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Refugees in Ashburton
Ashburton District is a proudly multicultural district with approximately 18.6% of people who were born outside of Aotearoa New Zealand residing here in the 2018 census.
About 83.8% of people are European/Pākehā, 8.2% Māori, 5.1% Pacific, 7.4% Asian, and 2.3% other ethnicities (people may identify with more than one ethnicity).
Over the last 10 years, there has been a growing migrant community from around the world who has chosen to make Ashburton their home. Ashburton District was selected as a pilot location for the Welcoming Communities programme, led by Immigration NZ, in 2017. The district continues to advance in the programme.
In 2018 the New Zealand Government announced that Ashburton District would join other centres across Aotearoa New Zealand as a refugee resettlement location. We are welcoming the first group of people from the Hazara region of Afghanistan in April 2021, who have had to flee conflict in their home country.
You can read more about the history of resettlement in New Zealand on the New Zealand Red Cross website (link to external website, new window).
The Immigration New Zealand website (link to external website, new window) has more information about refugee resettlement in New Zealand. You can also watch a short video here. [link for English, Arabic and Dari].
The Ashburton District Council supports the lead resettlement agency Safer Mid Canterbury and other agencies who provide resettlement work. The Council is committed to making Ashburton a welcoming place for all. The Council is responsible for facilitating the Ashburton Refugee Steering Group, whose members include community representatives, organisations supporting refugees and government departments.
The arrival of former refugees has encouraged us to think about how we improve the delivery of services, such as health care, to our diverse community. This leads to better outcomes for everyone.
The government has produced a strategy to support those being resettled. You can read the strategy and the goals outlined in it on the New Zealand Immigration website