Albanian immigrant Ina Feimi believes the way to promote better understanding is through food.

Feimi, 33, moved to New Zealand two years ago and has brought along with her Albania's only franchise food chain business, Proper Pizza.

"In my country, people get their first experience of other cultures mainly through food," Feimi said.

"Albanians who have gone to other countries, they return and set up restaurants, and that's how we often get our first taste of a different culture."


Born in a city called Vlora in Albania, where tourism and hospitality is big business, Feimi learned from a very young age that "food brought people together".

"That is why I believe that my way of wanting to contribute to increasing understanding in New Zealand is through our Albanian pizza," she said.

In the last Census there were 243 people who identified themselves with the Albanian ethnic group , and the most common religion was Islam.

Proper Pizza uses a sesame crust, with toppings that include black truffles, pine nuts, fresh fruit, and most of them matched with a yoghurt sauce.

Sharing is also a big part in Albanian culture, which was why the pizzas came also in large 60cm sharing size.

"It's pizza, but not pizza as Kiwis know it," Feimi said. "So when they come to our restaurant to eat it, I will use it as a chance to share with them a little bit about our Albanian culture."

More than half of the Albanians living here, 51.9 per cent, said they were affiliated to at least one religion.

Islam is just one of the religions Feimi identifies with. She also identifies as half Catholic and a quarter Orthodox Christian.

"Albanians are one of the most tolerant people when it comes to religion. We co-exist happily and never been to war," Feimi said.

Nearly all, or 95.1 per cent, live in the North Island. Of those living in Auckland, most are in the Orakei and Kaipatiki Local Board areas.