Several eusocial wasps are prominent invaders to remote islands. The paper wasp Polistes chinensis antennalis is native to East Asia, was introduced to New Zealand in 1979 and has expanded its distribution there. This provides an excellent opportunity to examine the impacts of an initial bottleneck and subsequent expansion on genetic structure. We analysed and compared the genetic population structures of the native (Japan and South Korea) and invasive New Zealand populations. Although 94% of individuals had shared haplotypes detected across both populations, the remaining 6% had private haplotypes identified in only one of the three countries. The genetic variation at microsatellite loci was lower in New Zealand than in native countries, and the genetic structure in New Zealand was clearly distinct from that in its native range. Higher frequencies of diploid-male- and triploid-female-producing colonies were detected in New Zealand than in the native countries, showing the reduction in genetic variation via a genetic bottleneck. At least two independent introductions were suggested, and the putative source regions for New Zealand were assigned as Kanto (central island) and Kyushu (south island) in Japan. Serial founder events following the initial introduction were also indicated. The estimated dispersal distance between mother and daughter in New Zealand was twice that in Japan. Thus, the introduction history of P. chinensis antennalis in New Zealand is probably the result of at least two independent introductions, passing through a bottleneck during introduction, followed by population expansion from the point of introduction.