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Major study of New Zealand peoples announced

Media Release

Major study of New Zealand peoples announced

A definitive history of New Zealand's population will be the fruit of a major research project on the ''Peoples of New Zealand and/or the Pacific'' being undertaken by Waikato University's highly respected Professor of Demographic Studies Ian Pool.

The two-year research project is being made possible by an extremely prestigious James Cook Research Fellowship worth $110,000 announced today by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

"The over-arching goal of the programme is to produce a definitive demographic history of New Zealand, covering separately and together all its major constituent population groups," says Professor Pool. "This will fill a major gap in New Zealand's historical literature.

"The research, which will be the culmination of 40 years of my work, will analyse changes in the groups making up our population, making comparisons between these and others overseas, including our cultural 'root stocks'. These findings will then be synthesized into the story of New Zealand's population. The finished work will sit alongside the writings of historians such as Michael King and James Belich, and economic historians such as Garry Hawke, to help give a complete picture of our nation's history."

Themes to be covered in the research include fertility, mortality, migration and the relationships between them, as well as family, the labour force and 'cultural fabric' issues, such as ethnicity and religion.

The research will look at questions such as:

1. Differences and similarities between some of New Zealand's specific demographic trends and those of other western developed countries.

2. The degree to which these trends are patterned by the socio-cultural environment in New Zealand, as against behaviours imported from places of origin.

3. The extent to which trends are influenced by government policy

"This research will help answer some of our contemporary questions about national identity, about how we became the national population we are today," says Professor Pool.


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