A new life for Tampa’s brave band of brothers

Nice story in the Sydney Morning Herald. Just shows the difference between a New Zealand government, and the redneck fascist Australian government. John Howard is, as Mark Latham says, a suck hole.

They were the kids Australia didn’t want, so New Zealand gave them a home

“We are 40 boys, 40 minds, 40 characters, but one family.”

Aside from the 131 who were almost instantly accepted from the Tampa in 2001, New Zealand has quietly taken about 270 asylum-seekers from Australia’s offshore processing centres at Nauru and Manus Island.

They are being progressively reunited with more than 360 immediate family members. At Auckland airport yesterday were the families of 11 of the boys.

Now they are being reunited with their families and have a future, thanks to an extraordinary display of generosity of spirit by the New Zealand Government and the country’s volunteer agencies – and the determination and staying power of the 40 boys who were accepted as unaccompanied minors.

The contrast with Australia’s treatment was underscored when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, addressed the families. “It’s a miracle that you survived and then were welcomed here in New Zealand. It’s even more of a miracle that the people of New Zealand make it possible now that you come here to see your sons, to see your family and to live together with them here.”

The New Zealand Government decided within months of taking the Tampa boys to offer their immediate families resettlement. A mission to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran finally went ahead late last year with the help of the UNHCR and the Organisation for International Migration.

…Ms Sutherland says the boys have already repaid New Zealand’s kindness. “They’re bright, they’re clever, they’re engaging. They’re just amazing kids with amazing stories and amazing families. If we all just said ‘no’ to them, we would never have known what potential had passed us by.”

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, goes further. “We’re very proud of them. We love the kids who came and try to make it work for them. These boys have just responded so well to being here and they’ll be great citizens.”

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