Tag Archives: New Zealand

Is An Accent An Excuse For No Job?

Linda Tang made the long journey from China to New Zealand in hope it would offer her an opportunity to establish a life in a democratic nation which had a high standard of living. Ms. Tang holds a B.A. in English and is a former English lecturer at a university in China. She did not expect any problems in the nursing program and passed her courses. However, Ms. Tang was failed in her final year because it was claimed her accent would prevent patients from understanding her and might result in a fatal outcome. According to Ms. Tang, “to say my English is not good enough is just an excuse. I feel that what they have done is discriminatory, especially to the Chinese because we are penalized not for our lack of knowledge or ability, but simply because of how we talk.”

Ms. Tang scored 6.5 on the international English language Testing System to qualify which was the level required to enter the nursing program. She argues that while not being able to speak English might cause some problems, native born New Zelanders do not speak foreign languages which would damage their ability to communicate with foreign speaking patients.

Many years ago I applied for a teaching position in my native New York City and was told they would not pass anyone who spoke with a New York City accent so I faked it. Actually, this issue is complex. If a nurse misunderstands what the doctor says or is unable to communicate with a patient the outcome could be disastrous. On the other hand, are there sufficient numbers of Chinese speaking people in a hospital with whom she could communicate as she continues working on her English proficiency?

Is It Racist To Eat Eskimo Pie?

Canadian tourist Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons has become the most unpopular people in the nation of New Zealand because she made clear the word, “Eskimo” was not appropriate to use, and, in particular, it should not be used in selling an “Eskimo Lolly” which is among the best selling candies in New Zealand. She was being interviewed at a tourist location and expressed the view using the word “Eskimo” in any respect was an insult to an Inuit woman. Ms. Parsons said no one in Canada used the expression “Eskimo” anymore because it was viewed as a racist term. The Eskimo Lolly is a multi-colored marshmallow candy in the shape of a person wearing a thick hooded jacket in front of an igloo.

Thousands of New Zelanders expressed their anger at the tourist from Canada for insulting their candy. I have spent my life eating Eskimo pie ice creams and must now reconsider by doing so if I am part of a racist denial of the personhood of the Inuits. Of course, back in Canada, there is a football team named the “Edmonton Eskimos” which apparently is OK.

Language A Barrier To Immigrant Integration

Recent research in New Zealand reveals one of the main issue hindering the ability of immigrant families to become integrated within society is difficulty learning the native language. A common complaint cited by immigrants is arriving in New Zealand with high hope for a better economic and social life only to encounter prejudice and difficulty in getting ahead in their work environment. A young Muslim woman spoke of being alienated because people could not accept the veil she wore while a young Muslim male spoke of being treated by many as though he was a terrorist. Another factor that emerged from the research was conflict within immigrant families as their children learned language and culture of the new country while their parents clung to the older world.

The research is exactly what every generation of immigrants to America encountered. Immigrants to any land find they initially are strangers in a strange land until learning language or getting to understand the new culture allows adjustments in their original culture. If one makes the long journey to a new land, there must be new attitudes and the central issue is maintaining key aspects of the culture brought to the new land as one learns new components of culture.

Is Racial Segregation Really Segregation?

New Zealand has a Maroi rugby team which reflects a cultural group and the desire to display their talents to the world, but the fact this team is only composed of Maroi raises issues for its proposed trip to South Africa. The South African Ruby Union has a rule that forbids South African rugby players to play against teams that have been “selected along racial lines” that might prevent the Maroi team from playing in that nation. The Maroi team in addition to playing rugby also performs cultural aspects of their culture in order to familiarize others about the nature of the Maroi people. Billy Bush, captain of the Maroi team notes, “I understand South Africa’s position because they have 500 years of (white rule). And it’s not long ago when Maroi couldn’t go to South Africa.” The only time they did get to play in South Africa was in 1970 when they appeared as “honorary whites.”

The New Zealand Maroi team is appealing to South Africa to waive this rule and allow their team to play against South Africa. Ah, the trials and confusion when we humans engage in the game of racism.

New Zealand Shopowner Bans Israelis- A Hero Or Idiot?

A Muslim New Zealand shopkeeper noticed two women chatting in his cafe. He went over to them and decided they were Jewish. After inquiring about their background, he discovered one was an Israeli who was visiting her sister in New Zealand. Mustafa Tekinkaya decided he had to strike a blow for Hamas and the Palestinian people in Gaza so he ordered both women to leave his cafe. Natalie Bennie and Tamara Shefa filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission that their rights were violated. Can we assume Mr. Tekinkaya decides he doesn’t like gay customers and therefore they must leave his business establishment?

Ironically, Ms. Bennie had her own view of the Israeli invasion of Gaza: ‘I’m not a big supporter of Israel at the moment. But, he didn’t even bother finding out what my opinion was.” The problem with classifying and categorizing people is the inability to grasp that within any group there is divergence of views. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission intends to take action, but Mr. Tekinkaya is unmoved and believes he is absolutely correct. No wonder he supports Hamas.

Tony Blair Talked Iraq Invasion In 2002!

George Bush used scare tactics to intimidate the American Congress and people in March, 2003 by insisting there was an immediate threat of WMD and something had to be done right away. This mantra has been repeated by other Bush lackeys such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. However, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Helen Clark has revealed while she was attending the funeral for the Queen Mother in England in April, 2002, Tony Blair met with Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard, Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien and herself to discuss the possibility for a need to invade Iraq. Clark told the British leader, “I didn’t think that was something New Zealand would want to be involved in, so we never let anyone think that we could go there.” She emphasized her intention of making clear to Blair(and Bush) that her nation was not going to participate in any invasion of Iraq.

The revelation by Helen Clark again raises questions as to whether or not an invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with WMD and everything to do with Bush’s intention of crushing Saddam Hussein. President Bush lied to the American people and Tony Blair lied to the people of Great Britain. That is the bottom line.

Immigrants–Stay Out, Say New Zealand Bigots

Peter Brown, deputy leader of New Zealand First, bluntly told immigrants they were not welcome in New Zealand unless they were prepared to give up any cultural traditions or values that conflict with those of New Zealand. He particularly expressed his anger at immigrants who come from nations in which women were treated as subservient to men or had a “class system.” Brown spoke at a meeting which contained many immigrants and emphasized to them New Zealand was an “egalitarian society” and only wanted people who share those values.

The Brown speech came at a meeting in which eight political parties expressed their views to a crowd containing many immigrants. Brown’s comment undoubtedly represents the feeling of many people in New Zealand who fear strangers, particularly those from Asian societies. Of course, the ironic aspect of Brown’s comments regarding coming from a “class society” given that most original British immigrants came from a class society. Has Mr. Brown ever read the history of British migration to New Zealand and Austrialia?

Judge Bans Digital But Allows Print Media!

A New Zealand judge has taken the unprecedented step of banning news websites from naming two men charged with murder while allowing newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks to reveal the names of the men. Judge David Harvey said online media could not use the names or publish images of the accused, to prevent the public searching for the information when the case comes to trial. He said he was “concerned about Googling someone’s name and being able to access it later.” Obviously, anyone on the web can get the names of the accused simply by purchasing a copy of a New Zealand newspaper.

The two men are charged with murdering a 14 year-old boy while in the process of committing a robbery. The case, however, introduces new legal questions about what can or can not be placed on digital media. One also wonders what happens after someone gets the names from the morning newspaper and then uses that information online. Will they be considered to be in violation of a court order?

About Time-Sex Offenders Must Prove Got Assent!

Sex abuse groups are welcoming proposed changes in New Zealand law which for the first time will place the burden of proof on the shoulders of accused sex offenders who must now prove how they went about obtaining consent from the victim. There will be changes in the rape shield law which limited the accused’s ability to cross-examine a complainant concerning past sexual relations between the two individuals. A 2001 study found 19% of New Zealand women and 5% of men had experienced sexual violence at some stage and figures were much higher for Maroi women. The survey found most who went through a trial process believed they were more subject to scrutiny than the sexual offender.

New Zealand is also investigating whether sexual offenders are better handled by means of investigative process rather than an adversarial system. Under the investigative process a judge would handle gathering evidence, questioning witnesses and lawyers would have a different role.

New Zealand Students Offer Reward To Arrest Condi Rice!

New Zeland police are very ‘disturbed” by the decision of the Auckland University Students’ Association offer of $5,000 to anyone who would carry out a citizen’s arrest of visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Superintendent Brett England said anyone who attempts to cross police lines during her visit to Auckland this weekend will be stopped. ‘Operational planning for this visit has been in the making for several months and there are highly effective security measures I please, so I would strongly advise the association representatives who’ve put this challenge out, to withdraw it immediately so as to avoid being caught up in something much bigger than they may have anticipated.”

AUSA president David Do said the arrest would be for her role in “overseeing the illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq…. Student associations in New Zealand have a long history of being involved in fighting for global justice, dating back to student involvement in the 1981 anti-Springbok tour protests and the US war in Indochina in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Conventional wisdom is to regard this as a showboat activity on the part of students, but whether by design or inadvertently, the students are raising important issues. Should those in the Bush administration who lied to the American people about reasons for invading Iraq be held responsible in a court of law? Does the International Criminal Court have the right to issue warrants for Bush and his fellow conspirators who caused the death of over 4,000 Americans and the deaths of thousands of Iraqis? If a Serbian murderer can be arrested, why not American murderers?