A peaceful and hard-working man

A peaceful and hard-working man

Police today paid tribute to Dr Hashem Slaimankhel, the Kiwi community leader who was killed at the weekend while travelling in Afghanistan.

Dr Slaimankhel was among at least 100 people known to have died when a suicide bomber drove an ambulance into a crowded Kabul street.

Police staff worked closely with Dr Slaimankhel through interfaith events, family harm initiatives and refugee resettlement activities, noting his warmth and generosity toward members of all communities.

Assistant Commissioner Wally Haumaha said Dr Slaimankhel was a strong advocate for former refugees and ethnic communities.

“I join with the local community in mourning the loss of a dedicated and deeply respected community leader,” says Wally.

“I and others within Police will remember Dr Slaimankhel as a peaceful and hard-working man, who was committed to helping others to settle and thrive in New Zealand.”

Dr Slaimankhel, of Auckland, trained as a doctor in Afghanistan and arrived in New Zealand as a refugee in the late 1980s.

He was an elder of the New Zealand Muslim Association's Shura Committee and chairman of the Umma Trust, which provides social and community services for refugee and migrant communities. He was previously chairman of the Afghan Association of New Zealand.

Dr Slaimankhel had been visiting family in Afghanistan and was due back in New Zealand this week.

“His relationship with Police’s Māori Pacific and Ethnic Services and Ethnic Liaison Officers extended for 15 years and Dr Slaimankhel was a greatly valued and appreciated community partner,” says Wally.

“His commitment to family violence prevention has changed lives and helped make our country a safer place.”

Kua hinga te tōtara o Te Waonui a Tāne - the tōtara in the great forest of Tāne has fallen.