Auckland now more diverse than London

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Nearly one in four identify themselves as Asian.

It's no secret that Auckland is a diverse city full of different cultures and new research has shed light on exactly how it and the rest of the country are changing.

More than 200 ethnic groups are recorded as living here and Auckland is considered more diverse than London or Sydney, with 40 per cent of its population made up of different ethnicities.

The changing makeup of the country's population is featured in the latest NZ Geographic magazine, which focuses on ethnic diversity, age, wealth and attitudes, drawn from the latest Census figures.

Massey University humanities and social sciences research director Professor Paul Spoonley told the Herald Auckland's multi-culturalism today was way beyond what experts believed likely a few years ago.

Asian communities, in particular, in New Zealand have almost doubled since 2001, when 6.6 per cent of the Kiwi population was Asian. The proportion in Auckland was 14.6 per cent.

By 2006, Auckland was 18.9 per cent Asian and today 23 per cent identify as Asian.

Nationally, the Census showed 11.8 per cent of the population (471,711 people) was Asian - and that figure was increasing.

"The figures are higher than I would have thought a few years back," Mr Spoonley said.

"The communities dominating those figures are migrants from India and China ... and we're also seeing many Filipinos coming in as well." The healthcare and elder-care sectors are attracting Asian workers, he said.

The article also acknowledged that Kiwis had overall become more accepting of migrant communities and particularly of Asian peoples. That had been a hugely noticeable change, Mr Spoonley said.

Auckland Chinese community leader Kai Luey said there were a number of factors that attracted Asians to New Zealand and particularly to Auckland.

"The environment is clean, there's fresh air and there's safety of food ... There's a good education system here in New Zealand and that's another big thing for Chinese and Asian people."

New Zealand was also considered to be a much safer place than many other countries, such as America, Canada and Australia.

- NZ Herald

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