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“Census” of overseas New Zealanders under way

18 April 2011

Media Release
Dr Sue Watson
Global Chief Executive, Kea New Zealand


Attention: News Editor/Chief Reporter/Business Editor

“Census” of overseas New Zealanders under way

Kea New Zealand has launched a global ‘census’ of expatriate New Zealanders, Every Kiwi Counts, aimed at connecting the estimated one million Kiwis living overseas.

“New Zealanders living outside the country are some of our most talented people, and already make a big contribution to the country’s future development,” says Sue Watson, Global Chief Executive of Kea New Zealand, which has 29,000 members around the world.

Every Kiwi Counts is focused on finding out more about these important citizens, and enabling them to make even stronger connections with home,” Dr Watson says.

There is no doubt that most Kiwis overseas feel strongly about their country, she says. For example, following February’s earthquake in Canterbury, Kea advertised more than 80 offshore fundraisers and memorial services, many organized by Kea volunteer groups around the world.

In the wake of the earthquake, Kea also noticed a higher response rate to its newsletters and other email messages to its global database, she says.

Every Kiwi Counts is an opportunity to turn this passion for New Zealand into an even deeper and more constructive connection,” Dr Watson says.

“The OECD says New Zealand is the developed country with the highest proportion of its educated population living overseas. [Jean-Christophe Dumont (OECD) and Georges Lemaître, Counting Immigrants and Expatriates in OECD Countries: A New
Perspective, OECD, Social, Employment and Migration Working papers, summary published 2005. This study found that among developed countries New Zealand has the highest proportion (24%) of its skilled workforce living outside the country, and that New Zealand is second among developed countries for expats holding tertiary degrees.] So connecting these people with home is arguably more important to New Zealand’s society and economy than any country of our type.

Kea is asking all New Zealanders to help make sure Every Kiwi Counts in 2011. A key component is for New Zealanders living at home to contact their friends and family overseas to encourage them to complete the online survey at

As an extra incentive, all who complete the survey or “tell a friend” about it go into a draw to win prizes from Air New Zealand, the All Blacks and Billi Tees.

Kea is grateful to Air New Zealand (principal sponsor of the Every Kiwi Counts survey) and to Auckland Tourism, Events, Economic Development Ltd (ATEED), the new regional economic development agency for greater Auckland (the survey’s other major sponsor).

Every Kiwi Counts is Kea New Zealand’s second global ‘census’ of offshore New Zealanders. The 2006 survey yielded 18,000 responses from 155 countries around the world. It revealed that New Zealanders living offshore:
• are strongly connected with home, with half maintaining economic interests in New Zealand and the vast majority keeping alive their family and social connections
• have very high incomes by New Zealand standards
• are more than twice as likely as other New Zealanders to have a tertiary education
• are evenly divided on their future plans – with only about half planning to return to New Zealand to live.

“Kiwis offshore tend to be successful and well connected. Kea New Zealand’s job is to help them be more than just ambassadors, and to transform them into a national resource,” says Dr Watson.

The 2011 survey will focus on what kind of connections offshore New Zealanders want to have in the future – especially those who want to be more deeply involved in New Zealand’s economy.

“We will find thousands of New Zealanders who are interested in investing in this country, helping New Zealand businesses who are expanding offshore, or who might return to New Zealand for the right sort of job.

“As our country’s largest and most active overseas network, with a deep and highly contactable database, Kea New Zealand is uniquely placed to follow up and help make these connections once the survey is over..”

Kea’s online survey, Every Kiwi Counts - - asks questions that are similar to the official New Zealand Census, plus additional questions focused on the perspectives and connections of New Zealanders living overseas.

Respondents and people who refer friends and family are eligible to win a range of prizes, including a return trip for two on Air New Zealand and All Black test tickets.

The Every Kiwi Counts survey will be ‘live’ at through Monday 9 May 2011.

Every Kiwi Counts had been planned to coincide with the official New Zealand Census last month, but was delayed when Statistics New Zealand suspended the Census due to the Canterbury earthquake.


Background - Kea New Zealand
Kea New Zealand is an independent, non-profit Incorporated Society that brings together people with a passion for New Zealand, wherever they are in the world.
Launched at the Knowledge Wave Conference in 2001, Kea harnesses the immense potential of New Zealand’s large expatriate community to deliver real economic and social value to New Zealand and to Kea’s members.
Founded by Stephen Tindall, founder of The Warehouse and The Tindall Foundation; Professor David Teece, Director of the Institute of Management, Innovation and Organisation, University of California at Berkley; and Dr George Barker, Director of the Centre for Law and Economics, Australian National University.
Headquartered in Auckland and led by Chief Executive Dr Sue Watson.
About 29,000 overseas-based Kiwis and other ‘friends of New Zealand’ are in Kea’s online database, from which members can search for and contact each other.
With support from the Ministry of Economic Development and private-sector sponsors, Kea employs full-time regional managers in London, New York, Shanghai and Sydney.
Kea New Zealand, with the support of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, organises the annual World Class New Zealand Awards, most recently held in Auckland on 6 April 2011.

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