Reality Check

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

Today’s tale was first published on a NZ forum which has since closed down. The author asked for it to be reproduced here.

This is going to be a rather long winded post. I am attempting (in writing this) to explore my own thought processes and gain some final closure.

When it comes down to it anyone can make it anywhere given the right combination of will, luck and environment. What is often not mentioned is the fourth factor, desire, that I think is key to why so many immigrants (and let’s face it locals) just plain hate it here and desperately want to get out.

In my mind the vision of this country purveyed through the media, all government departments and a lot of locals is so incongruous with the reality that people are left feeling defrauded. Few people know that this is no accident, and whilst relatively uncommon in countries with strict advertising laws New Zealand enjoys a law that basically states you don’t have to present all the facts, omission is OK. That actually sheds some light on the situation here, furthermore is allows you to see the depth omission has reached into the very bones of this nation.

Let’s face facts for a moment, we live on an island in the South Pacific that has few if any redeeming qualities. It’s small, has a low population, is isolated from the wider world, suffers from a nationwide small town complex, has every geological danger zone one could possibly ever hope to avoid and added to this has a culture of overpricing and overcharging everything, as after all you are on an island where are you going to go?

The only people I know that LOVE it here and people that came from even worse situations, corruption, living, violence and poverty. For them NZ is a step up from working for cents per day, in a lot of cases (the pharmaceutical dispensary game as an example) they compete by offering to do the job for half of what a local or highly skilled immigrant would do it for. That I feel is an example of how bad a situation they have come from to want to do this, problem is there will be always someone more desperate and they effectively shoot themselves in the foot.

New Zealand suffers from the problems of globalization more that other larger developed nations and lets use manufacturing as an example. When the Chinese boom hit, many Kiwi companies (like many others around the world) sent their manufacturing offshore. In a few short years the ability to manufacture has all but disappeared, left to a few unique and exceptionally overpriced products. With a long term focus both here and the rest of the world when your ability to manufacture is outsourced you are now beholden to that country to produce your goods, but what do you do with those people that had skilled and semi-skilled jobs? Here they place them on unemployment, which sooner rather than later leads them to provide product for another growth industry here which are prisons. Very much a circle of life attitude but with devastating community wide consequences.

Poverty breeds discontent, nothing is truer than that here, on government money few people survive without having to resort to being varying degrees of dodgy. Walk down any back street in this country on a pay day (Tuesday or Thursday) to listen to the loud music, the arguments fueled by alcohol/drugs, the kids crying and then experience the overwhelming depression that but for a week or two most people living here would end up there in a hurry. There is inter-generational poverty here sometimes 5 generations deep. Added to that the system ensures they don’t get a leg up or a hand out that will see any real good come of their lives. They are destined to fuel the bottom end of the market for loan sharks, clothing trucks, pokie machines, cheap booze and cigarettes then finally the chance to fill the jail cells.

Bleak right? It gets better, well no it doesn’t the ultimate question then becomes what do you do with people that can no longer work? and are of no benefit to society? You remove them from the gene pool, as being poor here means that you can only afford to eat junk and that will kill you quick smart, well that is unless the medical system gets to you first.

The medical system here has a few problems, the first is that all the best and brightest are lured away by real cash. The only people that tend to stay in the medical system are those who actively enjoy the fact that no matter what they do they can’t be sued, now that is pretty telling. Second on the agenda is the need for retraining, there isn’t one! So hearing you doctor offer you a drug that is banned in the rest of the developed world should come as no surprise.

Nice country pity about the people, well not really true there are some nice people here, admittedly they will be foreigners and I have found the odd kiwi (two in over 10 years) that will have a chat with me. But the culture is one of “I have know X since kindergarten so I don’t need you” and it’s really that simple.

Then there is all the rest of the annoying niggling little things that is demonstrated in spades on this forum from racism, to low low standards, to cronyism and finally to system that is by its very nature designed to trap and keep anyone that gets sucked in.

So where does that leave me? What question can I ask myself that will spur me forward shaking off all the years of putting up with things I know aren’t for me and just plain wrong? That question I think will go a little something like this:

Who are you? What makes you happy? What do you value? What do you detest? What do you miss the most? What are your hopes for the future? For you? Your Wife? Your kids?

The answers are as follows:

I am an intelligent and creative human being. I am happiest when I am creating by myself and also when working with other like minds. I value intelligence, compassion, kindness, humanity, free spirit and the ability to believe anything is possible. I detest small mindedness, apathy, hopelessness and uncivil people. I miss having hope the most, hope for the future, hope for my fellow humans, hope for my wife and kids that they will have a bright and sunny future.
My hopes for the future are to own my own home and not spend fifty years paying for it. To have friends that I enjoy spending time with and the feeling is mutual. I hope for my wife to find peace and to also have true friends. For my children I hope they will have good friends, find their passion and follow it, experience love and hope living a life they want surrounded by people that love them.

So there it is, I have my answer, deep down in my very core I know that none of these things are possible in this country, not for me or for my family, I don’t know where I am heading to next but I know one thing that is for sure that I will enjoy finding out, the adventure begins here and the motivation is getting as far away from this place as is physically and mentally possible. After all I owe it to my wife, my children, myself and future generations to place them in the best circumstances possible to live this one amazing life.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your feedback.

2 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. Another reality check: Kindness is seen as weakness especially when the staunch mentality is most present among the vile. And what a coincidence, the vile are usually apt to be alcoholic.
    Mother and son reward friend’s charity with kicks to the head
    Last updated 12:40, February 26 2017
    A woman who helped a friend and her son by offering them temporary accommodation in her home was bashed and kicked by them in a spontaneous attack.

    Cherie Janine Harris, 50, was jailed for 18 months for the assault on her 55-year-old now former friend for a moment there I was in suspense wondering about whether they were still friends! when she appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Friday.

    Harris’s 19-year-old son, Keenan Harris Sytema​, who assisted by kicking the defenseless woman in the head when she was cowering on the floor, earned a sentence of community work and intensive supervision.

    The details of the “miserable” assault on their benefactor were revealed in the police summary of facts, which Judge Robert Spear read to the court.

    As well as providing the pair with lodgings in her Hamilton home after they had been evicted from their house, the victim also lent Harris her eftpos card so Harris could put some fuel into the pair’s car on January 15 last year.

    They’d been living with her for about three weeks.

    When Harris drove to a petrol station to fuel up, the eftpos card was declined.

    Enraged, Harris drove back to the victim’s house and began yelling at her. The woman began yelling back and ushered her inside, where the confrontation continued.

    Things suddenly took a violent turn when Harris grabbed her victim by her hair and began punching her in the head. About five blows were landed.

    Harris pushed her and the woman fell, hitting her head on the edge of a table. Harris continued her assault, kicking the victim about six times in the right side of her head.

    Harris called out to her son for assistance and Sytema came into the room, swiftly delivering about five kicks of his own to their benefactor’s head.

    The pair fled the building, but not before grabbing and taking the victim’s Samsung mobile phone and a PlayStation 4 console.

    Although badly bruised and beaten, the victim phoned police, who quickly found and arrested Harris and Sytema.

    The pair were initially charged with aggravated robbery, although this was later withdrawn by the police. They both later pleaded guilty to and were sentenced on charges of assault with intent to injure, and theft.

    Judge Spear took note of a pre-sentence report which found Harris had little remorse or empathy for her victim.

    “It is serious offending. It’s miserable conduct on your part … uncharitable when that complainant had taken you in and given you a place to live.

    “That tells me an awful lot about you.”

    The victim had not been willing to participate in a restorative justice meeting. Hmm, I wonder why!

    Harris needed a sentence that would hold her fully accountable “and tells you in no uncertain terms that this conduct is not tolerated in our society,” the judge said.

    From a starting point of 23 months, he made a deduction for her guilty plea – but could not find any reason to reduce the sentence further.

    “There is no remorse that I can detect.”

    Sytema was also sentenced on charges of burglary and being unlawfully in an enclosed yard on Kahikatea Drive, relating to incidents on September 11 last year and January 27 this year, respectively.

    Both incidents happened while he was “grossly intoxicated”, Judge Spear said. The former involved smashing a shopfront window of a hairdressing salon and making off with an armful of hairdressing products.

    “You and alcohol have been very bad bedfellows,” the judge told him. “Your alcohol problem has been out of control.”

    He sentenced Sytema to 200 hours of community work and placed him on intensive supervision for two years.

    Sytema had no previous history of violence and had been drawn into the assault by his mother. However, the fact he kicked a defenceless woman who was cowering on the ground could not be ignored.

    Judge Spear noted that Sytema had been assaulted while in prison awaiting sentence.

    “You have had a taste of what is ahead of you if you continue down this [criminal] path.”

    The intensive supervision would be judicially monitored by Spear himself.

    “If I don’t like what I read [about you], you will be back before me and we will see where we send you.”

    Sytema needed to see Friday’s sentencing as the turning point for his life.

    “Don’t waste this opportunity.”

    Sytema and Harris – who were represented in court by Gerard Walsh and Gavin Boot respectively – were also ordered to pay $275 each in reparation to their victim, and Sytema has to pay an additional $670 to the hairdressing salon.

  2. I felt the sadness that many migrants should be now experiencing in
    NZ, while reading your article. Thanks for sharing your story. I will pray for you to move to a not-perfect but brighter country

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