North Waikato News - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK -

ast year my hus­band and I bought our first home. We had to fill in a lot (like, A LOT) of pa­per­work. Most of it needed an ac­com­pa­ny­ing stamp of ap­proval that we were in fact the peo­ple we claimed we were. Sig­na­tures from our mums weren’t go­ing to cut the mus­tard.

The Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau came to mind. I was fairly cer­tain there would be some­one there who could ver­ify my pa­per­work. But ac­tu­ally, did the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau still ex­ist?

The an­swer is ‘def­i­nitely’. The pur­pose of the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau is all in the name: ad­vice.

CAB vol­un­teers aren’t spe­cial­ists in any par­tic­u­lar area, but they are ex­perts in find­ing and us­ing in­for­ma­tion, and em­pow­er­ing all New Zealan­ders with im­par­tial in­for­ma­tion and in­de­pen­dence.

The CAB isn’t about solv­ing your prob­lems for you; they make sure that ev­ery Kiwi has ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion they need when mak­ing de­ci­sions.

The CAB is help­ful for a whole range of rea­sons, the most well­known be­ing its Jus­tice of the Peace ser­vices. A JP can wit­ness doc­u­ments like ap­pli­ca­tions for cit­i­zen­ship or Ki­wisaver with­drawals, and pro­vide cer­ti­fied copies of doc­u­ments such as birth and mar­riage cer­tifi­cates.

It’s not easy for mi­grants to set­tle in New Zealand, so CAB vol­un­teers are spe­cially-trained to help them ad­just to their new lives. Some cen­tres also of­fer free public work­shops.

And if English isn’t your first lan­guage, the CAB Lan­guage Link of­fers ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion in 24 lan­guages.

If you’re in le­gal dif­fi­culty but

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