24 Dec 2008

Christ not part of Christmas for most

1:56 pm on 24 December 2008

New Zealanders are being asked not to forget Christ this Christmas, with a new poll suggesting Christmas Day holds no religious significance for more than half the country.

A new poll shows less than half of all New Zealanders think Christmas Day has any religious significance. Of 500 people questioned by the polling company Research New Zealand, 55% say Christmas Day holds no religious significance for them.

The company's director, Emanuel Kalafatelis, says he was surprised at 45% of New Zealanders in the poll saying the day still has a religious dimension.

He says the poll's results show New Zealanders are in a state of transition over their religious beliefs.

The Dean of Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral, Reverend Ross Bay, says he does not believe New Zealand is becoming a god-less society.

Reverend Bay says in the week of Christmas, the temptation of isolating the meaning of the day to carols and the stories of Bethlehem needs to be avoided.

Research New Zealand questioned 500 people over the past two months for the poll. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

The poll found that 63% of those aged 60 and over were more likely to believe Christmas Day has religious significance, compared with only 31% of people aged 15 to 29.