10 Mar 2015

Auckland 'ethnoburbs' on the rise

6:32 pm on 10 March 2015

The Asia New Zealand Foundation has released a study into the increasing diversity of Auckland's Asian population.

View of Auckland city from Devonport.

View of Auckland city from Devonport. Photo: The Art Archive / Neil Setchfield

Report author Wardlow Friesen said the findings were based on data from the latest census.

"At any one time the Asian population comprises a complex mix of New Zealand born, overseas born, citizens, permanent residents, temporary workers, students and tourists - all arriving for a variety of reasons and bringing with them a diverse range of demographic characteristics, skills and expectations."

Director of research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation Andrew Butcher thought the diversity would take most Aucklanders by surprise.

"Aucklanders interact with Asian populations in food, in festivals, through friendship, and in all sorts of ways that people perhaps don't always register."

The report highlighted that more than 21 percent Asian people living in Auckland were New Zealand-born.

It also focused on significant clusters of Auckland's Asian population - so called "ethnoburbs".

"Significant clusters can be seen in the newly developed housing areas around Botany Downs and Dannemora, where three Census Area Units (CAUs), which may be approximated to suburbs, have between 60 and 80 percent of their populations classified as Asian.

"Throughout Auckland 15 CAUs have more than 50 percent Asian populations - in the southeast, in the central business district (CBD), in various parts of the Auckland isthmus and in central parts of the North Shore.

"In some cases these concentrations are largely Chinese or Indian, but in others there is a considerable mixture of these and other groups."

The report said the number of areas with more than 50 percent of the population being of Asian origin had increased.

"It can be debated whether this constitutes 'segregation' and whether it is a problem."

But Massey University immigration professor Paul Spoonley said this was normal, and not a problem.

"We've selected middle-class immigrants with good experiences and strong education background, so you would expect that those immigrants are going to make a successful adaptation to New Zealand - and most of them are.

"Let's be careful about whether we call it segregation or ghetto-isation, as opposed to concentrations, which you see in any immigrant city around the world."

Auckland Council's Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel chair Feroz Ali said there were other ethnic concentrations in Auckland - like Maori and Pacific Islanders in parts of south Auckland and Europeans in Remuera.

"We are not segregating. I think people move into certain areas based on affordability, income thresholds, etc.

"I don't think we are creating segregated areas simply because there's 50% of Asians living in a particular area."

The report said other major urban areas, like Wellington and Christchurch, would also attract significant numbers of Asian migrants, and the proportions of Asians have been increasing in many smaller centres.