Topics: Education, Housing

Auckland home to New Zealand's newest refugee school

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Today is World Refugee Day and the Ministry of Education has opened a new school for refugees at the Mangere Refugee Centre to replace the temporary school that has been there since 2013.

New Zealand’s newest refugee school has opened at the Mangere Reception Center. The school provides refugees with educational opportunities before settlement in their new homes and communities.

Refugee education center leader Maria Hayward says, "The program lasts for six weeks and after six weeks most families will move to cities other than Auckland and settle permanently in Aotearoa."

The school site originally opened thirty years ago as a temporary refugee camp. Former student and Ministry of Education Advisor Adel Salmanzadeh is pleased that the new learning facility is modern and well resourced, unlike the barracks he learned in thirty years ago.

Northern Region Senior Advisor: Refugee and Migrant Support Adel Salmanzadeh says, "This looks exactly the same as any brand new classroom that I visit when I go out for my school visits so that makes me feel really good that refugees get exactly the same quality buildings and facilities as any other New Zealanders."

Kaumātua Jerry Norman says that everyone, including refugees, deserves to have a home, an education and an opportunity to contribute to society.

"It's the responsibility of every kiwi New Zealander to help them settle in here," says Norman.

In celebration of World Refugee Day and to highlight New Zealand's low annual refugee intake of 750, 90,000 kiwis are taking part in a 40-hour famine this weekend to raise funds for Syrian refugees.