Our stories

Our Welcoming Communities stories shine a light on the innovative welcoming activities already underway as part of the Welcoming Communities programme. They can inspire and inform new initiatives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.

Ashburton is accredited as an Established Welcoming Community.


Ashburton District accredited as an Established Welcoming Community

Poster competition to celebrate and acknowledge World Refugee Day

Webinar to provide information to newcomers in the Ashburton District

Ashburton Global Ambassador – Welcoming Communities

Welcoming Workplaces in Ashburton – Welcoming Communities

Te reo Māori graduates

Ashburton District Council staff graduating from a pilot te reo Māori course at the Council celebrated their achievement recently. The course was provided by the Ara Institute of Technology.

The te reo Māori course celebration was a great way for staff to practice their skills in a real-world context. They welcomed guest representatives from Ara Institute of Technology who presented the certificates. They were welcomed with a karakia (formal greeting and acknowledgements) waiata (song) and each person introduced themselves with a mihimihi (introductions). This was followed by shared kai (food).

By learning te reo Māori they are working to protect a national taonga (treasure). The Ashburton District Council is showing its willingness as a local government agency to enhance our partnership with Māori – the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Neighbours Day comes to life across the Ashburton District

Weird and Wonderful Ways to Waste Time in Ashburton

The Ashburton Youth Council has relaunched the Weird and Wonderful Ways to Waste Time in the Ashburton District map. The map lists all the things you, your friends, or someone new to your neighbourhood or school can do to around the Ashburton District. 

Ashburton opens garden to help welcome migrant population

Welcoming Communities futsal extravaganza

Plan to make district more welcoming launched

Inclusivity drives a welcoming community

Welcoming Communities Canterbury


Meet your street

In October 2015, Selwyn District Council introduced an initiative for the community named Meet Your Street. The population in Selwyn is growing rapidly – it increased from 33,645 in 2006 to 60,561 in 2018. There are many new residents who do not know the people around them.

So the Council introduced Meet Your Street to provide an opportunity for people to meet their neighbours. The initiative involves Council staff hosting a small number of street barbecues. Council also offers a small subsidy of $75 to residents who would like to run their own gathering which is open to all neighbours to attend.

Over the past two years, the Council has run 32 street gatherings with a total of 1,047 residents attending these events.

Residents have described these gatherings as a very good way to meet new neighbours.

There have also been 40 subsidised community-run gatherings with a total of 1,439 residents attending. 

Faces of Selwyn: Telling the stories of our people – Video

Settling in Selwyn: This time we were crying happy tears – Selwyn District Council

A plan to help newcomers settle well and call Selwyn their home – Multicultural Times


A Whanganui Welcome — Whanganui District Council

Whanganui's annual Festival of Cultures

Whanganui rolls out the welcome mat

New ways to welcome newcomers


Southland's welcoming communities plan launched — Stuff.co.nz

Polyfest 10th anniversary event draws thousands — Otago Daily Times

Mural for Invercargill

Welcoming Communities in Southland is implemented by three councils: Gore District Council, Southland District Council and Invercargill City Council. Invercargill is very proud to have a new mural symbolising the changing face of the city and the region.

Sports day helps international students feel 'at home'

Celebrating India's Independence Day

Welcoming Communities in Southland gains momentum

Welcoming Communities in Southland helps build shared prosperity and growth for everyone

Tauranga / Western Bay of Plenty

Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty – Established Welcoming Communities

Western Bay District and Tauranga City councils have achieved further recognition from central government for their great work in fostering cultural diversity and understanding through the Welcoming Communities programme.

Sharing stories of Tauranga’s diverse communities – The Incubator

To celebrate and recognise Tauranga’s diverse communities, Rotary Sunshine in collaboration with The Incubator, have created ‘This is Us – he waka eke noa’. The project aims to bring the Tauranga community together, build stronger connections and share the diverse stories of residents in Tauranga city. The project is supported by the Welcoming Communities programme and facilitated by Tauranga City Council.

This is Us – he waka eke noa

Tauranga Sikh Community

During lockdown the Tauranga Sikh Community were active in supporting vulnerable communities in Tauranga through holding two food parcel distribution initiatives including one held at a local Gurdwara. Local Gurdwaras have also provided food donations to local organisations distributing food parcels/meals in Tauranga.

Here is a link to a video outlining some of the work they have been doing. 

NZ Herald Tauranga Sikh Society give 600 free food bags to needy 

Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination workshops

As New Zealand prepared for the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks, a small group from different faiths and cultures gathered to celebrate their differences. The Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination workshops were held in March 2020. The workshops were a collaboration between Tauranga City Council, Tauranga Moana Interfaith Council, the Religious Diversity Centre and the University of Waikato.

The first Festival of Cultures in Katikati

Local businesses are excelling in welcoming new migrants

Chinese festival to take over the Strand

Newcomers to Te Puke welcomed with weekly morning teas

A warm welcome to new international students in Tauranga 

Turban day comes to Tauranga

Welcoming Communities Tauranga / Western Bay of Plenty

Settling into a new city - exciting and overwhelming all at once

Palmerston North

Manawatū Muslim Association providing thousands of hot meals

Palmerston North featured on Welcoming International’s website

Diwali festival lights up Palmerston North – Stuff.co.nz

Spotlight shines on Manawatū's past during Local History Week – Stuff.co.nz

Information on the October 2019 Local Government elections in 14 languages – Palmerston North City Council

All welcome at Islam celebrations of Eid Adha – Stuff.co.nz

Welcome Wall opened in the Palmerston North Central Library — Palmerston North City of Cultures Facebook page

Palmerston North's Global Ambassadors – Palmerston North City Council

Palmerston North marks World Refugee Day with food and song – Stuff.co.nz

New Manawatū Refugee Voice president – NZ Herald

Volunteer group gives refugees a voice in Manawatū – Stuff.co.nz

Festival of Cultures turns Palmerston North into ethnic melting pot – Stuff.co.nz

International Welcoming Week September 2019

Watch how Palmerston North embraces and welcomes its newcomers. All the Welcoming Communities sites are joining with our counterparts in the United States of America (Welcoming America) and Australia (Welcoming Cities) to celebrate Welcoming Week this month.

The videos, produced by the Palmerston North City Council, are just part of that city’s contribution to this global celebration of inclusion and diversity.

New Kiwis Club — Canto

Isles Construction: Welcoming Employer — Canto

Te Ahi Kaea — Canto

In March 2019, Palmerston North transformed its city centre into a celebration of diversity through dance, song and food for the Festival of Colours 2019 — A Celebration of Unity.

Palmerston North - City of Cultures photos | Facebook

Palmerston North City Welcome Pack

Palmerston North City Council wants to make sure that newcomers have the information they need to feel at home. Welcoming Communities is an Immigration New Zealand and Palmerston North City Council programme to help link newcomers with local residents and create a welcoming and inclusive community for everyone.

The council’s Welcoming Communities coordinator worked with local residents to develop a welcome pack to help newcomers settle in quickly. The welcome pack contains essential information about living, working and playing in Palmerston North. Newcomers to Palmerston North are also provided with a short guide of things to do in the city.

Ethkick Football Tournament celebrates its 10th anniversary

Palmerston North’s Ethkick Football Tournament recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, with over 1000 supporters watching 39 teams compete. The trophy went to the Lambordeeney team, which is made up of players of Kiwi and African descent. The tournament is supported by Welcoming Communities.

Palmerston North City Council finalist for partnership awards

The annual First Voice book — stories by students in languages they speak at home

International students settling well in Palmerston North

Communities benefit when newcomers are welcomed

Welcoming Cities Australia

Aleem Ali, CEO for Welcoming Australia, talked to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment staff during his visit to New Zealand in 2018. He spoke about the issues Australia faces in relation to migration and settlement, the challenges of attraction and retention in a global market, and how we can share learnings between Australia and New Zealand including in relation to New Zealand’s Welcoming Communities programme. View an edited 19 minute video of his presentation below.