One of the images in the photographic exhibition "Belonging [Hononga] [Pertencimento]".
"I came to live in Palmerston North in 2008, having spent my life until then in Zimbabwe, the country of my birth. My children, then three and six years old, have grown to adulthood here. I had loved food gardening in Zimbabwe, and started a food garden as soon as I could in Palmerston North – I planted 15 fruit trees in my backyard and learned how to look after them from a wonderful neighbour who had immigrated here from the Netherlands in the 1950s. I have always been an avid reader, and the Palmy library was one of the first places I visited when I arrived here. It has been a weekly destination for me ever since.
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.