Image: Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo
New Zealand is one of the most secular countries in the world.
Less than half of the population identify as Christian, according to the 2013 census.
Almost as many people declare no religion at all, and even of those who say they are Christian, only about 15% actually go to church.
If you include the people who didn’t answer (or actively objected to answering) the question of religion on the census, and the people like myself whose answers weren’t counted because they’d put something funny like Jedi, the non-religious percentage of the population rises to over half.
Fun fact: Following the 2001 New Zealand census, if the answer of Jedi had been taken seriously, it would have been officially counted as New Zealand’s second biggest religion.
Historically, New Zealand was a Christian country, and there are many interesting churches you can visit on your travels here. Though I am not religious, I appreciate nice buildings. My favourite church is the one featured in the image at the top of this article: the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shore of Lake Tekapo. I first visited it when my family was on a New Zealand campervan hire trip. It was beautiful.
Other beautiful New Zealand churches include Saint Faith’s Anglican Church in Rotorua, Old Saint Paul’s wonderful wooden cathedral in Wellington, and the amazingly different Tree Church in Ohaupo. It’s a church. Made out of trees. It has to be seen to be believed!