News & Events

June 20th is World Refugee Day

8 May 2017

Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres states “Our duty to the people we serve is to work together to move from fear of each other to trust in each other. Diversity in all its forms is an asset, not a threat.”

So let us recall our common humanity on World Refugee Day, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to displaced people everywhere.

TOGETHER is a United Nations campaign that promotes respect safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. Its aim is to counter the rise in xenophobia, intolerance, racism and discrimination by :

  • changing negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and
  • strengthening the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants.


Refugees and displaced people are just like you and me

Every minute 24 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.

If conflict threatened your family, what would you do?

  • Stay and risk your lives? or
  • Try to flee, and risk kidnap, rape or torture?

We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees – over half of whom are under the age of 18. Over a half of all global refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

Definitions of displaced people and NZ’s response to refugees

There are several types of forcibly displaced persons.

  • A refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.
  • Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.
  • Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home within their own country.

Migrants make the decision to move based on choice so are very different from refugees. They choose to move to better their circumstances such as to escape poverty and unemployment or to reunite with family members, and are often able to decide where they will migrate to.

New Zealand currently resettles up to 1,000 refugees every year, and we are only 1 of 26 countries that regularly accept refugees annually. Last year New Zealand welcomed refuges from 21 different countries as well as 600 Syrian refugees under the emergency refugee quota.

Sources: NZ Red Cross Refugee Services and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

It’s about your whānau this World Smokefree Day

13 April 2017

World Smokefree Day: 31 May - It's About Whanau.World Smokefree Day (31st May) is about celebrating and working towards smokefree/auahi kore lives for New Zealanders.

The theme for WSFD 2017 is ‘It’s about whānau.’ Whānau is a driving force for many people wishing to protect others from the harms of second-hand smoke. This is a common cause for all people, cultures, communities and families.

The call to action is for smokers and non-smokers to take control and stop exposing others to second-hand smoke, especially children.

Become a smokefree role model for your children, tamariki and mokopuna

World Smokefree Day is also about creating environments where our children are free from exposure to tobacco. Parents feel very strongly about not exposing children to smoking, whether they are smokers or not.

Children see their parents smoke and this has a strong effect on what they perceive as normal.

Parents, whānau and caregivers can make positive changes to the environment children are growing up in, even if they smoke. Talking to their children about smoking and establishing smokefree rules like not smoking around children, keeping the house and car smokefree is a fantastic start and a step in the right direction to protecting their children.

Support your whānau to quit

World Smokefree Day also provides an opportunity to encourage and help those who want to quit smoking and support friends and whānau on their quit journey.
For those who decide the time is right to quit, there’s more help available than ever.

Services like Quitline now provide support over the phone, online and by text. There is also an increasing range of medical products and nicotine therapies available, from as little as $5 per product for an 8-week supply.

It’s about freedom. It’s about whānau and being there for those you love. Take up the challenge and take a step towards a smokefree Aotearoa and quit smoking on 31st May – World Smokefree Day.

Source: Health Promotion Agency website.

Count young people’s voices in your community during Youth Week

5 April 2017

Youth WeekYouth Week is a nationwide festival of events organised by young New Zealanders to celebrate the talents, passion and success of local young people.

Youth Week recognises the amazing contributions and achievements of young people in New Zealand. The week also recognises the youth workers, youth service providers and others working with and for young people.

The week inspires us to value, support, and affirm the diversity of young people in our society. We want Aotearoa to be a country where young people are vibrant and optimistic and are supported and encouraged to take up challenges.

For the older generation it’s about how we engage with the young people in our lives – whether it’s sharing our stories, supporting them to achieve their dreams or being a listening ear when life gets tough.

How you can celebrate or mark Youth Week 2017

Hear our voices translated in multiple languages.Youth Week 2017 (26th May to 4th June) celebrates youth voices in the community – Our Voices count; count our voices. This year’s theme is all about giving young people a voice that counts by supporting them to:

  • get involved in their community,
  • contribute to community development projects,
  • give feedback on policies or decisions that impact them
  • have their say in the upcoming national election, or
  • get informed about issues that affect them.

There will be lots of events happening nationwide to celebrate Youth Week.


Ara Taiohi is an organisation for youth development in New Zealand. They want to showcases examples of people supporting young people across the country on their website. Share your story or nominate someone else by sending an email (communications[at], with the Subject: Story).

Source: Ara Taiohi website.

Page last updated: 23/02/2016

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