Refugees in NZ: How to help

Refugees in NZ: How to help

So you want to help the refugees who come to New Zealand.

You'll be thinking: How much should I give? Whom should I give it to?

Money may be the most obvious way to help, but Alan Taylor says often there's something even simpler you can give – a chance.

That can mean taking a chance as an employer or a mentor. Both small and large employers can play a big part.

If you're not an employer and want to help, household goods are also a great start. The Red Cross has 50 centres around country to drop things into, and it looks after the needs of refugees for around a year after they leave the Mangere Refugee Centre.

"The Government provides the furniture and the whiteware, so we don't need that," says Tony Payne. "The taxpayer is already contributing. It's all the rest of the stuff – bedding, clothing and a clock for the wall – just anything that makes their house more comfortable."

You can also register with an organisation called Ras Angels. It emails its followers with requests for helpful single items, like a bassinette, for example.

If goods aren't your thing and you just want to make a simple cash donation, there are many reputable charities you can choose from, like UNICEF, Save the Children, Oxfam and World Vision. They deal with situations overseas, while the Red Cross helps to look after the refugees once they are here.

If you have concerns over the legitimacy of the charity asking for money, you can achieve peace of mind with a quick online search of the Government's charities register.

It doesn't hurt to ask the charity you're giving to if 100 percent of your money will go to the cause, as this is not always the case.

If you're are lucky enough to have a spare house and want to loan it, you could really make a difference in a refugee's life, but it has to be in specific areas.

"If you have a house in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington or Nelson, that could be helpful," says Mr Payne. "[In] all those centres refugees are settled and some of the houses have private landlords."

So it can be as big as a house or as small as a smile, but remember every little bit helps.

Watch the video for the full Story report.