Palmerston North welcomes 160 refugees in 12 months


Palmerston North settled more than 40 households of approximately 160 former refugees over the last 12 months, according to the Red Cross Service Centre.

They include Burmese Muslim, Rohingya from Myanmar, Palestinians from Syria, Afghan Dari speakers, Karen from Myanmar, South Sudanese and Bhutanese Nepali.

The centre trains over 100 volunteers to work in teams to support the new families for between three and six months.

Many volunteers return for second, third and sometimes more placements.

Others beaver away in the background doing a variety of tasks.

There are:

  • The set-up team of five volunteers who sort the household goods
  • The St Vincent de Paul Society who have for many years provided food parcels for new families
  • The “Flower Lady,” an elderly volunteer who provides flowers for adults on their arrival
  • The Toy Sorters who co-ordinate toy boxes for the children

There is now a strong and well-supported community of former refugees settled into Palmerston North, making it a good place for family sponsors to welcome their relatives.

The Manawatu Reuniting Refugee Families Trust was set up early in 2017 to help former refugee families.

It covers the Central Districts areas of Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu.

The Trust has been fundraising and making themselves known to the community of former refugees and their supporters.

It has provided financial assistance to bring one family to New Zealand and has accepted applications from three more families.

But the Trust needs more money before it can accept any further applications.

The costs of sponsoring family members vary – for example, a family of four with airfares from Afghanistan plus medical fees can be as much as $12,000.

To donate to the Manawatu Reuniting Refugee Families Trust, go online to:



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