Beyond Hope

From an Auckland prison to changing lives in Afghanistan


A powerful story of how one man didn't let other people define him

'Bariz gifts us his truth-telling, delivered with unwavering optimism.' Matt Brown, author of She Is Not Your Rehab

'Beautifully written. Takes us right inside a young person's life and is ultimately uplifting in the way they take control of that life.' Kathryn Ryan, RNZ Nine to Noon

At age 18, Bariz Shah ended up in an Auckland prison. As an Afghan migrant who was deeply affected by 9/11, Bariz spiralled from schoolyard fights into crime and drugs - until prison made him rethink the story of his life.

Years later, in Christchurch, Bariz had turned everything around when a terrorist walked into the local mosque and took the lives of 51 people in his community. Driven by a new purpose, Bariz and his wife Saba raised money to return to Afghanistan and establish 51 small businesses in honour of those they lost.

In this memoir about finding self-belief, belonging and positive change, Bariz's story reminds us that we always have the power to change ourselves for the better.

'The book is sensitive and insightful about how pain comes into a life and how it lasts.' Phillip Matthews, The Press

'Extraordinary. A powerful story of redemption and hope.' Hon Lianne Dalziel CNZM, former Mayor of Christchurch

'Bariz has been through adversity and emerged with love, care and kindness. He shows that nothing is impossible.' Meng Foon, Race Relations Commissioner 2019-2023

About the author(s)

Bariz Shah arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan in 2001 after his family were forced to leave war-torn Afghanistan in the 1980s. He went on to complete an engineering degree from the University of Canterbury and became the president of the UC Muslim Students Association. After the March 2019 attacks in Christchurch, Bariz and his wife, Saba, fundraised $20,000 and travelled to Afghanistan to support fifty-one microbusinesses in Kabul and Jalalabad as a tribute to those who were matryred. He was awarded the Christchurch Civic Award for his efforts. Bariz is a qualified engineer and father to Zawrez and Aalam. He is an active Muslim community advocate and is passionate about second chances and servant leadership.

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