Wintec student Basira Frotan, had a dream come true during a class trip to Fieldays, when she got the opportunity to
thank Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, for her support of Muslims in New Zealand.
Basira, from Afghanistan, has been in New Zealand for six years. This was her first visit to Fieldays
, the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere and she had no idea what to expect. What she didn’t
anticipate was a meeting with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Wintec Centre for Languages tutor, Karen Kemsley took Basira and her classmates along to the official opening ceremony
and it was there, they happened to hear the Prime Minister speak.
Basira, who has dreamt of hugging Jacinda and thanking her since the Christchurch shootings in March, described how
Jacinda’s words, “We are one” and “They are us”, had touched her heart and gave her energy when she was reeling from the
shock of the shootings.
In an interview with Wintec Media Arts student, Hollie Blanchard
on 18 April, 2019, Basira shared her dream saying: “One day, I really want to meet her and to hug her, and say thank
Less than two months later, at Fieldays, Basira got her opportunity when her tutor led her through the Prime Minister’s
entourage, chatted briefly with the security detail and arranged for Basira to talk with the Prime Minister. Basira did
the rest, catching the Prime Minister’s attention with a gentle greeting. Jacinda Ardern immediately reached out and
stopped to chat with Basira, giving her the chance to say words she’s being longing to say, “Thank you”.
Basira described to Jacinda how her words had made her feel strong and how seeing the Prime Minister hug a woman in a
hijab had moved her. She thanked her “for bringing all New Zealanders together on New Zealand’s darkest day”. While
chatting, they recalled that they’d both attended a welcoming ceremony for New Zealand Army interpreters six years ago,
and after talking for a minute or so, they hugged, thanked each other and said goodbye.
Basira’s feet haven’t touched the ground since.
“My dream came true!” says Basira.