian organisations’ work in looking after people that are homeless (66%), offering financial assistance/food relief programs (66%) and providing aged care facilities (66%).
Download the report.
To read the full report, download the 2018 Faith and Belief in New Zealand report here.
You can also download the full infographic here.