The changing representation of the Chinese diaspora in New Zealand print media

Duan, Diana (Dongjie)
Hirst, Martin
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The study examines the print media’s representation of the Chinese diaspora in New Zealand over the past decade. Understanding the news media is an important mechanism in constructing identity and affecting relations between host and diasporic minority. Recent alterations in Chinese representation are observed along with dynamics of culture, politics, and economy occurring in the New Zealand multicultural landscape.

Adopting the interview method, the study involved twelve participants from the migrant community and media outlets to clarify the contemporary meaning of the New Zealand Chinese diaspora and to discover aspects of the Chinese media construction of diasporic identity. It reveals that diverse historical backgrounds as well as cultural differences between them and the majority create varying levels of understanding of the Chinese, leading to differences in their representation between mainstream and Chinese newspapers. Three case studies investigate mainstream newspaper reports of typical issues raised from the recent integration of Chinese immigrants. It shows that media portrayal has varied according to the degree to which the majority recognizes and perceives the immigrant minority. While there is an ongoing understanding, it exemplifies the continued presence of racial and negative stereotypes in mainstream news media. Some critical issues have become apparent from this study. For the Chinese news media, it is urgent to solve their financial problems. Therefore, they may reinforce the power of influencing Chinese identity and bridging between the migrant community and mainstream society. It suggests that in addition to more understanding of the minority group, encouraging young Chinese to be part of the mainstream media would be an effective method of tackling underrepresentation or misrepresentation of Chinese.

Media representation , The Chinese diaspora
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