About the culture shock(or the lack of it)

15 12 2007

My first stop in Aotaeroa (the Maori name for New Zeland, meaning The Land Of The Long White Cloud), is Auckland, the City of Sails.

Being the biggest city in New Zealand, about one quarter of New Zealand’s population reside in Auckland. The culture here is rich and diversified. Besides the Maoris and the Europeans, there is also a large population of Asians here. Asians here came from various countries, mainly China, India, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and so on. Besides the Asians, there are also immigrants from the Middle East, US and African countries, not to forget the Pacific islanders from Fiji, Samoa, etc. So it’s indeed a melting pot.

There is no Chinatown here in Auckland, because one can easily find merchandise from Asia around the community, no matter which part of the city one lives in. Asians operate supermarkets that carry products from the various Asian countries, eg. Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, etc. Groceries like Kaya spread, Chilli sauce, noodles, Super 3 in 1 coffee/tea, and even Durians, you name it, it’s available here. Besides the groceries, one can also easily find Asian restaurants in the various parts of Auckland, Hong Kong style BBQ, Dim Sum(Yum Cha), Chinese/Indian Restaurants, Malaysian/Singapore restaurants, Kebab, Si Chuan Restaurant, and so on. Taking a walk down the famous shopping belt here, the Queen Street, chances are one will see many Asians faces

The everyday life of the people here are very much influenced by the Maori’s culture, and they are easily spotted from the street names, everyday conversations (which include some Maori terms, eg. a Sweet Potato is called Kumara), the National Anthem is sung in 2 languages, English and the Maori language. The free to air TV channels include a Maori channel, a Chinese channel, an International channel, and 4 English channels.

So I did not actually feel the culture shock. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the richness and diversity of the culture.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2008.



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