Getting accredited as a Welcoming Community

Find out about the benefits of becoming an accredited Welcoming Community and how to apply for accreditation.

What getting accreditation means

Welcoming Communities accreditation assesses a council and community’s efforts to include and welcome newcomers — recent migrants, former refugees and international students. Communities that meet the Welcoming Communities Standard earn the title of Welcoming Community. Accredited communities can showcase their achievements to the world with pride.

Welcoming Communities — Standard for New Zealand PDF 2MB

About accredited Welcoming Communities

People want to live, work and play in communities where everyone can participate, contribute and flourish. Accredited Welcoming Communities set themselves apart by doing just that.

Accredited Welcoming Communities:

  • are intentionally welcoming and inclusive
  • take a planned approach to building social inclusion through expanding their local welcoming efforts
  • partner with others
  • build on and share best practice.

These attributes give accredited communities a competitive economic advantage to attract and retain newcomers and increase local populations.

What is Welcoming Communities?

Participating councils

Already 10 councils across 5 regions in New Zealand are accredited as Committed Welcoming Communities. The councils, with newcomers and local residents, are developing and implementing their Welcoming Plans to meet the Welcoming Communities Standard's outcomes, and are working towards greater economic, social, civic and cultural success.

The councils are:

  • Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty (Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council)
  • Whanganui (Whanganui District Council)
  • Palmerston North (Palmerston North City Council)
  • Canterbury (represented by the Ashburton and Selwyn District Councils)
  • Southland (Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council, Southland District Council, and Environment Southland – coordinated through Great South).

The benefits of accreditation

Accreditation builds a competitive advantage to attract, support and retain newcomers. It:

  • shows that a council values and welcomes newcomers
  • provides a way to assess progress and to improve welcoming practices
  • celebrates success and shared pride in positive outcomes for the community
  • shows that a council and community is part of an international welcoming network
  • showcases welcoming activities on the national and international stage
  • provides councils with access to support, resources, knowledge sharing and networking in New Zealand and overseas through the Welcoming Communities programme which we lead.

The Welcoming Communities accreditation model

There are 4 stages of accreditation, each with increasing levels of requirement and benefits:

  • Stage 1 — a Committed Welcoming Community
  • Stage 2 — an Established Welcoming Community
  • Stage 3 — an Advanced Welcoming Community
  • Stage 4 — an Excelling Welcoming Community.

We have prepared an overview of the Welcoming Communities Accreditation model which includes a summary table and a short description of each stage.

Welcoming Communities Accreditation – An overview PDF 684KB

How accreditation works

The accreditation process assesses local government and community efforts to meet the Welcoming Standard’s outcomes and create a place where everyone can belong. Councils who have signed up to the Welcoming Communities programme can apply for accreditation as a Welcoming Community.

At stage 1 a council must commit to participating in the Welcoming Communities programme and complete an application.

For stages 2 to 4 a council, working with its community, completes an application and a self-assessment workbook. The Welcoming Communities External Assessment Panel prepares a detailed report.

Site visits are arranged for Advanced (stage 3) and Excelling (stage 4) accreditation.

How to apply for accreditation

The full process, and what councils and communities must do to get accredited, is laid out in the Welcoming Communities Applicant Accreditation Manual.

Welcoming Communities Applicant Accreditation Manual PDF 5MB

Application forms and resources

For each stage of accreditation there are application forms and other resources to help councils complete the process.

Stage 1 — Committed Welcoming Community forms

The Committed Features Checklist helps a council and community decide if they are ready to apply for accreditation as a Committed Welcoming Community.

Committed Features Checklist PDF 267KB

Committed Application Form PDF 265KB

Stage 2 – Established Welcoming Community forms

Councils use the Excelling Features Checklist to make sure everything is in place to become accredited as an Excelling Welcoming Community.

Established Features Checklist PDF 522KB

Established, Advanced and Excelling Application Form PDF 496KB

After an application is submitted, the Established Planning Tool helps to map out the accreditation process and timeframes.

Established Planning Tool PDF 263KB

Stage 3 — Advanced Welcoming Community forms

Councils use the Advanced Features Checklist to make sure everything is in place to become accredited as an Advanced Welcoming Community.

Advanced Features Checklist PDF 520KB

Established, Advanced and Excelling Application Form PDF 496KB

After an application is submitted, the Advanced Planning Tool helps to map out the accreditation process and timeframes.

Advanced and Excelling Planning Tool PDF 267KB

Stage 4 — Excelling Welcoming Community forms

Councils use the Excelling Features Checklist to make sure everything is in place to become accredited as an Excelling Welcoming Community.

Excelling Features Checklist PDF 518KB

Established, Advanced and Excelling Application Form PDF 496KB

After an application is submitted, the Excelling Planning Tool helps to map out the accreditation process and timeframes.

Advanced and Excelling Planning Tool PDF 267KB

Getting more information

Contact our Welcoming Communities programme team for more information about the Welcoming Communities programme and getting accreditation.

You can email us to request the Self-assessment Workbook.

Email: welcomingcommunities@mbie.govt.nz