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Christchurch City Council Creates A Welcoming Community

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. Immigration New Zealand provides funding, resources, accreditation, best practice information, networking opportunities, programme evaluation and guidance to participating councils.

Christchurch City Council is the newest member of the programme. Their involvement follows seven Councils and five local community boards who joined the programme earlier this year.

The latest additions mean there are now 35 Councils, five local community boards and associated communities across New Zealand that are part of Welcoming Communities. Nationally, over one-third of city and district councils are now committed to making their communities more welcoming for everyone.

Fiona Whiteridge, INZ’s General Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services, is enthusiastic about the council's commitment to the program.

“It's wonderful to have another region join our Welcoming Communities family, and to witness an increasing number of councils embracing this program, which plays a crucial role in strengthening communities and fostering social cohesion. Welcoming Communities are inherently stronger Communities, and that’s positive for everyone involved."

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger is proud to be joining the programme, especially given the Council’s Multicultural Strategy, , Te Rautaki Mātāwaka Rau, supports the Welcoming Communities kaupapa.

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“As Mayor, I love to welcome newcomers from overseas and other parts of New Zealand to our city.

“Having people from diverse backgrounds living here definitely brings many economic, social and cultural benefits,” says Phil.

Fiona appreciates the commitment of all participants in the Welcoming Communities programme, from those who have just joined, to those who have been with the programme since it began almost six years ago.

"Everyone involved is helping build strong and connected communities and making newcomers from all backgrounds feel welcome and included, so everyone can succeed.”

INZ will now work with Christchurch City Council to help them gain formal Welcoming Communities

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