Here in the Ashburton district we believe communities that make newcomers feel welcome are likely to enjoy better social outcomes, greater social cohesion and stronger economic growth. In this environment, everyone is able to fully participate in the economic, civic and social life of the community. Building connections between locals and newcomers mean everyone feels included and knows they belong.
The programme is in its third year now and is seeing great results and outcomes that benefit the whole community.
Stronger links are forming within the communities participating in the programme.
Councils are taking a more visible leadership role in promoting diversity and inclusion.
There has been an explicit shift to locals taking a ‘welcoming’ role.
There is a positive change in community awareness of diversity and inclusion.
(From the Martin Jenkins Interim Report)
Welcoming Communities is designed to support local councils and their communities to become even more welcoming to newcomers. This includes recent migrants, refugees, international students, or even Kiwis returning from elsewhere or moving within New Zealand.
Ashburton District Council has been chosen as one of five areas across the country to pilot a two-year Welcoming Communities programme - an initiative led by Immigration New Zealand.
The initiative is also being piloted in Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty, Southland, Whanganui and Palmerston North.
More information can be found at the Immigration New Zealand website.
Every year, more and more people are choosing to make our communities their home. We pride ourselves on being friendly, open, and good hosts to the new members of our community but there is always more that we can do.
Growing connections between locals and newcomers helps everyone to feel included in our community.
Based on its success, the programme may be rolled out to other parts of New Zealand in 2019 or 2020.
At the heart of the Welcoming Communities initiative is a standard or benchmark for what a successful welcoming community should look like. The communities, councils, and agencies involved in Welcoming Communities developed the standard together.