Who am I is a fundamental question of identity.
Ethnicity is a fundamental piece of the jigsaw that provides the answer.
For census purposes an ethnic group is defined as:
. . . 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
- a common geographic origin.
The group into which I best fit with that definition is New Zealander.
But those of us who consider ourselves to be of New Zealand ethnicity will have to tick other and write New Zealander in the box because the census doesn’t consider it important enough to have a category of its own.
At least this year we will be counted under that category. Until the last census anyone who wrote New Zealander was considered to be a European New Zealander. That gross act of official and discriminatory presumption must have miscounted a whole lot of people of all sort of descent who considered their ethnicity to mean a lot more than where there ancestors happened to come from.
But it is ridiculous that still New Zealander can only be a self-selecting after thought and not a category in its own right as it is in Australia.
If we can’t count in our own country how can we answer who we are – or should that be whaddarya?