Nelson-Tasman launches Welcoming Communities programme29/01/2022 1:35am
Nelson and Tasman councils will be able to make the region an even more welcoming place for refugees and immigrant communities after officially being added to Immigration New Zealand’s Welcoming Communities programme.
As part of the programme, Immigration New Zealand provides three years of seed money to employ a Welcoming Communities coordinator, who can help to make the region even more welcoming and inclusive for immigrants.
The event was opened by local kaumātua Harvey Ruru and hosted by the Nelson Tasman Settlement Forum at Victory Community Centre, with speeches from Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese, Tasman Mayor Tim King, and Nelson MP Rachel Boyack.
Mayor Reese is delighted the region is now part of the Welcoming Communities programme.
“It allows us to continue to work with our community to offer a positive and rewarding experience for newcomers setting up a life here”, she says.
“The development of immigration into the Nelson and Tasman region has been a story of not only increasing numbers but of ever-increasing diversity. This rich diversity is part of what makes Nelson Whakatū a wonderful place to live”, Mayor Reese says.
Mayor King says involvement in the programme helps our community offer the necessary support for those new arrivals looking to find their way in a new cultural environment.
“A diverse range of nationalities call our region home, and we benefit in so many ways from the contribution these new Kiwis bring to the community – in a practical sense through the skills they bring to the workforce or by adding their unique cultural perspectives to the New Zealand way of life.”
The Welcoming Communities initiative is for regional centres that have shown they have good infrastructure and social support for welcoming refugee and immigrant communities.
The launch event was attended by about 50 people representing the two councils, non-government organisations, immigrant communities, and the local business sector.
It was followed by a workshop for attendees to provide ideas for what they would like to see achieved through Welcoming Communities over the next three years.
From left to right: Yuki Yoda, Japanese community; Ramesha Perera, Multicultural Nelson Tasman; Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese; Mini Howie, Indonesian community.
Sanam Mukhtar, regional head of the Pakistan Association of New Zealand in Nelson; and local MP Rachel Boyack.