Navigation for Spectrum

Every year, New Zealand opens its borders to 750 refugees through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees quota programme.

New Zealand is one of a handful of countries that accepts a yearly quota of refugees from the UNHCR. Fleeing persecution, war and dangerous conditions in nations around the world, these refugees have spent years in temporary camps and legal limbo. They arrive in New Zealand longing for the stability of a new, permanent home.

The process of adapting to their new environments is overwhelming. Even the most basic things are unfamiliar, and the survival skills that enabled them to escape a conflict zone may be of little help in their new lives.

To help them meet these challenges, ordinary Kiwis make a remarkable commitment. Local volunteers partner with each newly resettled family for a six month placement. They help them learn how to negotiate grocery stores, government offices, phone bills and kitchen appliances. They track down and organise donations of every household item that the refugees will need. In many cases, they also forge permanent friendships.