INDEPENDENT NEWS

Five Auckland Local Boards Join Welcoming Communities

Published: Wed 1 Mar 2023 10:09 AM
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is pleased to announce that five of Auckland’s local boards are joining the Welcoming Communities Programme as part of a new pilot approach.
Welcoming Communities – Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori - is a settlement programme helping local councils and their communities create welcoming and inclusive environments for newcomers. It also benefits New Zealanders returning home or moving from other parts of the country. Immigration New Zealand provides funding, resources, accreditation, best practice information, networking opportunities, programme evaluation and guidance to participating councils.
As part of a new pilot approach to the programme, today we welcome five of Auckland Council’s local boards: Puketāpapa, Albert-Eden, Whau, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, and Kaipātiki to the Welcoming Communities family.
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is home to one-third of Aotearoa New Zealand's population, with over 1.7 million people, and has experienced significant growth and increasing diversity in its population over the last decade. Inviting Local Boards and their communities to join the programme, rather than Council as a whole, is a manageable pathway for Auckland region to participate in the programme and gain stronger outcomes.
The latest additions mean there are now 32 Councils and associated regions across New Zealand that are part of Welcoming Communities. Nationally, over one-third of city and district councils are now committed to making their communities more welcoming for everyone.
Fiona Whiteridge, INZ’s General Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services, is excited to have Auckland’s local boards in the programme.
“Welcoming Communities brings bring together councils, mana whenua and communities to make the places we love more welcoming for everyone. It’s great to see more and more councils taking part in a programme that’s an important tool in making communities stronger and improving social cohesion.”
Ms Whiteridge is thanking all participants, those who have just joined and those involved since the programme began almost six years ago, for their commitment.
“Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world. It’s fantastic to have them on board and be part of something truly special. Welcoming Communities are stronger communities, and that’s a win for all involved” Ms Whiteridge says.
Louise Mason, Auckland Council General Manager Local Board Services says that the initiative will help foster even stronger community ties.
“The recent extreme weather events have seen our communities come together and help each other at the time they have been most needed.”
“Fostering and enhancing that collective spirit is one of the benefits that the Welcoming Communities Programme will bring, so we are really pleased that the boards are taking part, especially in these areas that do see a lot of growth.”
INZ will now work with the new councils and communities to help them gain formal Welcoming Communities accreditation. You can find out more about the programme here Welcoming Communities

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