Investment is needed to make the most of the country's changing population, as Greg Hall reports.

The Super City will be more diverse as it grows bigger.

The current population of Auckland City is 1,632,100. As it stands now, 40 per cent of Aucklanders were born overseas and the population represents more than 200 different ethnic backgrounds. More than half are "European or other", just over 21 per cent are Asian, nearly 14 per cent are Pasifika and 10.4 per cent are Maori.

By 2038, Statistics NZ has the Auckland population ballooning to 2,379,500. Those classified as "European or other" will have shrunk to 42.3 per cent, while the proportion of Maori, Asian and Pacific inhabitants will have risen. Over 30.6 per cent will be Asian, 15.6 per cent will be Pacific and 11.4 per cent will be Maori.

Lawyer Mai Chen's The Superdiversity Stocktake explores New Zealand's increasingly diverse population. Chen says the status quo is not sustainable in light of her findings and investment is needed to make the most of the country's changing population. The shifting demographics in Auckland are more than just numbers: they have implications for what we need to be doing to make the most of our growth.


Who is where?

A Herald report released in May this year examined the settlement patterns of Asian migrants and the Auckland suburbs playing host to the most people of Asian ethnicity.

Over half of Auckland Central's residents are ethnically Asian.

The numbers aren't quite so high in the surrounding suburbs, but the data shows several concentrated clusters of high-Asian suburbs around Auckland.

Lynfield North, for instance, is made up of over 60 per cent Asian residents, and Hillsborough West is 58.9 per cent. Asians make up 72.1 per cent of the population in the suburb of Mission Heights. Epsom is currently 57.1 per cent Asian.

Among those with the lowest number of Asian residents are Herne Bay (4.5 per cent) Westmere (6.5 per cent), Clevedon (2 per cent) Arahanga (5.7 per cent) and Paremoremo West (5.6 per cent).

Other key takeouts:

• All of New Zealand's 16 regions and nearly all 67 territorial areas are projected to see an increase in ethnic diversity over the next two decades.

• Of the 99 positions in the Auckland Council's boardrooms and executive management teams, 88 are currently held by white Europeans.


In the education space there are some schools with no European students.

The Auckland classroom has changed considerably, and so the education system needs to keep pace. The challenge lies in teaching immigrant schoolchildren English, but also equipping all children with the ability to thrive in the new New Zealand.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is taught in 1342 schools to 34,000 students nationwide. These students come from 157 different ethnic groups, speaking 126 different languages.

The massive influx of migrants to areas that, in some cases, previously had very little need for ESOL, mean that schools can have difficulty keeping up with the demand. This is more of an issue than it needs to be, because ESOL training is currently optional as a part of teacher education in New Zealand.

The other side of the coin of changing demographics is that only 20 per cent of secondary school students learn a second language -- a 20-year low. Considering the surge in New Zealand's migrant population in that time, it appears that the utility of being multilingual is being undersold.

Marriage and partnerships

Between 2001 and 2013, the number of Maori with a Maori partner dropped from 53 to 48 per cent for men and 52 to 47 for women.

In the same period, the number of ethnically Pacific people with an ethnically Pacific partner dropped from 70 to 68 per cent.

There is an increasing number of Pacific women with Maori or Asian partners.

Ninety six per cent of European males and 94 per cent of European females have European partners.

The increase in ethnic intermarriage is leading to more New Zealanders identifying with more than one ethnicity.

Between 2001 and 2003, those identifying with more than one ethnic group has risen from 9 per cent to 11.2 per cent.

Currently, 53.5 per cent of Maori and 37.2 per cent of Pacific people identify with two or more ethnic groups, according to the 2013 census.