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Who we are and how we got here
Counties-Manukau is the most culturally diverse
area in New Zealand. e last New Zealand census
in 2006 listed more than 165 ethnic groups - the
main groups being European/NZ European at 46
per cent, Paci c 28 per cent, Asian 22 per cent and
Maori 15 per cent. Remarkably for New Zealand,
39 per cent of the population speak two or more
languages. We are also a very young society, with 42
per cent u nder 25 years of age.
So how did we all come together in Counties-
Manukau? e name Manukau or Manuka is
a ributed to Tainui Maori whose canoe passed into
the harbou r around 1350, heralding a wave of Maori
migration. Occupation of volcanic cones as pa sites
begins at this time, Mangere being a prominent
example; although excavations of the Otuataua
Stone elds suggest earlier occ upation - probably
the ancestors of Te Wai-o-Hua . Te Wai-o-Hua and
Ngati Te Ata were the principal tribes living on or
near the harbour shores.
In the 1820 s the Maori population was devastated
by tribal warfa re, and a er the La nd Wars much
Maori land was unjustly con scated; the next
signi cant Maori migration would be the post-
W W2 urban migration in search of employment.
It is estimated about 50,000 Maori live in
European se lement began in the 1830 s with
the ar rival of traders and missionaries. e new
arrivals began acquiring land, o en controversially
such as the case of carpenter/missionary William
Fairbur n who pro ted from a Maori land dispute by
purchasing 40,000 acres for blankets, adzes, tools
In the late 1840 s fencible villages were built in
Panmure, Howick, Otahuhu and Onehu nga to
house retired English ar my o cers brought out to
defend European se lements.
e following decade saw farming se lements
established in Ma ngere, Wairoa (Clevedon today)
and Papakura Valley (Alfriston). ese would form
the bulk of European se lement for ma ny decades
- boosted by a stream of immigrant ships from
England, Scotland and Ireland.
European arrivals continued throughout the 19th
and 20th centuries, mainly English speaking,
although a er W W2 humanitarian causes brought
nu mbers from Hu ngary, Greece, Italy, Poland and
Yugoslavia to New Zealand, Manukau included.
ere were also the assisted passages to help meet
labour shortages - rst from the British Isles then
the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland
and Austria. Many of these arrivals ended up
in south Auckland, but it was the emergence of
mainly Otahuhu and Wiri as major manufacturing
centres that produced the major wave of im migrant
unskilled labour, this time from the Paci c.
rossing the a i
People from the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau
held New Zealand citizenship, so entry was no
problem. Other Paci c nations like Samoa, Tonga
and Fiji entered New Zealand through temporary
permits, quota schemes and family reuni cation
policies. O en the man of the house would be the
rst to emigrate and gain employment and housing
before sending for his family.
e Paci c population in Ma nukau has continued
to grow rapidly, aided by a higher birth rate than
the national average. It has also changed from a
mainly migrant group to a largely New Zeala nd-
born population, and contributing massively to
our sports, music, theatre, ne arts, business a nd
Samoans are the largest Paci c group in Ma nukau,
followed by the Cook Islands and Tonga. Other
island groups include Fiji, Nuie, Tokelau, Tuvalua,
Tahiti and iribati.
Over 40 per cent of the migrants between 2001 and
2006 censuses were born in Asia. Migrants from the
People s Republic of China were the most numerous,
followed by India and the Republic of orea.
ntil the 1920 s parliamentary legislation had
limited Asiatic migration to New Zeala nd, and
prevented naturalisation. e rst in u x of Chinese
and Indians in Manukau established market ga rdens
in the late 1920 s - meeting resista nce and prejudice
for many decades.
In 1939 Chinese refugees from wartorn Guangdong
province were allowed in.
ey are o en referred to as
the old generation Chinese.
A er W W2, those granted
included wives and children
who had arrived as refugees.
e 19 0 s saw many
arrive from Vietnam,
Cambodia a nd Laos.
Other groups such as
Lebanese and Iraqi also
for med signi cant migrant
nu mbers, as a result of
con ict in their lands.
In 2010 Mainland China
became New Zealand s
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. AWNS-19090 22-16-2
rowded arrivals hall
e number of new migrants living in Auckland
more than doubled between 1991 and 2006,
originating from all over the world.
South Africa ns dominate migration from Africa,
followed by migrants from Zimbabwe. South orea,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia
are also growing populations in Manukau, some
because of political instability at home, others for
lifestyle, education and employment opportunities.
What of the future? Already New Zeala nd has one of
the highest percentages of population born oversees.
And the in ow of overseas migrants, combined
with the number of New Zealand residents leaving
our shores for Australia, could lead to an even
At the same time marriages and partnering
will blur ethnic lines and produce a more
Manukau has a higher than average Maori, Paci c
and Asian population compared with other New
Zealand regions, and this will continue. Statistics
New Zealand ethnic population projections suggest
there will be 110,000 Maori, 141,000 Asian and
155,000 Paci c people in Manukau by 2021.
e Maori population is relatively young with high
proportions in the child and childbearing ages,
providing a built-in momentum for future growth.
e cu rrent 42 per cent of Manukau s population
identi ed as of Eu ropean is projected to drop
to 31 per cent in 2021, whereas 34 per cent of
people in Manukau are projected to identify with a
Paci c ethnicity.
About 41 percent of the growth in New Zealand s
Paci c population during from now until 2021
is projected to occ ur in Manukau.
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