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Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani wants to extend visa for NZ visit, but it might not be easy

Finally free after six years on Manus Island, Kurdish-Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani has been told by New Zealand he must leave the country before his one-month visa expires.

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Behrouz Boochani talked about his warm welcome in New Zealand and how it compared to his treatment from Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

Boochani arrived in New Zealand last night, ending his long detention in Australia's offshore processing system, to speak at a Christchurch writers' festival.

After labelling Australia a dictatorship today, the author and journalist said he'd seek an extension to his New Zealand visa.

New Zealand immigration authorities, however, insist the visa is for one month and the refugee must leave the country before it expires.

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The writer, who was detained on Manus Island, talked about his treatment over the past six years. Source: 1 NEWS

But Boochani has vowed not to return to PNG.

"I will never go back to that place," he told The Guardian.

Although he is a recognised UN convention refugee accepted for settlement in the US, he has not revealed his long-term plans apart from his hopes to stay in New Zealand beyond his visa.

"Definitely I will try to extend my visa so hopefully New Zealand will let me stay here for another month to share this story with more people," he said.

His departure from Manus was arranged in the most unlikely of manners: the 36-year-old accepted an invitation to speak at the Word Christchurch festival later this month.

Boochani announced his exit last night, tweeting that it was "So exciting to get freedom after more than six years".

He was welcomed by Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel this morning before speaking at a Word Christchurch event alongside the Amnesty International and Greens MP Golriz Ghahraman, herself an Iranian refugee.

"I'm really happy that I am here in Christchurch," Boochani said.

"Almost seven years ago I left Iran because of my journalism and cultural activities.

"I went to Australia to seek asylum there, to find a safe place. I knew Australia as a liberal democracy.

"I expected that they would welcome me and at least consider my case.

"Unfortunately they exiled me to Manus Island, a remote place. In other words, I can say I left Iran because I didn't want to live in prison but Australia jailed me."

Boochani arrived by boat on Christmas Island in July 2013 and was sent to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea a month later.

While in detention, Boochani wrote a book, 'No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison', which won this year's Victorian Prize for Literature and the National Biography Award - Australia's richest literary prize.

He also filmed a documentary of life in the Manus centre on a mobile phone, which has been seen in Australia, London and Berlin.

Boochani's route to New Zealand involved a 34-hour journey via The Philippines across six timezones.

While not mentioning him by name, Boochani eviscerated Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

"We can see there is some kind of dictatorship in Australia," he said.

Word Christchurch organiser Rachael King invited Boochani to the festival in June and was "gratified and excited" to hear of his acceptance.

Greg Patchell, deputy chief executive of Immigration New Zealand, said Boochani held travel documents from PNG which allowed him to come and go from PNG.

"He is in New Zealand on a one month limited visa for the specific purpose of speaking at a conference in Christchurch. He must depart before his visa expires," he told AAP.

"He is fully sponsored by Amnesty International who are responsible for meeting all his costs.

"If he claims asylum in New Zealand, an independent statutory process decides his claim. Government ministers have no role in this process."

Mr Patchell said the visa was issued because officials were satisfied Boochani "genuinely intends a temporary stay in New Zealand".