History of Sponsorship

in Aotearoa/NZ


July 2018

Refugees from the first pilot arrive in New Zealand. There are 6 families of which one goes to the North Island and 5 to the South Island. 

December 2017

Four community groups are approved to welcome the first refugees to receive visas through this programme

March 2019

Tragedy strikes! Two of the newcomer refugee families are heavily impacted by the March 15 Terror attacks.

May 2019

Government evaluation of pilot programme is released, stating that the pilot promoted community involvement and inclusion of the incoming refugees.


July 2016

Government approves pilot community sponsorship programme to take up to 25 people

December 2019

South West sponsor group write a book called "Welcoming the Stranger" about their experience of sponsoring. 

May 2020

The Government announces an extension to the pilot. Another 50 refugee places in 2022, 2023 and 2024. (150 in total) subject to enough community groups being available to sponsor.

More information available on the Government website.

Support for sponsorship grows!


10,000 people sign a pledge organised by Amnesty, stating that they want a permanent community sponsorship programme in Aotearoa.


47 community groups around Aotearoa, from Whangarei to Invercargill  say they would sponsor if they could. 

November 2018

The first Community Sponsorship Champions Summit is held in London: Community advocates from around the globe gather to share experiences and ideas for the growth of sponsorship.

December 2018


November 2021

HOST Aotearoa are appointed by the Government to encourage groups to become sponsors, and to offer training and support.