I am Camille Nakhid and I’m from Trinidad. I came to New Zealand in 1988. My partner comes from Samoa and when we got together we thought, “Well, where will we live?”

I saw the debate on the nuclear issue between David Lange and Jerry Falwell and thought that this would be a pretty interesting country to come to.

I can’t compare between New Zealand and Trinidad. I’m a born and bred Trinidadian. I call myself Trini to the bone, that’s an expression. Trinidad is not just my ancestral place, it is my spiritual home. It will always be my home. New Zealand is where I live now. I like New Zealand. But both places are different.

Home is where I feel I belong. I can feel at home anywhere. I belong here. You get to know people, you get to know the culture, I like Māori culture here, and you get to know the indigenous people. So, you know, finding out about a place, its history, knowing people and their traditions, I think that’s what home is.

I have this steel pan instrument with me. Everything else I brought with me has gone apart from some clothes that I brought. Most of the stuff I brought was food. So, you know, food isn’t going to last. Rum definitely isn’t going to last.

Playing this instrument is joy. Happiness. Fun. It’s a fun instrument, you know, it brings back memories of carnivals and the hot sun. Just everything that is about the spirit of Trinidad is the steel pan.

We play together. Our steel band has people from many places. Some who’ve been playing with us for a few years and some are new additions to the team. We have three South Africans, kind of like pseudo-Trinidadians, and a person from Bolivia who drinks like a Trini.

***

There is nothing about New Zealand that I would like to see change. It is more about what happens in New Zealand. I would like to see a lot more action and less lip-service to the Treaty. I want to see more reality around embracing the Treaty and recognition of it.

It is a beautiful country, but there are still elements of racism here. This needs to be acknowledged before it can be addressed. An attitude of ‘if you think we’re racist, go back’ that doesn’t help anyone.

If I could change one other thing, I would change the weather so it’s 28 degrees all year around.

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