Filipino Migrants Happiest in NZ per Cultural Connections Survey

Article published by NZ Herald's Lincoln Tan
08 May 2017
source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11851665

Filipinos are the happiest lot of migrants in New Zealand, ahead of South Koreans and people from the United Kingdom, a survey has found.

The survey by market research company Cultural Connections quizzed more than 600 migrants asking "How happy were you when you first arrived in New Zealand?" and "How happy are you now?"

Migrants from the Philippines rated their happiness levels at 8 out of a possible 10, up from 6.8 when they first arrived.

They are followed by South Koreans which went up from 6.7 to 7.9 and the British from 7.1 to 7.9.

The least happy migrants are those from India on 6.9, which is behind the Americans on 7.2.

The survey also found that the longer migrants stay, the happier they are.

Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley said the findings echoed other research on the topic.

"But the unhappy immigrants might have already left, so we have those who have stayed the distance," Spoonley said.

Older migrants also appear to be happier, with those in their 80s on a happiness level of 9, compared with 7.3 for those in their 40s.

Julia Tolentino moved here 11 years ago with her family and says she is "doubly happy" given the survey shows she is from the happiest ethnic community in NZ as well as the happiest electorate in Auckland.

The happiest electorates in New Zealand are New Plymouth, Selwyn and Taranaki-King Country, with Manurewa being the happiest electorate in Auckland.

Mangere and Mt Roskill were the unhappiest in Auckland, and Mana the electorate that's least happy in New Zealand with a score of just 3.

Researcher Eric Chuah said almost half of the respondents from the US were on work visas.

"For the US work visa holders, happiness level was 6.8 when first arrived, but dropped to 6.2," Chuah said.

"This suggest a gap between level of expectation, being told by friends or promised how amazing New Zealand is, versus reality and finding out it is not as amazing."

He said the current presidential mood in America might have also contributed to unhappiness and worrying about family and friends back home.

Chuah said most Filipinos migrated to New Zealand in search of better employment.

"They are happier because for the same amount of hours put in a day, Filipinos here are earning more than seven times compared to their home country," he said.

In contrast, Chuah said, most Indians came here on the promise of better education.

"The promise of better education is not living up to expectations," Chuah added.

"The stories of Indian students having to work while studying to repay loans back home and other factors are well known.

'Doubly happy' to be here

Julia Tolentino moved from the Philippines to New Zealand with her family 11 years ago, and lives in Manurewa.

The 22-year-old University of Auckland admin assistant gave a score of 10 in the happiness survey.

"I actually don't have anything to compare my life with, but I just feel absolutely happy living in New Zealand," Tolentino said.

"I feel there's total freedom, and I've got lots of opportunity to do everything that I want to do, there's just nothing to be unhappy about."

She is currently pursuing a post graduate degree in employment relations.

"Manurewa is just a wonderful place to live in, I live just behind Totara Park and there's always people exercising, walking their dogs, it's just a picture of happiness," Tolentino said.

"Coming from the happiest ethnic community and living in the happiest electorate according to the survey, I get you can say I'm doubly happy to be here."