Indians started arriving in New Zealand at the end of the 19th century; most immigrants arrived from Punjab and Gujarat. Most Indians settled in Waikato, Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch.
There is a significant history of many Punjabis being dairy farmers throughout New Zealand many of them being great pioneers. The majority are in the Waikato region and have been there for many generations. Much hard work was undertaken in terms of clearing scrub and tea trees to convert to farmland in the early years. Embracing the Maori culture was also an important aspect. Many of these farmers are well respected within and outside the community for the significant contribution they have made.
Since 2003, Diwali is also now celebrated in New Zealand as a big festival that is held in Auckland City. A large number of students from India have been coming to New Zealand to study.
With the Sikh community in New Zealand increasing, the New Zealand Sikh Society was developed in 1964, and the first New Zealand Sikh Temple was built in Hamilton in 1977 and another in 1986 in Otahuhu. With the increasing number of Sikhs in New Zealand, an increasing number of gurdwaras are being built.
The number of Indians are increasing rapidly in New Zealand as seen in the 2006 census compared with the 2001 census; over the five years there was a 68.2% increase in the number of Indians in New Zealand.
The number of people affiliating with the Sikh religion more than doubled since 2006. In 2013 there were about 20,000 Sikhs in New Zealand.