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AUCKLAND, Today: To celebrate World Refugee Day last month, Refugees as Survivors New Zealand (RASNZ) partnered with well-known Kiwis, including former PM Helen Clark (patron of RASNZ), actor Sam Neill and ex-All Black and mental health advocate John Kirwan to shine light on the refugee journey.

Auckland agency VMLY&R produced a #KiwisWelcome video (scroll down for the link) to confront how New Zealanders view refugees. 

Dr Ann Hood, the ce0 of RASNZ, which works to support refugees’ transition to New Zealand, said a significant problem faced by people from refugee backgrounds is a lack of awareness about their journey to this country and their rights to a safe home.

“New Zealand is a country that prides itself on community and inclusion. However, many refugees arriving in NZ continue to face prejudice about their right to belong and contribute within our society.”

“VMLY&R closed all its 82 offices across the globe for a day to give 6500 employees the opportunity to volunteer.”

“Once people from refugee backgrounds are settled in New Zealand, they are no longer refugees – a status you only have when you have no place to call home – they’re Kiwis, just like us,” said Dr Hood.

The video concept was created by VMLY&R NZ for RASNZ as part of VMLY&R Worldwide Foundation Day.

VMLY&R closed all its 82 offices across the globe for a day to give more than 6500 employees the opportunity to support their communities through volunteer projects.

The agency worked with Exposure and Franklin Road to produce the video, which also features Madeleine Sami, Sonny Bill Williams and Golriz Ghahraman, the first refugee to be elected to New Zealand’s parliament.

“The agency worked with Exposure and Franklin Road on the video, which also features Madeleine Sami, Sonny Bill Williams and Golriz Ghahraman, the first refugee to be elected to NZ’s parliament.”

Helen Clark said: “Once a refugee reaches our shore, they become Kiwi. They’re Kiwis, just like you and me. Looking to make a fresh start, free from war, free from torture, free from famine, persecution, and political upheaval – free from everything that makes a refugee a refugee.

VMLY&R ECD Kim Pick said: “We’re extremely grateful to the incredible New Zealanders who generously stepped up from where they were around the world to give their time and their voices, before and during lockdown, to create a message of unity and inclusion.

“We also thank our partners at Exposure, Franklin Road, BCW and JCDecaux for joining us to support RASNZ and make #KiwisWelcome for World Refugee Day.”

Exposure’s Kevin Denholm said: “Exposure has a long history of involvement with refugees both in New Zealand and abroad so we were delighted to be able to get behind this campaign.”

Director Tim Parsons said: “It’s a cause we’re passionate about, and we really liked the way the idea played with social media as a flawed but powerful medium with huge potential to seed positive change. It was a really fun, collaborative process that evolved naturally and landed in a lovely place.”


Client: RASNZ
CEO: Dr Ann Hood
Fundraising & Comms Manager: Mackenzie Koppel

Agency: VMLY&R
Managing Director: James Mok
Executive Creative Director: Kim Pick
Art Director: Arizona Doolan
Copywriter: Josh Stuart
Senior Producer: Marty Gray
Account Director: Vinay Naran
Head of Social Media & Content Strategy: Bhavika Rambhai
Social Media & Content Specialist: Phoebe Joiner
Strategy & Experience Director: Ryan Sproull
Client Service Director: James Johnston
Business Director: Lou Watkin

Production Company: Exposure International
Director/Editor: Tim Parsons
Producer: Craig Henderson
Sound Production: Franklin Road Studios

PR Agency: BCW
Senior Account Director: Jane Witcombe

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