Barriers to Equality Faced by Asians in NZ

25 August 2010

By Adrienne Girling and Morgan Davie.

Confident, equal and proud? A discussion paper on the barriers Asians face to equality in New Zealand was launched at the National Diversity Forum in Christchurch, New Zealand in August 2010.

It presents state-of-the-art research showing that Asians in New Zealand:

  • face more discrimination than all other ethnic groups
  • experience the highest levels of verbal and physical harassment
  • are at a disadvantage in finding employment, even though many are recruited here for their skills.

Many New Zealanders believe that Asian migrants keep to themselves and don't try to fit in. However, many Asian arrivals report making efforts to get to know Kiwis, without much success.

Despite these challenges, Asian people are actually very satisfied with their lives in New Zealand. They value the opportunities that NZ brings. They lodge fewer complaints about discrimination than other groups and barely feature in social welfare statistics.

However, the paper is clear that discrimination is a reality for Asians in New Zealand. It is time to act against these barriers to equality. The discussion paper identifies three areas for action:

1. Zero tolerance for racist street harassment

2. Encourage social connections between groups

3. Improve Asian employment opportunities

Read the report

This discussion paper was prepared by researchers at the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, for the Human Rights Commission.

Read it below or download the pdf pdf975KB.

View more documents from Human Rights Commission.

We all agree that action is needed. But what action?

What can we do to:

  • stop racist harassment in public places?
  • promote more contact between Asian migrants & other NZers?
  • ensure that Asian NZers are treated equally in employment situations?