Following publicity highlighting the community and Church’s support for refugees coming to NZ, Bishop Charles Drennan asked that all consider ways of supporting refugee resettlement.
The Anglican and Catholic dioceses in Aotearoa New Zealand have committed to supporting all refugees who are welcomed into New Zealand, recognising that the additional quota will put pressure on the established resettlement process carried out by the Red Cross as the lead agency for this work.
Both Churches have a long standing commitment to also support the process for families of refugees that arrive here under the Family Reunification policy.
The resettlement process sees the Red Cross oversee settlement and accompany refugees for a period of 12 months following a 6 week orientation programme at the resettlement centre in Mangere run by Immigration NZ.
In the first 12 month period refugees are closely supported by 2 or 3 trained volunteers, under the oversight of the Red Cross, parishioners could be trained as formal volunteers, to assist during this time, or parishioners could help in less formal ways by receiving and responding to requests from the assigned volunteers as to what a refugee family may need.
Parishes and individuals can also assist in the resettlement process work with a Catholic Agency that assists in the process or donate cash or goods.
Parishes could offer support as a community to the local Red Cross, maybe offering them a house to rent/use, jobs, additional volunteer teams etc.
Employment and setting up households are the major issues following the 12 month resettlement process for all settlers to New Zealand, parishes could make these aspects a priority and take time to devise long-term sustainable strategies to respond to these needs.
When the Red Cross conclude their period of support for a family, a parish or parishioners could then help with continued support after that 12 month period, when they may still be looking for work or training opportunities, help with further language training etc.
We can support the emergency Syrian intake that the Government has announced, however we can also assist by supporting the those who arrive through the current quota, or who have been here for a short period but still need support or have arrived under Family reunification
The main resettlement areas are Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, and Dunedin. Other suitable areas might be brought on in the near future.
Each diocese has a nominated co-ordinator for the Church’s response. They will have made contact with the local Red Cross representatives and can assist parishes and individuals as they make offers of support.
Bishop Charles appointed David Mullin as the Diocesan Coordinator. He is the main contact for queries, offers and information for the Diocese from individuals, parishes or other groups. Contact David at [email protected] or 06) 213 9264.
There are many different ways people can help in large and small ways!
Standing in each other shoes – Jean Christophe Massimba,and Om Dhungel, former Bhutanese Refugee,