Refugees (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about refugees coming to and living in New Zealand?

Image: Afghan refugees in Iran by EU/ECHO Pierre Prakash on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 23/12/20


Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their homeland because of war or persecution. Many countries, including New Zealand, have a refugee quota - a certain number of refugees they accept each year. New Zealand has a strong history in accepting refugees, and this has continued as the trouble spots around the world have increased.

Early refugees

New Zealand has been accepting refugees for a long time. Some of the earliest refugees arrived in New Zealand in the 1800s.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This is an excellent website to begin a search for general and historical information relating to New Zealand. A search for 'refugees' will bring up lots of useful results.

  • Look at the story about Refugees to find out about the history of refugees coming to New Zealand.
  • You will find the story about the first groups of refugees to arrive in the late 1800s, followed by the Polish in the 1940's and the Chinese in the 1960's.
  • You can also read about the early days of the quota system.
Tips: Te Ara links sometimes take you to the Short Story. Remember to click on the Full Story if you want more in-depth information. You can also look at the ‘All images and media’ link for pictures and photos related to your story.


This is another great website for historical information about New Zealand.

  • Click on Topics, choose the A-Z option, and select R to find the page on refugees.
  • You could also use your keyword 'refugees' to search the website.
Tips: We like government websites because they’re reliable. You can tell either by their web address (they have .govt) or by looking at the About us or Contact pages.

Recent refugees

There are many people in the world now who are facing war or other difficulties and have to leave their homes. These refugees often try to seek asylum, or protection, in other countries. Some find a home here in New Zealand.

New Zealand Immigration

This website is from the New Zealand government organisation that works with people who want to come and settle in New Zealand.

  1. Look under What we do and then Our strategies & projects.
  2. Then select Supporting refugees and asylum seekers. This section includes information for refugees as well as videos of refugees' experiences in New Zealand.

Red Cross New Zealand

Red Cross agencies around the world work with refugees, including those here in New Zealand.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About Us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Australia New Zealand Reference Centre

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

This resource has lots of New Zealand magazine, journal and newspaper articles.

Tips: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Refugee quota

New Zealand's refugee quota controls the number of refugees that are allowed to come and settle here.

New Zealand Immigration

This website also has information regarding the number of refugees coming to New Zealand.

  • Use the keyword 'refugee' in the search bar and select the Refugee Resettlement Factsheet.
  • This factsheet provides good information about New Zealand's past and present involvement receiving refugees.
  • It also shows statistics if you want to know how many refugees have actually settled in this country.


This is a great website for finding out about news and current events in New Zealand. There has been a lot of discussion about New Zealand's refugee quota and that it should be increased. Try searching for 'refugee quota' to find articles, opinions and press releases about it.

Tips: You could also try searching news websites like the NZ Herald, Stuff, 3 News, and TVNZ News to find stories about our refugee quota and of refugees coming to New Zealand.

This website shows New Zealand statistics on all sorts of different topics. It was created to make it easier to see the data from different government and educational organisations, as well as businesses. Search for your keyword 'refugees' to find relevant statistics and tables.


You may also like to visit your school or public library and check out the print collection there. Over time there have been many books published telling the stories of people coming to this country.

A few recommended titles are:

SCIS no: 1832825
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