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Christchurch home to more than 160 different ethnicities

29 August 2007

Christchurch is now home to more than 160 different ethnicities, according to the city’s first Migrants Report released today (29 August).

The Migrants Report 2007, produced by the Christchurch City Council, provides a comprehensive insight into the ethnic diversity of the city.

"Christchurch is becoming more ethnically diverse," says Council Community Support Manager Catherine McDonald.

"In 2006, people from 161 different ethnicities were living in the city and they spoke 104 different languages.

"This ethnic diversity makes Christchurch a vibrant, colourful place to live work and play."

She says ethnicity is a self-perceived measure of personal identity; a measure which is different to that of race, birthplace, citizenship and ancestry.

Christchurch’s Migrant Report 2007 is one of the first of its kind to be produced in New Zealand, providing the Council, Government agencies and community groups with a blueprint of the city’s minority migrant populations for which to better plan to meet the changing face of the community.

By 2006, 20 per cent of the city’s population or 70,017 people were born overseas. This number rose 28 per cent or 15,345 between 2001 and 2006.

The report says the largest number of people in Christchurch who were born overseas were born in the United Kingdom (22,158 people or 31.6 per cent), followed by North-East Asia (14,691 people or 21 per cent) and Australia (5961 people or 8.5 per cent).

In 2006, Asian, Pacific Peoples and other minority ethnic groups made up 11 per cent (39,063 people) of Christchurch’s population – numbers having grown 42.7 per cent in five years.

The three largest ethnic groups were Chinese with 11,715 people, followed by Samoan with 6,105 people, followed by the Korean group at 4, 566 people.

The report says the rate of population growth of Asian, Pacific Peoples and other minority ethnic groups has increased at a greater rate than that of the total Christchurch population.

The Riccarton/Wigram Ward had the highest population of Asian ethnic groups in 2006 at 13.5 per cent or 8208 people, followed by Fendalton/Waimairi Ward at 11.9 per cent or 6303 people.

Hagley/Ferrymead has the highest proportion of its population belonging to the Pacific Peoples group at 4 per cent or 2232 people, followed by Burwood/Pegasus at 3.7 per cent of 2118 people.

New Zealand is one of only 17 countries in the world that offers a permanent home for refugees in need of resettlement. In 2006, the four main ethnic groups with people from refugee backgrounds living in Christchurch were Kurd, Somali, Ethiopian and Afghan.

The Migrants Report 2007 looks at population projections, external migration, gender, age, religious affiliation, place of birth, education, occupations, work and labour force statistics, annual personal income and household tenure.

The Report is available online at:

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