Racism is rife in NZ. Interestingly however it does not preclude you from surviving in this country. There are a number of strategies for avoiding it:
1. Don't walk on sidewalks; as you stand a greater risk of copping a beer bottle in the back of your head.
2. Deal in business through a local who gives you credibility. They will however extort a value from you, i.e. You pay them $80/hour to act as an agent for you, when they collect $130/hour...simply to facilitate the trade with a racist client.
3. Don't live or holiday where racists prevail or dominate. i.e. Anywhere from Wanaka to Christchurch is a problem, as well as the North Shore of Auckland, and I suspect Napier and Nelson areas, but that's just a guesstimate based on my analysis.
More interesting is how people are dealing with it. I see today that TV One News has released a story of how New Zealanders are now miraculously less racist today because of the earthquake. This strikes me as political correctness more than an actual shift in values. The attitude seems to be that - since racism is a taboo - if we convey a story that racism is not present and legitimate - then we can drive the racism underground. It just might work.
I guess you have to praise their efforts; but it makes you wonder whether the motivation is really just to protect those tourist dollars. I note that a different headline advances the argument that racism is getting as bad as Australia. This moral relativism perhaps betrays the moral commitment of some Kiwis because racism is far more prevalent in NZ than Australia; though of course much depends on where you live. I've lived and been in most places in both countries; and always with Asians...and I might also place this all in perspective...there is plenty of racism in Asia...that does not justify it.
The problem of racism arises for several different reasons:
1. The expectation that people accept your cultural edicts - and their unwillingness to do so
2. The attribution of certain value judgements to certain people
3. The collective persecution of certain people for not accepting or adopting your values
4. The attribution or correlation of certain negative consequences with immigrants. i.e. Usually economic consequences like the prospect of your neighbourhood becoming a ghetto, or overcrowded, lots of litter, unemployment (i.e. you can't geta job because of immigration).
5. The lack of connection with these people; or superficial exposure, that precludes people from appreciating their context
These factors constituent reasons why people might feel compelled to display racist sentiments. The flip-side is that Westerners feel more open and vocal in their right to express racial sentiments, so racism is more apparent in the West. The effect is the opposite. In the Philippines, people will travel 20kms to meet me because they think they can get some money out of me....because all foreigners are wealthy right? Or freely dispense visas. There is such a lack of awareness in the West as well. Not all Asian immigrants are factory workers; or retired prostitutes. A great many of them have more university qualifications and entrepreneurial zeal than yourself. Surely the best way to cure racism is to sentence offenders to 1 year of living in a foreign 'Asian' country. When I was in Japan 10 years ago, the 'truckie' father of an English teacher came over to stay with him; he was cured in 3 weeks. Over that time I witnessed a transformation in his personal expression and mode of engagement.