Irish in Aotearoa: Mapping the Irish Community and People of Irish heritage in New Zealand
The connections between Ireland and New Zealand are burgeoning. To better understand and recognise the shape of these connections, research on the Irish in Aotearoa was commissioned by the Embassy of Ireland, Wellington. This is an exciting project mapping Irish citizens and community across all 16 regions of New Zealand. This is also an ambitious project, encompassing such a large geographical spread. The research findings and associated interactive maps of the Irish in Aotearoa New Zealand are just the beginning of possibilities for future research. The results of this project are well placed to enable further connections to be made among Irish immigrants, community groups and government representatives. Indeed, like the census data, these results may also have an impact on business connections. Figures already highlight that Ireland and New Zealand have a developing trade network. There are two distinct aspects to the following research. In the first part, the New Zealand census returns have been analysed to account for people of Irish ethnicity currently living in New Zealand. Figures prove that the number of Irish immigrants moving to New Zealand and staying long term has been steadily increasing over the last four census returns from 2001 to the most recent returns in 2018. Analysing these figures in more detail, it is possible to gain a deeper insight to the contemporary Irish population in Aotearoa New Zealand. The regions in which Irish populations mainly reside continues to change with an evolving economic climate. This report provides evidence of the increase in numbers of skilled Irish immigrants moving to the Canterbury region since the 2011 earthquakes to help with the rebuild of Christchurch, for example. Due to the high number of Irish among the early New Zealand settlers, it is estimated that approximately one in every six people in New Zealand has Irish heritage. These figures have yet to be confirmed by statistics. Therefore, this research project includes the use of online surveys to glean more information about New Zealanders of Irish heritage or with an affinity for Ireland. The first survey sought details from individuals and saw an impressive response with 2,932 people included in this research. Over 65 percent of the total responses are from people of Irish heritage. These results are therefore the most detailed information gathered to date on New Zealanders of Irish heritage. It is significant that the majority of those, 84 percent, have family bonds closely related to their Irish ancestors, ranging from an Irish born parent to an Irish born great grandparent.
Publisher: Embassy of Ireland, Aotearoa New Zealand & University of Otago, Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies
Keywords: Irish Diaspora; New Zealand Immigration; Irish Heritage; Census New Zealand; Irish Communities; New Zealand Ethnicity
Research Type: Commissioned Report for External Body