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100 refugees on way to Masterton


From three to five families, Masterton is now expected to welcome about 100 refugees next year. GIANINA SCHWANECKE reports.

Earlier this year, Masterton was named as one of five new refugee resettlement locations as part of the government’s pledge to increase the quota to 1500 places from next year.

New settlement locations were also announced in, Levin, Ashburton, Timaru, and Blenheim, in addition to existing settlement locations in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill.

Immigration New Zealand general manager of refugee and migrant services Fiona Whiteridge said refugee families originally from Syria were expected to start arriving from June next year.

“It is planned that three to five families will arrive every eight weeks in the new settlement locations. Over the course of a year, this will equate to approximately 100 people.”

The New Zealand Red Cross, in partnership with Connecting Communities Wairarapa has been contracted to support the refugees for their first 12 months in Masterton.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, who helped champion Wairarapa as a settlement destination, said refugee families were welcome in Masterton.

“But we need to ensure we have the housing, the health and education services to support them.

“We want to ensure any families that come here are successful and able to integrate into our community.

“To do that we need to ensure all the services they require are provided.”

She had voiced these concerns to Immigration New Zealand.

Whiteridge said refugee families would be provided with a public or private tenancy in Masterton before they left the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

“No refugee family leaves the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre without a property being secured in their settlement location,” she said.

The Red Cross has offered to help the new refugees by sharing success stories from former refugees who are Syrian and have settled in other regions.


  1. If you wait for a town to be perfect to receive refugees… it is easier they go to live in Disneyland! lol

  2. Our locals are living in motels, families are in cramped living conditions,with more than 1 family staying at that house. So where are these peoples going to live
    Yet I see alot of empty houses,and noone living in them.
    Our healthcare system is stretched to the limits already. So do the residents of the wairarapa get put on the back burners?
    Not to mention jobs. I hope Lynn has thought this through properly.i feel for these people,but take care of the locals first.

  3. We live ne t to a house owned. By the Trust with just one woman living in it . It’s a total mess overgrown ru bush piling up grass never never cut a real fire hazard plus health hazard, I’m sure these people coming in would look after and care for a property like this,

  4. Louise 26.11
    Here we are bringing more people into the town when struggling to get the Medical care in the hospital over the weekends now.
    Houses, where do they live? because there certainly isn’t enough now for every one, unless you have big money
    to pay big rent, or buy.

  5. Appaulling that a government is willing to push back our own to look after outsiders. Put five year olds in the politician seats. Their heads are far more clearer. Shame on you!

  6. Great so I was priced out of auckland to live so I moved home to Masterton and now about to be priced out again

  7. what about people who need a home in masterton its hard to find a place here yet you going to find a 100 home for refugees.. so how about helping the people in masterton who need helpinstady of sending them out of masterton to get housing

  8. To all Mayor’s, What is been done about the already homeless families situation, whom are on the poverty scales and bounced from temporary accommodation for afew weeks to the next very unsettling it’s no wonder people have mental health problems, take care of local issues first plz.

  9. Where are we going to house these familys when we cant even accomadate those who are already trying to live in our community, Our health services are so stretched that procedures needing doing are having to go to the Hutt We need to look after our own community first..

  10. Does Masterton have enough available rental accommodation for all??
    Because Palmerston North doesn’t there is a serious lack. Here we can’t even provide rentals for local people. With often 100 people turning up at open homes to apply for that one rental.
    Build more affordable accommodation before welcoming in more people needing the housing!

  11. So if Lynn Patterson voiced her concerns to Immigration NZ about the required services, she is apparently aware of the shortfall, so why has she championed Wairarapa as a destination?

  12. Can anyone tell me where these lovely people are going to live, I was of the opinion that there weren’t enough houses for the people here already. I do hope they settle in.

  13. And what where are they suppose to live do they get houses while our own people are homeless because of the housing shortage doesnt make sense !!!

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