Gay men and women in Asia are escaping increasing homophobia at home and seeking refuge in New Zealand, according to research by a Auckland University of Technology (AUT) professor.
People fleeing discrimination against LGBT people in Indonesia and other places in Asia was "sadly rising," AUT University Associate Professor Sharyn Davies told the NZ Herald.
Gay rights are protected by the Human Rights Act in New Zealand and same-sex couples have been able to marry since 2013.
"In New Zealand, we have anti-discrimination laws and allow same sex marriage, so yes it's a mecca. NZ is quite like paradise," Davies said.
NZ Herald spoke to people from China, Indonesia, and Singapore who had moved to New Zealand to seek a better life away from homophobic attitudes.
Many same-sex couples travel to New Zealand to get married, with overseas couple making up just under half of the total of same-sex marriages. Since it was legalized in 2013, 1785 overseas same-sex couples married in New Zealand.