Pasifika in Australia

Today, the Pasifika population in Australia makes up 1.3% of the total Australian population. It is a youthful and rapidly growing group compared to the Australian general population. According to researchers at the Australian National University, the Pasifika population is growing twice as fast as the total Australian population. They also suggested that the Pasifika population of Australia is growing faster than that of New Zealand. See Pacific Islanders in Australia: 2021 census results.

For some decades now, there has been an influx of Maori and Pacific Island migrants into Australia, mostly via New Zealand.

Frighteningly, almost half (45.8%) of the Pasifika population in Australia do not hold Australian citizenship (Ravulo, 2015) – most are New Zealand citizens. This is frightening because public policy here in Australia precludes New Zealand citizens from accessing really important social services that are fundamental to have for a thriving community – despite paying taxes that fund those services!

We will look into this more in this week’s content, but first, view the joint announcement about the changes made by Australian and New Zealand prime ministers in April 2023:

Research has shown that the main reason for Pasifika peoples’ movement to Australia is “for a better life” (Connell, 2002), which includes increased educational opportunities (McGavin, 2014), improved wages and work conditions (Horton, 2014), improved lifestyle, and to be close to family and kinship ties (Ravulo, 2015).

Many migrants, especially those who’ve come through New Zealand have created new hybrid labels such as: QueeNZlanders, Mozzie (Maori/Aussie), SamOzzie (Samoan-Aussie), highlighting the intersectionality of their sense of identity, and that they feel like they belong to both. 

Beyond the labels are sub-ethnic groups within Pasifika (e.g. NZ-born Pasifika/ Australian-born/ etc) as well as cross- and inter-culturalism. If you are working with Pasifika, it is critical to be cognisant of the diversity that lies within the unique and separate cultures.

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