New Zealand aims to make newcomers feel welcome

The New Zealand government has launched a new two-year pilot programme designed to make newcomers to the country feel more welcome.

Developed by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and local councils in five regions, the Welcoming Communities programme supports local councils and their communities to become even more welcoming to recent migrants, former refugees, international students and even New Zealanders coming from elsewhere.

“Communities that proactively foster an environment where newcomers feel welcomed are more likely to enjoy better social connections and engagement,” said Immigration New Zealand’s National Settlement Manager Judi Altinkaya. “The Welcoming Communities programme recognises that welcoming activities build links between local residents and newcomers – and with that comes positive social, economic and cultural benefits for the community and New Zealand as a whole.

“Welcoming Communities actively seeks to involve local residents in welcoming activities. This new approach builds links between the receiving communities and newcomers,” she added.

The Councils and communities that are taking part in this pilot programme are: Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty (Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council), Southland (Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council), Whanganui (Whanganui District Council), Palmerston North (Palmerston North City Council) and Canterbury (represented by Ashburton and Selwyn District Councils).

Based on its success, the programme may be rolled out to other regions in New Zealand from July 2019.

Article published 12th December 2017