A new migrant to New Zealand found Facebook very useful in the process of settling in a new country.
Iris Pabayo, who recently migrated to New Zealand from Philippines, found contacts through Facebook.
“The highlight of our settlement journey to New Zealand is Facebook,” says Pabayo, who has been in New Zealand for a month now. “Through Facebook we got referred by a family member, to someone they knew in Auckland, who could help us with accommodation upon our arrival.”
Pabayo also found a support network group, Settlement Support Auckland, on Facebook. More than 2000 newcomers contacted Auckland’s four Settlement Support New Zealand (SSNZ) initiatives for assistance in the last six months, resulting in 3,739 referrals to other service providers. Over 505 activities and workshops were provided to newcomers, to help them settle, make connections with their local communities, find employment and learn English.
Pabayo says making connection with a local church was very important for her family.
“We consider ourselves religious and being in a new country, especially around New Year’s time can get very lonely.
“We were referred to a church by someone we knew and it was great luck for us! We met so many Filipinos at the church; the pastor even helped us with schooling information for my girl,” Pabayo says.
“When I went into SSNZ Auckland profile, I saw other Filipinos in the friends list and made instant connection with them.
“Through the church connections, we met so many people as well. While my husband and I are looking for work, knowing that there are people and organisations that we can go to, or talk to, helps a lot.”
Connecting socially with others is a sure way of finding useful support, becoming better informed, and feeling more at home in a new city, says Dr Mary Dawson, Chief Executive of Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS).
Settlement Support NZ Coordinators have been providing information particularly to newcomers from India, China, Philippines, Japan and Fiji. These include work permit holders, family members of skilled migrants, visitor visa holders and international students.
Nearly 300 service providers belong to the regional and local Settlement Support networks which hold forums for newcomers and service providers twice a year.