British and Irish immigration 1840-1914

Home away from 'home'

New Zealand is a country of immigrants. Wave after wave of peoples have settled here: Polynesian, British, European, Asian. From 1840 until the 1970s, Britain was the main source for immigrants. There were historical and political grounds for this – New Zealand was first a British colony and later a Dominion – but also cultural and economic reasons.

But who were the ancestors of Pakeha New Zealanders? Where did they come from and what sort of people were they? What led them to travel so far, enduring the discomfort and danger of long sea voyages, often in small sailing ships? This feature explores the origins of Pakeha – and in part New Zealand – identity, by looking at who actually migrated to New Zealand in the seven decades prior to the First World War.

For a more detailed chronological analysis of British and Irish immigration to New Zealand, including over 30 statistical graphs, download the related study findings from the Further information page.

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How to cite this page: 'British and Irish immigration 1840-1914', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/home-away-from-home, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 23-Aug-2013