Over the past few days, we have seen a string of news coverage over Duncan Garner’s column about racial based immigration.

And here are the articles responding to Garner:

Garner was alarmed by what he saw in the supermarket queue – Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Syrians and many others.

What many people do not realise is that Asian migrants are what I consider as visible migrants because they stand out, compared to European or caucasian migrants who are invisible migrants because they blend in with the rest of Pākehās.

And there lies the crux of all the arguments here – that Asians are being targeted as a prompt for immigration review. I’ll let you decide whether that is right or wrong.

Below here are two charts based on Stats NZ to illustrate my point.

The first chart shows over the past five years how many migrants who moved to NZ with the intention to stay for 12 months or more, grouped by Stats NZ.


This chart below shows the makeup of migrants based on the average of the past 5 years, grouped by Stats NZ.


As you can see, visible migrants, ie Asians, only made up one-third of those who are migrating to NZ, whilst over half are invisible migrants, ie of European descent.

Looking at the long term forecast such as the chart below, I can understand why some people see the need to discuss how NZ should look like.


But I was a little bit saddened that in this day and age, we’re still talking about immigration based on race rather than meritocracy, contribution and values.


If there’s one thing that we can take away from all this whirlwind, is that many New Zealanders still see immigration through racial lens. However, I think we are making headways in tackling racial profiling and casual racism, because awareness and discussion are always a good start towards progression.


(BTW, I also love going to Kmart)



Eric Chuah is the founder of Cultural Connections, a multicultural consulting firm working with government agencies, community groups, and private sector in New Zealand. He is currently serving as Independent Advisor for Multicultural New Zealand; Board Trustee for Auckland Regional Migrant Services; and Ethnic Media Advisor for New Zealand Human Rights Commission.