One of the images in the photographic exhibition "Belonging [Hononga] [Pertencimento]".
"I moved to New Zealand from the US in September 2003. I came here to be with my partner, Ruth. We are now married with two children.
For the first decade living here, I lived in Wellington. Wellington is amazing, but I felt at home when I moved to Palmy. There were a lot of challenges for me in New Zealand. I’m from Southern California, so I was cold. Also, I felt displaced, even though I made the choice to move here. That displacement has gone now that I have established firm relationships with friends and family in New Zealand. I could have left when things were hard, but I have stayed because I feel New Zealand takes care of people. I feel safe here.
Palmy has so many amazing things. The river, beautiful bush walks, good cafes, amazing libraries, snails artist run space, good schools where my children get an accessible bilingual te reo Maori and English education and learn Mātauranga Māori - embedding a sense of pride in themselves and their culture.
Marolyn Love Krasner, USA"
The exhibition reflects on the personal experience of the photographer, Aline Frey, as a migrant woman who chose Palmerston North as a new home for her family and herself.
"Belonging" is a series of 10 portraits celebrating migrant women who made Palmy their new home. By allowing characters to share their narratives as they open their hearts to spectators, the exhibition focuses on a multiplicity of ethnicities and biographies. It follows migrant stories while giving a nuanced portrayal of the city's ethnic and cultural diversity. Above all, the exhibition aims to give visibility to migrants' diverse roles in PN society, as attendees can learn and better understand the challenges and achievements of each person's journey. Attendees are also invited to reflect back on their own whakapapa and family memories while making connections and recognising the city’s multicultural formation.
The exhibition was organised by Palmeirinhos – Brazilian Heritage Group. All events organised by Palmeirinhos are open to the general public and have been attended by many members of different communities, as well as local kiwis. These Palmeirinhos events have been giving Brazilian children a sense of belonging to the new land that their parents chose to call home. Those children are learning to be proud of who they are and at the same time learning to respect and accept the cultural differences of this very diverse city.