1. Drinking trends among Pacific adults in New Zealand

Many Pacific people do not drink

In general, Pacific adults are less likely than non-Pacific adults to have consumed alcohol in the past year.

In 2019/20, 63.5% of Pacific adults had consumed alcohol in the past year, which is significantly lower than the total New Zealand population (81.5%). Among men, 70.9% consumed alcohol and 57.5% of Pacific women. Non-drinking is also more common among those who report being born overseas than in New Zealand.

One change that is occurring is that more Pacific women are choosing to drink. Whilst the majority of Pacific women were previously abstainers, now the majority of Pacific women are drinkers.

Pacific non-drinkers have been shown to be more likely to say they don’t drink because of religious reasons (21%) and family reasons or commitments (10%) compared to non-Māori/non-Pacific non-drinkers (11% and 7.0% respectively).

Among the diverse Pacific population, Cook Islanders and Niueans have been found to be more likely to drink than those of Samoan or Tongan ethnicity.

Gender differences also exist among Tongans, with men being significantly more likely to drink than women. 

****** For more information on Pacific people's drinking, read this Health Promotion Agency report TAEAO MALAMA Alcohol use among Pacific peoples

Among those that drink, hazardous drinking is common

Among drinkers in 2019/20around 4 in 10 (38.4%) of Pacific past-year drinkers were classified as hazardous drinkers (AUDIT score equals or greater than 8). This prevalence was higher among Pacific men (48.6%) than women (28.2%).

In 2019/20, Pacific adults drinkers were 1.38 times more likely to be hazardous drinkers than non-Pacific drinkers, after taking into account age and sex.

In comparison, the prevalence of hazardous drinking among Māori drinkers was 43.4%, 26.0% in European drinkers and 8.4% in Asian drinkers.

Among all men (including drinkers and non-drinkers), the rates (%) of hazardous drinking are below:

Among women (including drinkers and non-drinkers), the rates (%) of hazardous drinking are below: