New Zealand's superior education system and the high wages ruling have proved attractions to the Pacific Islanders. Many have made the short journey to New Zealand either as temporary visitors or, increasingly in recent years, as permanent settlers. In the years prior to the Second World War the purity of the white race in New Zealand was a major consideration in legislation. The immigration Restriction Act of 1920 required the possession of a permit before any native or part native from the Islands was allowed to land in New Zealand. New Zealand's responsibilities and interests in the Pacific gradually made a somewhat less restrictive attitude essential, and arrangements were made for the British Consul in Tonga, the Administrator (later the High Commissioner) in Western Samoa, and the Resident in the Cook Islands to screen applicants who wished to come to New Zealand. Every effort was made to see that only those of good health and character and who were capable of earning a living and maintaining themselves according to European standards left their homeland.
In 1956 there were 8,103 Islanders in New Zealand, but the number is increasing rapidly and grew in 1961 to 14,340 (7,889 of full blood), of whom 6,481 were Samoans. Most have settled in Auckland, but Wellington also has a fair colony. The men are chiefly labourers, while the women are employed mainly in domestic or similar work. They are a gregarious, happy people with their own (Congregational) churches, finding that housing is often the most difficult problem of life in New Zealand.
Representatives of other races are also to be found in New Zealand's population. The most numerous of those not already mentioned are Hungarians, Swiss, Greeks, and the Lebanese and Syrians. The Jews should also be mentioned, but they are considered as a religious group.