Jagdeep Singh Judge has travelled all over the world and throughout his travels he's become fascinated with different cultures, ways of living and different religions. But it was the warmth, openness and relaxed atmosphere of New Zealand which drew him to settle here. He has now lived in Hawke's Bay for seven years, married with a wife and children and busy owner of Zabeels Sports Bar and TAB in Hastings.
How did you learn about New Zealand and what did you hear about it?
I was brought up in central India and I heard and learned that New Zealand was a green and peaceful country. I'm a real nature lover so I always wanted to live in a green country. I've lived in more than 19 countries, so that gave me a real chance to learn about all the different cultures and religions.
Why did you come to New Zealand?
I've lived in America and Australia, I never thought I'd settle here but I came over and just fell in love - especially with Hawke's Bay. I'm a true lover of Hawke's Bay and especially Hastings. I have so many family members from England, Scotland and Australia and they are keen to move here because they've visited us a few times.
What has been the biggest challenge?
I run my own business and finding staff can be a bit of a problem at times, because everyone has a busy family life, so that's something I've noticed. When I first arrived in New Zealand I had a little trouble understanding the Kiwi accent and the slang that comes with it - sometimes what other people are saying in slang you don't quite understand and it got a little awkward at times, but now I've learned a lot. But it's my own responsibility that if I move to a new place then I should be learning the new culture and I enjoy it too - it's part of the life journey. Especially the whole wearing socks with jandals - I've never seen that anywhere else in the world except here.
What's been the biggest benefit of living in New Zealand?
It's been great learning about the Kiwi culture, the Maori culture, the slang, the language. New Zealand and especially Hawke's Bay has very laid back people, and very nice people compared to the rest of the world and although we have some small problems like gangs and things like that we are very supportive of one another. We are lucky.
Tell us about your culture and what is a myth that still exists?
I was born into the Sikh religion - but before following my own religion I follow humanity and spirituality. I am a believer of the universe that we are a part of it and everything that's related to it, including us humans. I am open to every single religion - I just enjoy knowing and learning about every singe one of them. The Guru Granth Sahib (Holy book) is now kept and recognised as a guide in the biggest library in the world in California, as it talked about many moons and many suns in the galaxy and it was written more than 500 years ago.
Has the March 15 attack changed anything for you here in New Zealand?
Our skin colour and the way we dress is similar to Muslims and it's a case of mistaken identity - we are not Muslims but right after the attack we have been verbally abused here in Hastings. We were just careful and vigilant when that happened - but we didn't do anything. I have seen racism in other parts of the world, but I've never seen it here. But I really admire our Prime Minister Jacinda Adern - she has done something that no one else has done. At the end of the day we are all human and we all need each other.