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Source: Asia New Zealand Foundation – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: “No singular Asian migrant” – new report on Auckland’s diverse Asian communities

10 March 2015

A new report from the Asia New Zealand Foundation reveals the increasing diversity of Auckland’s Asian communities.

“Asian Auckland: The multiple meanings of diversity” details the history and trends of Asian migration to Auckland, especially since 2006. It was commissioned by the Asia New Zealand Foundation as part of a series of reports drawing on 2013 Census data.

Author Wardlow Friesen, senior lecturer in geography at the University of Auckland, says immigration policy changes since the 1990s have resulted in more migrants entering New Zealand as international students or on work visas. This has created more diverse Asian populations in terms of age, sex, education and skills and has led to an increase in Filipino and Indian migrants in particular. The median age of Auckland’s Asian population is lower than that of the total population.

“At any one time the Asian population comprises a complex mix of New Zealand born, overseas born, citizens, permanent residents, temporary workers, students and tourists – all arriving for a variety of reasons and bringing with them a diverse range of demographic characteristics, skills and expectations,” Dr Friesen says in the report.

“This complexity is most apparent in Auckland, where migrant settlement patterns illustrate other aspects of increasing diversification and show there is no singular ‘Asian migrant’.”

At the time of the 2013 Census, more than one in five (21 percent) Asian people living in Auckland were New Zealand-born. Dr Friesen says significant numbers of Asian Aucklanders, notably Chinese and Indian, are not migrants but New Zealand-born and have characteristics, identities and expectations different from migrant populations.

Asia New Zealand Foundation director, research Dr Andrew Butcher says Auckland has become known as one of world’s super-diverse cities. “This report shows that this diversity is true not only of Auckland but of the city’s Asian population itself.

“New Zealand’s Asian population is expected to increase in upcoming decades, and two-thirds of this population is expected to live in Auckland. While new migrants are often the focus of

attention, a significant proportion of future growth in the Asian population will come from people born in New Zealand.”

The report provides insights into Asian “ethnoscapes” in the city – which include tangible elements like people, shops and houses, as well as less tangible aspects like language and religious affiliation. It notes that the diversification of food outlets, festivals and Asian diasporic art forms are generally positively received by New Zealanders of all ethnicities.

It examines the settlement patterns of Asian immigrants around Auckland, providing case studies for particular neighbourhoods including Dannemora and Botany Downs; Glenfield and Northcote; and Sandringham. It also examines the influence of Asian communities on Auckland’s food culture, cultural festivals, the media and the arts.

Dr Friesen is the author of a previous Asia New Zealand Foundation report on Auckland, based on the results of the 2006 Census. In an audio interview accompanying the report, he says one of the biggest changes he has noticed is a shift in focus from permanent residency in 2006 to larger numbers of work permit migrants and students in 2013.

Asia New Zealand Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to building New Zealand’s links with Asia through a range of programmes, including business, culture, education, media, research and a leadership network.

The report is available here.


Rebecca Palmer
Asia New Zealand Foundation media adviser
04 470 8701

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