What happens when a refugee or asylum seeker gets a permanent home in a new country?

They become a resident - and are likely to be part of a wider resettled community - but often face discrimination and prejudices which can make feeling at home difficult.

Social practice artist Tiffany Singh's exhibition The Journey of a Million Miles - Following Steps focuses on the experiences of new New Zealanders by sharing real-life migration stories. Singh's worked with the Auckland Resettled Community Coalition to produce the work in two stages.

The first, A Journey of a Million Miles Begins with One Step - The Stories of Beyond Refuge, was part of Waiheke Island's headland Sculpture on the Gulf; stage two, at the New Zealand Maritime Museum, expands the focus to all migration stories.


There's a chance for migrants to tell their stories, which are then broadcast in the Edmiston Gallery to match a digital map - data visualisation - where a boat moves from wherever the storyteller started their journey.

Singh says the project has made her more attuned to the difficulties migrants face and to the ways language keeps alive old prejudices.

"It's incredibly challenging for people who come here to settle because there remains a lot of racist bias that makes it difficult to truly feel a part of the community. I think we need more humanity in these discussions and to go back to a New Zealand which was more accepting of migrants; to see the positives and think of how we want our country to be.

"I hope that by engaging with the artwork and the stories, people will take away a new understanding of what it's like to resettle here. Through listening to the different stories, there is the potential to build tolerance, compassion and awareness that can filter down to the younger generations so we can build a more harmonious society."

Auckland Resettled Community Coalition general manager Abann Kamyay Ajak Yor says using art and stories is an effective way to get a wider section of the public thinking about why people leave their homes and what it means to settle somewhere new.

"We know language has power so we are telling our stories and that is the power we bring to this partnership."

What: The Journey of a Million Miles - Following Steps
Where and when: Edmiston Gallery, New Zealand Maritime Museum; until September 3