News Centre

Abbas Nazari – After the Tampa

Johann Ang (Year 12)

New Zealand number one bestselling author, Abbas Nazari, came to Sancta Maria College during Writer’s Week to talk to students about his book, “After the Tampa” – his story about being a refugee, fleeing Afghanistan. It emotionally impacted everyone (from Year 7’s to 13’s) because of the undeniable truth that no one will experience being a refugee at Sancta Maria.

August 2022 marks the 21st anniversary of the globally famous Tampa affair that publicly displayed the difficulties associated with being a refugee. Nazari was one of the 438 displaced people rescued from the Container Ship, Tampa. As a child, he did not understand the extent and complexities of what was happening. During his talk, Nazari discussed the contents of his book and his journey from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Indonesia and then getting denied by the Australian government before receiving acceptance from New Zealand. His quick recap of his book ended with how his family were adjusting to New Zealand now.

Afterwards, some lucky scholarships students from both English and History were invited to have a workshop with him in the library. He continued his story while teaching the students about the ‘Art of Storytelling’ and ‘Difference between what you’re saying and what is on the paper’, and some career advice.

Finally, Nazari talked about how to link his teachings with our school. He said we should focus on how to make your essay stand out from everyone else’s.

Overall, the talk and the session afterwards were extremely informative, inspired students, and developed greater insight into the lives of refugees. Thank you to the school librarians for organizing this amazing opportunity and Abbas Nazari for coming to see us!