This month marks an exciting development in the Welcoming Communities programme, with five new regions and Councils across New Zealand joining the initiative. This is a major step forward in creating more open and inclusive environments for all who call this country home.
General Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services Fiona Whiteridge announced today that the Whangārei District, Kaipara District, Hutt City, Porirua City, and Timaru District Council are the new additions to the programme for 2023. Their involvement follows 11 Councils joining the programme in 2022.
“Welcoming Communities – Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori - is a settlement programme helping local councils and their communities create welcoming and inclusive environments for newcomers. It also benefits New Zealanders returning home or moving from other parts of the country” says Ms Whiteridge.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) enables participating councils to maximize their potential by providing resources, accreditation, best practice materials and more. Additionally, INZ facilitates connection-building through networking opportunities as well plus evaluation of the success of programmes while offering guidance along the way.
The latest additions mean there are now 31 Councils and associated regions across New Zealand that are part of Welcoming Communities. Nationally one third of city and district councils are now committed to making their communities more welcoming for everyone.
“The new sign-ups show how strong the programme is and we are grateful for the enthusiasm and desire from Councils around the country to be part of such an important initiative that began five years ago,” says Ms Whiteridge. “I would also like to thank all those who have worked hard to get Councils and communities on board.”
“This programme is an incredibly important tool for building strong and connected communities, and for making newcomers feel included, so everyone can thrive.”
INZ will now work with the new councils and communities to help them gain formal Welcoming Communities accreditation.