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My name is Mushtaq Hussain; I identify myself as a Pakistani New Zealander, who is now a New Zealand citizen. I was born in Parachinar, Pakistan, where my family, relatives and ancestry originate from. Before I became a New Zealander, I experienced a challenging resettlement journey that took all of six years. It started in 2013 when I was forced to flee as a teenager from Pakistan to Indonesia, because of the ongoing Religious persecution. I sought asylum for resettlement opportunities in the third country of resettlement and ended up in New Zealand.  

I became New Zealander in September 2017, when I received a permanent resident visa whilst waiting in Indonesia. This was a part of the UNHCR policy that ended a person’s status as a refugee, transitioning them to a permanent resident in their new country. This is when I became New Zealander. I spent 5 years in Immigration detention just for because I seek asylum in Indonesia.

When I arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2018, I have done some research before I arrived here. The weather is totally opposite where I am originally from and there are no dangerous insects in New Zealand here like snakes and scorpions. I felt very pleased after knowing that. My surprise was when I found out that there are more sheeps than people here.

What I like about New Zealand is that majority of people are very kind and nice. New Zealand is very different from other countries. Sometimes I dreamt that I wish I would have been born in New Zealand because of the hospitality. I really like the law where there is no racism and corruption.

New Zealand is the first country where I voted for a party. When I was back in Pakistan I did not vote for any party because none there was worthy to be elected. At the moment I am freelancing in the photography field, also studying Film making full time at Yobee college. I am very happy about how my life is been going on.

The challenges I faced in my settlement and integration process were establishing a network, finding a community, and feeling that I belonged to New Zealand society. My disability became one of the challenges because I already have the skills, I needed to start my career. One big challenge was getting a piece of degree because I have learned throughout my journey in New Zealand without a piece of certificate or degree no one will hire you even you have the right skills and talent. I faced this challenge as discrimination for myself not being able to work even I have the right skills and tools.

I have missed a lot about my country of origin, reflecting on my childhood, before forced displacement, where I grew up in a natural and healthy environment. I miss my homeland of Pakistan with its beautiful landscape, people, families, relatives’ friends, natural food. I really miss the Qissa Khwani Bazaar where I used to eat heaps of food, I really miss Charsi Tikka (Addictive Tikka) where if you have ate this tikka one time you get the pleasure as you have smoked weed(in tikka there is no weed).

‘’The best deed of a great human to forgive and forget’’ Imam Ali.

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