"Here's to people following the light."

That's the general consensus of Wellingtonians, who say the capital is inclusive and accepting, though it may not be an overtly religious place.

"I think there is a great deal of spirituality in Wellington. Whether it's religious or not, I don't know," says one woman.

"It is a very accepting city where we all come together. Often, different religions are expressed and we are very welcome to it," says another woman who attends a Christian church.

Are New Zealanders religious?, are Wellingtonians religious? What do the people of the capital city feel about a belief in a God and how they tolerate other views?

Today the Herald presents the results of its investigation into the state of faith in New Zealand. We have produced an interactive map that allows you to see how religious (or irreligious) your city and suburb is. Scroll down to use the map.

One of the more startling revelations is that Wellington is the "godless" capital of New Zealand, with five in 10 people there saying they have no religion.

We taped Wellingtonians' reaction to the findings. One says the urban environment of Wellington means there is diversity but that also contributes to a secular culture.

"I wouldn't characterise it as particularly religious. Probably because it's the capital," says a man who is from an iwi which follows the Ratana faith.

"We have a lot divergent people that come together. I think it's particularly urban, which probably drives a lack of religious thinking."

Many of the people spoken to say they were brought up with religious beliefs or values, but they do not attend church.

Despite that, they are welcoming of people from all religions. "I do feel, in New Zealand, people are very willing to accept your point of view," says another woman.

"Yes, they want to know about what you believe or what you don't believe and what you think, but they're very happy let that be and not challenge you."


How the map works

Use the interactive map to see the breakdown of religion in your suburb. Hovering/ tapping over an area will reveal the breakdown for main religions.

Use the links on the left to navigate directly to the major cities in the country.

Dark blue indicates areas where more than 60 per cent of people said they had no religion. Yellow indicates an area where there is a strong religious population.

If you click on Wellington, you will see the city is predominantly blue or dark blue. In Auckland, there is a mix of dark blue areas - mainly in the central suburbs - and bright yellow - mainly in south and southwest Auckland.


Non-believers of God and religion in New Zealand's irreligious capital is at its highest since 1951.

In the region, Wellington City had the highest with nearly one in two people not affiliated with any religion, followed by Kapiti and Upper Hutt.

Kapiti, which comprised some of the regions most deprived suburbs, was Wellington's most religious where one in three had a religion.

Massey University religion expert Peter Lineham said migrants had changed religious diversity in the capital city.

The overall Christian proportion in Wellington went down from 50.9 to 43.9 per cent, and non-Christians were up from 6.4 to 6.5 per cent.

"Wellington has historically been one of the least Christian parts of New Zealand," Professor Lineham said.

Two in 10 residents in Newlands East was Buddhist, which was also where the highest concentration of Muslims lived.

In Wellington city and Lower, 3 per cent of the population were affiliated to the Hindu religion.

The largest single religion in Wellington was Catholic, with 13.6 per cent of the population or 26,061 followers.

Anglicans suffered the biggest fall, losing more than 4100 followers to 17,946 since 2006.