The Problem With Casual Racism In New Zealand

screen-shot7-2010-11-17-atI went home during the last semester break, and as my family were walking in the Farmers Market we stopped by a stand selling beautiful wooden bowls. The man at the stand was friendly and talked to my family, and my Dad who has lived in New Zealand for over 20 years, was asked: “So, where are you all visiting from?”, my Dad replied “Warkworth” which is indeed the truth, as I grew up there. These kinds of questions create ignorance and occur often for many of us who have grown up being asked “Where are you from”, joked about or faced racial stereotypes. Although the title reads in New Zealand, I wanted to also add a little of my experience when I was living in Australia.

There are many stories like these, such as people talking slowly to my parents when I was a young girl, or people treating other people differently because of their race, or being bullied at school for your race. Often these experiences are in silence, and that is why we don’t hear about them often, because they have happened so often, and too many times before. I’ve had school friends tell me in a joking manner “it’s because you’re Asian!” which implies that stereotypes are true, and well, they’re not. Maths and science were my worst subjects, even though people would ask me for help in class. I recently watched a video here, and it’s a strong reminder on the harm of racism.

When I lived in Australia, I felt that for some people, part of the humour there often has casual racism disguised as jokes. In a past post I talked about my experiences of being put in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) in Primary school, even though I am fluent in English. When I was in high school, I had a teacher who used my “being an Asian”, as an excuse for my grammatical mistakes in English class. Bearing in mind English was one of my favourite classes, it seemed unfair that when my Caucasian friends had grammar mistakes, they were simply written in red pen with the teacher’s corrections.

I’m a first generation Kiwi who was born and raised in New Zealand, but because of my appearances I will always be asked “Where are you from?” and no one has ever guessed my ethnicity as Taiwanese. When I ask “What do you think my ethnicity is?” I often get the following: Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Malaysian or Thailand. The thing with asking where are you from? is that it gives the feeling that you don’t belong here. It’s more correct to ask “What is your ethnicity?” because that’s often what people want to know. I can’t count a number of times I’ve had someone ask me “Where are you from?” when I’ve just met them, or when I worked at a cafe, and a customer asks me this question and walks off.

As a Kiwi, I feel that a part of our culture is this she’ll be right kind of attitude, which is why racism is not always taken seriously as it should be. Any kind of racism at any level causes separation, builds hatred and causes a divide between people. The problem is that I’ve faced, as many people have, casual racism since I was a young girl. It all started in high school, because of ignorance and stereotypes. The problem with this is that many people who perpetuate it, make it seem that it’s the norm. In terms of Casual racism in Australia, I feel that it does affect job opportunities to some degree for many people, as there is still that level of discrimination in some corporations.

We live in a multicultural society, and in order to have a sense of harmony, we must be accepting of diversity. There needs to be a level of respect, and a treat others how you’d like to be treated way of thinking, for anyone we encounter. It’s not always as simple for these things to change immediately, and it will take time, but I think it’s important that we strive for it and live by fairness. Everyone deserves equal opportunities regardless of their race. Casual racism seems harmless, but if everyone does it, it helps it grow and builds up into a bigger issue. What do you think? What are your thoughts and experiences with casual racism?

Photography by Stephen Shore

Discover These Fashion Magazines From New Zealand


Apparel Magazine 

Monthly magazine for the apparel industry, read by designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, fashion students and graduates, service providers. Established in 1969, Apparel magazine is a monthly trade publication that is a comprehensive insight into the clothing, textiles, footwear and accessories industries. Apparel covers every aspect of the fashion industry from marketing, import, wholesale and retail apparel, footwear and textiles, to logistics, technology, recruitment and industry-related education aspects.

Black Magazine

Black Magazine is an international fashion, beauty, arts and culture magazine published from New Zealand for the people of the world. Founded by Grant Fell and Rachael Churchward in 2006, and created by teams of contributors in New Zealand, Australia, New York, London and Paris, Black is more than a magazine, it is a vision of the world expressed through the creativity of its creators and contributors across a multi-media platform.

Chinese Eye Magazine

Launched in 2016, Chinese Eye Magazine is a lifestyle magazine released annually focused on fashion, beauty, cuisine, horse racing, motoring, travel and lifestyle. New Zealand is growing and we all need to grow with it. It is important to Eye that the Chinese Eye Magazine understands what drives, motivates, inspires, relaxes, interests and entertains its readers and puts New Zealand’s top products and services at the forefront of this rising market.

Eye Magazine

Eye Magazine was launched in 1997 as a lifestyle quarterly focused on fashion, beauty, cuisine, racing, motoring, travel, house and garden. The magazine has built a strong base of loyal clients who repeatedly use the publication to reach their target audience. This is because Eye Magazine understands what drives, motivates, inspires, relaxes, interests and entertains its readers.

Denizen Magazine

Based in Auckland, New Zealand the Denizen is a multimedia platform that celebrates the art of living well from a New Zealand perspective. Denizen launched in September 2010, the Denizen website has fast become the go-to online destination for those in the know. Updated daily with inspiring content, the Denizen keeps style aficionados abreast of the new and the noteworthy happenings around them. 

Fashion Quarterly

Fashion Quarterly’s entire existence is fashion and beauty. Anyone with a passing interest in a seasonal wardrobe update, knows the magazine literally lives and breathes fashion and beauty. As such, it really is the first port of call for readers desperate to get their hands on the latest and greatest. And Fashion Quarterly doesn’t disappoint. It’s crammed with stunning photography that is inspirational and aspirational. What’s more, the serious fashion journalism helps readers understand incoming trends.

M2 Magazine

For over 12 years we have curated engaging content that helps them be the best that they can be. These aren’t people who drift through life, they think, plan and take action. They are committed to lifelong learning. Driven to take their lives to the next level by smashing their goals. They are the leaders, the owners and the investors. Not the sheep. From the latest reviews of the Cars you should own, the Success tips to further your career, business, health and business. 

M2woman Magazine

M2woman is the intelligent woman’s lifestyle brand, available in print, web, email and mobile. M2woman is one of the few New Zealand magazines to target professional, forward-thinking, style-driven metropolitan woman, this unique bi-monthly magazine covers entertainment, fashion and beauty, health and fitness, food and travel, whilst also delving into technology, politics, business and the successful lives of local and international women alike.

Remix Magazine

Remix magazine is your source for the very latest fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture inspiration from New Zealand and around the globe. Founded in Auckland, New Zealand, Remix is a leading voice for what’s hot in the creative industries, presenting unique editorial content from a dedicated editorial team and growing list of international contributors. Remix prides itself on original content for a global readership, showcasing conceptually driven photography, in-depth feature articles, hard-hitting interviews and honest reviews. 

Simply You Style

From finding that perfect accessory for a special occasion, to the essential jacket that will become a lasting addition to any wardrobe, this is the magazine for women who love to shop. Simply You covers how to work the season’s trends, with an edit from local designers and beauty brands across the country. Simply You is the quintessential fashion guide for women who want up-to-date advice on the latest trends – and how to wear them their own way.

All descriptions and images belong to the original company

New Zealand Cruelty Free Beauty Brands

60cc6f698efa317df7fbcdb98d5b8316.jpgNew Zealand has many amazing cruelty free, vegan and organic skincare brands. For the sake of this article, I will focus on cruelty free brands (although many of these are vegan and organic too). When I was living in Australia, there was also an awareness of ethical brands and the ability to choose cruelty free and eco-friendly options.

There are many beauty and skin care products that promote ethical production. As we have increasingly more access to information online, there is more awareness about the brands we use. I’ve listed below just some of the cruelty free brands. However, if you have any that you know, please feel free to comment them down below!

Makeup Apotheka |Belle & Sage | Karen Murrell | Living Nature | World Organics

Haircare Belle & Sage | Earthwise | Ecostore | Essano  | Evolu | Lust | SavarThe Herb Farm

Skincare  Antipodes | Apheleia | ApicareApotheka | BeautousBelle & Sage |BestowBlue Earth | Bon Bon Vegan | Do No Harm | Ecostore | Essano | Ethique | Evolu | Geo Skincare Goodness | La’bonicLinden LeavesLiving Nature | Moana | Nellie Tier |OasisOlive |Only Good Orania | OxygenPlantae Sansceuticals | Skinfood |Snowberry | Stella For Cruelty FreeSurmanti | Tailor  | Tonic RoomTrilogy |Tribeca|  The Herb Farm | The Cruelty Free Shop | World Organics | You Are Loved

Washing Earthwise | Ecostore

Photography by Elias and Theresa Carlson

Ruby Autumn/Winter Collection 2017

I was walking on High Street during the weekend, and couldn’t help walking into Ruby. I’ve featured my favourite pieces from the A/W Collection 2017. Ruby is a New Zealand fashion label that is best known for its designs that effortlessly embody youthful elegance and adventurous charm. From streetwear origins, RUBY has enchanted its audience under the direction of designer Deanna Didovich to become one of New Zealand’s most exciting brands. Check out the complete collection hereruby-viso-jacket-viso-jean-and-58b3ad77621a6ruby-pizzo-longsleeve-and-bambi-58b3afcfbcd03ruby-occhio-t-shirt-and-stella-d-58d3245f17c05ruby-ophelia-coat-bambi-shirr-58b3adfe86c66ruby-otto-turtleneck-and-rooftop-58b3b02656fd4ruby-paloma-wrap-top-and-paloma-58b3b18506268ruby-luna-dress-58b3b1d75af27pizzo-longsleeve-and-viso-jean-58b3ae90cb0c0

Photography from Ruby

Eugenie Autumn/Winter Collection 2017

Eugenie is a New Zealand brand designed by Elizabeth Wilson. Her designs are all made in New Zealand, and she has a boutique in Ponsonby. Wilson studied at Otago University to be a product and graphic designer, then went to work in advertising at Y&R. She completed a graduate diploma in fashion. From there she worked as a design assistant for Karen Walker’s design assistant. Then she went back to graphic design working at Mi Piaci and Overland.

Eugénie is designed to celebrate modern, smart, creative women. It emphasises the character, wit and individuality of the wearer through a look that blends tomboy cool with art-house chic. The main focus is on fresh day wear, where the practicality and pure cut of menswear shine through, for an evening a sensuous streak emerges, with pieces that celebrate the fun and power of the feminine. As a feminist label, Eugénie is committed to ethical manufacturing.


Photography by Imogen Wilson for Oyster Magazine

Pros And Cons Of Living In Auckland

131eb524fac8d24d0d7fab3c28007589.jpgGrowing up in Auckland, I spent a chapter of my life in the North shore suburbs, by the beach and a chapter of my life in North Auckland in the country side. A small portion of my time is now living in the city for the third year, which is the pros and cons I will touch on. When I asked a friend who had visited Auckland city for the first time from overseas, I asked what was their first impression. They said that it felt like a country side city, which I thought to myself may be the reason some people often call Auckland a town.


The beaches, lifestyle and outdoors. Auckland is a great place for people who love to be outdoors. There are a lot of places to go around the city and many beaches.

There is less advertising in your face. Every city has advertising and billboards everywhere, but it’s far less in Auckland. There’s less bright flashing lights, billboards or huge posters throughout the city.

Job opportunities may be higher. This depends on what sort of field you want to work in, but compared to other areas in NZ, there may be more job opportunities in Auckland.

Finding places to go and things to do. After living in Sydney, I always felt there was something to do in the city. I didn’t really need to search for it. However, Auckland does have its variety of things to do, but it’s just a matter of finding and discovering them.

There is less materialism and stress. It’s not a city where you’ll constantly hear cars beeping, loud noises and there is also far less materialism. That isn’t to say there isn’t any materialism, but it’s definitely a lot less.

The blue skies and oceans. A great day is when the skies are blue with a few clouds, and the sun is bright. The beaches are also some of the most beautiful places to visit.

Most people are willing to help. There’s always someone who’s willing to help you, whether you have a question or need directions.

Enjoying the simple things in life. You’ll see many people on the weekends out for a walk near the harbour and in the city.

More space, less people and better air. When I’m in the city at a busy hour, of course it’s going to be crowded. However, Auckland is already at a lower population, compared to most cities. That makes it feel more spacious. There’ll be the smoker walking in front of you from time to time, but the air is much less polluted and breathable.

A great place to raise a family. In terms of living in the suburban areas eg. North Shore or other areas a little out of the inner city. I think NZ in general is a great environment for children to have the freedom and peace to grow up well.

It’s less overcrowded and relatively safe. Statistically speaking, it’s a safer place to live than cities with high crime rates. There is also far less overcrowding and feeling as if you’re shoulder to shoulder with the person beside you.

People are mostly very friendly. There’s always the odd person that’s rude, but most Aucklanders are pretty friendly and easy going.

Most places can pay by Card. I don’t know if this is because in the last two years that I lived in Sydney, there were many places that only accept cash. You always need to have cash on you, as some places don’t have an eftpos machine or they will require a surcharge, which can be anything from $0.10 to $1.00. However, in New Zealand, pretty much most places will have a card machine.

A multicultural city. There’s quite a lot of diversity, and there are different cultures, foods and things to do.


The living prices are rising. Most of the rent prices are rising, and I feel that the living fees are higher than a few years ago. It can get quite competitive, and many people are chasing to get the best prices and location.

Four seasons in a day. One of the many reasons I temporarily moved to Sydney, was because of the Auckland weather. I don’t really like the city weather, during the colder months. However, it’s always good to have an umbrella on you and a layer of clothing during those times.

Most places require driving. Within the city you can get by on a bus or walk to your destination. However, if you are travelling outside of the city, you will need to drive as the Auckland is very spread out.

It’s an expensive city to live in as a student. Perhaps it may be expensive as well for those who are working, but in terms of my experience living in the city, I have only lived here as a student.

There is less individual style. This may be changing, but I used to feel that Aucklanders don’t embrace their individual fashion style as much. A lot of people dress very similarly. Most people aren’t as fussed about what they wear, but in cities such as Sydney and Taipei, I feel there are more people who just wear whatever they want, regardless of if it stands out or not.

There’s less competition and more at the same time. There are limited job opportunities, and many people may apply for the same opportunity and be more competitive to get it. At the same time, there’s less competition because there are fewer people. Individually speaking, it’ll be different. In terms of sports, that’s a different thing entirely.

The cost of daily needs and other. The cost of dental care, groceries, travel and others can often add up to be quite a lot.

Parking and traffic hours. If you drive, the parking may not be the best in the city. Some of them may be far from the destination you need to be at, which means you may need to walk. During end of work there will be traffic on the way home.

Pros & Cons

You will often see people you know. This one is sort of a mixed feeling for me. What I really loved about living in Sydney was that I rarely saw anyone I knew. There was a feeling of anonymity.

There’s a no worries and laid back nature. It makes Auckland a far more relaxed and less stressed city to live in. It also gives most people a healthy work life balance. However, I find it can also cause there to often be a nature of doing things more slowly, or cause people to take their time.

The pace of life is much slower. Touching on the previous point, Auckland is at a slower place to live in,  in some senses when you do compare it with larger cities that never sleep. It’s good in the sense that people aren’t always rushing through life, but it also means that individually you need to have that self motivation to push yourself.

Public transport in certain areas. Generally, New Zealand is a convenient place to travel around, if you have a car. The buses in the city are also easy to navigate. However, within the city there may be areas where there are much less frequent buses.

The city has its own feel and yet it doesn’t. This is a personal view, but I always felt that Auckland is the sort of place that has its own special things about it, but it also doesn’t feel like it does. Auckland as an area is scattered and it doesn’t have as much of a distinct and strong identity as some cities do.

You need to be self motivated, driven and passionate. These should be applied anywhere, but there are cities that naturally push you to succeed and do well, because of the culture and environment. But, because Auckland is much more laid back in contrast, there is an extra push in staying motivated.

Art by Yuliya

My Love Hate Relationship With Auckland

artwork.jpgSince I will very likely move back to Auckland in the next year or so, I wanted to write about this topic in a little more depth. Auckland is the place I grew up and experienced a majority of my life in. After spending two years in Sydney, I truly love it as a city. The weather, people, lifestyle and things to do. I can safely say Sydney is one of my favourite cities to live in. Many people in Auckland (who haven’t been to Sydney before) mentioned that Sydney is the same as Auckland but with a bigger population or they mention that it’s a racist city. Sydney is like a bigger Auckland, but it is vastly different in many ways. In terms of racism, unfortunately it happens anywhere.

Auckland is the kind of place I never felt particularly crazy about. I think it was more the experiences that shaped how I felt growing up there. I loved living in the country side, with the clean air and being surrounded by nature and animals. There is a certain purity and freshness. The moments I loved growing up were living beside the beach in the North Shore suburbs just outside the city and the years living on the farm. The only thing is that it’s not very convenient living in the country side. Especially if you are still young and would like to have more access to different places, events, experiences, people and so on. The saying that there are four seasons in a day is so absolutely true, that you often need to carry an umbrella and a layer of clothing on you, just in case!

New Zealand is a place where it is difficult to navigate if you don’t have a drivers license. However, if you live in central city you can probably travel on public transport. Although, I feel that if you can walk to certain places, you can save more money. The public transport in Auckland is not the most efficient, if compared to bigger cities, but I’m sure it will improve a lot in the next several years. The rent in Auckland can be expensive. This depends on how many people you live with. The more people you live with, the more possibility that the rent will be lower. If you live a little further from central city, it will be cheaper, however you will need to take into account the travel costs.

There are not many things to do in Auckland, especially if you don’t drive a car. There are wonderful beaches in walking and busing distance, but for the adventurous, it’s convenient to have a car. I loved second hand shopping in Auckland and there are several shops spread across the city. The only thing is that Auckland feels more like a big little city. Queen street is extremely short when compared to Sydney’s George street. I like the feeling of emptiness and a lower population of people. It’s a lot more spacious and the air is far more breathable and clean if you compare to cities with very polluted air.

My favourite suburb is Parnell. I lived there for one year. It’s partly because I lived with two people who were very kind to me and I had neighbours who lived beside me who I went to church with every week. Although, it’s considered one of the pricier suburbs, I think if you can find a reasonable price, it’s one of the most comfortable, convenient and safer suburbs to live in. Your living environment can really shape your experience living in Auckland. If you’re a clean freak like me, it’s important to live somewhere you feel calm and sane in. When I lived in the small town Warkworth, I would always see at least 2-3 people I knew. Similarly, in Auckland city, I would always see at least one person on the streets that I knew. It’s something I love hate, because I love seeing people I know, but sometimes I just want to be quiet and reserved, but it may come off rude not to say hi. Can anyone relate to that feeling?

Making friends in Auckland is one of those things I’m still trying to figure out. When I talked to my sister, it sounds like it is much more easier to make friends in Wellington, because Auckland tends to be more cliquey. People tend to stick with who they know in Auckland from my personal experience. However, I found from personal experience, that if you join a community or go to a regular church, it is easier to make friends in those areas. As previously mentioned, there isn’t an excessive amount of things to do in Auckland, which means that there is definitely a drinking culture in New Zealand. Socialising in student life often involves drinking, going out and partying. I think it’s important to find people who are like minded in that sense, if you are not a drinker or party person.

The places I loved going to regularly when living in Auckland was the Art gallery, Museum, Auckland Library, Albert Park and Mission Bay. I find the fashion in Auckland is not as distinctive. There are a lot of people who wear black, which I like (coming from someone who wears a lot of black clothes). However, I find that there are less people with distinct styles, compared to the streets of Sydney. People aren’t as afraid to express their individuality in Sydney or Wellington. There is definitely quirky, stylish and funky fashion. Whereas I find in Auckland, there definitely are very stylish people, but less in the sense that people in Auckland are more judgmental and more people tend to conform (from my observation, but maybe it will be more different when I return).

It can feel very empty in Auckland at times, because it’s so spacious. There are areas that are great for shopping, such as K-road and places near Queen street with thrift stores. I feel that Auckland is slower than the rest of the world in many areas, but I think it has so much space for growth and development. People are far more laid back in Auckland and everyone is generally pretty friendly. I previously talked about how I didn’t experience much racism in Sydney. The truth is that it is definitely an issue in Australia, however I’ve only lived there for two years now. My experience for the past several years in Auckland, is that I definitely have faced racism. I grew up in the country side, where I was one of the only Asian students in primary school and living in the city there might be one or two people you encounter who are not too nice, but unfortunately racism happens everywhere.

I love Auckland’s relaxed nature, as I mentioned before. There’s a certain no worries nature, that is great for a healthy and balanced work/life style. However, sometimes it can make one feel a lack of motivation and urgency for certain things when you live in a city that’s more slow paced. It’s a personal challenge to push yourself. In Auckland, the transport is slower, whereas in Sydney an Uber will often not wait for you if you don’t show up for 2-3 minutes. I love Auckland because it’s the place that I know I want to settle down and have a life in. It’s the place I imagine growing old in. I feel so grateful to have moved to Australia short term, because it gave me an immense amount of new experiences that I just wouldn’t have had in  New Zealand. I think that’s really important, because Auckland is the sort of place that it’s easy to just stay there and never leave or live anywhere else for a few years.

It’s a comfortable city with it’s pros and cons like any city has. The internet in Auckland can sometimes drive you bonkers. But if you have a good plan then it should be fine. I felt that there are less job opportunities in Auckland, especially when compared to Sydney. Australia is a good place to work for several years and gain experience, then return to Auckland. Perhaps in the next several years, job opportunities will grow. The thing I love about New Zealand, is that we’re proud to be Kiwis. We come from a country that is situated at the corner of the world, yet there is so much potential and many amazing people who have done incredible things. Auckland has a high percentage of Asians and so it was very convenient to go to the Chinese supermarkets nearby. I feel as if I could list several other things about Auckland that I felt were pros and cons, but I think I’ll leave it here. If you ever have a chance to visit, it’s a great place to travel as there’s lots of sights to see. It’s somewhere where you can call home.

Art Work via