4. Religion and spirituality can reduce the risk of hazardous drinking

Spirituality and religiosity are intrinsic and essential to many Pacific cultures (see here, here and here).  

In the 2018 Census, 77% of Pacific people identified as having a religion.

Religious affiliation 2006 (%) 2013 (%) 2018 (%)
No religion 14 17.5 22.9
Buddhism 0.2 0.2 0.1
Christian 80.2 77 67.9
Hinduism 0.3 0.7 0.6
Islam 0.4 0.5 0.5
Judaism 0.1 0.1 0
Māori religions, beliefs, and philosophies 1.4 1.1 1
Spiritualism and New Age religions 0.2 0.2 0.2
Other religions, beliefs, and philosophies 0.5 0.5 0.7
Object to answering 5.1 4.1 6.3


Churches can be key settings to engage Pacific groups - including young people, their families and their peers. Churches are also considered to be credible sources of information for Pacific communities Church ministers, church leaders and youth leaders play key roles, in particular among young people. 

Pacific peoples are involved in different types of churches which can be categorised as follow: (1). “Pacific-only” churches (e.g. Tongan Methodist churches, Samoan EFKS churches). In these churches, the dominant language spoken is Pacific Island language.(2). Mainstream churches (e.g. Life Church, modern charismatic and Pentecostal churches). Here, the dominant language spoken is English. There are important differences here. Government interventions into churches have focussed on churches in the number (1) category, and to a lesser extent the (2) category.