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Getting Here

A dangerous walk across a dark mountain pass in the dead of night, seven attempts in overcrowded people-smuggling boats – each doomed for disaster, a childhood in a refugee camp, fleeing a warzone while leaving a child behind. . . these are the migration stories of Aotearoa’s refugees. 

Getting Here is a Plains FM podcast series written and produced by four Christchurch refugees and Lana Hart, writer and producer of Widows of Shuhada.  Reflecting on their journeys to New Zealand over many years, Zeinap, Mehdi, Shreejana, and Galawezh bring refugee experiences to life with first-person narratives of love, violence, separation, hunger, loss, and a search for one’s identity across two or more cultures.

Episode 1, Mehdi Azimi.  Leaving his rural village in Afghanistan as a 15-year-old, Mehdi shares his long and perilous journey through an underground network of people smugglers in search of safety, education, and certainty about his future.  He survives several failed attempts on overcrowded boats, then finds his path to freedom on board the cargo freighter Tampa, the boat which became a political issue between the Australian and New Zealand governments in 2001.

Episode 2, Zeinap Hussein.  The war in Somalia in the late 1980’s came too close to home for Zeinap, who decided to leave for Kenya after her family’s home was caught up in crossfires.  Her separation from her family and young son stretched from months to years due to the unexpected violence in her country.  It took years of lonely refuge in Europe before Zeinap could finally be reunited with her family in New Zealand.  

Episode 3, Shreejana Chettri.  Twenty-three-year-old Shreejana was born in one of the largest refugee camps in the world.  Of Bhutanese and Nepali descent, Shreejana’s story takes us back to her childhood memories of hunger, muddy hut floors, and chasing airplanes in the sky.  Her poetic journey asks questions of identity and protection from harm, while revealing the realities of living in the world’s refugee camps.  

Episode 4, Galawezh Noori.  Escaping by foot over a mountain pass, Galawezh tells us how living as an Iranian Kurd forced the family to flee discrimination and violence after the 1989 Iran Revolution. But life in Iraq offered little respite from the fear and uncertainties they thought they had escaped.  Galawezh eventually found safety for her children in New Zealand, but she had to leave so much behind.

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Host: Zeinap, Mehdi, Shreejana, and Galawezh Category: Ethnic Diversity Language: English Website: Visit Programme Website Email:

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