On Saturday the 4th of June, 80 Muslim wāhine of Aotearoa descended upon QT Hotel at the Viaduct Harbour for the first ever habibti lunch.
While the event initially didn’t have a name, it organically became known to the team as Oasis. The name was fitting because the purpose of the event was to create just that; a safe space for Muslim women to come together, form new connections and renew old ones, and celebrate all that we carry and achieve every day. While we didn’t expect it, the event sold out in less than 24 hours, showing just how much the community needed such a space.
The event was put together by the Viaduct’s accessibility consultant Latifa Daud, Yordi of Looped on event management, and Sauce on styling and media partnership. The three-course Mediteranean inspired cuisine was prepared by Esther Restaurant’s award winning team.
What was especially beautiful was the collaboration with community to bring this dream event to life. Not only did Viaduct Harbour give us the space to do this important work, they also went above and beyond to make it comfortable for the guests. On photography was Holly Burgess and Eliza Trubuhovic. The music was provided by DJ Mahlete, Ethiopian-kiwi artist and a leading advocate for black rights movement in Aotearoa.
Core to this event was to support Muslim talent and entrepreneurship. We had Ashleigh Ali-Aziz on flowers, whose beautiful floral arrangements were the key feature of the day, and Aakifa Chida on graphic design who hand-drew our stunning logo; the logo read Wahah using Arabic calligraphy, wahah being then Arabic word for oasis. Muslim candle-maker Masala Scents created an Oasis exclusive gulab jaamun scent for the guests to take home. In addition, we also had generous gifts for everyone to take home from our friends at aesthetic stationery shop Aleemah, Two Islands, Ruby, SALA and Rahaya Collection. Along with support from Hannah Tawfeek and Aaminah on styling.
Oasis is a testament to how genuine collaboration, allyship, and commitment to community can lead to a positive shift towards inclusion and sisterhood. The idea of Oasis started with a series of impromptu chats, until eventually the dream started to materialise, showing that change happens one heartful conversation at a time.