Let me tell you a little story.

This is a true story.

If ever anyone tells you that we have endemic poverty in New Zealand, or that you can't get ahead or the rich poor gap is growing, just point them at this story and tell them to go fly a kite.

Four years ago I met Robert and Karina. They had just arrived from Mumbai in India and they had nothing, quite literally nothing. They were wanting to rent our two bedroom unit behind our house for them and their two children. Initially we were hesitant, but then my wife said, give them a break, they just moved here, no one else will rent to them. So we did.

We watched as Robert struggled to find a job and then we watched when he had three jobs until he got one he wanted. I talked with regularly and he told me of the frustrations of looking for jobs and the fact that no-one would give them a chance. He never once said he wanted to go back, he always said he would soldier on. We watched as the Salvation Army truck turned up with some furniture and we watched as they bought other second-hand furniture. Then his mother arrived. Now there were three adults and two children lviing there. Robert worked nights and his wife worked days. Mum looked after the kids when they couldn't. Then one day Robert came and knocked on the door. They had been living in our unit for 8 months. He told us that they had bought a house and were moving on. They thanked us for giving them the chance that n-one else would.

We kept in touch with Robert and Karina, and watched with awe as they progressed and progressed. Not content with having the house to themselves they built a 2 bedroom unit on the back and rented that out. Then one day Robert saw an older gentleman at the supermarket stocking the shelves with product. Robert was the Duty Manager and thought to hinmself, "What is that nice old guy like that doing a shit job like that for". And so Robert asked him.

It turned out that the nice old guy was actually self employed and making over $150,000 per year with his Juice franchise. Robert was gobsmacked and set out to find a similar franchise. It took him several months but a year ago he bought his franchise and became self employed. Robert is now earning big money.

My wife banged into Karina the other day and she invited us over to see them as they had just moved into a new house. We went adn found out the last details of their four year journey in the Kiwi Dream. They had just bought the house thy were in and moved in. They still ahve the Home and Income that they moved to from our place, but now it is tenanted and "washing its face". Robert has had the juice franchise for over a year and is extremely happy.

He is now planning a trip back to Mumbai to take his children to show them where they have come from and why he moved his family to New Zealand. I admire his thinking, hi tenacity and his fortitude.

Robert and Karina have had nothing and made something. They have gone from nothiong to over $1 million is assets in just four years.

Who says the Kiwi dream is dead. It is alive and well in Howick. I consider myself privileged to now count my former tenants as my friends and am looking forward to our first curry night together.

Congratulations Robert and Karina you are true Kiwis.


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  • Sean

    Interesting that one commentator assumes that the immigrants will be using (abusing) the welfare state – a regular misconception of the anti-immigrant brigade, many of which are right-wing. In fact most immigrants are NOT ELIGIBLE for welfare, particularly those on work permits. For most immigrants, they do not up and move to another country just to fail again. A small minority may take advantage, but the majority do not. It just doesn't make any sense. Your story is apt, Whaleoil, and teaches a lot to New Zealanders on both sides of the political spectrum – we need more immigrants like these, and we don't need a fat welfare system.