The Referential and Predicational Construction of Migrants in New Zealand Print Media

Document Type : Research Article


Research Office, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand



This study explores how migrants are discursively constructed in the years 2007 and 2008 in New Zealand’s most-read national newspaper, The New Zealand Herald. This timeframe was selected to investigate how the Global Economic Recession influenced migrant representation in the context of New Zealand. Through a detailed analysis using the Discourse-Historical Approach, the paper examines the series of referential and predicational strategies, as well as the topical themes used in the newspaper discourse to discuss migrants during this period. To reduce the risk of cherry-picking the data, the study presents a detailed five-level data-sampling technique to examine the prevalent discourses. The findings indicate that metaphorical, professional anthroponyms and collective strategies were the most common referential strategies. In addition, regarding predicational strategies, migrants were presented as being a ‘double-edged sword’ that is benefitting the country in some instances and as a problem being which needs to be dealt with in other instances.