Eleanor attended the Upper Hutt Festival of Cultures yesterday. It was held at Expressionz. When I heard that the venue was Expressionz and that it was in Upper Hutt I thought that they must be holding the event in a hairdressers. I was disappointed to see that it was actually a gymnasium-like hall nestled amongst Upper Hutt’s civic centre built in the late 70s early 80s uglism style. As you can see from the photos the general public of Upper Hutt rushed down to Expressionz to embrace cultural diversity to its pasty white bosom.
Whenever there is an event like this there is always a Pākehā hosting it who will tell us that New Zealand is becoming increasingly culturally diverse. What they usually don’t say at the end of this sentence is, “…if you live in an area with council flats or state housing”. Eleanor lives in culturally diverse Newtown where there are a lot of council flats. George Bush probably doesn’t know this, but his foreign affair policies directly affected the housing population of Newtown. Where American soldiers go, council flat demographics follow. Newtown welcomes the people of Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. I suspect Khandallah’s cultural diversity has been less impacted.
The Pākehā fellow who was MC also stated another cliché of events like this: “We are all migrants in this country.” On one hand this is true, everyone that lives in New Zealand had to leave a place called home and come here by boat or plane, on the other hand the fact that one distinct group arrived about 1,000 years before everyone else tends to mark them out as different from the later arrivals. After all, by the logic of the it’s-an-island-so-everyone-must-be-migrants school of thought everyone outside continental Africa and Eurasia must be migrants. Someone better break it to the Aborigines, the Japanese, the Native Americans….