“Population NZ's population is increasing by one person every 5 minutes and 26 seconds. In the next few months we'll have 5 million people. This five-part series looks ahead to what the nation will be like when that milestone is reached, and recalls what it was like every time it added a million people to its population. In this final part, Lincoln Tan looks at the 5-million mark and beyond.

As the countdown ticks to hitting a population of 5 million, experts are also projecting that New Zealand will be at its most ethnically diverse.

New Zealand faces a future that will be more culturally diverse than ever, with the proportion of Asian, Pacific and Māori forecast to outnumber Europeans in Auckland.

Auckland would be where 60 per cent of the country's growth would happen, and according to projections from Statistics New Zealand, more than a third of the city's population would be Asian by 2038.

One fifth would be Pacific and there would also be more Māori living in