Celebrating World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to celebrate the courage of refugees and their contribution to New Zealand, and reflect on the work that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) does to help them settle into their new life here.

20 June 2024
3 minute read

Today is World Refugee Day, an opportunity to celebrate the courage of refugees and their contribution to New Zealand, and reflect on the work that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) does to help them settle into their new life here — says Fiona Whiteridge, Immigration New Zealand (INZ)’s General Manager, Refugee and Migrant Services.

Established by the United Nations in 2001, the theme for this year’s World Refugee Day is “a world where refugees are welcomed”.

INZ plays a pivotal role in supporting refugees to begin their life in New Zealand, and to settle into the community, Ms Whiteridge says.

“This year (1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024) INZ is again on track to meet the Refugee Quota of 1,500 refugees resettled in New Zealand annually. We are also well on our way to meeting the quota of 600 visa applications processed under the Refugee Family Support Category. This category is to support former refugee families by enabling reunification of family members.”

INZ works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide safe pathways for the most vulnerable refugees through our Refugee Quota Programme. Refugees are also supported through our Refugee Family Support Category, and the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship pilot.

This work is underpinned by New Zealand’s Refugee Resettlement Strategy. The vision of the strategy is that former refugees and their families settle successfully, achieve their goals, and thrive in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We cannot achieve this vision alone and we rely on many others – NGOs, volunteers, community groups and other government agencies – to help make this happen,’’ Ms Whiteridge says.

“Our Welcoming Communities programme, for example, supports local government, mana whenua and communities to create warm and inclusive environments for newcomers.

“Through our programmes, such as those delivered at the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre, Te Āhuru Mōwai o Aotearoa, our goal is for former refugees and their families to feel welcome and safe,” she says.

“Once at the centre, residents take part in our 5-week resettlement programme. By the time they leave we want to ensure they feel confident and ready to contribute their culture, skills and knowledge to New Zealand. Former refugees and their families bring so much to their new communities.’’

New Zealand’s programme at the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre, Te Āhuru Mōwai o Aotearoa, is well-respected internationally, says UNHCR Representative for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Adrian Edwards.

“In 2024 we are facing over 50 conflicts, 120 million people forcibly displaced. There are enormous pressures on the international refugee system, and it is why best-practice examples such as New Zealand’s work at Mangere are becoming more important than ever. The warm welcome refugees receive and the bridges you see being created with the wider New Zealand community is a powerful model for what is possible, what is being achieved, and how creative answers are being found.”

Refugee and protection

Immigration New Zealand refugee and protection statistics PDF 411KB

World Refugee Day 2024 — The UN Refugee Agency