May, 2010
ISSN 1178-0940
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News & Issues

World Refugee Day (UNHCR)

The theme for World Refugee Day is ‘Home’. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees Regional Office in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific would like to hear from people about how they are planning to celebrate the day.

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Diversity Forum 2010

This year’s Diversity Forum will be held in Christchurch, from 21- 23 August, with the theme ‘It’s about Us- Whānau’. There will be a forum on ‘Refugee Issues- Nothing About Us Without Us’ on Monday 23 August. The Diversity Forum webpage is now live, and will be updated with forums as they are confirmed.

Submission to Minister of Immigration

Following the Refugee Health and Wellbeing Conference ‘Looking Back and Moving Forward’, organisers made a submission to Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Immigration. The submission written by the Refugee Council of New Zealand Incorporated and AUT University is available to read on our website.

UNHCR Regional Representative interviewed on Radio NZ

Richard Towle, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Representative, was interviewed on Radio NZ by Chris Laidlaw on 2 May.

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Outdoor leadership development programme in Tai Tokerau

Refugees as Survivors New Zealand, Aramoana Adventures of Ngati Wai, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Social Development are joining forces to run series of leadership development courses for three groups of 30 refugee background youth.

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Meeting to form the Auckland Refugee Family Trust

The Auckland Refugee Community Coalition has initiated the establishment of a trust to financially support former refugees pursuing family reunification. While trusts to support the process currently exist in Wellington and Christchurch, there isn’t an equivalent organisation in the Auckland region.

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Research on Family Reunification, Mental Health and Resettlement Outcomes commences

Refugees as Survivors New Zealand is undertaking a National Research Project on Family Reunification, Mental Health and Resettlement Outcomes.

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Auckland Multicultural Playgroup for refugee communities

The Auckland Refugee Coalition and the Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust have combined to establish a multicultural playgroup for preschool children and parents: “a professional and stable early childhood provision for refugee children alongside a range of opportunities for parents to participate in learning opportunities for themselves, such as English classes.” Contact Auckland Regional Migrant Services for more information.

Refugee Young Leaders’ Project

Changemakers Refugee Forum’s youth leadership project has kicked off, with participants from Afghan, Burmese, Oromo, Rwandan, Sudanese and Zimbabwean communities.

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Literacy and NZ Sign Language lessons

English Language Partners Christchurch has been running literacy and sign language lessons for a group of five deaf refugees in the city.

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Two-year block on student loans for new migrants?

Tertiary Education Minister, Steven Joyce, has floated a two-year delay for eligibility for student loans for ‘new residents’ to the country. Heather Hayden Chief Executive of Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand, said the organisation would “be very concerned if there was any barrier at all to refugees as new citizens in New Zealand being able to access tertiary education.”

Power of Football project

Four young men from refugee backgrounds have organised a three month indoor football competition, based on a grant from FIFA.

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Webhealth, an online directory of health and social services, has added a function for users to customise and print their own directories.

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‘Girl from Glen Innes’ Update

A newly released DVD updates the story of Burmese refugee, Tinmama Oo, featured in the 2004 video ‘A Girl from Glen Innes.’

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Future Events

Youth Hui, Rehua Marae Christchurch

Christchurch Resettlement Services is organising a Youth hui for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds on 22 May.

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National Resettlement Forum

Don’t forget about the National Refugee Resettlement Forum, organised by Department of Labour, to be held in Wellington on 26 and 27 May 2010. Contact Koskwa Shoniwa for more information.

Settlement Support Manukau, Auckland Regional Migrant Services

ARMS is running a range of free orientation programmes and settlement information workshops over the next few months.

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Workshops for Youth Week

To mark Youth Week 2010, Shakti Community Council is organising a day of workshops for youths from migrant and refugee communities to get together, share their experiences and talk about issues that affect them in a comfortable and safe environment.

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Citizens Advice Bureau Language Link Workshop: Cultural Awareness

Settlement Support Manukau, Auckland Regional Migrant Services is holding a workshop for people working with clients who speak another language.

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Auckland Refugee Family Trust Meeting

A meeting will be held on Thursday, 10 June at 7.30pm at the Wesley Community Centre to form the Auckland Refugee Family Trust. Contact Sue Elliot or Jenni Broom to find out more.

World Refugee Day in Newtown Park

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand, in partnership with Wellington City Council, Rotary Club of Wellington and Wellington-area former refugee communities, is celebrating World Refugee Day 2010 on 20 June at Newtown Park, and Mt. Albert Park in Wellington.

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For more information about the ‘Te Punange: Refugee Focus’, please contact Michael White at

Information about the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme is available at

The views contained in this newsletter do not necessarily represent the position of the Human Rights Commission.