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New Zealand Red Cross welcomes Christchurch announcement

New Zealand Red Cross welcomes Christchurch announcement

New Zealand Red Cross welcomes today’s announcement that Christchurch will be reinstated as a refugee settlement location.

Refugees were settled in Christchurch prior to the 2011 earthquakes and the city has a proud history of providing a warm and friendly welcome to its newest residents.

“We’re confident that this resettlement success will continue when refugees begin arriving in Christchurch from January next year,” said Rachel O’Connor, National Migration Programmes Manager at New Zealand Red Cross.

“Kiwis are known around the world for their friendliness and it’s wonderful to see this translate into positive stories of refugee resettlement around Aotearoa.”

Red Cross has run a Pathways to Employment programme in Christchurch since 2015 which is available to former refugees who settled there prior to the earthquakes. The programme has built on Red Cross’ long history in the city which includes ongoing disaster recovery programmes.

“We’ve been there for Christchurch residents for over 100 years before, during, and after disasters,” said Ms O’Connor.

“It’ll be an exciting new chapter to build on our existing support for the wider Canterbury community as we join them in welcoming the city’s new residents.”

Over the past two and a half years, Red Cross has supported Dunedin and Invercargill communities as they’ve become established refugee settlement locations. This experience in working with communities to prepare for and welcome new arrivals through the refugee quota means Red Cross has a wealth of knowledge to draw on.

A key part of this preparation is harnessing community support to help with refugee resettlement.

“Our Refugee Support Volunteers are at the forefront of our community refugee resettlement programmes and act as a welcoming committee for refugees arriving in New Zealand,” said Ms O’Connor.

“Many of our volunteers say that the former refugees they support become like family and we’re confident that people in Christchurch will become like family to these new Kiwis.”

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