Filipino Community

The 2006 Census count of Filipinos was 16,938

fiesta-pilipinas-cultural-danceBy 1981, the Filipino population totaled 405. Until the 1990s, most migrants were young women, who had often met New Zealand men through friends or by answering newspaper personal advertisements. A few were even ‘mail-order brides’. There were over twice as many Filipino women as men in New Zealand by 1991. Not all the marriages lasted; issues such as sending money to relatives in the Philippines could cause tension. Children of these marriages were of mixed ethnicity, and their parents’ approach largely determined how much Filipino culture and language they retained.

Although the majority of Filipinos are well-educated professionals who arrived during the 1990s, a handful had settled decades earlier – the 1936 census records six people born in the ‘Philippine Islands’. Many worked as professionals and office workers. In the mid-1990s Auckland Filipinos were settling in suburbs such as Henderson and Mt Roskill.

Among Asian ethnic groups in the 2001 census, Filipinos had the lowest unemployment rate and the highest average income. However, doctors struggled to get their qualifications recognized and often had to undertake further study.
By 2001, there were 11,091 residents, 57% living in Auckland , 14% in Wellington and 13% in the South Island .

Among Filipinos, traditional values of pakikisama (smooth social interaction), amor propio (self-esteem), utang na loob (reciprocity) and the extended family are important. The American influence is also strong – shopping at malls and sports are popular. What rugby is to New Zealanders, basketball is to Filipinos.

One legacy of over three centuries of Spanish rule is that the Philippines is the only predominantly Christian nation in South-East Asia . In 2001 most migrants were Roman Catholics.

• Just under 17,000 people identified themselves as Filipino at the 2006 Census
• 50% increase in Filipinos between 2001 and 2006
• Filipinos speak a mixture of Tagalog and English – “Taglish”

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