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Tearing Down the Churches

Having stepped off a plane from South Africa, a client asked me a couple of questions. The first was whether New Zealand is now going to give preferential entry and permanent residency to Muslims over everybody else. I looked sideways at the client not quite sure if she was pulling ...

Iain

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Tearing Down the Churches

Having stepped off a plane from South Africa, a client asked me a couple of questions. The first was whether New Zealand is now going to give preferential entry and permanent residency to Muslims over everybody else. I looked sideways at the client not quite sure if she was pulling ...

Iain

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Tearing Down the Churches

Posted by Iain on June 14, 2019, 5:04 p.m. in IMMagine

I do not wish to sound like you know who and scream "fake news" every time I come across something that does not suit my narrative. Truth is there is so much fake news out there it's often hard these days to work out the real from the false. Just ask Facebook.

I am concerned enough about something a client recently shared with me that it must be addressed, called out as fake news and shut down before it becomes internet “fact”.

Having just stepped off a plane from South Africa the client asked me a couple of questions. The first was whether New Zealand is now going to give preferential entry and permanent residency to Muslims over everybody else. I looked sideways at the client not quite sure if she was pulling my leg or not. I said, no, Muslims will continue to be treated just like everybody else.

She followed that up with a second question asking if it true that the Christian churches of New Zealand are now being knocked down and mosques being built in their place? 

At that point I really did ask her if she was being serious. She said that she was and I asked where has she heard this garbage? Inevitably the answer was, on the Internet. I sarcastically replied, well therefore it must be true…

In fact, it is not true and is yet another example of the dangers of unbridled and irresponsible free speech and the danger the Internet can present through giving every fruit loop and halfwit or twisted mind with an agenda, a platform to spread their ignorance and bile.

I suspect the genesis of this fake news was the New Zealand government creating a new pathway to residency for the very small number of immediate families of the Christchurch mosque shooting victims. What the government said was that the survivors will be granted residency subject to health and character checks being carried out and I suspect this somehow morphed into preferential treatment for all Muslims and the destruction of Christian places of worship. 

(If there is one) Lord help us if a simple act of kindness to 50 odd families, most of whom would likely have qualified for residency had the main applicant not been gunned down by the Australian terrorist anyway, somehow results in New Zealand becoming a new Islamic state, I'll shave off my hair and join a Buddhist monkhood. It isn't going to happen! I am willing to bet my hair on it.

While the Internet can be such a tool for good it can also be good for tools. 

I had another South African client on the phone yesterday "petrified" of starting work in New Zealand because of everything she had read on the Internet, posted by South Africans on one of those "South Africans in New Zealand" online chat groups. I always warn clients to steer clear of them because I tend to find people that post on those sorts of fora, tend to be moaners and whingers, comparing, criticising and complaining, not very helpfully sharing their negativity with the world. 

I asked the client what she had read that caused her to feel petrified of working alongside New Zealanders. She replied that she had read that New Zealanders were ‘lazy’, ‘unmotivated’, ‘not very friendly’, ‘racist’ and all manner of other largely untrue stereotypes.

Nothing really could be further from the truth. The overwhelming feedback we get from South Africans is that New Zealanders are the friendliest people on the planet; warm, welcoming and tolerant. Of course there are racists in New Zealand but generally Kiwis, if they think racist thoughts (as, lets face it most of us do from time to time) are polite enough to keep their thoughts to themselves. I don't think the same could be said for all South Africans that I deal with. That does not make all South Africans racist.

I explained that unlike South Africa which is very much a dog eat dog society where everybody lives in fear of being retrenched and every slight, ‘racist’, life in New Zealand is pretty chilled by comparison. New Zealanders don't stress quite so much as South Africans do because they don't need to. Viewed through a South African lens that may be interpreted as being lazy and unmotivated. As I pointed out to the client the flipside of that same coin is New Zealanders often find South Africans aggressive and arrogant. I spend my life explaining to New Zealanders that South Africans are a product of their environment just as we are a product of ours. They may appear arrogant and aggressive to us but we appear lazy procrastinators to them. I'm not suggesting either actually are. 

South Africans it might also be said "don't do subtle". New Zealanders tend to be more subtle because we don't tend to like giving offence. For that reason, a New Zealand employer might terminate a trial period of employment and rather than saying "culturally you were not the fit we hoped you would be", they are more likely to say something like “your experience isn’t as relevant to the job as we thought it would be”. That is a very New Zealand way of putting things which appears very strange to a South African who normally just calls a spade a spade (“You don’t fit in, there’s the door”). Doesn't make the New Zealander wrong nor right, nor does it make the South African wrong nor right. It's just that we're not exactly the same people.

Migration is always a compromise. There are things about your new country and new countrymen and women you will really enjoy and there are things that you wished you could've bought with you from home. If New Zealand was just like everywhere else or wherever you come from, what is the point in coming here? It has to be different doesn’t it?

Over 150 years ago when my ancestors landed here from Scotland, if they had something to moan about the locals, it would take six months for the letter to get back to the family in Scotland. These days you can just go online and vent your spleen every few seconds and there's a ready audience for it.

Even more dangerously today, if what you say is utter tripe and ‘fake news’ it can very quickly take on an aura of truth when it is anything but.

So please, if it needs to be said, don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

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5 comments on this post
June 14, 2019, 7:21 p.m. by Moffat

When you immigrate the big picture is more important than the smalls. The motivation and reason why you immigrated should always be the focus. Having spent nearly half of my lifetime away from home country my family and I are having a better life in a different country. We would not mind emigrating again when the urge comes. Social media groups with "homeboys" only sap your enthusiasm for a great experience in your country of emigration. Stay away from these, make an effort for new friends, relationships, settle down, work hard, relax and enjoy the experience

Replies to this comment

June 15, 2019, 12:40 a.m. by Peter
I think there are some people who honestly regret their immigration moves. For example as bad as S.A is, it's not a dog eat dog world where everyone lives in fear of retrenchment. Some people move to NZ expecting too much, e.g thinking they will be making tonnes of money(in Rand terms). They are hit with the shock of their lives when they realize the high cost of living. If however, you make your immigration move to escape crime, uncertainty and racial marginalization, you won't be disappointed. I meet a lot of South Africans who made a move to avoid Zim 2.0 and really had no solid reason to make a move except paranoia. Before I moved, I attended one free IMMagine session and I must say NZ and AU were being over sold to the highly naive and paranoid audience. I remember the presenter was making points about the weakening Rand but did not tell his audience that the NZ$ was also weakening. They were sold a dream of coming home with a lot of money(in Rand terms). I felt this was highly inaccurate and would lead people to make uninformed decisions, but then again if you rely on the word of a salesman, then you are doomed. I'm not saying IMMagine misleads people, but they do not fully understand South Africa to be commenting so negatively on it. All I say to people is do your homework.
June 17, 2019, 10:23 a.m. by Iain
Thanks for the comments Peter. I think you are right that there are always some South Africans that regret the move (anywhere, not just NZ) but I do think that is because they focus too much on what (and why) they are leaving SA and do not focus enough on what awaits somewhere else. I get that - it's because SA is 'pushing' minorities out and sometimes there's a view that anywhere must be better. But it isn't. I counsel all audiences all around the world to be careful what they wish for. That is why at IMMagine we try very hard at our seminars to 'keep it real'. We do not sugar coat the experience nor do we make out Australia or NZ to be the answer to everyones problems. I've not yet met a South African who has fists full of dollars once they land and find work - in fact I often advise them to avoid Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney if they ever want to own a home again because house prices are simply out of their reach thanks to the woeful exchange rate and an ever declining rand (relative to the A$ and NZ$). I do give most people more credit than you do - if something sounds too god to be true, it probably is ...as the old saying goes. Iain
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June 15, 2019, 4:50 a.m. by Craig

Ian claims that South Africans just call a spade a spade. That is totally true. But spade they are referring to a tool which is used to dig holes. Nothing odd about this. A certain Pick Botha made the same comment to a stunned American audience many decades ago. As it turns out a spade in America is an highly offense racist term. By using the term Pick ironically dug a big a hole for himself.

The point missed in the Muslim racist massacre was the speed that NZ changed their gun laws. Try doing that in America. I mean changing their gun laws,... not the other thing.

Note that the reference to Pick Botha is a rather good pun made text prediction.

From a practical and aesthetic perspective the Christchurch Cathedral should have been demolish long ago. Perhaps there weren't enough spades available for the job, or suitably skilled migrants, ... Best check in with Ian on the last point...

Chill guys, enjoy the country and leave the vitriol behind in your previous country.
,

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June 15, 2019, 9:20 a.m. by Greg

The two friendliest nations I have come across are N Zers and Canadians.

Contrast that to their more ‘aggressive’ neighbours: Australians and ‘U.SA. ians’ respectively. I put the difference down to being more ‘laid back’ and less wound-up.
This, is a good thing; good for the soul.

Best advice I can offer to SA’s considering a move to NZ is to leave your previous life behind before you even get on the ‘plane.

I made that decision 11 years ago and hope any South Africans considering moving here do so too.

Emotionally and mentally, become a Kiwi - set yourself up to embrace and enjoy what is to come and you will prosper and be happy here.

When in Rome , do as the Romans do’. Support the local team: its the right thing to do. Nobody likes a ‘when we...’ Its not good taste to harp on about the past. Make a clean break and embrace the future and fabulous opportunity for a real fresh start in a good and wholesome environment.

Think in $ terms from the outset. Its pointless comparing costs in Rand terms. People who do so have not shifted and engaged with their new reality.

Become an All Black supporter and you’ll be surprised how many friends you, very quickly make - as the default expectation of kiwis is that South Africans cling to their old ways (which doesn’t gain friends).

Make the mental shift to ‘local is lekker’ and you’ll win many friends here and be welcomed with open arms !

Honestly, if I lived in Uzbekistan I’d have the same mindset - support your local team. I even take that down to my local neighbourhood shops and support them rather than buying online from some foreign seller - just to save a few $.

When you wake up every morning and can just ‘get on with life’ - without worries - that, my friends, is worth Gold.

You wouldn’t be moving if you were happy where you are; would you ..?

So, cherish the good memories of your past, but, embrace your nee future and fully immerse yourself in the culture of the country you are moving to.

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June 15, 2019, 9:53 p.m. by Neil

Ian, I completely understand and appreciate the comment on South Africans being perceived as aggressive and arrogant- in fact I was called that a few times during my first few months here, but I was just doing what I’ve always done..... I took offence of course but after some time here and some much needed soul searching / cultural adjustments I now look differently at so many things that I was so dead set on before.

To be fair to South Africanis - I think it’s probably more “ignorance and strong believe in what you know/faith” perceived as arrogance (possibly because it’s such dog eat dog environment back home) and it takes some time for the blinkers to come off. Perhaps this is why it generally takes South Africans around 2 years to settle in and embrace NZ.

Thanks for the great work mate!

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June 17, 2019, 9:08 p.m. by Cor B

We emigrated from SA in 2015 and initially planned to live in Australia, so we dealt with Iain's Australian partner, Myer, himself a SA expat.

Once we changed our minds and decided to come and live in NZ I met with Iain and he walked me through everything we had to do.

Both Myer and Iain were absolutely professional and we never once got the impression that they were sugar coating anything related to the process. In fact, both of them took the time to explain in great detail what the risks and disadvantages were.

The first 2 years were really tough. Now we've settled in I don't regret anything.

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