Migrant Tales – US Kiwi Only Wanted To Help Christchurch
Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from around the net.
Today’s tale first appeared on the forum at Expatexposed.com, a mutual help and advice forum for migrants in New Zealand. It was written by the American raised offspring of a Kiwi migrant who came to New Zealand to help out after the earthquake.
“Hello forum, here is part of my story. Thanks for taking the time to read.
I was raised in the US by a Kiwi Mother and and Scottish Father, but had never visited New Zealand. I had been planning a trip to NZ in 2010, when my family here in Auckland and Christchurch called me and told me about the earthquake in Christchurch. I decided, as I was already looking for jobs in NZ, and I wanted to see my family etc, that I would come to NZ to visit and help.
As a Contact Center implementation specialist, it is my job to assist with the rollout and management of new call centre operations. Basically help to set up a training and quality assurance program. I helped set up the emergency claim system that forwarded the different types of emergency to the different people dealing with them.
I applied for a position with a government organization as an emergency claims manager, and was interviewed for the position, flew over for the final interview, and due to my prior management experience and emergency centre roles, I was hired.
Let me just set up my mental picture of NZ when I arrived: I thought that since there was a MORE diverse culture in a SMALLER space, the people would be more accepting of outsiders, and less racists than, say, Texas.
I thought that since it was a smaller population, the populous would be more in touch with themselves, the surroundings, etc. More “enlightened.” This was my mindset as I entered the country.
In addition, I had never been exposed to alcoholism on any level. Alcohol was something that, in limited amounts, made for a great time, in my mind.
While working for the government organization, many things came to light, mainly that the attitude in NZ is that, unless you get WASTED, you are “boring.” I found that I could not relate to anyone on that level. I came to see that people were openly racist, and xenophobic.
On my birthday, I decided to invite 3 other managers to my place for dinner and drinks etc. This was the beginning of the realization that it may be very hard to make friends. The night ended when one of the managers got so wasted they began to destroy my belongings, became very racist (towards myself, a caucasian) and I had to physically remove them from my house, and ask the others to leave.
They proceeded to stand outside and yell and curse and throw things.
These were people in their 30s and 40s… I am in my late 20′s, and I have not encountered this sort of behavior outside of high-school parties.
This same manager once showed up in the office so drunk after completing their shift, and going straight to the bar downstairs, they fell over and slashed their skull forehead open down to the bone, creating a lot of paperwork.
My preconceptions have been totally shattered, and I have become completely alone. The position with the government organization was supposed to be for only 3 months, but ended up being for more than a year, it was “casual” and we were released from duty. Never before did I think that I would lose compassion for people, but I have.
People in Christchurch were unbelievably ungrateful, and kiwis in general have no concept of how to deal with disaster. Most people demanded action within days, action that has been assessed will now take YEARS! People would refuse to speak with emergency representatives from other races.
I had to take a call where someone requested that they “speak to someone who was not BROWN…”
THESES “BROWN” PEOPLE WERE VOLUNTEERS IN SOME CASES, WHO WERE THERE TO HELP TAKE EMERGENCY CLAIMS!!!!!!
Much of the feedback from the people we spoke with was NOT surrounding the claim process, but racist comments regarding how they want to talk to someone from their small, stagnant gene pool, and not an Indian.
The racism is disgusting, and extends even to cities hating other cities. The people are so small minded. Their country is the size of 1 state, yet they fight like city-states and hate one another based on geographic location. I am a NZ citizen, yet get treated like dirt cause of my US accent. Rather have an American accent anyway than be a small-minded person. Ignorance is rewarded.
Since being here:
-I have been mugged x3
-Had my car stolen and recovered x2
-Had everything in my house stolen
-Had my belongings stolen from WORK!!!
-Had my motorcycle attempted to be stolen, but when it was discovered it was chained, the would be thieves simply vandalized it.
-Had my family refuse to communicate with me as I will not participate in alcoholism with them.
I have never felt so isolated and detached from the happy, vibrant and balanced human being I once was.
I desperately need positive, PASSIONATE people in my life, I feel like someone in solitary confinement, slowly losing my mind.
Has anyone seen the movie “Idiocracy?”
That is what it feels like to live in NZ…”