By ANGELA GREGORY
Ethnic groups are forming "ghettos" in Auckland but that may be a good thing, says an Auckland University geography lecturer.
Dr Wardlow Friesen of the School of Geography and Environmental Science said yesterday that a clustering of migrant communities had taken place.
Speaking in a winter lecture series on the changing face of Auckland, he said the city served as a gateway into New Zealand, just as other Pacific Rim cities such as Sydney and Vancouver had done in their countries, he said.
Although Auckland accounted for 31 per cent of the population of New Zealand in 2001, it had just over half of all migrants.
Migrants from Europe (mainly British) tended to be spread around the country.
Nearly two-thirds of those from Asia and 72 per cent of Pacific-born people were settled in Auckland.
Dr Friesen said the tendency to cluster was typical of migrants when they were visibly and culturally different from the host population.
"It allows consolidation in a new country through the establishment of culturally specific retailing, health services, ethnic associations and so on.
"Are these examples of ghettos or ghettos forming? From one perspective, yes."
But from another perspective it was the politics of difference, he said.
Clustering of ethnic groups might have many advantages, such as the increasing mana of South Auckland's Pasifika culture.
Dr Friesen said the clustering of Koreans on the North Shore was not a result of economic necessity.
"Rather, this has resulted from a process of chain migration in which a community became established, Korean churches and other facilities developed, and this area continued to be attractive to new waves of Korean migrants."
The churches in that area also served as means of integration with other groups.
Dr Friesen said Indian migrants had tended to concentrate in areas of middling house prices such as Mt Roskill and Mt Wellington from both economic necessity and to be near cultural facilities.
Probably the most important issue facing Auckland and New Zealand now was the relationship between migrants and the host society.
The impression that migrants were a burden on the taxpayer was not supported by the facts.
A recent study showed that in the year to June 2002, Government spending on migrants and receipts from migrants showed a net benefit of $1.7 billion.
"And this did not include the economic benefits accruing within the private sector."
Of Auckland's population of 1,101,597 as determined in the 2001 census:
62 per cent are Pakeha/European
11.6 per cent are New Zealand Maori
7 per cent are Samoan
2.8 per cent Cook Island Maori
3 per cent Tongan
1.5 per cent Niuean
6 per cent are Chinese
3.7 per cent Indian
1.2 per cent Korean
Herald Feature: Immigration
By ANGELA GREGORY