AUT's Centre for Refugee Education (in the Mangere Refugee Reception, Manukau City) provides an on-arrival 6-week education programme for the 1000 refugees who come to New Zealand each year under the government quota scheme.
For many refugees the programmes represent the turning point from their traumatic past to a future of hope. Recently arrived groups have included Burmese, Bhutanese, Iraqi and Colombian refugees.
Our programmes introduce a new physical and cultural learning environment, and students are given the opportunity to develop English language, literacy and other skills as well as the chance to reflect on the challenges of entering a new society.
Teaching at the centre reflects the unique needs of refugees as students, through acknowledging the refugee experience as well as affirming individual and cultural identity.
Activities at the AUT Centre for Refugee Education:
Most of our staff are fluent in at least two languages, and all are qualified in teaching English as an additional language.
Every intake, the Refugee Centre at Mangere partakes in a powhiri to welcome each new group of refugees. After the powhiri for intake 4 in 2016, we received some very powerful responses from the recently arrived refugees.
A welcome to a new, permanent country of residence is very important to individuals who have been forced to flee from their beloved homelands, and who are then not welcome to stay in the next country of refuge.
Below are two poems written by a couple of students which clearly illustrate the effects of a welcome done well, and how very important and therapeutic this process of a formal welcoming ceremony can be.