Porirua taxi driver tells a migrant’s story
An author and a taxi company manager who live in Porirua are challenging what they believe is a New Zealand myth of racial equality.
Author and teacher Adrienne Jansen’s fifth non-fiction book details stories of migrant taxi drivers and the challenges they’ve faced.
Migrant Journeys tells 14 stories of taxi drivers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, including the story of Porirua man Rajesh Gordon.
‘‘I’ve heard a lot of stories from people coming to New Zealand, and it’s always interested me,’’ Jansen said.
‘‘I had this idea of doing a collection of stories on taxi drivers for a long time.
‘‘A lot of them have had different sorts of lives in their own country and some even have professional qualifications, but aren’t given the same job opportunities here.’’
Jansen, who has lived in Porirua for 35 years, teaches creative writing at Whitireia Polytechnic.
She said New Zealand did not always do a good job helping migrants find the right kinds of jobs. Gordon’s is one such case. The manager of Porirua Taxis moved from India in 2000 with a masters degree in commerce, and dreamed of working as an accountant for a major corporate.
Instead, he was turned down frequently. losing out to what he was told was ‘‘a more qualified applicant’’.
‘‘When I arrived in New Zealand, I was very impressed by the cleanliness of the country and how beautiful it was,’’ Gordon said.
He lived in Auckland with his wife and two children before moving south in 2005, so his wife could complete nursing training.
In Wellington, Gordon considered doing an MBA at Victoria University. However, the degree cost $40,000 and there was no guarantee of employment once certified, so he turned to the taxi business.
‘‘There was no other option. I was approached by a local taxi company that was taking my autistic son to and from a special school, so I joined them.
‘‘I was driving for three years before I was offered the manager’s position.’’
Rajesh Gordon moved from India to New Zealand in 2000 and is now the manager of Porirua Taxis.