'Amazing wave of generosity' towards Syrian refugees

By Solbin Kang

Wellington churches have had an overwhelming response to requests for household items to welcome Syrian refugees to the capital.

Household essentials, such as kitchenware, bathroom appliances and linen were gathered by churches and Islamic centres to fill 25 households for 95 Syrian refugees settling into the capital later this month.

The goods were delivered yesterday and are being housed in the Loaves and Fishes Hall, part of the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.

Wellington Anglican Bishop Justin Duckworth said the idea was to welcome the refugees into the country.

"So for us it's about saying look, ... we want to show our generosity to the Syrians coming here."

Church members Jan Robertshawe and Mike Noonan sorting the thousands of goods donated by Anglicans for Syrian refugees. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Church members Jan Robertshawe and Mike Noonan sorting the thousands of goods donated by Anglicans for Syrian refugees. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He said there was an "amazing wave of generosity" with items being brought in from different parts of the country.

"We've had churches from Whanganui and up in Ohakune, sending down car loads of goods."

Mr Duckworth said stores were also getting behind the cause.

"Shops are saying, we'll do it at cost price for you because we want to support the refugees as well.

"Wellington is so keen to support the refugees and for us it's deeply encouraging ... as we want to double the refugee quota," he said.

He said the overwhelming response showed Kiwis support more refugees arriving into the country.

"There's no problem with capacity in this country. We can take more refugees and we're keen to do that."

Refugee Crisis

• The current refugee quota in New Zealand is 750.

• A decision on whether to increase the annual quota is expected next month.

• The quota hasn't been increased since 1987.

• By mid-last year, there were about 60 million people displaced, mainly from conflict. This is the greatest displacement of people from war and conflict since World War II.

• In a global context, this represented one in every 122 people.

• Half of those were children and two-thirds have been in exile for five years or longer.

- NZ Herald

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