Q&A: NZ and the Asian Kiwi

What does Asian-New Zealander mean?

The term “Asian-New Zealander” refers to a pan-ethnic group in New Zealand that encompasses several populations of Asian descent.

How long have Asian people been moving in New Zealand?

Asian-New Zealanders have an extensive history in Aotearoa dating all the way back to the 1860s, when Chinese workers first arrived in search of work in the gold mines.

Which are the most common Asian ethnic groups living in New Zealand?

Today, the country’s eight largest Asian ethnic groups are: Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Sri Lankan, Cambodian and Vietnamese.               

Collectively, these Asian ethnic groups, under the broad classification “Asian-New Zealanders,” make up the third largest major ethnic group in the country.

The 2013 Census revealed that almost one in four people living in Auckland identify with one or more Asian ethnic groups; Auckland being the most popular place of residence for Asian-New Zealanders, with almost two-thirds of those who identified with at least one Asian ethnic group living in the Auckland.

What does the future look like?

Over the next twenty years, it is projected that “Asian-New Zealanders” will take up a larger proportion of New Zealand’s overall population share, a result of both natural increase and high levels of migration.

At present, New Zealand’s average Asian net migration gains is estimated to be greater than 20,000 people per year.

By mid-2020, it is projected that New Zealand’s Asian population will overtake Maori as the country’s second largest major ethnic group.

By 2025, it is expected that the number of people living in New Zealand that identify as being ethnically Asian will exceed 1 million.

And by 2038, it is predicted that the Asian-New Zealanders will make up over 20% of New Zealand’s total population share.

What does this mean for New Zealand?

These predictions, based off the 2013 Census, reveal to us the urgency and importance of preparing for an ever-more diverse population and workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand in the years to come.

Laying out the foundations for diversity and inclusion in the workplace is imperative if companies hope to adapt to and prosper from the country’s inevitably cosmopolitan future.


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