First grief, then change; Tayyaba Khan on what New Zealand does now

Tayyaba Khan

For Auckland is a new Spinoff podcast of civic conversations with people working to create and sustain a better Auckland for all. In episode one host Timothy Giles spoke to Tayyaba Khan about the effect of the tragedy in Christchurch on the Muslim community, grief, identity, and what happens next. 

In a period of shock and grief from the terror attacks in Christchurch, For Auckland had a special opportunity to speak to Tayyaba Khan about what it means for New Zealand. She is the founder of the Khadija Leadership Network, an organisation supporting women leaders in the Muslim community, she is a woman of faith and is a Kiwi leader with international experience in culture and community. She’s worked with the Red Cross and was the CEO the change makers Refugee Forum.

On the podcast she speaks about the way the Christchurch attacks have changed New Zealand forever, how this happened on our shores, and how now is the time to start accepting our differences and be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“We are New Zealanders living in silos, we cannot deny that anymore. I am so frustrated with our use of the word ‘diversity’ everywhere when we haven’t truly accepted diversity in its purest of forms. It is not reflective in our organisations. It is not reflective of our leadership. So actually using it as a marketing stunt is doing nobody any good,” she says.

“And what you can do is actually get to know your neighbour, [regardless of] whatever discomfort has been in the way for you not to reach out. Now is the time to go: ‘I’m gonna get over myself. I’m going to go over, I’m going to say hello and that’s all I need to do’. And actually, even if I don’t need to say hello I can sit with them in silence and be okay with that. I think it’s important we start really connecting with each other and if we can do that, that’s a good starting point for us.”