Southland has been selected as one of five regions around New Zealand to pilot Immigration New Zealand's Welcoming Communities programme.
Welcoming Communities is a pilot programme led by Immigration New Zealand working in partnership with the Office of Ethnic Communities and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
The programme has been developed in recognition that communities are healthier, happier and more productive when newcomers are welcomed, and participate fully in society and the local economy.
Southland has been selected alongside Tauranga, Whanganui, Palmerston North and Canterbury to pilot the Welcoming Communities programme and as such becomes a forerunner in the Welcoming movement operating across the world.
The point of difference for this programme is that where previous settlement initiatives focused primarily on supporting newcomers, Welcoming Communities extends its approach to actively involve members of the receiving communities in welcoming activities.
As the programme coordinator Venture Southland is working alongside the local Advisory Group, which consists of council and iwi representatives, members of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Immigration New Zealand and Venture Southland staff, to implement the programme in Southland.
Southland Murihiku Welcoming Plan 2018-2020
The Southland Murihiku Welcoming Plan has been developed through collaboration with councils, iwi and the wider community and aims to develop a sense of belonging for newcomers through a range of activities and projects that celebrate diversity, and encourage social, cultural and economic participation.
The Plan outlines and prioritises the actions and regional projects that will be carried out to help Southland become accredited as a “Welcoming Community” according to the New Zealand National Welcoming Communities Standard.
Actions and regional projects included in the Plan
- The development of a welcoming portal to centralise welcoming information
- The collation of key welcoming information into a “welcome pack” for new arrivals
- The establishment of ongoing seminars that provide cultural competency training to foster cultural knowledge between newcomers, local businesses, and the community.
- The development of a “Welcoming Southland” brand.
The ongoing implementation of the Southland Murihiku Welcoming Plan and its associated actions will strongly contribute to Southland achieving its population goal of 10,000 more people by 2025, and help make Southland the most welcoming place possible.