Syrians Nazeh, Mirvat and their three children fled their homeland in 2012, literally running for their lives and being shot at as they boarded a bus for Lebanon.
They realised their lives were in danger when father Nazeh was accused of supporting one side of the conflict by helping injured civilians at a makeshift hospital in his home.
“You cannot stop and think, there is no time to think. You have to move,” he says.
When they fled they grabbed just what they could carry, leaving everything else behind, including family, friends, home and businesses.
After two and a half years in Thailand, where Mirvat worked as an Arabic teacher, the family was accepted to New Zealand under the refugee quota.
Sitting in their Wellington living room, drinking homemade cardamom coffee, a Syrian specialty, Mirvat tells of her relief. After some online research, she knew they would find safety in New Zealand.
“I thought if they have 40 million sheep, we are safe,” she explains.