World Refugee Day 2015 in New Zealand
World Refugee Day is marked internationally on 20 June each year, but some events in New Zealand are starting earlier this year because organisers want to have the celebrations before the start of Ramadan on 18 June.
This year’s theme is “Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances.”
First off the block is an event open to the public in Christchurch today 13 June at Addington School , organised by the Canterbury Refugee Council and associated organisations.
Wellington will have a celebration of communities and cultures tomorrow Sunday 14 June at Rongotai College from 1.00-5.00 pm.
There will be a reception at Parliament (invitation only) on Wednesday 17 June at noon hosted by the Minister of Immigration and the Red Cross, including the attendance of the Australia and New Zealand Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr Thomas Albrecht.
Nelson has a range of activities planned, including a story telling session at the Nelson Library on Thursday 18 June from 2.00 – 2.30 pm.
Hamilton will have a celebration event on Saturday 20 June from 2.30 – 6.00 pm at the Hamilton Garden Central Court Hall, organised by the Waikato Refugee Forum.
The Auckland event, traditionally held at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, will this year be held at the Western Springs Community Hall, 956 Great North Road, Western Springs, because of the current refurbishment of the Mangere Centre. The event is scheduled for Saturday 20 June, starting at 10.30 am.
Christian churches mark World Refugee Day with their annual Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants, which this year will be observed in parishes throughout New Zealand on Sunday 21 June. . Both Caritas and Christian World Service have prepared resources. The Catholic monthly Welcom also features World Refugee Day with stories of former refugees who have settled in the region.
In the lead-up to World Refugee Day there have been mounting public calls for New Zealand to increase its annual refugee quota from 750 to 1000 or 1500, including Amnesty International, Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy, the Labour Party, the Greens, New Zealand First and United Future, and newspapers including the New Zealand Herald and the Otago Daily Times.
Multicultural New Zealand pressed for an increase in the refugee quota in its policy proposals presented to all political parties before last year’s general election.
Updates and reports on World Refugee Day in New Zealand will be available on the World Refugee Day New Zealand Facebook page.