Auckland: A country within a country (+ Infographic)

Luke Parker
Auckland: A country within a country (+ Infographic)

Whether you like it or not, Auckland is the engine room of New Zealand, the economic hub with a population forecast of approximately 2 million in the next 15 or so years.*

Heading south down State Highway 1 and up over the Bombay Hills, the further you go, the more apparent it becomes… ”we're not in Auckland anymore.”


There's no place like Auckland

Massey University Pro Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley FRSNZ, says Auckland is increasingly becoming something different from the rest of New Zealand, both in size and cultural diversity. 

“Auckland is one of the most super-diverse cities anywhere in the world where 40% living there are born overseas. It’s much more cosmopolitan and internationally connected,” he says. “The population forecasts indicate that 60% of New Zealand’s growth will occur in Auckland over the next decade and it will be home to 40% of all New Zealanders in the future.”

SEE ALSO: Welcome to the new New Zealand

With 2 dominant Asian populations, Indian and Chinese, Auckland has a medium-sized Korean and Filipino community as well as migrant populations from the UK, South Africa, and Pasifika.

“This super-diversity means that food, sports, media, religious beliefs, languages, and attitudes are also very super-diverse. Traditional values and practices are being replaced in some instances or being renegotiated as to what does it means to be an Aucklander in the 21st century."


And it's only going to get more diverse

Professor Spoonley says if the future face of Auckland is to be fully understood, then one should go and look at some of Auckland’s schools. 

“The children of Asian migrants (75% of all Asians are born overseas so we are talking about the other 25%) will dramatically change Auckland educationally, in terms of culture and leisure, and other areas like sport. 

“Look at the growth in the numbers playing golf, basketball, badminton, table tennis, or football. In 10 years, the sport landscape will have changed significantly unless traditional sports can attract Asian participation.”


A growing divide

The Salvation Army’s 2015 Mixed Fortunes Report released last month said based on current trends, it’s apparent that New Zealand is on a divergent growth path which risks the creation of 2 New Zealands – Auckland and the rest.

It said Aucklanders will be younger, wealthier, better-skilled, and more ethnically diverse than the rest of New Zealand. Within such differences are the seeds for a growing divide in values and expectations.

The Mixed Fortunes Report stated the regions in New Zealand which are most marginalised economically and socially have the least ability to respond to the challenges they face around an aging population, climate change, and resource scarcity.

It is quite possible that these regions are the ones that will be first and worst affected by the shocks and trends emerging from these challenges.

For those living outside of Auckland, Professor Spoonley believes the challenge will be 2-fold.

“This will be to retain or grow their population, especially in terms of those between 15 and 35 years of age, and secondly, to grow 21st century jobs."

The Humanities and Social Sciences Professor says some regions will stagnate and might experience depopulation, while others will do reasonably ok.

“These areas around the country will also be significantly less culturally diverse.”


Attitudes can either help or hinder progress

He says the barriers that hinder the natural progression of change are the attitudes of the host population.

“Are they prepared to be welcoming or to adapt? These include groups such as employers.

“If I had a concern, it would be that Aucklanders do not engage with and understand other parts of the country that well – or the reverse. I have certainly encountered some strong anti-Auckland sentiments – in some cases, outright prejudice.”

Cultures, he says, whether within an ethnic or other community or as a nation, are always being changed. 

“The latest change is to add to the country’s biculturalism with immigrant-derived multiculturalism. Some of what emerges will be negotiated in the bedrooms and houses of New Zealand, while our schools, hospitals or courtrooms will also see the positive, and negative, outcomes.

"But one thing is sure, New Zealand will change and it will be a very different country from the past."

* Salvation Army’s 2015 Mixed Fortunes Report  

SEE ALSO: Welcome to the new New Zealand

Centralisation of economic activity:

Westpac Chief Economist Dominick Stephens says Auckland is experiencing a New Zealand version of the global trend towards greater centralisation of economic activity.

“The digital age has caused a greater proportion of economic activity to agglomerate into fewer, larger cities – especially central business districts,” Mr Stephens says.

“In line with this global agglomeration trend, Statistics NZ projects that Auckland’s population is set to grow by around 740,000 people over the coming 30 years (about 50%). This is expected to create unprecedented demand for dwellings located within striking distance of a major Auckland centre of employment, most notably the CBD.”


Population growth: Unevenly distributed

  • Over the past decade, New Zealand’s population has grown by around 1% per year and from just under 4.1 million people in 2004, to slightly more than 4.5 million in mid-2014.

  • More than 76% of New Zealanders live in the North Island and nearly half of them living in 3 regions – Auckland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty.

  • At the time of the 2013 Census, around 43% of New Zealanders lived within the triangle of Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga and this geographic area accounted for nearly 2/3 (64%) of New Zealand’s overall population growth between 2001 and 2013.

  • This concentration of population and population growth is having a significant and profound effect on New Zealand’s demographic, economic, and social structures, and so should also be influential in the design and delivery of public policy and programmes.

Migration: Uneven flows

Over the period 2004 to 2014:

  • Auckland accounted for nearly half (47%) of arriving migrants but only 40% of departing migrants.

  • Wellington received just under 11% of arriving migrants and lost 13% of the departing migrants.

  • Canterbury received 13% of arriving migrants and lost 12% of the departing ones.

Employment (post the Global Financial Crisis):

  • While the number of people in jobs has grown by a credible 9.4% nationwide since 2007, a huge 44% of this job growth was in Auckland, while 10% was in Canterbury and 15% in Otago.

Source: Salvation Army’s 2015 Mixed Fortunes Report 

Auckland vs Otago: Infographic

How do the Auckland Region's statistics from the Mixed Fortunes Report stack up against Otago's?

Auckland vs Otago


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