Neighbours Day

Neighbour’s Day falls on the weekend of 25-26 March 2017 and coincides with Lent.

Prescare, the partnership between the Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Support, is inviting parishes to give up a little and extend a welcoming hand to those new to our neighbourhoods and shores – refugees and new migrants.

As congregations, and as individuals - and in the spirit of Lent - consider foregoing some Easter treats, and pool the money saved to reach out to refugees or new migrants in your area, perhaps by giving them a grocery voucher or gift card.

New migrants and refugees are often missing family and friends who are far away — perhaps left behind in a war-torn country — and are facing huge challenges adapting to a new culture and environment. I urge you to let them feel our love and hospitality with, if you can, a gift card that allows them to purchase what they are in need of.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…” Matthew 25:35

This Neighbours Day, join in and celebrate the rich texture and diversity of our neighbourhoods, through demonstrating welcome and God’s love for all those who call New Zealand home.

Read Moderator, the Rt Rev Richard Dawson's, encouragement to reach out to refugees and migrants this Neighbour's Day. View or download the Moderator's Neighbours Day Message 

Download 2017 Neighbours Day image

Click here to download and print the 2017 "Refugees Welcome" Prescare Neighbours Day poster.

The Church and refugees

Around the country, Presbyterians and Presbyterian support are rolling up their sleeves and supporting New Zealand's newest citizens in many different ways. Here are some of their stories:

Helping others stay warm in Nepal A Presbyterian Support facilitated New Settlers Group uses donated wool and fabric to create blankets and clothes for families in a village near Nepal. (Read more about the New Settlers Group.) 

Church helps reunite refugee family – the story of Miramar Uniting supporting siblings from Myanmar to resettle in Wellington.

Church volunteers help new Syrian neighbours – the story of two volunteers working as part of the Red Cross programme to support refugees with their transition to New Zealand life.

Volunteer helps make refugees at home – A story of the hands-on assistance provided by a volunteer to help refugees “get on their feet in the first few months in a strange new country”.

Presbyterian helps thousands of refugees resettle – a mainstay of the refugee support network in Hamilton has not only helped develop infrastructure for refugee resettlement in the area, but has also provided practical assistance to refugees for many years.

From Rwandan refugee to church elder – the story of a refugee family who has navigated the challenges before them to become part of their local community here in Aotearoa.

Building a better life for migrants and refugees - the story of a parish whose mission to migrants and refugees evolved as needs in the community changed.

Speaking out

In September 2015, the Presbyterian Church called for an urgent review of the country’s quota for accepting refugees for resettlement. Read the media release here: Church urges government to do more for refugees

Presbyterian Support and refugees

Throughout Presbyterian Support regions, Support are assisting our newest citizens in many different ways including running programmes. Here are some of their stories:

Family Works Central’s New Settlers Group "Helping others stay warm in Nepal" with quilts - a group for women who have migrated to New Zealand and may feel isolated after leaving their extended family and friends.

Media release for Family Works Central’s New Settlers Group

Refugees in New Zealand

New Zealand accepted refugees from a little over 20 different countries in the last year. These people come from countries where they have faced war, persecution, discrimination, racism and oppression, and are unable or unwilling to return to their home because of fear for their safety.

It is important to recognise the difference between migrants, who choose to relocate to another country, and refugees who are forced, by circumstance, to relocate. Both will benefit from our welcome and support.

As in the Church, New Zealanders across the country are helping refugees in many meaningful ways. The Red Cross is the primary provider of community refugee resettlement programmes in New Zealand, and their website contains information about how Kiwis can support refugees to rebuild their lives in Aotearoa. Visit the Red Cross New Zealand website

Tips for engaging with people from other cultures

When communicating with someone whose cultural background is different from your own, misunderstandings and difficulty understanding each other are common. Use these simple tips for engaging effectively, and you’ll be in a better position to learn about the other person, and share some of your own culture with them.

Learn a little of their culture beforehand – Do some homework and find out cultural do's and dont's. Things that OK in New Zealand could be offensive to people from other cultures. For example giving the thumbs up “OK” sign is perfectly acceptable here in Aotearoa, but in the Middle East, the same gesture is used to convey disdain or contempt.

Learn a few language basics – Learning to say hello, please, thank you and other phrases may not seem like much, but is likely to be welcomed by the other person, so give it a go.

Expect differences – Be aware that differences exist, and be patient and tolerant toward understanding these differences. It is a good idea to keep a check on your reactions to customs and values that are different from your own to avoid causing offence. This diversity presents an opportunity to learn more about diffent customs, religions, values and perspectives, so be open to both sharing something of your own culture as well as learning something from theirs.

Be upfront about difficulties in communication - If you could not understand someone, or think that he or she did not understand you, say something about it in a polite manner. Speak clearly and slowly, if necessary, but do not shout as this will not make it any easier for the other person to understand, and is generally considered rude.

Err on the side of formality when you address people - Use appropriate forms of address – Mr, Mrs, Dr – to show respect, until you are advised otherwise.

Be sensitive with the language you use - For instance New Zealand's Migrant Action Trust is now referring to "resettled communities" rather than refugees. Be aware of the difficulties settling into a new country and do your best to use language that supports people to feel included and at home.

These tips came from WikiHow to communicate well with people from other cultures. Check out this page for more practical tips.


You may find these resources useful for inspiring, planning, or using during your Neigbours Day outreach.

Apply for grant

PresCare is making a small number of grants available to assist parishes to participate in Neighbours Day. Each grant will be to a maximum of $50, and will either be a $50 grocery or Prezzy card voucher. Preference will be given to applications which are engaged in outreach to refugees firstly and new migrants secondly. If you woudl liekt o apply for a grant please apply on or by 15 March and email:

  • parish name or name of parish you worship at 
  • parish contact person, or your contact
  • indicate preference for $50 grocery or Prezzy voucher
  • a 300 word (max) description of how you will be engaging with new migrants or refugees, or a description of your planned Neighbours Day activity.

Applications close Wednesday, 15 March and can be emailed to


Consider working with Presbyterian Support

If you want to get involved, consider making contact with Presbyterian Support in your region to investigate the possiblity of a joint initiative. 

Gillian Bremner
CEO PS Otago & (PresCare sponsor)
P: 03 477 7115 

Presbyterian Support Northern
Anne Overton  
Community Advocate & PresCare Project Manager
111 Great South Road, Epsom, Auckland 1051
PO Box 99890 Newmarket, Auckland 1149
P: 09 520 8624
M: 027 520 8653

Presbyterian Support East Coast
Sylvie Gibbins  
Philanthropy Manager
87 Te Mata Road  
Havelock North 4130
P: 06 877 8193

Presbyterian Support Central
Alisha Kennedy
General Manager, External Relations
3-5 George Street 
Thorndon 6011
P: 04 439 4929 

Presbyterian Support Upper South Island
Olivia LaMontagne
Community Relations Advisor
44 Bealey Avenue
Christchurch 8013
P: 03 363 8209 | 020 401 50814

Presbyterian Support South Canterbury              
Katerina Tiscenko
Marketing Communications & Fundraising Manager
E: |
12 Park Lane, Timaru 7910  | PO Box 278, Timaru 7940
P: +64 3 687 7945 | DDI: +64 3 687 1148 l M: +64 27 249 1805 | 

Presbyterian Support Otago      
Carolyn Sims
Mission Liaison
407 Moray Place  
Dunedin 9016
PO Box 374, Dunedin, 9054
P: 03 477 7115

Presbyterian Support Southland
Peter Wards
Chief Executive
181/183 Spey Street
Invercargill 9810
P: 03 211 8260
M: 0274 331 655

Tell us what you are doing

So you’ve decided to get involved, great! Let us know. Email us, and we’ll publicise your event on the Church’s Facebook page. Also send us some photos.

Why get involved?

Many people today are isolated from their neighbours, yet are unsure what to do about it. Neighbours Day provides an opportunity to come together, and serve those in need and in doing so strengthen the communities in which we live.

The goal of Neighbours Day Aotearoa – to build strong communities – is well aligned with the Christian mission of the Church and Presbyterian Support. Love thy neighbour.

By participating in Neighbours Day, local churches and Presbyterian Support can strengthen bridges between ourselves and our communities, and in doing so build meaningful mission with those in need in our communities.

Learn more about Neighbours Day >