Author(s): Adrienne Jansen; Liz Grant
Migrant Journeys is about driving taxis in New Zealand cities - and it is about much more than that. Here fourteen migrant taxi drivers talk about their lives - where they came from and why they came here, what it was like to settle in New Zealand, how they got into the taxi business, and how they see this country and its people. Some of the drivers came as refugees, others in the hope of making a better life for their families. They came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Croatia, Fiji, India, Iraq, Samoa, Serbia and Somalia, and many have professional or skilled backgrounds, with qualifications and experience in their home countries. Although some speak of disillusionment and disappointment, others talk of new opportunities, or flexibility of being 'your own boss' as a taxi driver. And at the heart of these 'migrant journeys' lies the future of their family and children.
With the number of wonderful migrants that have come into Nelson from colourful cultures like the Chin from Myanmar, I thought that this book would give an insight into the problems and the solutions that migrants find when they come into this country. Interviewing taxi drivers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, it gives a fascinating insight into their lives, the problems they've encountered, how they have mostly overcome them, and how they find life in New Zealand. Interviewing migrants from countries as diverse as Cambodia, Iraq, Somalia, Serbia and Samoa, I found this book to be a fascinating and enlightening read. A common theme of all the migrants is their complaint that in New Zealand their qualifications don't seem to count or amount to much, something I've found from experience and knowing some of them. So in this country you get doctors, engineers and scientists all driving taxis, which does seem to be a waste of resources and experience. I know we love to 'knock' our Aussie neighbours, but they don't have the same reluctance to hire these experienced and qualified people, and many have eventually gone to Australia to further their careers and leave a more satisfying life. - Peter
Adrienne Jansen has written or collaborated on several books about migrant experience in New Zealand, including I Have in My Arms Both Ways and The Crescent Moon: The Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand. A Winston Churchill Fellow in 1990, Adrienne has also published fiction and poetry. She teaches in the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme, and for ten years worked as a writer at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.Liz Grant is a writer and editor with a background in journalism and broadcasting. She grew up in Tanzania and in her teens came with her family to New Zealand. She is the author of three previous books of non-fiction, and for three years headed the writing team at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Now working freelance, she writes and does production work largely for the museum sector.