The indigenous Maori people in New Zealand are converting to Orthodoxy under the influence of Russian immigrants, the diocese in Russia’s Urals said on Monday, citing a Russian emigre.
According to a letter sent to relatives in the Urals by a Russian woman who married a student from New Zealand, Russian immigrants “maintain Russian traditions in every house.”
“Seeing the example of Russian immigrants, many indigenous New Zealanders convert to Orthodoxy,”
the woman wrote, as quoted by the diocese of Yekaterinburg.
“They baptize their children and give them Russian (Orthodox) names.”
The number of Russian immigrants to New Zealand increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. According to the most recent official nationwide census, carried out in 2006, a total of 4,581 residents said they were born in Russia. Unofficial figures estimate the Russian population in New Zealand has since grown to about 6,500, including first-generation children of Russian parents.