Tony Paine, New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General, says they are looking forward to establishing a resettlement centre in Dunedin.

“Dunedin residents are famous for their southern hospitality, we know they will have open hearts and hands as they welcome new people to their wonderful city.”

Red Cross also has a long and proud humanitarian history in Dunedin, having been active in the region for more than 100 years.

Mr Paine says there are many ways people can support refugee resettlement in Dunedin and across the country, but the most important thing Kiwis could do was simply reach out and help someone from a refugee background become part of the community.

“Moving is hard for anyone but imagine arriving in a new place where everything is unfamiliar. Kiwis can make a world of difference to people and families arriving as refugees by offering a friendly welcome, whether it’s a chat over the fence or a shared meal.”

New Zealand Red Cross is the primary provider of community refugee resettlement services in Aotearoa.

After spending six weeks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, people are supported in the community for up to 12 months by Red Cross.

Resettlement is a life-changing and challenging experience. Refugees arrive in a country where the society, language and culture are often completely different from their own.

Trained Red Cross staff and volunteers provide a community orientation, helping to understand Kiwi culture and navigate systems, and connecting people to services they require.

Red Cross also provides an employment programme to help people from refugee backgrounds plan their employment, training and career goals and ultimately find work in New Zealand. Employment helps people feel empowered and more involved in their new community.

The resettlement programme currently operates in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, greater Wellington and Nelson.

How Kiwis can help support refugee resettlement in New Zealand

  • Become a refugee support volunteer and help support a new family as they resettle. Opportunities for volunteers in Dunedin will become available in 2016.
  • Donate small household goods (not furniture, but items like bedding and things for setting up kitchens) that will help turn houses into homes for families resettling in New Zealand. Donations of goods can be made at any New Zealand Red Cross Shop or service centre.
  • Donate to support our work with new arrivals in New Zealand, and our work internationally with refugees.Give someone from a refugee background a job, a key part of the resettlement process. This can be organised through the Red Cross’s Pathways to Employment programme.

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:Hanna ButlerCommunications Manager027 836 5529