Welcome to Auckland!
We are a specialist settlement support agency, providing targeted programmes for skilled migrants, international students, other work visa holders, former refugees and their families. Our programmes and services are delivered in several locations across Auckland.
Our Services Includes:
- Job Search Support Programmes
- Information advice and referrals
- Welcome to Auckland Information Workshops
- Individual Consultations
- English Language Advice
- Volunteer Programmes
- Community Projects
Our Community Projects Includes:
- Safari Multicultural Playgroups across Auckland – our playgroups provide a supportive, inclusive and multicultural environment for mothers and their children (0 – 5 years old) from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Depending on capacity of the venue, these playgroups are also open to local/ non-migrant families as well which supports community integration.
- The WISE Collective (Women – Inspired – Strong – Empowered and Enterprising) – supports women from refugee backgrounds, empowering them to develop knowledge, skills, confidence and resources to enhance their wellbeing and independence. This has led many of the women to generate extra income for their families.
- Auckland Migrant and Refugee Training Enterprise Project (AMARTE) – is a community based partnership project which provides migrant and refugee women with training in hospitality areas, mainly coffee making, Food Control Planning (FCP) as well as employment preparation support, which can lead them to further entrepreneurial/employment opportunities.
Vision and Mission Statements
- An inclusive, connected New Zealand where newcomer communities are able to enjoy and contribute towards our collective wellbeing and prosperity.
- Driving innovation to improve newcomer settlement and integration.
We work in ways that empower diverse communities – especially those who would otherwise be marginalized or face barriers to participating in community and having their voices heard.
Through our work with newcomer communities, we understand the value of a warm welcome. We therefore work in ways that are warm, caring and supportive, so that our communities and partners feel valued and included.
Forming connections can help people to feel like they belong. We work in ways that focus on understanding people’s shared experiences and values, and use these to build strong connections.
We recognise that new solutions are needed for us to be able to achieve our vision, and so our mission is focus on achieving systems change. To deliver on this, we are prepared to be bold, brave, disruptive and innovative in our approach.
We know that other organisations and groups share our values and goals, and have diverse strengths and resources that complement our own. We work in partnership with others in order to achieve stronger, collaborative impact.
Belong Aotearoa Board
The overarching philosophy of the Belong Aotearoa Trust is to respect, acknowledge, value and uphold:
(i) The intrinsic worth, rights, dignity and strengths of all people;
(ii) The Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand, including the rights, responsibilities and privileges conferred on and retained by the signatories;
(iii) The many cultural identities, languages and perspectives reflected in Aotearoa New Zealand society;
(iv) Principles of community development that increase the self-reliance of communities and individuals rather than increase dependency on others;
(v) The laws of Aotearoa New Zealand, international human rights, and professional best practice.
Our Board of Trustees
Rahul Govindan – Trust Chair
Rahul is the son of migrants from Kerala who arrived in NZ in the early 80s. Currently he is a manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. He has lived, worked and studied in 8 countries and as such empathises with the challenges faced by new migrants to NZ. He is a management consultant that has worked in corporate, NGO and public sectors in NZ and in continental Europe. He has consulted to the leaders of some of the world’s iconic organisations on strategy, trade, politics and performance, and has worked on high profile public campaigns in NZ. However he derives the most pleasure from the voluntary work he has done over the years with community and NGO groups.
He is awe of the tremendous contribution made by migrants over the history of (and the present) NZ, and is excited about working collaboratively with the wider community to build successful migrant stories in the challenging and exciting future that lies ahead for NZ’s largest and most diverse city.
Tracey Moore – Deputy Chair
Tracey Moore is from the UK and migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2005, making Auckland her home in 2007, after a couple of years in Wellington. Tracey is a senior leader at Auckland Council and has made her career in local government and the public sector. Her background is mainly in social housing and working with diverse communities, and she has a MSc in Housing. Tracey is committed to the principles of social equity and inclusion, and to contributing to making Auckland a world class city. She views being a board member of ARMS as a great privilege, and an opportunity to bring her experience and skills to help others make their own contribution to this wonderful country of Aotearoa.
Dr Elizabeth Fitton-Higgins
Eric comes from a family line of migrants since the 1940’s when his grandparents escaped from the Fujian province of China during World War II. He is a second-generation Chinese in Malaysia and migrated to Australia in the 1990’s. He graduated from the University of Melbourne and spent 15 years in the banking industry spanning across multiple cities in Australia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Eric arrived into New Zealand in 2013 as Head of Customer Segments and Migrant Banking for ANZ, leading the bank to chart new territories in record achievements in sales performance, customer satisfaction, and most importantly, staff engagement. He left ANZ in 2017 to start Cultural Connections, a multicultural think tank with a social purpose, focusing on using data to create conversations that lead to positive change. His social research include migrants’ level of happiness and the role that we play in building an inclusive multicultural society.
Hashimoto is Chairperson of the Japanese Society of Auckland and a member of Auckland Council Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel and Waitemata Ethnic Reference Group. She holds an M.A. in Political Science and has an extensive experience working with refugees and migrants. She had many overseas appointments for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and lived in various countries in Asia, Africa and Europe before migrating to New Zealand in 1995. She currently works for efu Investment Limited as executive assistant and is actively involved in several areas of community work. Her education and training includes international relations, law, and applied linguistics.
Paul S Bryant
Paul Bryant is a strategic advisor with 18 years of commercial experience in technology and business management for private enterprise, hedge funds and investment banks within New Zealand across the major financial trading centres globally. Paul graduated from Auckland University in New Zealand in 1997 with a master’s degree in financial economics and a bachelor-honours degree in law. His first permanent employment was as a lecturer for investment theory at the University of Auckland. He then moved into industry roles with UBS Warburg in Auckland and then to Credit Suisse in London, leveraging his software development experience and solid grounding in financial products and practices.
Paul was a founding employee and head of technology for one of Europe’s most ambitious and successful hedge fund launches from 2002 and was subsequently the CIO of a multi-national service provider to hedge funds and investment banks in London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. Paul’s academic background, long-term involvement in the finance industry, and his engagement in private enterprise have produced a rare combination of technical, financial, commercial and strategic experience.
Paul moved back to New Zealand after 15 years of living and working overseas, and has been a principal strategic advisor on engagements for clients located in Europe and Australasia in the years since. Paul lives in Auckland with his wife and three children and tries to find time for his many outdoor and fitness related activities from triathlons and marathons to mountain biking and windsurfing.
Taufil is a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia. A third generation Indo-Fijian whose great grand parents sailed to the Islands as part of the Girmit era. Taufil himself an immigrant to Aotearoa in the late nineties, has been in legal practice for over fifteen years. He also gained admission as a Governance Professional under the Governance New Zealand Inc a division of the international body, icsa – The Governance Institute established by Royal Charter in 1902 and holds Associate (ACIS) membership. He specialises in commercial law, trusts and property law. There are a number of not for profit organisations that Taufil acts for professionally.
He has also managed the Lower Meola Restoration Creek Project since around 2010 in partnership with the Auckland Council under the Rasheed Memorial Trust (RMDT) assisting with clearing the area adopted by the RMDT hardworking volunteers of weeds and planting over few thousand native trees and shrubs. RMDT was nominated as one of the leading community ecological conservation groups in Auckland as part of the weed busters award a few years ago. Taufil is also a Board member of the Karate Budokan New Zealand Inc (KBNZ) and takes keen interest in Karate and has achieved the rank of Shodan (1stDan) in this style. His keen interest in KBNZ is due to the impact sports activities have on both the youth and older citizens in providing an alternative learning platform, teaching real life transferable skills, self confidence and discipline. He sees the KBNZ Club as a great way for the local community to engage and to get together via Karate. Taufil has witnessed how the dojo students and parents have built lasting relationships regardless of race, religion or culture which is an amazing result.
Apart from that if he can find time, he enjoys jogging and loves the outdoors especially tramping and finds solace in the native forests of Aotearoa.