Who am I?
That is a fundamental question of identity and ethnicity plays a big part in the answer.
But when we are asked to give our ethnicity, this is typical of the choices we are given:
|New Zealander/New Zealander of European Descent|
|Maori/ New Zealander of Maori descent|
|Or another ethnicity (please type in)|
If the form had only New Zealander it would be inclusive.
As it is, it excludes anyone who isn’t of European or Maori descent.
Why does being descended from Scots allow me to claim New Zealander as my ethnicity but deny that to someone who identifies just as strongly as a New Zealander but whose ancestors happened to come from somewhere else?
Someone of Pacific, Asian, African or Latin American descent could be just as much an ethnic New Zealander as those of us whose antecedents were Maori or European.
Ethnicity is much more than race but having European as an option is reducing it to that.
I doubt anyone from the many and diverse countries and cultures in Europe would put European as their ethnicity.
The ancestors of most of us who are of European descent would have come not from the continent but the islands west of it. I don’t think anyone from England, either of the Irelands, Scotland or Wales would put Eorpean as their ethnicity. They probably wouldn’t put British either or even claim to be British unless perhaps an individual or team from one of the other countries but theirs had done something noteworthy and they wanted to share the reflected glory.
European isn’t who we are, it’s shorthand for who we aren’t – Maori and any other people whose skin isn’t white which excludes a whole lot of New Zealanders.
Officialdom needs to move into the 21st century, start recognizing New Zealanders of any descent and counting all Kiwis as Kiwis regardless of the colour or creed of our ancestors.