New Zealand has hosted refugees since World War II and is currently one of only ten countries in the world with a refugee resettlement programme, yet little is known about the experiences and unique needs of new refugees who are culturally, racially and ethnically extremely different from New Zealand mainstream society. The focus of this research is to provide an overview of the experiences the Afghan and Somali refugees have undergone prior to resettlement in New Zealand and the hindrances to realising their dreams in New Zealand as their country of resettlement.
The structure and aims of the research were guided by Alternative Development theory which focuses on eliminating injustice being done to a particular group on the basis of their race, colour, religion or gender and addressing the priority needs of people to achieve sustainable society. To achieve the research objectives, the research has applied participatory methods (individual in-depth interviews, focus groups with interactive activities and discussion and document review).
The research findings indicate that resettlement is a continuum process in which the new refugees are making effort to move away from situation of under-development to a favourable situation of development worthy of decent human life. The research findings also suggest that refugee resettlement, having links with Alternative Development and Human Rights, goes beyond meeting physical needs of refugees. It also covers the restoration and sustainability of people's capabilities.
Finally, the research presents practical ways to empower refugees and foster opportunities to develop their own livelihoods and integrate with structures and systems of New Zealand society.