About us

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum is a grassroots non-governmental organisation (NGO) representing 17+ refugee background communities in the greater Wellington region (Aotearoa New Zealand).

We work towards our vision of New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds participating fully in Aotearoa New Zealand life, through advocacy, research and community development activities.

Our History

The need for a strong collective voice within resettled communities was first identified in 2001.

From 2001 to 2006 a group of dedicated leaders met on a regular basis to ensure that people from a refugee background had input into resettlement policy development and service delivery.

This work was underpinned by the principle: Nothing about us without us. This principle recognises that people from refugee backgrounds have the skills, knowledge, and experience to address resettlement issues.   

This group of community leaders, facilitated by our Board member Adam Awad, recognised there was a need for a formal organisation to continue this vital work, and created ChangeMakers.

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum became an incorporated society and was registered with the Charities Commission in 2006.

Since 2006, we have expanded our services from advocating on behalf of refugee background communities, to include research and community development activities. 

In 2019, we changed our name from ChangeMakers Refugee Forum to ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum, a name which we feel is more representative of the crucial resettlement work we do.

Our Communities

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum is an umbrella organisation, representing 17+ refugee background communities in Pōneke Wellington. We work with any resettled communities, including newer communities who do not yet have a formal structure.

Our current members are:

  1. Afghan Cultural Association of Wellington
  2. African Students’ Association of NZ
  3. Assyrian Association of NZ Incorporated
  4. Colombian community
  5. Eritrean Community in Wellington NZ Incorporated
  6. Ethiopian Community in Wellington Incorporated
  7. Greater Wellington Oromo Community Incorporated
  8. Iranian Communities
  9. Polish Association in NZ Incorporated
  10. Rwandan Association Umubano
  11. Tamil community
  12. Sudanese community
  13. Syrian Communities
  14. Ugandan community
  15. Wellington Myanmar Community Incorporated
  16. Wellington Somali Council
  17. Zomi Innkuan NZ

We regularly work with our Leaders Council, which has leaders from each community. We assist them to strengthen their communities and ensure that our work is driven by needs identified by communities themselves.

All applications for membership of ChangeMakers must be approved by our Board. Please note, as a refugee background community-led organisation, only refugee background member groups are eligible to become members of ChangeMakers, and vote at our AGM.

Being a member of ChangeMakers also allows your community to have representation on our Leaders Council and participate in our leadership training programmes.

To apply for group membership click

To access our Membership Policy click

Our Philosophy

Being a rights-based organisation means that our strategic outcomes, policies, and the way we work with communities and other agencies are all underpinned by human rights.

We begin any new initiative by ensuring that the way we will conduct our work is rights-based. We do this by completing the ChangeMakers’ rights-based programming checklist. As well as being an effective planning tool, this template is a good reminder of the underlying principles that form the basis of rights-based approaches:

· accountability
· transparency
· non-discrimination and
· participation.

We also developed A Human Rights-Based Approach to Refugee Resettlement (pdf, 118 kb), which considers what a human rights-based approach to resettlement might look like in key areas.

To learn more about our rights-based approaches, contact us on info@crf.org.nz or (04) 801 5812

Standards for Engagement

ChangeMakers seeks to positively influence the way government agencies and NGOs engage with refugee-background communities. To this end we have produced some guidelines based on our experiences and learnings from our successful, and not so successful, interactions with a wide range of agencies working in the resettlement arena.

We invite and encourage anyone about to review existing policies or implement new policies, to use these guidelines to ensure they engage in the most respectful and meaningful ways with people from refugee backgrounds.

Underpinning the Standards for Engagement is the need to acknowledge and address power imbalances which exist in any engagement between refugee-background communities, NGOs and government agencies. This refers to the resources, networks and knowledge that each party has access to.

Standards for Engagement: Guidelines for Central and Local Government, and NGOs Working with Refugee-Background Communities can be viewed here (pdf, 254kb. Requires a PDF reader to open).