Maori Uneasy With Asian Immigration, Says Researcher

Angela Gregory, New Zealand Herald (Auckland), Mar. 7

Maori are more likely to be against Asian immigration than non-Maori, according to a recent study by a University of Auckland graduate.

James Chang recently completed a Master of Arts degree in political studies, where he examined Maori perceptions of Asian immigration.

Mr Chang said there had been a lot written about mainstream views of Asian immigration, but little attention given to the views of Maori.

He conducted a quantitative analysis of social and contextual factors supported with qualitative interviews with individual Maori.

“Both sections of the study indicated that many participants are fearful of the effect Asian immigration has on their tangata whenua status.”

Some Maori believed Asian immigrants did not want to give the Treaty of Waitangi recognition and others worried that Asians did not integrate enough with Maori.

Mr Chang, who emigrated to New Zealand in his early teens, said Asian immigrants could play a role in changing these Maori perceptions.

“It is time for Asians to think about where they want to position themselves within New Zealand. My study shows that Asians can no longer afford to keep a low profile and be almost invisible in New Zealand society. “

Mr Chang said a constructive first step would be to become more educated about issues related to New Zealand and what it meant to be a New Zealander.

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