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Thread: Racism in New Zealand

  1. #21
    hball is offline Junior Member
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    I wonder if the discrimination here is anything to do with the fact that white colonisation is not that distant a memory for many New Zealanders, in fact so recent as only to be only a couple of hundred years. Perhaps therefore many third and fourth generations may feel that their ancestors made the long journey here on the promise of a 'better England', with no class system, and with each man owning by right that which for he had worked, and so push to retain that 'white' mentality.

    A second thought would be WWII and the experiences of the ANZACs in the Pacific theatre which may have filtered down to the following generations.

    Not an excuse, just an observation from someone living in Auckland where thank God we don't seem to experience the intolerence of other places in NZ.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hball View Post
    Not an excuse, just an observation from someone living in Auckland where thank God we don't seem to experience the intolerence of other places in NZ.
    I was pondering on whether NZ, being so cut off from many places in the world, suffers a bit from lack of exposure to other cultures. I would think, as Hball says, the cities of Aucks and Wellie may be more tolerant than other far flung reaches of NZ because of the higher multicultural population, especially the resident Maori population. Folks from another culture appearing in places where the 'locals' aren't so used to mingling and working alongside them could be seen as outsiders. We get it even in the UK amongst our own people - you can walk into a pub out in the sticks somewhere, where all the old guys are huddled round the bar and you get looked at and scowled at as though you've just stepped out of a space ship. You're not 'one of them' so you're considered an intruder and that's with our own kind.

    On the other side of the coin, here in the Middle East we, as fair-skinned Europeans, often get stared at with open mouths, more so by those from outside the more densely populated areas. In the villages children throw stones at us and in the towns we're financially ripped off right, left and centre purely because we have white faces. They assume we, as westerners, have boundless funds so they want a share in that. These days, that really isn't the case any more, where the locals and the Indian Asians (of which there are thousands) often are much better off than we are, yet they get preferential treatement.

    We also can be ignored when waiting to be attended to in a shop or similar while locals are dealt with promptly. I've worked this out in such a way that I feel they are, in some way, afraid of us either because they don't feel confident enough to want to communicate with us or they just feel we're 'too different' from them, so if they ignore us we'll go away and leave them in peace. Many times I've asked for something in a shop and I already know what the answer will be because I've heard it so many times before - 'No!' - and not because they haven't got it but because they don't want the hassle of dealing with us and getting into a situation where they may not understand fully what we want.

    I feel there are those who are downright racist because it suits them and it makes them feel superior. In such cases they are the ones with the problem, not the foreigner. On the other hand there are the ones that I've mentioned above where the locals have led somewhat sheltered lives and are suspicious and reluctant to deal with someone who is a bit 'different' in their eyes. Perhaps they've never ventured outside NZ nor had enough exposure to foreigners to make it feel 'normal' to them. Probably Europeans are more acceptable because we look the same as them although I have heard of even Brits not being accepted because they were from outside.

    I think, if I was in such a situation that I was being racially discriminated against, I would try to wear them down with 'niceness' and instead of fighting back and adding more fuel to the fire I'd try to inject a bit of humour into it. I know that's easier said than done when you're outraged and hurting but, if you want to be accepted, the best way to go about it is to offer the more attractive side of yourself. The more aggressive and unappealing you appear to people, the more reason they have to turn against you. What I'm thinking of is similar to the one-sided argument where the challenger has his feet whipped from under him because there's nothing coming back to feed on.

    It's a very difficult situation to be in and I fully sympathise with anyone going through it, but it takes a bit of effort, quite a lot in fact with some people, to win them over but, if you succeed, it's worth it in the end.
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  3. #23
    ExPat is offline Member
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    The fundamental question though is why Asians seem to be targeted more than other groups? In the US, there is a great deal of hostility toward Hispanic groups with the rational of "they're illegal immigrants" and not "entitled" to be here.
    Of course, I have never heard of any one complaining about Canadians illegally crossing the border. The focus always seemed to be on Hispanics vs Canadians (or other groups). The key difference is that Hispanics are visibly different (dark brown skin) from most Canadians (and Americans) so in my world view, it is purely primitive racism based on appearance rather than any type of law breaking issues. The "culture" argument doesn't hold water because Canadians do have more liberal and different cultures than people from South of the border.

    Most people from Mexico are generally conservative, family oriented, and fairly religious which is what "Americans" pride themselves on for the most part. Language is an issue when it comes to Mexicans in the US though.

    So in considering racism in New Zealand, I can only imagine that language is perhaps the main barrier. Are Asian culture values so different from NZ culture values that it would induce racism?

    I would imagine that like the US & Hispanics, that appearance is a significant issue with Kiwis as well.

    During our visit to NZ and our interviews with various Kiwis (mostly Caucasians), we did note that part of the reason for the resentment against Asians was that they were "envious" of the great wealth and success of the Asian community in NZ.

    Asian culture does seem to bond together (at least in the US) going so far as to providing their own liquidity and lending between themselves which makes them fairly self-sustaining as they pursue their own business endeavors.

    As one person explained it to us, "Asians from China & Japan have a great deal of wealth, they send their wives and kids down here, buy up all the property, then drag race, goof off and live a life of leisure"

    I never actually had anyone explain any real reason for the hostility. "The don't know how to drive" was a common one but is that enough to persecute Asians so horribly as described by some here?

    It's just really strange because I didn't hear or see any resentment towards Maori who do have different appearance, language and culture. We never heard a single bad thing said about Maori but plenty about Asians. Why?

  4. #24
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    Some interesting insights here.

    NZ boring, unfriendly say Asian students
    By ARWEN HANN and REBECCA TODD - The Press | Saturday, 11 August 2007

    New Zealand is seen as dull and unfriendly by Asian students, while poor internet access lets the country down, new research shows.

    Two reports released at the Education New Zealand conference this week showed the country still had work to do to impress international students.

    Chinese and Vietnamese students who were asked about their perceptions of New Zealand as a study destination said the country was boring and old-fashioned.

    One Vietnamese student studying in Australia said he might change his mind about New Zealand if it "sounded like more fun".

    "Parents send their kids there as punishment, to isolate them or if they have been bad," the student said. "I would die of boredom there."

    Another Chinese student studying in Auckland said the country was boring and all the shops closed at 5pm. "Once we walked down the street with our eyes closed and didn't bump into one single person."

    Students also said it was hard to make friends with Kiwis, and the country was not "Asian-friendly".

    University admission standards were seen as lax, which devalued a New Zealand qualification.

    A separate report by British firm i-graduate, surveying international students at five New Zealand institutions, found only about two-thirds of students were satisfied with the quality of New Zealand's internet access.

    Access to the internet was the second most important factor in choosing a study destination.

    Both reports showed international students found it difficult to get jobs and work experience.

    However, both had positive parts, with students saying living in New Zealand was very affordable and the country was safe.

    In the i-graduate study, 86 per cent of students said they felt safe in the country and 70 per cent said they would recommend studying in New Zealand.

    Canterbury University PhD student Tina Ban said the internet in China was much faster and cheaper.

    The cost of living in New Zealand was pretty good, but she had heard Australia was better and it was hard to make friends with local students.

    "I have some American friends who say it's difficult too, they say Kiwis aren't as open as some other countries."

    However, it was difficulty in getting a job which was the major problem.

    "It's a catch 22 as we don't have work experience here, so they won't give you a job. Of course, we can't speak English as well as Kiwis, but you have to give us a chance and maybe use our Chinese language and cultural skills."

    Education New Zealand chief executive Robert Stevens said the majority of results showed New Zealand in a positive light.

    "This may reflect the continuing challenge we have to position New Zealand as a first-choice destination – the good news is that if we are selected, then we are significantly better than average."

    The organisation's communications director, Stuart Boag, said many of the issues were being addressed by Education New Zealand's brand marketing.

    From here .
    Mother Bear

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  5. #25
    migratingfishswim is offline Junior Member
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    thanks exPat for opening this discussion. it's something i've tried to raise with various people and it's gone nowhere!

    where i live now there's obvious racism (often against eastern european migrants), as well as the more generalised, background racism

    i'm sick of it and challenge it every time i hear it. what's harder to challenge is the background stuff - i work for a charity that's fairly right-on, but we are appalling in terms of reflecting the ethnic diversity of the UK in who we employ.

    anyway, it sounds like NZ is about the same as the UK and i will have to try to continue to challenge it when i hear it. i'm sure that'll endear me to the white members of my new country (not)!
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  6. #26
    kiaora!! is offline Senior Member
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    I talk to my partner about this quite a bit (he is Maori)

    I have travelled pretty much the whole world and have to say, New Zealand has to be the place with the least amount of rasists or people reacting funny etc
    Kiwis generally welcome tourists and migrants warmly and would go out of their way to help. But they do expect migrants to settle in and become part of the society and lifestyle.. Asians for some reason seem to get together and form their own communities, with alot of them not even speaking english.
    It s not a personal thing, just a fear I guess because there are so many of them :)
    My boss has been fighting for a chinese guy to get his work permit and he is putting so much into it even though the guy has not got a chance it s quite impressing, I dont think you would get to see something like that in too many countries!

    Re Maori, I am Pakeha and am wearing a huge Ta Moko (Maori design Tattoo).. I am proud of it and so is my family (who are maori) but I do also understand the difference between Pakeha and Maori now more than ever!
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  7. #27
    fretraer is offline Junior Member
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    I have found more issues in USA with racism than in NZ.

  8. #28
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    Clearly racism is everywhere, unfortunately a few it seems in this thread have experienced unpleasant attitudes and insults. I would guess as NZ is a small country any racist issue will be more noticeable and hurtfull in any community.

    I've worked for quite a while in Blackburn, where any UK citizen would know it holds a large asian muslim population. I've seen instances day in day out of what is seen as reverse racism ie a person using their culture as the reason to instigate accusations and apportion blame to for ill gotten gains - this is quite widespread and naturally causes tension. I worked with a Nigerian guy for 9 months, at first he was very cagey with me but we then grew to be good friends and still are - his philosophy was; because he was black he felt he was second rate in the UK he said 'I just have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to achieve my goals' - this he said he drummed into his kids and made sure they were under no illusion as to how to accept this in their later years. I admire him, he's probably right to some degree in his views but what a way to deal with the knock backs and everyone elses negativity - having said that he was 6' 3" and built like a brick outhouse.

    One interesting point, which is my view only, I'd expect to get called a Pom anywhere in NZ or OZ or even in the UK and I take no offence whatsoever - in fact I think it's amusing and just light hearted banter. NZ'ers are called Kiwi's , Australians - Ozzies, we call the Irish - Paddy's or Mick's, the Scots - Jocks , Newcastle - Geordies, Liverpudlians - Scousers and the Welsh - Taffy's Americans - Yanks. Much else seems to be frowned upon yet surely all these nicknames are indeed a form of racial abuse that is not seen as such. Well it's just my 2 and a half cents worth and whatever yours are, hold your head up and just remember:

    Nil illegitimo in desperandum carborundum

  9. #29
    migratingfishswim is offline Junior Member
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    i have no probs being called a pom, i think it is mainly affectionate, as kiwi and ossie seem to be.

    however i think paddy, mick, jock and taffy are generally regarded as extremely pejorative and i would never use them.

    black-on-white racism is wrong too obviously, but while the institutions of power in the world are mainly under the control of white people, white-on-black racism is far more damaging.
    emigrating to new zealand blog
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  10. #30
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    I guess it's down to the company you're in at the time and the level of understanding between the parties involved as to the level of names you trade off - on building sites you still get a lot of it and it's accepted quite formally. My own rule is if in a slanging match never be personal about anyone's individual characteristics ie size, hair colour, glasses, disabilities, plus the aforementioned, yadda yadda and so on.

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