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Refugee Family Reunification Trust Newsletter

Refugee Family Reunification Trust
P.O. Box 27342
Marion Square
Wellington 6141

No. 11 – November 2012

Cardinal Thomas Williams
Dame Fiona Kidman
Niborom Young
Kim Hill

Amanda Calder Chairperson
Therese O'Connell
Ismail Ibrahim
Brigid Feehan
Philippa Meachen


Over the past eleven years, the Trust has approved 262 applications for assistance from refugees in Wellington needing help with the costs of bringing their families to join them here. Some refugees have needed assistance more than once, for example, at the beginning of the immigration process (with the cost of application fees and medicals required by Immigration New Zealand), and then with the cost of the airfares - the final step in reuniting a family. Overall, more than 200 different refugee families have been helped. It is very rewarding to see so many families reunited after such long separations, and to know that the Trust has played a vital part in this outcome.

The total number of refugees benefitting through the Trust is even greater than these numbers indicate, as most refugees assisted by us have brought out more than one family member. For example, this year 22 applications for funding resulted in the Trust paying for airfares to bring 62 refugees - including 34 children - to join their families, at a cost of about $125,000. To date, we have paid for airfares to bring more than 400 refugees - many of whom were children and young people - to re-join their families in Wellington. Without the help of the Trust, many of these families would not have been able to begin the immigration process or, at the final stage, been able to pay the high cost of the airfares. The number of refugees seeking our help continues to increase, and the past year has been one of our busiest - we approved 33 applications for funding of various kinds.

Since the Trust was established in 2001, we have raised nearly $900,000 for refugees. We are particularly proud of this achievement, as not a single dollar of donations has been used to generate this income. We do not pay for advertising, fundraisers, salaries or rent - so that 100% of donations can be given to refugees. No remuneration is paid to the Trustees, and we do not receive any government funding. Separate funding is obtained specifically for unavoidable administration costs, and we are able to keep these to a bare minimum due to our reliance on unpaid volunteers. Hutt Valley refugees continue to benefit from the significant donation we received in May 2010.

By nationality, the families who have been assisted by the Trust were originally from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Liberia, Sudan, Myanmar, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Banda Ache. Many of these families were living in refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Although it is constantly a challenge for the Trust to raise money, it is even more difficult for refugees to do this for themselves. We will continue to do our best to raise enough money to help all refugees in Wellington who are eligible to be reunited with their families.


Sincere thanks to Elite International School of Beauty and Spa Therapies, located at Level 2, 265 Wakefield St (by New World, Chaffers St), which has kindly chosen us to receive proceeds from its 2012 student client sessions. So far, $12,352.06 has been collected for the Trust - so please support them for all your beauty treatments at great prices, including facial treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, electrolysis and massage.

SMP Ensemble Concert

In December 2011 there was a wonderful performance by the SMP Ensemble at St Joseph's Church in Mt Victoria, raising more than $1,800. They are talented graduates from the New Zealand School of Music, who played a wide variety of instruments, and were joined by a beautiful young singer. The concert included pieces by Psathas and Dvorak. Special thanks to the organisers, including Carol Shortis, Karlo Margetic and Anton Killin, and also to all the performers who generously gave their time. Thank you to Wellington Refugees As Survivors Trust for organising such a memorable concert where the atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and the acoustics literally divine!

LE HAVRE Film Fundraiser

In June 2012 a very successful fundraising screening of the award-winning French film Le Havre was held at the Penthouse Theatre - raising a total of $3,250. We are extremely grateful to the Justice, Peace and Development groups of the Wellington West Catholic Pastoral Area for organising the event. Special thanks to ProCopy Digital on The Terrace for printing beautiful tickets at no charge. Thanks also to Shott Beverages and On-Tray in Petone, and to the Kelburn shops who donated goods for the raffle - including The Platter, Kelburn Cafe, Kelburn Pharmacy, Glengarry Wines, Beaute and Four Square. We truly appreciate the effort, work and generosity that went into making this night so successful, and we thank everyone for their support.

Wairarapa Supports Refugees

A wonderful Wairarapa fundraising event was organised by Roz Broadmore and Amanda Perham in September 2012. More than 70 people attended, and Roz and Amanda say that they had found it far easier than they had imagined to raise $1575 for the Trust. Christine Kernohan of Gladstone Vineyard generously provided wine and glasses on the night, and Roz and Amanda prepared a light supper. Several Greytown businesses donated vouchers that were sold in colourful mystery crackers, and the owners of the new Greytown Fresh Choice supermarket made up a large basket of groceries that was raffled. A highlight was the moving short talk by Randal Cornish, a counsellor at Wellington Refugees As Survivors Trust, about his experience working with refugees. As several of the attendees noted, it was a genuine feel-good experience - they had an enjoyable evening that was even more satisfying because they knew it was for a very worthy cause.

We would like to sincerely thank all those who helped to make this night such a success, including all the local businesses which donated their goods and services so generously, including Gladstone Vineyard, Greytown Fine Distillates, Parish House Olive Oil, Mondo Greytown, Invest, Minx Shoes, The White Swan, Verandah, Salute, Fresh Choice Greytown, the Greytown Little Theatre, and the Greytown Film Society. Thank you all for your kindness and goodwill.


We remain extremely grateful to all our donors, who are ultimately responsible for the successful reunification of so many deserving families. We hope that you are able to continue your support, as each donation – whether by way of regular automatic payment, or a one-off gift – is a vital contribution towards getting a family back together again.


A number of individuals and private Trusts, who wish to remain anonymous, have made very generous donations. Other significant donors over the past year include Caritas, the Thomas George Macarthy Trust, the Archdiocesan Tindall Allocations Committee, Nikau Foundation, the Rotary Club of Wellington South Charitable Trust and Queen Margaret College. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Toi Design Rainwear generously donated beautiful wet weather gear to refugee children - just in time for one of our wettest winters!

Many volunteers have kindly given their time. Special thanks to Chris Brimer for keeping the accounts. English Language Partners Wellington support us in a number of ways, including by the use of their box number. We would also like to thank the Trust's auditor, Peter Scholtens. We are very grateful to Phil Dyer for taking photographs for the Christmas card and for this newsletter, and to Lesley Hooper for helping to manage the database. David Colls again generously donated his time to format this newsletter. Sr Rachel and Nathan Smith as volunteers both kindly helped new families with their resettlement.

About Us

The Refugee Family Reunification Trust is a charitable trust incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and registered under the Charities Act 2005. Donations of $5 or more can be tax deductible.

The purpose of the Trust is to financially assist refugees in Wellington to bring immediate family members to join them here. Reuniting these families greatly improves the lives of those refugees already living in New Zealand, and is critical to their successful resettlement and integration.

All money raised is used exclusively to help refugees pay for the expenses directly related to bringing family members from refugee situations. This includes application fees charged by, and medical reports required by, Immigration New Zealand, and the cost of airfares to bring approved family members to New Zealand.

How You Can Help

By Post – Send a donation to the Refugee Family Reunification Trust, PO Box 27342, Marion Square, Wellington 6141.
By Automatic Payment – Contact your bank to obtain and complete an automatic payment form.
By Telephone – Telephone us to discuss any fundraising event you are organising that may be able to contribute towards the Trust.
By Email – Send a message to
By Internet Banking – contact for details

Refugee Family Reunification Trust
PO Box 27342, Marion Square, Wellington 6141.
Telephone: (04) 475 7994 or (04) 384 1992
Fax: (04) 475 7934
Website: refugeefamilyreunificationtrust.org.nz

For privacy reasons, refugees' stories and photos are not included on our website.