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Hungarian New Zealanders
Total population
1,476 (2006)
Regions with significant populations
Auckland[1], Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin / Tuatapere

Hungarian, English


Christianity; Judaism

Related ethnic groups

Hungarian diaspora

Hungarian New Zealanders are people who have migrated from Hungary to New Zealand, and their descendants, if they choose to identify as such. Hungarian New Zealanders constitute a small minority of New Zealand's population. In the 2001 census in New Zealand, when asked to indicate their ethnic identity, 894 New Zealanders described themselves as "Hungarian", altogether 1,191 spoke Hungarian and 987 stated they were born in Hungary.[2] In 2006 1476 people spoke Hungarian.[3]




19th century

Hungarians began to emigrate to New Zealand in the middle of the 19th century, but this was not a permanent settling. After the Hungarian Revolution in 1848 small groups arrived from Hungary, but also they travelled forward.[4] In the 1860s there was a gold rush in Otago, again small groups arrived to New Zealand. One of them, Zsigmond Vékey, a lawyer became the journalist of Otago Daily Times. Later he went back to Hungary. The first permanent settlers came between 1872 and 1876, and some people later in the 19th century.

20th century

In 1909 a certain man, named István Rácz arrived to Tuatapere, Southland. He wrote letters to his home in Csongrád, Hungary. Because of this, in 1911 three other families (the Szivák, Kollát and Kókay families) joined him from the city. During the next two decades still some families followed them, altogether circa 100 families. Some of their descendants became famous: in 1970 István Kókay's son, Stephen Kokay was chosen the representative of the Waiau district on the Wallace County Council. Mike Racz became a Guinness recorder as the fastest oyster opener.[2][4] A biologist, named Dr Ilona Kokay teaches at the Otago University.[5]

In the beginning of the Secound World War 55 Hungarians arrived, right after the war still 62. In the beginning of the 1950's another 136 Hungarians arrived to New Zealand.[2] The largest group of refugees from Hungary, 1099 people, arrived after the 1956 Revolution. Most of them was settled in the main centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.[2][1] One of them was Anna Porter (born Anna Szigethy), the novelist, who later moved to Canada. The fathers of Marton Csokas and Nándor Tánczos both were 1956-refugees. Tom Paulay, also a 1956-refugee, taught at the University of Canterbury.[6] Until 1970 still 290 Hungarians settled down in New Zealand.

Hungarian culture in New Zealand

In the 1980s there was movement to create cultural associations. In 2006 such societies exist in four cities: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. On 20th August 2006 a Hungarian Millenium Park was opened in Wellington, featuring an original Székely gate.

There is a quarterly newspaper for the Hungarians, the Magyar Szó ("Hungarian Word").

Famous Hungarian New Zealanders

There was a Hungarian football club, called Hungaria, notable members were:


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d Hungarian Settlers in New Zealand
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links


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