Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Dunedin celebrates refugee resettlement anniversary

Dunedin celebrates refugee resettlement anniversary

Dunedin (Friday, 21 April 2017) – One year since the first Syrian families began settling in Dunedin as part of the refugee resettlement programme, advocates are lauding the city’s response in welcoming the new members of our community.

The first group of people arriving through the refugee quota arrived in Dunedin on 22 April 2016, following the city’s successful bid to become a refugee resettlement city in 2015. Since then a total of 205 former refugees have settled here, most of them Syrian.

The Dunedin Refugee Steering Group, comprising representatives from community groups, organisations, and government departments, has led Dunedin’s approach to welcoming and supporting the former refugees.

Steering Group Chair, Cr Aaron Hawkins, says the response from Dunedin people in welcoming the former refugees to the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Red Cross has been responsible for much of the logistical support around the resettlement process and they have been inundated with donated goods and people wanting to help.”

Red Cross Southern Humanitarian Services manager, Sue Price says that Dunedin has welcomed its newest residents with open arms.

“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of locals during the last year. It's allowed people to do something positive at home to address some of the things they see happening around the world.

“Our resettlement programme is enabling people fleeing conflict to lead lives in peace and it is also providing Dunedin with diversity and people who have a lot to contribute. I have seen a lot of the families who arrived in the first intake engaging with the Kiwi community already and becoming Dunedin locals, I can't wait to see what they add to the city culturally and socially," she says.

Cr Hawkins says some former refugees have already found employment. However, the focus for many is learning English so they can work or go into further education or training.

Being a resettlement city has also created some challenges, particularly around language and ensuring services can meet the needs of former refugees.

“We are keen to see that if there are problems, they are short term ones and that we can work collectively to provide genuine and valuable support to former refugees,” he says.

“People who have a refugee journey have been through hardships New Zealanders often cannot imagine. They have lost their homes, their family members, and to some extent their country. We want Dunedin to be a place of welcome and safety.”

Cr Hawkins says the Steering Group will continue to closely consider the strategic benefits and implications of being a refugee resettlement city.

“For real and lasting community integration and connections to happen, it’s important that we have a better understanding of the cultures of our new settlers and that they have opportunities to understand how Kiwis think, feel and live alongside each other.”

As well as Red Cross and the DCC, Dunedin Refugee Steering Group includes representatives from the Ministry of Education, Southern District Health Board, Dunedin Multi Ethnic Council, English Language Partners, Housing New Zealand, Ministry of Social Development and Citizens Advice Bureau. Two people from refugee backgrounds will also be appointed as community representatives.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Kim Regime

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US had a very clear objective and eventually offered a quid pro quo of the removal of some of its own missiles from Turkey. This time, there’s no clarity about what the US is seeking, or offering.

It hasn’t helped that the US and the global media consistently agree on calling North Korea and its leadership “crazy” and “irrational” and urging it to “come to its senses”. When you treat your opponent as being beyond reason, it gets hard to comprehend what their strategy is, let alone work out the terms of a viable compromise. More>>


Recovery: Economic Impact Of Kaikōura Quake Revealed

The report details the impact on small businesses and tourism caused by disruptions to transport infrastructure and the economic impacts... The impact on New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the first 18 months following the earthquake has been estimated at $450-$500 million. More>>


Human Rights Commission: Urgent Need For Action On Seclusion And Restraint

Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford says that while the report makes for sobering reading, the focus should now be on how the recommendations can be used to reduce the occurrence of seclusion and restraint in New Zealand and, in circumstances where it is necessary, to improve practices. More>>


CORRECTIONS (March 2017):


$11bn Capital Spend, New Debt Target: Steven Joyce On Budget Priorities

First, delivering better public services for a growing country – providing all New Zealanders with the opportunity to lead successful independent lives... And finally, we remain committed to reducing the tax burden and in particular the impact of marginal tax rates on lower and middle income earners, when we have the room to do so. More>>


JustSpeak Report: Bail Changes To Blame For New Billion Dollar Prison

In 2013 criminal justice spending was falling and the Government was mulling over what to spend the money on. 3 years later there are 10,000 people in prison and a new billion dollar prison is announced. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news