There were two rallies today in Wellington today. The first rally is for the New Zealand National Front (NF) a racist and extremist group. The second but bigger rally is for Multi-cultural Aotearoa a multi-racial group for cultural diversity.
I was offered to join the pro-diversity rally but declined to join as rallies can be violent and I was not wrong.
Since May this year when the NF gained some prominence on the news I felt unsafe in New Zealand. Whenever I walk alone or with other non-white people I distance myself from skin-heads, cars with open windows and all black attire wearing white people as they might be racists and might even say harsh racial slurs. I know this is pathetic and being paranoid but I am a target of these racist groups because I am simply not white and is a perceived threat.
It is very ironic for the NF to have a belief that New Zealand belongs to white Europeans only. New Zealand was never a white European nation in the first place. New Zealand or Aotearoa is the land of the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) or Maori who have accepted Pakeha (Europeans) with open arms. If anyone has a say on which people can stay it should be Maori but they have accepted all sorts people even at their loss.
The truth is since New Zealand was open for migration various cultural groups have enriched New Zealand society, economy, culture and way of life. Pioneer immigrants here have told me that in the early days there was no access to pizza, sushi, Chinese, Thai and other types of cuisine and food. New Zealand literaly became richer when the immigrants settled with their hundreds of thousands of dollars brought from their native lands. They have created new industries and jobs and have been quietly paying taxes and performing civic duties.
Even if the NF has a handful of members (how about the common people who silently support them?) it is quite alarming for a nation of about four million people. My discovery of a such a group has shattered my perception of New Zealand being a peaceful and diversity welcoming nation on the edge of the world. I feel slapped in the cheek and betrayed.
Still, life must go on.
Filed under: Letters from New Zealand |