Welcome to our latest Migrants Tale – first hand accounts of life in New Zealand.
Today’s tale was sent in by a US resident of Asian heritage, who had the unfortunate experience of being a 4th year student in Auckland.
Here’s ‘Bye’s’ tale, left in response to Amir’s story
“I’ve never read anything truer and have had similar experiences in the past four months I’ve lived here. To start off, I’m a fourth year student from the United States studying in New Zealand. I’m also Asian, but having lived in the States my whole life, I don’t carry the accent one would often expect and I have found that catches a lot of people here by surprise.
I remember traveling to the university from Auckland Airport with my friends and family back home texting me questions about the air, the people, and the landscape. The ride along that two-way road was un-scenic and miserable, and I later found that the place I had already shoveled out rent for was basically a cardboard box. These two things were the last of my expectations at the time, but I lied to my people and myself to make me feel better about my decision to study here.
I began taking a New Zealand history class at the university, because I thought it would be interesting and mainly since it counts towards credit at my home university. The first class was about colonization in the 18th century, relations between Maori/Pakeha, etc. and the rest of the classes followed chronologically. Looking back, I’m glad I took it because it allowed me to see how the problems I experienced had perpetuated over the years. This country has been selling itself as a paradise from the beginning, because they know that they’d fail if they didn’t.
One night, some of the other international students and I went into town to have some drinks and street food. On the way there, I couldn’t help but notice how dilapidated and trash-laden the neighborhoods and city was. Anyway, we’re walking to go back home and see like twenty Maori, probably 13-18 years old all posted up outside this one establishment trying to scare everyone that walked by. Some of them cat-called and yelled racial slurs, but luckily if you don’t make eye contact, they won’t harm you… as I was informed by one of the others. I was actually walking home the other day in a neighborhood and these fat Maori boys started shouting “nee-how” from across the street. I just laughed because of how morbidly obese and incapable they were. So to the people here who say racism doesn’t exist, it definitely does. It’s 2016, who are you even kidding?.. typical New Zealander behavior though–they don’t like being told anything negative about their country.
I agree that one of the biggest things that frustrates me is these people’s sense of superiority. They think people like themselves would bring greatness to other parts of the world. It is extremely laughable. They don’t realize how shit their economy is and how easily it would collapse if it weren’t for the help of the rest of the world (who could do without them). People from the outside don’t even think about this place or its exports. In reference to the heavily inflated prices, most of which I have found to be rip-offs, it blows my mind that the people here are okay with it. The penny-pinching is real. I’m going to give you an example. I have three roommates–one is from the U.S. like me and the other two are New Zealanders. We don’t all stay at the flat every single night, which is fine. Vacations and visiting people in other places is great. Every month, we get a power bill for the flat to be split between ourselves (presumably four ways) but every single time, one of the girls from New Zealand would try to argue that “x” amount of the bill should be taken off her part of it if she spent a week out of town or wherever. Let me state my argument against this. First of all: The fridge and likewise appliances do not run for free. Secondly: When you sign a lease to live with others, you are agreeing to share each others’ space, habits, and the benefit of reduced rental costs. Third: When you own a house and go on vacation, you still have to pay your utility bills. Yes, I realize they would decrease, but it’s more than usage that factors into the monthly determined payable (access and distribution fees, taxes, etc.). I could go on but when I told her that, she tried to argue against me and got frustrated when I dismissed all of her excuses. Also, I disagree with the general consensus that Whittaker’s chocolate should be sold everywhere in the world. It’s not that good…
Likewise above, I’ve met a few Kiwis that are nice to be around but not many. And you can tell me the good and bad parts of the United States. I realize our political system is broken and violence does exist. Those are facts.
When I leave, I’m not going to miss a single thing about this place. Never in my life have I been so ripped off. My flight back home leaves this weekend, and I could not be more excited.”