The Balkans in NZ
I am a Rusyn Magyar, Serb New Zealander. My ancestors came from Vojvodina, Dalmatia and Pljevlja… They probably never dreamed that their descendants would end up on the other side of the world, all the way in New Zealand. Dalmatians have been settling in New Zealand since the 1880s and own many beautiful vineyards. There is a Dalmatian club and a folklore ensemble. Over the past several decades, a new wave of immigrants from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia have settled here as well. New Zealand is a multi-ethnic society, with large immigrant communities from China, Korea, India, and other Asian and Pacific places. Balkan communities are relatively small in comparison, but are still significant. It is a pleasant surprise to come across a doctor, dentist, architect, accountant, mechanic, tailor, originally from the Balkans, or to come across a local cafe with the Balkan flavor, a taste of home. Balkan bands play small gigs at local events, but even well known performers such as Zdravko Colic, Goran Bregovic, Emir Kusturica, Hari Mata Hari, Crvena Jabuka, Dino Merlin and Rade Serbedzija have visited here to perform for their excited Balkan audiences. Australia, our neighboring country, has much larger communities that create events such as the Serbian Festival in Sydney, which people from here can go over there to attend. Over the years, I have met many people and made friends with families that immigrated here from across the Balkan region. They have helped me to keep in touch with my heritage and to gain a better understanding of my ancestry. My dream is to travel and someday be able to go on a big tour from Slovenia to Dalmatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Greece all the way to Turkey. What an experience that will be!!! Peace and Love from NZ.