Around 15 Colombians, four families or so, will arrive at the start of December after a six week orientation at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

“This is exciting for Nelson,” says Red Cross Community Services Manager, Chris Stuart. 

“The community has a long and proud history of successful resettlement that has enjoyed strong community support.”

“Nelson punches above its weight when it comes to resettlement and we know the town will band together to make these new arrivals feel welcome.”

This announcement means the community will diversify and reap the benefits of Colombia’s rich cultural heritage.

“My colleagues in Hamilton and Wellington tell me that Colombians have brought colour and dancing to their communities,” says Ms Stuart.

Red Cross is seeking refugee support volunteers to help make the new Kiwis feel welcome. Volunteers play an essential role in the resettlement process; they are a friendly face and supportive guide for former refugees as they settle into New Zealand.

“I’m quite new to Nelson so it’s helped me form strong friendships and feel at home in the community,” says Claire Hughes, who has been a refugee support volunteer since February.

“It’s also really nice to know that you’re making a difference to people’s lives and great to learn about different cultures.”

More information about volunteering can be found here.