Migrant Tales – Gurveer Singh’s Story: Revealing the Bay of Plenty’s Racism Underbelly


Gurveer Singh wants a fair chance to work at what he’s good at

Welcome to our series of Migrant Tales – hundreds and hundreds of first-hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand

Gurveer Singh’s story was first published in the Bay of Plenty Times. His tale is a fairly common one among migrants in New Zealand – they fall for the immigration websites’ hard sell, pay their money, move to New Zealand believing their skills are needed. When they arrive they can’t find work because of “cultural prejudice” (a euphemism for racism) and a “lack of New Zealand experience” (i.e. employers only want to employ Kiwis, not migrants).

Here’s some of his story, click on the link at the end if you want to read the full article: The Big Read: Revealing the Bay’s racism underbelly


Gurveer Singh fights back tears as he talks about discrimination in Tauranga. “Racism is here,” he says quietly.

Singh came to New Zealand seven months ago in search of a better life, choosing Tauranga because immigration websites had said it was booming and a good place to get a job.

It’s not reality,” he tells the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend. Singh is 24 and has a degree in IT from his home country of India. “We IT guys are not getting any jobs.” he says.”They are asking for New Zealand experience, but if we are not getting the jobs, how will we get experience?”

Singh is from the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, where he says corruption is endemic and despite his education, work is scarce. He is doing a Level 7 diploma in computing at NTEC in Tauranga to add to his degree and passed his latest exam this week. But despite applying for a host of positions, Singh says the only work he has been able to secure is part-time at an orchard.

“I don’t want to work in an orchard because I am a professional and have my bachelor’s degree, but still I have to earn my livelihood,” he says. Singh believes cultural prejudice is the reason he has been unable to find a job of his choosing. He says he is overlooked by potential employers because he is Sikh and wears a turban and beard…

…Asked if he thought he would face discrimination before arriving in New Zealand, Singh replies: “No, not at all. I did my own research and according to my research, New Zealand people are very friendly.”

Singh’s eyes fill with tears and he says he feels despair at times but is also desperate to persevere with his dream of finding IT work in New Zealand… more here

Mr Singh said on his Facebook page


The newspaper article telling Mr Singh’s story

Thanks to #Bay of Plenty times’ #Reporter & #photographr who helped me to rise my voice against Racism.

Sikh Brothers’, we are here to get success & I believe that Kiwi’s are awesome people, they give respect to every religion, they also helped me a lot but some people are not having proper knowledge about #Sikhism so sometime they see Sikh people in different way.

As I had an interview with Bay of plenty times & I tried to explain them about my religion & my situation and they are Kiwi’s who helped me to raise my voice.I think after reading this article everyone will get awareness about my Religion & they will help me to get success in this country.

Friends, I want you to #share my view with others so that this article will reach to everyone & people will get aware about #Sikhism. Please #like and #Share

We wish Mr Singh all the best for his job search endeavors and in raising awareness of the Sikh religion. We invite him to join in the community here at E2NZ.org.

21 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Gurveer Singh’s Story: Revealing the Bay of Plenty’s Racism Underbelly

  1. Last week I met a Maori lady at my job, she was ok to talk to but only after a short time the conversation steered to race and culture.

    She said that in her view, the white whom colonized the country made her people, the Maori people angry and hateful and that is why her people had to group up and be the way they are today. She also said that in recent times, new migrants such as Asians, Indians and other groups were looking down at her people, the Maoris that is and these immigrants have been creating a racial divide.

    However in my view, and my experiences as an immigrant, I have seen it very differently. When my family and I immigrated to NZ in the 80’s, we left everything behind in Iran, so its not like we had anything to try to patronize or look down at any local. However it was and still is the Maori’s and white that are racist towards migrants and act in a disgraceful way. Because I have personally experienced it in Auckland over the years. They also have evil gangs and try to terrorize the public.

    I had some of my relatives from Europe come over once to visit me in Auckland some years ago and they told me in an amusing way that why do the indigenous act like that? I said like how? they said well they act as if they want a fight, it is amusing.

    So you can see that in conclusion, they are bias and have a hard time seeing themselves, few know about the facts but will not admit it at least in public anyways.

  2. Tauranga is a provincial town. Yes it is booming in some areas but not in others. Racists are everywhere, every country…
    IT? Come to a major city…Wellington he would be grabbed up. Be prepared to move where the work is

  3. N.Z is a tiny little backwater, cold undeveloped and un enlightened little place which believes it punches above its weight and that it is a multicultural society ,so good luck if you believe the spin doctors who spend an incredible amount of time and taxpayer money making people believe there is substance to this place,it’s all crap ,it is a safe place to live if you can afford a couple of acres and have the means to defend yourself ,in N.Z it is illegal to get a firearms licence for the purpose of home defence ,so most people either lie about their reasons for wanting a weapon or just get an illegal one ,the police here mostly just give road tickets to gain revenue ,every now and then they accidently find some drugs .

  4. Totally disagree with the statement, Living in NZ for 7+ Years and Working in NZ from 1st day. Found No Problem at all. Worked in Different Fields in 7 years with kiwis. Kiwis are Very Good to work with. But one thing, You have to be Competent enough in that What you are doing that’s all.

  5. I lived in Tauranga for nearly ten years. While I was there, the 911 incident happened. That year, only one month after the twin towers had been destroyed, the company I was working for (The Warehouse) showed just how culturally sensitive they were, by putting a man who was clearly Moslem as the main sales person on a temporary fireworks counter.

    The obvious happened, and he got abused by the public.

  6. A strange form of nihilism pervades this society – alongside the racism, boorishness, crude uncertainty, and boredom. No wonder so many outsiders struggle to get their foot in the door here. Some migrants must honestly wonder what the hell they’ve struck.

    I knew an Indian guy who came here earlier this year (also from an IT background). He had previously worked in London for 2 years. He had been lured here by all the hype of a great outdoor lifestyle, good career prospects, and a marvellous future. It was not long before he realised that he would have been better off staying in the UK. At least they do not lie about the weather there…

    One day I happened to raise the issue of his plight (after he had returned to India) with a work colleague of mine. I got the classic textbook kiwi response: “Well, what did the dumb c*nt come here for then? What did he expect? This is New Zealand!”

  7. I feel sorry for Mr Singh.
    I honestly think New Zealanders used to be more accepting and open. Somehow people still have this perception which is just mad. New Zealanders is now full of hate. This is a reflection of the economic situation.

    Mr Singh is being used as a pawn. The average kiwi hate’s the concept of Mr Singh because Mr Singh represents lower pay and reduced working conditions. The ‘elite’ of New Zealand love Mr Singh because he represents lower pay and reduced working conditions. Either way Mr Singh gets shafted.

    I really hope you can advise more people of this no win situation for an immigrant to NZ.

    • You’re damn right about Kiwi fuck heads being full of hate. All the proof you need is when you drive in your car. Nuff said.

      • Yes sir ,I’m not a small man however ,I drive a tiny car outside my work vehicle,it s crazy to see these people road raging me in my little car,sometimes I just hit the brakes and true to form the cowards don’t even get out to confront me .

        • I too have braked, got out my car with a hammer and they have shit it and drove off. They love to yell abuse when driving off but never have the bollocks to fight one on one. I’ll even drop the hammer and fight fair with my fists if they are game.

          It doesn’t matter what day or time of the week it is, every time you go out in your car there will always be some bastard tail gaiting you and driving like a turd.

  8. I would just suggest to Gurveer that the immigration consultants bare some of the response-ability.
    I would also suggest: do the orchard work, you will get fit and learn some english ways and language among the other workers, try to work around kiwis to improve your english.

    I’m sorry it is so hard for you. I have been here since 1964, I am eurasian and struggle here too because of racism.

    Auckland will treat you kinder. Or should I say, you will find your own people here.

    For me, that is not possible. I am half and half and there are very few of either parents nationality here in NZ. Racially I am all alone. Made worse by being mixed.

    At least Indians English Americans Chinese etc in NZ have expat communities for their social needs. That is not available to me.

    Even though I have been here since a baby, my mind and ways are eurasian, and kiwis do not accept me for who I am.

    ‘Kiwi emulation mode’ I could do, when younger, but can now no longer accept racist jokes or small minded attitudes.

  9. Little does he know how much Kiwis hate Indians. I’ve seen alot of racism in my miserable 10 years here. Young early 20’s Kiwi twats in their cars on a Fri and Sat night yelling out abuse at Asians walking in the street while I’ve been driving behind them. Of course, they only do this when theres at least 3 of them in a car together, never do they have the balls to do it on their own.

    This only further demonstrates what inferior, insecure, horrible little subhuman nobodies the majority of kiwis are.

    Mr Singh would be much better off going to the UK, anywhere but this backward shithole. It is a waste of time to ever think that Kiwis could/would be civilised, intelligent, compassionate, sentient beings. It will never happen in a million years.

    • Hi Nebula, totally agree. They are only tough, either if they are maybe little bit bigger than you, or they come in groups. Also usually whites do not attack Maori and Pacific people because those groups are usually large in size and they are fierce and will fight back whereas Indians or Asians are easier for them to attack because they do not fight back.

      Some of them are just sub human no bodies really who believe that they are and live in an important place.

      Even say owning a luxury car of any sort, does not have to be expensive, I owned an old Mercedes in Auckland and I often had stares and people cutting me off on purpose and even at one stage a group of them followed me and tail gate me because it is the only way they can feel superior as most of them live in peanuts. Even at one stage by the traffic light some guy came by side of me and yelled, “Fucking asshole cunt” and drove off and I was just sitting by the light, had not provoked anyone or anything.

      They are nothing but inferior that live in peanuts on a daily basis.

      I worked in a diary retail shop for a year and this is only 4 years ago and I often had abuse from either white, maori or pacific island.

      And yet I was in Malaysia and saw white from everywhere and they act very differently. It is amazing how the mentality changes when they are not in their own country.

      About 4 years back I was living in the North Shore of Auckland when I read in paper that this Arab lady had verbal abuse from a white woman in Pak N Save over a trolley fight and told the Arab lady, piss off back to your sandbox you sand nigger and this was so bad that they local paper felt disgusted and put it on the front page.

      Some of them are nothing low life losers who have no moral whatsoever.

      • Hey Amir,

        Just take it as a compliment when these detritus losers yell abuse at you. It means they are highly jealous of you and believe they have the right to abuse you for it. It’s truly pathetic. If they had any brains they too could have nice things and go places, but they choose to remain a tumbling, perpetual loser for the rest of their lives.

        They will never have any morals. Theres something deeply, inherently wrong with the Kiwi brain. It is primal and juvenile.

        I limit my exposure to them as much as possible. I have a hard time containing my hatred and aggravation toward the ignorant ones.

        • Hey Nebula,

          Thanks for the response and support. I mean as I got older I am starting to calm myself down and get on with life but early on when my family and I came to NZ I just wanted to leave. The place is so small and dull that you get depressed.

          They can have nice things, but they choose to put idiotic tattoo on their arms, eat all day and try to become like a bore so they can act tough and intimidate people..lol..the mentality is inbreeding.

          You are right, there is something inherently wrong about them and I believe its the society they live in. The place is built on a British colony foundation and is too young, has very little history and its also remote, it is not somewhere that has manufacturing or science and technology.

          Also it has its issues with the natives who have lived primitively before and after the colony.

          I also believe that religion makes a huge difference. The country has a small percentage that are religious. Most are atheist and believe in rugby and beer and unfortunately these things wont give you goodness in life.

          I have had my share of experiences with these hateful racist imbeciles who want to cause a fight and yes you do feel aggrevation and hate.

          The other day I am at work and this white guy in his 40’s is a co worker, he talks of NZ economy and how many companies have shut and gone overseas. I said well its a world economic climate, it has happened in US since the late 90’s. Its China, its labor force is huge and its becoming the biggest manufacturing in the world. and this guy is supposedly somewhat smart..lol…but all he kept saying is, oh under labor this happened. I thought, ok, you can think whatever you want but the weak NZ economy is because the place is too small, remote and underpopulated and is only relying on agriculture and tourism.

          I have over the years started to limit my exposure with them because they have hard time interacting outside their race. There are a few good ones but not many.

  10. Kiwis prefer to employ people who are like them. It’s hard enough coming from another anglo saxon country with a different accent. I can’t imagine how difficult it woukd be if you looked different and wore a turban as well.

    Oh the old ” no New Zealand experience” excuse. The reality is that experience gained internationally should trump experience gained in such a backward backwater as NZ but instead Kiwis ‘turn it around’ and make it a negative. It should be illegal to not consider overseas experience gained in an equivalent country (‘first world’ or some ‘third world’ countries are equivalent to NZ!) as at least equivalent to NZ work experience unless a compelling case can be made why it is reasonable that particular role specifically requires NZ work experience. The problem is so widespread for new migrants that I truly beliebe the NZ Govt should amend the anti discrimination legislation to covet this. Onus should be on the employer to prove that specifically ‘New Zealand work experience’ is required to filfil the role if discriminating against an applicant on these grounds. Otherwise it should be deemed unlawful discrimination. But I guess that Kiwi employers would simply switch to some other excuse to justify hiring a fellow kiwi over a better qualified migrant.

    • Hi Brian, yes i agree with you. Kiwi’s just want to be around people like themselves who look similar and sound similar. And even if a white comes from UK or US which is another anglo saxon country, they still might face challenges because their thinking and accent is different.
      I dont have a beard nor do I have a middle eastern accent yet I still faced bullying and ignorant kiwis. and even the name can affect your life too, say if you have a foreign sounding name that is not anglo saxon, they will feel insecure.
      They also have tall poppy syndrome, if a foreign person or immigrant works hard, they will feel insecure and will cut them down.
      They are downright racist to Indian, Middle Eastern or any group that is not white. More so, NZ is not a prosperous country, the place is very small and insignificant so I know they feel this and know it and therefore when they see immigrants, they will do their best to send hate towards immigrants.

    • You couldn’t be more correct ,I was sponsored by U.S companies to undergo huge amounts of training in regards to building envelope heat retention and insulation ,retrofitting older buildings to make them comfortable places to live was one of my specialties and I provided these services for all income level properties in California ,here I am a moron and know nothing and obviously don’t have enough N.Z experience,I worked with pioneer companies depressurising homes and then locating deficiencies,very funny that 10 years later N.Z companies are offering the same service and pretending they invented the technique ,not that most of the cheap bastards will implement the recommendations made to have a warm efficient home.

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