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Newcomers to the Auckland Region are keen to gain information to help them settle, particularly about establishing connections with their local communities, finding employment, and learning English.
From July to December 2011, more than 2,000 newcomers contacted Auckland’s four Settlement Support New Zealand (SSNZ) initiatives for assistance, resulting in 3,739 referrals to other service providers. Over 505 activities and workshops were provided to newcomers across the region.
Iris Pabayo, who has been in New Zealand for just over a month now, says making connection with a local church was very important for her family.
“We consider ourselves religious and being in a new country, especially around New Year’s time can get very lonely. We were referred to a church by someone we knew and it was great luck for us! We met so many Filipinos at the church, the pastor even helped us with schooling information for my girl,” adds Iris.
“The highlight of our settlement journey to New Zealand is Facebook! Through Facebook we got referred by a family member, to someone they knew in Auckland, who could help us with accommodation upon our arrival.”
Iris also found Settlement Support Auckland on Facebook.
“When I went into SSNZ Auckland profile, I saw other Filipinos in the friends list and made instant connection with them,” she said.
“Through the church connections, we met so many people as well. While my husband and I are looking for work, knowing that there are people and organisations that we can go to, or talk to, helps a lot.”
Dr Mary Dawson, Chief Executive of Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS), says that community networks are vital in the settlement process.
“Local networks, churches, community organisations and centres are all hugely important ways for newcomers to link up with local residents and with other newcomers. Connecting socially with others is a sure way of finding useful support, becoming better informed, and feeling more at home in a new city.”
The SSNZ initiatives are funded by Immigration New Zealand to assist newcomers to Auckland with settlement support information, networking and referrals. Settlement Support NZ Coordinators have been providing information particularly to newcomers from India, China, Philippines, Japan and Fiji. These include work permit holders, family members of skilled migrants, visitor visa holders and international students.
The SSNZ Coordinators work very closely with service providers to provide good customer service and relevant information to Auckland’s newcomers from over 130 countries. Nearly 300 service providers belong to the regional and local Settlement Support networks which hold forums for newcomers and service providers twice a year.
Upcoming Network meetings are:
Contact your local Settlement Support New Zealand initiative:
|Auckland Central||Joseph Ngui||Auckland Regional Migrant Services||09 625 2440|
|Manukau||Vimbai Mugadza||Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS)||09 262 5983|
|North Shore||Cheng Goh||Raeburn House||09 486 8635|
|Waitakere||Ayumi Shibata||Auckland Council||09 837 4273|
For further information contact Regional Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Shoma Prasad on 09 625 3095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org