The number of Maori living in Australia has jumped 38 percent in the past five years to total 128,000.
There are more Maori living in southern Queensland that Hamilton, however many of them are struggling and among the country’s most “disenfranchised” immigrant groups.
The research was done by Victoria University migration researcher Paul Hamer, who said the figures could be even higher now as the numbers were based on the 2006 census.
Data revealed about 28,000 Maori lived in Brisbane, 3000 more than lived in Hamilton.
Mr Hamer said if you include the Gold Coast, there were probably more Maori in the region than Christchurch.
“Brisbane . . . is possibly the fourth largest urban concentration of Maori in the world,” he told Fairfax NZ.
The motivation to move was the possibility of higher wages, and tough times in New Zealand.
Thousands of Maori have also been lured to Western Australia to take advantage of the mining boom.
In five years the Maori population has grown by 83 percent.
In 10 years the Maori population of Port Kennedy, in Perth, had gone from 49 to 511.
“They are turning some of these small towns into little New Zealands,” Mr Hamer said.
Most were not Australian citizens and can’t get permanent residency as they don’t meet tough skills requirements, meaning they can’t get most welfare payments and student loans.