Syrian refugees arrive this week

NZ will take an extra 600 Syrian refugees and the first 100 will arrive in Auckland very soon. New Zealand usually takes 750 refugees each year but the government offered to take an extra 600 Syrian refugees because of the war in Syria. These people will be chosen by UNHCR (The United Nations High Commission for Refugees) from refugee camps near the Syrian border.

Refugees stay in Auckland at the Mangere Refugee Centre for six weeks. During this time, they learn about New Zealand culture, education system, employment, and many other matters about our society. Interpreters are used because, usually, refugees do not speak English. Teachers assess school-aged children to find out how much education they have had in the past. Sometimes, these children have had no education, especially if they have been living in refugee camps for some time. There are English classes for adults and children.

The Mangere Centre now has new facilities, and families can live together in family accommodation. There is a playground for children.

After six weeks, most of these families will move to Wellington where there is already a small Syrian community. Church groups or other groups will sponsor these families and help them to settle into their new life. Already, Wellingtonians are donating sheets and blankets, and other household goods. Refugees arrive with almost no possessions at all except maybe a few clothes and a favourite toy.

Later arrivals will go to other towns like Nelson, Palmerston North, Hamilton or Dunedin.


• facilities – buildings, equipment
• Wellingtonians – people who live in Wellington
• arrival (n) – here it means a person who arrives

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