Saturday, 5 February 2011

Rabbiting On

We are in the throws of Chinese New Year in Auckland and even our local libraries are getting involved with special programmes of workshops, demonstrations, music, dance and stories.  Unfortunately my local Botany Library does not feature so we will need to go further afield to see what is on offer.

I have discovered that there is a Chinese Digital Community which contains historical  and contemporary information about New Zealand's Chinese community.

This is an great development when one considers how mono-cultural New Zealand, was even two decades ago.  Sure CNY doesn't have the 'punch' of a celebration in Asia but at least we are acknowledging the importance of other cultures in our society.

I feel a little sorry though for my Chinese fish and chip shop owner, Shirley, who has to remain open over the festival.  Ever pragmatic, the local Chinese and new immigrants alike have determined to keep their businesses open in the search for profit!

Closing for a week as some coffee shop businesses did in Singapore is not an option, especially in these days of recession where everyone is feeling the pinch.  Not everyone is happy with having to work through the holiday though and Chinese staff in the Auckland casino are reportedly very angry about having to do so.

Year of the Rabbit from Frater

There is concern expressed in some quarters about the rise of aged immigrants from mainland China who are coming to New Zealand.

According to the New Zealand Herald "New Zealand is becoming a popular destination for retiring Chinese, with more than 1200 over-50s relocating here in the past year and numbers rising fast".

This trend should come as no surprise, as most are joining their families who had already migrated here and it is the Chinese tradition to look after ageing parents.

The concern is that many of these senior citizens cannot speak English,  do not work and could end up straining already stretched social services in this country.

"China accounted for more than one-third of residence approvals in the parent and sibling/adult stream ... up 16 per cent from the previous year."

I would have hoped that NZ immigration would have thought this policy through many years ago when the drive was on (and still is) to attract Chinese immigrants.

In the categories the government had hoped for (wealthy, skilled workers and students) the results have been far from satisfactory.

Two wealthy Chinese have been granted conditional residencies after investing more than $10 million each in "approved investments" and 43 others - more than from any other country - are waiting to be granted approval, or have received approval in principle to transfer more than $1.5 million each according to an earlier article in the Herald.

From my observations since our return from Singapore, it would appear there are more aged British migrating here than Chinese.  One would have thought that they would place a similar strain on services?
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1 comment:

Roger Smith said...

The other thing about rabbits is that New Zealand contiues to face a plague of the animals.

Despite the release of the myxomatosis virus a few years ago the bunnies are on the come-back