4 May 2016

Syrian lawyer on adapting to a new life in NZ

From Nine To Noon, 11:32 am on 4 May 2016
Mouhannad Taha

Mouhannad Taha Photo: supplied

Due to fears of being targetted Syrian lawyer Mouhannad Taha left his home country in favour of a new life with his young family in New Zealand.

Taha was a lawyer in Damascus for 17 years until  the horrors of the Syrian conflict and the precarious nature of his profession came too close to home.

First, a  friend and colleague was kidnapped leaving court, then  another was shot on his way home. He himself says he escaped death many times.

Finally, it got too much to bear when his cousin, her husband, and their twin daughters were kidnapped and then murdered.

Despite this Taha says the decision to leave was still difficult  – as was the thought of adapting to an entirely new life, as well as a new judicial system.

That was over four years ago, and since relocating to Dunedin in 2012 he has become this country's first Syrian New Zealand qualified lawyer.