When the first group of refugees begin settling into Ashburton from August 2020, a great deal of planning work will have already been done to help ensure the newcomers and community are adequately supported. The details of the kind of support to be in place and general information about refugees was shared at a special Refugee Hui in Ashburton.
Around 50 people - mostly community leaders and representatives from Central Government and agencies attended the Hui in July, run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and hosted by the Ashburton District Council.
The purpose of the hui was to bring key people together that are and will be involved in the refugee resettlement in Ashburton. As the civic leader for the district, the Council was well placed to bring these stakeholders together to discuss short and long-term issues.
The hui opened with two refugee speakers from the Canterbury Refugee Centre who shared their own settlement stories. This was followed by a run-down of the refugee selection process and what they experience on their arrival in Mangere, Auckland.
Workshop sessions were then held where, in groups, attendees identified strengths and gaps within the district to help the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment with their settlement plan for Ashburton.
The Ministry explained that refugees are not sent to a town until they have been helped to find a new home.
Plenty of planning, thinking and communicating goes into selecting refugees and resettling them in a community, which means Immigration NZ work very closely with the receiving communities to ensure good settlement service is provided.
The Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment is currently assessing tenders for who the refugee settlement provider in the community will be. This organisation will assist each family with their resettlement needs such as finding a GP and enrolling children into school.
The announcement of the refugee resettlement provider is expected to be made in late October.