Winter Lectures 2017

Nation Transformed (Lecture Series title) with a photo of Auckland's Spaghetti Junction in the background.

Nation Transformed: the place of migration in 21st century Aotearoa-New Zealand

The 1987 Immigration Act marked a watershed in Aotearoa-New Zealand’s recent history, adding a diversity to the migrant mix which has transformed the nation’s social and cultural fabric. Three decades on, this six-lecture series addresses the fundamental changes migration has brought and will continue to bring over the 21st century. While migration is a common topic of politics and public debate it is also poorly understood in terms of its political and economic foundation, internal mechanics and implications for communities.  

This lecture series seeks to both capture and extend the way the public imagines and engages with migration. Lectures will discuss the relationship between migration, settlement and tangata whenua; race politics and changes in the ‘preferred’ migrant; and Asian and Pacific migration. The series will also explore the nation’s relationship to its diaspora and the future of migration and settler society in the 21st century. It features renowned speakers including established and emerging scholars who will shape the intellectual debate around migration in the coming decades.


Worlding Aotearoa-New Zealand: migration and the making of national futures

head and torso portrait of Francis and Ward in front of blurred street scene.
Dr Francis Collins and Dr Ward Friesen

Dr Francis Collins and Associate Professor Ward Friesen
School of Environment, University of Auckland

Over the last three decades Aotearoa-New Zealand’s engagement with the world has been shaped by marked shifts in political and economic settings, as part of a longer-term reorientation from Europe towards the Pacific and Asia and by the changing contours of migration and mobility across these shores.

Migration is a form of what we call worlding, a process that is not simply an outcome of globalisation but rather involves an active assembly of altered demography, social relations and cultural exchange.

In this lecture we trace the worlding of Aotearoa-New Zealand that has been generated through migration policy shifts and their connection to changing political climate and sense of identity and belonging.  The lecture comprises three themes:

  1. New Zealand’s shift to Asia-facing and the notion that its future is in the Asia-Pacific region,
  2. the increased policy emphasis and incidence of temporary and circular mobility, and
  3. migration outcomes, especially diversification, resulting from a range of mobility types including permanent residence, temporary student and work mobility, and the increasing significance of refugees and asylum seekers.

Listen to Francis' and Ward's lecture, and see the accompanying slides.


The ‘desirable’ migrant and the race politics of immigration

Dr Rachel Simon-Kumar
School of Population Health, University of Auckland

For the last thirty years, New Zealand’s immigration policy has been caught between two opposing claims – officially, the policy is projected as an objective tool of economics that invites suitably skilled migrants regardless of their country of origin. To its critics, however, the policy is not immune to racism and tacitly encourages ‘desirable’ migrants from European backgrounds, erecting greater obstacles for ‘undesirable’ migrants from Asia. Neutral or racist? Reactionary or objective? What are the underlying values of immigration policy and how has it shaped New Zealand’s population mobilities?

This lecture, simultaneously a survey of recent migration history as well as socio-political analyses, uses ‘desirability’ as a window to explore the contemporary race politics of economic migration. It traces a dynamic relationship between race and economics over the last three decades arguing that while they have been in opposition in the past, it is the emerging collusion between the two that importantly reveals a new era of demographic and political transformation in New Zealand.

Listen to Rachel's lecture, and see the accompanying slides.


Never the twain shall meet? Bridging the Indigenous-Immigration research divide

Head and torso portrait of Tahu.

Professor Tahu Kukutai
National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato

Kotahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero
There is but one eye of the needle through which the white, red and black threads must pass

Nā Kīngi Potatau Te Wherowhero

With a high foreign-born population share (one in four), large diaspora, recent and rapid experience of ethnic diversification, and Indigenous ‘majority minority’, Aotearoa New Zealand is a fascinating context within which to study migration and mobilities.

However in Aotearoa, as in the other colonial settler states, there is a yawning black hole in the intellectual and political discourses that frame immigration research, debates, and policies - that is the virtual absence of Indigenous peoples and perspectives. In so far as immigration and Māori research and policy are treated as two separate spheres of inquiry, it is a case of ‘never the twain shall meet’. This is both curious and counter-productive given the long (and often fraught) historical experience of Māori with migration and migrants, and the contemporary politics of biculturalism and multiculturalism.

In this lecture I focus on the immigration-indigenous divide and reflect on how Māori-migrant relationships might be fruitfully envisioned through a Treaty-based approach which recognises the unique status of Māori as tangata whenua. I interrogate popular concepts in the migration literature such as ‘host’ society, integration and diversity, and suggest alternative ways of thinking about migration through an indigenous lens that acknowledges, rather than obscures, the ongoing significance of settler colonialism.

Listen to Tahu's lecture, and see the accompanying slides.


Pacific migration to Aotearoa-New Zealand: “more than meets the eye”


Associate Professor Yvonne Te Ruki Rangi o Tangaroa Underhill-Sem
School of Social Sciences, University of Auckland

After about four generations of migration to Aotearoa-New Zealand, there is a growing diversity among people with Pacific ancestry. Thanks to the combined effects of social, cultural, economic and political transformations, this diversity is most obviously seen in the naming of Pacific national sports teams, music groups, artists and other public figures.

In this lecture I reflect upon how this diversity came about and how hyphenated identities, cosmopolitan sensitivities and multi-cultural practices will continue to be transformative of Pacific communities and homes in Aotearoa, and the many other places Pacific peoples call home.

This is particularly evident in the last three decades as different policies have shaped the nature of population mobility from both the East and West Pacific. Intertwined with stories of diverse Pacific ancestry, I will examine some of the key processes that have produced this diversity (intermarriage, social mobility, globalization and discrimination) and ask what it means for the next generation of people with Pacific ancestry in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Listen to Yvonne's lecture, and see the accompanying slides.



Chinese in the cultural mosaic: New Zealand thirty years on

Head and shoulders portrait of Manying in front of the Albert Park fountain on a sunny day.

Emeritus Professor Manying Ip
School of Asian Studies, University of Auckland

This lecture argues that the changing place of the Chinese in this country’s cultural mosaic is one of the most salient features marking New Zealand’s transformation over the last three decades and into the 21st century. As a visible minority, the Chinese have faced formidable hurdles to ‘fit in’, to find suitable employment, and to meaningfully engage with mainstream New Zealanders.  Indeed, the rather bitter joke circulating among the Chinese is that any ills of New Zealand society could be blamed on them: from house prices, milk powder, jobs, health and education or their own mobility, the accusing finger is often directed at the Chinese.

After thirty years, some substantial transformation is visible and there are various ‘Chinese success stories’, many of these partly facilitated by the spectacular rise of China as an economic power.  While the Chinese in New Zealand are widely seen as a useful link to the country’s second largest trading partner, and an increasingly formidable political power in the Pacific,  genuine integration is yet to be achieved. Ultimately, the story of Chinese New Zealanders is that of a diasporic population, with various links to a distant sending country.  With their considerable personal strengths, how can they contribute further to a better future for themselves and for their country of adoption?

Listen to Manying's lecture, and see the accompanying slides.


Emigration and the rise of diaspora institutions

Head and shoulders portrait of Alan

Associate Professor Alan Gamlen
Hugo Centre for Population and Migration Research, University of Adelaide

Migration policy has always been about managing inflows of people, a task to which classical settler societies like New Zealand are well accustomed. But emigration and diaspora policies are an increasingly important feature of the political landscape of the 21st Century as many countries including New Zealand struggle to adapt to the increasing external mobility and long-distance participation of their own people living in other countries.

Formal government offices dedicated to emigrants and their descendants in the diaspora have recently been established in well over half of all United Nations Member States. Many more countries have, like New Zealand, experimented with government-funded programmes aimed at ‘engaging the diaspora’. Why is this happening and what does it mean for the evolution of citizenship, sovereignty and territoriality in the 21st century?

In this lecture I will present findings from a five-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust through the Oxford Diasporas Programme, explaining the rise of diaspora institutions and discussing why it matters in the 21st century, not least for countries like New Zealand.

Listen to Alan's lecture, and see the accompanying slides.