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.”

80 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.

  2. I arrived in NZ in March 2017 and it took one year for me to realize the racial discrimination here. Though I found some kiwis really good to me. Most kiwis are helping and polite. But only a few (yes only a few) kiwis can make your life hell here in NZ. I had applied for my overseas license conversion at VTNZ and I came across a racist woman there. I have been there four times and all the times she used to make me wait till the office closes and then used to ask me come next day. For example, I visited her last week and she said that she is waiting for some customer who has gone to get the xerox of his documents and told me to wait. I waited from 2:15 till 2:50 (the time during which she entertained many customers except me) and again went to her to submit my documents. She again told me the same reason to wait and at 4:30 she said that its only 30 minutes before the closing time and she cannot submit my documents today.
    I say it again, most Kiwis are wonderful ppl. but yea few had really made me cry.

    • I think you want to know how truely bad the racism is here from average Kiwi, you only have to go to your local take out place and act polite to international student that’s working there. They are so not used to seeing someone doing it, they will honestly think you’re making fun of them. That’s why I try to avoid being friendly now when I go to places in NZ. It’s only going to come back on you … :-S

  3. I have been searching for a job for the past few months. I have not been able to get a job in my field of study despite being a top academic student and having won numerous academic awards in my high school. People invite me to the interview and then after seeing my appearence, they make an excuse “mostly we found a more experienced candidate” and say they won’t offer me the job. I hadn’t experienced anywhere near the racism while in high school which I am experiencing at the moment. I will find it hard to move to another location and personally, I will not advice people close to me to move here. People here are so racist that instead of my achievements, they want to give the job based on a person’s appearence.

    There are also good people here but not all of them are in a position to offer me a job. Oh well, all we gotta do is just carry on and hope for a positive.

  4. I have just moved back to NZ after 10 years living in the USA. I am personally dissapointed in the high level of racism and prejudice I have seen from my fellow kiwis.
    As much as I appreciate the intent of this site, I feel like the comments has degraded into unsupported, non-fact based claims from both sides of the argument. I appreciate those who are sharing their personal experiences as that sheds light on issues, but those who are making sweeping generalizations about 4 million people are not helping the discussion.
    My challenge to the website’s creators would be to create a dialogue about what to do about covert and overt racism, rather than just a forum to complain, or defend.
    What can i do if confronted by racism? How can i educate others about me and my culture? where do i learn about local traditions and customs so i can understand the people i am interacting with?
    We don’t have to change who we are to fit in somewhere but we do have to try to understand those with whom we are living with. That goes both ways.
    Lets continue to respect our experiences, but also move forward to a more inclusive New Zealand.

    • I take your point. Personally, I am surrounded by people who think NZ is the greatest place on earth and I feel like I would lose friends quickly if I went around contradicting their firmly held beliefs. I don’t know anyone who is a racist and wouldn’t want to mix with people like that. I tend to use this site to throw some pent up feelings into the public domain but am really talking to myself. An example would be that I am in a group and someone will say something like “It is great to live in NZ a country with no racists”. I cannot disprove that sort of statement but will sort of bottle it up as one of the many bits of bullshit that I hear. then in 2 months time my head will be full and I will need to release. Thank you E2NZ for providing this forum.

    • Great question. We moved back to give the kids, 2 toddlers, time with the rest of the family and to experience the ‘kiwi’ lifestyle of summer and beaches.
      We have taken a few steps to challenge the racism that we have seen. While purchasing a car we were told a few racist ‘jokes’ by the salesman we just met. We told him we would not be able to purchase a car from him due to those remarks. We have in the past removed our business from an accountant for the same reasons.
      We are working with our kids to give them exposure to Maori language and culture so as to help them develop understanding and respect of it.
      We regularly donate to the ADL, anti-defamation league) in the US to support the programs they are working on and participated in a peaceful ‘peace’ rally in the US to show solidarity with minority groups.
      I often address these ideas with my family to give them a different perspective on the world, and engage in discussions with friends about prejudices of all sorts.
      I certainly don’t want to come off as self-righteous or like I have all the answers, but hopefully some of these ideas are familiar to people, and if not, I hope they can take some of these ideas and implement them.
      I would love to hear how others are taking steps towards change.

      • Kiwi from us. I respect your views and comments and share your end game. However with respect I would suggest your comments are somewhat naive and relate to those with money. A lot has changed in 10 years and depending on your social situation and location you may not have been exposed to the new New Zealand yet. Nz is a country of have and have not’s. Inequality is now rife. Racism in ALL forms has stemmed from this. All the best.

  5. I am refugee from ethiopia, the racism in this country and discrimination is just overwhelming.
    It is so punishing.
    Each and every one of them is so damn and racist.
    I wouldnt have recommend any one to come here. It is sick place sadly.

  6. Geez, I am a white American looking to immigrate elsewhere and take my education, skills and finances to a more progressive country where I could feel good about my tax dollars helping rather than discriminating, my Asian wife and I were in love with New Zealand and it was our number 1 choice until we came to this blog.

    I always believed America was the #1 racists, gotta love American exceptionalism! But this stuff is really bad, Americans might want to say or think racist things but they will rarely say it to your face and most of the Asian stereotypes here are positive, Indian too. I asked my partner how often she deals with overt racism in our redneck little Midwestern town and she said once a year which Ishould an unacceptably high number but nothing compared to the stories shared here.

    New Zealand is completely off the market for us unless a member of the New Zealand government acknowledges, denounces and vows to combat the racism with education.

    I guess we’ll find another country to give our tax and tourism dollars to because New Zealand clearly does not deserve the immense capital, innovation, technology and multicultural diversity that immigration brings.

    Also, I know that it is old but as a white man in a biracial relationship, if you tell your partner about the racism or misogyny you have experienced and his reaction is anything other than horror, empathy and consolation (maybe even a little violent rage if the jerk is still within punching distance.) Then its time you had a good talk with him or maybe even find a new partner because they don’t deserve you either.

    Your stories ripped my heart out. If I could, and of you wanted I’d green card marry every single minority trapped on that island. If so many want an all white inbred island than let them have it and watch it stagnate.as every nation does when it isolates itself.

    Take care and get out of there, they don’t dserve you.

    • Maybe you would like to try Singapore ? No problems with mixed couples there.
      But the pace of work is punishing though. It is also an expensive city and you
      should secure a decent-paying job before moving there.

      I’m Chinese-Malaysian and have lived and worked in Singapore for two years way back in the
      mid 1990s. I visit Singapore regularly as I have close relatives there.

    • My guess is racism is in every country. But every country has an enclave where good people congregate, to escape the ugly people.
      If I was in the US, I’d try Portland or some tolerant area. But dont expect to find a whole country of good people, anywhere.

      NZ has some of these enclaves, but they are small, as NZ is small. The USA enclaves are much bigger, as the USA is bigger.

      Plus the USA is cheaper, as well as having better weather, less isolated hill billies, inbreeding, crackheads, football heads, drunkenness, etc.

      NZ has all the things the USA has like white supremacists, gangs, drugs, but per capita more of it.

      NY City is probably the most diverse and accepting place on the planet?

  7. Hello, I am a white American and my partner was adopted from Korea and raised by a white family. She and I are about to have our first child in February, a beautiful baby girl who will almost certainly look more Asian than white.

    Due to the treacherous political climate my country is currently experiencing where racism, misogyny and xenophobia are no longer simply tolerated as byproducts of misguided freedom of speech, but are instead celebrated as the cornerstone of a political parties entire ideology and platform, we are looking for a new country to call home and New Zealand is at the very tip top of our list.

    We are hardworking and conscientious Americans who believe taxes are the most patriotic duty we can perform since that money directly contributes to education, safety, our fellow Americans and even our soldiers abroad and who have returned home. However we cannot continue to support a bloated system that targets my fellow taxpayers based on the color of their skin, (even orange doofuses with terrible hair.)

    So what I want to know from my friends in the deep pacific is, if I immigrate to New Zealand will my wife and child continue to experience the same abuses they do/will here?

    Getting away from the guns and violence will be nice but if we can get the whole package that will be even better.

    About once a year a nut job will use a racist slur or scream at my partner. Can any minorities living in New Zealand confirm their experiences? Thank you and you have a wonderful beautiful country and we hope to contribute to its continued prosperity.

  8. I’m going to have a rant!!!!!

    Having dealt with over 150 brides over the past 12 months (I own a bridal boutique) I have been absolutely disgusted over the blatant ‘racism’ towards Asian members of staff and even myself (being of British descent) at times!!!!! It never happens to NZ born staff members (even if their work has been of far less quality than the Asian Staff Member!!). Is this normal in NZ?? If so, I am beginning to think is it the best place to bring up our children?? This is the 21st Century for goodness sake!! x

  9. Every time every one is discriminated thzt person needs to report it to the Human Rights Commision. This can be done online. If the Commision get drowned by complains then it might realise how big is the problem. Ask all your friends to report, the more people will report the more it will push the Government to do something about it. You recive a negative letter of employment stating that you do not fit the TORs but your profile fit them perfectly, report it. If all start reporting this community can bring a dtart of a change.

  10. Why not going for a class action? I am pretty sure that we will find human rights lawyers willing to take the case. Department of migration actively encourage Asian migrants to migrate but they know about the racism, the professional discrimination, the fact that many will not find a job according to qualifications. The study of the department of migration is on the internet, and it is not the only study showing this. They encourage people to sell everything they own to come on false pretence. There is a case to be made.

  11. I want to kill myself because of what i have been through today. It is not only the most terrible experience for me in NZ, it also make me understand that if i am an asian, i should not stay in NZ.

    I came to a shopping mall with my friend. We just walking around and chosing stuffs. I picked up a box of eyelash glue for $5 and put it in my hand. On that hand, i also got a bag around my twist. The box is really tiny so it is fit in my hand completely with the bag around my twist. The. My friend decided to go to the some counters to have a look so i kept the box in my hand and went with her. I planned to pay for it later after we finish looking. But then we talked and i completely forgot about the item on my hand and walked out. A security guy came and told me i had not pay for it. I was so embarrassing and said: ” omg, i am so sorry, i will pay for it now, i totally forgot it”. And i walked with them back to the mall and about to pay for it. I have to explain here that i worked part-time in a restaurant, sometime the kiwi customers forget to pay for the meal when they leave and we just run after and remind them to pay for it, we completely believe they forget and never call police or judge them about that.

    Back to my story, the security guy did not allow me to pay and took me to his office. Then he put me sit in a chair that was opposite the room door and the door was wide open. He told me to write down my details on a paper and he would call police about this. I asked him:” Seriously? For a box of glue that is 5$ that i only forgot to pay? You know i can pay 20$ for it now right?” And he said:” you know, we treat people the same, ppl always say they forgot to pay for it”. And then the racism began. When i wrote my name down, i showed him my passport as well, but instead of looking at my passport to confirm, he kept asking me about what i wrote, how to spell my name and what is my dob. I asked him:” why dont u have a look on my passport, it is all there” and he said:” you know, we have to check again for sure” without explaining why he did not check in my passport. And he wrote all my information in a paper form without explaining it to me what is that. And i told him i did not stole anything, so i would not sign any paper that accused me as a shop lifter. He said” you dont need to sign for it” and kept writing without explaining to me what was it. I started to get my social anxiety and panic attack because i could not suffer the humiliating from the situation: ppl kept walking in and walking pass the wide open door that i sit opposite to and looked at me like i am a criminal. I cried and told them why i had to suffer this when i just forgot to pay a 5$ item and i told let me pay for it. But they kept denying me and made me sit there for 2 hours to wait for the police. My friend could not stand it and asked the guy to close the door. He said:” we cannot do it, the door needs to be opened just in case you attack us”. We, 2 small asian girls and one big security guy? Really? My friend then asked for us to switch the seats so i could avoid the opened door. I was crying and so affraid because all my life, i had never been in this situation. I did not believe just because i forgot to pay 5$, now i became a criminal. An old female staff came to comfort me but she left, and she asked another female staff to look after me.

    But she just sat there, opposite to me, looking at me with a dirty look. While my friend comforted me, she and the security guy talked about THEIR HOLIDAYS, WITH ME CRYING AS THE BACKGROUND NOISE. And then, police came, and they sat and talked to me. They checked my criminal record, and ofcourse nothing show up. then they went to check the footage of me in the room next to me. And i could hear the security guy said really loud:” she tried to steal it, see, she saw the thing on her hand and still walked away”. There were 2 officers, one was talking to me and one watched the footage. And then the footage one came out and said to the other that i might see the item on my hand and other asked:” are u sure?”. The footage one then went to check again and said he was not sure ab it. I told to the officer that i had 2 bags on my hand at that time, if i wanted to steal it, why did not i put it in my bag? Why i hold it on my hand? So obviously? Is there anytime u were holding too much stuffs and u totally forgot the small thing in your hand? Ofcourse the police believed me, and they told me to go outside to talk. But the store asked to took a picture of me from there security camera. And when i walked out, they asked me to stand in a clear place, took a picture of me with the store staffs around looking at me like i was a criminal, even they said to me before it should be private. I was humiliating by all the staffs there. When i walked out, the police told me the store still think i stole it and banned me from the shop for 2 years. They told me the paper form that the security guy wrote before was the note to ban me from the store. The police did tell me that they believing i was telling the truth but they could not do anything. And i should mention that the security guy even said to me when i was in the room that i should feel lucky because they just banned me from the shop, not the entire mall, and not fine me 300$. Oh? Really? So i have to thank them because when i forgot to pay 5$ item, i got denied when i said i wanted to pay for it, and i got public shaming like that? I had to thank them when my anxiety came up, they just sat there chatting while i said i wanted to kill myself?

    I came to NZ to study one of the major that NZ is lacking of employee, i paid 10000$ more than a kiwi paid for education, i worked and paid tax to get all this racism????? Why? I shopped in there before, i used to pay 200$ for a perfume, 60$ for a lipstick in there, and i got all the public shaming because of $5? And why they did not believe me? If i am white, will they treat me like that?

    I used to think NZ is the destination, that i wanted to contribute to this country, want to live in here. But now, it is a hell of racism for me. I realize i will be treated differently for the rest of my life, no matter how much i contribute for this country. I will leave this place for sure, and never come back. For all the asian students that love western countries, if you want to make your dream come true, DO NOT COME TO NZ, CAUSE ALL U GET WILL BE DISAPPOINTED AND ANXIETY ABOUT YOUR RACE.

  12. All I know is that I have applied for hundreds of jobs, I have a masters degree from Aussie and many years of experience BUT they will not even call me for an interview. Not one in the last 10 months. I suppose they want me to drive a taxi or wash dishes in a restaurant, not that those are bad professions or I have anything against them. I just feel that my skills, education and experience is wasted if I start doing that and I wont be able to earn enough.

    But then again, Luckily I didn’t leave my job in my home country which pays me handsomely as I am a CEO, so that is saving grace. My reason for PR (and I have a direct PR status with no limitations) and to move to Auckland was to be close to my family, all of whom are kiwis and want to live in NZ. I support them from overseas now and I am happy that I can but sad that I will probably never get a decent job in NZ and be close to my family. But so be it.

    What a racist country and how the people are chronic two faced, not so intelligent lot; they will never be as they do not allow outside competition, skills and experience to create a competitive environment. I feel sorry for NZ as their people fool themselves and will be left behind in this world. Its like in-breeding, there is nothing new jut MEETOO and MEETOO

  13. I was born in NZ but grew up in Melenesia. I grew up speaking the local language and interacting and being completely accepted in the local community. I I grew up a melenesian. I noticed the immigrants who lived in this area ,who were mostly from Australia,New Zealand,France and Asia. It was interesting that the people who assimilated the most were the French and Asians,ie learnt the language and lived locally. The NZrs ,Aussies ,even after years,made no attempt at learning the language and mostly kept to themselves.I remember going with my parents to cocktail parties for whites and it was a completley different world. I struggled living in NZ as people couldn,t place me. I was an immigrant to my own country. There are situations when in smoko or at the pub when people will talk about foriegners in openly racist tones and it is completly accepted, it feels like a kick in the guts to me,,the truth is there is a wide spread racial undercurrent in this country..Immigrants to this country assimilate far more than any european from this country does when living in other countries.. At least immigrants to NZ learn the language and are open to learn new things. Show me a NZ european who is bi-lingual at least,very few. Its really dragging me down,my dream is to work in a multi cultural work environment here or overseas,thats where I feel most comfortable. any oppourtunities out there ?

    • yes I am a refugee from Zimbabwe and have been discriminated against I lived here 12 years I want to leave absolutely hate this place the truth is if you are a foreigner no matter how long you in new Zealand you will never be accepted

  14. Good luck Zaw Linn, life here is pretty harsh for any newcomer and doubly difficult if you are Asian and having to listen to the constant backing vocal of anti-Asian sentiment. I struggle with hearing it and I am not Asian. Unless your willing to pitch in with the everyman for himself mentality and become ‘one of us’ (AKA a booze fuelled rugby maniac or a desperate wine soaked housewife hitting the bottle at wine o’clock every day) you will struggle to fit in and as demonstrated by some of the comments above you can expect to be ostracised and then blamed for your own misfortune.

  15. As a Asian living in nz I can confirm that nz is a racist country. I’ve had so many offensive comments involving my race.

  16. It really is sad that even Asians born in New Zealand face severe discrimination in the workforce. I have heard some very sad stories from some Asians born in NZ who told me that they are treated no better than immigrants in many ways. I really wonder what is the stupid excuse this time against hiring Asians born in NZ? After all they are kiwi -fied (whatever that means as kiwi culture has also changed a lot over the decades) speak with a kiwi accent understand kiwi culture well and should be a good fit in the kiwi workplace.
    I think kiwi employers might as well be honest and say we only employ our white kiwi friends in the same suburb we live in. Also, they must not be tall poppies because being ambitious, highly skilled and intellectual is a crime in New Zealand, the land of the retarded tiny poppies

  17. THE RACE DISCRIMINATION in NZ is real specially against to Asian. Me and my bro we met a lot of verbal abuses from KIWI (who think themselves as originally live in here) when we go fishing or camping. XXXXing Asian is the most common word we had heard. We paid high taxes for government but facing different treatments. Apparently, Labour and Green party lead the discriminator to go astray.

  18. I had long wished to visit NZ but from many stories from friends who have visited tell me that the illusion that NZ is a welcoming country, is just that. There are too many bitter people there and for a country that was taken from the natives by a colony is what makes the tale all the more disappointing. A beautiful landscape country but a ugly common and unwelcoming people

  19. My family came from England in 1973 to live in NZ. My father was very skilled in his field of work and came here to fill a position, that had been advertised in England, in a large company in Auckland. I was six years old at the time, but remember throughout my school years being discriminated against because of my accent. The comments were from the children, but they originated from the grown ups. I felt different and very alone and I realised that even if you have a European complexion and are amongst Europeans, you are still discriminated against if you are different in some way from the masses.

    • I find that quite interesting as at my primary if there was a new kid that came from another country none of us would be racist to them we just wanted to hear the accent because the kiwi accent is so boring

  20. Thank you to the writer!
    I felt like I met a friend who knows me as I read your story. The cold treatment where ever I go is eating me up even though I try to brush it off. But, it affects me psychologically. You expressed well and I feel like I met someone understands me. My husband who is white does not understand my feelings. He justifies the situation and it really makes me angry. That is really really hard for me. I stopped talking about racism with him. I never brought it up often in the first place, but when I bring up those cold treatments, I don’t get empathy from my husband but we end up having arguments and I shut myself down. I am really happy to read your story. That is my story. Except for the dog experience. I do not own a dog. But, I can well picture the situation. I am worried about my future here when I have to use health service or when I get older and weaker.
    Cold treatment brings anger. I don’t want to be angry.

  21. sadly as a kiwi in nelson nz i see hatred to asians all the time.the reasons behind the hatred are nearly always absurd.yet many people come here thinking we are culturaly progressive.dont get me wrong i have many friends who dont act badly to other people from outside nz.but yea im afraid we are the few not the many and often leave nz for a better life.

  22. It is true that asians have been discriminated in every matter. I am from India and I am choosing NewZealand for my post graduate studies but after reading all these comments I never choose this country as present many students who are in newzealand are in trouble because of no jobs but Kiwis are getting job easily.

  23. @P RAY – this! who knows why employers pass up qualified individuals but they do. If I where a business owner, it seems it would only make sense to hire the MOST qualified person. They can help you build the best business.

    • Qualifications or skills are not the most valued. I worked for a company where I was one of the most qualified and skilled. I got laid off [really fired, though you can’t do that here] because I wouldn’t toe the company line as far as disclosure of truthful information [I wouldn’t lie to protect the company, and they knew it]. There was another guy [kiwi] that worked at the same time I was there, and the first thing that you did when you followed up on anything that he did was start over from scratch. And yet he wouldn’t say crap about the company, even if he had to swallow a mouth full. He managed to stay working for this company for several more years, until even that crooked company could not ignore [any longer] how unskilled he was, and got rid of him.
      Lesson: even if you don’t know anything but are a good company soldier [keeps mouth shut about unethical, dishonest buisness practices], you’ll stay working far longer than a skilled, qualified, and honest person.
      Go figure!

  24. And what about the subtle passive racism at workplace? I’m not a white kiwi and so many times a job/promotion comes up, it gets passed on to the ‘mates’ even when I tick all the boxes. Promotions are only saved for white kiwis and somehow they make their way up even without having relevant experience. When you are a non-white then all processes and ticking all boxes becomes necessary. Appreciation for education here is non-existant. People drop-out from school and start work and they believe they know everything just through experience. Shut down the universities then….oh..well unis may be just a way to earn foreign dollars.

    No matter how much you try, if you are not white you’ll never be a real ‘mate’, doesn’t matter if you go out drinking just to fit in. When the time comes they will shun you in favour of a ‘mate’. Transperancy, fairness, honesty, non-discrimination…my ass. Its all just hogwash. Look from the eyes of a non-white in NZ, you’ll know. There is white privilege everywhere.

    How many senior managers of non-white origin have you seen in NZ?

    • They want your blood, sweat and money, but are trying to keep you poor so you have no equity with which to leverage a better life. Perhaps it would help if you were an Asian girl, I saw many having no problems gaining employment despite questionable proficiency in English.
      There is a deep undercurrent of discrimination that I noticed in NZ, that is mostly directed at Asians who are male, speak English fluently and have proper qualifications – regardless of whether foreign born or local.

      My suggestion is for you is to see how you can get started on a home-based business and undercut your competition on price and delivery time.
      They cannot choose to “patronise or recognise an Asian person last”, when that person is offering services and specialised goods at a price that is more affordable than their rivals.

      I would of course remind you that once word of your enterprising nature gets out that your bosses or racists you unknowingly interact with at the workplace, will try to overload you with work or perform other subtle harrassment to get you in difficulty.

      As the famous Churchill saying goes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”.
      Good luck!

  25. Literally everything you’ve complained about happens to everyone in NZ regardless of race. I am guess you are female?? The first couple of complaints you had could just have easily have been sexism. I also feel you’ve done a lot of interpreting when it comes to “hidden” motives of the offences. All you have experienced is rudeness in my opinion, something that all New Zealanders face. Tons of immigrants, including Asians, are rude too. Why should rudeness be construed as racist when it is a kiwi doing, but not when an Asian does it?

  26. No matter where you go in the world people will have good or bad experiences. It is very dangerous to generalise ALL of New Zealand as being racist. Yes, some attitudes do exist towards other ethnicities but you will also find that many New Zealanders are open and welcoming. It is ignorant to take only negative stories about New Zealand into consideration. There are aspects of New Zealand culture that people may not find to be agreeable, but is this being judged objectively or based in what is acceptable in your own culture? New Zealand culture is very different to that of other places around the world. As a New Zealander myself, I can assure you that several of the comments that people in this thread claim to be racist are actually being misconstrued. In several cases, these are intended to be humourous, not harmful. If you find that something does not align with your own culture you need to be critical in understanding the different influencers in the context. I know many people who have moved to New Zealand from Europe, Asia and South America who enjoy the culture here and have learned to embrace it. I am involved in education systems alongside French, Italian, Chinese and Papa New Guinean people; and all of them are respected and listened to for their rich cultural differences. No country is completely perfect, there are flaws in any system, but it is very easy to focus on negativity and ignore positivity. New Zealand has a wide-range of attitudes and opinions, just like anywhere else. So my advice to anyone reading this is: do your own research, listen to both the good and the bad, experience it for yourself and then make up your OWN mind.

  27. I experienced a different form of discrimination in NZ. Nobody wants to hire me just by looking at my previous work experiences – not in NZ. When I got a job my boss is constantly complaining about my English. I don’t speak the way she speaks. She wants me to speak how she speak word by word.

  28. O my god… Now I don’t want to go to an exchange program there…. I’m asian phil/jap/china and I look more of a filipina….. And i heard that there was a lot of gold digging filipinas there…. I wonder how they’ll treat me…:(

    • Gold digging Filipinas? I have met a lot of Filipinas and they are so hard working. They don’t depend on other people. They are nice people. I am wondering why you should be bothered how they will treat you. It doesn’t make sense, really.

    • Uhmm…what? most Filipinos working in NZ are professionals…especially nurses, engineers, IT and dairy farming :-/

  29. i came in to study and decided on a part-time casual job with same university. went for the interview and was told training will start the upper week. A day to training i didnt get any information and decided to contact the school. here is the reply i got

    “Many thanks for your time yesterday. At this stage we are only looking for 3 people to assist us with this project and took the first 3 people who came to see us. If we require more people I will get in touch”.

    i was surprised and replied back that i was selected for the post and was infact given the schedules of work a week back. they then replied me with this

    “Apologies for the confusion. We did go through with you about what the jobs were, shifts to make sure that people we were interviewing were still interested. We decided that we would hire only three applicants as this would be easier to manage.

    The final decision was made on Friday – apologies for not getting back to you sooner about this”.

    i nob my head because it was white lie. as at the time of interview, the lady who interviewed me apparently not from new zealand told me they needed more people because of the loads of works and they were still recruiting more people.

    • It’s a lot harder for people to get away with lying to you when they have to do it to your face.
      And it’s definitely a disappointment to me that some people at university think that “shorting” others looking for jobs is okay.

      My time at university in NZ was extremely productive, memorable and enjoyable, with a short job at the end of it too … and the people I worked with, they appreciated my work … and I was impressed with their fields of research (almost like having a free year at university) along with my supervisors.

      Have you physically spoken to someone else in the department about what happened? You cannot afford to let things slide if you do not want to be stepped on. E-mail allows many people to be dismissive without repercussions. And a follow up from you would demonstrate the idea that you’re not easily discouraged.

  30. I was born there and all the comments are fairly accurate. I no longer live there either because its like living with the Clampit Family from Beverley Hills

  31. Thanks for the info,I’m Romanian and i hold double citizenship US and Romanian,i wanted to visit New Zealand as a tourist and,but i also read that many Romanians have bad experience at the border they been treat very unfair and discriminatory as i read more about this country discrimination toward other ethnic groups i refused and cancel my plans to visit and decided that i will chose to spend my money to other destination,I used to love drink New Zealand wine,now i also decided to boycott any New Zealand product and i certainly i will influence all my friends in US as well in Europe to think twice before visit New Zealand,I’m terrible sorry about your experience,i never thought a beautiful country like New Zealand will have such toward discriminatory attitude against other ethnic groups until i read your story and many others.

  32. I don’t think NZ should be the only country where racism occurs. It is inevitable because everyone is different, everyone is unique. Racism also happens in the Philippines, China and India. Racism between different dialect groups. There’s nothing you can do to stop this but there’s something that can pacify it – and that is “RESPECT”. I am Filipino-Chinese and am proud of my race! Have a great day everyone!

  33. Ian Robertson :
    Geeeez what a lot of negativity about NZ..sure there will always be a few people upset about any country..but bundle it all together and put it on a website..and you get this..We will always be a great caring kind country..and we still have half the world knocking on our door wanting to get in..I rest my case..From a real kiwi!

    firstly, it is people like you who ignore the vital problems the supposed democracy of NZ has.

    one is the gang problem.

    According to the book Gangs by Ross Kemp, New Zealand has more gangs per head then any other country in the world with about seventy major gangs and over 4,000 patched members in a population of 4 million people.

    why has there been no legislation passed to outlaw them?
    crime is a huge earner and keeps police in jobs, therefore why do away with gangs as they provide work for the police.
    why does tax payer’s money provide legal aid to these gangs?

    2. is xenophobia

    3. is unskilled Kiwi employment over foreign skilled employment – Nepotism!

    4. is poor judiciary

    5. is media control over trial of crime

    6. police choose outcome of crime before a trial is conducted

    7. NZ’s industries – agriculture, tourism (nz’s largest earner of forex), crime

    8. high cost of living

    9. NZ society vindictive and punitive

    10. poor financial regulation – or none at all. no financial regulatory body.

    11. 100% clean, green, is a myth

    12. NZ sold as a wonderful place to live. however speak to many people who have immigrated to NZ and they will not agree with this.

    13. high UV and high rate of skin cancers

    14. dangerous driving

    15. failing and stretched health system

    16. failing economy making money out of immigrants

    17. geographically isolated

    18. high earthquake risk

    good points:

    1. beautiful scenery

    2. good coffee

    3. clean air and clean water (outside dairy region)

    4. great place for a holiday as long as you have the money

    5. older generation and pioneers

    the negatives seem to outweigh the positives unfortunately.

  34. Well, Kiwis are very friendly, they consider themselves warm and welcoming and I really fest that way for the first months in Auckland. After a while I found out that it would not make them your friend. We had situations, but nothing major. Wellington was the best on this aspect. When we moved to Christchurch the situation was different, everyone says clearly that they are only racist towards Asians and white people like me wouldn’t have problems until you open your mouth. I’ve met fantastic people here, but received plenty on insults here for nothing. It is the most racist city I’ve seen, travelled or lived. When enter in a shop they are friendly but as soon as you say that you “live” here the treatment is completely different. Apply for a good job? Forget!! You see an add that says experience, qualification, etc. You apply and get declined, the person appointed for will be a local with NO qualification. I worked in a international corporation in Christchurch Office, the criteria to be employed is a minimun Bachelor level. In a team of 15, only 3 had University education and they were happy to waive the criteria to keep locals. I suffered discrimination from clients and team mates on a daily basis. I got fed up and start to apply elsewhere about 50 applications and never was shortlisted for one single interview. In one agency they said that I meet all the criteria except one. In another the person from the National Office said, you are the most experienced and the most qualified, but the team believe that a local would be a better fit. I changed my CV to Rob Peters, from Timaru, qualified from the worst education provider (will not mention which) and only replace the company names in order to get rid of all clues of my real origin, but the same CV. I started to apply for jobs in the same companies that declined me (including all Chch Universities), in one week I had 15 calls for interviews!. Nobody will ever ever say that they have discrimination (as it is crime), but do the test yourself!

    • @rodshi : it happened same with me , when i changed my name to ENGLISH name.i got many call for interviews.everyone know the REALITY is always different.beautiful country,unfriendly people.

  35. I am from Myanmar(Burma) and i am planning to study in New Zealand in next 2 years. Is it safe for me to go and study there or change my plan to study some other country?

    • I think you would receive a better education for your money elsewhere, if you have options other than New Zealand (Burma is fairly isolated due to the coup and political regime, and I would think you would not want to go to another isolated place, but rather spread your wings and learn more about the wider world?), but the most important thing is to educate yourself with regard to “stranger danger”, rip-offs and other risks, wherever you go. Good luck to you.

  36. The Korean family might not speak English very well – they probably thought he was a maintenance worker. It is true that one becomes very untrusting here after enough sufficiently bad experiences. I hope that “honki” poster extends himself and tries to meet other immigrants.

    To Jana – they really do not know anything about what other countries are like to live in. Their headlines focus on the worst parts of other societies, sensationalistic and negative things. So they think America is full of violence, gangs and homeless, and everywhere in South America is like the poorest area there. The newspapers foster this delusion, and unless Kiwis travel widely, they believe it. Even people who know better but cannot leave New Zealand prop up the fake image, to make themselves feel better about being stuck there.

    It is not that Kiwis are “all bad” – it is that expectations are very different! It is not a “service-oriented society”.

    • “Even people who know better but cannot leave New Zealand prop up the fake image, to make themselves feel better about being stuck there.”

      This is very true, I’ve heard from some immigrants that at first they didn’t like it here, now they “like” it and get “excited” about travelling to some red-neck town in the middle of nowhere during the holidays, what I believe to be rationalisation in the face of being unable to leave, you have to pity them sometimes…

  37. I spent a terrible time in NZ, my husband worked at a flower company in CHCH and one of the ladies there used to call him f@@@ing brazilian; they DO say terrible things like Get the ### out of this country–EVERYTIME– they try to hit you and once they did we called the cops…SURPRISE; he said _ This is NZ you are in Chch get used to this. I heard in Fox Glacier in a restaurant that I was working in 2008 as a waitress That Brazilians girls put theire hands in kiwis underpants(Im not going to say the right place…) and one man – a farmer – said Where youre from? I said Brazil. He said- Hey, I have a farm I need someone to give me 4 kids and look after my sheep and myself since you are Brazilian you must be starving marry me.
    How ignorant, please tell do they know about life, I really dont understand…
    just for you to know, I´m a white person and my parents Europeans, they moved to Brazil I was Born in Brazil, so just this Girl is saying ITS BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM!

  38. It’s disappointing that your initial empathy had to be countered with the inevitable “however.”

    Perhaps you’d do well to consider WHY your tenants greeted you in the way they did, perhaps it was something about your demeanor or appearance that gave them cause for concern. Perhaps their experience of New Zealanders up to that point had not been a positive one, perhaps they thought you were there for nefarious reasons, or perhaps it was just because their dinner was burning and they were too polite to tell you to come back later.

    You degree of intolerance is shameful, next time try to create a better impression and please do not dismiss the experience of many migrants in New Zealand on the basis of one family’s reaction to you.

    Think on this. If it had been a New Zealand family in the home how different would your reaction have been and would you have formed an impression of all other New Zealanders based solely on that interaction?

    • people should no have to change their appearance and “demeanour” to be accepted by people they should be accepted for who they are.
      It is clear that the person was only trying to help her new neighbours
      that person docent have to change the next-door neighbours do

  39. I’m really sorry to hear of your experiences in my country. The bigoted are people to feel sorry for rather than offended by, but I can understand your feelings have been hurt.
    However, I must say this – we have had a family of Koreans move in down the ROW from us, into my father’s house (he’s the landlord). Not for this reason only of course, I went to introduce myself and make them feel welcome. All I got in return was the door opened a crack and grunts in reply to my conversation. Before long the crack in the door got smaller and I gave up and left. I now have no time for them. And I also mow their lawn as a favour for my Dad – not one word of thanks or gratitude from them. So you see it goes both ways.
    All the best with your future life, wherever it may be.

  40. Essentially what you’re saying is this (can you see how your statements conflict with each other?)

    1.You’re the problem, not us
    2.You’re living in the wrong area
    3.Racism exists in NZ
    4.Racism in NZ is acceptable because it happens more frequently in the US
    5.Racism in NZ is a problem because New Zealanders make less of an attempt to hide it.
    6.But come here anyway.

    Why on earth would anyone want to emigrate after reading that?

    For more about this issue read our blogs about racism in New Zealand

    It is a fact that racial discrimination exists in New Zealand and immigrants often fall foul of it. Please read
    Discrimination Against Asians Still A Key Issue In New Zealand

    Asian New Zealanders and international students continue to experience racial discrimination and harassment, according to a report released by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

    It seems that discrimination has increased over the last year (perhaps this is a result of a ‘kiwis first’ mentality during the recession?) with Asians being the most discriminated against. Overall around 10% of New Zealanders experienced discrimination and it looks like police still don’t collect data on racially motivated crimes, despite recommendations in the United Nations Periodic Review of New Zealand and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination…

    Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: Complaints to the Human Rights Commission

    “The recent news reports of student nurse Linda Tang taking UNITEC to the HRC shows that not much has changed in New Zealand since the HRC issued a media release in March of 2007, the text of which is reproduced in italics below.

    Indigenous people as well as migrants were discriminated against and the issue of foreign accents was just as much of a problem then as it is now.

    Complaints about racial discrimination in employment made up almost one third of the 190 race related complaints dealt with by the Human Rights Commission last year. The figures have been published in the Commission’s annual review of race relations released today.

    Workplace complaints made up 20 per cent of race related complaints in 2005 up from 16 per cent in 2004. In one case a Russian teacher of English was refused a job on the grounds that she lacked local experience. A number of overseas trained doctors complained about the difficulty of obtaining New Zealand registration.

    The number of complaints about racial harassment continues to grow. In 2006 they constituted 24 per cent of race related complaints compared to 19 per cent in 2005 and 15 per cent in 2004. One case of harassment involved a religious minister who mimicked a recent migrant’s accent during an incident involving a parking space.

    Accommodation continues to be an area where discrimination persists. In one case a Korean landlord said he would only accept Korean tenants. In another a landlord agreed to rent a property over the phone but rescinded the offer when he discovered the person was Maori.

    There were few complaints about comments made in the media. The Press Council considered only one complaint based on race, the BSA considered two complaints. No complaint was upheld.

    In all the Human Rights Commission received 491 race related complaints last year. Of these 301 were resolved in the early stages, many by the provision of information and advice from the Commission.

  41. “Half the world wanting to get in” That statement is not supported by the latest immigration figures, nor by the exodus across the Tasman.

    The net flow of migrants turned negative in March. PLT migrants exiting New Zealand exceeded arrivals by 530 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The net gain for the year to the end of March was only 6600.

    “Half the world” is obviously going elsewhere.

  42. Geeeez what a lot of negativity about NZ..sure there will always be a few people upset about any country..but bundle it all together and put it on a website..and you get this..We will always be a great caring kind country..and we still have half the world knocking on our door wanting to get in..I rest my case..From a real kiwi!

    • What a load of rubbish….most ‘kiwi’s’ who live here want to get out. No one really wants the bush. Just about everyone’s broke, houses are overpriced, and the women resemble farm animals. Have you seen a kiwi women in a bikini….good lord ….poke your eyes out. Tertiary education here is mediocre at best…pay is shocking….and tax is high.

  43. As a white person, white Kiwis feel comforrtable telling me about how much they hate the invasion of darker folk and Asians. The government’s campaigns are at odds with the will of the people, but the citizens feel they have no power to change those policies. They indulge this resentment, therefore, with interpersonal actions on a local level, as personal choices. When discrimination is practiced, in my experience, it is frequently just an impersonal passing-over as if the victim is invisible. The invisible treatment. Despite high profile beatings in Christchurch, this is actually the main way I see them doing it. But the effect on the person’s fate is devastating, because of the economy, which is terrible! No one has any money! I have seen this discrimination practiced mainly in their hiring and socialization choices.

  44. It is illegal for dogs to be on restaurant premises in New Zealand unless the dog is a registered guide dog for the blind with a blind person. If the local Environmental Health Officer finds out the proprietor will have a problem.

  45. Thanks for this post. It had confirmed alot of similar stories I hear about New Zealand. I don’t think I want to visit a country that is so outrightly bigoted. Seeing the way white kiwis tend to be so untight and lacking in manners in Australia is enough to put me off.

    • i will first like to say thanks to the brain behind this site to say how we feel about the racism and discrimination in new Zealand, am a black from west Africa married to a white american , i recently applied a new Zealand visa and was approved, my partner is a visa free to new Zealand , we book a hotel and paid , also book a round trip from Fiji island where with have spend our honeymoon and decided to spend the Christmas holidays in Christchurch , we arrived in Christchurch and my partner was issued a three months entry ,i was having five weeks tourist visa ,we went through immigration and i cleared entry , just as we were about to exit to enter the country is when a security came and said they want to check my bag, we were ask to sign certain forms to make sure the baggage was ours, all our clothes were taking out from the bags and were taken to somewhere we dont know at that time we have already gone through the x ray machines and everything was fine, this office again brought a dog to smell on us and nothing was found , this is were it just started ,his security started asking me several questions if i do drugs and which we dont do and if they took us to a laboratory they wont find any drugs in our systems ,we said fine he can do that, all our clothes were searched thoroughly and nothing was found, and then said everything was fine but again an immigration officer showed up saying he want to interview me and to make sure i qualify for the visa , our phones and bags were taken from us and took me to a room and my partner to a different room all this while there was a camera man following me making a video , my wife was ok because she was white, they ask me how i met my partner , what job i do in Africa , i have all document to proove my job, i got my credit card with me and my wife also got her credit card which we got our money on, the first officer finish his interview only for another officer to come and start all this while the camera man was doing his video, he also ask me all sorts of questions which i answered , another officer came and and started asking me different questions that dont even get nothing to do with my visit that dont bother me , another lady came up asking me same questions the camera man was still doing his job, after the lady finish i was ask if i want want water not food, after interview from 1;30 pm when we arrive until 2:am the next morning until to be told i dont qualify for the visa i have already been issued before we board a flight to christchurch so they will revoked my visa and send me back to the port of entry were we board the flight, i was told there was no crime committed but since they dont have a place for me they will hand me to their police , the police then took me and my partner somewhere we dont know , we were put to cells for two days no food nor water , my partner was lucky she was an American so was offered something they called food but look like a dog shit, she had to beg the officer to check if am alright even that was like on the deaf part of is ears i ask if i could get water then all i hear is laughing until the police came said our flight is ready to go back were we came from, i have travel to India, Brazil , panama, four times in south Africa and in fiji islands i never gone through such a disrespect and inhuman treatment, if you are a black and want to be treat like a dog apply for a new Zealand visa, new Zealand immigration is the worse i have ever seen

      • Thank you for writing this so it prevents me from making a huge mistake to travel there. I am black also. I am so sorry this happened to you. May God reward you richly for your troubles.

        • Human need to be judge by the character not colour, I am still picturing what me and my wife went through in Christchurch and anyone who is black and planning to travel to New Zealand you must think twice, we have one life to live, am lucky to survive from the wickedness of the New Zealand immigration apart from all the money me and my wife spent we are going to sue them for that, they actted so unprofessional and racist, and am glad you have notice and have a second taught, spend your time and money in a country that will respect you and treat you right

        • [Deleted, please don’t use fake IP addresses. It’s against the comments guidelines that you agreed to follow. Admin]

Comments are closed.