Tue, Mar 12, 2024 6:00 PM

Red Cross paves way for race relations


William Woodworth

Multiple generations have been uprooted from their homes; their stories are varied but the underlaying distress is the same.

Marlborough’s recent migrant families arrive in the region hoping for the best as they prepare to settle in their new communities.

The Red Cross, contracted by Immigration NZ in eight regions, helps with tenancy, schooling, and doctors and more.

And Marlborough Red Cross Pathways to Settlement Manager Marvin Gorospe says community spirit is more important than ever.

“Marlborough is receiving large families, especially from the Rohingya minority in Myanmar fleeing persecution there, but also settling Colombian and Venezuelan communities here”, says Marvin.

“Regions are assigned ethnicities, because it means fostering connections and transitions are easier by having settled communities from the same countries already here.”

When Immigration New Zealand informs the Marlborough Red Cross, the local team begins organising a warm welcome for the region’s newest residents.

Case managers are their first point of connection, whether in Auckland or through calls before meeting at Marlborough Airport.

Marvin says while English lessons, jobs and social services help build a new life, social involvement in a shared passion is key.

“People moving to Marlborough may share basics like where they are from, but everyone has a different journey getting here, and so generally are starting completely new,” explains Marvin.

The next step for Marvin is having community groups participating in the community independently, building connections both within migrant communities, and other organisations.

“By building self-sustaining communities, there’s a solid community base which means new migrants can assimilate independent of our help and instantly feel welcome in Marlborough.”

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