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Christchurch City Council Media Release Friday 5 March

Research Makes Recommendations to Help Asian High School Students in Christchurch

‘Voices of Asian Youth’ research, a study conducted last year to assess the needs of Asian Youths living in the City, includes a number of recommendations to help schools, the Christchurch City Council, and social, health and recreational providers understand the issues Asian high school students face.

Initiated by the Shirley/Papanui Community Board and staff at Papanui High School, the objective of the research was to identify the issues, concerns and needs of Asian high school students aged 13-19 years in the Shirley/Papanui, Fendalton/Waimairi and Riccarton/Wigram wards.

Because there is little research in this area, the study was predominantly exploratory, to determine issues that need to be looked at in further detail. The qualitative research involved interviews with 50 students in focus groups, covering 12 different Asian cultural groups, and six ESOL teachers, as well as census data, and input from 11 local schools, community boards and the City Council.

The key findings and recommendations are as follows:

Many students, teachers and stakeholders suggested the appointment of a youth co-ordinator would be beneficial, to act as a liaison between the students, counselors, the City Council and Asian community groups, and to provide the necessary assistance to schools.

The report also recommends that a working party be established to review the issues raised in the research. The role of a working party would be to facilitate the working together of various community groups, and providers of educational, social, health and recreational services, to provide a comprehensive and effective programme to meet the needs of the Asian secondary school students. This working party could comprise of one board member from each of the three community wards, and selected representatives of the high schools, Asian communities and staff from the community wards.

Many students do not have family or friends living in the City, and cultural and family links are often broken, causing students to feel isolated. The report suggests that an orientation booklet would be useful for students. Suggested content includes; essential information on facilities available in the City, useful English phrases and kiwi colloquialisms, and support systems that are available in the schools, from the City Council, and from community groups.

Some students experience language and cultural barriers. The report recommends that schools screen students to identify which students are fluent enough in English to proceed with normal classes, and which students need some help with their English and appropriate subject choices. For students with more severe English problems the report suggests it may be more beneficial for them to enroll in some courses that are slightly below their age or ability levels.

Some students whose parents do not live in New Zealand experience problems communicating with and relating to guardians and/or homestay families. The report recommends that "preferably at least one of the two parties [ie guardians or homestays] should be familiar with the students culture, and if the student’s English proficiency is low, at least one of the two parties should also be able to speak the student's own language."

Students identified a lack of recreational activities that they are interested in, both sports available at schools, and a lack of nightlife activities. The report recommends that the interests of Asian students should be better catered for, such as schools providing sports like Basketball, Badminton, Table Tennis and Soccer, which many Asian students prefer ahead of traditional kiwi sports such as cricket or rugby. Options for spicing up the student’s nightlife were also mooted by the participants, such as developing suitable entertainment venues.


The analysis of the research will provide valuable information for the various organisations, such as the schools’ administration, Ministry of Education, community boards, the Christchurch City Council, and providers of social, health and recreational services, that are responsible for the well-being of the Asian students. ‘Voices of Asian Youth’ will assist these organisations in formulating their policies and programmes to better help the students integrate into the school and society so as to maximise the students potential and contribution.


For further information about the research or for a copy of the final report, Voices of Asian Youth’, contact:

Carol Soundy, Media Relations Co-ordinator

Phone 371-1949 or 025-220-7248

or view the report on the web at


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