The Tampa, Afghan Refugees and New Zealand: A Commentary on the Duty to Protect and Refugee Integration
Edwina Pio ONZM and Sakina Ewazi
April 18, 2023
New Zealand has a long history of receiving persons in search of safety and security. These populations span Danes fleeing suppression during the German occupation in the 1870s, Jews escaping persecution from Tsarist Russia in the 1880s, Polish orphans during World War II, Asians expelled from Uganda in 1972–73, Vietnamese boat people between 1997 and 1993, and refugees from Afghanistan starting in 2001. New Zealand’s formal refugee resettlement program dates from 1944 with the arrival of the Polish orphans and their caregivers. This commentary discusses a case that builds on this history — New Zealand’s reception of Afghan refugees who were rescued by the MV Tampa, a Norwegian container ship. The authors — a researcher and a refugee saved by MV Tampa — explore New Zealand’s reception of refugees in light of the “Kew Garden” ethical principles on the responsibility to assist imperiled persons.