Half a World Away: Contemporary Migration from the European Union to Canterbury, New Zealand
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
As a traditional country of immigration, New Zealand has often looked outside of its borders for its population composition and as a result 19 percent of New Zealand's current population were born overseas. In recent times, immigration has been used by successive governments as a means of countering severe skills shortages and off-setting a declining birth rate. While attention in the media, public and to some extent in academic circles has been largely focused on the increasing volume of immigrants to New Zealand from Asian countries, migration from Europe has often been overlooked and yet it remains an important component of the New Zealand's migration flows. This thesis explores this stream of migration - from the member states of the European Union to New Zealand - by examining the specific case study of contemporary European Union migration to the Canterbury region, incorporating migrants who live, work and study in Canterbury. The thesis used surveys and in-depth interviews in addition to secondary data to investigate the composition of the European Union migrant population in Canterbury, as well as exploring the motivations and experiences of these migrants. Conceptualising the motivations of contemporary migrants from the EU to New Zealand is difficult, due to a multiplicity of theories and frameworks surrounding the topic of migration. As such, this thesis suggests a three level framework drawn from in order to better understand the motivations of target population. Although the experiences of the surveyed migrants were largely positive, some difficulties were noted, particularly while seeking work and building friendships with New Zealanders. Finally, this thesis proposes a number of recommendations at a policy and academic level which may assist in furthering understandings of the important but often ignored group of European Union migrants in New Zealand.