Superdiverse New Zealand – Chinese New Year 2016

A Happy Chinese New Year to our members, investment partners, BTL participants and alumni!

February 8 this year in New Zealand was Monday-ised Waitangi Day holiday and it was also a celebration of the first day of the Chinese New Year – the two dates colliding being symptomatic of New Zealand’s increasing superdiversity as a whole as we globalise.

As the NZ Herald op-ed said,“the forebears of Maori and British signatories to the Treaty would never have envisaged that its timing would one day have this added significance for New Zealand. Even a century after the signing, when Chinese immigration was still largely restricted to male labour, the diversity of the population today would not have been imagined.”

There are now more than 170,000 people of Chinese heritage in New Zealand, the country’s third largest ethnic group, and Global Women member Mai Chen’s superdiversity stocktake puts New Zealand’s wider population at over 200 ethnicities, speaking 160 languages. What’s more, she says 25 percent of New Zealanders were not born in New Zealand.

“With the growing number of migrants allowed into New Zealand as international students, essential and highly skilled migrants (to work on the Christchurch rebuild, to work on farms and in the health sector, for example) and business investor migrants, we have now become one of the most superdiverse countries in the OECD,” said Chen in a NZ Herald article last month.

With superdiversity comes the need for efforts in Diversity and Inclusion, perhaps by focusing not just on differences but also similarities – Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said in 2011, New Zealand’s indigenous culture and the Chinese culture have much in common. “Maori world view is not just about economics, but also includes working with the environment, retaining their culture, supporting social matters, and enhanced with their spirituality. Similar to Chinese Yin and Yang. Our cultures are similar and the way that business is done is based on relationships and a shared vision for mutual respect and understanding.”

Year of the Monkey

Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says in a press release todaythat this Chinese zodiac year, the Year of the Monkey, is said to be a year that will bring opportunities and inspiration.

“What makes New Zealand such a great place to live is the way in which we share and celebrate each other’s cultures and traditions. Chinese New Year has become an annual event that all New Zealanders can look forward to and participate in. It is traditionally a time for reflection and renewal, and a time for families to reconnect.”

“It is more than 150 years since the first Chinese came to New Zealand. The Chinese community is very much part of our cultural fabric and it is hard to imagine a New Zealand without its contributions to business, academia, sport and culture,” Lotu-Iiga says.

Check out the Huffington Post for an excellent summary on the Lunar New Year – legends, customs and history.


新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)Happy New Year in Chinese

‘New Year happiness!’

  • In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen kwhy-ler/
  • In Cantonese: /sen-nin feye-lor/