East Meets EastCulture, Current Affairs, New Zealand|2017|03:30|PG
79-year-old Fang Ruzhen immigrated to Auckland to help raise her grandchildren. Seventeen years on, English is still a foreign language, but she has found community with other elderly Chinese grandparents through her daily ritual of riding the bus to the Asian supermarkets of East Auckland. Meet a group rendered invisible not only by their migrant status but also by their age. This is an often-untold perspective of those who do not assimilate but nevertheless are as much New Zealanders as they are Chinese. 79-year-old Fang Ruzhen immigrated to Auckland to help raise her grandchildren. Fifteen years on English is still a foreign language, but she has found community with other elderly Chinese expats on her regular bus rides to the Asian supermarkets of East Auckland. Fridays are the best days to go shopping. Ruzhen rises early to make the slow journey to the bus stop with her husband. On the bus and in the supermarkets, she is greeted by familiar faces, fellow Chinese seniors out to buy groceries to make their grandchildren’s favourite dishes. Aotearoa is home for these grandparents, even though their sense of belonging remains elusive in a country that is both familiar and foreign. A portrait of a humble community who occupy the peripheries of Auckland, East Meets East provides insight into an often unspoken immigrant experience, asking for acknowledgement and respect for all New Zealanders, not only those who learn to assimilate.