Anna's Story

Anna and her husband grew up in Hungary but were forced to flee in December 1956 to escape the Russian communists. They fled to Austria and Anna was just 19 at the time. This was a very courageous and dangerous thing to do as they had to escape through heavily ploughed fields lined with machine gun towers. They became refugees on arrival to Austria and were later married in Vienna and sent to Holland.

Not long after in 1957, a pregnant Anna and her husband were sent by ship to Wellington, New Zealand. Approximately one thousand refugees came to New Zealand and were sent to different cities. They finally settled in Hamilton.

In more recent years, due to her health, Anna moved into Radius Windsor Court where her health and spirit has grown in leaps and bounds due to regular eating, medical assistance, having others to relate to as well as social activities.

Anna’s eldest son Laszlo has lived in Sydney with his wife and two children for the past 23 years. Laszlo makes regular trips back to New Zealand to visit his mum but due to financial barriers and school constraints; he is unable to bring the whole family to visit each time. This year we wanted to surprise Anna with a special family reunion.

Creating the Video

Thinking outside the box, we travelled to Sydney and used a 360 degree camera to film a message from Laszlo and his family. We then set Anna up in a Virtual Reality headset and once she was comfortable, we played the message to her. She was overwhelmed with the message which made her feel like she was sitting in their home in Sydney, but then the surprise went one step further and we flew in Laszlo’s family who surprised Anna in person.

The result, as you can see, was a very happy Anna and a family reuniting together for the first time in years.

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