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Cultural Competency – Module 2: Cultural Diversity: Video 2

New Zealand has always had many different cultural communities. First there was the arrival of Māori, followed by the partnership between Māori and Pākehā under the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Since then, many different groups have come to New Zealand including migrants from Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, and North and South America.
In Aotearoa New Zealand we often provide care to people from backgrounds very different from our own. This may be a new Somali immigrant in Wellington, a young Māori man from Kerikeri, or an older Chinese woman whose family has lived here for five generations.

New Zealand was not known to Europeans until 1642. Over 150 years later, settlers started to arrive from England, Scotland and Ireland. The journey was long, arduous and uncomfortable, but they came in the hope of a better life. From the 20th century onwards, war, persecution and other troubles have led groups and individuals to migrate to New Zealand. Others have come by choice, seeking a change of lifestyle.

So what do we mean by ‘culture’?

There are a lot of different definitions but in general, “culture” means a group of people who share certain things – these might be a view of the world, a language, a set of customs, certain activities, and a pattern of beliefs. Culture is a lot more than what we see. Culture is like an iceberg. Only a small part of what makes up a culture is actually visible.

Culture is not just about our race or what we look like or what language we speak. Culture is much more than that. Culture can be about religion, occupation, and lifestyle. Examples include deaf culture, gay culture, military culture, even gang culture.

We all belong to lots of different cultures, and we can belong to several cultures at the same time or different cultures at different times.

Culture often comes from our ethnicity. In the New Zealand healthcare system we need to be aware of Māori culture and the unique position of Māori as indigenous people and Treaty partner.