9 Dec 2019

Episode 2: Really Nice Potato Sacks - Conversations With My Immigrant Parents

From Conversations With My Immigrant Parents, 6:00 am on 9 December 2019

<<< Previous Episode | IndexNext Episode >>>

  • Content warning: This episode also explores themes around mental health.
Grace and Joseph Trinidad at a party organised by their Filipino community group.

Grace and Joseph Trinidad at a party organised by their Filipino community group. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

Really Nice Potato Sacks

Joseph Trinidad in Waipawa, Hawke's Bay.

Joseph Trinidad in Waipawa, Hawke's Bay. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

Many New Zealanders may be surprised to learn of the large Filipino community in the Hawke’s Bay.  It’s a well-organised and tightly-run ship with elected presidents responsible for running events including games for Easter, Valentine's Day pageants, Halloween festivities, and of course gathering together en masse to celebrate the birthdays of the many children and grandchildren across various families.

The Trinidads – made up of son Joseph Trinidad, his sister Elyx, and their parents Grace and Jose – moved to Hawke’s Bay 10 years ago and are active members of the community.  Jose was a farmer back in the Philippines before selling his livestock to come and work in the dairy industry in New Zealand.  He worked as an ‘Overseas Filipino Worker’ here for three years before he was able to bring the rest of his whānau over.

His son Joseph recalls the transition as a 13 year old from the bustling Philippines to rural New Zealand, “It was cool to move to a different country, I can be a different personality and no one knows who I am.  But the biggest change was we had such a busy life in the Philippines where we’d go out every weekend, go to the city, go to the mall - we wouldn't come home until 9pm and here… everything closes at 5pm.”

Grace Trinidad in Waipawa, Hawke's Bay.

Grace Trinidad in Waipawa, Hawke's Bay. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

Joseph now lives in Wellington with his partner Max, and works in a call centre.  He travelled back to Hawke’s Bay to record this podcast with his mother.  Grace was a professor in the Philippines but struggled to find adequate teaching work here.  She currently works at a pet food packing factory.

In the episode Grace and Joseph talk about Filipino accents, Joseph’s coming out experience, and sexuality and freedom within the Catholic Church.

“Remember when you were in the hospital telling me that you are gay? What was the first thing I told you?” asks Grace.

“You don't care. And you already knew,” replies Joseph.

“Even the wider Filipino community knows that I'm gay.  And I don't know what they say behind closed doors, but they've always been nice to me.”

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7).  This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7), free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
  • What's Up: Online chat (3pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 helpline (12pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)
  • Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
  • Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116
  • Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Series Classification: G (General Programmes)

[click here for more episodes]

(L-R) Podcast hosts Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu.

(L-R) Podcast hosts Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu. Photo: Saraid de Silva / Julie Zhu

Conversations With My Immigrant Parents is a podcast and video series hosted, produced, and directed by Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu.

Saraid de Silva is a Sri Lankan/Pākehā actor and writer.  Her work deals with contemporary feminism and the realities of being a first generation South Asian New Zealander.

Born in China, Julie Zhu is a filmmaker, photographer, and storyteller focused on championing the stories and voices of marginalised identities.

| Twitter: @saraiddesilva@juliezhuu | Instagram: @convoswithmy | Facebook: whereareyoufromreally |

RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund logos

Photo: RNZ/NZ On Air