Rez Gardi

“Two Boys” Annual 2

Rez was born in a United Nations refugee camp in Pakistan, where her Kurdish family escaped persecution in their homeland of Kurdistan.
After years of struggle, Rez and her family were fortunately given the opportunity to create a new life for themselves in New Zealand. Her family suffered tremendous difficulties to reach where they are today. They came to New Zealand with absolutely nothing.

Rez has used her difficult start in life as motivation to succeed. She is New Zealand’s first Kurdish female lawyer. She was awarded the Young New Zealander of the Year in 2017 for her services to human rights, and she was also a Women of Influence finalist. Rez hopes to use her legal career to fight for justice and equality for underprivileged and marginalised people. She is doing this through her current role as a global refugee youth advocate.

Rez is passionate about supporting young refugees and believes education is pivotal to changing their future. This led to her founding Empower, a charitable organisation that provides a mentoring and support programme to address the underrepresentation of refugee students in tertiary education.

Rez is committed to helping new New Zealanders settle here. She wants it to be as easy for them as possible. She’s currently working on projects for refugee youth in our main centres.

Empower Youth