Ukrainian New Zealanders
|Regions with significant populations|
|Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington|
|Ukrainian, New Zealand English|
|Byzantine Catholic, Eastern Orthodox|
|Related ethnic groups|
Ukrainian New Zealanders (Ukrainian: Українці Нової Зеландії) are an ethnic minority amongst New Zealanders, consisting mainly of Ukrainian immigrants and New Zealand-born citizens of Ukrainian descent. According to the 2006 New Zealand census, 1152 residents of the country declared Ukraine to be the place of their birth, and a further 672 inhabitants to consider themselves to be Ukrainian by ethnicity. Currently, the main concentrations of Ukrainians are located in Christchurch and Auckland.
Formation of the Ukrainian community
In 2006 New Zealand National Center for Research on Europe (NCRE) of Canterbury University, Christchurch, one of the first in the country paid attention to the potential of Ukrainian-New Zealand relations and analysis of obstacles of their rapid development. In their joint paper entitled «New Zealand-Ukrainian relations: the promise of a date» Dr. Natalia Chaban and graduate student Vlad Vernygora, underlined major, in their opinion, following reasons of the above matter: sporadic links in the past, the traditional perception of Ukraine in New Zealand with steady geopolitical associations, and in many cases simplified identification with Russia.
An important chance to express themselves, along with inquiring important questions about their own potential as a community, contemporary New Zealand’s Ukrainians received during the 2004 «Orange Revolution» in Ukraine. This event has drawn considerable media attention in New Zealand. This gave impetus to the recovery process of establishment of the Ukrainian community in New Zealand, which started its history from the mid-twentieth century, when the first group of Ukrainian refugees (approximately 170 people) left the post-war Europe and in 1949 arrived in New Zealand.
Ukrainian Association of New Zealand
15 June 2007 the Ukrainian Association of New Zealand (North) was officially registered. Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM, Chairman, AFUO, Secretary General, World Congress of Ukrainians, congratulated UANZ with this event. Thus, the Ukrainians of New Zealand were considered to be the part of the global Ukrainian community. The current Chairman of the UANZ is Ms Nataliya Poshyvaylo-Towler.
In addition to the successful formation of similar initiatives with organisations in other parts of New Zealand (Central North Island and South Island), UANZ initial steps were aimed at commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine, which remained virtually unknown to New Zealanders. Therefore, the main task for UANZ was not simply to provide New Zealanders with relevant information about Holodomor, but to show and prove that the strong Ukrainian people, despite the historical challenges and great number of victims, managed to survive and now continues to adequately build their own state.
The congratulatory message of Dr. Lockwood Smith, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Parliament of New Zealand, to the Ukrainian community of New Zealand on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Ukrainian immigrants’ arrival in this country had the important political and humanitarian perspective for Ukraine’s relations with New Zealand. In his message Dr. L. Smith, among other, noted the current level of development of the Ukrainian community of New Zealand, and also stressed the importance of understanding historical events in the Ukrainians’ development, including the tragedy of famine in Ukraine. The specified message of New Zealand senior officials confirmed the important attention of the New Zealand Side to the UANZ and to the development of relations with Ukraine.