Most Kiwis living in Australia proud of NZ heritage
Most Kiwis living in Australia proud of NZ heritage; some disguise their past
January 22, 2013
New Zealanders living in Australia strongly display their national loyalties when it comes to sport but some change their accents because they are sick of being picked on, a University of Canterbury researcher said today.
UC’s Rosemary Baird, who has completed a doctorate thesis on Kiwis living in Australia, said some Kiwis became loyal Australians while many others adamantly remained New Zealand citizens. The majority realised gradually that although New Zealand still claimed their national loyalty, over time Australia had become home, she said.
``A lot of Kiwis in Australia love to show their New Zealand connections during a trans-Tasman sporting match but others try and hide their Kiwi heritage because they get sick of being teased,’’ Baird said.
``Many Kiwis over there are proud when they choose to be, although many are happy to fly under the radar.’’
Baird carried out her research looking at 1960-1990s Kiwi migrants under supervision by Professor Philippa Mein Smith and Associate Professor Lyndon Fraser.
Professor Mein Smith said the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated in 2009 that 529,000 New Zealanders were recorded as living in Australia. The number is believed to be substantially higher than that, she said.
Baird’s survey found the strain of sustaining relationships across the Tasman led them to return to New Zealand but most ended up returning to Australia.
``Most Kiwis disliked Australians’ negative attitudes towards indigenous Aboriginal Australians and prided themselves on New Zealand’s supposedly superior race relations with Maori.
``Those Kiwis who lived in rural Australia interacted more with aboriginal Australians and were more likely to have witnessed severe social problems among Aboriginal communities.
``Behind people from the United Kingdom, New Zealanders are the second biggest migrant group in Australia. During the latter half of the twentieth century growing numbers of Kiwis crossed the Tasman in search of happiness, love, financial success, adventure and new beginnings.
``Kiwis in Australia are in many ways invisible migrants. Once in Australia, trans-Tasman networks sustained migrants emotionally but also caused feelings of homesickness. Creating networks with others in Australia was vital in helping migrants find companionship, practical support and a sense of belonging.
She said the pessimistic, economically-focused coverage of New Zealand migration to Australia is a one-sided representation. It fails to take into account New Zealanders’ complex motives for moving to Australia and their ongoing migration experiences.
``Kiwis who move to Australia are neither traitors, nor faceless participants in a social trend. Rather they are individuals with their own complex mix of hopes, dreams, problems and relationships.’’
Moving to Australia usually left most Kiwis bereft of close and supportive relationships. Australian contacts played a vital role in easing new migrants into their new life.