Burmese in New Zealand

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Starting in 2004, Burmese began coming to New Zealand as refugees. Many suffered religious persecution during Burma's (or Myanmar as it is now called) Civil War.

Burmese nationals make up about 50% of the refugees in New Zealand. It is said the Burmese remain in New Zealand because there is nothing to go home to in Burma. Though they experience language problems, the children have homes to live in and schools to attend in New Zealand.

The Burmese in New Zealand speak Burmese and English. Many live in Wellington and Auckland.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Community networks for women play a part in helping women to get used to life in New Zealand. They provide information and help keeping their culture. Adults and children can attend education classes. Volunteers and teachers help the women to adjust to life in New Zealand. They help build relationships between the Burmese and New Zealanders.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Burmese in New Zealand predominantly practice Buddhism, the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, who lived in the 6th and 5th centuries BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can obtain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. Theravada, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, teaches that by following the Noble Eightfold Path of righteous intentions and right actions that a Buddhist can achieve Nirvana or a state of freedom and salvation. Mahayana Buddhism, the other main branch of Buddhism, asserts that by following the six perfections that a Buddhist can move along the path to Enlightenment.

To most Buddhists, however, these teachings have far less meaning than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with traditional religion.

Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesnak, the Buddha's birthday celebration in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced Enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.

What Are Their Needs?

Culturally, the Burmese in New Zealand need to maintain their culture while also fitting into New Zealand society.

Spiritually, they need to hear the gospel proclaimed in their language and to become born again followers of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for workers to proclaim the gospel in the Burmese language to all Burmese in New Zealand.

Pray that New Zealand Christian believers will make Burmese disciples who will make more disciples.

Pray that the Holy Spirit gives conviction of sin and the need to be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ.

Pray for an indigenous church planting movement amongst the Burmese in New Zealand.

Scripture Prayers for the Burmese in New Zealand.


nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?C id=1&objectid=10875026

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Burmese
People Name in Country Burmese
Pronunciation burr-MEEZE
Population this Country 2,500
Population all Countries 31,706,000
Total Countries 18
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Bama; Bamar; Bamas; Burman; Man; Myan; Myan, Myen; Myanmas; Myen; Yaw; बर्मीज़
People ID 11029
ROP3 Code 101776
Country New Zealand
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Oceania
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country New Zealand
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Oceania
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Primary Language Burmese (2,500 speakers)
Language Code mya   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Burmese (2,500 speakers)
Language Code mya   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Burmese

Primary Language:  Burmese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1815-1985)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1832-1987)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1835-2014)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio
Film / Video A Greater Love
Film / Video Creation to Christ
Film / Video Freedom from Suffering
Film / Video God's Story video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Burmese
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena video
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children
Film / Video The Hope Video
General Biblical answers to your questions
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Gospel resources links
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
94.70 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.20 %)
0.60 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.30 %
0.40 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more