New Zealand Culture

New Zealanders in Australia

There has been an ongoing exchange of migration between New Zealand and Australia since both countries’ colonial beginnings. This relationship is influenced by close geographic proximity, shared history as colonies of the British Commonwealth, and the ANZAC tradition. Movement has tended to vary depending on the economic situation of each country. This has been visible with an influx of migration from New Zealand during recessions in the 1960s and ‘70s. However, there has generally always been a steady flow of New Zealanders into Australia regardless of economic surroundings.

Migration from New Zealand has been traditionally openly facilitated. Until 1982, travel documents were not required to move between the two countries. Prior to 2001, New Zealanders were seen as permanent Australian residents upon arrival. Today, the avenues towards residency and citizenship for New Zealanders have tightened. However, under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, Australian and New Zealand citizens are able to enter each other’s country to visit, live and work indefinitely, without the need to apply for prior authority. There are still no caps on the numbers of New Zealanders who may enter Australia.


New Zealanders continue to comprise the second biggest overseas-born population in Australia. Due to the large size of this population (over half a million people), New Zealanders arriving in Australia generally span many different social demographics. One cannot fairly identify the typical type of New Zealander Australia attracts. Many New Zealand citizens see Australia’s employment opportunities, lifestyle and climate more favourably. Due to the colonial history between the two countries, many also find the culture to be very compatible with their own. In general, these cultural similarities afford New Zealander migrants relative ease acculturating to Australia. They do not encounter the same language barriers, cross-cultural difficulties and social isolation that some other migrant groups face.

The majority of New Zealanders in Australia have been living in the country for a decade or longer, and are therefore relatively well settled and acculturated to the country. According to the 2016 census, almost 38.8% of New Zealanders live in Queensland. Roughly 12% of the New Zealand-born population reports having Maori ancestry, and a smaller proportion are Samoan.1 However, 1.8% speaks Maori at home whilst 2.8% speak Samoan.2

Department of Home Affairs, 2018

2 Department of Home Affairs, 2018


Create your own Cultural Atlas with bookmarks, collections and a unified, searchable interface.

Inclusion Program

Inclusion logo

Join over 450 organisations already creating a better workplace

Find out more
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.