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)

In 2020, the Ashburton District's commitment to helping newcomers feel more accepted and celebrated in the community was recognised with an accreditation from Immigration New Zealand.

The Council and community have become one of only seven places in the country to be recognised as an Established Welcoming Community, the second stage of a four-level accreditation model.

The Established Welcoming Community status recognises the Ashburton District as having a Welcoming Plan in place, that partners with the community to promote and implement the programme and where there are strong governing, advisory, project management and monitoring arrangements in place.


it all


Welcoming Communities is a programme which enables local councils and their communities to intentionally welcome their newcomers in a way that becomes embedded in their community. The programme helps foster inclusive communities where newcomers and local residents can fully participate in the social, civic, cultural and economic life of the community together. This includes recent migrants, refugees, international students, or even Kiwis returning from elsewhere or moving within New Zealand.

More information can be found at the Immigration New Zealand website.




do it?

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.

Welcoming Communities is part of an international movement. Countries running similar initiatives include Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States of America.




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.

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Useful Links

Ashburton District Council

5 Baring Square West

7700 Ashburton

Welcoming Communities New Zealand is a government initiative led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, in partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs (including the Office of Ethnic Communities) and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

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