Reports from New Zealand suggest that there is a growing imbalance between the number of marriageable men and women in the country caused by the immigration of Thai women.
Some experts have suggested that the shortage of marriageable men in New Zealand and the growing trend among New Zealand men to marry Thai women is leading to tension between key groups of women in New Zealand and Thai women living in the country.
The imbalance between young New Zealand women and marriageable Thai women is caused by several reasons, including work available and immigration policy, but it has led to cases of both verbal and physical abuse of Thai women. That is not the answer, and experts say that the problem relates to a growing number of Asian and European females in New Zealand, not just Thai wives.
Tension between New Zealand and Thai women
The current tension between Thai women and New Zealand women is what any red-blooded New Zealand guy would love: fights between women wanting to marry them! New Zealand is attracting the immigration of beautiful young Thai women seeking husbands, and the women of New Zealand don't like it.
The problem is a fairly serious one that should not be made light of, since the influx of women from Thailand is leading to an increase in the number of single or sole mothers, there being insufficient marriageable New Zealand men to go around. Also, some Thai women are being verbally and occasionally physically assaulted by New Zealand women.
It was reported recently that two Thai women were assaulted in Nelson, a city on the eastern shore of Tasman Bay in South Island. Jiab Uthaisong, 32, and Tai Sripan, 30, were verbally abused and then Ms Sripan punched, bruising an eye and damaging the eye socket. She was treated in a local hospital, and both women spoke about the racial abuse that Thai women are experiencing in the country. Their assailants were described as European rather than New Zealanders, although accents mean little in a country open to immigration by people from all nationalities.
Not only Thai women?
It is not only Thai women that are responsible for the imbalance between marriageable men and women in New Zealand, and figures show that other Asians such as Filipinos, and also European women have pushed this imbalance to 9% more women aged 30 to 34 than men. This is higher than any other industrialised country in the world.
However, taken by nationality, there are as many as 32% more Asian women than Asian men, and the 2001 census showed that 1,506 Thai women aged 25 to 44 were living in the country, with only 564 Thai men. This is 2.7 women to each man. The corresponding ratio for Filipinos was 2.6 to 1, and for Japanese, 2.2 to 1, while for those that were classed just as 'Asian, it was 1.9 to 1. So, while Thai women are not the only problem, they are the individual group claimed to be contributing most to the problem.
New Zealand attracts young Thai female immigrants
According to researcher Dr Paul Callister of the Labour Department, this situation could be connected to the changing labour needs of the country. As he says, 'when we had a lot of tree cutting we had more men than women'. However, now New Zealand has a shortage of nurses, childminders, cleaners, and even prostitutes are in an unofficial shortage. Because of this, most foreign labour coming into the country is female.
Many of these come as immigrants, and many of the young women marry New Zealand or European men and settle in the country. This reduces the number of eligible men available to New Zealand born women, and much of this inflow involves "Thai Brides".
These have been accessed either online or by New Zealand men visiting Thailand and marrying there. Around 67% of married Thai women in New Zealand have European partners compared to just 7% of Thai men. According to Dr Callister, "the surplus of women aged 30 -39 is greater today than immediately after World War 1".
When he began his study, Dr Callister expected to find the difference to be due to New Zealand men marrying abroad and staying there. Instead, he found it to be due to the immigration of an excessive number of women, predominantly Asian, and the largest group of which were Thai.
Nor is this difference due to New Zealand men moving to Australia, since there has been no change in the ratio of Kiwi men to women in Australia. It is believed to be practically entirely due to an influx of Asian women, predominantly Thai women, into the country.
Thai Women attract New Zealand men
Perhaps this should not be surprising, since most Thai women have a lot to offer New Zealand men, particularly their commitment and devotion to their husbands and family.
The only problem that this appears to cause with some husbands is that that also extends to her own family in Thailand, which she and the husband might be expected to look after financially.
This is not always the case, however, and the infamous Thai 'sin sod', or dowry, is frequently symbolic only. It is often returned to the couple in whole or in part after the marriage ceremony.
A lot depends on the woman, and while some Thai bar girls make excellent wives, many do not and are out for nothing more than money. New Zealand men should make sure they know the girl well - and also her family - and are certain that her 'brother' or 'friend' is not a boyfriend or even a husband!
There are many horror stories relating to Kiwis being tricked by Thai girls, but there are also many success stories.
The Buddhist temple in Christchurch is well attended by Thai women who have Kiwi or European husbands.
Such marriages, where the husband and wife agree to observe their own religion are encouraging and generally very successful.
Thai wives are also discovering freedom in New Zealand that they did not have in Thailand: the freedom to make decisions relating to the partnership, and receiving respect from their husbands.
It is not uncommon for women to be treated badly in their own country, and to be regarded as a 'chattel' rather than as an equal partner.
The worm will turn!
This is one reason for so many Asian women, particularly Thai women, to come to New Zealand when they can for reasons of work - or because their New Zealand partners bring them.
It is not their fault that there are insufficient marriageable New Zealand men to go round the female population, and nor is it their fault that they appear to easily beat the competition!
It is a problem, but one that is going to be difficult to resolve, but one that abuse and assault of Thai women will certainly not be an effective solution. The tension between New Zealand and Thai women is born through a blinkered immigration policy, and perhaps one that should have been foreseen.
There will be no quick fix, but there will always be Kiwis that prefer New Zealand women to Asians, and that is where the most competition will be focused.
In the end, however, it is the New Zealand men that will decide what they want and for the women to provide that. Once there are fewer women, the worm will turn and then again women will be the choosers!
Thai women in New Zealand are a key factor in a growing imbalance between marriageable men and woman in the country. Some experts say it is leading to tension among some classes of New Zealand women and women from Thailand.