Rez was born in a United Nations refugee camp in Pakistan as her family escaped their homeland due to the persecution of Kurds. After years of struggle endured in the United Nations refugee camps in Pakistan, Rez and her family were fortunately given the opportunity to settle to New Zealand to and create a new life for ourselves. Her family suffered tremendous difficulties to reach where they are today, having come to New Zealand with absolutely nothing. However, Rez never used their misfortune as a reason to underachieve, and in fact used it as motivation to excel beyond expectations. This drive has been evident from her childhood in that although English was her fourth language, she has gone on to become the first in her family to graduate from secondary school and attend university and is currently in the process of becoming New Zealand’s first Kurdish female lawyer.
Rez Gardi is currently a Law Clerk at New Zealand’s premier law firm Chapman Tripp in the litigation team where she hopes to strengthen her advocacy skills. She is passionate about international law, in particular, human rights. She hopes to focus her legal career on fighting for justice and equality for underprivileged and marginalised people. She has already started working on this through her role as the New Zealand Red Cross’ youth advisor as part of their Humanitarian Services national team. She was selected to represent New Zealand at the Global Refugee Youth Consultations and annual UNHCR – NGO in June 2016 in Geneva.
She is currently working on projects for refugee youth in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Nelson, and will assist New Zealand Red Cross in the planning of co-chairing the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in 2017.
She endeavours to give back to the community and to make the resettlement of new refugees easier than her family’s was by volunteering with a refugee family through Red Cross. She has a tremendous record of community involvement, encapsulated by her participation in the Refugee Services, Refugees as Survivors, UN Youth, Auckland Multicultural Society, the Equal Justice Project, and as a director and founder of the Kurdish Youth Association in New Zealand.