How climate change displaces Pacific Island settlements and the public’s perception of large scale migration
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AbstractLow lying Pacific Island countries are coming under threat from climate change. Island nations are suffering from the impacts of inundation, severe storms, droughts and shortages in fresh water. Climate change impacts are affecting daily life activities and are prompting Island nations to plan for the possibility of relocation. With climate change inducing human migration, this study has investigated how host nation people respond to possibly accommodating large Pacific Island communities. A literature review was carried out to research climate change impacts in the Pacific islands, migration theories and cultural interaction. To support this, Semi structured interviews were conducted to gain insight from the host population. Upon conducting interviews, three major themes were found. 1) Host population want the migrant population to integrate with them and be part of their communities. They do not want migrants to isolate and segregate themselves and create cultural factions. 2) With facing the possibility of large numbers of migrants relocating they could create a welfare burden on New Zealand economy. This is because migrants could be unskilled or the New Zealand economy may struggle to find sufficient employment. Migrants may also group together in an area to create support networks and host population are apprehensive that this could create ethnic enclaves amongst communities. 3) Migrants should be treated like everyone else and should relocate to wherever they can find work. The maintenance of cultural traditions and identity for migrant groups would be difficult to keep from disintegrating when migrant communities are dispersed around New Zealand and relocated away from coastal environments.