Asian New Zealanders

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Asian New Zealanders
Total population
471,708 (2013)
11.8% of New Zealand population[1]
Regions with significant populations
Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury, Waikato
New Zealand English · Asian languages
Buddhism · Christianity · Islam · Hinduism · Sikhism · East Asian religions · Indian religions · other religions

Asian New Zealanders refers to New Zealanders of Asian ancestry. In the New Zealand census, the term refers to a pan-ethnic group that includes diverse populations who have ancestral origins in East Asia (e.g. Chinese New Zealanders, Korean New Zealanders, Japanese New Zealanders), Southeast Asia (e.g. Filipino New Zealanders, Vietnamese New Zealanders) and South Asia (e.g. Indian New Zealanders, Pakistani New Zealanders).

Colloquial usage of Asian in New Zealand is often more specific than the Statistics New Zealand definition and excludes Indians and other peoples of South Asian descent.[2][3]

In the 1860s, Chinese workers migrated to New Zealand to work in the gold mines. The modern period of Asian immigration began in the 1970s when New Zealand relaxed its restrictive policies to attract migrants from Asia. At the 2013 census, 471,708 New Zealanders declared that they had an Asian ancestral background. This represents about 12% of all responses.[1] Most Asian New Zealanders live in the Auckland Region.


Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean are the most commonly nominated Asian ancestries in New Zealand. Chinese New Zealanders are 4 percent of the New Zealand population (2013) and Indian New Zealanders are 3 percent of the New Zealand population (2013).

Between the 2001 and 2013 censuses, the proportion of the New Zealand population born in Asia almost doubled in size from 6.6% in 2001 to 11.8% in 2013. Some cities have seen a sharper increase in Asian born population, such as Auckland where 23% of all residents are Asian.[4]

Asian Ethnic groups in New Zealand, 2001–13 census[5]
Ethnicity 2001 census 2006 census 2013 census
Number % Number % Number %
Chinese 100,680 2.81 139,731 3.62 163,101 4.07
Indian 60,213 1.68 97,443 2.52 143,520 3.58
Filipino 11,091 0.31 16,938 0.44 40,350 1.01
Korean 19,026 0.53 30,792 0.80 30,171 0.75
Japanese 10,026 0.28 11,910 0.31 14,118 0.35
Fijian Indian 1,983 0.06 5,616 0.15 10,929 0.27
Sri Lankan 6,042 0.17 7,041 0.18 9,561 0.24
Cambodian 5,268 0.15 6,915 0.18 8,601 0.21
Thai 4,554 0.13 6,057 0.16 8,052 0.20
Vietnamese 3,462 0.10 4,770 0.12 6,660 0.17
Taiwanese 3,768 0.11 5,448 0.14 5,715 0.14
Malaysian 2,052 0.06 3,537 0.09 4,797 0.12
Asian (not further defined) 3,927 0.11 2,160 0.06 4,623 0.12
Indonesian 2,073 0.06 3,261 0.08 4,137 0.10
Total Asian 238,179 6.64 354,552 9.18 471,708 11.76

Public opinion

The political party New Zealand First has frequently criticised immigration on economic, social and cultural grounds. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has on several occasions characterised the rate of Asian immigration into New Zealand as too high; in 2004, he stated: "We are being dragged into the status of an Asian colony and it is time that New Zealanders were placed first in their own country."[6] On 26 April 2005, he said: "Māori will be disturbed to know that in 17 years' time they will be outnumbered by Asians in New Zealand", an estimate disputed by Statistics New Zealand, the government's statistics bureau. Peters quickly responded that Statistics New Zealand had underestimated the growth-rate of the Asian community in the past.[7]

In April 2008, deputy New Zealand First party leader Peter Brown drew widespread attention after voicing similar views and expressing concern at the increase in New Zealand's ethnic Asian population: "We are going to flood this country with Asian people with no idea what we are going to do with them when they come here."[8] "The matter is serious. If we continue this open door policy there is real danger we will be inundated with people who have no intention of integrating into our society. The greater the number, the greater the risk. They will form their own mini-societies to the detriment of integration and that will lead to division, friction and resentment."[9]

See also

Asians in other countries


  1. ^ a b "2013 Census – Major ethnic groups in New Zealand". 29 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Rasanathan, Kumanan; Craig, David; Perkins, Rod (2006). The Novel Use of 'Asian' as an Ethnic Category in the New Zealand Health Sector. Ethnicity & Health. 11. pp. 211–227. doi:10.1080/13557850600565525. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  3. ^ Syed, Jawad; Èzbilgin, Mustafa F. (2010). Managing Cultural Diversity in Asia: A Research Companion. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 485. ISBN 9781849807173. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Rising Asian immigration highlights New Zealand's changing demographics". The Conversation. 
  5. ^ "Ethnic group (total responses), for the census usually resident population count, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses (RC, TA, AU)". Statistics New Zealand. 
  6. ^ "Winston Peters' memorable quotes", The Age, 18 October 2005
  7. ^ Berry, Ruth (27 April 2005). "Peter's Asian warning". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Peters defends deputy's anti-Asian immigration comments", TV3, 3 April 2008
  9. ^ New Zealand Herald: "NZ First's Brown slammed for 'racist' anti-Asian remarks" Apr 3, 2008

External links

  • Stats NZ site
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