New New Zealanders: Years 7–8
Teaching Guidance Web
In this series of videos, the participants describe:
- reasons why they moved to Aotearoa New Zealand with their families
- their experiences and ways they have adapted, as newcomers
- ways that they maintain and share their culture in their new home.
Teacher support materials can be used as a springboard for multiple areas of investigation.
Use the videos to support learning in te ao tangata | social sciences, including learning about Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.
Episode 1: Migration
This video focuses on how and why Wendy, Chamara, and Dante came to Aotearoa New Zealand. They share their migration stories, how they got their visas, and the challenges they faced.
Hi, my name is Wendy. I'm 16 years old, and I live with my brother Santi, my dad Miller, and my mum Johanna. I'm from amazing Columbia. I've been in New Zealand almost three years.
I was 12-years-old when I left. And after we left Colombia, we went to Ecuador. At first, they didn't know where New Zealand was. I told them New Zealand was in Europe or near Europe, but when we searched in Google, it was near Australia. So, oh, like really? That country exists?
We left Columbia cause it was unsafe for us. And my parents wanted to have a better place where my brother and I could grow. I didn't understand it, but when you grow, you understand some things and you know why your parents took that decision.
Miller Riascos Torres
[Miller speaking Spanish]
Wendy Riascos Angulo
[Wendy translates] What we wanted was, a better life for our child. Being able to have a career that they couldn't have.
It's hard cause you have to leave your family, and you don't know, when are you going to see them again. When I have to leave my grandmother, I was really close with her, and it feels like something is behind. She can't go with me and it's like, oh. But it is good now cause finally we have a life. Finally we could graduate. Finally we could do our own life in a better place.
My name is Chamara. I'm from Sri Lanka. I'm living here with my family, my wife Sumitra, my two kids, Kinithi and Malithi. We move here from Singapore.
After spending 20 years, we start to feel like we are looking to slow down our life. We all think okay right now New Zealand is our home. We came from Singapore, and Singapore is multicultural place where so many nationalities living and working together. So it's quite easy for my kids rather than missing city life.
I came here as a skilled migrant, as a chef. Being a chef, it's an extra opportunity for me to move to anywhere in the world because cheffing is something that, a skill that every country looking at. If you're in a busy environment, places like Boatshed Cafe where I joined five-years ago, is one of the busiest places in Nelson. And one of the amazing places to work in the world.
I think food is something that, no boundaries. They don't ask where it from, as long as it's tasty, people would love to try it.
Hi, my name is Dante. I am 16-years-old and I live in Nelson. It was the first half of 2019 when my mom chose to come to New Zealand.
At the age of 10, I realised I didn't feel comfortable with my assigned gender. And I remember I wrote in a journal that I wanted to be a boy, but then I got scared and repressed that feeling. I used to cry watching videos of people coming out. I was very scared. Yeah, there were a couple of events where I felt very unsafe because people were being violent towards me because of hate towards LGBTQ+ people. There were some at school and then at the streets. So I guess I got even more isolated because of the fear of that happening again.
Lucy Cavieres Contreras
[Lucy speaking Spanish]
I live only with my mom here in New Zealand and the rest of my family is in Chile. I have two aunties and like five or four uncles. Therefore I have a lot of cousins. I always recall the South of Chile when I remember my childhood. It was really fun.
Lucy Cavieres Contreras
[Dante greets his sister in Spanish]
I have permanent residency and we both have refugee status. We had expectations to live more freely here in New Zealand, and that's how it is.
Episode 2: Land and culture
Wendy, Chamara, and Dante discuss the similarities and differences between their homelands and Aotearoa New Zealand. They describe their first impressions of Aotearoa New Zealand and the ways they keep their identities, cultures, and languages alive.
I grew up in Cali, called the salsa city, but I don't know how to dance salsa. Cali's like a carnival. It's like a party. Never ends. Every house has a different music. So it's like a competition who has the loudest music.
Our first Christmas we here was really shocking, cause back in Colombia and in Ecuador it's celebrated really different – it's more loud, more lights, more party, more food, more everything. But when we came here, and we went out at eight o'clock, everything was dark. The three of us we go to bed, but my dad says, "I go, I'm going to find party".
Miller Riascos Torres
[laughs] Yes, Yes.
Wendy Riascos Angulo
Before we came here, I hear that all of the Colombians were going to Invercargill.
This day was like a recreation day with all the refugees. But now, most of them are in Invercargill, Wellington, Auckland. So it's a little bit sad cause we were together, but now they took their own way. So I know it has to be like that, but it's still like, I still miss them.
What I love from Colombian culture is that we are really happy people. We are loud in a good way, for a good reason. When we connect each other, we make our little Columbia when we get together. Even if we have difficulties, we keep strong together, not apart.
Nelson. It remind me of our Sri Lankan life, which is something similar to here. Every house has some trees, nature. Kids can play around the house. This is what we really look for. Here I see a lot of people relaxed and their priority is life rather than work. In Singapore is much more harder. Kids start to miss their life.
When I think about my younger days, we'd be run around after school. We only come home around five, six o'clock. When I look at my two daughters in Singapore, they keep rushing for homeworks. So I feel so happy that when we move to New Zealand, New Zealand education system is really respect the kids' life. Let kids enjoy their childhood first.
Everyday at 6:30am, my kids do a little prayer for Buddha. In a way we are trying to teach them our culture and the end idea is for them to respect someone else, culture and religion.
When you go to Sri Lankan temples, you will see how our traditional artists do colourings on the walls. Generations keep doing those arts to keep it alive. We decided, maybe we're gonna show it to a New Zealand culture, New Zealand people, what it's like doing arts in Sri Lanka.
When we have to write essays or things like that, I always try to talk about Latin America. I think we have to seek a way to stay connected to our homeland. Santiago is in between two big mountains. So it is really pretty, but also there's a lot of contamination.
Actually New Zealand is pretty similar to south of Chile, so I think that's another reason why I like it so much. They even have similar trees and native plants.
Last year we did a meeting with other Chilean people at our house. We celebrated the 18th of September. That's the date where people decided that they were going to fight for the independence of Chile. We ate empanadas and completos, that's a Chilean hot dog. We make a lot of celebrations on that day.
There are a lot of indigenous people in Chile, multiple cultures. And one of them are the Mapuches. I think the first connection that I see between Māori people and Mapuche people, they keep their culture and language really alive. I've seen performances of the haka. Makes me feel a lot of things when I see them being part of their culture and doing the haka especially. It is really emotional. Makes me feel more connected to New Zealand.
I really admire how Māori people and other cultures can maintain their culture. So they're not apart, they're part of New Zealand.
Māori culture is quite similar to Malay culture in Singapore. Their traditional stuff, their beliefs. Even the language sounds similar.
Singapore used to be a part of Malaysia until 1965 and then they separated as a country, but Malay culture is still really strong there.
I believe it's always important to keep the roots where you are from, and pass it to your kids. So they start to understand the value of our heritage, culture. When you know your culture and when you value your culture, so your kids start to value someone else's tradition or culture.
Episode 3: Power and identity
In this video, Wendy, Chamara, and Dante explain how they have found ways to adapt and express their identities and culture as new New Zealanders.
I started writing poetry when I was 10 years old. And it was mostly because I was going through a hard time with my mental health. And it helped me to express my feelings. Those feelings that I was repressing. Being transgender, I think it was hard to express myself and my identity because we don't have representation. I didn't have people to teach me things.
The first time that I told my mom, it was with my therapist in a session. When I told her I started crying right away. She was very calm, more than me. She told me that it was okay. That she loved me anyway. Life after I came out was very hard because you have to get used to people treating you in a mean way about your identity, and questioning the whole time who you are.
I feel more freedom here in New Zealand. I also feel like I wouldn't be in danger if I be who I am. Also, the relationship with my mom has improved, because now I understand that I'm not alone. We're a team. Yeah, she thinks I have changed since we came from Chile to New Zealand. Even my facial expression. I seem happier. And now I can do what I want. That's why she laughed because I do what I want.
I am who I am, just Dante. And being transgender or pansexual or part of the community is just a plus. I can be more than having to explain my identity to others.
Wendy Riascos Angulo
When I'm in home, the Wendy that everyone knows that speaks Spanish, the good daughter, the good sister. And when I'm in the school, it's like something different. It's like when you change clothes. I have to put my English clothes in after I'm outside of my house. I have to be the English Wendy. When I'm the English Wendy, I have to be more polite. I have to be something better than I am in home. It wasn't good because I wanted to express myself. I didn't know how to do it or have the correct words to make a full sentence.
In ESOL class there's no barriers about where you came, why you are here. We feel like, free about ourselves. When I'm in school, my friends keep saying – "Wendy, why do you keep studying a lot? All day!" I say that I want to be a doctor because I want to help kids. They told me that maybe I'm going to be the first one in my family going to university. So it like achievement for all of us. I doesn't feel pressure, but I want them to feel proud. And they can say, oh finally one of us is going to the uni.
There's a Sri Lankan community in Nelson, but they didn't really get a chance to join into live Sri Lankan music. So, me and a few of my friends, we start a band and we started to do a few shows in Nelson. Our first year we came to New Zealand, me and my wife managed to organise a New Year festival. We decided to brought a traditional dancer from Wellington. And he came down to Nelson and perform a traditional dance while playing traditional Sri Lankan music. It was really a pleasure to show other people in Nelson, what is Sri Lankan culture is like.
Music or art is something that's easily able to bind people from different cultures. There's no boundaries to music. Me and my wife always try to speak to my kids in Sinhalese. We try our best to keep our language alive. We feel home here. We respect this country. We respect their culture, their traditions. And we are a part of this now.
Wendy Riascos Angulo
New Zealand culture is made up of a lot of different cultures. Even that I'm not in Colombia, I'm still a Colombian.
I really hold Chile in a special part of my heart. So I would like to do the same with New Zealand and make New Zealand culture and my journey here, part of my whole identity.
It is very important to know where the roots are from, where we all came from. It's one of the best thing to be a better person. When we go into the base, actually, you will find right at the end, we all are same. There's nothing different.