The number of Tauranga residents with an Asian ethnic background is rapidly rising with almost double the number of Chinese, triple the number of Indians and five times the number of Koreans calling the city home in the 12 years to 2013.

This comes as the city continues its climb as one of New Zealand's fastest growing centres.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation report released this morning on the numbers of Asians living and working throughout New Zealand reveals a significant growth for all Asian groups in the region since 2001.

The Tauranga Indian population tripled between 2001 and 2013. Meanwhile, the Chinese population has nearly doubled.


The report shows between 2001 and 2013, the greatest growth was found in the Korean population, which increased by about five times, followed by the Filipino increase of 3.6 times.

Candy Yan, president of the Bay of Plenty Chinese Business and Commerce Association, said in the past six to 10 months she had noticed exceptional growth.

Ms Yan said in the first four of the past five years she knew or recognised 90 per cent of the local Chinese population, and spotted a new face maybe once a month. "But now it's every day," she said.

"In about the last six months we have a new commercial Chinese-speaking real estate agent, we have three residential agents speaking Chinese and four or five Chinese accountants and a Chinese-speaking lawyer."

In the Western Bay, the growth also came mostly from the Indian population, which increased by more than 1100 between 2001 and 2013 - an increase of nearly five times.

This has been reflected in the establishment of two Sikh gurudwara (temples) in the area. There are only 13 nationwide.

The report, Beyond the metropoles: The Asian presence in small city New Zealand, shows about 20 per cent of Indians in Tauranga and the Western Bay were studying and about 75 per cent were in the labour force.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand show 4693 migrants settled in the Bay in the year ending July, up 18.1 per cent on the previous year.


* A comparison between two of Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty's largest Asian groups shows a marked difference in skill set between the Indian and Chinese.

* For Chinese, 24 per cent in Tauranga were technicians and trade workers, with 20 per cent being professionals and 16 per cent managers.

* Of the Indian population, 31 per cent were labourers, followed by managers, 22 per cent and professionals 13 per cent.

* In the Western Bay, 56 per cent of resident Indians were labourers.