In Inquiry after learning about immigration to New Zealand during the 1900's we analysed the effect immigration policies had on New Zealand.
During the 1900’s New Zealand had a very restrictive policy on immigration. This meant that only people who were desired by the New Zealand government were allowed to enter the country. During the 1900’s this mostly meant people from Britain.
One group of people who came to New Zealand during the 1900’s were the Chinese. Chinese immigrants supported the local industry, allowing gold mining to continue in Otago after the British miners had left for new rushes on the West Coast. Gold mining paid for schools, roads and bridges to be built. Without the Chinese Otago would have been poor, had few schools to offer education and less families would have stayed.
Another group of immigrants who contributed to New Zealand industry were the Dalmatians (Croatians). Dalmatians came to Aotearoa to work in the Kauri gum industry. Gum digging provided a major source of income for Māori and settlers in Northland. Without Dalmatian immigrants this important industry may have ceased leading to poverty for Maori and other settlers.
Many British came to New Zealand as evacuees from the First World War. New Zealand provided a safe and secure area for British children to grow up far away from the dangers of war. If New Zealand had refused entry for these children they may have had to travel elsewhere or stay in war torn Britain.
For a long time in New Zealand there was a ‘white only’ attitude towards immigration. This meant it was very difficult for Asians to come to New Zealand. One group who struggled to enter New Zealand were people from India.
The evidence suggests that New Zealand was very different in the 1900’s to how it is now. In our classroom we have many ethnic groups such as Indian, Chinese, Pacific, British, Australian and New Zealand European. Our school values cultural diversity and we are encouraged to work together, share and learn from each other. This wasn’t the attitude during the 1900’s where the New Zealand government seemed to only want ‘white’ people. If New Zealand had retained it’s ‘white only’ policy our classroom would be very different, almost no one would be here!
In the wider world the president of the USA, Donald Trump is wanting to build a wall to stop Mexican immigrants and also ban Muslim people from certain countries from entering the USA. Trump’s ideas sound very similar to those of over 200 years ago in New Zealand, if he succeeds in his vision then the world would change dramatically and the USA would miss out on all the advantages of immigration such as people bringing new skills, ideas, new infrastructure (schools, roads) and cultural practices. In our opinion New Zealand is a better place now for allowing people to enter, work and live here.
We believe this analysis is extended abstract as we evaluated the contribution each part (ethnic group) made to the whole (New Zealand society). We also looked at the information in a different way by linking the effects of immigration on our classroom and also how immigration policies would effect the wider world.