Refugee services and Red Cross

10 December 2012 marked an important day in New Zealand Red Cross' history. This was the day that Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand became a part of New Zealand Red Cross.

This meant New Zealand Red Cross became the primary agency responsible for the resettlement of quota refugees in New Zealand.

In a 2012 press release, New Zealand Red Cross President Jenny McMahon said it was a very natural partnership.

“Our national presence, global connections and experience will add opportunities to further strengthen an already world class programme,” said Ms McMahon.

“New Zealand Red Cross applauds the legacy that Refugee Services has achieved in the provision of settlement services, and we are committed to building on that legacy.”

New Zealand is one of only a small number of countries that accept an annual quota of refugees for resettlement. Each year 750 refugees come to New Zealand through the United Nations quota system. They are people who have an immediate and desperate need for protection, unable to go back to their home country or stay in the country to which they have fled.

Currently the majority of refugees coming to New Zealand are from Bhutan, Myanmar/Burma, Colombia, Afghanistan, Syria and Sri Lanka. There are also smaller numbers from Africa and the Middle East. Settlement support in New Zealand is provided through volunteers and professional staff, a number of whom have a refugee background themselves.

Read more about our refugee services here.