Bahai News - The long road to success

The long road to success

It has meant leaving her homeland, and juggling a family, a faith and assignments, but tomorrow Mina Moayyed will join around 300 students graduating from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

Nearly six years of part and fulltime study will be recognised when she receives her bachelor of commerce degree, majoring in marketing, at the Trafalgar Centre.

It's hasn't been an easy road for Mrs Moayyed, whose Baha'i faith meant she was not allowed to attend university in her homeland of Iran.

An Islamic government in the early 1980s had expelled all Baha'i students from universities there, and Baha'i were also not allowed to work in governmental institutions.

Because of this, Mrs Moayyed fled to Pakistan with a view to moving on to Europe or Canada to study.

While in Pakistan she met her husband Monib and the couple decided to come to New Zealand where it was "peaceful and away from the rest of the world".

They joke they were told everyone in New Zealand owned a house, a car, a boat and a colour television.

"We're still behind," Mr Moayyed said, "because we haven't got a boat yet."

The New Zealand Baha'i community sponsored them to come to New Zealand and they arrived in 1986.

The move to Nelson from the city of Lahore, Pakistan, home to 10 million people, took some adjustment, she said.

"We thought it (Nelson) was a ghost town. We wondered where all the people and cars were."

However, the Nelson Baha'i community was very welcoming and their concerns were rapidly dispelled.

"There were people with flowers waiting for us when we arrived and a roast dinner. We felt so loved."

Speaking hardly any English, Mrs Moayyed spent two or three months teaching herself the language before she started a fulltime office management certificate at what was then Nelson Polytechnic.

"Whenever I stood up to say something in class they (other students) would burst into laughter.

"The first few months were very agonising."

When degree courses came on offer at NMIT, she cross-credited some of her papers and began her commerce studies.

After moving to Wellington last year for her husband's job, she finished her degree at Victoria University.

Mr Moayyed said he was very proud of his wife's achievements.

"It took quite a lot of effort. She did this when we had two quite little children and I was working fulltime, so the burden of the family was on her.

"She was a straight-A student, so she has done a great job."

Her husband and two children will be present to see her march in the lunchtime parade tomorrow and for the ceremony.

Mrs Moayyed plans to find a marketing job when she returns from an upcoming overseas trip, and then begin an MBA in a few years time.


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