Refugees and New Zealand
A refugee is defined as:
". . . a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country." (The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees)
New Zealand's first major involvement in refugee resettlement began in November 1944 when the American vessel General Randall arrived from war-torn Europe with 733 Polish children and 108 adults on board. Since then there has been a history of goodwill towards refugee survivors beginning a new life here, with our refugee policy reflecting the government's commitment to fulfilling its international humanitarian obligations and responsibilities as a signatory to the United Nations 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
For more information about the refugee communities who have come to New Zealand over the years, check out the Te Ara website here.
To learn more about the history of New Zealand Red Cross Refugee Services, click here.