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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1986 (Constitution Act)
Last Amended not applicable
Source International Constitutional Law (ICL)
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of See note below

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

[ARDA Note: The constitution of New Zealand is comprised of an array of written and unwritten sources. The three documents cited below are hosted by International Constitutional Law, but the constitution consists of many other written documents and unwritten conventions.]

Constitution Act of 1986

[Contains no religious content.]

New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, 1990

Section 13 [Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion]

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and hold opinions without interference.

Section 15 [Religion and Belief]

Every person has the right to manifest that person's religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.

Section 20 [Rights of Minorities]

A person who belongs to an ethnic, religious, or linguistic minority in New Zealand shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of that minority, to enjoy the culture, to profess and practice the religion, or to use the language, of that minority.

Treaty of Waitangi, 1840

[Contains no religious content.]


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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