Desi roots in New Zealand go back to the late 18th century when some lascars and sepoys on British East India ships stopping in New Zealand jumped ship to settle there and marry MÄori women. In the first part of this century, the community grew to over 100,000 with a 68 percent growth rate. When Kiwis got their first desi Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand in 2006, Sepia Mutiny blogged about it and the presumably inclusive nature of the symbolic appointment.
But recently that gesture has been overshadowed by a TV host who insisted that Satyanand doesn’t look much like a New Zealander. Add to the mix this week’s media focus on the story of a blue-eyed, blonde Miss IndiaNZ pageant entrant being booed for not “looking Indian” enough, and we have a very Kiwi-flavored reminder about the harms of judging people by their color. I know, I know, it’s 2010 and you thought this was covered on a Wednesday in 1963, but all kinds of people around the world seem to forget. Continue reading