Laissez-Faire Multiculturalism and Relational Embeddedness: Ethnic Precincts in Auckland

Paul Spoonley
Carina L Meares


The rapid diversification of immigration to New Zealand post-1987 has made Auckland, as the nation’s key gateway city, both culturally and demographically superdiverse, and the location of considerable immigrant business development. We focus here on the development of ethnic precincts as the manifestation of this transformation of the cityscape. The neo-liberalism of the 1980s continues to prevail in the unwillingness of central and local government to recognise the ethnic/immigrant nature of such developments and there has been little in terms of either policy or resourcing to support or brand these precincts. As a consequence of this laissez-faire attitude, immigrants’ relational embeddedness tends to be privileged and ethnic-specific networks dictate the nature and location of ethnic precincts within a policy environment that stresses the importance of market processes and encourages small business development.

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