Huge Diocesan effort contributes to warm welcome

A huge thank you to volunteers from across the Diocese who contributed to the set-up of new homes for former refugees in Wellington last week.  Once again, church and community groups showed great generosity with their time and goods as they provided household and pantry items for the families who arrived on Friday the 3rd of March.

In this financial year, 40% of the former refugees who have resettled in New Zealand have arrived into our diocese, and our volunteers have made a significant contribution towards that resettlement effort.  In this intake, donated goods have been collated, sorted, organised and checked for a total of thirteen homes in greater Wellington alone, and a group from various Wellington churches including St Barnabas in Roseneath underwent Red Cross training before taking goods to one home and completely decking it out in readiness for one family to arrive.

“Every person who has arrived in New Zealand though the refugee programme has an incredible story,” says Gemma Snowdon, of the New Zealand Red Cross.  “They are incredibly resilient and have survived persecution and conflict, but the resettlement process can present some challenges and having the support of local community and groups such as the Anglican Church makes the process easier for people from refugee backgrounds.”

It is inspiring what we can do together when the call goes out – the response was beyond our expectation.  The next intake is in April, with volunteers being sought now.  “Kiwis can make a world of difference to people and families arriving as refugees by offering a friendly welcome – whether it’s a chat over the fence or a shared meal,” says Gemma.  We certainly look forward to welcoming more new Kiwis in the next intake, due in April.

If you would like to know more or want to know how you can help, please email Rev Kay Webster at St Luke’s Wadestown, who is co-ordinating our support for the former refugees on behalf of the Diocese.

About refugee resettlement in New Zealand:

New Zealand Red Cross is the primary provider of refugee resettlement programmes in New Zealand, managed under the Government quota system, administered by Immigration New Zealand.  Our diocese has worked closely with Wellington Catholic Social Services to co-ordinate both the collection of goods and the recruitment of volunteers to join the Red Cross’s efforts, strengthening their ability to provide an even better welcome.