Food and festivals: Consuming multiculturalism

Multiculturalism has acquired a quality akin to spectacle. The metaphor that has displaced the melting pot is the salad. A salad consists of many ingredients, is colorful and beautiful, and it is to be consumed by someone. Who consumes multiculturalism is a question begging to be asked.

Angela Y. Davis (1996, p. 45)

WOMAD main stage, March 2012

The New Zealand summer has ended, and as Autumn deepens there are a flurry of festivals making the most of sunshine hours and daylight saving before we turn to insular hibernation modes. In the last few weeks I’ve been to WOMAD in New Plymouth, Pasifika and the International Cultural festival in Auckland and a few smaller low key community functions. I’m interested in whether food and festivals, which are such visible and public celebrations of ‘culture’ (and especially culinary cultures) are anything more than what Duruz calls the appropriation of difference by a greedy white consumerist society.

The pretext of a cultural festival is that there is an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, a national culture and an alien culture.  Migrants then are people who try and enter something that has ostensibly already formed into something and solidified (that’s why it feels like you are banging your head against a wall when you can’t get a job, because it really is a wall or a bamboo ceiling). This imagined sameness might not be very clearly articulated by the dominant culture, but everyone knows what does and doesn’t belong. If you don’t know, the media or a politician will tell you. The latter are renowned for either demonising or exoticising diversity. Festivals as less scary manifestations of diversity bring out enthusiasm, as Mayor of Auckland Len Brown speaks about the Auckland International Cultural festival (made up of dance and musical performances, an Ethnic Soccer Cup and over 100 stalls of ‘traditional’  food): ” …a fantastic celebration of Auckland’s ever-growing cultural diversity …which highlights the dynamic contribution people from other cultures bring to our wider community, and to New Zealand. Come along and sample the many sights, sounds and tastes of Auckland diversity.”

Monte con Huesillo: Chilean drink of dried peaches and wheat

The celebration and sampling of this dynamic contribution can be read as an enabler of social cohesion and community building. As Uma Narayan points out, the combination of prejudice, neighborhood and occupational stratification and segregation can mean that we have very little do do with members of other ethnic groups beyond seeing them as service providers to the detriment of “collective possibilities”. The public consumption of food is a great mechanism for intercultural exchange. The sensual enjoyment of the food of others can help us gain an appreciation of them as part of our communities even if we don’t know very much about the cultural context of the food.

The aspect of consumption that is on display also has a ‘feel good’ aspect. Where the media and its three stooges (Paul HenryMichael Laws and Paul Holmes) often lead us to view migrants (and Tangata whenua and several generations of Pacific peoples) as a political threat to the integrity of the ‘host’ white settler Pakeha nation. Festivals tame diversity into a strategic asset, that is managed and displayed for people to witness and enjoy. The elephant in the playing field or park though are the unanswered questions of racism and exclusion. The safe packaging inherent in festivals, where people embody their culture in a display allow ‘us’ to feel good about our city and the presence of ‘others’.  This low impact kind of engagement has very little performance pressure and even less demand for any kind of accountability or responsibility. Culture can be celebrated rather than acted upon as Arun Kundnani quips.

Hungarian Langos (Fried Bread) with a topping of pesto, tomato and feta-Yum!

The pleasures of consumption make diversity appealing, something to be shared and enjoyed as Sara Ahmed notes.  The consumption of ethnic food points to a desire to consume difference through appropriation of food and tradition as exotic, where ethnicity becomes spice for mainstream culture, losing its own legitimacy in the process. Instead of engagement, the other is consumed. Consuming diversity gets translated into ‘eating the other’. Heldke talks about a kind of “cultural food colonialism” where the food being cooked and eaten comes from economically dominated countries of the ‘third world’. Culture is there for the taking and “something to be be enjoyed, consumed at will and with discernment by the liberal subject.”. The new marker of sophistication is the latest ethnic restaurant find, a marker of street credibility and sophistication. Reflecting a desire for novelty and a sense of entitlement.

This differs to how might I think of food and festivals, as a diasporic subject. For me attending the cultural festival and more low key community events creates is a way of being at home in the context of a community far from ‘home’, being able to express aspects of my life that don’t often get a public viewing. As Ghassan Hage points out, cooking and eating familiar food is a way of making a home in the present. Food represents comfort, enjoyment, social life, memories and stories. As someone whose food choices were derided until they became fashionable (why did it take so long for curries to become popular in New Zealand? and what is wrong with tongue sandwiches anyway?). The advent of cultural food colonialism inflicts an old pain, food shapes us physically and emotionally, creating possibilities for enjoyment and pleasure. However, we must be mindful that power relations accompany our consumption choices and have implications for how we are to live in a multicultural society founded on biculturalism.

Cartoonist Alexyz and the author in Auckland at an exhibition of his work with members of the Goan community. February 2012.

So how do we reconcile these diverse ways of looking at food and its consumption? Perhaps we can use the gustatory pleasures we experience to build more powerful bonds between us as Uma Narayan proposes. These pleasures can have more power than intellectual understanding or knowledge. The sensual pleasures of food can counter our physical alienation in the unpressured form of contact that a festival allows. Perhaps the journey to greater openness and acceptance and building of bonds begins at the venue where we eat the food where we can be provoked into a process of reflexivity  and begin to care for the cooks as much as we are willing to enjoy the food.

 

Celebrating African women in Aotearoa New Zealand

I was honoured to be invited by the African Community Forum Incorporated to attend and speak at an event on March 10th 2012 to celebrate International Women’s Day. I have written elsewhere about my links with East Africa. Briefly, I was born in Tabora Tanzania and lived in Nairobi, Kenya until the age of ten, when my family migrated to New Zealand. Originating from Goa, India, both sets of grandparents moved to Tanzania in the late 19th Century and both my parents were born there. Until moving to New Zealand I was fluent in both Swahili and Maragoli.  The African part of my identity rarely gets the opportunity to play, so I was thrilled to attend the event.

 

Indians in Africa

Many people might be surprised to know that the Indian connection to Africa goes back three thousand years. Indians were traders and later sojourners. The British indentured labour scheme which replaced slave labour, ushered a new era of cheap and reliable labour for plantations and the building of railways. The construction of the great railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria in Uganda in the late nineteenth century brought fifteen thousand (of the sixteen thousand) workers or ‘coolies’ from India. Tragically one quarter of them died or returned disabled (Sowell, 1996). Indians (especially Goans) were also recruited to run the railways after they were built (as my grandparents were) and Goans came to dominate the colonial civil services.

Africans in New Zealand

The history of African migration to New Zealand is much more recent. Te Ara online encyclopedia notes that the first black African in New Zealand was travelling on James Cook’s second voyage as a servant (no name is provided) and later killed by Maori in 1773. The 1871 New Zealand census recorded 34 people who were born in ‘British African Possessions’ and another 31 from other African countries. The 1911 census recorded 92 African-born people. However, these African born people were likely to have been white given the mobility of white settlers through the then British Empire. The 1916 census recorded 95 “Negroes” referring to African Americans and six African born people, four Abyssinians (Ethiopians) and two Egyptians. The Colombo Plan saw the arrival of Black Africans as students in the 1960s, some of whom remained in New Zealand and had families. During the 1970s two groups of Africans arrived in New Zealand. White Rhodesians who were escaping from the war and two hundred Ugandans (not sure if they were all Asian Ugandans) who were ejected by Idi Amin. The number of African born residents (mainly from Commonwealth countries) increased to 3,939 Africans by 1986, but again were mainly white. It was not until the changes in migration policy of 1987 that there were significant demographic changes as a result of the development of a formal refugee quota  which saw arrivals especially from Ethiopia (1991-3), Somalia (1992-4), Rwanda (1994) and the shift to a migration points policy which saw a greater number of African people coming New Zealand as migrants. The 2006 Census 10,647 or 0.3% of the population identified as African. 4,806  Africans reside in Auckland and 5,841 outside of Auckland. In the 10 years between 1991 and 2001 the number of women from African countries increased considerably with numbers of women from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Somalia more than quadrupling in that time (Statistics New Zealand, 2005).

The growth of the African community is an exciting development and the event organised by ACOFI was a fantastic celebration of Pan-African culture and the vitality and energy of the community. I look forward to taking part in more events and improving my now very rusty Swahili! By the way, the art work is from a drawing competition run on the night. My big thanks to all the organisers especially Carlos Carl, Boubacar Coulibaly and Sharon Sandra Paulus and all the people that worked hard to make the event happen.

Identity politics: A response to Garth George

My response to a piece by Garth George (August 5th 2010) where he argues that [we] “have become unthinking victims of the doctrine of multiculturalism, in all its politically correct dissimulation and deception”.

There are some good reasons for the rise in identity politics among minority groups, dismissed by Garth George as a “culture of victimhood. The idealised portrayal of liberal democracy (with values such as freedom and equality) ignores three key issues. First, the destructive and dehumanising practices of slavery and colonisation occurred within liberal frameworks. Liberal values were withheld from the colonised as well as many Western subjects (women for example). Secondly, while liberal agendas of freedom and equality, and conceptions of universal human rights have been powerful and central to liberation struggles, often Eurocentric, Western norms have been privileged and the universal person taken to mean white, male and middle class. Finally, the deployment of notions of equality and universalism for ameliorating conflicts between groups of people, has created new problems such as unequal power relations and differential health and social outcomes. The location of culture in the public or private sphere is an important conversation. When it suits, the metaphor of enrichment is used to consume diversity, through festivals, restaurants and more. Placing cultural needs firmly in the private sphere reflects a reluctance to extend a reciprocal courtesy and make our institutions more responsive.

Sailing In A New Direction

First published by: Australian Network for Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention for Mental Health (Auseinet) – www.auseinet.com/journal and then republished in Mindnet Issue 11 – Spring 2007

Abstract

Migrants and refugees make up an increasingly significant number of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s population with one in five New Zealanders being born in another country compared with one in eight people in the United States and one in fifteen in Europe. Increasingly efforts are being made to ensure that settlement services are provided and that mental health service delivery is cognisant of their needs. This paper describes some of the efforts being undertaken in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the implications of such efforts; in particular the mental health of Asians, a growing group, is explored. The author suggests that there is a need to learn from Pacific people’s ventures, to broaden the bicultural dialogue and finally to expand the new focus from Asians, refugees and migrants to also include the needs of long term settled communities and international students.

Keywords

multicultural, bicultural, multicultural mental health, mental health policy, Māori, Pacific peoples, Asian people

Simply by sailing in a new direction You could enlarge the world. (Curnow, 1997, p.226)

A sailing metaphor seems apt as the focus of this paper is on the people who have crossed the ocean to reach Aotearoa/New Zealand. Around 1300 AD the ancestors of Māori used the stars and the winds to sail southward from Hawaiiki in their waka (canoes) to Aotearoa/New Zealand. Thousands of years earlier, the world’s first seafarers had set off from South-East Asia, sailing into the Pacific on rafts. Tasman’s arrival in 1642, followed by Cook in 1769 marked the arrival of Europeans. Organised settlement followed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Pacific migration increased from a trickle after World War II as manufacturing and service industries grew. Asians too had been coming to New Zealand since the 1800s but their numbers were small until after 1987.

Young Chinese men from Guangdong province travelled to the goldfields of Otago in the 1860s (Ip, 2005) and Indian connections with New Zealand began in the late 1800s with Lascars (Indian seamen) and Sepoys (Indian soldiers) arriving after deserting their British East India Company ships (Swarbrick, 2005). The earliest refugees arrived between 1870-1890 and included Danes, Russian Jews and French Huguenots. Subsequently, refugees from Nazism (1933-39), Poland (1944), Hungary (1956-58), ‘handicapped’ refugees (1959), Chinese (1962-71), Russian Christians from China (1965), Asians from Uganda (1972-73), Chileans, Soviet Jews, Eastern Europeans, people from the Middle East, South-East Asia (Indo-Chinese), Somalia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran and the Sudan have resettled in New Zealand. More recently, Asian foreign fee-paying students have impacted on the education system, becoming important to the national economy and more visible in society (International Division & Data Management and Analysis, 2005).

It’s time to enlarge our world

Migrants to New Zealand are caught between two charged agendas: the colonial ideal of a homogeneous society, replicating Britain, and the desire of Māori for recognition as people of the land, or Tangata whenua, with specific rights. New Zealand’s founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi and the social policy principle of biculturalism have become an explicit template for relationships between indigenous Māori and subsequent migrants. The racialising and othering of migrant groups, along with past migration policy designed to keep the country white (Beaglehole, 2005), have implicitly shaped the treatment of migrants.

Changing migration patterns

The 2001 Census found that Europeans/Pākehā (Māori name for white New Zealanders) made up 79.6% of the population, followed by New Zealand Māori with 14.5%, people from the Pacific Islands 5.6%, and Asians 6.6% (adds to more than 100% because ethnicity is self-defined; people could select more than one ethnicity). Of the Asians, the largest groups are Chinese who make up 2.2% and Indians who make up 1.2% of the total New Zealand population (Statistics New Zealand, 2002b). Asians are the fastest growing ethnic group, increasing by around 140% over the last ten years and predicted to increase by 122% by 2021. In comparison, Pākehā will increase by 1%, Māori 28% and Pacific People 58%. This new diversity is in stark contrast to the previous assimilationist post-1945 migration policy which positioned the ideal migrant as ‘invisible’. Linguistic and religious diversity were also a hallmark of the 2001 Census which noted a 20% increase in the number of multilingual people and an increase in the percentage of people whose religion was non-Christian, including Hindu 56%, Buddhist 48% and Islam 74%.

Policy changes: From monocultural to bicultural to multicultural

Canada and Australia embraced multiculturalism during the 1960s, transforming the notion of settlement into a two way process; change was required by both migrants and the host society. New Zealand policy made this strategic move only as recently as 1986. The 1980s were a pivotal period in discussions of New Zealand identity, featuring biculturalism and its incorporation into social policy in New Zealand (Bartley & Spoonley, 2004). Discussions of multiculturalism began with the arrival of Pacific peoples in the 1970s and required Pākehā to cede the monopoly on power and decision making and the allocation of resources (Bartley & Spoonley, 2004). An attempt to address the bicultural/multicultural relationship came about with proposals that biculturalism should take precedence and subsequent arrivals to Aotearoa needed to negotiate a primary relationship with Māori (Bartley & Spoonley, 2004). Multi-culturalism would then be the outcome of a network of completed bicultural negotiations; however, no process was ever suggested for this to occur (Bartley & Spoonley, 2004). The bicultural/multicultural debate remains un-resolved and problematic (DeSouza, 2004a; Mohanram, 1998; Thakur, 1995; Walker, 1995; Wittman, 1998). However, rather that biculturalism being a barrier to multiculturalism, I believe that it has paved the way for the majority culture to consider cultural issues at large. The Immigration Act 1987 eased access into New Zealand from non-traditional source countries and replaced entry criteria based on nationality and culture with criteria initially based on skills. The policy changes led to unprecedented cultural diversity. In particular, Asians became a sizable majority of migrants, increasing from 18.7% of permanent and long term arrivals in 1987 to 48% in 1993 (Bartley & Spoonley, 2004).

A growing Asian population

‘Asian’ is a term that has differing definitions depending on the geographical context in which it is used. In New Zealand ‘Asian’ tends to refer to people from South East Asia and there are debates about whether an umbrella term such as ‘Asian’ is useful or merely an expedient construct that potentially provides benefits but disguises disparities within groups (Rasanathan, Craig & Perkins, 2004; Workshop Organising Team, 2005). In the 2001 Census, 44% of Asians identified with the Chinese ethnic group, 26% with the Indian ethnic group, 8% Korean, 5% Filipino, 4% Japanese, 3% Sri Lankan, 2% Cambodian, 2% Thai, and 8% with other Asian ethnic groups (note that people could give more than one response; therefore, these percentages do not add to 100) (Statistics New Zealand, 2002a). Asians in New Zealand are a relatively young population and are generally in good health. Most live in the Auckland region and over half are aged between 25 and 65 years, around 20% are aged 15 to 24 years and 20% are aged below 14 years (Asian Public Health Project Team, 2003). This age-distribution is similar to Māori and Pacific people, but Asians are younger (on average) than Europeans. The rapid growth of the Asian population has exposed a lack of policy and structures to evaluate and address their needs (Workshop Organising Team, 2005).

Access issues and underutilisation of mental health services

A survey examining health status in a large representative sample of Asian people (Scragg & Maitra, 2005) found that Asians underutilise health services:

  • Asian people were less likely than other New Zealanders, Māori and Pacific people to have visited a health practitioner (or service) when they were first unwell.
  • Asian people were less likely than Europeans to visit a health practitioner about a chronic disease (doctor, specialist, nurse or complementary healer).
  • Asian women were less likely than other New Zealand women to have had a mammogram or cervical screening test in the last three years.
  • Asians were less likely than all New Zealanders to use any type of telephone helpline in the last 12 months.
  • Asians also only wanted to see their general practitioner for a short term illness or a routine check up rather than visiting for an injury, poisoning, or for mental or emotional health reasons.

Another study found that barriers to accessing services for Chinese people included lack of language proficiency of respondents, lack of knowledge about civil rights and problems accessing general practitioners (DeSouza & Garrett, 2005).

This underutilisation is further reflected in mental health statistics. Of the 87,576 mental health clients seen by District Health Boards in 2002, only 1.9% were Asian despite making up over 6.5% of the population (New Zealand Health Information Service, 2005). This could in part be due to the bias of New Zealand’s migration policy which selects young and healthy migrants but it is clear that Asians underutilise mental health services and this does not necessarily mean that they are keeping well (Ho, Au, Bedford & Cooper, 2002). A study among recent Chinese migrants using the General Health Questionnaire found that 19% reported psychiatric morbidity (Abbott, Wong, Williams et al., 1999). A study of older Chinese migrants aged over 55 found that 26% showed depressive symptoms (Abbott, Wong, Giles et al., 2003). Lower emotional supports, greater number of visits to a doctor, difficulties in accessing health services and low understanding and engagement with New Zealand society increased the risk of developing depression. Interestingly, while participants with depressive symptoms consulted general practitioners more than their counterparts without such symptoms, they reported greater difficulty in accessing health services. Research with Asian migrants, refugees and student sojourners in New Zealand shows that social supports can assist newcomers to cope with the stresses of migration and reduce the risk of emotional disorder (Abbott et al., 1999). Conversely, research shows that language and cultural barriers can limit access to health services (Abbott et al., 1999; DeSouza & Garrett, 2005; Ngai, Latimer & Cheung, 2001).

Need for workforce development

The cultural competence of mental health staff for working with Asian consumers has not been researched. However, a recent project investigating the intercultural experiences of social workers in New Zealand found that contact with migrants, refugees or asylum seekers was infrequent, especially outside of Auckland (Nash & Trlin, 2004), but that the majority of social workers felt competent or better than competent in terms of working interculturally. Respondents recommended that further training in cross-cultural social work, staff training and better support services be available, in tandem with improvements in community services and the education of the host community to see new settlers as valuable additions to society. In another study, psychiatrists were surveyed by Johnstone and Read (2000), who found that out of 247 psychiatrists surveyed, only 40% believed that their training had prepared them to work effectively with Māori. Some of the suggested recommendations for improving how they worked with Māori included needing to understand Māori perspectives of well-being, and increasing the number of Māori professionals and Māori run services. Of psychiatrists who responded to the survey, 70% believed that there was a need to consult with Māori when working with Māori. A training package is being developed by University of Auckland, funded by the Health Research Council, to develop cultural competence in mental health staff working with Asians. Further development in this area is signalled in the next mental health action plan discussed later in this paper.

Omission in health research

Asian ethnic groups have been largely neglected by New Zealand health policies and research, despite their population growth (Duncan, Schofield, Duncan et al., 2004). Duncan et al. cite the example of the 2002 National Children’s Nutrition Survey, where both over-sampling and separate analysis of Māori and Pacific Island children occurred while Asian children were subsumed with New Zealand Europeans. Large-scale studies are needed to determine health risk across all major ethnic groups in New Zealand, which will in turn enable development of ethnic-specific data. Even more critical is the need for data concerning ethnic variation in other areas of health so that effective interventions can be developed and implemented (Duncan et al., 2004). This omission and exclusion is by no means a rare occurrence in national surveys and prevents the development of an understanding of the public health needs of Asian communities in New Zealand, necessary for the development of appropriate preventative health strategies.

Settlement issues

A report commissioned by the New Zealand Immigration service found that migrants had four areas of need: everyday needs, learning English, employment, and supportive connections (Ho, Cheung, Bedford & Leung, 2000). Factors such as unemployment or underemployment, having experienced discrimination in New Zealand, not having close friends, being unemployed and spending most of one’s time with one’s own ethnic group were predictors for poor adjustment among migrant groups (Pernice, Trlin, Henderson & North, 2000). In the last few years, a range of settlement programmes have been funded nationally with the development of an Immigration Settlement Strategy (New Zealand Immigration Service, 2003) for migrants, refugees and their families. The strategy’s six goals provide a broad base for enhancing wellbeing and include appropriate employment; confidence with using English or accessing appropriate language support; accessing appropriate information and responsive services; supportive social networks and sustainable community identity; expressing ethnic identity and acceptance and inclusion of the wider host community; and participation in activities.

Visible but invisible groups

The arrival of primarily Asian fee-paying students has had an impact on the education system, a greater importance to the national economy in terms of providing increased funding to educational institutions, and higher visibility in society in that most of the international students have come from China (International Division & Data Management and Analysis, 2005). Asian enrolment numbers rose by 318% over a five year period (1999-2003) to nearly 119,000, with an estimated economic value NZ$2.2 billion New Zealand dollars and providing 40,101 jobs (Infometrics, 2006). These numbers declined in the 2003-2004 period, leading to concern about the rapid development of the sector and raising the need for better quality assurance systems, which are now implemented through the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of Foreign Fee-Paying Students (Section 238H of the Education Act 1989). Levies paid by institutions with international students are used to support activities and projects relating to the export education industry such as promotion, communications, capability development, quality assurance, research and the administration of the Code (Ministry of Education, 2003). However, other than being able to use counselling services within their institutions, most international students are not entitled to access publicly funded (mental) health services while in New Zealand and are liable for the full costs of treatment unless they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and then only for the duration of that process. Once they are no longer under the Act, they are charged. Remaining voluntarily on an acute unit can incur a charge of approximately NZ$900 a day. International students are required to have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while studying in New Zealand as a condition of enrolment (including mental health as long as it is not a pre-existing condition); however, insurance cover is capped at NZ$2,000 so if students need access to in-patient services they must cover their own costs.

The needs of long term settled communities have been brought into focus with the launch of the Asian Health Chart Book (Ministry of Health, 2006a) which demonstrates the need to focus not only on new migrants but also on longer-term settled migrant Asian communities. Major differences in health and health service use between recent migrants and longstanding migrants show that recent or first generation migrants have better health status than longstanding migrants or the New Zealand born, demonstrating the acculturative effects of the dominant culture.

Mental health services: Sailing in a new direction

Mental health services are responding to new migrant populations to varying degrees. Following on from a report on the mental health of Asians in New Zealand (Ho et al., 2002) has been an increased responsiveness to the needs of those communities (Yee, 2003). Research activity, information provision, collaboration and Asian-focused operational activities and policy are some of the strategies that are being used by government agencies (Yee, 2003). Other developments that will assist in meeting this gap include the New Zealand Mental Health Classification and Outcomes study (Gaines, Bower, Buckingham et al., 2003), which includes a small number of Asians, and a planned mental health epidemiological survey which will also assist but is currently limited to the two largest Asian communities, Indian and Chinese. This section briefly reviews national, regional and local developments and initiatives.

Developing visibility and responsiveness in mental health services

Asian researchers (Lim & Walker, 2006; Tse, Bhui, Thapliyal et al., 2005) have outlined the legislative and policy frameworks that support culturally sensitive mental health service provision. These include The Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1995 and the Health and Disability Code of Rights 1996 which require that services acknowledge the needs of people from a range of cultures and provide for these needs while also protecting culturally diverse people from coercion, discrimination and exploitation. A culturally sensitive approach and acknowledgement of the person’s cultural and ethnic identity, language, and religious or ethical beliefs is also advocated in the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 and the 1999 amendments. In addition, one of the objectives of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 is that health outcomes be improved for Māori and other population groups through the reduction of health disparities. The Human Rights Act 1993 requires that mental health and addiction services do not unlawfully discriminate on the grounds of culture and ethnicity. Lastly, the Health Professional Competency Assurance Act 2003 requires practitioners to demonstrate cultural competence.

National mental health strategy and recovery

Te Tāhuhu – Improving Mental Health 2005-2015: The Second New Zealand Mental Health and Addiction Plan (Ministry of Health, 2005b) builds on the current Mental Health Strategy contained in

* Looking Forward: Strategic Directions for the Mental Health Services (Ministry of Health, 1994); * Moving Forward: The National Mental Health Plan for More and Better Services (Ministry of Health, 1997); and * The Mental Health Commission’s Blueprint for Mental Health Services in New Zealand: How Things Need to Be (Mental Health Commission, 1998).

Te Tāhuhu acknowledges that ‘there is no national strategy or policy to address the mental health issues of the full range of ethnic groups living in New Zealand. Building stronger relationships with people from diverse cultures and ethnic groups will be essential as we work towards developing strategies to address their particular needs’ (Ministry of Health, 2005b, p.37). Te Tāhuhu focuses on developing a comprehensive integrated mental health and addiction system that provides hope for developing a multicultural mental health agenda, compared to the other documents that make specific cultural mention of Māori and Pacific peoples but minimal reference to other groups. Te Tāhuhu emphasises early access to effective primary health care (a key entry point to mental health services for Asians), and an improved range and quality of specialist community based mental health and addiction services built on collaborative relationships (Ministry of Health, 2005b). It covers the spectrum of interventions from promotion/prevention to primary care to specialist services, and in particular the draft action plan (Ministry of Health, 2006b)

* acknowledges the presence not only of Asian peoples but also migrants and refugees, and the need for mental health services to be able to respond to the unique needs of all New Zealanders; * acknowledges the need for responsiveness to Asian peoples and other ethnic communities and refugee and migrant communities; * aims to build a quality mental health and addiction workforce that supports recovery, is person centered, and is culturally capable to deliver services for Asian peoples (that will require new skills and areas of specialised knowledge); * aims to strengthen the cultural capability of workers in mainstream services to work effectively with Asian, refugee and migrant populations through training programmes; * aims to increase the understanding of the mental health and addiction needs of Asian, ethnic, refugee and migrant communities through developing a profile of their mental health, and developing a mental health and addiction research agenda; * aims to implement national and local training for the mental health services workforce to work more effectively with them and use research evidence in service planning and delivery; and * aims to develop culturally responsive problem gambling intervention services for Asian peoples.

In addition, The Mental Health Commission’s Recovery Competencies for Mental Health Workers (O’Hagan, 2001) requires that a competent mental health worker acknowledges the different cultures of Aotearoa/New Zealand and knows how to provide a service in partnership with them. It suggests that every mental health and addiction service worker should demonstrate:

  • knowledge of diversity within Asian cultures;
  • knowledge of Asian culture, for example importance of family, religious traditions, duty, respect for authority, honour, shame and harmony;
  • the ability to articulate Asian views on health;
  • knowledge of traditional Asian treatments;
  • and the ability to involve Asian families, communities and service users in services.

In response to a report on Asian Public Health (Asian Public Health Project Team, 2003) the Mental Health Foundation have also created information sheets written in Chinese as a step towards meeting the mental health needs of Asians. They focus in particular on the mental health needs of Chinese adults and older Korean people. The emphasis on Chinese recognises that they comprise the largest of all Asian ethnic groups and the high number of Chinese international students in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland.

The potential of broader health policy

Developments in population based health policy offer promise in addressing barriers to accessing services by Asian communities. The New Zealand Health Strategy (NZHS) guides the development and provision of new services in the health and disability sector to improve the health of New Zealanders (Ministry of Health, 2000). Administered through District Health Boards (DHBs), the strategy aims to reduce inequalities in health status for Māori, Pacific peoples and people from lower socio-economic groups. It claims to focus on quality of service in order to ensure health outcomes are improved and health disparities reduced. There is scant reference to migrant health in the NZHS, other than a recommendation ‘to assess the health needs of refugees, asylum seekers and Asian immigrants’ (Ministry of Health, 2000, p.47) without any attempt to explain how this might be achieved.

A key strand of the NZHS involves improving responsiveness in the field of primary care. Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) have been established as ‘community-led’ organisations that guide the development of local services and their role defined in the Primary Health Care Strategy (Ministry of Health, 2001). The governance model is intended to involve local people in the planning and delivery of local primary health care services. This promotes the role of health workers as being to reduce health inequalities and address the causes of poor health status. Whilst accessibility, affordability and co-ordination are key, there is no mention of Asian and migrant populations in the strategy, which aligns with the NZHS focus on Māori, Pacific populations and lower socio-economic groups. The needs of Asian communities in New Zealand will need to be proactively considered given their projected population growth and evidence of different health needs to the wider population. Findings from the Asian Health Chart Book (Ministry of Health, 2006a) show that Asian people had positive health outcomes on a range of health indicators compared to the total New Zealand population. Of concern, however, was the lower usage of health services by the Asian population. The report provides a useful baseline on Asian health and it is hoped that it helps in identifying the health needs of Asian peoples in New Zealand and that it will be a tool for Asian communities themselves to advocate for appropriate health services.

Regional developments

The Northern Region Mental Health and Addictions Strategic Direction 2005-2010 (Northern DHB Support Agency & Network North Coalition, 2004) has two foci for its vision. The first is a specific focus on ‘equal opportunity to access quality services delivered in a culturally appropriate manner for refugee and recent Asian migrant clients and families’ and the second is ‘access to professionally trained and qualified interpreting services to meet the needs of migrant and refugees with experience of mental illness and their families’ (p.22). Recently a project was developed for training Asian interpreters and mental health practitioners who provide secondary mental health services for the diverse Asian immigrant population in the Auckland region, focussing on cultural competency and appropriate skills to work together effectively (Lim & Walker, 2006).

Local developments

At a local level, the twenty-one District Health Boards (DHBs) are responsible for deciding on the mix, level and quality of health and disability services to be provided for populations within government-set parameters. Some specialised mental health services, for example the ‘Refugees as Survivors’ (RAS) centres have been established, while others have developed ‘transcultural’ teams with clinicians who have an interest in the area or Asian mental health workers. Asian peer support workers are employed by consumer run organisations such as Mind and Body consultants to support Asian users of Auckland District Health Board Mental Health Services. There are also two Chinese consumers’ self-help groups: Bo Ai She and Yu Ai She. Community Alcohol and Drug services have two Chinese counsellors and non-governmental organisations (NGO) have begun responding to the needs of Asians by employing Chinese staff in community and family support roles such as Action for Mental Health Services, Supporting Families and Affinity. In the Auckland DHB there are two Asian community support workers with a focus on psychiatric rehabilitation. A great many of the developments have been in response to advocacy from ethnic community members and a desire to increase responsiveness to presenting clients.

Learning from the experience of Pacific peoples

There is much that newer migrant groups and mainstream services can learn from the experience of Pacific peoples, who are a diverse group representing over 20 different cultures. The largest group are Samoan making up 50% of Pacific peoples, followed by Cook Islanders (23%), Tongans (16%), Niueans (9%) Fijians (4%) and Tokelauans (2%) (self-identified; more than one response possible) (Mental Health Commission, 2001). A youthful population concentrated in the Auckland region with smaller numbers scattered throughout the country (Ministry of Health, 2005a), Pacific peoples make up 6% of the New Zealand population, which will rise to 12% by the year 2051. Pacific migration to New Zealand after the second world war increased as a result of growing industrialisation and demands for a manufacturing and service industry workforce (Spoonley, 2001). Large numbers of Pacific people migrated to urban areas of New Zealand, accelerating in the 1960s and early 1970s (Spoonley, 2001). The mid-1970s economic downturn led to many Pacific people losing their jobs. Unemployment, low income, poor housing, the breakdown of extended family networks, cultural fragmentation, and rising alcohol and drug problems have had a significant impact on the mental health of Pacific peoples, with rates of mental illness being generally higher among Pacific males and Pacific older people than the rest of the population (Ministry of Health, 2005a). However, Pacific peoples are a little less likely to use mental health services than any other group in New Zealand (Ministry of Health, 2005a).

Innovative health models such as the ‘Fonofale’ created by Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann (Crawley, Pulotu-Endemann, Stanley-Findlay & New Zealand Ministry of Health, 1995) have promoted holism and continuity. Similar to Durie’s (1994) Te Whare Tapa Wha, the Fonofale model uses the metaphor of a Pacific Island house and incorporates the values and beliefs of various Pacific Island groups. In addition, two key mechanisms have been advanced to improve social and economic outcomes for Pacific peoples. These are to improve ‘the responsiveness and accountability of public sector agencies to Pacific health needs and priorities, and to build the capacity of Pacific peoples, through provider, workforce and professional development, to deliver health and disability services and to develop their own solutions to health issues’ (Mental Health Commission, 2001, p.15). The key agencies in this task are The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards and the Mental Health Commission. Other strategies are that services for Pacific peoples should: include Pacific views of mental health and wellbeing (which also includes all other aspects of health); take into account the relatively young Pacific population; acknowledge that there are isolated communities throughout New Zealand; consider the socioeconomic status of Pacific peoples; consider the diverse needs of New Zealand-born versus Island-born people and people of mixed ethnicity; and include the issue of alcohol and other drug use. In parallel, mainstream providers need to incorporate practices that properly address the above issues which will require building networks with Pacific organisations and groups able to advise on culturally acceptable methods of treatment (Mental Health Commission, 2001).

Conclusion: Exploring uncharted waters

Parts of the journey ahead are charted clearly. There are legislative and policy imperatives in place for mental health services to ensure that they are responsive in both policy and practice for ‘migrants, refugees and Asians’. How this is operationalised varies around the country but developments are promising, particularly in Auckland where the population of Asians is 12%. However, there are murky waters ahead that must be navigated. Further discussion is needed about the terms ‘migrants, refugees and Asians’ which are referred to in Te Tāhuhu and are an attempt at inclusion. The diversity contained within labels will have to be disentangled, so that the needs of the diverse people within labels such as ‘migrants, refugees and Asians’ are identified. Consideration must also be given to the needs of long term settled ethnic communities and international students, both of whom are neglected. Diving even deeper, the intersection of ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status needs exploration. Consideration also needs to be given to how we work with the ‘buzz words’ such as cultural safety, cultural capability, cultural awareness and cultural competence and how they sit together (DeSouza, 2004b, 2006; Wood, Bradley & DeSouza, 2004).

Finally, a more strategic response to New Zealand’s changing demographics is required as until now the majority of developments have been ad hoc, reactive and operational, based on lobbying from ethnic community groups and non-governmental organisations such that responses are geared to our current situation rather than our future. It is necessary to address the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in the context of how multiculturalism is to be accommodated. Some see biculturalism as an obstacle to the acknowledgement of a more diverse society; however, I suggest that multiculturalism through biculturalism remains a possible solution that has been under-explored and under-operationalised. Future developments in Asian, migrant and refugee health need to heed the unique status of Māori and learn from the experiences of Pacific peoples, who have charted these waters already and know the currents and prevailing winds.

References

Abbott, M.W., Wong, S., Williams, M., Au, M.K. & Young, W. (1999). Chinese migrants’ mental health and adjustment to life in New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 33(1), 13-21.

Abbott, M.W., Wong, S., Giles, L.C. Wong, S., Young, W. & Au, M. (2003). Depression in older Chinese migrants to Auckland. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 37(4), 445-51.

Asian Public Health Project Team (2003). Asian Public Health Project Report. Auckland: Ministry of Health Public Health Directorate.

Bartley, A. & Spoonley, P. (2004). Constructing a workable multiculturalism in a bicultural society. In M. Belgrave, M. Kawharu & D.V. Williams (Eds.), Waitangi Revisited: Perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi (2nd edition, pp. 136-148). Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford University Press.

Beaglehole, A. (2005, 11 July 2005). Immigration Regulation. Retrieved 8 October 2005, from http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/NewZealandPeoples/ImmigrationRegulation/en

Crawley, L., Pulotu-Endemann, F.K., Stanley-Findlay, R.T.U. & New Zealand Ministry of Health. (1995). Strategic Directions for the Mental Health Services for Pacific Islands People. Wellington, N.Z.: Ministry of Health.

Curnow, A. (1997). Early Days Yet: New and Collected Poems 1941 – 1997. Auckland: AUP.

DeSouza, R. (2004a). The art of walking upright here: Realising a multi-cultural society. Paper presented at the Kiwi Indian Seminar Series, Stout Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand..

DeSouza, R. (2004b). Working with refugees and migrants. In D. Wepa (Ed.), Cultural Safety (pp. 122-133). Auckland: Pearson Education New Zealand.

DeSouza, R. (2006). Pregnant with possibility: Migrant motherhood in New Zealand. MindNet, http://www.mindnet.org.nz/synopsis.php?issueno=6&articleno=100

DeSouza, R. & Garrett, N. (2005). Access Issues for Chinese People in New Zealand. Auckland: Auckland University of Technology and Accident Compensation Corporation.

Duncan, E., Schofield, G., Duncan, S., Kolt, G. & Rush, E. (2004). Ethnicity and body fatness in New Zealanders. New Zealand Medical Journal, 117(1195), U913.

Durie, M. (1994). Whaiora: Maori Health Development. Auckland: Oxford University Press.

Gaines, P., Bower, A., Buckingham, B., Eagar, K., Burgess, P. & Green, J. (2003). New Zealand Mental Health Classification and Outcomes Study: Final report. Auckland: Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Ho, E., Au, S., Bedford, C. & Cooper, J. (2002). Mental Health Issues for Asians in New Zealand: A Literature Review (Commissioned by the Mental Health Commission). Waikato: University of Waikato.

Ho, E., Cheung, E., Bedford, C. & Leung, P. (2000). Settlement Assistance Needs of Recent Migrants (Commissioned by the NZIS). Waikato: University of Waikato.

Infometrics (2006). The Economic Impact of Foreign Fee-Paying Students. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

International Division & Data Management and Analysis (2005). The New Zealand International Education Sector: Trends from 1999 to 2004. Wellington: Ministry of Education,. Ip, M. (2005). Chinese. Retrieved 3 June 2006, from http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/NewZealanders/NewZealandPeoples/Chinese/en

Johnstone, K. & Read, J. (2000). Psychiatrists’ recommendations for improving bicultural training and Maori mental health services: A New Zealand survey. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 34(1), 135-145.

Lim, S. & Walker, R. (2006). Asian Mental Health Interpreter Workforce Development Project: Report on Curricula & Guidelines Development for Asian Interpreters and Mental Health Practitioners to Work Effectively Together. Auckland: Northern DHB Support Agency.

Mental Health Commission (1998). Blueprint for Mental Health Services in New Zealand: How Things Need to Be. Wellington: Mental Health Commission.

Mental Health Commission (2001). Pacific Mental Health Services and Workforce: Moving on the Blueprint. Wellington: Mental Health Commission.

Ministry of Education (2003). Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. Retrieved 19 April 2005, from http://www.minedu.govt.nz/index.cfm?layout=document&documentid=6902&indexid=6666&indexparentid=6663

Ministry of Health (1994). Looking Forward – Strategic Directions for the Mental Health Services. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (1997). Moving Forward: The National Mental Health Plan for More and Better Services. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (2000). The New Zealand Health Strategy. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (2001). The Primary Health Care Strategy. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (2005a). Te Orau Ora – Pacific Mental Health Profile, Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (2005b). Te Tāhuhu: Improving Mental Health 2005-2015: The Second New Zealand Mental Health and Addiction Plan. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (2006a). Asian Health Chart Book 2006. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (2006b). Draft Action Plan Te Tāhuhu – Improving Mental Health 2005-2015: The Second New Zealand Mental Health and Addiction Plan. Wellington: Ministry Of Health.

Mohanram, R. (1998). (In)visible bodies? Immigrant bodies and constructions of nationhood in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. In R. D. Plessis & L. Alice (Eds.), Feminist Thought in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Connections and Differences (pp. 21-29). Auckland: Oxford University Press.

Nash, M. & Trlin, A. (2004). Social Work with Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in New Zealand. Palmerston North: New Settlers Programme, Massey University.

New Zealand Immigration Service (2003). New Zealand Settlement Strategy Outline. Retrieved 18 March 2005, from http://www.immigration.govt.nz/community/stream/support/nzimmigrationsettlementstrategy/

New Zealand Health Information Service (2005). Mental Health: Service Use in New Zealand 2002. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ngai, M.M.Y., Latimer, S. & Cheung, V.Y.M. (2001). Healthcare Needs of Asian People: Surveys of Asian People and Health Professionals in the North and West Auckland. Takapuna: Asian Health Support Service, Waitemata District Health Board.

Northern DHB Support Agency & Network North Coalition (2004). Northern Region Mental Health and Addictions Strategic Direction 2005-2010. Auckland: Northern DHB Support Agency.

O’Hagan, M. (2001). Recovery Competencies for New Zealand Mental Health Workers. Wellington: Mental Health Commission.

Pernice, R., Trlin, A., Henderson, A. & North, N. (2000). Employment and mental health of three groups of immigrants to New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 29(1), 24-29.

Rasanathan, K., Craig, D. & Perkins, R. (2004). Is ‘Asian’ a useful category for health research in New Zealand? Paper presented at the Inaugural International Asian Health Conference: Asian Health and Wellbeing, Now and into the Future, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Scragg, R. & Maitra, A. (2005). Asian Health in Aotearoa: An Analysis of the 2002-2003 New Zealand Health Survey. Auckland: The Asian Network Incorporated.

Spoonley, P. (2001). Transnational Pacific communities: Transforming the politics of place and identity. In C. Macpherson, P. Spoonley & M. Anae (Eds.), Tangata o Te Moana Nui: The Evolving Identities of Pacific Peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 81-96). Palmerston North, N.Z.: Dunmore.

Statistics New Zealand (2002a). 2001 Census: Asian People. Retrieved 25 January 2005, from http://www.stats.govt.nz/people/communities/asianpeople.htm

Statistics New Zealand (2002b). Census Snapshot: Cultural Diversity. Retrieved 25 January 2005, from http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/Articles/census-snpsht-cult-diversity-Mar02.htm

Swarbrick, N. (2005). Indians. Retrieved 8 October, 2005, from http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/NewZealanders/NewZealandPeoples/Indians/en

Thakur, R. (1995). In defence of multiculturalism. In S. W. Greif (Ed.), Immigration and National Identity in New Zealand: One People, Two Peoples, Many Peoples. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Tse, S., Bhui, K., Thapliyal, A., Choy, N. & Bray, Y. (2005). Asian Mental Health Workforce Development Feasibility Project. Auckland: The Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Walker, R. (1995). Immigration policy and the political economy of New Zealand. In S. W. Greif (Ed.), Immigration and National Identity in New Zealand: One People, Two Peoples, Many Peoples. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Wittman, L. (1998). ‘I live a fragmented life’: Cultural identity as perceived by New Zealand Jewish women. In R. Du Plessis & L. Alice (Eds.), Feminist Thought in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Connections and Differences (pp. 57-68). Auckland: Oxford University Press.

Wood, P., Bradley, P. & DeSouza, R. (2004). Mental Health in Australia and New Zealand. In R. Elder, K. Evans & D. Nizette (Eds.), Practical Perspectives in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (pp. 80-98). New South Wales: Elsevier Australia.

Workshop Organising Team (2005). Issues And Options Paper: The Use Of The Term ‘Asian’ in New Zealand and Implications for Research, Policy Development and Community Engagement. Retrieved 12 December 2005.

Yee, B. (2003). Asian Mental Health Recovery – Follow Up to the Asian Report. Wellington: Mental Health Commission.

Citation: DeSouza, R. (2006). Sailing in a new direction: Multicultural mental health in New Zealand. Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health 5(2) www.auseinet.com/journal/vol5iss2/desouza.pdf

How can nurses truly celebrate cultural diversity?

Editorial published in Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand 13.4 (May 2007): p2(1).

American feminist psychologist and theorist Carol Gilligan once said that without voice there cannot be relationship, and without relationship there cannot be voice. (1) How do we have relationships with people who are different from us? How do we and the other person have a voice in the relationship, if we don’t know what our common ground is?

The 2006 Census reveals European New Zealanders make up 67.6 percent of the population, 14.6 percent of people self-identify as Maori, Pacific peoples make up 6.9 percent of the population, Asians 9.2 percent and Middle Eastern, Latin American and African people, 0.9 percent. (2) The Census also revealed that nearly 23 per cent of New Zealand’s population was born overseas, compared with 19.5 per cent in 2001. In terms of religious affiliation, 55 per cent said they were Christian, down from 60.6 per cent in 2001. And 1.3 million New Zealanders said they had no religion. The number of Hindus increased by 61.8 percent to 64,392, Muslims went up 52.6 percent to 36,072 people and the number of Sikhs was 9507, up 83 percent. (2)

This religious and cultural diversity has implications for nurses and those we care for. How do we have relationships with people of different cultures and religions? How can we, as nurses, cultivate relationships and ensure we have a voice, and ensure our colleagues and clients who are “diverse”, have a voice too? What does celebrating cultural diversity actually mean for nurses, other than taking part in a cultural festival or having friends from diverse backgrounds? What does it mean for systems that are primarily monocultural and are striving to be bicultural? And what does that mean for the increasing number of people from diverse ethno-religious communities?

New Zealand has a long history of migration, but the range and number of migrants in New Zealand has been on an unparalleled scale since 1987. With that have come demographic changes. I recently gave a two-hour talk about diversity, and afterwards a nurse asked “What about our (Pakeha) identity? What is going to happen to it?” She is not the only person worded about the loss of identity, as witnessed by the cry “What has happened to my country?” in letters to the editor and heard on talkback radio. For those of us who have migrated here, it is hard to understand why people from the dominant culture feel marginalised, when we are surrounded by Pakeha/white New Zealand culture, in terms of all the institutions and power bearers.

Interaction rather than co-existence

These concerns highlight a need for dialogue and I am reminded of the work of Lebanese-Australian anthropology professor, Ghassan Hage, who suggests the way forward is through interaction, rather than co-existence. (3) When we co-exist, we can idealise or demonise the other, but never really get to know them. But when we interact, it requires us to move forward in relationship, even when it is tough and frustrating. There are potential gifts of working from a place of interaction and these occur when we can say “Let’s take the best of both/many cultures and see what new and wonderful things we can create”.

Richard Florida has written about the creative class where new ideas and technologies have been developed in the United States as a result of attracting the best and the brightest from around the world and harnessing the creativity inherent in diversity. (4) This is where interaction comes in–we have to rub up against one another, experience conflict and find a way forward for creativity to kick in.

To harness such potential in health in New Zealand we need to address the political and policy Landscape of health. Nursing Council statistics show that migrant nurses made up 51 percent of new registrations in 2005-2006. (5) This percentage raises many questions: What do we have in place to assist the effective integration of new migrant nurses? What is good practice for those who employ migrant nurses? Who is responsible for ensuring that this happens well? What support mechanisms need to be in place to create innovation in health? How do receiving nurses create new spaces and places for cultural diversity?

Migration has always had an element of economic necessity, a tap which could be turned on and off, as and when we needed more labour. But, increasingly, receiving countries are beginning to realise people don’t just migrate for a job. They migrate for a life and for their dreams and aspirations. This means they put down roots and settle and want a home and a voice in their new country. In the short-term period of settlement, it is about such things as getting a job, financial independence, establishing a social network and adapting to various aspects of lifestyle. In the long-term period of integration, it is about career advancement, income parity, accessing institutions, redefining cultural identity, adapting or reassessing values, and participating in political parties and socio-political movements.

I have a number of suggestions about how we move forward with diversity: use it for our creative endeavours; see newcomers as a source of innovation; along with maintaining our obligations to Maori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ensure all who live in Aotearoa/New Zealand enjoy equitable access to services and enjoy equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities to participate in, contribute to and benefit from all aspects of life. Finally, recognise that we all share responsibility for the continuing development of Aotearoa New Zealand as a cohesive and harmonious society. Contributing to our own communities and venturing outside them, would be a great start.

References

(1) Gilligan, C. (1982) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

(2) New Zealand’s 2006 Census of Populatino and Dwellings. (2006) 2006 Census Date. Statistics New Zealand. http://www.stats.govt.nz.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/census/default/htm. Retrieved 20/04/07.

(3) Hage, G. (2002) Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society. Australia: Pluto Press.

(4) Florida, R. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class and How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Creative-Class-Transforming-Community/dp/ 0465024769. Retrieved 20/04/07.

(5) Clark, M. and Ayling, B. (2006) Workforce Statistics 2006 Update. Presentation to Nursing Council Forums. http://www.nursingcouncil.org.nz/forum.html. Retrieved 20/04/07.

“How can nurses truly celebrate cultural diversity?” Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand 13.4 (2007): 2.

The ultimate engagement of life: Being mentally healthy

Published in (2007) Asian Magazine, 4.

I came across a wonderful definition of health by Jesse Williams in 1928 the other day in a book that I was reading. Williams defines health as being “the optimal condition of being that allows for the ultimate engagement of life.” To me this is what being healthy is about, being in the best condition to fully take part in life. I have had a long passion in the issue of migration and settlement and in particular the impact on health and specifically mental health. We know that migration is a risky business that also has the potential to transform, so how can we maintain our mental health and go beyond maintenance to optimal health and engaging fully with life? What are the factors that help or hinder being ultimately engaged with life and what can we do about them? In this article I’d like to share my professional, personal and research findings with you from work I did with Goan women living in Auckland some years ago [1].

Migration offers the potential of a new and better life, otherwise why would anyone migrate for a worse life? Yet sometimes this is what unexpectedly happens. We are so focussed on the wonderful future and the leaving, but not so much on the arrival. Without our usual “soft places to fall” as Dr Phil terms it, our support networks, our fulfilling work, migrants can end up with migrant’s remorse!

It was the first time we had been on our own before, in Bombay you’ve always got family to help you and you’ve got everything ready made, so you never know what hardship is until you come here (Flora).

When there is a big gap between our hopes and expectations and the reality the disillusionment can be too much to bear. When the job that is going to be the foundation of the new life doesn’t materialise and the income doesn’t match the sacrifices, it can seem like things are going down hill fast. There is a cumulative impact of all these disappointments that can result in feeling overwhelmed and worn out. So when do ups and downs become something you should pay attention to? In my experience, it is best to ask for help from those around you when you feel like you are not coping and managing as well as you would like to be or know that you usually can. Help-seeking is something that many of us find difficult to do. Whether it is pride or the shame of admitting we cannot manage on our own. What I know for sure though is that when we have exhausted our own resources we should ask for help because things don’t tend to get better by themselves and sometimes they get worse when we do nothing. So start by talking to people that you trust, family or friends and keep talking and asking until you get what you need. If you have a faith community tap into its resources. Talk to your General Practitioner and ask for referral to a counsellor or mental health service. I remember talking to a man with a gambling problem that had become depressed, he said “what is the point of going to talk about my problems, I need financial help!” The answer is that there are a range of things that have contributed to how you feel and equally there are a range of things that will help, from going for a walk to talking to someone to getting budgetary advice. There is not going to be just one magical solution.

So what if you are reading this and thinking, I am fine, I just get down sometimes. Here are four strategies that Goan women used to help them maintain their mental health.

Developing a new support network New Zealand researchers [2] have found that support is one of four important factors for successful settlement. Support makes coping with daily living, acquiring language and employment (the three other factors) easier to acquire. Support also helps you manage stress by reducing how big you see the stress and helping to reduce the severity of your reaction to it [3]. Participants in my research study found that having contact with family, friends and other migrants was crucial and that by volunteering, joining their faith community and having access to support through e-mail the stresses of migration and settlement were minimised. It is important to make sure that you connect with people outside your faith or ethnic group too.

Having a “can do” attitude The term ‘pioneer spirit’ is often used to refer to migrants. The attitude of coping with things in the present because they will get better in the future if you make it work is part of the migrant dream. T some degree pragmatism and philosophical acceptance are necessary for survival and essential:

You just couldn’t pick a flight and go, you’ve resigned your job, you’ve spent half your savings to come here and you know there’s no turning back so you have to make the most of this. So it’s like there’s no turning back, but you think, ‘God what have I done’ (Flora).

As Arisaka says [4] “This almost non-negotiable drive for upward mobility requires diligent assimilation. Self-pity, victim consciousness, and separationist self-consciousness are deadly to the process towards success. Not only are they excessively self-indulgent, but they are also a waste of time and energy, and therefore not allowed”. I think that this can also be a trap and that again it is important to ask for help when you need it. You don’t get extra points at the end of your life for having done it the hard way!

Learning There are two ways of learning that assist with settlement one is the  ‘culture learning approach’ where you adapt  by overcoming every day cross-cultural problems by learning new culture specific skills that assist you to navigate the new cultural environment [5]and the other is by inoculation or anticipatory preparation [6, 7] which helps the transition experience , where a previous visit or some similar kind of preparation where you gain culturally specific knowledge and skills prior to migration can be a great help.

Lastly, maintaining cultural links was used to make sense of the migration and settlement experience and maintaining wellbeing. The loss and separation that can occur with migration can be lessened to some degree by holding on to familiar and trusted values and keeping ties [8]. Keeping a connection with ‘the familiar’ helps lessen the dislocation and challenges that resulted from being in ‘the unfamiliar”. This can be done by attending community events or even going back to the place of origin, for the benefit of children as well:

It’s important not to get carried away by the western thing, to keep taking them back to their roots if you can afford it because I think that priority has really made the difference for us (Sheila).

There are many ways to manage a new life in a new country. Each one of us has to find a combination of ways that are going to work for us. I hope this has give you some ideas about how you can not only survive the transition to life in a new country but thrive as well so that you can be in optimal condition to enjoy your new life fully.

References

  1. DeSouza, R., Walking upright here: Countering prevailing discourses through reflexivity and methodological pluralism. 2006, Auckland, NZ: Muddy Creek Press.
  2. Ho, E., et al., Settlement assistance needs of recent migrants. 2000, University of Waikato: Waikato.
  3. Kearns, R.A., et al., Social support and psychological distress before and after childbirth. Health and Social Care in the Community, 1997. 5(5): p. 296-308.
  4. Arisaka, Y., Asian women: Invisibility, locations, and claims to philosophy, in Women of color and philosophy: A critical reader, N. Zack, Editor. 2000, Blackwell Publishers: Malden, Mas. p. 219-223.
  5. Ward, C., S. Bochner, and A. Furnham, The psychology of culture shock. Second edition ed. 2001, Hove, East Sussex: Routledge.
  6. Meleis, A.I., et al., Experiencing transitions: an emerging middle-range theory. Advances in Nursing Science, 2000. 23(1): p. 12-28.
  7. Weaver, G., Understanding and coping with cross-cultural adjustment stress, in Culture, communication and conflict: readings in intercultural relations, G. Weaver, Editor. 1994, Gin Press: USA. p. 169-191.
  8. Vasta, E., Gender, class and ethnic relations: the domestic and work experiences of Italian migrant women in Australia, in Intersexions; gender, class, culture, ethnicity, G. Bottomley, M.D. Lepervanche, and J. Martin, Editors. 1991, Allen and Unwin: Sydney.

My World, Diversity and New Zealand

Plenary presentation at the New Zealand Diversity Forum, August 22, 2006. Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.

Thank you for inviting me to speak at this plenary session of the Diversity Forum. I’ve been asked to talk about my world, diversity and New Zealand from an ‘ethnic’1 point of view. The theme of my talk is to ‘Get lost’. There is something about going out of town to conferences and meetings that is very liberating. I feel like I am much more open to new experiences and meeting people because I am not stuck in my routines, tasks and schedules. Getting lost means stepping out of your comfort zone, and being open to expanding your internal and external boundaries.

Getting lost isn’t really that difficult, some of us do it without trying! I always get lost in Wellington! My family has had a habit of getting lost. From my great grandfathers’ who both went to Burma (who said that astronaut families are a new trendy kind of thing!). Then my grandparents got lost in Tanzania and so did my parents. I was born in a place called Tabora, which was founded by Arab slave traders in 1852, captured by the Germans in 1891 and a prosperous, thriving town. It was the administrative centre of German East Africa. From 1852 to 1891, Tabora was the slave capital of East Africa, ivory and humans were traded for guns, beads and cloth. Tabora is also famous as a base for many great explorers, it was the place where Stanley uttered those unforgettable words “Dr Livingstone, I presume.”

In 1975, my parents decided to get lost again, this time in New Zealand and I have made it a habit to get lost regularly ever since! Migration forces you to ‘get lost’. Disorientation and the loss of reference points mean that some people never survive while others thrive. Migration leads us to develop new reference points, networks, rituals and experiences. Depending on the kind of pre- migration experiences we’ve had we might be traumatised, grieving and exhausted. When we arrive, the reception of the receiving country can influence how happy we are about the experience and, equally, if our expectations are met. If not, we can lose heart and face. Yet, if we allow ourselves to get lost in the experience of resettling and be open to new ways of doing things we can benefit enormously.

There is an expectation that migrants need to find their feet. They are the ones who are lost and need to discover our reference points so they can become just like the receiving community. But, I would like to argue that all of us need to ‘get lost’ and on a regular basis! What I mean by this is that we all need to be willing to take a trip to a place we’ve never been. A new New Zealand where there are wonderful adventures to be had. We don’t have to go around the world to get lost, as TV host Phil Keoghan says “just put yourself in a situation that is removed from your everyday life and become immersed in it. Go with the flow – it expands your horizons, opens you up to new influences, and tests your resourcefulness and adaptability’. Unless you prefer to hark back to the dark days of assimilation. I think this is the gift of migration. For migrants but also for the receiving community, who are given an opportunity to re-evaluate what they consider valuable and important without leaving home.

The opportunity to expand our internal and external boundaries is going to increase with the continuing demographic changes that are occurring in New Zealand. These changes are not only an increase in ethnic diversity, but also linguistic and religious diversity. They pose opportunities and challenges for not only receiving communities, but also for long term settled communities, like Chinese and Indian communities who have been here since the late 1800s. There are opportunities and challenges ahead for Māori and Pacific peoples who fear that their needs and aspirations might be lost among the competing claims that newcomers bring.

We’ve had very few conversations about how we are all going to live together; the only ones I’ve heard are about the Treaty partners, and those leave the rest of us out. There are additional issues for us to get lost in, such as moving from models of deficits to models of strength and resourcefulness. Examining multiple and intersecting identities, moving beyond what is a fashionable cause and hierarchies of deserving. I am thinking of a research project I’ve just completed which showed that white migrants struggle with being lost too. Their needs go unconsidered as it is assumed that they will ‘fit in’ and are a close match to people already here. How do we go about actively embracing the people around us, building bridges not walls or silos? Passive acceptance means we don’t have to get lost; we don’t even have to try. But we can then idealise or demonise the people around us because we’ve partaken in the highly consumable aspects of their culture, the food and the festivals. Trouble is we can enjoy the food without caring about the cooks.

I’d like to suggest some ways forward, moving beyond discussions of bicultural and multicultural to consider how we can all live together and what vision can guide us. I want to draw on some ideas from Ghassan Hage about multi-cultural co-existence versus multicultural interaction. I then want to say something about how we become inter-cultural by, accepting the ‘other’ in ourselves. I think it is easier to identify the problems than come up with solutions so I’d also like to give an example of a successful initiative.

Hage says that coexistence involves existing alongside one another. We acknowledge each other’s existence but this existence operates on the premise that we can respect one another as long as we do not rub up against each other. In effect we live in silos right next to each other but watch out if there is any seepage into the public arena. Interaction requires more effort because engagement and irritation are a necessary part of the process, it means getting to know each other as a living multiculturalism where we don’t glorify or demonise ‘others’. To move from coexistence to interaction requires all of the people who live in New Zealand to literally get lost, to step out of our comfort zones and to start getting to know each other. Messy, untidy, unpleasant bits included. This is harder than it sounds, very easy for the liberal middle classes who have the benefit of distance, harder when you are fighting for the same piece of socio-economic pie. Vin D’Cruz tells us for this to happen we must make some internal shifts and embrace the ‘other’ in ourselves. Lorde agrees, urging “each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there.” Only through a process of empathy and transformation can we live with difference. Going deep into ourselves to embrace our own loathing of difference requires us to get lost.

Me with Chief Human Rights Commissioner Roslyn Noonan

Richard Brecknock talks about moving from the multicultural, where we acknowledge and celebrate our differing cultures, to the intercultural where we focus on what we can do together as diverse cultures in shared space to create wellbeing and prosperity. An assumption of an intercultural vision is the recognition that diverse societies are more innovative, productive and competitive. Immigrants and ethnic communities have a greater facility to move within and between communities and high intercultural networking capacity. However, this capacity isn’t always well optimised especially when there is no vision and where socio-economic inequalities exist and ethnic community groups are siloed, the challenge then is to enhance the abundance of talent and entrepreneurship in ethnic communities.

The Aotearoa Ethnic Network is a partner in the Human Rights Commission’s New Zealand Diversity Action Programme, and aims to contribute to the dialogue on how we can all live together. An inter-cultural, inter-sectoral network with over 300 members from all over New Zealand, it provides a space for discussion and debate for those interested in ethnic issues. The AEN Journal, launched in July this year, promotes critical debate on issues facing migrants and refugees, ethnic, diasporic and religious communities. Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres writes about the genesis of the Diversity Action Programme in the July issue and the need to have “networks and spaces where people were able to meet across ethnicities or cultures, and that while many people ‘wanted to do something’ there were no readily available mechanisms through which to do so in concert with others”. AEN goes some way to achieving this.

To conclude, thanks for a wonderful two days at this Forum. I know that we have identified problems and we have a way to go, but look how far we have come and how far we can go!

Further reading

  • Aotearoa Ethnic Network. See: http://www.aen.org.nz.
  • Brecknock, R. (2005). Intercultural city. See:http://www.brecknockconsulting.com.au/02_projects/ic.htm
  • D’Cruz, J.V. & Steele, W. (2001) Australia’s Ambivalence Towards Asia: Politics, Neo/Post-colonialism, and Fact/Fiction. Monash: Monash Asia Institute, Monash University Press.
  • De Bres, J. (2006). Guest Editorial. Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal. 1 (1).
  • Hage, G. (2005). We need interaction not just co-existence. Australian Financial Review.
  • Keoghan, P., & Berger, W. (2004). N.O.W. : No opportunity wasted : 8 ways to create a list for the life you want. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale.
  • Lorde, Audre. (1984). Sister Outsider. Trumansberg, New York: Crossing Press.

The Art of Walking Upright Here: Realising a Multicultural Society

Background paper for the Asia:NZ Foundation’s Kiwi India Seminar Series. Auckland and Wellington, October 2004

The title of this paper is drawn from a line in a Glenn Colquhoun poem. He draws inspiration from a poem by Allen Curnow, himself inspired by the site of a skeleton of a long extinct Moa in a museum. Whilst Colquhoun’s words are undoubtedly a profound metaphor for the migrant experience, Curnow’s are, perhaps, a metaphor for our failure to adapt to change, whether as a migrant or a member of the host community:
Not I, some child born in a marvellous year, Will learn the trick of standing upright here (Curnow, 1997, p.220).

Aotearoa/New Zealand has seen a significant increase in new migrants over the last ten years. Drawn here from across the world and facing the challenges of settlement, they face another unique challenge, finding their place within a country that embraces the notion of biculturalism, where Māori are positioned as partners with the Crown. As New Zealand society becomes increasingly multi-cultural, it is still required to negotiate the bi-cultural discourses of Māori which some argue positions migrants from places such as India as outsiders. In this presentation I will introduce myself briefly and outline the challenges facing Indian communities in New Zealand by drawing together the history of migration to New Zealand and outlining some possibilities for the future.

Migrants in Aotearoa/New Zealand
New Zealand is viewed as a nation of immigrants, and immigration has been an important factor in economic growth and social development. One in five New Zealand residents was born overseas and this rises to one in three people in the Auckland region (Statistics New Zealand, 2003). The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the founding document of the nation state, recognising Māori as ‘tangata whenua’ (Roscoe, 1999). Te Tiriti defines “principles of partnership, participation, protection and equity” (Cooney, 1994, p.9). Yet this benign notion of ‘settlerhood’ contrasts sharply with the end result of a process that has led to the traumatic colonisation and dispossession of Māori. Favourable policies resulted in subsequent waves of migrants of European descent, resulting in a dominance of this group such that Māori became the ‘other’ in their own land (Du Plessis & Alice, 1998).
The visibly different migrant, such as Indians, Chinese and Pacific Islanders, became ‘others’ because of their physical appearance, religion or culture but without the status of the indigenous Māori (Du Plessis & Alice, 1998). Most Indians migrated to New Zealand from Gujarat and Punjab then from Fiji and. About 200 came from Uganda as refuges in 1971. One of the first Indians to arrive in New Zealand was thought to be a Goan nicknamed “Black Peter” (Edward Peters) in 1853 (Leckie, 1995). The first Chinese arrived in 1866 (Roscoe, 1999). A fear of the impact of foreigners led to restrictive laws being introduced between 1870 and 1899 and these were only repealed later when new sources of labour were required.

In the last few decades other trends have impacted on migration patterns. The first being an initial increase in migration from the Pacific Islands in the second half of the 1970s and again following the Fiji coup in 1987. Pacific Islands migration decreased in the 1990s with a shrinkage in manufacturing jobs and the closure of factories as tariffs on imported goods were removed. An increase in Asian migration was the second immigration trend and was related to the encouragement of foreign investment in New Zealand. Refugees also arrived from Cambodia and Vietnam and migration from Hong Kong related to the return of the colony to China. The third was the increase in migration from Africa and the Middle East, predominantly from South Africa. The above trends led to an increase in the number of migrants from non-traditional source areas. Compounding these trends, there has been the noticeable increase in tension between Māori and Pākehā, particularly around grievances and claims relating to the Treaty (Pawson et al., 1996) and land issues.

Government Policy
Following World War Two, the notion of assimilation dominated. ‘Invisible’ migrants were seen as desirable and the goal was for migrants to ‘fit in’ rather than change the society they had entered. For many, therefore, change, was one-way. There was a philosophical shift in this policy when Canada and Australia embraced multiculturalism during the 1960s, which held that people had the right to retain their culture and have access to society and services without being disadvantaged (Fletcher, 1999). This transformed the notion of settlement into a two way process whereby change was required by both migrants and the host society. New Zealand policy made a strategic move towards multiculturalism in the 1986 review and subsequent 1987 Immigration Act. This Act eased access into New Zealand from non-traditional source countries and replaced entry criteria based on nationality and culture to one initially based on skills and subsequently through the introduction of a points system (Roscoe, 1999). This policy emphasis on attracting highly qualified immigrants was similar to policy changes in North America and Australia (Pernice, Trlin, Henderson, & North, 2000). The adoption of the points system in 1991 led to immigrants who had experience, skills, qualifications and money being selected for business investment in New Zealand (Ho, Cheung, Bedford, & Leung, 2000).

Implications
Changes in migration policy and the resulting increase in migration have led to much public debate fuelled also by a renaissance in Māori sovereignty, itself related to the global rise in indigenous movements since the 1970s. This has seen the re-positioning of Māori as indigenous to New Zealand and the evolution of a bicultural nationalism (Roscoe, 1999). Many vociferous opponents of increased migration argue that the ideology of multiculturalism is problematic as it negates the primacy of Māori and biculturalism. This, some argue, is problematic because Māori are indigenous, whilst migrants (and refugees) have other places that maintain and preserve their culture. Many argue that because the Treaty has not been honoured, other ethnic groups have had no other option but to relate only to the Crown.

By calling Māori ‘the first immigrants’, it is argued that the rights of Māori as first nation people are negated and their claim for special status as tangata whenua countered (Walker, 1995). The argument continues that the preamble of Te Tiriti o Waitangi allowed immigration to New Zealand from Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom and for any variation to occur, consultation with Māori is required as descendants of the Crown’s treaty partner. Walker concluded that the government consultation process with Māori was flawed because some Māori leaders were not representative and dissenting voices were ignored. Some have also argued that the points system of immigration and active encouragement of migration from non-traditional source countries was
a quick fix for rising unemployment and a stagnant economy driven by the partnership between corporate business interests and the government.

Within this debate between Pākehā and Māori, many visibly different migrants felt marginalised on two levels; firstly as outsiders to Māori and secondly as outsiders and cultural ‘other’ to Pākehā (Jaber, 1998). The process of ‘othering’ of Asian immigrants2 differs from that of Māori. Firstly, Asians are considered to be contributing to the economy even if they are ‘too successful’ by virtue of their skills and working attributes and secondly, elements of Asian culture can be commodified for consumption in the form of food and restaurants (Pawson et al., 1996). In particular this packaging absolves the consumer from caring about “the authenticity of the product, its cultural meaning, its technical sophistication or its historical origin” (Yuan, 2001, p.79). This process of consumption fetishises, foods, clothing and rituals into a decontextualised barren image. Sari material, yoga, ayurvedic medicine and Eastern spirituality have joined the list of consumables that many New Zealanders enjoy without understanding their social, political, cultural and spiritual significance. Despite the consumption of ‘Indianness’, little emphasis has been accorded to visibly different migrants in the debates over citizenship.
Roscoe (1999) sees two ways in which citizenship can be viewed; the first is civic nationalism, underpinning the discourse of multiculturalism, when a national identity is shared equally by citizens regardless of origin. Secondly, citizenship can be viewed as ‘ethnic nationalism,’ when greater standing is given to members of the dominant group.

Far from being the welcoming immigrant nation New Zealand purports to be, the paradigm of ethnic nationalism is more representative of the reality and is based around Pākehā notions of New Zealand. So, there remains a tension between the universalist, egalitarian notion of equal treatment of citizens and the need for recognition of cultural specificity. Docker and Fischer (2000) suggest that there needs to be a recognition of the politics of universalism and the politics of difference and conclude:

Thus, we experience a plethora of overlapping, competing and unresolved contradictions: colonial versus post-colonial, old settlers versus new settlers, indigenous people versus invaders, majority versus innumerable minorities, white against black or coloured, the search for a collective, inclusive or ‘national’ identity…vis-á-vis the search for individual and personal or group identity based on ethnicity, language, country of origin, or religion. All these struggles are played out on the same but rather less-than-level-playing field: social antagonisms, class and gender differences continue to play decisive roles in the game of identity recognition (Docker & Fischer, 2000, p.6).

Critics such as Thakur (1995) argue that the official rhetoric of biculturalism recognises the legitimacy of Māori and Pakeha but excludes migrant cultures that are non-white and non- indigenous. These ‘others’ are excluded from the debate on the identity and future of the country in which they live, leading writers such as Mohanram (1998, p.21) to ask “what place does the visibly different coloured immigrant occupy within the discourse of biculturalism?” This tension exists for many other groups as well, for example Wittman (1998, p.39) has commented “on the exclusionary effect of any others by the ideology of biculturalism” for Jewish people in New Zealand. Many Chinese argue that in New Zealand, a bicultural society, migrant cultures are not even relegated to the margins of society “our place is nowhere” (Yuan, 2001, p.121).

Conclusion
As the global marketplace shrinks, countries compete for people with skills and wealth creating potential. Gone are the days of relying on migrants from the traditional source countries. This transformation in migration means that there is now an urgent need for settlement focussed- resources for new migrants and refugees. New migrants need to be resourced to recognise, understand and value the special position of tangata whenua and to be able to examine their role in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi. Equally, it is necessary for immigration policy and settlement policy to be inclusive of those already here. This means not only Pākehā (represented by government) but also Māori.

Can biculturalism and multiculturalism co-exist or are they mutually exclusive? I would argue that one need not preclude the other. Recognising and celebrating the ethnic diversity of modern day New Zealand need not diminish the rights of Māori. Perhaps we can all work together to create a social and political milieu that is both universal and egalitarian: ironically something many Pakeha New Zealander’s assume already exists. In this model we treat citizens equally, celebrating their diversity but valuing as a central tenet of our society the position of the Treaty of Waitangi and its guiding principles. This ensures a unique position for Māori to be recognised as the guardians of this special land. By doing this we create a dynamic and vibrant society leaving behind a past based on fear (for loss of whiteness), grievance (for abuse of Māori rights) and invisibility (of others arriving in an already formed land).

References
Colquhoun, G. (1999). The art of walking upright. Auckland, NZ: Steele Roberts.

Cooney, C. (1994). A comparative analysis of transcultural nursing and cultural safety. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 9(1), 6-12.

Curnow, A. (1997). Early days yet: New and collected poems 1941 – 1997. Auckland: AUP.

Docker, J., & Fischer, G. (2000). Adventures of identity. In J. Docker & G. Fischer (Eds.), Race, Colour and Identity in Australia and New Zealand. Sydney: UNSW Press.

Du Plessis, R., & Alice, L. (Eds.). (1998). Feminist thought in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Auckland: OUP. Fletcher, M. (1999). Migrant settlement; a review of the literature and its relevance to New Zealand.Wellington: New Zealand Immigration Service, Department of Labour.

Ho, E., Cheung, E., Bedford, C., & Leung, P. (2000). Settlement assistance needs of recent migrants (Commissioned by the NZIS). Waikato: University of Waikato.

Jaber, N. (1998). Postcoloniality, identity and the politics of location. In R. D. Plessis & L. Alice (Eds.),Feminist thought in Aotearoa, New Zealand (pp. 37-43). Auckland: Oxford Press.

Leckie, J. (1995). South Asians: Old and new migrations. In S. W. Greif (Ed.), Immigration and national identity in New Zealand (pp. 133-160). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Mohanram, R. (1998). (In)visible bodies? Immigrant bodies and constructions of nationhood in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In R. D. Plessis & L. Alice (Eds.), Feminist thought in Aotearoa, New Zealand (pp. 21-29). Auckland: Oxford Press.

Pawson, E., Bedford, R., Palmer, E., Stokes, E., Friesen, W., Cocklin, C., et al. (1996). Senses of place. In R.L. Heron & E. Pawson (Eds.), Changing places: New Zealand in the nineties. Auckland: Longman

Paul. Pernice, R., Trlin, A., Henderson, A., & North, N. (2000). Employment and mental health of three groups of Immigrants to New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 29(1), 24-29.

Roscoe, J. (1999). Documentary in New Zealand: an immigrant nation. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Statistics New Zealand. (2003). New Zealand in profile 2003. Wellington: Statistics New Zealand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Immigration Service.

Thakur, R. (1995). In defence of multiculturalism. In S. W. Greif (Ed.), Immigration and national identity in New Zealand: One people, two peoples, many peoples. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Walker, R. (1995). Immigration policy and the political economy of New Zealand. In S. W. Greif (Ed.), Immigration and national identity in New Zealand: One people, two peoples, many peoples. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Wittman, L. K. (1998). Interactive identities; Jewish women in New Zealand. Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Yuan, S. Y. (2001). From Chinese gooseberry to kiwifruit; the construction and reconstruction of Chinesehood in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Unpublished Master of Arts (Sociology) thesis, Massey University, Auckland.

Motherhood, Migration and Methodology: Giving Voice to the “Other”

DeSouza, R. (2004). Motherhood, migration and methodology: Giving voice to the “other”. The Qualitative Report, 9(3), 463-482.

This paper discusses the need for multi-cultural methodologies that develop knowledge about the maternity experience of migrant women and that are attuned to women’s maternity-related requirements under multi-cultural conditions. Little is known about the transition to parenthood for mothers in a new country, particularly when the country is New Zealand. This paper will challenge the positivist hegemony of previously completed research on migrant women by reflecting on my own experience as a researcher grounded in a broadly–based, pluralistic set of critical epistemologies that allowed me to uncover the issues and contexts that impacted on the experience of migrant women. It concludes by proposing that, where research occurs with minority groups, multiple research strategies are incorporated in order to prevent the reproduction of deficiency discourses.

 

Migrant Populations

DeSouza, R. (2004). Working with refugees and migrants. In D. Wepa (Ed.), Cultural safety (pp. 122-133). Auckland: Pearson Education New Zealand.

The art of walking upright here

Is the art of using both feet.

One is for holding on.

One is for letting go. (Colquhoun, 1999, p.32)

Glenn Colquhoun’s poetry captures the challenge dislocation from home and family. The migrant or refugee has to somehow hold on to their legacy and their heritage whilst simultaneously letting go of those things that cannot be maintained in a new country. They must let go to create new lives, so they can stake a new claim of belonging; a new place to stand.

One in five New Zealanders was born overseas. This rises to one in three in Auckland. For many, migration is seen as a way of obtaining a better life, particular for ones children. Whilst many migrants make informed decisions, this needs to be seen as a continuum between full choice and no choice. This can been viewed as a ‘pull’ effect (migrants are drawn to a new country for the opportunities available) or a ‘push’ effect (the motivation is simply to leave where they are). Migrants can be defined as people who were born in one country and then move to another under an immigration programme. In New Zealand this consists of three main streams:

  •  Skilled/Business: Which relates to attracting migrants with qualifications and skills, or the potential to create business opportunities in New Zealand.
  • Family sponsored: Where New Zealand citizens or permanent residents can sponsor family members to the country.
  • Humanitarian: This includes refugees and allows for family members to be granted residence if there are serious humanitarian concerns.

Refugees that have resettled in New Zealand mostly originate from Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and Eastern Europe. Refugees differ from voluntary migrants because they were forced to leave their home and have little if any choice in selecting their destination. They are at the extreme end of the ‘push’ effect, often having fled from situations of conflict and human right abuses. This has important implications for the provision of  health care, as they might not have had access to preventative and treatment services. Most refugees arriving in New Zealand will spend six weeks at the Mangere Refugee Reception Centre (MRRC) in South Auckland. There are estimated to be 20.6 million refugees and displaced people in need of protection and help (UNHCR, 2003). Currently New Zealand accepts a United Nations-mandated quota of 750 refugees per year, plus approximately the same number again of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are people seeking refugee status without legal documentation. They often experience depression, hopelessness and helplessness related to stress and socio-economic deprivation. Even where migration is an informed choice, the result can still be isolation and loss of financial independence. Before migration, one often only considers the positives; it can be difficult to understand the adjustment that is required and to come to terms with the losses of family, friends, culture and familiarity.

In this chapter I present a view of cultural safety and how it is relevant to health from the perspective of a migrant with a view to informing those who will be caring for the needs of migrants and refugees. I will briefly review the history and tensions around migration and migrants. Anecdotes from my clinical experience are woven through the text to present multiple layers to reflect the complexity of the experience and reflective questions are posed to increase self-awareness. I conclude by offering a range of strategies for working with diversity.