Continuing in our very popular Migrant Tales series – hundreds of first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.
Today’s tale was sent in by a German migrant, a pâtisserie chef by training she emigrated to New Zealand with her children expecting a better life.
However, her children were bullied, called Nazi pigs and ostracised for taking their own pencils to school. Racism is killing her spirit and stopped her from working, despite having graduated with a New Zealand qualification.
She’s leaving New Zealand. Here’s why.
Just reading through the heading of this site, lets me shake my head in disbelief and agreement at the same time. Coming here as a fully trained Konditor from Germany with my child, was nothing short of years of heart and headache literally. Nobody employed me, and so I tried to open my own catering business. (but this humble effort was greeted with envy and someone reporting me to officials for feeble reasons, in order to have me kicked out of the country) But the worst part I had to endure was the fact that schools had a ‘no bullying’ policy. This however was more than a joke. Both of my children were called ‘Nazi-pig’. When going to the respective head of school to report this, I was told that they would deal with it. No apologies offered. The bullying however increased which forced me to take my child out of that school.
At enrollment into school they told me to bring $5.00 pencil money (it was put in a way that one could choose to), so the children can use the pencils offered by the school. I opted out and was promptly ordered to school and asked why I did not pay the $5.00 fee. I was shocked to find out that they classed it as a fee and that I was not really given a choice. I explained that I wanted my child to learn to take care of their own pencil case and gave him a case with everything in it (ruler, colored and lead pencils, eraser, etc pp, as a good german mother would do to have their child set up with everything and not be shamed out for being poorly equipped). Children were then throwing the pencil case in class around making everything break inside, while the teacher did not intervene. I was asking to speak to the head of school. The HoS stated the same as the teacher and as a result my child was ostracized and left out of many activities, which I found out ‘through the back door’ so to speak. So I asked to have my child removed from that class, which posed many problems. And as I could not afford to put my child into a private school (which was a direct result of not finding employment, despite my good education) I was forced to stay with this school, or I could enroll my child at another school, with a far worse educational level and reputation.
I also found, that women in general are deemed lower than men. Being invited to some parties by people showed this very clearly: Men stand on one side of the yard, while women on the other side. Women talk about babies, dirty nappies, the latest in strollers and recipes while men talk about cars and in some cases even politics, which I prefer any day over dirty-nappy talk. Having children does not restrict me to topics regarding children. Which in turn made me no friends in the women’s community and as I joined the men group for a better fare of topics, jealousy was palpable and I found myself withdrawing from society more and more.
So I decided to study instead. NZ gives everybody the possibility to study just about any topic. However this became not true for me either. The entrance interview went terribly bad. The panel asked me the question of Why I wanted to study interior design and decided that my positive reply was reason to disregard me. I asked for a different panel to decide. The second panel was exactly the same as the first and I was outraged about not being given a different panel, as it was my right per their statutes, and stated this. The snide remark they gave me for a reason was: ‘We cannot teach you anything’.
I ended up in studying Bachelor of Fine Arts and gained a Masters in Graphic Design, still hoping to get at least employment or a destination to work with, finding neither. (I have to add, that the school of Fine Arts and Graphic Design were both run by an English and American HoS.)
I cannot fulfill any of my aspirations, my qualifications aren’t worth a dime and racism is killing my spirit. So I am going to leave NZ. This country looks good on the outside, but the inside is not keeping its promises. People seem to fearfully and jealously clique together without looking at new things they could learn and expand their horizon. (During my time of study a Professor from Austria too left NZ in disgust about free speech or better the lack thereof at NZ Universities.) Instead, more laws and regulations open up toward the unlearned and docile, who get rewarded for bullying, ridiculing and brute force as can clearly be seen in the police. Plumbers board takes money for points and registration each year from Plumbers and offering not a single protection toward those who feed them, but prosecuting Plumbers for little things the Board has no knowledge about and threatening and bullying the Craftsmen. I feel racism in so many aspects. Statements like: ‘Oh my grandfather was at war against Nazi Germany’, makes my stomach twist each time. NZ is just poor in so many aspects. Just sad.
Do you have a migrant tale to share with our readers? Leave it in the comments section below.
Read more in the series here: Migrant Tales