17 Aug 2015

More support urged for refugee families

2:14 pm on 17 August 2015

Agencies working with refugees believe there is not always adequate support for family members who also re-settle in New Zealand.

Afghan refugees at the Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland.

Afghan refugees at the Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland. Photo: AFP

About 300 people move to New Zealand each year under the refugee reunification programme.

While refugees accepted under the United Nations quota are provided with six weeks of intensive support when they arrive, as well as some ongoing support, there is no formal help for family members who arrive later, despite them often suffering from the same trauma as those already here.

Red Cross national programme manager Rachel O'Connor told Nine To Noon the agency was piloting some support for those people.

"They're burdened by the financial challenges, they don't know where they can access support for their families who are being reunified here.

"It's those families that we want to reach out to - we want to provide more support to."

Ms O'Connor said many of the families who re-settle in New Zealand were resilient.

An organisation providing specialist mental health services for traumatised refugees, also agrees that New Zealand needs to do much more for them and their families.