Accessing social service support: Barriers experienced by Chinese migrants living in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand


  • King Lok Kan Ara Institute of Canterbury
  • Helene Connor Te Puna Wananga, University of Auckland
  • Liz Beddoe Counselling, Human Services and Social work, University of Auckland



Retired Chinese migrants, quality of life, social support, barriers to accessing social support, immigration, aged service


INTRODUCTION: According to Census 2013, approximately 25% of Auckland’s population is Asian, with the majority of these being Chinese. Given that Aotearoa New Zealand’s population is ageing, it can be expected that there will a significant demand for aged services for Chinese older adults in our local community in the future. Exploring the language barrier encountered by retired and aged (65+) Chinese migrants living in Auckland is needed.

METHOD: Two focus groups were interviewed with retired Chinese migrants (group 1) and local social service practitioners (group 2). The focus group topics included the living experience of Chinese migrants in Auckland in Aotearoa New Zealand, while local social service practitioners reported their daily work experience of serving Chinese older adults. A short, warm-up, oral questionnaire stimulated discussion in each group. Data analysis was used to identify themes and draw tentative conclusions about the needs of older migrants and suggest how local aged- services providers could better serve retired Chinese migrants.

FINDINGS: Language barriers and transportation problems were commonly agreed to be obstacles that hindered retired Chinese migrants accessing social support and health services. More input was needed to improve their general English language proficiency to facilitate their daily lives and participation in social life in Aotearoa New Zealand.

IMPLICATIONS: Findings from the research have the potential to be an important resource for local social service practitioners, giving them a better understanding of older Chinese people.


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How to Cite

Kan, K. L., Connor, H., & Beddoe, L. (2020). Accessing social service support: Barriers experienced by Chinese migrants living in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 32(4), 131–144.



Original Articles II