Story: Ethnic inequalities

Religious affiliation of prisoners, 1921

Religious affiliation of prisoners, 1921

These graphs suggest that there was a considerable disparity between the religious affiliations of the prison population and those of the population as a whole in 1921. While Presbyterians and Methodists were strongly under-represented among prisoners, Catholics were heavily over-represented by a factor of over two-and-a-half. It is debatable whether this was due to the Irish drinking culture and the Irish ethnic background of most Catholics (about a quarter were in prison for drunkenness), or to religious intolerance, or to their socio-economic status. Irish Catholics were poorer and less well-educated than other immigrants from the British Isles, and they suffered some discrimination in employment.

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Source: Christopher John van der Krogt, 'More a part than apart: the Catholic community in New Zealand society, 1918–1940.' PhD thesis, Massey University, 1994; Statistics New Zealand.

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How to cite this page:

David Pearson, 'Ethnic inequalities - European majority, Asian minorities: 1840–1945', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 5 December 2022)

Story by David Pearson, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 21 May 2018