Colombian refugees in New Zealand and their resettlement stories

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López Severiche, Alfredo José
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of International Communication
Unitec Institute of Technology
Kolesova, Elena
Cass, Philip
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
Columbian refugees in New Zealand
resettlement challenges
refugee resettlement programme
López Severiche, A.J. (2018). Colombian refugees in New Zealand and their resettlement stories. An unpublished thesis submitted to the Department of Communication Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Communication, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. How were Colombian refugees prepared for resettlement in New Zealand? 2. What are the challenges faced by Colombian refugees when resettling in New Zealand? 3. What role does reconciliation play in the process of integration in New Zealand? 4. How do Colombian refugees resign or reconcile themselves to integrate into New Zealand in order to rebuild their lives and survive ? This thesis explores the stories of resettlement and integration of Colombian refugees in New Zealand. Colombian refugees began their resettlement in New Zealand in 2007 referred by the UNHCR and accepted by the government of New Zealand. The lack of academic research focused solely on Colombian refugees in New Zealand was the main motivation to carry out this study. This research aims to explore the challenges that affect the successful integration of Colombian refugees in New Zealand. It was driven by a pragmatic question of what can be done to improve their integration in New Zealand. The qualitative methodological approach of this study was an ethnographic collection of oral stories. Ethnography and oral history research methodology were the most effective way of documenting the experiences of Colombian refugees in New Zealand because it permitted me to collect and present the stories of the participants in a chronological order. Additional data collection methods included focus group and participants' diaries. This study collected the resettlement stories of 13 former Colombian refugees resettled in New Zealand. The findings of this research indicated that former Colombian refugees are integrated into New Zealand. However, some of them are better integrated and adapted than others, but all of them feel love and much appreciation for New Zealand. In fact, Colombian refugees consider New Zealand as their second home and also identify themselves as Colombians, Ecuadorians and Kiwis. Nevertheless, they think that New Zealand has several shortcomings in its refugee resettlement programme. The findings of this study also show that Colombian refugees in New Zealand face many challenges that put in risk their successful integration into the country. This thesis contributes new knowledge about the resettlement of Colombian refugees in New Zealand and suggests ways to improve the resettlement of new refugees in the country. It opens the door for conducting new studies on refugees and immigrants in New Zealand and worldwide.
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