It's no secret that Rotorua is a booming city for migrants, with that comes growth in religions other than Christianity.

Census figures from 2013 show all religions bar Christianity have grown in number in the city, with Hindus and Muslims doubling since 2001, the time of the last census.

Christianity is still the most popular religion, but its numbers have dropped by 20 per cent to 27,659. There are more Christians than any other religion, including those who consider themselves non-religious. However, some of Rotorua's suburbs had a majority of non-religious residents.

Ngongotaha North, Selwyn Heights, Western Heights, Pukehangi North, Mangakakahi, Owhata West and Hamurana had a greater population of non-religious residents than those who did identify with a religion.


Fenton Park was the most religious suburb, with only 27.5 per cent of its population at the time of the census not being religious at all.

This equates to 351 of the 1245 in the census figures. In 2013 there were 95 people who identified Hindus, 678 Christians, nine Muslims, six Buddhists and two people who were New Age in the suburb.

Fenton Park is home to the Fenton Park Bible Church and the Gandhi Hall. It's also close to the new BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, which has recently opened on Fenton St. Around 100 families used the temple for worship, said temple member Jignesh Patel.

"We have a couple of strong [Hindu] communities in Rotorua and they had been conducting religious assemblies at the Gandhi Hall but they wanted a religious place. A decision was made that there needed to be a centre for the religious requirement of the city and its surrounding region. We've had a few people want to move from Hamilton to Rotorua because there is a temple now."

Harvest Apostolic Church senior pastor Dave Moore said it would be interesting to find out why some people ticked non-religious, as it might just indicate that they no longer identified with a denomination.

Mr Moore, who ministers at the church on Malfroy Rd with his wife Jill, was one of those who ticked non-religious.

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"We don't see ourselves as religious. I'm Christian but not religious. Religion is a systems of beliefs or practices but Christianity is a relationship with God. It's a personal relationship."

That principle could be one reason why the Christianity numbers dropped in the census, he said.

"It could also be because people who were brought up as Anglicans but who no longer have a connection with church, consider themselves as not being religious. "We've just had a ministers' meeting and what's happening in our congregations is not reflected in this census ... "