Welcoming Communities has been developed in recognition that communities are healthier, happier and more productive when newcomers are welcomed by the existing community, and when the community has a good understanding of the positive social, economic and cultural benefits of diversity.
It is a nationwide programme led by Immigration New Zealand, in partnership with the Office of Ethnic Communities and the Human Rights Commission.
The initiative includes an outcomes-based accreditation framework, known as the Welcoming Standard, and aims to create actively inclusive communities, with a focus on migrants, former refugees and international students.
Palmerston North City Council has been a participant in the programme since it started in 2017. We achieved accreditation as an Established Welcoming Community, the second of four possible levels of accreditation, in 2020.
Together with our local Welcoming Communities Advisory Group, we are working towards achieving Advanced Welcoming Community accreditation by 2023.
Check out our Welcoming Communities Advisory Group Plan for more information on what we're working on.
Creating a welcoming community
Welcoming Communities aims to involve existing residents in activities to welcome newcomers, and increase awareness of the positive social, economic and cultural benefits of diversity.
It’s about making newcomers feel at home here, that we accept their culture and identity, and that there are opportunities for them to succeed. Having a sense of belonging helps people to settle more quickly, and enhances social cohesion.
Welcoming Communities is part of an international movement that shares best practice. Similar initiatives operate in Australia (Welcoming Cities), Canada (Cities of Migration) and the United States of America (Welcoming America). Palmerston North is one of fifteen councils across New Zealand who are currently participating in the programme.
Check out some of our welcoming initiatives from the last few years on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Want to know more about Welcoming Communities in Palmerston North? Please get in touch with our Welcoming Communities Coordinator, Stephanie Velvin.
The Welcoming Communities Standard
The national Welcoming Communities Standard provides us with a benchmark for what a successful welcoming community looks like. It’s made up of eight outcome areas important to creating a welcoming and inclusive city.
If you’re new to New Zealand or to Palmerston North, you might find these resources helpful in getting you settled and started.