How many Catholics are there in New Zealand?


Statistics NZ has released some data on religious affiliations from the 2018 Census.

They have conceded that one in six people did not complete the census, which was run online for the first time.

The data, therefore, may be understated.

The raw data is somewhat confusing for those who are not versed in the art of interpreting statistics

At first sight, it appears that the number of “Roman” Catholics has decreased from 492,105 in 2013 to 295,743, a decrease of 196,262!

That represents an almost 40% decrease in the number of Catholics in New Zealand over five years.

However, further examination reveals two more “Catholic ” categories, Catholic (Not Further Defined) 173,016, and Catholic Other 2271.

If these figures are added to the Roman Catholic ones, the total comes to 471,030.  A decrease of 21,075 or just over 4%.

Until the experts provide further interpretation it is unclear just how many Catholics, Roman or otherwise,  there are in New Zealand.

Other statistics raised questions.

The Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki has labelled the census results as “ludicrous” and “laughable”.

According to the census data, his church has 1772 adherents, far below what Tamaki says is more than 6000 active members.

It also puts it below both The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (4248 believers) and Jedi (20,409 believers).

“Most of us, including myself, will have put down Christian or Pentecostal. Even I wasn’t counted in the 2018 Census as a Destiny Church member!” Tamaki said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are a predominantly Māori church and the census utterly and totally failed Māori, which The Spinoff and its ilk conveniently forget.

They even had City Impact Church, a majority Pakeha church, down as only having 441 members which is ludicrous. It’s laughable.”

The Church of Scientology opened a $16 million base in Auckland in 2017.

It appears to have just three new followers. The census recorded 321 Scientologists in 2018, up from 318 in 2013.


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News category: New Zealand.

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