Shaping our Futures Together Hui – Strengthening cross-cultural relationships



28 August 2019


Building connected and inclusive communities based on solidarity between tangata whenua and ethnic communities is the focus of the Shaping our Futures Together Hui, September 6, co-hosted by Belong Aotearoa and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

The hui will include keynote speaker, the recently appointed Race Relations Commissioner Mr Meng Foon, plus other speakers highlighting opportunities to strengthen allyship, based on respect, shared and different experiences of injustice and intertwined futures.  

Board Chair of Belong Aotearoa, formerly Auckland Regional Migrant Services, Rahul Watson Govindan sees the hui as a platform to inspire cross-cultural mahi.

 “Working together we can build a caring and inclusive Aotearoa where many cultures are woven together in a celebration of diversity, connectedness and belonging. When our mahi is underpinned by Te Tiriti, we can strengthen inclusion,” Mr Watson Govindan said.

 “In our work, we are seeing a huge appetite for positive change through collaboration. Through this hui we’re excited to be able to share some great examples of partnerships between Māori and ethnic communities that are strengthening inclusion, equity and the wellbeing of communities,” he said.

 Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Aukaha Tauira Experience Shanan Halbert has seen first-hand how diverse communities thrive in a learning environment that is guided by Māori principles and values. He is excited to see how this hui opens up opportunities for these principles and values to lead the way to connection and inclusion in other spaces.  

“This hui will be a great opportunity to showcase biculturalism as a pathway to multiculturalism that is led by Māori principles and values. It highlights the very real implications of diversity with a way forward, that respects tangata whenua and non-Māori, saying that yes, together we can shape our future,” Mr Halbert said.

Hui details:

  • Title:               Shaping our Futures Together Hui 

  • Date:              Friday 6 September, 2019

  • Time:              9.15am – 12.30pm (followed by lunch)

  • Location:      Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, 15 Canning Drive, Mangere

  • RSVP:             By 30 Aug 2019 to: 

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Media contact:


About Belong Aotearoa (Formerly known as Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust - ARMS)

Vision: An inclusive, connected New Zealand where newcomer communities are able to enjoy and contribute towards our collective wellbeing and prosperity.

Mission: Driving innovation to improve newcomer settlement and integration.

We are a specialist settlement support agency, providing targeted initiatives for newcomers (migrants and refugees) across Auckland.

To find out more about Belong Aotearoa visit


About Te Wānanga O Aotearoa

Vision: He takapau mātauranga, he whanau huarewa (Whānau transformation through education)

Mission: Kia angitu te tauira (Tauira Success)

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is one of New Zealand's largest tertiary education providers offering a comprehensive range of certificate to degree level qualifications to New Zealanders of all ages and walks of life. Guided by Māori principles and values, to create a nurturing and inclusive learning environment, with the depth and diversity of courses

To find out more about  TWOA visit

Refugee Sector shows solidarity in the face of Christchurch Mosque shootings

Press Release 



March 15 2019

In the month that celebrates our multicultural nation with Race Relations and Neighbours day, today March 15th is a day of tragedy for the Muslim community and all New Zealand. 

Several refugee support organisations have responded to the shootings by offering their support and sharing heartfelt thoughts to the Muslim community in Christchurch. The organisations working closely with refugee communities, of which several are Muslim, are shocked and appalled by today’s events. 

Board Chair of Belong Aotearoa (Formerly known as Auckland Regional Migrant Services), Rahul Watson Govindan has this to say: 

“The events unfolding in Christchurch are a very direct attack on our shared values and humanity. We are all united in support of the victims of this shocking crime, and offer our support and aroha to those affected.”

Dr Ann Hood, Chief Executive of Refugees As Survivors NZ (RASNZ) states: 

“This shocking action is not representative of NZ attitudes towards our fellow country people and people around the world who follow Islam. We join with New Zealanders everywhere to express our horror at this atrocity committed in our country. We will do all we can to support those impacted by this tragic event”. 

Abann Yor, General Manager of ARCC (Aotearoa Resettled Community Coalition) states: 

“From the community voice, what’s happening in Christchurch is not really reflective of New Zealand’s shared values. New Zealand is a safe haven for many humanitarian backgrounds. This shooting is not something we can tolerate and we will be standing with those who’ve been affected by it. We know that diversity is our strength as a nation, regardless of our background. Islam is a religion of peace and love and our hearts will be with the Muslim community in New Zealand”. 

Refugee support organisations are standing unified and in solidarity to support all those affected now and in the days and weeks to come. 

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Media contact: 

Malu Malo-Fuiava

Mackenzie Koppel

A collaborative community is key to improving the resettlement process   

Refugees are defined as the most vulnerable population in the world, needing protection and whilst New Zealand is proud of their international humanitarian work supporting refugees, there are still several challenges that need to be addressed.


On Tuesday, 9th October 2018 a study report was launched that focused on two major issues refugees face challenges in; employment and housing. The study report was launched by Auckland Resettled Community Coalition (ARCC) in collaboration with Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS), NZ Human Rights Commission and The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Three Kings, Auckland.


The study was a benchmark study comparing New Zealand’s resettlement process against Australia’s resettlement process. The findings showed key areas of difference in this process that could be adopted by New Zealand. Some of the key findings and recommendations was around having a more comprehensive orientation and assessment of individuals arriving; greater collaboration with NGO’s, Government (at all levels) and the community; and greater support for NGO’s to allow for the refugee community to not only easily access services but also provide pathways for them to be employed as part of the support services for their community.


Rakesh Naidoo, Strategic Advisor Race Relations for NZ Human Rights Commission, who was also the Master of Ceremony for the event, commented on the success of the event with attendance exceeding expectations, demonstrating the importance and appreciation for the research conducted by Abann Yor, General Manager at ARCC.


“Abann has not only seen these challenges through his role and research but has lived these challenges as a former refugee himself. The research is reflective of his passion for this community and dedication to ensuring positive resettlement and integration outcomes. There was a shared excitement of how this research will lead to additional community led research and how these recommendations will be acted upon in NZ” Rakesh added.


A digital version of the report is available to download here or upon request to


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Media contact:

Malu Malo-Fuiava

Marcomms and Fundraising Manager

09-625 2440 extn. 4


About Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust (ARMS)

We are a specialist settlement support agency, providing targeted programmes for skilled migrants, international students, other work visa holders, former refugees and their families. Our programmes and services are delivered in several locations across Auckland.


To find out more about ARMS visit


About Auckland Resettled Community Coalition (ARCC)

ARCC believes that former refugees who form these resettled communities are best placed to understand their own needs and aspirations. ARCC gives these communities the tools, resources and connections to excel in New Zealand. We hope to improve resettlement outcomes for newcomer communities and aim to meet the strategic objectives of the New Zealand National Resettlement Strategy: to help humanitarian entrants to integrate into communities, find work, gain access to health services through self-sufficiency, encourage participation and well-being along with assisting individuals and families to obtain education and housing.

To find out more about ARCC visit


About NZ Human Rights Commission


The Human Rights Commission was set up in 1977 and works under the Human Rights Act 1993. Our purpose is to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand. We work for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected. In this section you can find out more about who we are, what we do and why.


To find out more about NZ Human Rights Commission visit