James Busch - Massey High School

What Makes West Auckland Great

West Auckland’s charm comes from its people. Finding communities like ours that have such a wide range of different backgrounds, personalities and cultures is rare. Finding a place which accepts everyone as readily as West Auckland does is something that I believe is unique to us. Personalities clash, beliefs will contend and friends may fight but at the end of the day everyone is accepted for who they are.

You hear of the atrocities that go on around the world, in third world countries where dictators use their own people as shields against bullets and innocent civilians are killed daily, where people are forced to leave their homes and countries simply for a chance to live.

And even in advanced countries like America, where civil rights have become such a huge part of their history that even today, 150 years on from the civil war fought for the rights of all their citizen’s, not just those of a certain colour; protests and rally’s still take place.

All around the world people face hardships that I can’t even begin to understand, because I’ve grown up in a society that has provided everything that I’ve ever needed, with a government that hasn’t declared war on anyone, and people who have been better friends to me than I probably deserve.

In year Nine, I watched a movie about ‘half-cast’ children in Australia, children with one Aboriginal and one European parent. It showed the children being rounded up and herded into camps, and treated as animals rather than humans.

I remember watching this film and connecting with the young children on screen more than I ever had before. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why their story stayed with me for so much longer than others, and then it hit me. I was a half cast. My mother is Indian, my father European and if I had been born in another place, another time then that would be me.

The point I am trying to make is, it took me weeks for this to click in my head. Weeks. It had never once occurred to me that anyone would hate based on whether or not someone’s parents were the same race, because I had never experienced this. Not one of my friends questioned the fact that I would speak in Hindi when I was mad, or that I would practice a religion different to theirs because that was normal, that was accepted, and we as children knew nothing different.

Growing up in West Auckland (and New Zealand) has shielded me from the hate that affects the rest of the world, and I have only you, the people, to thank for that.

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