If you doubt discrimination in NZ read this…

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

This tale was first published on expatexposed.com, a not-for-profit, self-help and mutual support forum for NZ emigrants. Probably the only uncensored NZ centric emigration forum on the net:

If you doubt discrimination in NZ read this…

“I might share a bit of your background as I’m an Asian who moved from US to NZ under skilled migrant visa with my white partner. It has felt everything but safe and peaceful living here.

From supermarket, book store, restaurant to fancy lawyer office you name it. It took me six months to recognize the intensity of discrimination toward Asians in NZ. Why did it take that long? Because I didn’t believe discrimination could exist to such a degree in what form outside appeared to be a progressive country. The reason why it feels more intense in NZ compared to the other part of the world is that it is in the open here. People don’t feel bad, or shy, or think twice to discriminate against you. To make it worse, nobody around you will care if something bad happens to an Asian. Do you copy me? Most Kiwis just don’t seem to think it’s wrong. That’s when I put it into the most severe category, Open Discrimination Acts. Like you, I have spent most of my adult life in the US and I get along well with people from all walks of life regardless of their skin color. I have never experienced anything like this living in the US. To witness one is painful, to live it even worse.

Verbal abuse from teenagers or cold treatment at shops is normal. My favorite one was the time when my partner and I went to a very good law firm to have our documents certified for immigration. We entered the office together, the gentleman with whom we had the appointment came and greeted my partner. I was there standing next to my partner, and guess what, he didn’t see me. I was invisible! Come on, this is a law firm for God sake be professional or at least be mature.

My other favorite one was the time when we went to the police station for finger prints (also needed for immigration). Again we went together, the officer at one point told me that I must have spent most of my time cleaning or washing dishes as my hands were so dry. I guess he assumed that I was my partner’s maid and my duty was to do all the household cleaning? Are you kidding me? Just because someone is Asian they must be a maid.

This one is the last as I’m getting tired of my own experiences. I was a regular for a couple months at one coffee shop with two other Kiwi ladies who were my neighbors. We usually went there after walking our dogs and we usually sat outside by the courtyard so we could bring our dogs. It didn’t take long when the owner approached one of my kiwi neighbors sitting next to me. But again she didn’t even look at me or talk to me, not even say hi when she approached our table.

After listening to what she had to say, I got the message. She was trying to tell us that our dogs, but more so the big one (who is mine), are not welcome anymore as the customers had complaints about it. Let me put this straight, out of the three dogs, mine happens to be well trained and the best behaved of the three and he never once barked in the restaurant. One of my neighbors had a hard time to control her dog a couple times as hers can be a bit of a nuisance being still quite young. But I’m not dumb. The owner was struggling to articulate her problem, then played it down as she couldn’t quite have the reason to kick me out as like I said my dog was well behaved. She told my neighbors it is not about her it is about other customers and maybe my dog can wait outside! That was it for me. It worked perfect for the owner, as if my dog is out then I will never go back and that’s exactly what they want. My other two neighbors are still regulars at the place, of course with their dogs and nobody seems to complain anymore even though one of the dogs barks all the time. Do you copy me?

If you doubt the discrimination and think that maybe your highly skilled profession will make them treat you differently, the answer is NO. If you think that if you speak English the way that it supposed to be spoken they will treat you differently, NOPE. If you think that by living in a good, high-end neighborhood like we did will make you feel safer, the answer is again NO. If you think maybe if you have money and can afford to go to the better shops or restaurants where people will treat you a bit more professionally, the answer is still NO.

Well we definitely had enough, why do we want to contribute more than NZ$6,000 a month into tax when the whole culture is so rotten. What is there for us in NZ anyway, we wanted to live in a peaceful place but NZ is so disturbing. Sky rocketing crime rates, child abuse hitting the ceiling and domestic violence is the norm.

We are moving in a month from now. It is relatively easy for us to move as my partner’s profession is in high demand. Early this year I discovered this website and showed it to my partner. I somehow never felt safe here and the experiences from others on this site confirmed to me that I wasn’t alone, so that was the start of looking for exit for us. We got the job offer within days of looking and are on the way out for good.

Hope my comment finds you soon before you take off so you can give yourself more time to think about the move. Please do think twice especially if you have children. NZ is not safe for them. No children should live through discrimination right on their face.”

87 thoughts on “If you doubt discrimination in NZ read this…

  1. I completely understand you. I’m from south America, and the discrimination here is horrible, not so much in Auckland though, since it’s so multicultural… but in the other cities is a pain. I don’t know whether it is because I’m brown, or my accent, or my nationality, but I’ve faced so many uncomfortable experiences in my three years living here.
    My boyfriend is English, and his family is lovely, but when it comes to new Zealanders or Maori, they can be really mean sometimes (not all of them of course, but the majority).
    One day I was having dinner with my boyfriend and I got asked for ID. I happened to show my passport, and guess what? The waitress said they only accepted NZ passport. Funny aye? The manager later apologised… but what is done is done, that’s how i see it.
    That’s only one of my many experiences, without mentioning the many “go back to your f*cking country” I’ve gotten.
    Sometimes it makes me very sad, but I guess I have to learn to live with it because life here is somehow better than in my country when it comes to security. But sometimes people can be so harsh with their comments


    • I had the same experience when I wanted to buy tobacco from a supermarket several years ago and my only form of identification available was a foreign identity card. It is frustrating.


    • It’s weird. I never experienced like that when I was in Wellington but funnily, I started to feel heavy discriminations in Auckland from both Kiwi and Indians (probably Fijians) and also got verbal bullying from these people (for some nonsense reason) outside of my working place.


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