My name is Hanna Wiskari and I am from Sweden. I am a musician and a music tutor. I moved to New Zealand because I met and married a kiwi.

He was an art student and we met at a student hostel. My object is my musical instrument, my saxophone, because that is an important part of who I am.

Although the saxophone is not a Swedish instrument, I play traditional Scandinavian music on it, these tunes historically have a lot of fiddle music. I grew up with the music and my Dad played traditional instruments. So, yes, the Saxophone is not a traditional instrument, but I found ways of playing traditional tunes on it. It’s interesting, and I am still figuring out what to do with my musical language here in New Zealand. Music is such a big part of my identity. The music I play isn’t well-known in Europe, let alone New Zealand - it’s not part of the mainstream music scene.

In the beginning I found New Zealand mainstream music to be such a mix of things. I was quite depressed, but now I’m starting to use it in different ways and adapt it. It’s quite exciting. I’m meeting creative people and finding my network, and that takes a long time. I think it’s good for everyone to learn new languages and adapt to a new culture.


We came here fairly recently to see what it would be like for a year. Not long after we decided to stay for a bit longer. Emotionally, I’ve gone through different phases over time. I lived here for a year as a student 10 years ago, but it’s a different experience now. Now I have kids and a family, so I’ve settled in a bit more.

Moving to a new place is a big jump to take and it takes time and energy to build. Sometimes you take a place you grow up in for granted, and when you you’re your life can become a bit of a rollercoaster – But it’s not impossible. Right now, I feel happy and I think it’s a good thing to be in a new place. I get to take up new opportunities and I’m beginning to figure out a bit more about how things work here.

I started playing the Saxophone when I was about ten years old. My interest in Scandinavian folk music grew from an early age, and it’s something that connects with the country I am from. I started listening to fiddles and trying to imitate them. The soprano sax is my instrument. I bought this one. I’ve played the Saxophone for 25 years.

My dad is a musician and plays traditional music. My brother is a musician too. My mum played the organ in the church. My connection with music is quite special because it’s my connection with my family and my country as well. There are many things I don’t miss, but I do miss my family and my music.

I think that people who are from New Zealand feel a very strong connect to the land and I find that fascinating. Perhaps, because it is not as crowded as maybe India or Europe, or maybe history has something to do with it. Living in two countries, comparing two countries, you adapt.

I can’t speak my mother tongue here, and when speaking in English I sometimes feel limited in expressing my thoughts. There is no perfect word for some Swedish words. We speak Swedish and English, Swinglish, at home. The kids can speak a bit of English now - kids are so fast; they take no time and just change language.

My husband, who is from here, struggled more in Sweden when we lived there than I do here. Probably because there is such a mix of people here and people in general are more relaxed and talk more to each other. People are a bit more reserved in Scandinavia in general.

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