Migrant Connections Taranaki (MCT) in New Plymouth is a point of contact for migrants and their families who come to live in New Zealand and choose to make Taranaki their home. We are a Community based initiative aimed at a broader migrant focus which includes skilled and non–skilled migrants and families.
MCT will assist you to get accustomed to the shift in culture, to overcome challenges in a new country and integrate into the local community, by providing ongoing support on a case by case basis with the skills, tools and networks you require to do so.
Migrant Connections Taranaki Governance
Migrant Connections is governed by a Charitable Trust Board, which consists of four elected Trustees, and the day to day work is carried out by our Coordinator, Geetha Kutty.
Geetha is of Indian origin, lived in Bahrain and migrated to New Zealand in 1998. She worked in Bahrain for 19 years in various jobs with a worldwide range of cultures. She holds a degree in Economics from India and Post-graduation in Marketing and Sales Management with a gold medal in Public relations from UK. She also acquired a Diploma in Small Business and Project Management from New Zealand.
In her previous jobs as New Plymouth Volunteer Centre and Settlement Support New Zealand (Immigration) Coordinator Geetha worked closely with local people, migrants and refugees encouraging and supporting their participation and inclusion in the community and helping them to achieve their goals.
She is very much involved with the Taranaki Multi - Ethnic Council and is very passionate and has enthusiastically worked with migrants and refugees in Taranaki in order to help them to successfully integrate in their new community.
Geetha was involved with the New Plymouth Soroptimist International organisation. Again, here she was committed to services at local, national and international level working for and with women to promote human rights, equality, development and peace to create a more equitable and secure world for everyone.
Geetha is very enthusiastic about her work with migrants and refugees in Taranaki and to help them settle successfully in New Zealand.
Geetha is a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand.
Meet our Trustees
Sonja Barrett is the current Chair of MCT and has been involved with the trust since its inception. Sonja is a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand. Originally from Germany, Sonja has an understanding of the challenges migrants face when coming to a different country. She is passionate about people and being positively involved in the local community. Sonja has a background in hospitality and has been working as an Insurance adviser in the Financial Services Industry for the past 13 years.
Trustee & Secretary
Lance currently works for the New Zealand Racing Board. He is a former Public Education Advisor for Child, Youth & Family, former Parliamentary Advisor/Executive Secretary and former Programme Manager for the Lower North Youth Justice Centre. Lance also worked for the Palmerston North City Council as City Youth Worker. He is passionate about welcoming and helping new migrants integrate into our community. Lance is currently the Vice-President of the Taranaki Multi Ethnic Council. He is also the former Chairperson for the Bell Block Rugby Sports & Community Club, and Acting Chairperson of the Bell Block Cricket Club.
Ingrid van Amsterdam
Originally from the Netherlands Ingrid came to New Zealand in 1988 and has real understanding of what it means to move to and live in a new country. She is a Creative Technologies graduate and certiﬁed auric magnetic energy healer (MHU) with around 30 years experience. Ingrid has worked as an interviewer on behalf of government departments and other projects since 2009 and enjoys working with people from all over the globe.
Hashem is originally from Jordan. He is an agriculture expert and currently works as a Production Manager for Tegel Foods Limited. Hashem has a Masters Degree in Animal Production, Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Science, Diploma in Management and a Certificate in Business. Hashem is committed to helping any new migrants to understand the New Zealand system, culture, and how to apply for new jobs, visas or citizenship.
Lorella Doherty works for Sustainable Taranaki and runs a non profit called Rethinking Plastic Revolution where she educates and inspires people to reduce their throw away plastic use and to make changes in the waste they create. Her passion lies in protection of the ocean, earth and people through heart based actions. Lorella believes in kindness and unity and in the importance of conversation , connection and in community; and weaving all of these together to create a beautiful, healthy world we can all share together.