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Iraqis in New Zealand
Total population
6,024 Iraq-born[1]
Regions with significant populations
Wellington, Auckland

New Zealand English, Iraqi Arabic, Kurdish, South Azeri, Neo-Aramaic, Mandaic, Hebrew


Predominantly Christian (mostly Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic), and Muslim (both Sunni and Shia), with minorities who follow Judaism

Related ethnic groups

Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Azeris, Chaldeans, Iranians, Mizrahim, Turks,
Some descendants New Zealanders

There is a small population of Iraqis in New Zealand, including immigrants from Iraq and New Zealand-born people of Iraqi heritage.

The 2006 census found that 6024 New Zealanders were born in Iraq, although the figure of Iraqi New Zealanders will be higher than this as many New Zealand-born children of Iraqis may consider themselves to be Iraqi New Zealanders. The majority of Iraqi New Zealanders came to New Zealand as refugees during the 1990s and many were Assyrian Christians who had been persecuted for their religion. The greatest concentrations of Iraqis are in Auckland and Wellington.[2]

A large number of Iraqi Christians live in the North Shore region of Auckland City. These are mainly highly educated Iraqis who were from the Christian communities of Baghdad and Basra that began arriving in New Zealand in the early 1990s. A large number have settled in the Glenfield and Unsworth Heights suburbs. The North Shore Iraqi community is one of the fastest growing middle eastern communities in New Zealand. A lot of the Iraqi immigrants had trouble working in their professional fields as there was a lack of employment during the early 1990s; however, by the late 2000s, many had established their own private businesses from private medical clinics to industrial firms.

Many New Zealand born Iraqis still retain aspects of their culture. This includes Iraqi food, drink, art, annual Iraqi New Zealand feasts, and a strong commitment to extended family.


  1. ^ Middle Eastern peoples: Facts and figures, in Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.[1]
  2. ^ Other Middle Eastern peoples, in Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. [2]


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