Filipinos in Welling­ton ‘more set­tled’

The Wellingtonian - - Front Page - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.’’

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