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Immigration: Multicultural Tauranga launches health and social service hub

Paridhi Bakshi

A new service hub is being set up to help remove social and language barriers some Tauranga immigrants face

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

A new service hub is being set up to help remove social and language barriers some Tauranga immigrants face.

Multicultural Tauranga, which helps immigrants settle in to the city and promotes cultural diversity in the region, is setting up an ethnic community health and social service hub that will offer guidance on community resources.

Multicultural Tauranga president, Premila D’Mello, said the hub would offer free health check-ups as well as tailored support to migrants who hold temporary visas and do not have access to social services.

“We are for the migrants and run by the migrants.”

D’Mello said there was a lot of support available for new immigrants in the community, but often they did not know how to access it.

She said paying for some services could also be a struggle, so for example, the cost of going to a GP could be a deterrent for migrants going in for regular health checks.

D’Mello said people were unsure about their employment options and also often found it hard to find somewhere to live.

Multicultural Tauranga planned to run the hub without sponsors or Government support.

D’Mello said they wanted to have hard data about what they were doing, before looking for anything more.

“We want to make sure it’s effective before we ask for funding from the Government.”

Gwen Thompson is one of the main volunteers for the service and is experienced as a mental health and addiction practitioner, including Matauranga Māori.

“As a migrant myself, I can relate to most ethnic communities and the challenges they face due to systematic barriers such as a limited understanding of the New Zealand system.

“I am passionate about connecting ethnic communities to social and community networks and supporting them to achieve a meaningful life.”

The first session of the hub will be held tomorrow at Multicultural Tauranga in the Historic Village from 10am to 2pm.

Hero Image: President of Multicultural Tauranga, Premila D’Mello. Photo / Supplied

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