Atka Reid was born in Sarajevo in 1970. At the outbreak of the Bosnian war, she was a political science student. During the war, she worked as a reporter for a local radio station and as an interpreter for the foreign press. Upon her arrival in New Zealand in 1993 she worked as a journalist in Christchurch. She later gained a Diploma in graphic design and worked as a graphic designer. She and Andrew, the New Zealand photojournalist she met in Sarajevo, live in New Zealand with their two sons.