Rev Andy Hickman from the Parish of Tawa-Linden was among a group who rallied at Parliament recently, urging the Government to extend a welcome to refugees who are impacted by the Australian Government’s closure of the Manus Island detention centre.
As the humanitarian crisis on the island unfolds, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently travelled to Australia and discussed our country’s offer to welcome 150 of the refugees to New Zealand. Andy says he sees what is happening on the news and feels compelled to do something to help. “It’s been two years since the tragic photo of the young boy who washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean hit our news, and it’s easy for the tyranny of the urgent to swamp that – we just wanted to bring attention to the fact that there are still refugees needing a home,” he says. “I’m conscious I’m in a collar, but if I can go along and hold a sign and encourage people, then that’s something I can do.”
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, New Zealand’s first ever former refugee to enter Parliament, and her party colleague Marama Davidson spoke at the event, then asked Andy to speak. “The Bishop has called all the churches to make a contribution,” Andy reminded the crowd. “We have the capacity here in New Zealand to make a difference. Let’s welcome them in.”