Wairarapa parishes and former refugees become family for the day

Wairarapa parishes and former refugees become family for the day

From: Sue Beauclerc

In mid-February, four Wairarapa parishes hosted a group of former refugees for a day out – for the eleventh year running.  The new New Zealanders had been settled in the Wellington area during the last twelve months, and this year, there were 60 of them; from Colombia, Palestine, Afghanistan and Syria.

Two of us met them at Lower Hutt’s Waterloo Station and travelled to the Wairarapa, where one group disembarked at Featherston, another at Greytown, the next at Carterton and the last group were hosted by Epiphany Parish in Masterton.

Each parish provided its own programme, often involving some rural experiences. This day is usually the former refugees’ first experience out of the city.   The Diocesan Manager, Nick Young, spent some time with the group in Featherston and was full of praise for the manaakitanga shown by our Featherston whānau. The day was once again a great success, with positive feedback from the visitors, and parishioners vowing that they gained far more from the experience than did the visitors!

Photo: former refugees had a first taste of a Kiwi shearing shed on their big day out in the Wairarapa.