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Feedback due: 'Pakeha' in the next Census?

May 2009

This message has information about the current Statistics New Zealand review on the way official ethnicity statistics are collected and reported in the Census, in relation to the use of the category 'New Zealander'. Apparently they do not intend to put 'Pakeha' back on the next Census form - and if Pakeha is written on any census form under the category 'other', it is coded as 'New Zealand European' (see reference to 'Profile of New Zealander Responses, Ethnicity Question: 2006 Census' below). If you would like to let Statistics New Zealand know what you think about this, you need to provide feedback to them by Monday, 25 May.

There are two sections below:

  - some comments from Peter Hosking (who brought this to our attention, thank you Peter); and
  - where you can get more information.

Comments from Peter Hosking

New Zealanders who identify ourselves as Pakeha are ignored in the current Census format - we have only two options: "New Zealand European" or "Other". Those of us who don’t consider we are Europeans of any kind are denied the opportunity to describe our ethnicity accurately, in an official language of New Zealand. We may acknowledge the European ancestry of our forebears but we don’t consider that our ethnicity.

Statistics New Zealand is currently reviewing the "Official Ethnicity Statistical Standard" - although the main focus is on those who write in "New Zealander" (surely a nationality, not an ethnicity) - and so there is an opportunity to ask for a "Pakeha" option. The closing date for feedback is 25 May 2009.

In 1996 the relevant category was "NZ European or Pakeha" but the "Pakeha" option was removed for the next two Censuses – apparently because some people objected to the expression "Pakeha". Surely it was unfair to deny those who identify with the term on the basis that other people didn’t feel comfortable with it. And surely we’ve moved past those days anyway.

We would like "Pakeha" back.

At the last Census, 15,000 Pakeha New Zealanders checked the "Other" box and wrote in "Pakeha" – and obviously many more would have checked a "Pakeha" or "NZ European or Pakeha" option, had it been available.

Please contact Statistics New Zealand by 25 May and tell them you want a "Pakeha" option in the next Census. Send to email or post to Ethnicity Statistics Review, Statistics New Zealand, PO Box 2922, Wellington.

I will be making a more detailed submission personally - if you’d like a copy, please contact me.

Where you can get more information

Statistics New Zealand information:

There is a Dominion Post article Still no tick-box for 'New Zealander' at which among other things quotes statistician Geoff Bascand as saying: Initial consultation and research suggests that including a New Zealander tick-box would alter the meaning of the question so it is more about nationality and less about ethnicity. This could affect the accuracy and usefulness of the data collected"; and Auckland University geography senior lecturer, Ward Friesen, saying that if more people responded as being New Zealanders, ethnic data would become useless because it was non-specific.

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