History of the Jews of New Zealand.
New Zealand is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific.
The emergence of the community.
Large Jewish merchants from Sydney (Australia) S. Levy (since 1829) and JB Montefiore (1803-93, cousin M. Montefiore, in the 1830s) established trade relations with the tribes inhabiting New Zealand Maori.
From 1831 to 1838 in New Zealand lived JS Polak (1807-82), one of the first researchers of New Zealand and Maori.
Jews were among the first European settlers in New Zealand to settle in the country after the establishment of British colonial rule over it (1840); they settled in Oakland (then – the capital of New Zealand) and in the current capital – Wellington.
In the 1840’s. the leader of the Jewish community of London, A. Hort (1799-1869), unsuccessfully tried to organize a mass resettlement to New Zealand of the Jewish poor from England.
The second half of the nineteenth century.
In 1867, the first synagogue was built in New Zealand. In the mid 1850’s. (the period of the Crimean War) in the communities of Wellington and Auckland, money was collected for the starving Jews of Eretz Israel.
The population, including the Jewish population, increased in the 1860s, after the discovery of gold in New Zealand. Communities were established in the cities of Christchurch (1863) and Dunedin (1864). The Jewish population of New Zealand in 1858 was 188 people, in 1861 – 326 people, in 1867 – 1262 people.
New Zealand has consistently pursued a policy of strict immigration restrictions. In the late 19th century. – the beginning of the 20th century. The entrance to New Zealand was allowed only to a small number of Jews who fled from pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, and after World War II – to an insignificant number of European Jews who survived the Holocaust.
In the 1920’s. there were Jewish youth sports organizations, the first Jewish periodical “New Zealand Zoo Times” began to appear.
Among the rabbis of New Zealand, H. Van-Staveren of Wellington is known. The Jews made a great contribution to the development of the economy and science of New Zealand.
They were among the founders of the pharmaceutical and brewing industry, rail and sea transport, wholesale and retail trade, tourism.
K. Philipps founded the first in New Zealand dairy cooperative farm. Jews play an active role in the political and cultural life of New Zealand. Sir J. Vogel occupied in 1869-87 years. posts of the Minister of Finance, Post, Telegraph and Customs, as well as the post of Prime Minister (in 1873-76, with a break); Sir A. Myers (1867-1926) was Minister of Finance and Transport (1912-15) and military supply (1915-19); Sir M. Myers (1875-1950) was the supreme judge of New Zealand (1929-46), and in the absence of the Governor-General, he fulfilled his duties. Many Jews were elected mayors of various cities in New Zealand, including Auckland and Christchurch. GB Vogel (1868-1947) – one of the pioneers of New Zealand literature, the author of the popular novel “Maori Girl” (1898).
In 1901, 1611 people lived in New Zealand, 2380 people in 1921, 3470 Jews in 1945, and about five thousand Jews in 1971.
In the 1990’s – early 2000’s. In New Zealand, a small number of Jews from the Soviet Union, the CIS and South Africa settled.
Most Jews are concentrated in Wellington, Oakland (over two thousand in each) and Christchurch (over 300).
In these three cities there are Jewish communities (see Orthodox Judaism). In 1959, in Oakland, and in 1960 in Wellington, reformist (see Reformism in Judaism) communities were founded.
The Zionist movement.
The first Zionist circles in New Zealand arose in 1903 in the cities of Auckland and Wellington, a little later in the city of Dunedin.
After the publication of the Declaration of Balfour, the movement increased significantly. In 1921, the New Zealand Women’s Zionist Society was formed, which later joined the WIZO.
In 1943, the Zionist Council of New Zealand, formally part of the Zionist Federation of Australia and New Zealand, was formed, but in effect acted independently and sent its own delegates to the Zionist congresses.
Since 1944, the Council has begun to publish the newspaper “New Ziland Dzhuish Kronikl”. In the mid-1970’s. on its basis, the Zionist Federation of New Zealand was established, which still exists; in the country there are also branches of WIZO, youth movements h-Bonim and Bnei Akiva.
The rise of Jewish life.
Since the 1980s. in New Zealand, there is an upsurge in Jewish life. Jewish schools were opened in Auckland and Wellington, new buildings of synagogues and community centers were built. There are two nursing homes. The Christchurch synagogue was restored and reopened.
The Bnei B’rith lodges and the Zionist youth organizations are actively operating, the monthly “New Zieland Dzhuish Kronikl” is published. There is the Association for the Study of Jewish Civilization, the “Rashi” bulletin is being issued.
The New Zealand Jewish Council is the coordinating body of the Jewish communities and the spokesman for their interests.
At the same time, assimilation of Jews is increasing in New Zealand; a significant percentage of mixed marriages.
In 1994, Auckland hosted the conference “Looking out of the third millennium – the continuation of Jewish life in New Zealand.”
The participants of the conference spoke about the need to make maximum use of the resources of the Jewish community and improve community facilities. Decisions were made on the struggle against anti-Semitism.
After 1948, a number of Jews from New Zealand moved to Israel, but in the early 21st century, Aliya has practically ceased.
So, in 2000, one person repatriated to Israel, in 2001 five people, in 2002 – four people, in January-July 2003 – one person.
In 2001, there were 5124 Jews living in New Zealand.
The growth of anti-Semitism.
Until the late 1980’s. The manifestations of anti-Semitism in New Zealand were extremely insignificant. In 1989, the Anglican Church of New Zealand changed the text of the prayer book. All references to Zion were deleted, and instead of that they began to write “the holy City of the Lord.” This was done under the strong pressure of anti-Zionist circles, although the church denies this.
There are two ultra-right pro-fascist groups in the country: the New Zealand Nazi Party and the Conservative Front, which is extremely few (no more than 200 people).
The ultra-right draw anti-Jewish graffiti on the walls, desecrate Jewish graves. But the number of such incidents is insignificant.
Significantly more active are the existing Arab organizations in New Zealand and the left groups that organize anti-Zionist demonstrations. Thus, on October 22, 2000, in Oakland, the Arabs, along with activists of the Green Party, organized a demonstration against Israel, during which the slogans “Death to the Jews” were shouted.
Interstate relations between New Zealand and Israel.
In 1949 New Zealand recognized the State of Israel, friendly relations exist between the countries; New Zealand usually supports Israel in the United Nations.
New Zealand was one of the authors of the resolution that abolished the UN decision, equating Zionism with racism.
In May 2003, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, F. Goff, made a four-day official visit to Israel. During the visit, the relations between the two countries were discussed.
In 1987, exports from Israel to New Zealand amounted to 14.5 million dollars, imports to Israel – one million dollars.
In the 1990’s. the volume of Israeli exports amounted to 16.9 million dollars, imports from New Zealand – 0.9 million dollars; in 2000, Israeli exports – 17.4 million dollars, imports from New Zealand – 4.9 million.
Notification: The preliminary basis of this article was the article NEW ZEALAND in the EEA.
History of the Jews of New Zealand.