Friday, 23 February 2024 - 7:58am

New approach to new arrivals

2 min read

News article photos (2 items)

Police staff are heavily involved in the orientation programme at Māngere.
A layout photo of some of the items in the welcome pack, including the Police-branded lunchbox, pen, magnet and safety leaflets

New Zealand Police has refreshed its approach to helping former refugees feel welcome and stay safe in New Zealand.

Police is one of the agencies involved in introducing former refugees to life in New Zealand during their initial stay at the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

In a review of Police input late last year, it was acknowledged that former refugees have to absorb a lot of information in a short space of time.

It was decided it would be helpful to provide safety information in a more practical form - a welcome pack including a lunchbox containing a Police pen, safety whistle, fridge magnets and safety information leaflets.

This pack is provided to each resettled family during their first week in Māngere as part of Police input that ensures recipients feel confident in Police, learn about New Zealand law, and know how to report incidents by calling 111 or 105.

At the Māngere Centre, Police hand out the Welcome Pack, including the Deputy Chief Executive of Iwi & Communities Pieri Munro (far left0 and former Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha who retired from New Zealand Police in January 2024 after 40 years of service.

Police’s National Ethnic Partnerships team embarked on the refresh of the Refugee Orientation Programme, strengthening engagement with partner agencies and Immigration New Zealand-contracted settlement service providers.

“We are proud of the partnership we have built with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and providers across the regions,” says Yumi Nguyen, National Principal Partnerships Advisor – Ethnic.

“Former refugees have lived experiences of war and forced displacement, and in some cases other acts of inequality and violence.

“When they land in Aotearoa New Zealand, we as Police want to ensure we do everything we can to make them feel welcome and feel they are a part of our community.”

Police has an important role in supporting the resettlement of 1500 refugees annually in New Zealand under the United Nations Refugee Quota programme, being led by the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy.

This includes welcoming former refugees to New Zealand and supporting the initial orientation programme at the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

During their stay of up to six weeks in Māngere, new arrivals learn about living and working in New Zealand. This includes the role of Police, and important safety information.

Families then move to one of 13 resettlement locations across Aotearoa. There, the orientation programme continues, with Police Ethnic Liaison Officers actively engaged with former refugees and local refugee resettlement providers.

This programme aims to support former refugees to live and thrive through independent living, with the help of government agencies and local community.

Police’s involvement provides positive interactions and helps break down any fears or misconceptions they may have from their home country.

“Our success and ability to build trust and confidence with newly arrived refugees is a testament to the outstanding work being carried out by our District Ethnic Liaison Officers,” says Rabia Talal Almbaid, National Senior Partnerships Advisor – Ethnic.

A police officer leaning forward and listening to some young children who are stood next to Police's ethnic car and pointing at some of the greetings in different languages that cover the car. 
Police's Community car, covered with greetings in 75-plus languages, was a big hit when it visited Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre on its launch day in September.