Egyptian New Zealanders

Egyptian New Zealanders
Total population
1,110 (2013)[1]
Regions with significant populations
New Zealand English, Egyptian Arabic, Coptic, Nobiin, Sa'idi Arabic
Majority: Christianity (Coptic Orthodox),
Minorities: Islam (Sunni), Bahá'í, Judaism.
Related ethnic groups
Egyptians, Egyptian diaspora, Arab New Zealanders, Egyptian Australians, Egyptian Americans, Egyptian Canadians

Egyptian New Zealanders are New Zealand citizens and New Zealand permanent residents of Egyptian descent. According to the New Zealand 2013 Census, 1,110 New Zealand citizens and permanent residents declared that they were of Egyptian descent.[1]


Many Egyptian New Zealanders are of "Coptic" ancestry. The term Coptic ordinarily refers to adherents of Coptic Christianity, but when used as a term referring to ethnicity means "Egyptian" (almost always in the context of Coptic Christian Egyptians). Copt as an ethnonym is etymologically derived from the Greek "Aiguptious", via the Late Egyptian "Gyptios", via the Classical Arabic "Qubt", into the English "Copt", and ordinarily refers to Coptic Christian Egyptians, though there have been instances of Muslim Egyptians referring to themselves as "Copts" to emphasise the non-Arabian ancestral origin of Egyptians in general.

The majority of Egyptian New Zealanders are Christians, predominantly Coptic Christianity, which is in contrast to the religious affiliation to Islam of the majority of the population of ethnic Egyptians within modern Egypt. Centuries of a steady continuous rate of conversions of the local indigenous Egyptian population has resulted in modern Egypt's Muslim majority, although the indigenous Christian Church of Egypt has retained a sizeable minority throughout its history, up until today. Christians comprise much of the Egyptian diaspora, both in New Zealand and elsewhere. The majority religion of Egypt before the introduction of Islam from Arabia was Christianity, and prior to introduction of Christianity to Egypt the majority religion was the Ancient Egyptian religion.

Some New Zealand citizens and residents declared membership of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Most Egyptian Christians, however, may simply have declared themselves "Christian" without specifying the Coptic denomination, while other Egyptian Christians may belong to various other denominations, either born into or converted.


Emigration from Egypt was significant in the late 1940s and 1950s, disproportionately so for non-Muslim religious minorities escaping the growing Arab nationalist movement in Egypt which saw the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy and the subsequent Suez Crisis.[2]

In total numbers, Egyptian Christians were the largest contingent of emigrants to leave Egypt for other countries, including to New Zealand. Christians were the second largest in terms of proportion to their original community size in Egypt. Egyptian Jews, as a proportion of their original community size in Egypt, were the largest emigrant community to leave Egypt (they were the second largest in total numbers). The number of Jews in Egypt numbered around 75,000 in 1948, and following the establishment of the State of Israel that same year, almost the entire population left in the subsequent years during the Jewish exodus from Arab lands, settling largely in Israel, United States, Europe, Latin America, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Officially, only 6 Jews remain in Egypt today.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Egyptian New Zealanders".
  2. ^ Museum of Victoria
  3. ^ "Egypt's Jewish community diminished to 6 women after death of Lucy Saul".

External links

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