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Hear From Us, Not About Us: “There Are No Excuses To Not Listen To Us Now “

A new collection of research by and/or for refugee background and migrant communities is the first of its kind in Aotearoa. It has been curated by researchers and advocates in the community and validates community needs.

Co-curator of this collection, Dr Irene Ayallo says that, in an ideal world, those researching with people from a refugee or migrant background, would know about someone's immigration background or pathway.

“It’s interesting what people take for granted about our experiences – for example, thinking migrants and those with a refugee background are the same. How can we create the right services for people if we don’t know about their world? “

The collection will be launched on 30 September 2021 via webinar. This collection is a joint collaboration between the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector Research Centre (Community Research) and ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum. There are nearly hundred and fifty pieces of latest research in the collection, mostly by researchers with a refugee or migrant background.

Panellists for the launch webinar are Batool Arif, Dr Irene Ayallo, Dr Zhiyan Basharati and Dr Sara Kindon.

Dr Zhiyan Basharati, an activist, webinar panelist and contributor to the collection, says research by and with the community is the only way forward for the diversity agenda in Aotearoa.

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“This is where we need to start. This collection is research by, for and with refugees who have lived experience and have gone into research to share information and connect. And a collective, unified voice gives credibility to our research.

“There are no excuses not to listen to us now.

“I hope policy and decision makers and organisation’s who work with people from our former refugee and migrant communities will gain a better understanding of issues affecting us,” says Dr Basharati.

Eden Skipper (Ngāi Tahu) Community Research kaitiaki agrees, saying the collection provides a unique opportunity to validate the knowledge of communities.

“When migrants or those from a refugee background are not round the table in Government, research like this helps make their voice heard. This in turn informs our institutions about policies that impact them,” he says.

“Just as kaupapa Māori research gives stronger voice to Māori in issues that impact Aotearoa, this collection ensures the inclusion of those from a refugee background and migrants themselves in the multicultural issues that affect New Zealand,” he says.

“Community knowledge is being protected and passed down. It becomes intergenerational knowledge. And like kaupapa Māori research, this is how knowledge survives. It is powerful because it focuses on their reality and lived experiences”, says Mr Skipper.

Batool Arif, panellist and Community Advocate at ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum, says the dream for the future is to look at the next generation.

“We don’t want to see our children go through what we have been through.”

The Collection will be launched with a webinar and panel discussion on Thursday 30 September, 11am-12pm. The webinar will be followed by an online gathering of researchers and evaluators from a refugee or migrant background.

More information

View the collection here or at

Launch webinar: Thursday 30 September, 11am-12pm

Register for the webinar here or at

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