Migrant Tales – Hong Kong Chinese: Moving to New Zealand is a Big Mistake

Continuing in our popular Migrant Tales series, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s tale was written by Mr-Alex, a frequent contributor to this blog. He and his family originate from Hong Kong and have suffered the effects of discrimination and racism ever since moving to New Zealand.

My mum and father are second generation Hong Kong people and myself third generation people moved to New Zealand in early 1994 to start a new life, when my dad and my arrived in Auckland after six months he decided to go back to Hong Kong when there were two railways one of them known as the Kowloon Canton Railway to get his job back as a engineer in Fo Tan, at that time my mum had to take care of me because I was a child in 1994. By 1998 when the New Zealand Government got word that my dad was working in Kowloon Canton Railway, they made sure they taxed him because he was a permanent resident even though he was living in Hong Kong.Basically it caused my dad to be very stressed and he even tried to get a Hong Kong lawyer to tell the NZ Government that he shouldn’t be paying income tax to NZ if he was overseas.

By the end of 1999 my dad left the KCR and went to work in Chek Lap Kok Airport as a technician and still IRD Agents from the New Zealand Government telling him to pay the income tax and by 2004 he moved back to New Zealand and worked for Tranz Rail as a Technician at Hutt Workshops in Woburn, he was stressed and he was also at times emotionally mad and also threw his anger at myself and my mum over the phone because he earned a third less than working in the KCR in Hong Kong and after the tax and rent and repair fees for his car, he would have not much left to eat or live on and also he had to save the $ to travel up to Auckland because it was where me and my mum were living.

By 2006 my mum got a job at Pak N Save Sylvia Park when it first opened,my mum was basically working on Monday to Friday nights until 12.00am when it closed, she was basically trying to earn that $ so she could buy the food, clothes and also repair her own car and maintain her home in Auckland and also by 2006 I left school due to bullying and decided to become mechanic and found it was not my cup of tea and I was on the Unemployment Benefit trying to look for work and struggled, most employers would either say to me that I did not suit them or would cite my culture as a concern

By 2009 me and my mum moved down to Wellington where my dad live and worked and still I had difficulty to get a job because there were no jobs, same when I lived in Auckland and my mum got a part-time job in Mitre 10 but still not enough to survive on after the tax and rates. By 2013 I am still in the same position no job but working as a volunteer in the Salvation Army.By 2014 I hope I can get my Certs at Weltec to become a IT and by the time I am 29, I hope I can move to Japan for good and get myself a Japanese lady to date and get married as I had enough of NZ women

As for a Hong Kong person who lived 19 years in New Zealand, I recommend people who want to move to New Zealand that moving to New Zealand is a big mistake, there are no jobs in New Zealand and also some of the people in New Zealand hate foreigners to the core and they do still hate people who have resided in NZ for 19 years,my mum would still get the blame at work that asians have taken a lot of NZ jobs, the racism in NZ is still alive and well folks as for myself I have set it as a priority to move to Japan in 3-7 years and get a job as a IT there too.


12 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Hong Kong Chinese: Moving to New Zealand is a Big Mistake

  1. Hi I am a kiwi and I had a Chinese wife but unfortunately she left as soon as her residency was obtained burnside I do not hate migrants at all however, I can see why a lot of kiwis don’t like as I have learnt many kiwis have experienced this.kiwis are to kind hearted

  2. Jan,I am deciding to move to Japan in the near future because I have faced discrimination myself,its not fun and I told my parents if they like NZ they can stay but for me I don’t want anymore to do with NZ

    • Hi all,

      I am a NZer with a Chinese wife.
      This has allowed me to understand the day-to-day racism that occurs in NZ. There is a real underbelly of racism in NZ. I feel embarrassed to be a NZers sometimes.
      NZ is also a country where it is difficult to build up to a good life. Also, working conditions are frustrating. Being a good worker is generally undervalued.
      I have a real desire to leave NZ too. If you are young and wanting to build a career, I would recommend you do not try and do this in NZ.

    • Hi. I’m a Chinese student in Japan. Are you sure, you want to work in Japan. I will be graduated next year, and I got an offer from a huge Japanese IT company. They may pay me a lot, but I have to work more than 10 hours per day. As a fresh man,it’s not bad to start a career in Japan. Because Japanese big firms like to hire fresh man without any work experience. They thought it’s easier to train them, and shape them into the kind of people they like. But if you want a life, have more free time, never come here. Japanese people don’t value diversity. And they will never show their discrimination to you, but there is. Want to be liked by, just act like them. If you can do this, welcome to Japan. Bowing, acting like a Japanese, Working more than 10 hours per day, if all above is OK for you, welcome to Japan.

      • I have news for you, as an employee worldwide you will almost always be overworked and underpaid.
        Just google the term “stagnant wages” and add your country name after that.
        Also remember that in ANY company:
        – you are hired to add extra profit
        – ideally the manager wants you to do their work while they collect the salary
        – and you will be expected to accept bad behaviour from the top
        – keep a running record of your work day, invest in your own portable recorder and notepad (companies usually will NOT allow you to bring your own computing devices as they have 0 legal right to control them).
        – HR is on the company’s side, and will try to get you to incriminate yourself in any situation where the company has liability
        – remember that your work colleagues usually aren’t your friends
        – don’t break the law while trying to do your work or even on the suggestion of your superiors (and when pressed, note the time of the incident and the place and who ordered it)
        – if you feel very sure you’re going to be let go, while you have access to them make copies of your work. The office will telegraph their intentions by making the workplace hostile, your stationery may disappear, and so will your files. MAKE ELECTRONIC COPIES OF ANY PAPERWORK YOU CREATE.
        – only accept trips out of town when you are asked to bring all your electronic devices by the company, AFTER you have made duplicates.
        Remember, as an employee you should protect yourself, because a company only exists to profit shareholders. And your employer needs you as a (replaceable)tool to achieve better things for themselves.

  3. Hi Alec,
    I can fully appreciate the hardship that you and your family went through upon your arrival to NZ in 1994 which exactly the same year we arrived from Germany.I am a New Zealander and for once I never imagined that this country would be so hard to settle into. My children were German speakers and they had german accents when they spoke English which lead to many racist comments such as reference to Nazism and Hitler.It was shocking.We somehow survived mostly through our own strength as a close family and lovely friends who sheltered us, but it was tough.
    Now,several years on,again we face discrimination because we chose to be different and dare to have pensions which we saved for in Germany. The rest of the story you know. We lose our NZS because of this.
    You are not on your own anymore Alec,neither are many of you who are on this blog.At least we can help and support each other.
    Jan McKeogh

  4. I am not being harsh on the country,Allen,my mum and dad has a so-called good job,they still face racism and also the odd stab in the back,the workers would gossip about them

  5. Alex

    It’s a shame that this has happened to you and your family. I agree NZ isn’t the easiest place for immigrants to settle. However, I do think you are a bit harsh on NZ. As a first generation immigrant from China I moved here with my family in 1997. Both my parents and I all work full time (all as engineers) and we have two houses in Auckland.

    I agree with you that NZ does not have many opportunities and racism is still alive and is definitely not a easy place to start for immigrants (especially from Asian countries). But once you are on your feet with a good job it’s not such a bad place.

    However the lack of opportunity/low pay is really frustrating hence I’m moving to Canada in April!

    Adios NZ!

    • Given the circumstances that have befallen Alex, and other similar stories, perhaps it is the country that is being a bit harsh? You’ve been in New Zealand for a long time, perhaps it is rubbing off on you?

      We hope Canada works out for you, if nothing else it will be an education.

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