Welcoming Refugees

South West Baptist welcomed three former refugee families from Syria and Iraq into our Ōtautahi Christchurch communities in 2018. The pilot Community Sponsorship programme has been extended by the Government, and South West has again been approved as an official sponsor. Two families are expected to arrive later this year or in early 2023 and will be hosted by the Oaklands and Ōpāwaho (Beckenham/Thorrington/Cashmere/Somerfield) communities of South West Baptist. Nearly 30 people are working to prepare for the families’ arrival.

This is a whole church ministry that we invite you to participate in. Settlement needs are for:

  • Short-term storage – this will be needed for house furnishings while we wait for the families to arrive.
  • Two affordable rental properties for two families in the south/southwest suburbs. You may have some contacts that could help us locate suitable housing.
  • Furniture and appliances for these two homes. We will need this towards the end of the year.
  • Financial support – the Oaklands and Ōpāwaho groups have a combined budget of over $25,000 for settlement costs that they have agreed to fund. If you would like to make a contribution, that would be a huge encouragement.

Talk to your community, friends, church networks and others to explore how you could become involved. There is still an opportunity for more sponsorship groups to form – see Refugee Settlement Information. Additional information for groups interested in sponsoring includes the Sponsorship Group requirements and Expression of Interest Form (PDF or Word).

Pray for the sponsored refugee families as they approach a life-changing move to New Zealand. The ‘matching’ process will occur in the next 10 weeks. Pray that our sponsoring teams will build trust, resilience and understanding as they work together and that God will bring others into the teams at the right time to assist.  

Timeline updated 1 November 2022:

May 2022 South West Baptist approved for the Community Refugee Sponsorship programme
Oct 2022 Oaklands and Ōpāwaho sponsoring groups meet two refugee families they will sponsor for residence in Christchurch
Early 2023 Refugee applicants complete application with Immigration New Zealand
2023 Families arrive in Christchurch

Links to Refugee Websites:

Immigration NZ Refugee Support
Welcoming Refugees

South West Refugee Sponsorship Co-ordinating Team:

Beate Dix   Barry McKessar      Ruth Wright

Barry McKessar
021 1803934