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Christchurch? guide now available in nine language

November 2006

New to Christchurch? guide now available in nine languages

One of the greatest challenges facing new migrants and refugees is where to find basic information that allows them to quickly settle and build a new life. New to Christchurch? is a guide designed to provide such useful information to assist migrants with their transition.

Produced by the Christchurch City Council with the assistance of New Zealand Settlement Support, New to Christchurch? details such information as how to get around the city, open a bank account, find a place to live, get access to healthcare, to find work, improve their English, and how to shop.

In its second edition, the guide is now available in English and eight other languages – Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Korean, Japanese, Russian, Samoan and Farsi.

Charlene Tan, who migrated from Singapore six years ago, says it would have been fantastic to have access to such a guide when she first arrived in New Zealand.

“I never thought it would be so hard to migrate to New Zealand, particularly as I had travelled extensively and English was my first language. I felt so isolated and did not know who to reach out to.”

She says it was the basics which were the hardest like finding somewhere to live, banking, immigration issues, schooling, where to buy groceries and how to buy a car.

“New to Christchurch? is a great resource as it covers such a lot of basic requirements and will save migrants a lot of time trying to gather all this information. “

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For Anya Filippochkina, arriving in New Zealand eight years ago from Ukraine was a huge cultural shock. She did not understand English which made it difficult to access information on the basics, such as housing, banking and the health system.

“Everything was so new; I did not know where to go or who to ask for help. At times I preferred not to ask for help as people would look at you as if you were strange.”

Anya wishes she had had access to New to Christchurch? when she arrived in New Zealand. “It would have made my life so much easier.”

She welcomes the guide being translated into Russian, as it is so much easier to understand such information when you are able to read it in your first language.

‘It will be invaluable not only for those come from Russia and also for migrants from other former USSR republics.

“It is crucial that people can feel independent, which is what New to Christchurch? allows them to be. They know where to go and that they can then ask for help if they need to.”

New to Christchurch? guides are now available from service centres, libraries, Refugee and Migrant Centre and Citizen Advice Bureau.

The New to Christchurch? Guide will be launched at a Mayoral Reception in the Christchurch City Council Chambers, 163 Tuam Street, on Tuesday, (28 November) at 5.30pm. All migrants who have settled in Christchurch during the last six months are invited to attend the celebration.


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