At primary school... I would often eat rice [for lunch] ...[but other kids] it was sandwiches and a biscuit.... They didn’t quite like the smell of what I had brought. I remember going to my mum and saying there must be something wrong with my food. Everyone had bread and stuff in the middle. I asked her, can you make that? From that point onward, for six years, I’ve had sandwiches every lunch. Jongsung Chun
A heartwarming documentary entitled The Inbetweeners, it is okay to be in both worlds, tells the story of six ethnically diverse young people living in New Zealand, who share their journeys of how they shaped their individual identities and fostered a sense of belonging.
The documentary, funded by a Community Development Fund from the Ministry of Ethnic Communities and produced by Asian Family Services, aims to provide insight into overcoming life challenges and adversity growing up as an ethnic person in New Zealand.
Kelly Feng, Chief Executive of Asian Family Services, says the documentary gives hope to young people who might struggle with their identity.
“We hope to normalise but not minimise their experience,” she says.
“We want these young people to know they are not alone and can be proud of who they are - their heritage, background and the languages that they speak.”
New Zealand now has an increasingly ethnically diverse population. According to the 2018 Census, it is estimated that 153,400 people aged between 0 – 14 years, and 39,366 people aged 15 – 39 years, identified as Asian.
Kelly Feng says it is hoped that the video reflects that diversity and represents those people who walk in two worlds and who can be real assets for New Zealand.
“Ethnically diverse people who grow up in New Zealand possess multiple language skills, cultural worldviews, and knowledge,” she says.
“The talented people we’ve showcased in the video make a significant contribution to New Zealand, hold multiple worldviews and are true Kiwis.”
The video conveys the hopes and dreams that these young New Zealanders have after experiencing some of the challenges of growing up as an ethnic person in this country.
In a review of the video, National MP Melissa Lee, says our country’s history of multiculturalism is as old as our foundations and yet there are still many challenges for us.
“Being able to embrace our identity is integral to personal wellbeing and a core aspect of what is means to be human,” she says.
The video and National MP Melissa Lee’s full review can be viewed on YouTube online.
For interview requests please contact:
Asian Family Services
Ph: 09 2126781