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Doco: Chance To Be In Same Boat As Tampa Refugees

A chance to be in the same boat as the Tampa refugees

Four years since the arrival of the Tampa refugees, New Zealanders will have the opportunity to hear their incredible story in the world premiere of Pacific Solution: From Afghanistan to Aotearoa.


The Auckland section of it DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival is from the 15th - 28th of September at the Academy Cinema, Lorne Street. Tickets for DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival are on sale at the Academy Cinema. For more information visit


The Tampa refugees are 438 Afghanis who on the day the World Trade Center crumbled were awash in a small boat off the coast of Australia, fleeing the persecution of the Taleban regime.

The refugees who were rescued by the Norwegian freighter, MV Tampa, were plunged into a cloud of controversy when they were refused entry into Australia and then accepted into New Zealand.

Directed by James Frankham, Pacific Solution: From Afghanistan to Aotearoa tells of the Tampa refugees experiences, the new home they find in New Zealand, and the remarkable quest of their families to join them.

Producer Dr Annie Goldson believes the story is an important one to tell as refugees are often misunderstood and it is an opportunity to open people’s eyes.

“There are parts of the world that are falling apart as a result of events such as the Cold War and the rise of the Taliban. Therefore my sense is that there are moral, historic and legal reasons to support such refugees,” says Dr Goldson.

Those who attend will be able to increase their knowledge on the topic by participating in a question and answer session at the end of the documentary with producer Dr Goldson. As well, a number of families who participated in the documentary will be present. New Zealand is one of only 16 countries that regularly accept refugees, taking in a quota of 750 a year. “Significant social and economic value is added to our country by refugees and their families,” says the Auckland regional coordinator for RMS Refugee Resettlement, Jill Conway. “It is RMS’ experience that the vast majority of refugee children grow up to be fluently bilingual or multilingual. As New Zealand continues to pursue expanded global economic opportunities, such attributes can only be beneficial.”

RMS Refugee Resettlement is the national resettlement agency which works to help refugees build new lives in New Zealand and was the key agency involved in the resettlement of Tampa refugees.

There is a common misconception that refugees choose to come to New Zealand. In fact they are forced out of their own countrys in order to escape persecution and conflict and therefore have little choice. This is what differenitates refugees from immigrants.

RMS Refugee Resettlement helps people such as the Tampa refugees through public education, refugee policy and service provision. The later includes a volunteer programme where volunteers are partnered with refugees during their initial resettlement when they are getting to grips with the New Zealand way of life.

Pacific Solution: From Afghanistan to Aotearoa is superseded by the documentary Seoul Train allowing attendees to experience two eye-opening refugee stories at once. Seoul Train, directed by Jim Butterworth and Lisa Sleeth details the flouting of international laws by major countries and follows activists who try to help North Korean refugees who are attempting to escape their country.

The one-off screenings of the two documentaries will be at 8.45pm on Wednesday September 21st at the Academy Cinema as part of DOCNZ, New Zealand’s first International Documentary Film Festival.

Our Road to Kosovo is the third refugee documentary in the festival. This screens at 8.30pm on Tuesday 27 September and tells of the struggles of an Albanian family forced to live in a refugee camp during the 1999/2000 Kosovo conflict.

The Auckland section of it DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival is from the 15th - 28th of September at the Academy Cinema, Lorne Street. Tickets for DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival are on sale at the Academy Cinema. For more information visit


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