Our Maaori community

Hamilton Kirikiriroa has a history of 700-800 years of Maaori settlement. Waikato-Tainui is tangata whenua for Kirikiriroa and serves more than 75,500 iwi members connected to 68 marae and 33 hapuu in the region. The five primary hapuu in the city are Ngaati Wairere, Ngaati Hauaa, Ngaati Maahanga, Ngaati Tamainupoo, and Ngaati Korokii.

Hamilton Kirikiriroa has one of the fastest growing urban Maaori populations and comprises around 20% of our community.

Council engages with tangata whenua on strategy, and initiatives such as restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River.

What are the largest ethnic communities locally?

Hamilton’s six largest ethnic communities are New Zealand European, Maaori, Indian, Chinese, Filipino and Pasifika (Samoan, Tongan, etc).

Hamilton is also an official Refugee Resettlement Centre and has become home to over 1200 refugees since June 2011. Our refugee community come from more than a dozen countries, with the largest numbers over the last 10 years (2011 to 2021) from Colombia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I’m thinking of moving overseas to Hamilton. What do I need to know?

Check out our welcoming communities page. It has heaps of information and resources for people thinking of moving to our city – or for those who are still settling in (whether that’s from overseas or from elsewhere in New Zealand). It also has details on New Zealand Citizenship and where to get more information.

Communities snapshot

Based on current trends and projections, New Zealand will continue to become more ethnically diverse as our population grows. Ethnic groups make up a significant part of our city’s diverse communities.

With change comes both challenge and opportunity. We want everyone to feel welcome, included, and given fair opportunities. Our diverse backgrounds, skills and experience allow us to contribute to our communities in many ways. Our ability to come together and communicate effectively will also help build an intercultural society, where there is deep understanding and respect for all cultures.

Resources for and about our ethnic communities

Whether you’re new to Hamilton or not, you’ll find some useful information for young people and their families in our 2023 Your Guide to Hamilton, including a list of schools and community groups in Hamilton.


Your city's future

Planning and strategy

Our Council is part of the Waikato Wellbeing Project (WWP). This is a community-led initiative that is developing wellbeing targets for the Waikato, based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Other planning and strategy initiatives that directly influence how we can support our city’s ethnic communities include the following:

  • Our Community and Social Development Strategy 2021-2026 (He Rautaki Whakawhanake Hapori) encompasses the needs of our diverse communities. One of its outcomes is high community use in our places and services because they are accessible, safe and welcoming.
  • Our Welcoming Plan includes a focus on ethnic groups as part of its overarching goal of ensuring all Hamiltonians get the most out of their community and the opportunities Hamilton can offer. You can also contribute to updates in the Plan – see information on the Plan in welcoming communities.
  • Council’s wellbeing strategy, He Pou Manawa Ora – Pillars of Wellbeing, sets out how Council will work with others using the four pillars (pou) of History, Unity, Prosperity and Restoration to build a proud and inclusive city for the wellbeing of all its people, including those in our ethnic communities.


Council decision-making – have your say

As a significant part of Hamilton’s community, we also want to make sure ethnic communities and the organisations that support them have a voice in Council decision-making.

See share your voice for more details.

To find out more about how you can have input into developing ethnic communities’ capacity and support in Hamilton, contact our Community Advisor (ethnic communities).

Get involved in your community

Council supports a variety of events and provides venues and facilities where all Hamiltonians can connect and/or collaborate as individuals or groups.

Getting out and about

Our city has some great public spaces and places everyone can enjoy. Many of these are ideal for bringing Hamilton’s ethnic communities together for a variety of educational, work-related, community group-related or just plain fun-related activities! Find out how Council’s information, services, funding and resources are helping Hamiltonians to use our public spaces and places more – and how your group can use them.

Council’s community meetings

Get involved in the city’s regular community network meetings. These are for all residents, including those who have recently moved to the city.

The Hamilton Multicultural Trust also facilitates a New Settlers Focus Group community network meeting each term to connect agencies working with people who have recently moved to Hamilton. These meetings are held at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre, Boundary Road, Claudelands Park between 9.30am and 11.30am. View the latest schedule of community network meetings.

Community groups

Use the links below to connect to your community’s groups and networks. You’ll also find a comprehensive contact list of ethnic and community groups across Hamilton, in our 2022 Your Guide to Hamilton.

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Last updated 25 March 2024