The Asian population in New Zealand is projected to grow from 540,000 to between 1.2 and 1.4 million in 2038.

Projections by Statistics New Zealand, released today, show ethnic populations growing significantly across the country.

Although the broad Asian ethnic group is expected to increase the most, Pacific and Maori populations are also expected to rise.

Maori is projected to surpass the 1 million mark over the period, with growth in all regions, and the Pacific population to go up from 340,000 in 2013 to between 530,000 and 650,000 by 2038.

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"The Maori, Asian and Pacific populations are growing faster because of their younger age structures, combined with higher birth rates or migration," said population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan.

"The 'European or other' population is growing, but not as fast as other ethnic population."

Asians are projected to overtake the Maori in ethnic share within the next five years, and will make up more than one in five - or 22 per cent - of the population by 2038.

The European population on the other hand, is projected to fall from the current 75 per cent to 66 per cent over the period.