Adjusting to a new town, let alone a new country can often be a stressful experience for the casual traveler.
But migrants coming to New Zealand face the added stress of having to settle in quickly and re-start their life in a new land. This can be a confusing and long drawn out interlude, often taking as many as two to three years.
Not having a familiar road map of where everything is, the newcomer can find accessing housing, employment, banking, schools, hospitals, shopping and even leisure activities a complicated process.
Over the last nine years, in Auckland and other major cities in New Zealand, a dedicated team of migrants has been helping newcomers make this transition a little less painful.
Organised by migrants for migrants, the Migrant Expo is a unique free event in New Zealand not replicated on this scale anywhere else in the world. It is held annually in Auckland and Hamilton and once every two years in Wellington and Christchurch.
This year the Auckland Migrant Expo – New2Auckland – will be held at the ASB Showgrounds on Saturday, 9th July, from 10am-4pm. Its key aim is to help migrants get information and assistance to integrate into Auckland and into employment more quickly, with less frustration and fewer false starts.
“It was really a great show and a help to all of us new immigrants,” says Dr Chitra Sood, a visitor to a previous show. “We felt more informed and educated on almost every aspect.”
This year’s Migrant Expo is organised with the help of the Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS), which has been a major Expo exhibitor from its beginning. The Expo has also been renamed ‘New2Auckland’ brings services together under one roof, a centralized “One Stop Shop” to meet the needs of all types of migrants, refugees, international students and those moving into Auckland from elsewhere in New Zealand.
In his Expo message, Auckland Mayor, Len Brown said: “I am heartened to see that this year the Migrant Expo is recognizing the challenging issues facing people relocating from Christ church. We cannot imagine what the people of Christchurch have been through, but we are all in this together and we can offer a warm welcome to our place.”
Executive Director of ARMS, Mary Dawson, is a strong supporter of the Migrant Expo. “The Expo is a great opportunity for services to showcase what they can offer in the way of practical support and information for new migrants, established migrants, those thinking of settling here, and international students.”
The one day event will bring together a host of services providers – from government departments like Work and Income, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Electoral Commission, and the NZ Police to Watersafe Auckland, Chamber of Commerce, BNZ Bank, and Mercury Energy. Services on show will include: immigration, legal advisors, education providers, English language services, job search assistance, banks, insurance, money transfer, franchises, health, safety, travel, freight forwarding, real estate, civil defence and emergency management, digital services, Settlement Support NZ, and a host of not-for-profit organizations.
New Zealand continues to need migrants to meet its skill shortage gaps, particularly in Auckland as the engine driver of the country’s economy.