Most people wouldn't even think about it, but when Malid Rashidi rides his bicycle to and from school, he feels blessed.

The 15-year-old lives in Flat Bush, Auckland, after moving to New Zealand from Afghanistan two years ago.

"We have quite a lot of problems in our country," he said. "New Zealand is a quite better place."

Getting on his bike is a reminder of the fresh start he's been provided and the way he has been welcomed to this country.


Malid is one of the recipients of a bike from Bike Kitchen, a charity that takes old, donated bikes and gets volunteer mechanics to fix them so they can be donated to refugees and asylum seekers in Auckland.

Malid said the bike has been a big help for him to get to and from school and soccer training.

Many Kiwi kids would take being given a bike for granted, but Malid sees it as the community accepting him.

"It quite makes me feel like I'm part of the community. The people like me to be here, so that I feel appreciated," he said.

"I'm blessed that God created humans like that in the world that help each other."

When he first arrived, Malid struggled with not knowing the language or culture, but now he has "quite a lot of friends" and is enjoying the chance for a "better education" at Ormiston Senior College.

Steve Hodge was working for the Auckland City Council when he first started helping to get the charity set up about a year ago. He allowed it to be run out of the Wesley Community Centre in Mt Roskill.

He is no longer working for the council, but the charity is still allowed to use the space.


He said about a dozen bikes might be donated in a good week, though out of that dozen only seven or eight may be able to be fixed up.

"Some people bring in bloody damn near brand new bikes," he said.

"Once a month I probably get half a dozen good mechanic volunteers who come in. In a day they nail probably 50-60 bikes."

On a weekend he would get one or two mechanics in, and they could get through about 10 bikes in a week.

Hodge said the recipients of the bikes were grateful for the help.

"They're pretty hard up, some of them. They don't have s**t. So for them, a lot of them are living way the hell out west or something and they need to get to Papatoe for courses they do.


"To be able to get on those bike tracks and shoot down the motorway into town, it's a big help. They're very thankful to have this service."

The charity was focused on helping refugees and asylum seekers, but Hodge would give the odd bike to someone he thought needed it.

"There'll always be people that need a bike. If I've got a bike and I see kids out there riding the most dangerous contraptions I've ever seen I'll throw them a bike just so they're safe."

Anyone wanting to donate a bike to the cause or volunteer as a mechanic could contact Hodge by email at or contact him on 021 727 979.