NZ Girmit group fights for ‘Pacific’ classification for Fiji-Indians

By Anish Chand in Suva

The Fiji Girmit Foundation of New Zealand is opposing moves by the New Zealand government to classify Fiji-Indians as Asians.

President of the organisation Krish Naidu received a letter from Minister for Pacific Peoples ‘Aupito William Sio, which stated that Statistics New Zealand’s specific classification for Fijian-Indians falls under “Asian” followed by an “Indian” sub-classification”, not Pacific peoples.

Naidu told The Fiji Times there were about 90,000 Indians from Fiji who would be affected.

“It would contribute to the weakening and loss of our identity as a distinct community with our distinctive language, customs, traditions and history that have evolved in the Pacific and are an integral part of the Pacific fabric,” he said.

“Lumping us under Asians would mean our people would continue to be omitted from appropriate moral, linguistic, health, educational, and cultural support services.”

He said they wanted to be identified as Pacific peoples.

“Pasifika peoples recognised by the New Zealand government represent different communities and cultures and we are one of several.

“All groups of people from Fiji — our Fijian iTaukei brothers and Rotumans —are classified as Pacific people.

“Yet the largest population from Fiji in NZ – Fijian Indians – is part of the Asian classification.”

Naidu said the Fiji-Indian community was “pursuing this issue with vigour”.

“We have absolutely no doubt that the New Zealand government would see the justification in reclassifying us as part of the Pacific peoples.”

Republished with permission.

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