Welcome to our very popular series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of life in New Zealand.
Today’s tale was told in response to this article: A small town in New Zealand, or the Kiwi who came in from the cold.
In it the author tells of how after nearly 20 years of living in New Zealand they still don’t feel at home. New Zealand doesn’t evolve, rather it is going backwards and becoming very cold and hostile place that rejects its vulnerable people. A state with poorly defined legislation, that allows to be interpreted according the occasion – one way for the wealthy and another way for the rest. Such country has no future.
Here’s the Tale:
“I live in NZ nearly 2 decades but I am not settled. After all this time I should have felt at home, but I don’t. It is hard to describe this emotional state. You feel that you do not belong and never will.
The biggest problem for me is the lack of culture. My soul is starved for real art and quality musical and theatrical shows. There is no beauty, no magic in living here. No matter where I go and how much I have paid, I never receive professional service. One example – years ago, a friend of mine and I decided to share a nice lunch in a classy restaurant for Christmas. We did research and found a place called Hotel Du Vin. It looked promising and we were assured that they treat their customers with high professionalism and utmost respect. So we booked in advance and waited in anticipation. The day came, we dressed up in nice outfits and drove to that Mecca. It was nicely appointed establishment and the main room was beautifully decorated with huge Christmas tree…We thought, yes, this is going to be very special.
It wasn’t. The maître d’hôtel told us that we cannot be seated in the main restaurant because the staff of some big company had their Christmas do there! So, he seated us in the summer garden where there was no trace of any festivity and the furniture was cane tables and chairs! The people lunching there were wearing shorts and T-shirts. They were hotel guests. The food wasn’t spectacular, although quite expensive. Our Christmas lunch was ruined. They apologised after I protested, but our Christmas lunch was ruined. Needless to say, that establishment doesn’t exists anymore. But it is a cold comfort because most are like that.
Of course, nobody ever died because they didn’t have a nice lunch or diner in a classy restaurant and I am no exception. But it makes it for a basic existence if you cannot satisfy your hunger for art and for some special experiences. Going to barbecues and to the beach doesn’t do it for me.
Regarding the “open air life’ – oh, I do have that! My house was built in the 60’s and the walls are not insulated. There is nothing between the brick and the interior walls, so the wind comes in all the time. It is real open air life, 24/7, all year round, but I guess that is a better option than the modern leaky homes.
I too feel the cold and keep my jacket on during windy, summer days. And I too get comments such as: “You should toughen up”.
I am fluent in EN, but speak with an accent. That is big issue for the locals who genuinely believe that Kiwi English is the only English and everybody should speak it.
NZ is a young and remote country. For years I used this as an excuse for its faults and for justifying my devotion to it. But it doesn’t evolve, it is going backwards and becoming very cold and hostile place that rejects its vulnerable people. A state with poorly defined legislation, that allows to be interpreted according the occasion – one way for the wealthy and another way for the rest. Such country has no future.”