Make census important for NZers

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says the census is important for all communities.

It is.

It’s just a pity that one of those communities – New Zealanders – is an afterthought in the ethnicity category.

The NZ Centre for Political Research has a poll asking people if New Zealander should be an option in the census.

Muriel Newman explains that a change in the ethnicity questions in the 1980s means that the number of Maori is exaggerated.

I don’t know if she is correct. My concern is that the current choices are discriminatory.

What message does having European New Zealander at the top of the list of choices and having to tick other send to people who consider themselves New Zealanders but happen to be of Maori, Pacific Island, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, African . . . or any other descent?

If statisticians want to know about race, that is what the question should ask. If they really want to know about ethnicity then New Zealander ought to be an option.




5 Responses to Make census important for NZers

  1. pdm says:

    I shall tick Other and then write in New Zealnder.

    My father born on the Isle Of Lewis, Scotland, had no affinity whatsoever for Europe.


  2. pdm says:

    I suppose I should add that my mothers parents were both born in New Zealnd and I think all four of her grandparents were also.


  3. JLG says:

    I also did not know how to answer this question. I’m of European ancestry, but am I “New Zealand European” yet? Why not just put “Caucasian”?


  4. homepaddock says:

    I don’t think Caucasian is an ethnicity, but then nor is European NZer:

    The definition of ethnicity is “the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to. Ethnicity is a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship. Ethnicity is self perceived and people can belong to more than one ethnic group.

    An ethnic group is made up of people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

    * a common proper name
    * one or more elements of common culture which need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
    * unique community of interests, feelings and actions
    * a shared sense of common origins or ancestry, and
    * a common geographic origin.”


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