Report maps NZ's entire Irish community for the first time

June 17, 2021

Report maps NZ's entire Irish community for the first time

The Auckland Irish Society receives the report for the first time. Photo: Conor Knell

A new research report is the first to map the entire Irish community in New Zealand.

The Auckland Irish Society was recently presented with the Irish in Aotearoa report, a groundbreaking document for the Irish diaspora in New Zealand.

The report was produced the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs through the Irish Embassy, and was written by Dr Sonja Tiernan of the University of Otago’s Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies.

It even includes a foreward by Irish President Michael D Higgins.

The research specifically includes Ireland-born citizens of New Zealand, as opposed to the descendants of those who arrived decades ago.

It compiles data for areas such as geographical spread in New Zealand, county of origin in Ireland, gender ratios and even average incomes to give a comprehensive picture of who Irish New Zealanders are and how they contribute to the multi-cultural fabric of  Aotearoa.

Though it was formally published at the end of last year, COVID lockdowns in February and March delayed its presentation to the Auckland Irish Society.

Dr Tiernan emphasised this was the very first document of its kind.

"There’s never been a report like this that has mapped an entire nation before. We’ve seen similar reports in Los Angeles and bits of Canada, I think. But they were covering a much smaller area. So this was very much a world first."

Irish ambassador Peter Ryan led proceedings alongside Dr Tiernan to an enthusiastic reception from the Irish community.

Mr Ryan is the first Irish ambassador to New Zealand since the  Irishembassy opened in 2018.

Since his arrival, he says he has been working closely with Irish groups across the country to build links with both Irish-born citizens and the wider diaspora.

"[The report] is hugely important to us to know what we’re talking about when it comes to our Irish-born. We have a duty of care towards our citizens here in New Zealand and so it was really important we know who they are and where they are.

"We are one of the only nations on earth to have a dedicated Minister of the Diaspora. We have a dedicated government minister charged with engaging and embracing our diaspora.

"So in every embassy’s work, every government office’s work, right the way up to our security-council representatives at the United Nations, we’re always looking for ways to further engage with our diaspora.’

Ambassador Ryan later spoke to the crowd about how important the Irish story is to New Zealand.

Watch Mr Ryan speak here:

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