Here to Stay - Stories of the NZ Migration, Monday April 23

Here To Stay
Monday 23 April, 7.30pm

‘Here To Stay’ presenter Bernadine Lim says at times while filming the interviews she had felt like they should be private conversations, without a camera crew intruding, even thought they were clearly there to share a story.

“Meeting and interviewing people in the documentary was entertaining and enriching but it was uncomfortable at times to talk about personal identity issues and experiences of racism on camera, from both my own perspective and asking others about how deeply it affected them.”
Television director Lim presents tonight’s episode of ‘Here To Stay’ (at 7.30pm on TV ONE). Lim has her own experience of the Sino-Kiwi effect on New Zealand’s perceptions of the world, and asks where Asian values fit in a country that prizes rugby above most other things.

While she found the experience both great fun and harrowing, Lim says she felt the weight of representing the Chinese experience. “There have been several waves of Chinese immigration, each with their own stories and reactions to making New Zealand a home.

“‘Here To Stay’ gives New Zealanders a chance to hear outside of news sound-bytes and early morning programming, it gives more detail about the history and heartache of the Chinese community. I was surprised by some of the detail I learnt, even though I was already aware of most of the stories. Like the fact that Richard Seddon had compared Chinese people to monkeys, and learning that the Englishman who committed the Haining St shooting had been in the country for far fewer years than the Chinese man he shot,” she says.

Presenting ‘Here To Stay’ was a new experience for Lim, who says it was enjoyable but tricky at times, as she is used to being on the other side of the camera. “It was fantastic to hear the differences in stories and reactions to living in New Zealand – from Roseanne and Tze Ming’s creative expression of their experiences, to academic analysis, to the thoughts of everyday Chinese families. It’s too easy to lump a minority’s opinion into a flat one-dimensional description.”

Lim says while her parents always told her lots of stories about arriving from tropical Malaysia and finding their way to Whakatane in the middle of winter, she learnt new stories while filming. “I had never heard how my father made two genius discoveries in his first week in New Zealand – long johns and electric blankets. He had no idea what they were initially, but grew to love and depend on both of them.”

Tonight’s ‘Here To Stay’ sees Lim check out whether it really is cool to be Chinese-Kiwi these days and meet with ‘Bro’Town’ cartoonist Ant Sang, rap stars, fashion designers and artists to ponder how far New Zealand has come since poll tax.

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  • Chevsta

    Rugby? no! more like V8 racing 😉 go the Spring Boks!

  • Ashlily

    Make a series two and cover the smaller migrant groups, you might be surprised at their stories too…!!

    May from this we could create a ‘New Arrivals wall’ like at the maritime in Sydney Australia as a lasting celebration??