Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand

Each year, the New Zealand government selects 750 refugees for resettlement in our country. Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand is the agency that helps these refugees to settle into their new communities. Refugee Services is concerned with refugee resettlement on three levels: service provision, public education and refugee policy.

Service Provision

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand provides practical support for refugees once they arrive in New Zealand. Our professional staff include: social workers, cross-cultural workers and trainers of community volunteers. They provide a wide range of services to assist refugees with the many challenges of adjusting to a new culture and society. Our services include: advice, information and advocacy; crisis intervention and home-based family support programmes; community orientation; community linkages and referrals services; and volunteer training, deployment and support.

Public Education

The Refugee Services Volunteer Training Programme is unique among current resettlement countries. It provides a nationally-recognised NZQA certificate course that is designed to equip community volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to assist newly-arrived refugees with the challenges of early integration. Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand has become increasingly recognised for the quality of its public and community education programmes.

There is frequent demand for Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand presentations and workshops from educational institutes, schools, government departments and community groups. Over recent years, Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand staff members have been key contributors to conferences and symposiums both here in New Zealand and in Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland and Turkey.

Refugee Policy

Throughout its history, Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand has played an active role in both monitoring and contributing to the development of national and international policies relating to refugee resettlement. Its activities in this area include policy monitoring and comment; contributions to national and international policy development; ongoing liaison with resettlement NGOs in other countries and regular participation in national and global consultations on refugees and resettlement.

Projects 2011

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand Magazine

Our magazine ‘A Place to Call Home’ is now being produced every two months as an electronic newsletter. The newsletter reflects stories and articles about former refugees, volunteers, features and news from the regions. You can subscribe online.

Refugee Voice and Sector Collaboration

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand is focusing on bringing together agencies and communities to maximise resettlement services and outcomes for refugees. In line with the new three year quota composition, Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand will work also to take a three year view in its planning along with other organisations.

Hamilton Indigo Festival 2011

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand will participate in Hamilton’s Indigo Festival ‘A Gathering of Cultures’, from March 19th – 26th.

Race Relations Day

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand will mark Race Relations Day on March 21 at various offices. The Porirua office will participate in Creekfest, Porirua City.

Auckland International Cultural Festival 2011

This is a celebration of Auckland’s richness and diversity of cultures and is a great opportunity for new refugees and migrants to have a sense of place, feel connected and have a sense of belonging, while they display with pride the cultural variety they bring to the city. Dates and time to be decided.

World Refugee Day Football Match

We plan to hold the fifth annual Wellington Invitational XI vs World Refugee All Stars XI football match to mark World Refugee Day (June 20), in conjunction with the Wellington City Council. Date to be confirmed. The match pits Wellington civic and community personalities against players from the refugee communities in the Wellington region. In previous matches, the “World Refugee All Stars” XI” have come out on top.

World Refugee Day

One of the most important regular events on our calendar is World Refugee Day which takes place annually on 20 June. Throughout New Zealand a variety of activities and events are held to raise awareness about refugee issues. World Refugee Day is part of Refugee Week when we ask New Zealanders to think about how ‘you can make a difference’; to reflect on the global refugee crisis and our humanitarian response.

You could organise an event – a film evening, a shared meal or outing inviting those who are new to your neighbourhood, school or work. Organise refugee-related material for your school, community group, faith services and gatherings, invite a guest speaker from a refugee background or from Refugee Services or associated agency; where possible arrange a fundraising event and make a donation to support the work of Refugee Services.

This year Refugee Services is planning to incorporate their ‘Putting Down Roots’ project with World Refugee Day. Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand will work in partnership with Rotary, regional Councils, Department of Conservation (based on Project Crimson). The Putting Down Roots project is a way for refugees to express their own process of putting down roots and settling in an area, though planting a native tree in a reserve or restoration area.

Volunteer Awareness Week

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand will celebrate Volunteer Awareness Week.

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