Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

www.stats.govt.nz

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Review of the Official Ethnicity Statistical Standard 2009
Introduction

This review was undertaken following a significant increase in the level of ‘New Zealander’ responses to the ethnicity question at the 2006 Census. During the census there was public debate about the format of the question and the purpose of the statistics. Partly as a result of this debate the number of ‘New Zealander’ responses to the ethnicity question increased from over 90,000 in 2001 to over 400,000 in 2006, making ‘New Zealander’ the third largest response group in the 2006 Census, after ‘New Zealand European’ and ‘Māori’.

National naming in census ethnicity questions is not confined to New Zealand. In recent years, it has also appeared in other countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Although national naming featured notably in our 2006 Census, its emergence was evident as far back as 1981, and was noted in a previous review of ethnicity statistics completed in 2004.

This review has sought to improve and broaden our understanding of the issues surrounding national naming in the New Zealand census. Our aim is to ensure both the ongoing integrity of the official ethnicity statistics needed for public policy and the continuing support and trust of the New Zealand public who provide the data.

The review began in 2008. Following consultation with stakeholders and a programme of research, a draft report was published in April 2009. This report sought public feedback on Statistics New Zealand’s views of the issues and some proposed options for managing them.

The final recommendations, which I have accepted, are presented in this report. There are contending views on how and what should be measured and reported. The key users of the statistics strongly support the need for consistent measurement. On the other hand, a significant body of survey respondents expressed preferences for changes to how the ethnicity question is formatted in the census. However, there is strong evidence that changing the format of the question poses significant risk for maintaining consistent measurement, particularly for those ethnic groups of most interest to public policy. Also, at this time, the outcome of national naming in the census is still not clear, given that it is currently not such an issue in other sources of official ethnicity statistics. On balance, my preference is to make minimal change now and to continue to monitor the trends and reassess the situation after the 2011 Census.

I would like to thank the various stakeholders who helped to frame this review and the many organisations and citizens who provided advice and feedback in response to the publication of the draft review report. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the review team, Paul Brown and Daria Kwon, whose efforts in researching the issues and gathering advice and input from a range of stakeholders has not only informed this review, but also laid a sound foundation for future review.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician

 

Additional research report

Public Attitudes and Understandings of Ethnic Identity: A Qualitative Study  is a research report commissioned by Statistics New Zealand that discusses public attitudes and understanding of ethnic identity.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Top
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+