Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sense of belonging'

A second generation Asian-Kiwi is inviting New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to visit the unofficial Chinatown segment of Dominion Rd after debate around ethnic signs. The findings of a Massey University study out last week say the proliferation of Asian signs around Auckland create a sense of belonging for new migrants. They estimate the city's Asian population is expected to make up a quarter of Auckland's 1.3 million people in five years time. The need to understand the city's "linguisitic landscapes" is critical, study co-author associate Robin Peace says. But Mr Peters says migrants should acknowledge they live in an English-speaking country. He says the study shows that migrant business attitudes must change. "Migrants who come to New Zealand are supposed to arrive with an understanding of the English language but many are failing to use it to integrate into this country." Mr Peters says the study found areas of New Zealand have become "ethnic precincts" where migrant businesses use foreign language to advertise – often alienating themselves from the wider community. He agrees with Auckland Chinese Community Centre chairman Arthur Loo who says it "would be nice" if migrant businesses made the effort to translate signs into English. Auckland resident Steve Chung says it's fair to call for some translation of ethnic signage but thinks it's only natural for cultural hubs to emerge. But a visit to the Balmoral shops on Dominion Rd around Wiremu St proves it is hard to find a sign that does not have some form of English translation already. Mr Chung would like Mr Peters to see the streetscape for himself. He says the community sees the signage as "acceptable". However Mr Peters responds: "There is English translation on some hoardings or advertisements but a number do not have it. That's really my point." Mr Chung says his generation has "Kiwi-ised". "My father came across in the 1940s. My mum was born here. The generation of my youth grew up with fruit shops and dairies." Mr Chung says his generation has had the privilege of going to university within New Zealand. He says Balmoral migrant business owners "are still establishing themselves". "They are a new generation of migrants. They have to earn a living. A lot of them came over here with limited English and so if they can sell things to their fellow immigrants then what's wrong with that?" Ad Feedback Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes wrote about the debate on his Facebook page. "Personally, I enjoy the cosmopolitan feel of Dominion Rd and never feel ill-at-ease when dining in any of the Chinese, Thai, Japanese or Indian establishments. "As my mother grew up on Dominion Rd, many of my earliest childhood memories are of visiting my grandparents there, so I've given the changing face of the road much thought." The Albert-Eden Local Board is hosting an exhibition of photographs which profile Dominion Rd. The images were taken by AUT University senior lecturer King Tong Ho to depict the changing face of the road. The exhibition runs until June 17 and is open weekdays from 8.30am to 5pm at 135 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden. - © Fairfax NZ News RHIANNON HORRELL Last updated 08:40 23/05/2012

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