Put your hand up if you are a New Zealander!

Put your hand up if you are a New Zealander!

In a previous blog, I discussed the spatial distribution of different ethnicities in New Zealand. Now that the 2013 census is well under way, it is interesting to contemplate what the results will reveal in regard to New Zealand’s changing ethnic profile. Cultural affiliations are self-identified, so some areas of change in the ethnicity profile might be influenced by external forces.


An illustration of this comment can be found in the New Zealander category. Following an extensive review of ethnicity categories in the early part of last decade, Statistics New Zealand determined that the group New Zealanders, previously included in the “European” category, should be shifted into the “Other” ethnicity category. The alteration was made to reflect changes in New Zealand society. The subsequent 2006 census reported that 11.1% of the population identified with the New Zealander category, well up from 2.4% registered in the 2001 census.

Were there really that many more New Zealanders in New Zealand in 2006, or was the finding influenced by prior media discussion on the category change, or perhaps the positioning of the question in the census form itself. Statistics NZ thought that the public debate preceding the 2006 census was likely to have inflated the figure and reported getting quite different results – with much lower levels of New Zealanders – from other research. However Statistics New Zealand acknowledged that research forms, sample populations and the context of other research would also have an influence on these findings.

Whatever the influence, just who were these New Zealanders?

Those reporting affiliation with the New Zealander category were found to be

  • more likely to be born in New Zealand,
  • more likely to be male,
  • more likely to live in a rural area (and there were higher proportions of New Zealanders in the South Island of New Zealand),
  • more likely to be better educated,
  • more likely to have a higher income,
  • more likely to be older, and
  • less likely to also report Maori descent.

Bringing our thoughts back to the 2013 census, to my knowledge there was little media discussion on ethnicity categories before the launch of the recent census. So perhaps we will see a proportional decrease in the New Zealander category. We should expect one based on the assertions of Statistics NZ. Time will tell.

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Penny - Population expert

Based in New Zealand, Penny primarily looks after our Kiwi clients but also lends her expertise to the Australian context. Penny has extensive experience as a Communication Manager in Local Government and has a degree in Business and Communications. She also brings a breadth of generalist management experience in fields as varied as research, civil defence, project and event management, marketing and training. Penny’s knowledge combined with the .id tools help clients work with their communities to empower grass roots decision-making, advocacy and grant applications, and focus on strengthening council-community relationships. Penny has a rural property and enjoys growing and eating food and wine, which she runs, walks, bikes or swims off, when she’s not in the art studio.

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