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Eight new councils in welcoming communities family

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is delighted to announce a significant milestone for the Welcoming Communities programme.

Eight new Councils are joining the programme, designed to create inclusive environments where all residents can thrive and belong.

The Napier City, Rotorua Lakes District, Upper Hutt City, Marlborough District, Waitaki District, Westland District, South Wairarapa District, and Hurunui District Council are new additions to the programme. Their involvement follows the three Councils that joined the programme in early 2022.

Fiona Whiteridge, General Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services INZ is proud to be involved in this important family.

“We are grateful for the enthusiasm shown and the desire from Councils around the country to be part of such an important initiative that began five years ago. There are now 26 Councils taking part in the Welcoming Communities programme.”

Nationally thirty-eight percent of city and district councils are now committed to making their communities more welcoming for everyone. In the South Island there are 14 Councils involved, nearly 60 percent.


Marlborough District Council Mayor John Leggett says the Marlborough region has grown in diversity for several decades and becoming part of the Welcoming Communities Initiative is a positive step forward in drawing our community together to celebrate and acknowledge all newcomers.

“As well as socially enriching our community, the local economy continues to strengthen thanks to people choosing Marlborough to be their place to live and work. I am proud to welcome new members to our community, alongside our key stakeholders and residents, and look forward to fostering an environment that is welcoming, safe, and offers newcomers a sense of belonging,” says Mayor Leggett.

Hurunui District Council Mayor Marie Black is delighted that her Council is involved in the Welcoming Communities Programme.

“A culturally rich community brings fresh perspective and vibrance that is incredibly valued. It is important to us that our community is supportive, welcoming, and feels like home to all newcomers who choose to stay,” says Mayor Black.

The next steps will see INZ work with the new participants to help them meet the standards required to achieve formal Welcoming Communities accreditation.

“This programme is an incredibly important tool for building strong and integrated communities, for making newcomers, no matter their background, feel included, so everyone can thrive,” says Ms Whiteridge.


More on the accreditation programme:

Welcoming Communities supports councils and their communities to create welcoming environments for newcomers, specifically recent migrants, former refugees and international students.

The programme involves local residents in developing, delivering and participating in welcoming activities. This approach increases social engagement and provides opportunities to build social connections.

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

Link:, dated March 16, 2023 4:17 am

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