Topic: Javed Chaudhry
Community Leader, Social Worker, Director of first and only Pakistani restaurant, Business/Project Manager, Scientist and Community worker
Migrating always involves change, but for a Pakistani scientist who moved to New Zealand it has also meant a change in career.
Javed Chaudhry and his family had been running the Hamilton East Pakistani restaurant, Tandoor, for number of years; a dramatic change from his old life in Islamabad working as a senior scientist/project manager, in charge of the Northern Punjab and the North West Frontier Provinces of Pakistan, in a project which was a joint venture between the government of Pakistan and Switzerland.
When Javed arrived in New Zealand he said he received a "big shock" when it came to employment. He had so far been unsuccessful in finding work as a scientist, partly due, he believed, to the lack of jobs in his chosen field, but also due to his immigrant status.
At one job he did apply for he was pointedly told a "local person" had filled the position.
He said some members of the public had preconceived opinions about immigrants, many of them false. "The people who come here on the points system are very qualified people. New Zealand receives the cream from many other countries, I can tell you".
To avoid the kind of frustrations he has faced, Javed believes the Government should only allow immigrants into the country who have skills that are in demand. He had "enjoyed working in the hospitality sector and interacting with Kiwis, while managing the business." It was Javed's work that spurred him to leave Pakistan in search of a better life for his family. Working on projects for the Pakistani Government and other European governments meant plenty of travel around the world where he saw lifestyles in both developed and undeveloped countries.
As a result of his travels he believed his children would have a better lifestyle and better education outside Pakistan. A work colleague recommended New Zealand as "the finest place in the world". Javed applied for residency under the skilled migrant category and arrived here with his wife, Naheed, and three children, Sadia, Hassan and Mohsin in 1994. "We thought we would go and see what it is like. If we liked it, we would stay; if not, we could always go back home."
Becoming a businessman
Javed said he is now very happy to remain living in New Zealand and while work had been hard to find, the scientist had turned his mind to other things, including his job as Director of Hamilton's first and only Pakistani restaurant, which opened in March 2002.
The family always wished to contribute towards the society. Javed says "My family got together and we thought, if we are going to be here, what we will be doing". The family hoped by opening the restaurant they could provide authentic Pakistani food which is healthy and tasty and in that way introduce New Zealanders to Pakistani culture and contribute towards the community.
The restaurant had couple of cook, brought especially from Pakistan, who used local vegetables and meat and imported Pakistani spices to create the healthy, flavoursome food Pakistan was famous for.
The restaurant was quite popular and the second year after its opening won the best ethnic dish award in Waikato rated by the Waikato Times. Kiwis, regardless of any reservations, tried our food and many became regulars; not only this but the business prospered with their positive word of mouth. Javed and his family had found New Zealanders open-minded and prepared to make their own assessments and judgments.
Javed and his family were already organising Pakistani traditional celebrations for the Pakistani community in Hamilton on an informal level, however, his fellow Pakistanis Shahzad Hussain Syed and Syed Mughees Bukhari desired the need to have a formally registered association and asked him to take a lead in this matter since he was already organising cultural events and acted as a binding force in the Pakistani Community. Javed accepted their friendly request. Javed, along with the active involvement of fellow Pakistanis Alme Jacub (who came to New Zealand in 1949 to join her husband already living in the King Country), Syed Mohammed Taqi Mehdi, Shahzad Hussain Syed and Syed Mughees Bukhari set up the Pakiwi Friendship Association of New Zealand Inc.; an organisation for Pakistanis living in the Waikato to get together and celebrate Pakistani traditions, culture and celebrations.
Javed was the founder president of the Pakiwi Friendship Association of New Zealand Inc. which was officially launched by the Mayor David Braithwaite in August 2004. Javed's passion for working and helping the community however was not just limited to the Pakistani community but he soon became integrated in other ethnic and host community groups mainly through interaction and coordination with the Hamilton City Council's Community Development Unit and joining other community groups as well.
Javed has previously held appointments in Hamilton community groups. These include Trustee in the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust, Waikato Migrant Resource Centre, where he held a governance roll, and Chairman of the Depressive Disorders Support Group, where he had a governance and management roll. The latter group was established by social worker Tessa Westenra about 30 years ago.
Javed says Kiwis are amazing; he enjoys living and working with them in New Zealand and now feels very much a part of the society. Javed feels a great sense of achievement while working for and helping community groups in the best interest of the society. He was an active Volunteer Member of the Tsunami Relief Fund Committee (Waikato) 2005, and Pakistan Earth Quake (2005) Relief Fund Committee plus Volunteer Project Coordinator of the successfully instigated 'Cultural Village' at Waikato Show 2013. He was nominated for the '2010 Volunteer of the Year' in recognition of his services for the community, hosted by the Volunteering Waikato.
Javed does a lot of work for a wide variety of community organisations, and In quest of working for the broader community he took part in the Local Government Elections 2013 and contested for East Ward Councillor, Hamilton City Council, and Member, Waikato District Health Board; securing almost 2000 votes, this number was inspiring for Javed; He then again contested in 2016 elections and secured almost 2700 votes for Waikato District Health Board and almost 2400 votes for the Hamilton City Council.
Javed had the opportunity to work in the Executive Committee of the Manawatu Muslims Association, Palmerston North, New Zealand for about seven years on different positions. The time of purchasing Palmerston North Islamic Centre (1995/96), 81 Cook Street, he was holding the office of the Vice President of the Association and worked determinedly towards fund raising and accomplishing the terms of purchasing of the Centre. Palmerston North's Islamic Centre is unique; it has got separate big praying halls each for the men and women plus a room for the library. On top of this, some rooms available for rent to the single Muslim men with having its own kitchen and massive lounge.
Javed currently attributing Governance & Management rolls on a Committee of Diabetes New Zealand (Waikato Branch). Diabetes NZ (Waikato Banch) provides information, education, support and advocacy for all people affected by Diabetes. We are a reference point for ALL 14,000 people with Diabetes in the Waikato region of New Zealand.
Javed and Naheed's family have now grown up and their elder son, Hassan, is married. Hassan has done Management Degree majoring in Account & Finance and working as tax investigator in New Zealand Tax Department (IRD). Hassan and his wife Ayesha reside in Hamilton along with their daughters, Alina 10, Alisha 6 and Zara 5. Their daughter Sadia has done Chartered Accountancy and working as an Auditor. Mohsin has done Medicine Degree from School of Medicine, Otago University, Dunedin; and working as GP in Auckland.
Local newspapers such as the Waikato Times and Hamilton Press have published several articles about Javed:
'Tandoor venture was not for the chicken,' written by Tiffany Martin, appeared in the Waikato Times of 8 July 2006 on page A 16.
'Pakistani family brings homeland flavour to city,' written by Louise Cunningham, appeared on page 11 of the Waikato Times of 7 Sept 2004.
'Traditional tandoor cooking brings tastebuds back to earth,' by Jeff Howell, appeared in the Waikato Times of 13 April 2002, on page22.
'Pakistani family brings homeland flavour to city,' by Louise Cunningham, appeared in the Waikato Times of 7 September 2004, on page 11.
'Chaudhry hears plea for more volunteers,' written by Libby Gudmundsson, was published in the Hamilton Press of 12 November 2008, on page 9, when Javed was elected chairman of the Hamilton-based Depressive Disorders Support Group.
( Hard copies of these articles are available at the Hamilton Central Library for reference)