Punjabi in New Zealand

Punjabi
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People Name: Punjabi
Country: New Zealand
10/40 Window: No
Population: 20,000
World Population: 2,094,600
Primary Language: Punjabi, Eastern
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.80 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

A vast majority of the Punjabi peoples live in India and Pakistan. However, you can also find large Punjabi communities in nearly 30 other countries. While the living conditions of the Punjabis differ greatly from country to country, they have retained much of their traditional culture and lifestyle. The nations with the most Punjabi population outside of South Asia include Saudi Arabia, Canada, the USA, and Australia. Many Muslim Punjabi have made their home in the island nation of New Zealand. The name "Punjabi" is used to describe both those who speak Punjabi, and those who inhabit the Punjab region in India and Pakistan. Punjabi is an Indo-European language that is divided into six main dialects. It is primarily spoken in the major regions of India and Pakistan. There are many different social classes and occupational sub-groups among the Punjabi. For this reason, it is difficult to adequately describe their lifestyle. Modern Muslim Punjabi culture was largely shaped by the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. This event resulted in massive migrations that separated the Muslims from the Hindus and Sikhs. The Muslim Punjabis stayed or migrated to Pakistan while the Hindu and Sikh Punjabi stayed or migrated to India. Eastern Punjabi is the most spoken dialect of the Punjabi language. A complete Bible and many resources are available in this language. Almost all the Punjabis living in New Zealand speak fluent English.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Punjabi immigrants in New Zealand have taken on a variety of occupations. Muslim Punjabis have excelled as mechanics, construction workers and business professionals. Other Punjabis have found work in retail and trade, particularly through small family businesses. In traditional Punjabi culture, the men are responsible for overseeing the family possessions such as land, shops or other business assets. The women are responsible for overseeing the homes. They cook, care for the children, manage the household finances, and take care of any domestic animals. In New Zealand this division between men and women is breaking down as many Punjabi women work outside the home. Marriage is highly desired among all Punjabis, whether Muslim, Hindu or Sikh. Traditionally, residences were patrilocal, which means that young couples lived in the husband's village near his parents. However, in most Diaspora Punjabi communities, this does not occur. Newly-married couples set up their homes wherever they choose. Marriages can still be arranged by parents, but this is rarely done without extensive discussions and the consent of the young people. Punjabi parents in New Zealand encourage both their sons and daughters to obtain a college education. Among the Punjabis, there is no overall system of social control. Instead, each institution (such as business, home, civil administration, religious organization, or political organization) has its own set of laws and disciplinary measures.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Diaspora Punjabi reflect the three major religions of their homeland: Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. This Punjabi profile focuses on the Muslim population. The Muslim Punjabi people living in New Zealand are Sunni Muslims. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited to drink alcohol, eat pork, gamble, steal, use deceit, slander, and make idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast of Ramadan and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

What Are Their Needs?

Although there are many Christian resources available in the Punjabi language, few Muslim Punjabi have been reached with the gospel. Even in a predominantly Christian nation such as New Zealand, only a tiny fraction of the Muslim Punjabi has heard a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. There is a great need for church planting teams to begin focusing on the Muslim Punjabis of New Zealand. Their search for "one god who transcends all religions" can provide the open door to share Isa or Jesus, the one true God and Savior, with them.

Prayer Points

Ask God to give wisdom to agencies and churches focusing on the Muslim Punjabis. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will thrust forth many laborers to work among the Muslim Punjabis. Ask God to encourage the small number of Punjabi Muslim Background Believers. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Muslims in New Zealand towards the gospel. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Muslim Punjabi in New Zealand in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project