The Toroa Project
The Toroa Project offers support to those within the resettled community who would like to undertake creative activities within their local neighbourhoods and make social connections with others also doing these activities.
With funding support from Lottery Grants and the Ethnic Communities Development Fund in 2022, the
Toroa Project transitioned from the 2021 pilot programme to
working with over twenty more "talents" (programme participants) across Auckland during this challenging year as communities adjusted to the new normal coming out of COVID restrictions.
The majority of referrals come from community liaison or case workers who identified clients which they felt were ready to engage and could benefit from joining the programme. 2022 Toroa participants took on creative activities such drawing and painting, creative writing, craft, sewing, dance, knitting and pottery, learning to play the guitar and theatre.
The name "Toroa" was chosen because the wandering albatross seemed an apt description of the resettled journey across the globe. Just like the toroa, it is hoped that a friendly local will become a buddy and help to settle those who have been forcibly displaced into a community group where they can find a new passion or perhaps return to a beloved arts practice.
I have been in New Zealand for more than eighteen years with my family and have been struggling to get my family settled here. One day, when I was attending a WISE community activity, I saw a flyer about the Toroa Project. I contacted them. It was during the COVID pandemic. I wanted to
learn to play a musical instrument like the piano and asked if they can help me. The Toroa team explained that it would require many years of practice and would require private lessons which the project is unable to support financially. We discussed other creative activities which I could consider,
such as art classes. Until then I did not think about trying art - drawing lessons. It never clicked with me before. But I thought I try. On the spot, I said, "Yes, I would like to try." Through the Toroa Project, I enrolled in art classes close to where I live. The classes gave me lots of enthusiasm to learn new things in life. It made me think about trying other activities. Thank you, Toroa, for making this happen in my life in New Zealand. - MM, Toroa talent
I landed in New Zealand in July 2022 and I first heard about the Toroa Project from the Community Navigator from NFACT. I contacted the Toroa Project, and I discussed my interests which I was hoping to explore with their help. The people at Toroa Project researched my interests and eventually came back to me with a proposal to attend a Sewing Class in my area. They organized my enrolment for the class with the service provider and helped me get the sewing materials as prescribed by the service provider. I was so happy to receive them. I participated in the class. It was exciting. The teacher was helpful and welcoming. I have just been living in New Zealand for only a few months. But I am already beginning to think this is my home. The other learners and the teacher were very supportive during the class. I am proud to make a shopping bag for myself. Thank you, Toroa, for your outstanding support. - ZA, Toroa talent
If you are interested in being a part of this project, please contact the project coordinator, Durga Ray, on firstname.lastname@example.org