The Suburbs Where Europeans Could All But Disappear

Publish Date
Monday, 9 November 2015, 7:32AM

New Zealand is becoming a super diverse nation, but its diversity story is a stratified one - drawn along ethnic and economic lines.

Herald Insights, a new data journalism site from the NZ Herald, is launched today and an interactive allows readers to explore projections of ethnic makeups in Auckland neighbourhoods and every territorial authority in the country.

In some areas with lower median income, Europeans could all but disappear, such as in Manurewa, Otara-Papatoetoe and Mangere-Otahuhu, where they have gone from majority to minority.

In the Manurewa area, the Pacific group will grow from 11,900 to become the largest group on 60,500. The Pacific group will also remain the largest group in Mangere-Otahuhu.

Orakei, which has one of the highest personal median incomes in Auckland, will see a rise in European population but just a small growth in Pacific and Asian populations.

Herald data editor Harkanwal Singh said the data showed a clear pattern within Auckland local board areas that diversity was taking place along ethnic and economic lines.

"Even though overall figures for Auckland's diversity look promising, once you see the breakdown along local board areas, it shows a stratified diversity."

Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley said the areas were very distinctive in terms of their ethnic and immigrant profiles - and the trend was for them to become even more so.

"The Auckland story is increasingly one that is dominated by 21st century immigration flows, but what has become apparent in recent years is that there are multiple sub-Auckland stories as different parts of the city look and feel quite different given the presence of particular ethnic communities," Professor Spoonley said.

"This is partly because some areas, such as the urban fringes of the city or new housing areas provide the sort of housing that these new immigrants seek, and so there are significant concentrations.

"But there is also a degree of displacement as new immigrants replace existing populations, either because they are keen to live close to existing family and communities or because the area is less attractive."

In about 20 years the Asian population will become the largest group in Whau, Puketapapa and Howick local board areas. In Whau, the Asian population is projected to more than double to 59,400 in 2038.

"There are different economic stories being written as immigrant arrivals or the departure of others overlaps with concentrations of both wealth and poverty," Professor Spoonley said.

"Not all immigrants have money and there are some pockets of diversity and poverty that should be a cause for concern ... there are parts of Auckland where immigrants are struggling and living alongside existing income- or work-poor households, and those with poor educational and health outcomes. This is a major policy challenge."

Herald Insight data, derived from Statistics NZ projections, showed Asian and Pacific populations growing in all regions and areas.

But the European population will decline in five areas: Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, West Coast, Southland and Manawatu-Whanganui.

Dr Wardlow Friesen, author of an Asia NZ Foundation report titled "Beyond the metropoles: the Asian presence in small city NZ", found high proportionate increases in Asian populations outside Auckland.

Between the 2001 and 2013 Censuses, the Southland region had the biggest percentage growth at 233 per cent - from 852 to 2838.

Dr Friesen, a senior lecturer in geography at the University of Auckland, said the Asian presence in small cities also included short-term visitors such as tourists and international students.

NZ Herald