Evelyn | Grey Lynn
“I, I have a lot of sympathy for those dearly departed, all those victims that passed down in Christchurch, as well as for all of Christchurch community and the Muslim community.
It’s unfortunate, but that’s life, and people that said that doesn’t happen in New Zealand, well it has, and I think it was coming as, you know, everything in the world’s changing. People are changing. Religions are changing.
God be with you, and New Zealand, you have made New Zealand your home, and we, we all of us, do welcome you, and condolences to all the families, the loved ones that have lost any special person on Friday 15th. Just know that we are all one and that hopefully, we can all become as one as the future nears.
My hearts go out to all the victims, and to all the Muslim community, and I would just like to personally welcome every one of you to New Zealand as a, what do you call it? I’m also a refugee in some sort of, in a way, too. I wasn’t born here but was brought up here, and it’s a beautiful country, and I’d just like to welcome all of you, and just know that we, in one, we are all brothers and sisters, and we all do serve one God, just different, just different religions, that’s all.
I remember a lot of my family members, uncles and aunties that came over in the ‘60s, ‘70s, even my own grandmother and my mother. Growing up at that time of the dawn raids wasn’t a good thing, like going to school, it was all new to especially all the new Pacific Islanders coming into New Zealand. We were, a lot of us were ostracized and called names and everything, but you know, at that time we didn’t know what it was. We just thought we were different, different tone of skin, different everything, different culture. Growing up in New Zealand, you kind of sort of adapt, but the stigma that’s kind of stuck there, especially being a Pacific Islander always does stay with you, right up till adulthood.
I don’t think anything is different regarding all the different cultures and diverse people that are coming into the country. I think a lot of people are just scared of what they don’t understand. I suppose that’s why they react the way they do to a lot of different religions and ethnic groups. So, we were one of them too, all Polynesians as well. So, not just the Muslims now, but all the other ethnic groups, we all went through it. You know? Every different ethnic group and culture that came, that has come through New Zealand, have gone through some form of racialism, and prejudices. I think it’s a really good idea to actually form that kind of relationship with people that we don’t understand, just to get to know them on a daily basis. I mean, we’re all one. You know? We’ve all got the same eyes and everything. Got ears. We don’t have six feet or whatever. We’re all the same people, but once again, I think a lot of people are scared of what they don’t understand, and that’s different cultures, different religions and some people just don’t want to know. They just like New Zealand how it is, and are scared of other different ethnics coming in with their different beliefs and that. I think it would be good.
I was born in Western Samoa, and I was adopted out, and I was adopted by my parents over here when I was two. So I came to New Zealand when I was two years old, and it was good back then, but growing up as a teenager here was quite difficult. You had to kind of, seek different people and different students to try and fit in, but I always kind of felt that I kind of like fit into my own people, which was Polynesian, and it wasn’t until later on that I actually got to know that I could have friends other than my own race. I was like, oh – which was very good, because my adopted father was, he’s European and my adopted mother is of Samoan descent. So, growing up in those cultures, and I actually grew up in Christchurch, so it was, it was real difficult down there, because I was the only brown girl down there at the time, and the majority were all white. So, actually fitting into that was quite hard. I rebelled a lot because of, I didn’t understand why other kids didn’t like me, because I wasn’t of the same colour, and I didn’t look the same as they did.”