Football Match to Kick Off Refugee Week Next Sunday

8 June 2009

Wellington City Councillors will lace up their football boots and join an invitational team for a football match to mark the start of Refugee Awareness Week next Sunday 14 June.

Councillors Rob Goulden (captain), Andy Foster and Celia Wade-Brown will take their place in the side to face the Refugee All Stars at Newtown Park in the third annual World Refugee Day Soccer Game and Cultural Festival.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast will officially start the match at 11.15am, and radio personality Nick Tansley will commentate.

The Refugee All Stars team will consist of players from Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, Eritrea, Sudan, Colombia and other countries. Apart from Wellington's councillors, the invitational team will include Porirua Deputy Mayor Litea Ah Hoi, Hutt City Councillor Ross Jamieson, and Wellington United football players.

All are invited to this free event to support and experience our multicultural city in action.

Team Asia will play Team Africa in a starter match at 10.00am, followed by the main event, the Refugee All Stars versus the invitational team. This will be followed by a cultural festival and awards with food, performances and stalls in the Newtown Park clubrooms from 11.30am to 2.00pm.

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand is hosting the match, in partnership with Wellington City Council and Wellington United AFC. Throughout the day there will be activities for kids provided by Push Play, along with free face painting.

Refugee Awareness Week is observed in June, when we pause to reflect on the refugee journey. There are a number of activities being planned during the week. World Refugee Day is observed on 20 June, ending the week.

The global theme for this year's World Refugee Day is "Real People, Real Needs" as set by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Refugees are the innocent victims of war, persecution, discrimination, racism and oppression, forced to flee their homeland for nothing more than their ethnicity, religion or beliefs.