12 Oct 2018

Shot taxi-driver offered new home, but away from community

3:50 pm on 12 October 2018

A taxi driver who was shot in Wellington while working has now been offered alternative accommodation in a new part of the country.

Former taxi driver Alem Tesema was shot by Dylan Nuku a year ago.

Former taxi driver Alem Tesema was shot by David Nuku a year ago. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

However, the area that has been offered to Alem Tesema, an Ethiopian refugee, isn't close to the Ethiopian community and in an area he knows to be unsafe.

Speaking to RNZ, Alem Tesema said he has been left fearing for his life in Wellington almost a year since being attacked.

The man who shot him, 27-year-old Dylan Nuku, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in the High Court in Wellington last week.

It is hoped that the area, which RNZ has chosen not to disclose due to safety concerns raised, will give Mr Tesema a fresh start.

Mr Tesema, who still receives physiotherapy and experiences pain in the shoulder he was shot, has been unable to find an alternative job and has been waiting to be relocated since applying earlier this year.

Former taxi driver Alem Tesema says he feels unsafe.

Former taxi driver Alem Tesema says he feels unsafe. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

His psychologist recommended he move, to help his recovery.

Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner for Wellington, Louise Waaka said there are aspects of his case that could have been handled better.

"We could have moved more quickly in terms of ongoing support to him, around the accommodation issue, we certainly moved to get him registered in the housing register, it could have been that we could have perhaps maintained more contact with him," she said.

Ms Waaka said they have since visited Mr Tesema and have given him some options around accommodation.

However, Chairperson of the Wellington Ethiopian Community, Nigussie Fenja said the property isn't in the area Mr Tesema requested.

"He say to me, I don't want to go there and if it doesn't suit me or be difficult I don't want to cry and again and when I cry, nobody will listen to me," he said.

Mr Fenja said Alem Tesema had three of his friends drive to the property to check it was okay, but all said it looked like an unsafe area.

He said Mr Tesema was concerned if he moved he would once again be left feeling isolated and unsafe, but it would become even harder for him to move.

Mr Fenja said Mr Tesema just wanted to get on with his life.

"He will say to me I don't want to be on benefit or ACC, I want to be have fully functioning life,a job with no heavy lifting, but no he's stuck again," he said.

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