History of Refugee Services
Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand has been supporting refugees in New Zealand in one form or another for the past 40 years.
It began 1976, when the Inter-church Commission on Immigration and Refugee Resettlement (ICCI) was formed to represent New Zealand churches in all aspects of immigration and the settlement of refugees.
The founding members included representatives from the National Council of Churches, the Catholic Bishops Conference, HIAS (Hebrew Immigration Aid Society) and the United Synagogues of New Zealand. The work of the Commission largely focussed on refugee matters, but it also actively assisted a wide range of migrants and people applying for political asylum.
In 1986 the governance of ICCI was assumed by the Christian Conference of Churches of Aotearoa New Zealand (CCANZ). CCANZ continued its governance role until 1990 when the agency became an officially incorporated society and its name was changed to the Refugee and Migrant Commission-Aotearoa New Zealand Inc. Its membership was also expanded to include representatives from other faiths, refugee communities and refugee-related agencies. Eventually the name of the agency was changed to RMS Refugee Resettlement.
In 2004 a restructuring of the Commission was begun which culminated in the establishment of a new governance structure and the formation of a Board, and in June 2008, following a major rebranding exercise, the agency became Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand.
On 10 December 2012, Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand officially became part of New Zealand Red Cross. Today, New Zealand Red Cross Refugee Services continues to support all refugees who come to New Zealand through the United Nations quota system.