Thursday, August 26, 2010

Koreans in NZ

Stuart Vogel gives us some updated information on Koreans in New Zealand.  
70% of Koreans in New Zealand identify as Christians, while roughly another 20% claim to follow no religion. Buddhists number only about 5%. One Christian newspaper estimates that 35-40% of all Koreans are "active Christians" who regularly attend worship services, mostly at one of New Zealand's 100 Korean churches. Another recent study has shown that around 90 per cent of the study's participants attended Church regularly.

A weekly Christian newspaper published in the Korean language claims to have a circulation of 3,500 and discusses religious issues as well as issues of common interest to immigrants, such as migration law and property ownership. 20 years ago we had no Korean congregations within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand.  Now we have 11 such congregations or groups.  We have Korean ministers graduating from our theological training and serving in a wide variety of positions. We have numerous congregations and ministers wanting to join the PCANZ. We welcome the interest without any hesitation.

Research has shown that Korean Christian churches provide much needed opportunities for support, fellowship and business networking as well as information and general assistance. This includes conversational English classes. One participant in the study said: "I had help from the Korean church in New Zealand. They gave me information about the business. It was hard to get the right information except through the local Korean church. As an immigrant with limited English language, I felt isolated and was not able to get proper information to start up the business."

And some other more general information: 

Almost 70% of New Zealand’s Koreans live in the Auckland area (2001 stats).
16% are in Christchurch with the rest scattered throughout the country, mostly in the larger towns and cities.
The majority of Korean immigrants have tertiary qualifications and are in their thirties and forties, meeting the immigration criteria.
Some chain migration has occurred as arrivals send home favourable reports to friends and relations – including elderly parents – who then came to join them.
Upon arrival most Korean families have sufficient funds to buy homes in relatively affluent suburbs like Auckland’s North Shore which.
By 2001, in North Shore City, Korean was the second most common language after English (4.1% in the 2006 Census).

Koreans attend a variety of NZ churches: the Korean Christian Churches in NZ site  lists Full Gospel, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and various Pentecostal groups. 

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