Migrant Journeys: New Zealand taxi drivers tell their stories
Adrienne Jansen and Liz Grant
'You’re at the airport. You want a cab so you head for the long line of taxis sitting on the rank. You take the first. Chances are the driver will be a first generation migrant – the taxi industry in New Zealand has become a microcosm of multiculturalism.' Adrienne Jansen and Liz Grant
Migrant Journeys is about driving taxis in New Zealand cities – and it is about much more than that. Here fourteen migrant taxi drivers talk about their lives – where they came from and why they came here, what it was like to settle in New Zealand, how they got into the taxi business, and how they see this country and its people.
Some of the drivers came as refugees, others in the hope of making a better life for their families. They came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Croatia, Fiji, India, Iraq, Samoa, Serbia and Somalia, and many have professional or skilled backgrounds, with qualifications and experience in their home countries. Although some speak of disillusionment and disappointment, others talk of new opportunities, or flexibility of being ‘your own boss’ as a taxi driver. And at the heart of these ‘migrant journeys’ lies the future of their family and children.
'So six of us talked about how to set up a taxi business.... A lot of people said, ‘Hey, you guys are Iraqis, so why did you choose the name Kiwi Cabs?’ Well, wherever we live, we want to be part of it. I am living here, and I want to serve this place as well as I can. That’s how we were thinking when we established this company.' Muneer Oraha