In early 2019 Masterton was announced as one of the new resettlement locations for refugees along with Whanganui, Levin, Blenheim and Timaru. We’re now looking forward to welcoming our first refugee families to Masterton.
We’re anticipating the arrival of two families, originally from Pakistan, who have spent four years in Sri Lanka awaiting resettlement. It is fantastic to be able to say our community is giving new homes to families who have had to flee theirs.
The arrival date for the families has yet to be confirmed, with accommodation to be arranged prior by Immigration NZ from the private rental market. New Zealand Red Cross is the lead agency in providing support for refugees to settle in New Zealand once they have arrived.
In the resources sidebar on the right of this page you can find factsheets prepared by the government about our legal obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and the commitments New Zealand has made to help resettle refugees. In the video below, Masterton local Jorge Sandoval talks about his journey as a political refugee in the 70s and how he thinks we can help our newest residents settle in.
What is a refugee? And why are they coming here?
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war, or violence. Currently, more than 65 million people are displaced around the world, the highest number since the Second World War. Once they flee, people are displaced for an average of 17 years and New Zealand has a proud history, going back over 70 years, with refugee settlement.
It is also important that we meet our legal and humanitarian obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees.
Who are they and where are they coming from?
Arrival dates have yet to be confirmed, but we are expecting two families, originally from Pakistan, to arrive in Masterton either late this year or early in 2022.
How can I help them settle in?
New Zealand Red Cross is the lead agency in providing support for refugees to settle in New Zealand once they have arrived.
Most refugees will feel isolated when they are relocated to a new country where the language and customs are unfamiliar to them. Even small gestures of friendship can mean a great deal. Offering ways that they can take part in the community through work and volunteering are valuable, as are invitations to events, dinner or even just stopping for a chat. As you can hear in the video of Jorge Sandoval, integrating and socialising with the local community is one of the key ways we can help them feel welcome and settled.
What about housing?
Accommodation for refugee families will be arranged by Immigration NZ prior to their arrival in Masterton, from the private rental market.
What about jobs?
At a time of record low unemployment levels in New Zealaned, refugees bring their own set of skills and experience that will complement the labour market in Masterton.