A History of Refugee Arrivals in New Zealand

  • Danish Refugees

    Danes fleein the suppression of their language and culture under German occupation arrived in New Zealand in the 1970's. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Jewish Refugees

    Jews arrived in New Zealand in the 1880's, fleeing persecution from Tsarist Russia. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • French Huguenot Refugees

    French Huguenots arrive in the 1890s after suffering religious persecution.
  • Refugees from Nazism

    Refugees from Nazism
    About 1100 mainly Jewish refugees arrives between 1933 and 1939 in a bid to escape Nazi Germany. Many were decliend under the Immigration Restriction Act 1931. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Polish Refugees

    Considered the year New Zealand's formal refugee resettlement programme started, around 800 Polish refugees, 734 of them orphaned children, arrived for the duration of WWII. Many stayed permanently.
  • Displaced persons from Europe

    From 1945 to 1952, displaced persons from Europe arrived in New Zealand following WWII. Between 4,500 and 5,000 people arrived on ships provided by the International Refugee Organisation. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Chinese

    Chinese refguees from Hong Kong and Indonesia resettled in New Zealand
  • Hungarian Refugees

    Between 1956 and 1958 about 1100 Hungarian refugees were accepted following the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet-backed Communist regime. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Handicap Refugees

    ‘Handicapped’ refugees were those regarded as hard to settle for reasons such as ill health, disability, advanced age, or having large numbers of dependent children. In 1959, New Zealand became one of the first countries in the world to accept refugee families with handicapped members. By 1963, New Zealand had resettled over 200 such families. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Chinese

    New Zealand was slow to accept Chinese refugees following the civil war but in 1962, 50 Chinese orphans from were accepted from Hong Kong for adoption by New Zealand families. There was a quota of six families a year in the late 1960s and 12 Chinese families from Indonesia were admitted in 1967. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Russian Christians

    Russian Chritstian "Old Believers"
  • Russian Christians from China

    New Zeaaldn accepted 80 memebers of a group of Russian fundamentalist Chirstians in 1965. The group known as "Old Believers" had fled to China to escape persecution. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Czechoslovak Refugees

    Around 125 Czechoslovaks were accepted between 1968 and 1971 following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Refugees from the Middle East, 1970s - 90s

    Refugees fleeing confilcts and persecution the Middle East began arriving inin the 1970's. A group of Baha’i refugees from Iran arrived in 1979 a further 142 arrived between 1987 and 1989.
    140 Assyrian Christians were accepted from refugee camps in Greece between 1985 and 1989 as well as Iraqi soldiers who deserted during the Iraq War.
  • Asians from Uganda

    In 1972 and 1973, 244 Ugandan-Asain's arrived after being expelled from Uganda by President Idi Amin as part of his 'Africanisation' programme. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Chilean Refugees

    354 Chileans arrived after the army's overthrow of the governmet in 1973.
  • Soviet Jews and Eastern Europeans, 1974 - 91

    Following the downfall of the Communist govern,ent's in Eastern Europe, New Zealand accepted 335 Soviet Jews, 507 refugees under the Eastern European quota and 292 Poles who fled Poland when it was under martial law between 1981–83.
  • South-East Asian (Indo-Chinese) Refugees 1975-94

    Following the Vietnam War New Zealand accpeted refugees who had attempted to leave Vietnam in dodgy ships. Cambodians and Laotians also came fled invasion, repression and persecution. Between 1977 and 1993, 5,200 Cambodians, 4,500 Vietnamese and 1,200 Laotians were accepted for settlement in New Zealand.
  • Somalian Refugees

    Between 1992 and 1994 New Zealand has welcomed Somalians fleeing civil war, drought and famine. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Bosnian Refugees

    Bosnian Refugees
    Between 1992 and 1995 following the conflict in the former Yugoslavia which resulted in the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, the government agreed to accept about 600 displaced people from Kosovo.
  • Zimbabwean Refugees

    Between 2000 and 2003 around 1,800 Zimbabweans fleeing government persecution were granted permanent residence in New Zealand. *Source: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  • Present Day

    Today New Zealnd accepts refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran and the Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Burma/Myanmar.