New Zealand People and culture
The People and culture
With a patchwork history of Māori, European, Pacific Island and Asian cultures, New Zealand has become a melting-pot population – but one with some uniting features that make it unique in the world. Today, of the 4.4 million New Zealanders (informally known as Kiwis), approximately 69% are of European descent, 14.6% are indigenous Māori, 9.2% Asian and 6.9% non-Māori Pacific Islanders.
Other ethnic groups:
However, successive waves of new immigrants from the early 1990s reinvigorated many traditions. Chinese New Year and the mid-autumn festival, for example, have become popular celebrations drawing huge crowds of Chinese and other New Zealanders. Some events, like the lantern festival and the dragon boat race, are now widely popular among other New Zealanders, especially the young.
The Chinese community is now made up of many sub-groups, divided by language and dialect. Its members come from very different countries with distinct political systems. Many of the locally born young Chinese are trying to reconnect with their cultural roots, some by learning Chinese, and some by visiting China. More recent immigrants have set up Chinese schools to help maintain their children’s heritage language skills, while many parents study English and retrain for a New Zealand qualification.
Parents today are more relaxed about their children’s choice of professions. In the 1960s children were encouraged to train for a ‘secure’ profession, and to become doctors, lawyers, engineers and architects, but the 21st century has witnessed the emergence of young Chinese artists, writers, musicians and poets.
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