Go Dutch

New New Zeelanders

Oral History

The NetherlanNZ Foundation has collected a number of stories in an Oral History project.

If there is one thing we as a community must do then it is to collect more of the stories of those Dutchies who came out here in the 1950s and 1960s. We willen uw verhaal documenteren! Before that history is lost forever. Please contribute to The NetherlanNZ Foundation's project by clicking here.

Make sure to record your own story!

Lekker op z'n Hollands - Double Dutch

But there are other ways to tell the stories of the Invisible Migrants. In 2008, the first national Dutch conference took place, Onze Hoe Wie, which was an outstanding success. Organised by Jaques Poot from Waikato University and the NetherlanNZ Foundation, as part of Het Festijn in Hamilton, a number of speakers brought together a wealth of information about the Dutch in this country. Click here to find out more.

The Dutch Connection aims to be a rich resource of information about Nederlanders in New Zealand. We've listed those links that we know about. If you've discovered any more online information, let us know. Please Contact Us.

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In the Encyclopedia

The Nederlanders came to New Zealand with plenty of ambitions and created what's really a success story in migration. Althought people of Dutch descent make up some 4% of the population, our story remains untold in Michael King's recent 'Penguin history of New Zealand'. We integrated so well, that we're often described as the 'invisible immigrants'.

Find out more about what we've achieved in the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Tasman's Legacy

The Dutch contributed to New Zealand's development in many different ways. For the full story, you can read Tasman's Legacy, an excellent book by Hank Schouten. You can order the book from the NetherlaNZ Foundation. Here are just a few salient facts.

  • Abel Tasman, on behalf of the United East Indian Company (VOC), gave the country its first European name 'Staten Land' in 1642. A few years later it was renamed Nieuw Zeeland after one of the Dutch seven provinces, a major VOC participant
  • Almost 4% of the population is of Dutch descent (1st, 2nd or 3rd generation migrants - some 150,000 people). Still, we are often labelled as the 'invisible immigrants'
  • One of NZ's earliest, most visionary and influential Treasurers and Premiers Sir Julius Vogel was of Dutch descent. In the 1860s/1870s, he greatly expanded the country's network of roads, railways, bridges and telegraph lines. He also founded the Otago Daily Times.
  • NZ cultural icons like Lockwood Homes, Vogel's bread, Rembrandt suits and Verkerk's deli products were created by Dutch migrants who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s
  • The Netherlands and New Zealand are both global dairy giants. Part of our Friesian herd originates from the Dutch province of Friesland. Fonterra's Chairman, Henry van der Heyden, is of Dutch immigrant farming stock, as are many of its members
  • A number of individuals of Dutch descent acquired national fame - sports stars like Dick Quax, Kees Meeuws and Yvonne Willering; artists like Ans Westra, Miriam van Weezel, and Leon van den Eijkel; and high profile individuals like arts organiser Carla van Zon and MP Harry Duynhoven