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Migrant Journeys – New Zealand Taxi Drivers tell their Stories

Migrant Journeys cover
Migrant Journeys – New Zealand Taxi Drivers tell their Stories
Adrienne Jansen & Liz Grant, Portraits by Michael Hall

Bridget Williams Books, 2015

You’re at the airport. You want a cab so you head for the long line of taxis sitting on the rank. You take the first. Chances are the driver will be a first generation migrant – the taxi industry in New Zealand has become a microcosm of multiculturalism.
Adrienne Jansen and Liz Grant

Migrant Journeys is about driving taxis in New Zealand cities – and it is about much more than that. Here fourteen migrant taxi drivers talk about their lives – where they came from and why they came here, what it was like to settle in New Zealand, how they got into the taxi business, and how they see this country and its people.

Some of the drivers came as refugees, others in the hope of making a better life for their families. They came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Croatia, Fiji, India, Iraq, Samoa, Serbia and Somalia, and many have professional or skilled backgrounds, with qualifications and experience in their home countries. Although some speak of disillusionment and disappointment, others talk of new opportunities, or the flexibility of being ‘your own boss’ as a taxi driver. And at the heart of these ‘migrant journeys’ lies the future of their family and children.

So six of us talked about how to set up a taxi business…  A lot of people said, ‘Hey, you guys are Iraqis, so why did you choose the name Kiwi Cabs?’ Well, wherever we live, we want to be part of it. I am living here, and I want to serve this place as well as I can. That’s how we were thinking when we established this company. – Muneer Oraha, Managing Director, Kiwi Cabs, Wellington


For a country of migrants, this is a ‘must read’. As a first-generation migrant and new dad, I read the stories and recognised so many of the experiences. I felt the pain and rejoiced at the successes in these profoundly honest stories. – Economist and author Shamubeel Eaqub


Taxi drivers tell of abuse, racism and building a new life in a strange land‘, Nikki MacDonald, Sunday Star Times, 31 October 2015

Radio NZ Migrant Journeys Adrienne Jansen and Helmi Al Khattat.
Helmi Al Khattat and Adrienne Jansen talk to Wallace Chapman

Available from Bridget Williams Books