The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMU-K), with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program 2015 - a collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, TAMU-K and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand in July of 2015, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand. You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Hoggies NZ Slideshow

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Migration in the Pacific Region

Last week, one of our classes was by U of Otago Pacific and Indigenous Studies professor, Dr. Michelle Schaaf. In her lecture, we learned about the immigration of pacific island peoples to New Zealand, learned the 3 different pacific island regions of Melanesia (e.g., Fiji), Polynesia (Hawaii) , and Micronesia (small coral islands), learned the different (sometimes offensive) and proper ways of  identifying them, and learned about the discrimination they experienced. Our professor, who was of Samoan descent herself, showed us short video clips of old commercials, political cartoons, statistics, and a documentary regarding immigration - all of which we immediately related to the same discrimination minority groups in the USA have, and sometimes still do experience. Migrants came to New Zealand with the belief that it was the land of milk and honey, but, instead, quickly faced the reality of  a land of salt and vinegar,” and of complications and temptations. In the 70s, immigrants experienced whats called “the Dawn Raids.” During these raids, people suspected of overstaying their visas were subject to aggressive apprehension, often involving physical removal from their homes and the workplace, and asked to show proper documentation on demand. Failure to do so often led to imprisonment and deportation, or the threat of both. During some election campaigns, they were racially profiled as violent people who broke the laws. Many of these people were hard working people, often in physical labor jobs. They came to New Zealand with hopes for better futures for their children, and often would work only to send  money back home to their native countries. This class was so interesting because these topics we discussed are not known throughout much of the world. I know I could personally empathize with the struggles of these people, as could many of my peers. 

-- Tiffany T

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