As an American living in New Zealand, I’ve been observing the debate here on immigration and multiculturalism. I arrived in Wellington last year with my Kiwi husband and three-year old son – and while settling in we’ve spent a lot of time discovering the delights of the city and its people. The experience also gave me some perspective on being a migrant far from home.
I have a professional interest in South East Asian history, languages and culture – I just completed a PhD on the subject. I speak some Filipino, and am fascinated by the Philippines’ complex history. One of the major phenomena in the Philippines since the 1970s has been the growth of the global Filipino diaspora. That story has often been full of sadness. So I was
intrigued by anecdotes of positivity and success from Wellington.
Writing about how the migrant Filipino community has settled in New Zealand has been more than just a research project. It has highlighted how migration plays a role in community building. It also has meaning for me and my family’s future here. I really wanted to share some of the stories that I think reflect successful outcomes from immigration over the past thirty years.
By Dr Rebecca Townsend