Our Story And Vision
It all started during 2018 with the heartfelt gesture of an open door; the inviting aroma of traditional food; soothing melodies of nasheed and the warmth of mint tea. This familiar hospitality, first extended in the home of one member of the Muslim community, allowed the founders of Asturlab to reconnect with shared values and culture among new friends. It was here that they realised the essence of ‘home’ can transcend geographical boundaries.
Heart-warming gatherings like this continued in the homes of various Muslim community members. Initially driven by the need for a safe space to engage in shared cultural traditions and uphold cherished values, these gatherings inspired a long-term vision for the future.
Our vision is to establish a medical centre that offers a comprehensive range of primary care services and combine it with an expansion of our cultural centre under one roof, serving as a Muslim-led, holistic well-being centre and a vibrant hub of Muslim cultural activities. Overall Asturlab will comprise four houses: the House of Healing (Dar Al Shifa), the House of Peace (Dar Al Salaam), the House of Knowledge (Dar Al Hekmah) and the Souq (Bazaar). Designed to function together, the four houses of Asturlab will provide a holistic approach to meeting the health, social and economic well-being needs of the Muslim community, while preserving Islamic heritage, culture, and values here in Christchurch. It is also envisioned as an inclusive and inviting place, where Muslim diversity is recognised and respected and where people of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds are welcome and can feel at home. Our aim is to have our long-term strategic plan delivered in two phases. Phase-A aims to secure and manage a leased building. A key component of this phase is the incorporation of a medical centre as a social enterprise, ensuring the economic sustainability of the centre’s operations. Phase-A will lay the groundwork for the ambitious Phase-B, which involves the construction of a purpose-built, environmentally sustainable community hub in the heart of Christchurch, featuring authentic Islamic architecture and design principles. We also endeavour to have our vision sanctioned by Ngāi Tahu and with the aid of Māori cultural advisors, respectfully weave Māori concepts into the design and development of Asturlab.
This vision for Asturlab serves to uplift and empower the Muslim community of Christchurch by providing a holistic approach to meeting their well-being needs and fostering social cohesion among them. It holds the potential to leave a lasting legacy, benefiting both the Muslim community and the broader society by promoting greater understanding and harmony within a diverse and evolving city. Asturlab aspires to be a guiding light for new generations of Muslims in Aotearoa New Zealand by preserving Islamic heritage, culture, and values for generations to come. We envision a future where the Muslim community seamlessly weaves into the social fabric of this land, becoming an integral thread that strengthens the diverse tapestry of our small multicultural nation.