Being Kiwi: Four generations of Pacific family call Henderson home

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The Anisi family, (from left) Nicola, 10, Moses, Jonathan, 23, Lisa, 21, Emo, Christian, 4, and Kesi. Rebecca and 1-week-old baby Peyton are in front.  Photo / Steven McNicholl
The Anisi family, (from left) Nicola, 10, Moses, Jonathan, 23, Lisa, 21, Emo, Christian, 4, and Kesi. Rebecca and 1-week-old baby Peyton are in front. Photo / Steven McNicholl

The Anisi family of West Auckland have strong roots there and regard themselves as Kiwi as can be.

Moses Anisi, 51, has lived in Henderson all his life.

In the mid-50s his father, Moega Anisi, boarded the MV Tofua in Samoa and headed for Fiji, where a flight to Whenuapai Airport in Auckland promised big things.

He was among the first wave of Pacific migrants to arrive in what was tipped as the land of milk and honey.

Almost 60 years later, four generations of the Anisi family still live in Henderson. Moses and his wife, Kesi, 46, children Jonathan, 23, Rebecca, 21, and Nicola, 10; and grandchildren Christian, 4, and newborn Peyton live up the road from Moses' old primary school, where his wife now teaches.

A few streets down is his old high school, near the family home his father renovated years before and where his 82-year-old mother, Emo Anisi, still lives.

Further up is where his father now lies, at Waikumete Cemetery.

Mr Anisi, an ASB bank officer, says he is content with his life in New Zealand and, despite his Samoan heritage, this is home. "I don't know any other place, so I can't compare it to any other country or city."

His wife Kesi was born in Niue and came to New Zealand as a 2-year-old.

She sees herself differently: "I'm a Kiwi ... I've lived here all my life, but I'm Niuean first. I'm glad my family decided for me and my sister to come here. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had so many opportunities."

Statistics NZ estimates 345,000 people of Pacific ethnicities were in New Zealand last year.

Samoan is the third-most spoken language in the country and the second-most spoken in Auckland - the biggest Pacific city in the world.

About 25,000 Niueans live in New Zealand, compared with 1400 on Niue.

By 2026, Pacific people will comprise about 10 per cent of the population, compared with 6.5 per cent in 2001.

Jonathan Anisi, who has followed in his father's footsteps at the ASB, says the only reason he has not left the country is because he has a stable job.

"But it's getting worse - hence why people are leaving. It's all for the rich and if you're just starting to raise a family, it's hard."

The question
Who are we: what does it mean to be a New Zealander in today's interconnected world?

The context
The "typical" New Zealander who will read the new compact Herald is much harder to pin down now that we are more likely than ever either to have come here from overseas or to have been born here and gone.

The methods
A DigiPoll of 750 New Zealanders plus in-depth interviews with 91 people in New Zealand and 16 NZ-born people in Australia, including similar numbers in five 20-year age bands. The NZ interviews were arranged with the help of primary schools spanning the decile range in north and West Auckland, Cambridge, Rotorua and Christchurch. In addition historians at the online encyclopedia Te Ara selected 30 key events that helped shape our identity over the past 100 years.

The team
Greg Ansley, Kurt Bayer, Simon Collins, Yvonne Tahana, Lincoln Tan, Vaimoana Tapaleao.

The series
Monday: Pioneer stock - aged 80-plus
Tuesday: War babies - aged 60-79
Today: Opening up - aged 40-59
Tomorrow: Children of Rogernomics - aged 20-39
Friday: Sport unites the nation - aged under 20

Snapshot: New Zealanders aged 40 to 59

* European 77.2%
* Maori 7.5%
* Asian 6.9%
* Pacific 3.9%
* European-Maori 2.7%
* Other/mixtures 1.9%

Where we are:
* New Zealand 81.9%
* Australia 14.1%
* Rest of world 4%

Source: Statistics NZ

What shaped us: Key events 1952-72

1953
Edmund Hillary climbs Everest. On the eve of the coronation Hillary gave a perfect gift to the young Queen and confirmed that we were the "best of the British" and a modest, physically strong outdoor people.
1960
Television begins. New Zealand began to see itself on the screen and to have instant images from the rest of the world.
1961
Doctors begin prescribing the contraceptive pill. The pill gave greater sexual freedom to Kiwis and allowed women more control over their lives.
1965
New Zealand enters the Vietnam War. Opposition to the war developed a belief in the importance of an independent New Zealand whose identity was not in providing territorials for the British or American empires.
1966
Census announces more urban Maori than rural. In 1936, 90 per cent of Maori lived in the country, very separate from Pakeha. Now Maori had followed most other New Zealanders into the city and had to live and work together. New Zealanders were an urban people.
1969
Save Manapouri campaign. The largest petition in New Zealand history revealed a national desire to save the country's environment. "Clean and green" was born.

Source: 30 key events 1912-2012 selected by Dr Jock Phillips and his team at the online encyclopedia Te Ara. More online at: blog.teara.govt.nz

- NZ Herald

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