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Report: Asian immigration changes New Zealand national identity
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15:20, April 08, 2008

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A report launched on Tuesday confirmed the importance of Asians to the future of New Zealand, a researcher said.

The Asia: New Zealand Foundation (ANZF) report -- Diverse Auckland: The Face of New Zealand in the 21st Century -- was officially launched on Tuesday. It showed the way immigration from Asian countries is impacting on Auckland, and ultimately on New Zealand.

It was prepared by University of Auckland senior lecturer Dr Wardlow Friesen of the School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science.

The report said China and Korea were likely to remain key sources of migrants, even though tougher English language requirements have reduced flows of people from these countries.

But the prevalence of English in the education systems of countries such as India and Sri Lanka and parts of Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines meant immigration from many of these countries was increasing.

It said Auckland would continue to absorb a "disproportionate share of this growth," with an estimated growth of about 51 percent for the Asian population up to 2016 compared with 46 percent for New Zealand as a whole.

ANZF research director Dr Andrew Butcher said the report confirmed the importance of Asia and Asians to the future of New Zealand.

"The way Auckland is shaped will, in every respect, be influenced by its Asian communities. This will become true nationally as well.

"Our national identity will inevitably draw on New Zealand's place in the Asia-Pacific and the populations of that region in New Zealand," Dr Butcher said.

"If we look at the Auckland of today, we see the New Zealand of tomorrow. How Auckland responds to its growing Asian populations will serve as either a positive or a negative example to the rest of the country.

"Auckland has a remarkable and historic opportunity to engage with the Asian region through its growing Asian populations and if done well can lead the rest of New Zealand."

The report said an increased Asian population changed New Zealand's national identity.

It said the definition of "a New Zealander" was becoming more complex and multi-layered.

It said over time an increasing part of the Asian population would identify as Asian as well as having European, Maori, Pacific and other ethnic identities as a result of intermarriage.

Source:Xinhua



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