One plus one is greater than two

Image of (LtoR) Rachel Hu, Tina Zhang, Shane Zheng, Jack Ma and Wendy Lu

China.NZ is a group of Chinese professionals dedicated to bridging the two cultures. The group is made up of six Chinese New Zealanders who call New Zealand home after they migrated here at a young age.

The Office of Ethnic Communities met with them to hear their story.

What were your drivers in establishing this group?

“We have all been through the journey of settlement and integration when we first arrived in New Zealand. And we have also been through a learning curve of self-identity. It was not pleasant but rather tough at the beginning and we called ourselves a 'cultural fighter or survivor’. We experienced culture shock, homesickness and even tried to ‘deny or get rid of’ our heritage so that we could be more accepted by others in New Zealand. One day we realised that we were actually able to be both – a proud Chinese New Zealander. Then we started to learn and join in activities that helped build knowledge and understanding about Chinese history, cultures and traditions, as well as New Zealand’s cultures. We think it is our responsibility to build the connection between Chinese and wider New Zealand society by articulating Chinese cultures and cultural behaviours to those who often have unclear messages or negative impressions about Chinese culture.”

What makes your group unique?

“We are real and all about doing something tangible and practical. We would be really open to sharing our feelings and experiences so that we can provide support to people.”

What does the group want to achieve?

We hope to be able to demonstrate a good profile for Chinese New Zealanders with integrity, quality, reliability and professionalism. We will work together and work collaboratively with others to provide in-depth knowledge and cultural insights about Chinese culture, traditions and patterns of behaviours in order that the understanding between the Chinese and New Zealand public can be built.

What are the challenges and opportunities for the group?

“The main challenge is about time management and how we work as a professional team. We know who our target audiences are, and how to market ourselves. But we need to be very honest about what we know and what we do not know before we take action. In other words, we need to maximise our strength and minimise our weaknesses. Having said that, we are required to equip ourselves with field knowledge, evidence and research, not imagination – again, this is all about making it real!

Nowadays, New Zealand is getting more and more diverse, ethnically, culturally and socially. The opportunity is out there and it is up to us to catch up with the trend and position the group with the right pitch.

We all see New Zealand as our home – a home not only for us, but for our children and the children of our children. We are proud of who we are – a nationality of New Zealand plus an ethnicity of Chinese.”