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Ed Sheeran

Migrant conversation for Fair Borders

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A researcher on Māori attitudes to migration says New Zealanders need look at how this country’s immigration practices can be improved in light of the United States crackdown on asylum seekers.

Arama Rata from Victoria University along with Tahu Kukutai from Waikato contributed a chapter on Māori attitudes to David Hall’s new book Fair Borders? Migration Policy in the Twenty First Century published by Bridget Williams Books.

She says some Maori take a negative attitude to migrants because of the impact of colonial settlement, but they may have shared experiences with migrants of colour in a racist society.

She says New Zealand has an idea of itself as being welcoming and racially tolerant, but recent changes have made family reunification more difficult.

"While we can point at the US and be appalled by what is happening there we also need to focus on our own policies and how we can treat migrant communities in Aotearoa with a bit more dignity and respect and compassion but also put them at the centre of the conversation so instead of talking about migrants we should be having conversations with migrants about what would make their lives fuller and more complete and how they can be more fully participating in Aotearoa," Dr Rata says.

She is on a panel tomorrow to talk about the book Fair Borders at the Royal Society in Turnbull St, Wellington at 6pm.

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