More than one in four of New Zealand's 4.53 million population was born abroad, leading to more diversity in the country's ethnic, religious and linguistic make- up, according to 2013 Census results released by the government statistics agency Tuesday.
"Back in 1961, two-thirds of overseas-born people came from the United Kingdom and Ireland. By 2013, that figure had dropped to just over a quarter," Statistics New Zealand general manager 2013 Census Gareth Meech said in a statement.
Britain remained the most common overseas country of birth in the 2013 Census, with China second, while India replaced Australia at third, and Australia dropped to fourth, followed by South Africa, Fiji, Samoa and the Philippines.
New Zealand's Asian ethnic group population had almost doubled over the last 12 years to 471,708 last year, compared with 238,179 in 2001.
Within this grouping, the Indian ethnic group was among the fastest growing, increasing almost 50 percent since 2006, compared with an increase of 16.2 percent for people of Chinese ethnicity.
"The growing Asian population is reflected by a rise in the number of people identifying with non-Christian religions," said Meech.
"The number of people who affiliated with the Hindu religion increased 39.6 percent since 2006, and Islam grew 27.9 percent."
New Zealand was also becoming more multilingual, with 18.6 percent of the population able to speak more than one language, up from 15.8 percent in 2001.
The Hindi and northern Chinese languages had large increases, with the number of Hindi speakers almost tripling since 2001, and speakers of northern Chinese dialects and languages, such as mandarin, almost doubling.