Story: Religion and society

Religious adherence by county, 1878

This map shows the geographical distribution of adherents of the four major Christian denominations in New Zealand, as recorded in the census of 1878. The map does not include boroughs – it only represents the rural population. However, it shows clearly that Anglicans were over 40% of the population in most of the North Island. In the South Island Anglicans were well represented in Canterbury and Nelson, Catholics were found in relatively large numbers on the West Coast, and Presbyterians were numerous in Otago and Southland. The good representation of Methodists in Taranaki was a consequence of the many Cornish settlers in that part of New Zealand.

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Source: New Zealand census, 1878

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How to cite this page:

John Stenhouse, 'Religion and society - Church adherence and attendance, 1840–1920', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 August 2022)

Story by John Stenhouse, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018