Jan 22, 2016

Kiwis On Board are the latest voice in the local refugee campaign calling for the government to at least Double our Refugee Quota.

The #kiwisonboard campaign officially launches on Saturday the 23rd, with a concert in Auckland’s Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter. The concert is to show support for the recent round of Syrian refugees, raise money for the New Zealand Red Cross, and send a clear message to the government: New Zealand can, and should, do much more. At the very least double our current quota, which has not been raised in nearly 30 years.

The concert will be hosted by Oscar Kightley with performances by Neil Finn, The Topp Twins, the Jubilation choir, Hopetoun Brown, Thomas Oliver and others. Full details can be found at

The Human Rights Commissioner Susan Devoy hosted a meeting this week of ‘refugee allies’ from Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. The group called for NZ to Double its Quota in this year’s up coming review. This call is being endorsed by various church groups, Amnesty International and Save Our Children.  The meeting was convened by columnist Tracey Barnett, of WagePeaceNZ, who feels that public support for permanently raising the quota is now widespread, “The image of that little boy washing up on a beach in September wasn’t the end of the story. Tragically, since that day, 70 more children have washed up on those shores. Our government needs to match our actions in the world with average New Zealander’s values—and Kiwis value compassion.”

The cause is particularly close to Neil Finn’s heart. He’ll be performing with 19-year-old recent arrival to NZ, Syrian refugee, and rapper, Sharif King, who Neil met a week ago at the Mangere Refugee Centre.

Kiwis On Board was the result of a trip to the Greek Island of Kos, by filmmakers Arani Cuthbert and Felicity Morgan-Rhind. Shocked by the desperation of refugees fleeing conflict and arriving on the island, they returned home determined to do something. A few weeks later, over dinner with kiwi journalist Kim Vinnell who herself had just returned from conflict zone reporting, the three hatched a plan. They would create videos showing the positive impact refugees have had on New Zealand for decades, in a bid to engage kiwis in the conflicts happening right now. From there the fund-raising concert idea was born, and thousands of ordinary kiwis have come on board.

“Our aim is to raise awareness. Raise the refugee quota. And ultimately raise New Zealand's profile as a country which really cares," says Morgan-Rhind.

“These are desperate times” says Cuthbert, “We believe most New Zealanders support us taking in more refugees and it’s time our government took action. Not only by raising our quota but also by creating alternative entry options. Refugees are an investment in the future of our country – most refugees contribute far more than they take and make NZ a richer place to live”.

The Kiwis On Board concert kicks off at 5pm, Saturday 23rd January, Silo Park, Auckland. While it is a free concert, koha is requested, and can be made in cash on the day or via givealittle/causes/kiwisonboard.

The #kiwisonboard refugee videos can be viewed and downloaded here:





For more information please contact:

 Arani Cuthbert, 0274 586780


New Zealand’s refugee quota hasn’t been raised since 1987. Indeed, it was dropped by 50 places, from 800 to 750 places in 1997.

An emergency intake of an extra 600 Syrian refugees, (100 last year, 250 this year and 250 next year), was announced as a one-off in 2015, which Kiwis On Board believes is woefully inadequate.

New Zealand is ranked 90th in the world when it comes to the total intake of refugees we host per capita. 

Download Press release here.