Canterbury Refugee Council

The Canterbury Refugee Council represents the refugee communities in the Canterbury region and aims to collect and disseminate information, and work with the communities at a grass roots level. The Council is committed to interculturalism, to facilitating the participation of refugees and asylum-seekers at all levels of society and to following the principles of community development.

The Refugee Council is an independent non-governmental organisation without political or religious affiliation. Membership is open to all refugee individuals and organisations that support the organisation’s aims. Canterbury Refugee Council is supported by Canterbury Community Trust, Department of Internal Affairs, Department of Labour Settlement Support, Ministry of Social Development and Family and Community Services.

Projects 2012
Contributing to the National Refugee Network

The Canterbury Refugee Council continues to contribute to the National Refugee Network and to advocate for a National Refugee Resettlement Strategy.

International profile

The New Zealand National Refugee Network maintains a close working relationship with the  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with New Zealand delegates regularly attending  the UNHCR Annual Convention in Geneva.

Support for earthquake recovery

Since the September 2010 earthquake members of the Canterbury Refugee Council committee have been visiting every refugee family in the Canterbury region, in order to check on their wellbeing and advocate on their behalf should the need arise. This work will continue well into 2012. Over 850 homes have been visited to assist and pass on information from government departments such as public health information, evacuation centre information, civil defence and interpreting services. Over 1,000 torches were distributed along with hand sanitise, face masks, gloves  and radios and toothbrushes and first aid kits.

Strengthening Refugee Voices (SRV)

Strengthening Refugee Voices is an initiative to support all former refugee people and communities in Canterbury to be able to have a say in the issues that concern them, such as housing, funeral rights, employment, language, representation, health and family safety. The project is steered by a working group which comprises of two representatives from each refugee community in Canterbury. The working group is facilitated by the Canterbury Refugee Council.

Cultural events

The Canterbury Refugee Council supports World Refugee Day 20 June and throughout the year hosts a range of cultural events in collaboration with other NGOs and organisations in the sector.

Hagley Community College, Canterbury Refugee Council and Refugee Services invite you to come together in honour of World Refugee Day Wednesday, 20 June 2012 from 5:45 PM to 8:00 PM at Hagley Community College (Cafeteria at Library). The programme includes refugee background youth speakers, static and book displays, cultural performances and refreshments. Click here to see the flyer.

Research Projects

In conjunction with the Health Sciences Centre of Canterbury University the Canterbury Refugee Council has played a key role in initiating and/or supporting a number of research projects. These include:

  • A survey on the living conditions including housing, neighbourhood and social support of the Christchurch Refugee Community
  • The coping processes of adult refugees resettled in New Zealand
  • Christchurch earthquakes: how did former refugees cope?

Contact :  Canterbury Refugee Council,


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