A Desire for Active Citizens: An Exploratory Analysis of Citizenship Education for Young Migrants in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts (Distinction)
This thesis examines whether the introduction of citizenship education in New Zealand would increase the levels of active citizenship of young migrant New Zealanders, using voter turnout as a measure. This research draws attention to an overlooked part of New Zealand political science research by studying young migrant New Zealanders. The theories and topics covered in this research include the notion of citizenship, education, political participation, social capital and multiculturalism. Both surveys and interviews are used to gauge young New Zealanders’ political attitudes and opinions, and their levels of political knowledge, interest, sophistication and socialisation are examined. The findings of this research suggest that citizenship education would not only be beneficial to young migrant New Zealanders but that citizenship education would benefit all young New Zealanders. It is argued that an increase in all young New Zealanders’ levels of political knowledge and interest are likely to have a positive effect on voter turnout levels. It is also argued that the current education curriculum does not explicitly encourage such learning. Using these findings in conjunction with theory, it is recommended that citizenship education is implemented into the New Zealand secondary school curriculum to ensure that New Zealand’s democracy is in good health for the current and future generations.