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Refugees still set to arrive this year

Refugee resettlement programmes have been hindered globally by covid-19. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

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Within months, refugees delayed by covid-19 could arrive in Wairarapa to settle.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said border closures from covid-19 had caused delays for planned resettlement in Masterton, but once Immigration New Zealand allowed it, the refugee resettlement process would resume.

Connecting Communities Wairarapa’s new general manager Maria McKenzie said they expected this to happen in September.

But Immigration New Zealand told the Times-Age the expected date of arrival of refugees in Masterton was yet to be confirmed.

McKenzie said, “the partnership with Red Cross and Connecting Communities Wairarapa is the only partnership that Red Cross has had with an outside provider, across New Zealand, in history.”

Because of the partnership, CCW was going to employ two volunteer co-ordinators, but when lockdown happened, “we were at the point of preferred candidates, but no employment has occurred – although we’ve had great interest from some really fabulous candidates”.

McKenzie expects the employment process to resume in July.

She said, “Masterton has a great lifestyle to offer, we’re close to cities but we’re a good close knit community as has been experienced with covid-19 – there’s lots of really good networks for neighbourhood support and I think that we’re a community that is reflective and accepting of diversity.”

Red Cross-National Manager of Migration Sue Price said Wairarapa was the first place in New Zealand to resettle Polish refugees from World War II.

She said the partnership happened because CCW was already working with volunteers and “had a really strong volunteer programme”.

“Volunteer contribution is essential to the programme we deliver, and we certainly couldn’t do it without volunteers.

“It is the part that makes the programme tick and engages the community. It gives local people the opportunity to get involved in humanitarian activity and make a difference for those who have led a different
pathway in life.”


  1. Straight up we can’t even house our Kiwi registered whanau let alone Màori, u fund these people’s stay u offer them hnz homes first. Y r u not working on helping natives and kiwi alrdy here

    This is unfair Maori and kiwi who have come here and paid their way to become a citizen

    Most hnz homes have refugees who also bring their family over and hide them in their houses. I still this and I lived nxt door to a group of refugees and they said they got their house straight away then moved their family into their garage. When they had house inspections the garage was always clean and the 6 cars on their property were out and only the lady and kids stayed for the inspection

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