Quake rebuild brings ethnic diversity to Christchurch
Wed, 11 Jul 2012 4:13p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A high number of migrants flocking to post-quake Christchurch means the city could soon rival Auckland in ethnic diversity, says a Massey University sociologist.
Professor Paul Spoonley says up to 40,000 migrants are predicted to arrive in Christchurch in the next 18 months, drawn by work opportunities rebuilding the damaged city.
But with the influx also comes the need to be prepared.
“If you bring immigrant workers in, you deliberately need to plan for their arrival and use their skills, but also make them feel welcome, otherwise it’s not going to work,” he says.
Christchurch is one of the country’s least ethnically diverse areas and Professor Spoonley hopes the new arrivals will prompt a “sea change” in the way immigrants are perceived.
He says the influx could be the country’s third major immigration wave after the arrival of Pacific Island migrants in Auckland in the 1950s and 1960s and Asian immigration in the 1990s and 2000s.
Professor Spoonley says community involvement in the post-quake-rebuild has helped build stronger race relations in the city.
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