May 2016: A story about Migrant Journeys

Here’s a postscript to Migrant Journeys, the stories of migrant taxi drivers in NZ. Helmi Al Khattat, one of the drivers in the book, was interviewed on Radio NZ. His story is particularly moving and poignant. When he came to New Zealand as a refugee from Iraq, he did everything a country might want him to do. He was a fluent English speaker, but he studied more. He was an experienced mechanic, but he did a mechanic’s qualification.  But he could not get a job. He loves New Zealand, he wants his kids to grow up here. I always had an idea that if Helmi could be interviewed when the book was published, maybe someone would offer him a job. And it happened. After the interview someone contacted me about a mechanic’s job. But it was too late. Helmi had already moved to Australia – where he got a job straight away. New Zealand welcomed him generously, then shut its door on him. A lot to think about..