he primary purpose of this website is to promote ethnic pride, a sense of belonging and connect all Filipino-Kiwis, native-born and foreign-born, where they can exchange any Filipino-related information, to nourish, uphold, defend, promote and teach others – including non-Filipinos, all about Filipino-Kiwi values, traditions, history, arts, culture and aspirations.
There are four immediate goals this site shall focus on: 1) support the com-munity’s effort to preserve its culture and identity and to integrate – socially, economically and politically – into the larger New Zealand community; 2) im-prove accessibility by removing cultural, linguistic, physical and financial barriers to accessibility; 3) strengthen the ability of Filipino-Kiwi organisations across New Zealand to work together; and, 4) build upon the network of family and friends that already exists within the Filipino-Kiwi community in the Christ-church Region that is available to help community members.
For this to happen, the key is to adopt a community development approach. Community development is not directed at solving one or even several specific problems. Instead it is an effort to bring the community together and build an environment in which people have the power, the will, the tools and the com-mitment to achieve their common goals. This community development model invites different people and organisations to play different roles depending on their skills and strengths, and on what they see as the most important problems or activities to be involved in.
In many cases, Filipino-Kiwi organisations, whether they be business, faith-based, social or cultural oriented, are operating on a shoestring and sometimes in an informal, familial way. Their size and relative newness mean their staff (if any, for that matter) do not necessarily have the region-wide network, pro-fessional training or administrative support that are available to staff of much larger well-resourced multicultural agencies.
urthermore there are some divisions among these different organisa-tions. Some choose not to cooperate with others – most often for pol-itical or ideological reasons. Others find difficulty working together because of differences in their philosophy or simple jealousy. These are divisive, rather than inclusive tendencies blithely ignorant of the more pressing issues affecting them all.
That having been said, it has also been observed that larger multicultural and immigrant-serving organisations in New Zealand have yet to take a closer look at their operations and consider whether their systems are creating access barriers for Filipino-Kiwis and other immigrants in communities across New Zealand and whether they are reaching out to these communities in effective and meaningful ways.
They could also consider programmes and more engaging ways of ensuring that their organisations better reflect the community’s views, perhaps by inviting certain Filipino-Kiwi organisations to be represented in one form or other on their governing Boards. They could also invite other Filipino-Kiwi organisations to help develop a fuller understanding of Philippine history, traditions and cul-ture among the agencies’ own staff.
The community development model that Filipinos in Christchurch espouses depends on cooperation and collaboration among individuals and organisations both within and outside of the immediate Filipino-Kiwi community. By bringing them all together, the model can build awareness, ownership and strengths that can be applied to a variety of issues, problems and challenges. More impor-tantly, it can foster self-reliance and community action targeted towards com-munity goals.
Filipinos in Christchurch along with its sister sites – Filipinos in Auckland, Fili-pinos in Hamilton and Filipinos in Wellington, emphasize the importance of integrating Filipino-Kiwis with New Zealand society rather than remaining silent, isolated, apart, and associating only with other Filipinos and Filipino-Kiwis. Everything has to start in the community itself.
Many now believe that a cultural and community centre could bring Filipino-Kiwis together. The Philippine Village Project sponsored by the Bulwagan Foun-dation Trust in Wellington and supported by Filipino Artists in New Zealand and the Society for Southeast Asian Communities, Inc. – even whilst struggling to get off the ground, is one large effort that would assist new immigrants adapt to their new home in New Zealand and perhaps, help break down some of the bar-riers that divide the different waves of immigrants, and not just Filipino-Kiwis per se. And it can be replicated in other major cities of New Zealand as well.
s Filipinos and many other ethnic groups continue to migrate globally, Filipinos in Christchurch will strive to deliver an important contribution to a changing understanding of ‘homeland’. The author submits that a powerful argument supports the view that while home is being further removed from geographic place, it is being increasingly territorialized in space.
To be more specific, the dramatic growth of the Internet in recent years has provided tremendous opportunities for a host of relationships and communities to develop that – forged across great distances and time-zones, would have seemed unimaginable only a short time ago.
Through an extensive analysis of newsgroup debates, listserves, and website postings, these and many other web-based channels illustrate the significant ways that computer-mediated communication have contributed to solidifying what credibly can be called a Filipino-Kiwi Community in New Zealand and one that helps in better understanding and articulating their situation as well as their relationship with other national and ethnic communities here and elsewhere in the world.
Therefore, the Filipino-Kiwi community’s most immediate need is for better information and communication; a more thorough orientation to New Zealand life; and, more extensive outreach provided in a culturally sensitive manner.
Please feel free to browse and read the articles posted on this site from time to time. Bookmark and share these on the Web because it will continue to grow and evolve. We will strive to provide articles from a wide cross-section of Filipino and Filipino-Kiwi life along with web-based tools on the Cloud that will allow them to organize and connect with each other thanks to technical support we will be receiving from Digital Summit Ltd.
In closing, we cannot deny that some of these articles you will find entertaining and educational, but some may make you angry or feel uncomfortable as it deals with the blunt realities of life. All these are meant for us to learn from, so we can move forward together as a people.
The Editorial Staff
Filipinos in Christchurch