The Cultural Debate

You may have seen the article on overseas nurses working in Aged Care in Sunday Star Times 22nd April.

It makes interesting reading. It is unethical to bring people to New Zealand on false pretences. Promising people work that may not be available and putting them in unsatisfactory accommodation is immoral and not the New Zealand way. We should not lower ourselves to the level of the corrupt societies many of these people have come from. We are better than that. You can read more on this here: Agents-trick-nurses-into-signing-bonds

However there is another article below this that caught my eye and that was that residential facilities are providing cultural workshops for residents to understand the wide variety of cultures that are now looking after them. Helping them get to grips with having people around them that don’t know their culture.

While this is obviously very helpful, am I missing something here? I admit to not knowing the form these cultural evenings take nor do I know who is providing them but I am sure there will be many very positive outcomes from them.
But what has happened to the other cultures coming into New Zealand, learning about the culture of the person they are looking after?

When I do my training I always take an opportunity to talk about understanding the person in their care and their culture. There is a higher proportion of Pakeha’s receiving care by people other than their own culture.

Now I am not saying this is bad. I think it is wonderful and they do a great job but to understand Person Centre Care (as I spoke on in last month’s newsletter) they need to understand the culture of the person they are looking after too.
You may call the residents racist but adjusting to a huge multi-ethnic society that is now what New Zealand has become, is not easy for them. There will be parts that they adapt to easily but others they will find difficult. The shift is so dramatic for them, acceptance can be difficult.

Each person only knows what they know of and for themselves. It is more difficult for the older population to understand the new environment in which they are now living.

While I accept integration into a new society is not easy. Human nature being what it is, we will gravitate to those we feel most comfortable around which is our own culture, but in order to understand Pakeha New Zealanders, migrants need to mix extensively with them to. This is how integration occurs.

While I have never lived in another country apart from New Zealand, whenever I have visited another country, I prefer to get in amongst the locals to find out about them. I choose not to go on organised bus or sightseeing tours, I walk amongst the locals to get a feel for the country and talk to the people.

When I have shifted to another city in New Zealand, I have had to get to know the culture of the location so I have always got involved in the community. This is how I got to understand the new environment in which I was living. New migrants have to do the same.

This does not mean they and their culture are not important and they don’t matter. Of course they do? This is how we create a fair and just society for all.

I believe we need to spend more time on helping the new migrants understand the Pakeha culture as well as the Maori culture to help them to integrate fully with us. This is how acceptance occurs.

It is also time for Pakeha’s to own and accept that they do have a culture too as I believe this has been forgotten along the way. We have spent so much time apologising to so many ethnicities we need to own who we are and not apologise for being who we are – yes Pakeha New Zealanders. If you missed the article you can see ithere: Rest-homes-tackle-racism-issue


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