Aotearoa New Zealand is now a country of many ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs. We have witnessed this dramatic change in demography in the last decade. Rapid growth and social change mean New Zealand looks different today than it did two or three decades ago, with 1 in 4 people who now live in New Zealand born overseas, and emerging ethnic migrant, refugee, and religious communities continuing to grow.
Although global movement has been restricted with the impact of Covid-19, the reality remains that these growth trends are expected to continue over the next decade and beyond. According to Statistics New Zealand, in 2038 Twenty percent of New Zealanders will be Māori, 21 percent will be Asian, 11 per cent will be Pacific and 66 per cent will be Pākehā.  Statistics New Zealand further notes that the Māori, Pacific, and Asian populations will continue to grow faster than the average beyond that date and further increase their proportion of the overall population. As this culture and socio-economic change happens, it is imperative for host communities, service providers and institutions to be equipped with the skills needed to recognise, value, and navigate diversity.
The objective of this publication is to outline various pieces of research relating to ethnic migrants and refugees in New Zealand, highlighting key findings that will no doubt contribute to moving us forward in embracing their uniqueness and fresh perspectives. This compendium of research topics provides the opportunity to amplify ethnic migrants and refugees’ voice by providing their perspectives and experiences. More importantly, it contributes to enhancing better understanding and cultural intelligence among policy developers, decision makers, community development practitioners, and organisations who work with the ethnic migrant and refugee communities.
It is also designed to promote the need to reflect the changing demographics of our society to aid the wider economic, cultural, and social participation of these communities. Based on the evidence, institutions and agencies will see the urgency to improve and achieve better outcomes for the people that need their support.
It is worth noting that some of the research collated here have been controversial. They expose institutional marginalisation of ethnic migrants and refugees and called for some hard and uncomfortable conversations that led to system review. An example is the African Youth: Experiences with the Police and the New Zealand Justice System by Camille Nakhid.
Some of the research detailed in this volume have been the catalyst for the recent diversity and inclusion strategy being developed across the public sector in the past 5 years. The newly launched New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy has been used to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to delivering improved refugee resettlement outcomes. ‘Football in Aotearoa: Responding to Diversity, Becoming More Inclusive’ by Paul Spoonley; and ‘New Land, New Life: Long-Term Settlement of Refugees in New Zealand’ by MBIE are some examples.
More so, we have seen some research recommendations that have been applied directly to the day to day operation of some organisations. Volunteer community organisations have used them to facilitate and deliver settlement and integration programmes that will support migrants to connect and interact with each other and other Kiwis, helping them participate confidently in their host communities. Examples are the Nelson Multicultural Council’s commissioned research Meeting the Needs and Challenges of Migrants and Former Refugees in the Nelson and Tasman Region by CACR, Victoria University of Wellington; and Our Multicultural Future informing the evidence led development and implementation of Christchurch City Council, Hastings District Council and Hamilton City Council Multicultural Strategies and Diversity Toolkit as well as the Welcoming Communities programme.
Beyond the public sector and other agencies, all New Zealanders stand to benefit immensely from all the insights and findings of this body of research. These should not be viewed as purely academic, but their recommendations will hopefully be picked up and implemented rather than sitting on the shelves gathering dust. Examples are The Roles of Health and Health Care Services in Social and Cultural Integration of Ethnic Minority African Migrants: The Case of the Luo Community of Wellington by Judah Seomeng, Engaged Communities: How Community-led Development can Increase Civic Participation by Amanda Reid and Hillmarè Schulze and the recently commissioned Human Rights Commission research project which aim to improve the understanding of refugee and migrant New Zealanders’ experiences of discrimination, racism and xenophobia.
As a smaller but growing demographic in New Zealand, the Middle Eastern, Latin American or African (MELAA) and the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups who are the ethnic migrant and refugee communities need research investment and opportunities to be better understood and supported. This will ultimately empower community development practitioners and agencies with the cultural competency to engage communities in a culturally appropriate manner. In doing this, we do have a chance to provide a framework to strive for racial equity, integration of ethnic migrant and refugee communities, social cohesion, and a sense of belonging which are central to a healthy democratic society.
In conclusion, I would like to appeal and request members of Community Research to share other relevant research works that are missing from this collection. I believe this publication should be a first volume only or a living document that we can continue to populate as we conclude more research. This should be a hub for the very best of New Zealand research relating to ethnic migrant and refugee communities because knowledge and understanding are the two indispensable arbiters of social inclusion and cohesion.
 Statistics New Zealand (2015), National Ethnic Population Projections 2013 (base) – 2038