Many people from refugee backgrounds have made New Zealand their home. Their past may be in another country, but their present and future is here.

This project is about those people. People who have shown extraordinary resilience in the face of adversity, emerging with determination.

New Zealand benefits enormously from resettling refugees. Former refugees make our country a richer and more diverse place to live and significantly contribute to New Zealand’s prosperity.

Yet when people think of refugees it’s often in negative terms – poor, helpless, weak and often as a threat. They see them as a term ‘refugee’, and forget about the people behind the word. Who are they? What are their hopes and dreams? And what do they think about this country they now call home?

Many people forget that being a refugee is only a temporary classification – one stage in the journey to safety. It is not a permanent status but merely a label.

The Redefine Refugee project came about through the need to peel back that label, and remove the barriers and obstacles it creates in the path to resettlement.

The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition want to change the narrative, redefine the word ‘refugee’. Through the use of beautiful images by photographer Nando Azevedo and small snippets of information that provide a window into the lives of individuals, this project shows what happens after refuge has been found, the journey as a refugee has ended and the label has been dropped.

This is about what happens when refugees become Kiwis.

Abann, Daoj & Meri, Former Refugees. New Zealanders Now

“I never had an ethnic background until I moved here, you see: That is just a matter of reference.”


The exhibition is a collaboration between photographer Nando Azevedo and the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition, with support from Amnesty International.

New Zealanders Now: From Refugees to Kiwis‘ is a chance to take these beautiful portraits and present them to the Auckland community.

Featuring 20 black and white framed portraits the exhibition is part of the Auckland Festival of Photography and will run for two weeks in Ponsonby.



Ponsonby Central
126 Ponsonby Road
Crn of Ponsonby & Richmond Road



31 May – 12 June

MON-WED: 9am-5pm
THU-SAT: 9am-9pm
SUN: 9am-7pm



The prints used at the exhibition are available to buy as collectors prints. Prints are made with high quality archival paper and pigment. All prints are produced in a limited edition and signed. They can be seen and ordered at the exhibition or by visiting the photographer’s virtual gallery here.  All proceeds from this collection will go towards The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition and help develop a better future for people from a refugee background resettling in New Zealand.


The New Zealanders Now book is dedicated to the people within its pages.

The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition wanted to take these portraits and stories and share them in a way that empowered the subjects in a timeless manner.

Removing the clutter of the internet and dedicating a space solely for them to share their lives, the book will give readers a chance to connect with these people who have made New Zealand their home.

You can purchase the book at our exhibition or visiting the photographer’s Virtual Gallery.