New Zealand as part of its international humanitarian obligations and responsibilities, has accepted refugees for resettlement since World War II.
New Zealand accepts an annual quota of 750 refugees and is one of only nine countries worldwide offering a regular quota of places for refugees.
New Zealand is unique in that it reserves its quota placements for the most needy cases such as medically disabled, women-at-risk and protection cases as identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
At Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, several agencies work together to provide a comprehensive orientation programme for all refugees arriving under the quota system. Mangere’s ‘on arrival’ health screening programme provided by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Refugee Health Service is unique.
Refugee groups in New Zealand and their ethnic communities are growing and diverse, in particular in the Auckland region. Pre-migration experiences lead to high health needs on arrival. Very few refugees have emerged from their experiences without having endured or witnessed some form of physical or psychological trauma. The long-term physical and psychological sequelae resulting from this exposure are a common feature of the ‘refugee experience’.
Length of residence in New Zealand is associated with lifestyle changes which can result in adverse health patterns for example uptake of tobacco smoking, increasing obesity, and reduced physical activity. Refugee groups require tailored and targeted health interventions. Health services which are culturally and linguistically responsive to the refugee groups that they serve will improve access, provide early intervention and reduce avoidable hospitalisations.
In this section
- This page describes who is a refugee, where they might come from and the ways in which they enter New Zealand – under the quota system, as refugee family-sponsored migrants, or as asylum seekers. Read more
- Individuals with refugee status in New Zealand are eligible for publicly funded health services. This section has information about the physical and mental health needs of refugees. Read more
- Resources on refugee health from the Ministry and other agencies. Read more
- Links to related websites on refugee health. Read more