Migrant Connections Taranaki is a free service aimed at a broad migrant support for migrants to New Zealand and their families.
The charitable trust was formed in 2014 after community consultation when Immigration New Zealand’s Settlement Support service was discontinued. The outcome of the consultation process was to keep a support service to fill a gap in services for migrants and their families.
Geetha Kutty, Coordinator of Migrant Connections, said it was exceedingly difficult to survive in the beginning. "There were no funds to pay rent, run workshops and events, or pay the coordinator. Taranaki Community Law and Bishops Action Foundation provided support to run the organisation initially.”
The organisation assists new migrants to get accustomed to the shift in culture and helps them integrate into the local community, by providing ongoing support on a case-by-case basis with the skills, tools, and networks they require.
“We are a point of contact for migrants who choose to make Taranaki their home. We organise meetings and events to promote inclusion, and provide access to support services.”
“Our workshops cover a range of topics essential to migrants and their families, assisting them to overcome the obstacles and challenges they face throughout the settling-in process, like workshops on the tax system and legal system, health, and winning jobs in New Zealand,” Geetha said.
Toi Foundation provided funding of $30k over three years to enable Migrant Connections Taranaki to continue to support migrants in the region.
“In the last three years, we assisted 750 clients, including migrants, cross-cultural families, and international students, to settle into the local community and develop the necessary networks and skills to make a positive contribution.”
“The effective integration of migrants in the local community adds diversity and a richness of culture and experience, which benefits everyone,” Geetha said