Intercultural Relations in a Multicultural Society: Predicting Tongans' Attitudes toward Maori and New Zealand Europeans/Palangi Groups
Contemporary intergroup relations and perceptions research has largely focused on majorities' perspectives while neglecting the perspectives of minorities. However, for a multicultural society to be successful, mutually positive intergroup attitudes are important, and multiple perspectives need to be considered. This research drew on Ward and Masgoret's (2006) Integrative Model (IM) of attitudes toward immigrants to examine contact, threat (realistic and symbolic), and intergroup emotions (anger and fear) as predictors of Tongans' attitudes toward New Zealand Europeans/Palangi people and Maori. It also tested: 1) the effects of perceived discrimination to determine if this explained additional variance in out-group attitudes beyond that accounted for by contact, threat and emotions; and 2) target group (Palangi/Maori) as a moderator of the predictor variables. Two hundred and forty-four Tongans (age range 15-83 years) resident in New Zealand participated in the study. In line with the hypotheses, hierarchical regression analysis controlling for age, gender, educational level, English language proficiency and employment status indicated that greater contact and lower levels of symbolic threat predicted positive out-group attitudes and fear predicted negative attitudes. Furthermore, the addition of perceived discrimination to the regression model significantly accounted for additional variance in out-group attitudes and appeared to mediate the effect of fear, which was no longer significant. Contrary to expectations, however, these effects were not moderated by out-group (Palangi/Maori) target. The findings are discussed in relation to New Zealand's social, economic and political context. In addition, the contributions offered by a minority perspective on intergroup relations are elaborated, and the applications of the findings are described along with recommendations for future research. In the end, understanding minorities' perspectives is crucial for promoting positive intergroup relations in New Zealand as well as in other multicultural societies particularly those with long histories of cultural plurality and prolonged intercultural conflicts.