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Census shows contributions of Asian people set to grow

Census shows contributions of Asian people set to grow

3 December, 2013

The 2013 Census results confirm that Asian New Zealanders will play an increasingly important role in shaping New Zealand’s future, the Asia New Zealand Foundation says.

Census results released today show that:
• Almost 1 out of 8 people living in New Zealand identified themselves as being of Asian ethnicity (471,711 people) on Census night, up from about 1 in 11 in 2006. Nearly two-thirds of Asian people (307,233) lived in the Auckland region, where more than 1 in 5 people were of Asian ethnicity.
• Asia was the most common region of birth for people born overseas. The percentage of overseas-born people living in New Zealand who were born in Asia has been increasing, rising to 31.6 percent of overseas –born people in 2013.
• Of those born overseas, the People’s Republic of China was the second most common country of birth (89,121 people), behind England (215,589 people). India was the third most common country of birth (67,176 people), ahead of Australia (62,712 people).
• Hindi was the fourth most common language in New Zealand, behind English, Māori and Samoan. Census figures also show a growth in the number of speakers of Chinese languages and Tagalog.

Asia New Zealand Foundation chairman Philip Burdon says the Asian ethnicity results in the 2013 Census reflect a very diverse group of people – including New Zealand-born people of Asian heritage, and immigrants from throughout the Asian region and beyond.

“The results show the Asian population has grown in every region of New Zealand since 2006. The changing demography of New Zealand in part reflects our growing economic ties to Asia, but it is important to remember that these changes haven’t happened overnight.

“Whether New Zealand-born or immigrants, Asian New Zealanders have made numerous contributions to every aspect of New Zealand society over more than 150 years. They include early immigrants such as Choie Sew Hoy, who settled in Dunedin in the 1860s.

“Today we have acclaimed surgeon Professor Swee Tan (who was a finalist for 2013 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year), golfing star Lydia Ko and Black Cap Ish Sodhi – to name just a few. Numerous others are making contributions to politics, education, the arts, the not-for-profit sector, business and science.”

Mr Burdon says last month’s Typhoon Haiyan was just one example of New Zealand’s interconnectedness with Asia, with numerous members of the Filipino community affected through family links to the disaster.

The flow of Asian migrants to New Zealand began increasing after major immigration policy changes in the mid-1980s.

Mr Burdon says research released by the Asia New Zealand Foundation in October shows there is much to celebrate in New Zealand’s relationship with Asia and Asian peoples. New Zealanders' Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples: 1997-2011 tracked New Zealanders' opinions over 15 years. http://asianz.org.nz/our-work/research/research-reports/social-research/nzers-perception-asia1997-2011 It found that as immigration led to increased contact with Asian people over that period, positive feelings about Asia grew. And the more contact non-Asian New Zealanders had with Asian people, the more positive they felt about them.

“Asia New Zealand Foundation’s research shows most New Zealanders recognise Asian people contribute significantly to the New Zealand economy and that they bring a valuable cultural diversity,” Mr Burdon says.

The 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 Young Leaders Network.

For more information about the 2013 Census: http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/qstats-about-national-highlights-mr.aspx


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