First Decade of Settlement Support to New Aucklanders
Auckland Regional Migrant Services Celebrates a First Decade of Settlement Support to New Aucklanders
Since its incorporation ten years ago, Auckland Regional Migrant Services has assisted over 30,000 Auckland newcomers to settle in their new city through a range of targeted activities. These have included settlement support information, job search workshops, specialist workshops, English language advice, workplace experience opportunities and other orientation programmes such as Marae visits and Treaty of Waitangi workshops.
The ARMS Regional Centre was opened in Three Kings on 21st March 2003, the first such "one-stop-shop" in New Zealand as a first point of contact for migrants and refugees to access relevant services and information. Dr Dawson notes, “One of ARMS key achievements has been our ability to respond to the changing information needs of newcomers that emerge with shifts in immigration patterns”. Last year, ARMS launched a regional online one-stop-information-shop for newcomers - www.settlement.org.nz.
As Auckland’s lead service provider and coordinator of settlement support, ARMS acknowledges the contribution and commitment of over 1,500 agencies and community groups which participate in ARMS collaborative local and regional network meetings and advisory groups. “Effective responsiveness to the constant influx of newcomers from all over the globe requires an ongoing collective willingness to put out the welcoming mat, an all-of-Auckland commitment to understanding newcomer needs, and a focus on strengthening our cross-cultural competencies”.
Marking ARMS’ first decade, ARMS Chief Executive, Dr Mary Dawson pays tribute to the wonderful contributions of successive Trust Board and staff members, and the support of its primary funder, Immigration New Zealand, and many other funding bodies. Noting the challenges facing Auckland and New Zealand, she sees a crucial ongoing role for ARMS in enabling newcomers and communities to make positive valued contributions to Auckland’s future prosperity. “Most super-diverse cities across the world have reaped enormous benefits through retention of specialist community agencies akin to ARMS focused on supporting the settlement of migrants and refugees”.