Video: History of Japanese in New Zealand

A look at the waves of migration from Japan to New Zealand from the early 19th century to today.

Japanese movements to New Zealand emerged in the early 19th century.

During the Edo era (1603-1868), Japan had a policy called Sakoku, which saw the country closed off for 260 years, until a population boom led the government to persuade young men to work abroad.

Asajiro Noda was believed to be the first Japanese person to settle in New Zealand in the late 1880s or early 1890s. He first found work in Invercargill as a cashier, before moving north to work as a kauri gum-digger in Northland and Waikato.

The first wave of Japanese migrants through the Japanese government-assisted scheme arrived in New Zealand in 1905.

New Zealand and Japan launched a bilateral working holiday scheme in 1985, increasing the number of Kiwi and Japanese people visiting each other’s countries. 

The number of Japanese immigrants grew after New Zealand introduced a skills-based immigration system in 1986. 

The 2013 census counted 14,118 people of Japanese descent in New Zealand – 3930 of whom were New Zealand-born.

– Asia Media Centre

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Japan, Asian diaspora, Migrants in NZ