Former refugees to open Arabic supermarket in Dunedin

Mohamed Alomar stands in his new Arabic supermarket that will open on Monday. PHOTO: GREGOR...
Mohamed Alomar stands in his new Arabic supermarket that will open on Monday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Two former refugees living in Dunedin are offering an Olive Branch to the city they now call home.

After two months of getting ready, Mohamed Alomar and his business partner, Ibrahim, who did not want his last name used, will open an Arabic supermarket, Olive Branch, in Princes St, next week.

They spotted an opportunity to open their shop after Dunedin’s only Arabic supermarket closed last year during Covid-19.

"There is an Arabic community in Dunedin ... and we felt like they needed something, so we gave it a shot," Ibrahim said.

The original name for the shop was going to be Arabmart but they instead opted for Olive Branch, as they wanted to send a message of peace to the Dunedin community.

Ibrahim arrived in Dunedin in 2018, as a refugee from Palestine, after spending five years in a camp in Malaysia.

His journey to Dunedin started in 2015, when he was met at the camp by Immigration New Zealand representatives.

"I was looking to be safe in any place."

Ibrahim said he hoped the supermarket would show off Arabic culture to Dunedin residents.

"The Arabic community in Dunedin has grown a lot over the last five years and we need to let people know about Arabic food and culture."

Mr Alomar arrived in Dunedin as a refugee in 2016 with his wife and children.

Originally from Syria, he came to New Zealand after spending five years in Lebanon.

He studied English at Otago Polytechnic and worked in different jobs as a forklift operator and a handyman, while also volunteering at a local kindergarten and Dunedin’s Al Huda Mosque.

Mr Alomar described settling into Dunedin as "a little hard" but he "enjoyed the people".

riley.kennedy@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Good for you.

Congratulations

Good on them but how about having an English language version of their website?

Where in Princes st ?

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