Victoria Yang used to have to wear a mask everyday, even in the summer.
Now she is one of the many of Asian migrants enjoying Invercargill, and breathing cleaner air.
Statistics New Zealand is predicting an increase of Southland's share of the national Asian population from 3.6 per cent to 5.0 per cent by 2038.
As a Southern Institute of Technology student, 30, Yang moved to New Zealand from Shanghai with her husband in November 2014 to study postgraduate business.
Yang plans to stay in Invercargill. "But my husband can not find business here. I searched on Seek and Trademe he cannot find work here.
"If he moves to Auckland or Wellington, then I will move with him, but I want to stay here. And I think the houses here are safer than in Auckland."
Invercargill has been welcoming, Yang said. "People see me on the street and they greet me and smile.
"If you smile in China to strangers people will think you have some problems with them."
Vicky Chen, 35, also moved from China to Invercargill in April to study business.
"It's a good environment to live. All the environment is very quiet and lovely."
Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson agreed the Southland Asian population will grow as companies recruited from overseas.
"We are seeing migrants come from all over the world because people are looking for a different lifestyle.
"I go on Trademe everyday to see what jobs are available and there's usually 200 jobs a day. And that's quite a wide spectrum of trades and professions.
"There's even three jobs in the Catlins today."
Invercargill was cleaner, smaller and friendlier than large international cities, Casson said. "It offers something that's different to where they live currently."
Southland is one of the five regions beside Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, West Coast and Marlborough predicted to have fewer people identify as European by 2038. In the 11 remaining regions, European ethnicity is predicted to increase.
Amber-Leigh Woolf - The Southland Times 01/10/2015