Filipinos in Wellington ‘more settled’
Filipinos living in Wellington are bucking worldwide trends according to a new report published by the Asia New Zealand Foundation this week.
Making a Community: Filipinos in Wellington author Rebecca Townsend said, unlike other countries, the policy by which Filipinos are allowed to enter and work in New Zealand meant they tended to arrive with specific and high skill sets and often with a job already arranged.
‘‘They bring their families and raise their children here. Because of this, Wellington’s Filipino community is more settled and stable than is typical in other countries,’’ she said.
It is estimated that more than 10 million Filipinos work or live outside the Philippines, many of whom are low-skilled workers on contracts who face unsafe working conditions without the possibility of gaining residency.
However, in New Zealand, their incomes were roughly equivalent to European Kiwis – $30,600 compared to $30,900 – and higher than the general Asian ethnic population.
The report identified that many Filipinos in New Zealand had helped relieve significant and critical skill shortages in industries such as dairy, information technology, and agriculture.
‘‘Over the last few years, there has been a big demand for workers in the dairy industry and for the Christchurch rebuild, and Filipinos took advantage of that,’’ Philippine Ambassador to NZ Jesus Gary Domingo said.
‘‘We are happy to be helping [in the] rebuild and to further build up New Zealand society, both literally and figuratively.’’
Townsend also revealed that that the Filipino community here is not as tight-knit as some other Asian ethnic groups, largely due to the great diversity of their ethnicities and cultures.
‘‘Although Filipino is the country’s national language, there are over 100 dialects, which means many do not grow up speaking the same language,’’ Townsend said.
Asia NZ Foundation’s director of research and engagement Pip Mclachlan said the report helped build an understanding of Filipino Kiwis – the third largest Asian ethnic group in New Zealand representing around 1 per cent of our population.
‘‘We know that knowledge of and experience with Asia and Asian peoples go hand in hand with more positive attitude towards Asia.’’