Aotearoa Migration Research Network Seminar Series 2021

Date Tuesday 9 March 2021
Time 11am - 12pm
Where Zoom (
Presenter Wei Zhang (University of Otago)
Contact Shemana Cassim
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Housing experiences of Chinese immigrants in New Zealand

There is little research about Chinese immigrants’ housing experiences in New Zealand (NZ), despite many Chinese migrating to NZ after it opened its doors to skilled migrants from non-English speaking countries in 1987.

This study uses data from semi-structured interviews of 20 Chinese immigrants from mainland China and six key informants, plus photos reflecting their housing experiences. The Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF) for wellbeing is used to understand the four kinds of capitals Chinese immigrants have embraced through their housing journeys in NZ: natural capital, human capital, social capital, and financial and physical capital.

The study finds that NZ’s old, damp and mouldy housing stock has affected immigrants’ wellbeing. They felt depressed while staying at some temporary places. They reported many reasons for moving frequently while trying to settle in NZ. Finding another rental place and shifting again caused stress. Once home ownership was secured, they tended to be happier and have better well-being. Some have experienced discrimination during the journey. They demonstrated strong resilience in the settlement process and many Chinese cultural values.

However, almost all interviewees did not understand the official translation 福祉 of the word wellbeing. The LSF needs to be updated to be more suitable for the diverse NZ population.

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