Refugees come from diverse backgrounds and the issues they face depend on their particular circumstances. Some of the issues refugees face include cultural shock, language difficulties, lack of established networks and often discrimination. Christchurch has a growing refugee community with their own social needs. The survey detailed in this dissertation was undertaken in response to the Canterbury Refugee Council identifying the lack of comprehensive data available for refugee resettlement outcomes in Christchurch. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the living conditions experienced by the refugee community in Christchurch. The participants were from the four main refugee groups resettled over the past decade, namely people coming from Afghanistan, Kurdistan area, Ethiopian, Somalia and Eritrea.
This survey was undertaken at a time when international literature concludes that refugees are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and emphasises the vital role that housing alongside other factors have on positive resettlement outcomes. A quantitative approach was adopted to gather information rather than test hypotheses; it was designed to investigate housing, neighbourhood and sources of income. It also included what, if any, social support is available from the wider community, and explored some of the main current problems faced by the refugee families.
The survey concludes that despite good intentions and some successes, there are still many obstacles for refugees resettling into their new environment. Refugees continue to experience chronic unemployment and struggle to access suitable housing for their families. The issues raised in this survey highlight the importance of acknowledging and responding to refugee diversity.