Kukutai, Tahu; Didham, Robert
August 2009
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Aug2009, Issue 36, p46
Academic Journal
In the 2006 census the number of people reporting New Zealander as their ethnic group increased five-fold, making it the third most frequent response behind New Zealand European and Māori. The magnitude of the increase was surprising, but followed similar surges in national naming in the Canadian and Australian censuses. In this paper we ask: Who chooses to ethnically identify in the name of the nation and why? In so doing we emphasise the constructed nature of ethnicity and ethnic groups, and the political context within which ethnic identification decisions are made. Our analysis suggests the New Zealander incline was a phenomenon driven primarily by multi-generational New Zealanders who formerly identified as European. We discuss some reasons for why the national identifier appears to have selective appeal as an ethnic label, and reflect on how this may change in coming years.


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