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People Making Changes Issue 7 -
Taiwanese Society volunteering

- Dorothy - 20/2/97

“Giving to New Zealand - a new initiative by Taiwanese immigrants.”

There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not New Zealand has benefited from inviting Asian immigrants to live among us. Like all groups of people they are a mixture, but one Asian group in particular is working to give of their time and skills to benefit their adopted country as they change their lifestyle to adapt to living there.

These people arrived in New Zealand with the capital required by the immigration rules and also with many skills. Because of their problems with acquiring fluent English many have not been able to get employment. They have not taken jobs from New Zealanders, as is so often stated by those who resent their arrival in this country. They therefore have free time and energy which they want to put to use.

This week I want to draw attention to the work of the Christchurch Taiwanese Society. So often it is the people of any race who behave unacceptably who are written about by the media. If Asian young people act irresponsibly they are in the headlines. Like other Asian groups they have been concerned at some of the adverse publicity they have received and would like to foster a truer and more positive image.

People in the Taiwanese Society want to give to the community as well as to enjoy what New Zealand has to offer. They have set up a volunteer group to do voluntary work in the community.

At Windsor Peter and Judy are one Taiwanese couple who have been involved in this scheme since it began. They visit Windsor House, Home and Hospital, and take a particular interest in three residents there. They take Trevor in his wheelchair to visit the The Palms, a mall nearby. They also visit two women living in units at Windsor. They offer friendship and outings. They enjoy these visits and learn a lot about New Zealand and the English language as they talk to these people who are rich in experience of New Zealand life.

Other volunteers visit other hospitals and a centre for the disabled, and work for the Red Cross delivering Meals on Wheels. They also organise food stalls to raise money for good causes such as food banks.

Work of this type is helping them to integrate into New Zealand society and is also benefiting the community in which they live.

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