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Setting a standard for a welcoming community Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Around the world Kiwis are renowned for being friendly, hospitable and inclusive – qualities highlighted in a new two-year pilot programme which launched its Welcoming Communities Standard (the standard) today.

Developed by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and local government 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.

INZ’s National Settlement Manager Judi Altinkaya says, “Communities that proactively foster an environment where newcomers feel welcomed are more likely to enjoy better social connections and engagement. 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 activity seeks to involve local residents in welcoming activities. This new approach builds links between the receiving communities and newcomers.”

At the heart of the programme is the standard which provides councils and community stakeholders with a benchmark for a successful welcoming community.  The standard has been finalised today after public consultation earlier this year.

There are eight elements to the outcome-based standard. The elements include equitable access, inclusive leadership, civic engagement and participation and welcoming public spaces.  

Councils and communities taking part in the 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).

The programme is being implemented as a pilot with a parallel evaluation process. Based on its success, the programme may be rolled out to other regions in New Zealand from July 2019.

Read more about Welcoming Communities