Whau Local Board is one of five Auckland boards to partner with Immigration New Zealand’s Welcoming Communities Programme pilot.
Local board chair Kay Thomas says Whau has a growing and diverse community that makes it a perfect area to run the pilot.
“With already well-established diverse communities and good transport connections, Whau local board area is somewhere that naturally appeals to new migrants.
“We have strong Asian, Pasifika, Māori and Indian communities that are thriving in the area, utilise facilities and get involved in community initiatives. So, this programme will be a helpful addition to the existing support already available.
“The board strongly supports this programme as we believe that helping new migrants settle in quickly will provide many more benefits to the existing communities. So it was quite a natural fit for us to work with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) when the opportunity arose to do so.”
Welcoming Communities – Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori - is a settlement programme helping local authorities and their communities create welcoming and inclusive environments for newcomers.
“We saw the value of community during the recent adverse weather. People came together to help each other willingly. No one stopped to think about which community anyone came from, they just got on and helped,” says Kay.
“That’s the sort of community we believe our people want us to foster and encourage.”
About Welcoming Communities
Welcoming Communities also benefits New Zealanders returning home or moving from other parts of the country, with Immigration New Zealand providing funding, resources and guidance to participating boards.
Four other local boards, Kaipātiki, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Albert-Eden and Puketāpapa are also participating.
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is home to one-third of New Zealand's population, with more than 1.7 million people, and has experienced significant growth and increasing diversity over the last decade.
Immigration New Zealand Refugee and Migrant Services general manager Fiona Whiteridge is excited to have local boards included.
“Welcoming Communities brings together councils, mana whenua and communities to make the places we love more welcoming. It’s great to see more and more groups are taking part in a programme that’s an important tool in making communities stronger.
“Tāmaki Makaurau is one of the most diverse cities in the world. It’s fantastic to have the boards as part of something truly special. Welcoming Communities are stronger communities, and that’s a win for all involved.”
INZ will now work with the boards to help them gain formal Welcoming Communities accreditation. For more about the programme go here.
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