When We Become New Zealanders

My name is Faisal Yousif Farghaly; I identify myself as a Sudanese New Zealander, who is now a New Zealand citizen. I was born in Sudan, where my family, relatives, and ancestors originate from. Before I became New Zealander, I experienced a challenging resettlement journey that took all four years. It started in 2010 when I was forced to flee as a family man from Sudan, because of the ongoing oppression from the government. My family and I then fled from Sudan to Malaysia in 2010 for safety and protection. We sought asylum for resettlement opportunities in the third country of resettlement and ended up in New Zealand.

My family and I became New Zealanders in January 2014, when we received a permanent resident visa whilst waiting in Malaysia. This was a part of the UNHCR policy that ended a person’s status as a refugee, transitioning them to a permanent resident in their new country. This is when my family and I became New Zealanders. We did not know anything about New Zealand and when Immigration New Zealand came to interview us. INZ introduced to us that New Zealand is a beautiful country and very safe for your family. The immigration staff was very nice they met and greeted us at the airport. We spent 6 weeks in the Mangere resettlement center. Those six weeks made a lot of difference in our lives. When we arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2014, We figured out it is a very small island nation and police do not carry guns which means it is very safe for the community.

I like New Zealand because The country is safe, and health care and education are of a high standard. People are always smiling when you look at them. That is one of the things we were missing when we were refugees in Malaysia. Life is very easy it’s not difficult like it was in Sudan and Malaysia.

My wife and I studied English after coming out from the Mangere resettlement center and I completed level 4 from Unitec in 1 year. After completing my English language course, I wanted to help the community so I joined ARCC in 2015 and became one of the volunteers. I also started my own small business at my home as a second-hand shop. My wife also started her own business as a food provider. My wife has achieved a lot and became an instant success in Auckland. She has been catering for many big organizations and companies which include Auckland council, Wise collective, Red Cross, ARCC, and heaps of other organizations. I am also helping my wife in her business. 

Currently, I am a Community Navigator of Aotearoa Resettled Community Coalition (ARCC). It has been a journey from being a volunteer and a representative of the South Sudanese community at the Coalition, then Community leader and now working as a community navigator.

What I do not like about New Zealand is I feel like there is discrimination in New Zealand System for newly forced migrants. I feel like there is a cultural barrier in the system like Immigration New Zealand and other organizations like work and income they need to understand our situation because most of us when we come to New Zealand we come with very little knowledge and language of the country. They need to develop a system where they can identify special cases like us for forced migrants.

Also, there are issues in immigration when we like to sponsor one of our families from back home to visit New Zealand. Immigration quickly rejects our application because our relatives are coming from high-risk countries and the person might not go back once they are here, that’s the rejection always comes back from Immigration New Zealand.

The first challenge for me and my wife was the English language. The second is to understand the New Zealand system. We adopted with New Zealand system in a very short period of time. My name and my skin color were also a problem. Especially for finding a suitable job. I miss my homeland of Sudan with its beautiful landscape, people, families, relatives’ friends, natural food, my business, going to my petrol pumps and I miss my company which I established in Sudan and took me 10 years to reach a very successful point.

 

My message to new residents, who have experienced a similar journey, this is your country please do your best to adapt to the New Zealand system. Please join your local community and do not isolate yourself. Maintain a positive mindset on the road to recovery to aid the healing process and start discovering what your New Zealand dream is. 

New Zealander’s role in the resettlement process, should be to welcome resettled emigrants from a forced migrant background by applying the cultural value of indigenous Maori Manaakitanga (hospitality). Let us all encourage them to feel welcome and be accepted in Aotearoa, New Zealand society. Because we are coming from the same journey.