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We know that Aotearoa is a nation of diverse people, culture and religion. But what can we say about where these people live, what they believe, and how their communities came to exist in the way they do?
Driven by his enthusiasm for New Zealand’s religious history, Professor Peter Lineham and his colleagues seek to find out. Their current research involves extracting census data from 1848 – 2014 and mapping the religious geography of New Zealand. Their results will feature each of New Zealand’s major religious traditions including Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Buddhists and even the unbelievers.
Through painting the picture of religious movements in New Zealand, Professor Lineham has been able to track even the smallest religion and recognise sociocultural and generational trends affecting our belief systems. For example, he has noted a significant rise in unbelievers since the 1960s.
Professor Lineham’s enthusiasm for religious history extends well beyond his current research. When he is not appearing on television as a media spokesperson, he is teaching and working on his many other research projects including the rise of Exclusive Brethren and their role in New Zealand politics, or the centennial history of the Auckland City Mission.
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Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016