Kasey – Glen Eden

“I graduated from uni; I guess older not straight out of school graduating.

So I think for me that was a big deal, but just seeing my granddad and my grandparents – how proud it made them. I think it made me feel a lot prouder. I don’t really think it was as big a deal as it was until I actually saw them and how much it meant to them.

I grew up in Māngere, South Auckland; lived there for most of my life, only moved a couple of years ago. I’m a really family-based person. I am Samoan, Chinese and Kiwi, so a kind of blend of cultures growing up, and dealing with a whole lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds. I think that’s important to me; remembering where you’re from, knowing where you’re from, but also just making sure you’re always learning new things about different cultures. That’s what I like.

When anyone asks me what I am, I’m a proud Kiwi [and] a proud New Zealander, but I also always make sure that they know what mix I am. To me that’s really important. I don’t identify with one group in particular so I always throw all three out there, and anyone who knows me knows that I always do that.

My mum was born in Wellington so she’s full Kiwi, 100 per cent, and my dad is half Samoan, half Chinese. So he came over from Samoa when he was about seven or eight and him and his parents and the siblings grew up here in New Zealand.

So now all their families are still based here, which is really good. I was actually at a place on Dominion Road, which is like a Pacific Island buffet of foods. I love Pacific Island food. I eat way too much of it than I probably should, but anyone who knows me knows how much I love my food. My granddad still lives and breathes everything Samoan and is quite traditional. So he still kind of ties us down a lot to how it’s supposed to be in Samoa, and how they were raised and how they grew up. I guess the roots and the bonds there are quite strong.

We’ve been there. I was there last November, been there a few times. I’m also getting married there again next year, so excited for that.

Auckland humanity?

I guess growing up, I didn’t know if it was just because I grew up in Māngere, and I said this to someone the other day; I live out West now, and I see a difference to when I was growing up. There was more of a community feel. People knew neighbours, everyone talked to each other. We knew everyone who lived on our street growing up.

Now everyone just seems a bit more isolated and sticks to themselves and is less community-focussed or kind of street-focussed. Everyone’s just inside doing their own thing. No-one’s talking outside. None of the kids are playing on the street together. You know, we were in a cul-de-sac so we could just play cricket all day until we were yelled at to come in for dinner, and you just don’t see that often anymore,and I think that’s what’s missing; that whole community and family feel. 

I guess the thing for me is, when I do start a family, trying to be more community-focussed, trying to get out there more in the community and making more bonds and ties in the new community that I’m in, and trying to get to know people more, getting to know where they’re from, and just engaging with people a bit more than I have been recently. You learn so much about other people. Everyone has a story, and especially in today’s society, everyone seems to kind of judge a bit more than they should. Great friendships come from that and you don’t know how long you’re here. You’ve got to make the most of it and you’ve got to just do the most you can with people.”

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