New Zealanders value a strong multicultural society

17 February 2012


New Zealanders value a strong multicultural society, with 89% agreeing that it is a good thing for society to be made up of people from different races, religions and cultures.

The Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research’s (CACR) research findings suggest a more optimistic future for multiculturalism in contrast to the highly emotive and largely implausible suggestion that New Zealand’s Constitutional Review in 2012 could result in the implementation of sharia law and polygamy.

Michael Field’s article in the Sunday Star Times Ethnic rights advice stuns communities, provides a heavily slanted discussion on the suggested implementation of a multicultural policy in New Zealand, and the consequence of that on New Zealand’s constitution.

“Our research shows that 82% of New Zealanders agree that immigrants should maintain their original culture while also adopting New Zealand culture- a view widely shared by immigrants who now make up 23% of our country. Discussions as to how this might be achieved should be viewed constructively rather than portrayed as extremist,” says CACR Director, Professor Colleen Ward.

The proposal for a multicultural policy to be introduced into New Zealand law has not gained significant traction at this point. Therefore it is unlikely to have a substantial effect on the Constitutional Review. As can be expected, discussions around the review will include the voices of ethnic communities, along with other New Zealand communities, including tangata whenua, pasifika, and pakeha.

Towards the end of Field’s article, he quotes three ethnic community leaders saying they are not calling for any major changes in constitutional law through a multicultural policy.

“We support the view that ethnic communities are advocating for New Zealand to have one law for all in the 2012 Constitutional Review,” says Professor Ward.