Mirroring Chapter 4 on Australia, this chapter outlines the equally diverse nature of New Zealand's population. As will be shown, different historical issues have led to diversity being measured somewhat differently in New Zealand (NZ) – such as a focus on ethnicity as opposed to country of birth − while paradoxically, in NZ the description of people defined by particular countries of birth as “ethnics,” as is often the case in Australia, is never heard. Reflecting a host of underlying definitional problems, the chapter also covers related measurement issues and their methodological implications. Where important to further analysis, these issues are briefly explained. As in the chapter on Australia, this chapter provides background demographic and socio-economic data for use by students, rather than substantive analysis of diversity.
New Zealand – what is diversity?
Interest in diversity differs by country. In NZ, diversity typically makes people think of “ethnic group,” that is, whether people are (broadly) Māori, European, Pacific Island, or Asian in origin, while in Australia diversity tends to be thought of in terms of country of birth and generation of migrant. Like age and sex, these are examples of “inherent diversity” (traits people are born with).
By contrast, diversity gained from experience, such as one's personal, social, and economic characteristics, is termed “acquired diversity.” Acquired characteristics also tend to differ at group level, such as by ethnic group or spatially (e.g., by region), and require methodological consideration when making sub-population comparisons.
With over 85% of its population living in an urban area NZ, like Australia, has one of the developed world's most urbanised populations. In 2013, two-thirds of NZ's population lived in its 13 cities (one-third in Auckland alone), up from 62% in 1996. Between 1996 and 2013, 90% of population growth was accounted for by just five cities and eight urban districts, while one-third of the overall 67 territorial authority areas declined in size, primarily because of net migration loss at young adult ages. NZ's urbanisation is, however, now slowing – plausibly because the proportion living in an urban area is approaching its maximum.