The politics of presence: Political representation and New Zealand's Asian members of Parliament
In New Zealand, existing studies relating to the political representation of the country’s minority groups are largely confined to that of women and the Māori population. Unsurprisingly then, the representation of Asian-New Zealanders is an area that has been mostly overlooked to date. However, the numerous indicators that allude to the group’s growing social and demographic presence also suggests it is of increasing importance that they are included in New Zealand’s political narrative. This thesis seeks to address the gap by undertaking a case study of current and former Asian-New Zealand members of Parliament, in an attempt to establish their representative role. The complexities of this undertaking are readily recognised. The theoretical component of this thesis draws on a number of concepts from under the umbrella of political representation. Similarly, the primary data gathered from a series of extensive interviews with the intention of supplementing the aforementioned literature review is subject to other factors, including but not limited to political structure and individual perception. In spite of the expansive and subjective area of focus, and while only intended to be an exploratory (rather than exhaustive) work, it is hoped that this thesis will make a meaningful contribution to an understudied field in New Zealand political studies.