SD Sophie Davies Public Seen by 436

Ethnicity is the ethnic group or groups a person identifies with or has a sense of belonging to. It is a measure of cultural affiliation (in contrast to race, ancestry, nationality, or citizenship). Ethnicity is self-perceived and a person can belong to more than one ethnic group.

The census provides a baseline count for all official ethnicity statistics and is widely used with other demographic characteristics to inform research and policy development. Collecting ethnicity information in the census is required under the Statistics Act 1975.

We initiated a Review of the Official Ethnicity Statistical Standard (ROESS) in 2008 to understand the increase in written responses of 'New Zealander', from 2.4 percent in the 2001 Census to 11.1 percent in the 2006 Census. This review found an almost universal view amongst customers (users of the data) that the format of the census ethnicity question should remain unchanged. This is because of the applied use of the data and the requirement to measure across time.

Following this review, the Government Statistician decided there would be no change to the ethnicity question for the 2013 Census. We also decided that ‘New Zealander’ responses received on the 2013 Census form would continue to be reported under the ‘other ethnicity’ category.As was the case in 2006, we also published the number of ‘New Zealanders’ within the ‘other ethnicity’ category.

Responses of ‘New Zealander’ have fallen since 2006, at 1.6 percent in the 2013 Census.

Our current recommendations relating to ethnicity

  • We recommend that ethnicity be included with no changes in the 2018 Census.

See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (pages 24-25) for a more detailed discussion on ethnicity information

See 2013 Census information by variable for information on the ethnicity variable


Phil (Facilitator) Wed 29 Apr 2015 9:44PM

Nau mai haere mai.
Welcome to our Loomio discussion about the measurement of ethnicity in 2018 census. We are really keen to hear your views about this important topic and to understand what matters to you and why. I'm Phil Walker and will be facilitating this discussion. I look forward to engaging with you all over the coming weeks.


John smart Fri 1 May 2015 3:42AM

Can someone explain what is mention be "New Zealand European"? It is not an ethnic group and intersects with other groupings such as "dutch" (European country) and Maori, a New Zealand grouping that may include individuals with ancestry from both European and Maori.
In other countries, the correct term for Europeans is Caucasian. Can someone explain the differences and complexities that apply. In New Zealand


Phil (Facilitator) Fri 1 May 2015 4:52AM

You might find some relevant information in the statistical standard for ethnicity http://www.stats.govt.nz/methods/classifications-and-standards/classification-related-stats-standards/ethnicity.aspx
What do others think?


Mike Clement Sat 2 May 2015 7:42AM

I believe that New Zealander should become a recognised ethnicity.

I do not feel I belong to Europe (or any country in Europe)... I feel that I am a New Zealander.

I do not like the term Pakeha, I am not a Pakeha... I am a New Zealander and I'm damn proud of it.


Guy Marriage Sat 2 May 2015 9:06PM

I think that, in all honesty, this category is politically confused, and needs a rethink. It would be shouted down if we were just to ask people if they were brown, or white. Yes? Yet ethnically, we ask if people are Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Niuean etc, in other words, where you and your parents come from is what we are interested in. If you identify as Maori, we drill down even further, asking about tribal Iwi affiliations. That's great - I'm interested in that too. Yet when it comes to, for want of a better word, "white" people, just one tick box suffices? Aren't we interested in the pakeha whakapapa at all? Am I a first generation New Zealander or a fifth generation Pakeha? Is my background Chinese, Indian, German, French, or Polish? Otherwise we just get this fine level of detail about Maori. And just a big boring lump of data on the rest of Aotearoa ie white. Doesn't matter who they are or where they came from, we'll just call them white.
Seems wrong.


Guy Marriage Sat 2 May 2015 9:10PM

One thing I'm certainly not, however, is Caucasian. That would apply to people from the Caucasian mountains, ie part of Russia, and ethnically very separate from the rest of Europe. I may be part French and part German, but I'm certainly not Caucasian.


Racheal McGonigal Sat 2 May 2015 11:45PM

I am just a New Zealander.
Same as anyone else born in this country. I will not tick boxes marked New Zealand European or Pakeha. If there is a box marked other, I will tick that and write New Zealander in it.
I am insulted that Statistics NZ do not even have a box for the majority of us to tick.
We are a multi-natioinal country and there are now so many NZers, (born here) who have a vast ethnic history, it is time Statistics NZ recognised us for actually who we are and stopped dividing us up.
So what if we are part Chinese, part Indian, part Maori, part Scot, part Samoan or part anything, if you were born in this country you are a New Zealander.


Ruth Sun 3 May 2015 12:10AM

I agree that we should have a box that is just New Zealander. But also more options alongside the NZ European. What about NZ Chinese or NZ Samoan, etc. - people born in NZ of other decents are only given the option of being Chinese or Samoan / Fijian etc rather than a NZ (insert parental origin). Only people of European decent can be NZ (ethnicity). I dislike ethnic labels to start with, altho I understand the statistical interest in such numbers and labels. It feels like only Europeans are recognised by the government as 'properly' NZers if they are the only ones able to be called such. This is institutional racism.


Guy Marriage Sun 3 May 2015 1:47AM

@Rachel - absolutely agree. That's why I say that the question is confusing racial ethnicity with national socio-political identity. To me they are very different things. I too am a New Zealander, and that's a social / political identity that I am happy to wear. Ethnically however, like most kiwis, I'm a mixed bag of ethnicities from an array of countries. I'm quite happy to share that on a census form. But to me it is just as relevant to ask if my European part is from France or Spain, as it is to ask if my Maori part is from Ngati Toa or Ngai Tahu. Lumping all New Zealanders into one box seems wrong - both to Maori (who are obviously also New Zealanders) as well as to pakeha.
Some people I know object to being labelled Pakeha as they feel it sets Maori apart from non-Maori, and it's not nice to be labelled as something that you aren't, rather than something that you are. That doesn't worry me too much, but I would note that if pakeha is set to mean non-Maori, then should it not include Asian as well? Yet typically, we use pakeha to mean white - again, going back to the issue of the colour of your skin being the deciding factor.


Nat Sun 3 May 2015 5:43AM

Nationality != ethnicity. I'm a New Zealander by nationality, but Pakeha/NZ european by ethnicity, or if you want to break that down further, English, Scots etc. Same as Māori are NZ nationality, but Māori ethnicity.

The data outputs are useful for health/education measures and a bunch of other things.

Load More