Opportunities and Challenges PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lachlan   
Sunday, 22 July 2007

Opportunities and Challenges- A New Zealand perspective

Tim Beal

Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand

Opportunities and Challenges

  • Opportunities and challenges for civic participation of global Chinese communities
  • Two aspects – Local and Global
  • Two aspects are interconnected
  • If dysfunctional, aspects are in contradiction to each other
  • We must seek synergy, so they act in concert and achieve more

Chinese in New Zealand

  • This morning described changing situation of Chinese in NZ
  • In the past – discrimination
  • Now – valued members of community
  • In theory but also increasingly in practice

NZ and the Chinese

  • NZ is coming to terms with Asia and the Chinese
  • Support for anti-immigration parties has fallen
  • More people are more positive about Asia
  • The Chinese economies and the Chinese peoples increasingly important

NZ and Chinese culture

  • Lagging in education sector
  • Not enough Chinese language or Chinese Studies in educational system
  • Popular engagement with Chinese culture increasing
  • E.g. festivals

Governor General at Chinese festival in Auckland

Chinese speaking out

  • Chinese have long been engaged in own civic/cultural affairs
  • Now, greater engagement in mainstream activities
  • E.g. local and national politics
  • How has this come about?
  • Draw on paper by Steven Young
  • Copies available

Changing environment

  • Chinese world becoming more important and more confident
  • Chinese in NZ
  • Growing in number
  • Changing in type
  • Changing profile of Chinese

Changing profile of Chinese

  • First waves of Chinese were uneducated
  • Gold digging >> market gardening and greengrocers
  • New immigrants and children of old are educated
  • Professionals – e.g. accountants (Pansy Wong), Architects (Steven Young), Lawyers (Mai Chen)….

English language skills

  • In order to participate in mainstream community Chinese need good spoken and written English
  • Chinese are increasingly indistinguishable form mainstream population
  • But this is not old-fashioned assimilation
  • Chinese are remaining ‘global’ with ties to culture and country


  • Impact of technology
  • Transport revolution
  • Then expensive sailing ships, now cheap jet aircraft
  • Entertainment – videos, CDs – preserve culture
  • Communications revolution>>the Internet
  • Having profound effect

Profound effect of Internet

  • Cheap and rapid communication between new and old homes
  • Keeps families, friends in communication
  • Web gives access to home news, culture, etc.
  • The Internet increasingly used as global political instrument


Opportunities and challenges

  • Chinese most valuable when both Local and Global
  • Need to commit to new home
  • Need to retain links and culture
  • Become a transnational ‘global citizen’ that links both
  • Finish with observations from fellow Wellingtonian Steven Young

Steven Young - giving

  • Confucian values are relevant to the host society
  • The Chinese community as a group, and family connections in it are valuable intermediaries for the host country seeking to trade with Asia
  • The Chinese community needs to fully participate in the host society in order to secure its future there as a permanent home

Steven Young - taking

  • Western ideas about democracy, personal freedom, the rule of law, and Christian values help clarify some relationships in traditional Chinese society and makes it more relevant to the modern world

Giving, taking, building

  • Chinese communities need to give ideas and take ideas
  • Together, Chinese and non-Chinese, we must constantly seek to build a better world that combines the best of our heritage.

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