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Global Citizen NZ's Fastest-Growing New Breed

New Research Tracks The Rise Of The Global Citizen New Zealand’s Fastest-Growing New Breed

A new group of New Zealanders, the Global Citizen, is rapidly emerging according to a survey just released.

The Fifth Wave of the Porter Novelli/NFO CM Research Study, Currents of Thought – A Compelling View of New Zealanders, finds there has been a significant rise in the number of Global Citizens, from just one in eight Kiwis in 1998 to one in five in 2000.

These new Global Citizens are characterised by their responsiveness to change - they’re younger, educated, open-minded, optimistic and connected to the internet and each other via technology. But there is a flip side. These very factors that set them apart may also set them apart from New Zealand. Global Citizens are prime candidates for the brain drain.

“The ramifications of this trend towards global citizenship are evident in contemporary issues such as the brain drain. New Zealand has always exported its people and in the past many have come back,” said NFO CM Research managing director, Murray Campbell.

Currents of Thought Wave 3 indicated that while New Zealand rates poorly for business opportunities, our environment and lifestyle benefits are enough to retain and attract skill and talent.

“With the emergence of this new breed, the question we should be asking is, will this still be enough? The challenge for industry and the government will be to retain the lifestyle and education benefits, but enhance the global economy opportunities through investment in technology infrastructure and training to encourage our Global Citizens to conduct business from New Zealand,” Porter Novelli Auckland managing director Jill Dryden said.



The research found that while Global Citizens are predominantly urban and younger, more than a quarter are over the age of 35, with many having families with adult children.

While the number of Global Citizens is increasing, at the other end of the continuum, the more inward-looking Provincial Hermits are slowly declining in number. Provincials Hermits dropped from 19% to 16% of the population between 1998 and 2000. This group is characterised by “old New Zealand” – resistant to change, unable to keep up with technology, risk-averse and generally pessimistic.

Middle New Zealand, or Heartland Kiwis, are at the fulcrum between Global Citizens and Provincial Hermits. They are generally content with life and predominantly family-oriented. Like Global Citizens, this group likes to travel and believes being part of a connected world (in terms of technology) is a priority.

The research, conducted among New Zealanders from March to August of this year, found that Global Citizens are strongly optimistic about the future. Almost three quarters (72%) believe things will improve in the next 12 months.

And more than half of Middle New Zealand also foresees improvements within the next year. But Kiwis in this group have their own contemporary issues, they are finding it the most difficult to combine a family life with their jobs or careers.

Less than 40% of Provincial Hermits see a brighter outlook on the horizon, and just 26% said they are better off financially than they were a few years ago. Provincial Hermits also feel strongly that the quality of the family structure in New Zealand is declining.

“While this research has revealed there are pockets of deep pessimism in New Zealand, overall the country is in surprisingly good heart and the growth of the Global Citizen is strong evidence that New Zealanders remain optimistic about their lives and their future,” said Ms Jill Dryden.

Past waves of Currents of Thought found Kiwis were very positive about life in New Zealand, bound together by a widely shared fusion of traditional and contemporary values. This wave has revealed the emergence of a new group of Kiwis. These Global Citizens are also fiercely optimistic, thrive on the pace of change and are constantly looking to new challenges, whether they be in New Zealand or abroad.

Enquiries: Jill Dryden, Porter Novelli New Zealand 09 373 3786
Neil Green, Porter Novelli New Zealand 04 385 2854
Murray Campbell, NFO CM Research 09 525 0934


Please note: Graphs are available electronically on request.

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