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British & Irish immigration, 1840-1914

Page 4 – English immigrants

Map of England showing areas listed in tableLondonSouth-eastSouth-westLancashire
UK Census 187115.5%10.6%8.3%12.4%
New Zealand Company 1839–5025.9%20.8%26.4%3.4%
Auckland 1840–5220.1%17.2%21.8% 
Miners – Otago 1853–707.8%8.5%36.8%9.4%

The table and graph suggest:

  • London was an important birth-place for immigrants to New Zealand, but no more than its representation in England as a whole.
  • The 'home counties' of the South-east sent a large number of people to New Zealand, especially in the 1840s. Kent appears to have been a strongly 'New Zealand-prone' county.
  • The counties of the South-west, especially Cornwall, were strongly over-represented among the immigrants. There was a spectacular inflow of people from this area among the miners reflecting the strong tradition of tin-mining in Cornwall and the decline of that industry from the 1840s. But the numbers from the South-west were consistently high until 1880 with over twice as many likely to migrate to New Zealand as their proportion of the population in England.
  • The more industrial areas of the North-west, including Lancashire, were not well represented among immigrants to New Zealand until the end of the 19th century.
  • If we add the Cornish immigrants to those from Ireland and Scotland, it is evident that the Celtic fringe of Great Britain in fact comprised a majority of New Zealand's founding British immigrants.

How to cite this page

English immigrants, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated