New New Zealanders: Years 9–10
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. If we wanted to apply to come to New Zealand, we have to first apply to be refugees in Ecuador. And we were for two years.
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. We left cause there were problems that we can't solve and they were, keep being more dangerous. So the place where we lived, it wasn't good. It was corruption and bad people that think that they have power over other ones that doesn't know how to protect themselves. 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. It's hard cause you have to leave your family, and you don't know, when are you going to see them again. But it's good now cause we have a better life. Our children have a better life and we're still alive.
Miller Riascos Torres
This is my family. Yeah. And the other family, my mother, my sister, she has family. This is my family.
Wendy Riascos Angulo
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?
My first memory was that I thought that when the plane arrived, it was supposed to be sunny, but everything was dark, so I couldn't see nothing.
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 more than 20 years in Singapore, we start to feel like we are looking to slow down our life. I start to think about one of my friends, who used to work in Singapore with me and then moved to New Zealand. So I tried to contact him and that's how it all started.
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'm from Santiago, Chile. I've been here in New Zealand for two years and a half. 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. There were three years where I had to repress my identity. 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.
I think that in fact, Chile is a conservative country. That's also part of the reason why I didn't come out at 10.
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.
Lucy Cavieres Contreras
[Dante greets his sister in Spanish]
We came with a tourist visa. It was harder for us to get the refugee status because Chile is a democracy, and there is not open conflict. We concentrated on the bullet points. So we showed proof of the events we went through. And of articles about hate attacks and crimes towards the queer community.
I have permanent residency and we both have refugee status. We went through a long and hard immigration process. But now we are here.
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.
Nelson feels like a retirement village when we came here. If you walk in the street, you don't see a lot of young people. Sometimes it was strange cause when you are in Colombia, you see kids playing in the streets with other kids, but in my home, no one is out. Everyone is inside.
I grew up in Cali, called the salsa city, but I don't know how to dance salsa. Cali's like a carnival that, you know, there's a lot of loud laughs, and colours, food. It's like a party. Never ends.
Before we came here, I hear that all of the Colombians were going to a specific city. They 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 in Māngere, in Nelson, 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. And that even if we have difficulties, we keep strong together, not apart. Every Colombian, when we connect each other, we make our little Columbia when we get together.
When we are in ESOL class, we are a lot of Colombians, so we speak Spanish. In ESOL class there's no barriers about where you came, why you are here. It's like, we don't think about it. We feel like, free about ourselves.
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.
When I was young, I start to realise I'm looking for something different, rather than getting eight to five job and live my life with daily fixed life. 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. My parents don't know where I was.
Everyday at 6:30am, my kids do a little prayer for Buddha. They will light up a candle and then do a little chanting there. In a way we are trying to teach them our culture, bit of Buddhism. And the end idea is for them to respect someone else's 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 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 the south of Chile, so I think that's another reason why I like it so much. They even have similar trees and native plants.
I think it could be easy for other people to open socially, but myself, I am very quiet, serious, and kind of a loner. It was hard for me. It still is hard sometimes. There are people like Wendy that are more extroverted. And she kept talking to me, even though I didn't respond sometimes.
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 in Chile, it's that they were never defeated by the Spanish colonisers. And they keep their culture and language really alive. They haven't lost it, and they are still fighting for their rights and recognition, and to get their land back.
Going back to history, native people, the majority of them weren't homophobic or transphobic. The Mapuches were very open and they didn't have two specific genders. They were more free about that. Because of the colonisation and religion and all the culture that they were imposed to change that view.
Lucy Cavieres Contreras
[Spanish translation] Here (in Chile) religion has a lot to do with it, religion was very prevalent. That made things worse. I lived my childhood and my adolescence in a military regime. That came with many limitations and it was also very conservative. The first thing that came to my mind when he told me that he was a transgender child, was that he is going to have problems here, he is risking his life.
I really admire how Māori people and other cultures here in New Zealand can maintain their culture. They're not apart, they're part of New Zealand.
Māori culture is quite similar to Malay culture in Singapore. Whenever I see Māori traditional things here, my mind always go to Malay cultural things I experienced in Singapore. And I always valued it.
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. And the government really, same as New Zealand, they're trying really hard to keep those cultural stuff, the heritage, to go with generations.
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. I wrote poetry to feel more freedom. The freedom that I couldn't have in real life, because I couldn't be who I really am.
Chile is a conservative country. There were three years where I had to repress my identity. When I came out, there were some moments where I pretended to be a cis gender girl, so I could be a little more safe.
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. 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. 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. But I have to be not like everyone else, but to be something better than I am in home.
I feel like we have a word in Spanish, a gringa. A gringa is a person that doesn't speak Spanish. So, but they are white with blonde hair and blue eyes. In this case, I'm black, I don't have blonde hair, but I'm still a gringa.
When I'm in school, my friends keep saying – "Wendy, why do you keep studying a lot? All day! Every time when we saw you, you are with a book, every time you're with a book". I say that I do that cause, the career that I choose. 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 about what I'm doing. And they can say, oh finally one of us is going to the uni.
When I came to Nelson, 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.
Our first year we came to New Zealand, me and my wife managed to organise a New Year festival. We have amazing support from the Sri Lankan community here. We met new people who are ready to support us.
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 Sri Lankan culture is like.
In Sri Lanka it's the biggest festival or gathering. We call it Sinhala Avurudda. We go and reunite with our friends and our families, relatives, and we cook traditional food and share with all the neighbours.
Me and my wife always speak Sinhalese, and we always try to speak to my kids in Sinhalese. Most of the times they reply in English because their daily life going in with English. But we try our best to keep our language alive.
Music or art is something that's easily able to bind people from different cultures. There's no boundaries to music. There is no language barrier there. Music, I think, is something that can bring people together.
Māori music is something really amazing. It's like some Māori songs, you just need to listen a few seconds, and it's so catchy. You just start to listen and without knowing what it means. As I mentioned, music is something really amazing that you get to know cultures, but not knowing that you are studying it.
Wendy Riascos Angulo
I don't think that I'm going to feel like a Kiwi, cause I know that 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, yeah, 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. Or where our friends came from. Or where the neighbour country 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, there's nothing different. We all are same.