World Refugee Day: ‘Alive’ tells stories of Cambodian resettlement in New Zealand

A mortar and pestle, a pair of scissors and a cooking pot are among the objects Cambodian refugees have kept with them since resettling in New Zealand.

Kim Hak grew up in Cambodia just after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, listening to his family recount their memories of the time. He heard his family share their experiences of the four year rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge during which an estimated 2 million Cambodians died from executions, starvation and disease. Many Cambodians were forced to escape across the border to Thai refugee camps before seeking asylum elsewhere. Knowing these stories needed to be shared, Hak was inspired to start an art series to remember and retell the social history of his country’s past.

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