Many of them, who still hold their home country close to their heart despite being away for years, gathered for a simple meal of curry puffs, chicken curry and other traditional delicacies at the Christchurch Islamic Centre.
Ann Klassen, 49, who has been living here for about 15 years, said she was surprised to see the crowd at the buffet luncheon organised by Putera 1Malaysia Club.
|Safe and sound: Faizah (bespectacled) with her children (from left) |
Fatimah Zahra Rahman, 15, Yasmin, eight, Zulaikha, three and Aisyah 12
at the luncheon
The mother of three said although she wanted to go home, she had to remain in New Zealand until her children, aged 18 to 27 years, completed their education.
“I want to go back and retire with my husband,” said the Malaccan.
Her husband Ng Swee Phuan, 59, a Malacca Peranakan, said he continued to speak Malay at their home in Sockburn, here.
“The eldest of my boys can write and speak the language,” he said, adding that his wife had brought along Malay books for them to read and learn.
Sabahan Alvina Lo, 47, who arrived here seven years ago to be with her children, said they were considering returning to Malaysia as the country was safe and stable.
Accounting post-graduate student Faizah Mohd Khalid, 38, who has only been in Christchurch for six months, said although the city was beautiful, it was scary as she did not know when an earthquake would strike.
Describing the earthquake on Feb 22 as traumatic, the University of Canterbury student said it affected her family, especially her three-year-old daughter.
“She would cry incessantly whenever there were aftershocks or loud noises for the three days after the earthquake,” said Faizah.
Club president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said he was happy with the large turnout of Malaysians at the event.
“The earthquake has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it has brought so many of us together today,” said Abdul Azeez, who also presented NZD300 to NZD500 (RM670 to RM1,117) as financial aid, and laptops to various Malaysian student associations here