On 22 April, around 30 Afghan interpreters, who were working with the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan, along with 64 of their immediate family members, arrived at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. The interpreters were offered resettlement in recognition of their service to New Zealand as employees of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, through the New Zealand refugee quota programme.
The interpreters joined more than 60 former refugees from other countries who have also arrived in New Zealand through the quota programme.
New Zealand Red Cross Chief Executive John Ware says, “We’re looking forward to supporting the interpreters from Afghanistan, just as we support all refugees who come to New Zealand through the quota programme.”
“The challenge is to ensure that all families, regardless of their country of origin, have the volunteer support they need to start again.”
“We’ve had very large groups so far this year, and this group is similar in size. We will especially need volunteers in the Manawatu and Waikato areas, as this is where the interpreters and their families will be resettled.”
Former refugees from a number of other countries will be arriving in the Wellington, Auckland and Nelson areas and will also need volunteer support to help them adjust to life in New Zealand.
“Our Pathway to Settlement programme will work with all the new families to create individualised plans identifying their personal goals. Then our job becomes supporting them to achieve these goals, and a big part of that support comes from our dedicated volunteers” said Mr Ware.
The arrivals will settle into their new communities in mid-June, just before World Refugee Day on 20 June, but training for new volunteers will start in early May. Anyone interested in volunteering in Auckland, the Manawatu, the Waikato, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington or Nelson should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.