European New Zealander

The term European New Zealanders or Pākehā refers to New Zealanders of European descent.[1] Most European New Zealanders are of British and Irish ancestry, with smaller percentages of other European ancestries such as Croatians, Germans (includes Poles due to Partitions of Poland), French, Dutch, Scandinavian and South Slav.[2]

Census statistics

The 2006 Census counted 3,381,076 European New Zealanders, or 73.6% of those who gave their ethnicity. Most census reports do not separate European New Zealanders from the broader European ethnic category, which was the largest broad ethnic category in the 2006 Census. Europeans comprised 67.6 percent of respondents in 2006 compared with 80.1 percent in the 2001 census.[3]

The apparent drop in this figure was due to Statistics New Zealand's acceptance of 'New Zealander' as a distinct response to the ethnicity question and their placement of it within the "Other" ethnic category, along with an email campaign asking people to give it as their ethnicity in the 2006 Census.[4]

In previous censuses, these responses were counted belonging to the European New Zealanders group,[5] and Statistics New Zealand plans to return to this approach for the 2011 Census.[6] Eleven percent of respondents identified as New Zealanders in the 2006 Census (or as something similar, e.g. "Kiwi"),[7] well above the trend observed in previous censuses, and higher than the percentage seen in other surveys that year.[8]

In April 2009, Statistics New Zealand announced a review of their official ethnicity standard, citing this debate as a reason,[9] and a draft report was released for public comment. In response, the New Zealand Herald opined that the decision to leave the question unchanged in 2011 and rely on public information efforts was "rather too hopeful", and advocated a return to something like the 1986 approach. This asked people which of several identities "apply to you", instead of the more recent question "What ethnic group do you belong to?"[10]

Alternative terms

Pākehā

Main article: Pākehā

The term Pākehā, the literal meaning of which is unclear,[11] is often used interchangeably with European New Zealanders. New Zealanders who consider "European" to be anachronistic and inadequate often prefer Pākehā, feeling that this better describes their ethnic and cultural identity. Others find the term as relational and archaic as calling Māori "natives", without describing their cultural roots in any meaningful sense.

Palagi

Main article: Palagi

The term "Palagi", pronounced Palangi, is Samoan in origin and is used in similar ways to Pākehā, usually by people of Samoan or other Pacific Island descent.

British and Irish New Zealanders

For residents of citizens that originate from New Zealand see New Zealanders in the United Kingdom

See also: British people, Irish people

The New Zealand 2006 census statistics reported citizens with British (27,192), English (44,202), Scottish (15,039), Irish (12,651), Welsh (3,771) and Celtic (1,506) origins. Historically, a sense of 'Britishness' has figured prominently in the identity of many New Zealanders.[12] As late as the 1950s it was common for New Zealanders to refer to themselves as British, such as when Prime Minister Keith Holyoake described Sir Edmund Hillary's successful ascent of Mt. Everest as "[putting] the British race and New Zealand on top of the world".[13] New Zealand passports described nationals as "British Subject and New Zealand Citizen" until 1974, when this was changed to "New Zealand Citizen".[14]

While "European" identity predominates political discourse in New Zealand today, the term "British" is still used by some New Zealanders to explain their ethnic origins. Others see the term as better describing previous generations; for instance, journalist Colin James referred to "we ex-British New Zealanders" in a 2005 speech.[15] It remains a relatively uncontroversial descriptor of ancestry.

See also

References

External links

  • Stats NZ site
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