NZ celebs welcome refugees in heartfelt VMLY&R campaign

For the recently passed World Refugee Day, Refugees as Survivors New Zealand (RASNZ), VMLY&R, and some of New Zealand’s most famous names joined forces to bring a compassionate video campaign, in support of all refugees that enter New Zealand’s shores.

The #KiwisWelcome spot includes Former Prime Minister and Patron of RASNZ, Helen Clark, as well as actor Sam Neill and ex-All Black and mental health advocate John Kirwan.

CEO of RASNZ, Dr Ann Hood, says a major problem faced by people from refugee backgrounds is the lack of awareness from others about their journey to New Zealand and their rights to a safe home.

“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.”

VMLY&R showed significant support not only from creating the video’s concept, but also by closing all 82 of their offices across the world, to give more than 6,500 employees the opportunity to support their communities through volunteer projects.

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

Executive creative director at VMLY&R, Kim Pick, says the video is a message of unity and inclusion.

“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 voices.

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

Exposure was delighted to be a part of the campaign as they have a long history of refugee involvement both in New Zealand and abroad.

“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,” says Exposure’s director Tim Parsons.

“It was a really fun, collaborative process that evolved naturally and landed in a lovely place.”

Messages of compassion and support were demonstrated throughout the video, with every person involved asking for change.

“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,” says Helen Clark and others, in the #KiwisWelcome video. 



CEO: Dr Ann Hood

Fundraising & Communications Manager: Mackenzie Koppel


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 and Content Strategy: Bhavika Rambhai

Social Media & Content Specialist: Phoebe Joiner

Strategy & Experience Director: Ryan Sproull

Client Service Director Service: James Johnston

Business Director: Lou Watkin

Production Agency: Exposure International

Director and Editor: Tim Parsons

Producer: Craig Henderson

Sound Production: Franklin Road Studios

PR Agency: BCW

Senior Account Director: Jane Witcombe

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