Family loving postcard paradise

By Ruth Keber

Add a comment
Kutu, Kajal and their daughter Anahita Mukherjee in their home in Bethlehem. PHOTO/ RUTH KEBER 210314rk09bop
Kutu, Kajal and their daughter Anahita Mukherjee in their home in Bethlehem. PHOTO/ RUTH KEBER 210314rk09bop

BECA technical director Kajal Mukherjee said he remembers seeing calendars of New Zealand when he was a little child growing up in Calcutta.

"New Zealand is like a postcard, the rolling hills dotted with sheep or the Dunedin cricket ground comes to mind," he said.

The family moved here in 1995 on the points system after a four-year stint in Iran.

After Iran, the family went back to India for several months' holiday while their application was processed by the New Zealand Government.

Mr Mukherjee said they were initially told the process could take up to several months but they received a phone call after three weeks to say that their application had been processed.

"In 22 days, it was very very quick," he said.

When they first arrived in Tauranga they did not know anyone but now they had a lot of friends that were like family, he said.

"It's the best place in the country."

However, husband and wife both agreed they would not have had the experience they have had so far if they were in Auckland.

"About six years after we settled in Tauranga a good Indian friend came down from Auckland and came with me to my office.

"When I parked the car someone was parking next to me and she said 'hello' and 'good morning it's a beautiful day today' and we conversed for a few minutes.

"My friend said to me afterwards 'did you know that lady, she's not your friend?'

"He was quite astonished. He said in Auckland he would not expect anyone to speak to him so openly in public.

"That is what we have become accustomed to from the very beginning and probably it is the highlight of New Zealand life.

"It's a very friendly place."

Mr Mukherjee joined and coached both cricket and hockey teams when he first came to New Zealand playing, and his son Abir has played for the junior Black Sticks.

Although coming from a cricket dominated country Mr Mukherjee still said he was a Black Caps supporter "through and through".

Mrs Mukherjee, a local singing teacher and musician, founded Disha, which is known as Shakti, an ethnic women's support group.

This weekend the family will join other Indian families to take part in the Festival of Colours.

When asked when they would be going home next, they replied, "we are home, this is paradise".

Since the Mukherjee family has been in the Bay of Plenty they have immersed themselves into the Tauranga community.

Father and son have played nationally for New Zealand sports teams and mother and daughter have been active members of the Tauranga community.

Members of the Indian community celebrate the Holi Festival on March 23. Photo/Supplied
Members of the Indian community celebrate the Holi Festival on March 23. Photo/Supplied

Fast Facts of India
Population: 1,103,596,000
Capital: New Delhi
Area: 3,287,270sq km (1,269,221sq miles)
Language: Hindi, English, 14 other official languages
Religions: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi
Currency: Indian rupee
Life expectancy: 63
GDP per capita: US$2,600
Literacy per cent: 60

- Bay of Plenty Times

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 30 Dec 2014 00:24:05 Processing Time: 410ms