When we are intentionally welcoming, it is a win-win for both newcomers and local residents,” says Stephanie Velvin, PNCC Welcoming Communities Coordinator. “We all become more prosperous by making everyone feel like they belong.
“If you’re new to Palmerston North, a warm welcome shows you that you’re valued and can be part of our city. We want people to feel safe in their identity, connected, and to have a sense of belonging.
“While Council is coordinating events and initiatives to drive awareness of the week, we’re asking individuals and businesses to do the same. It could be to greet people in their first language, offering to show a new colleague around town, or visiting a new neighbour to find out how they are settling in and ask if there’s anything they’d like to know about the city. The best way to be intentionally welcoming is to put yourself into a newcomer’s shoes and consider how you’d like to feel welcome if you moved to a new city.”
Welcoming Week officially runs from 15 to 22 September, however Palmerston North starts events on 11 September with a Mayoral welcome for international students in the Council Chambers at 4pm.
The Chinese Moon Festival and Chinese Language Week start from 12 September with a week of events. This includes 15 events, many of which are open to the public and include performances, movies, calligraphy and language workshops.
The third City Welcome Session for Newcomers is being held on 14 September at Youth Space from 10.30am to 12pm.
Citizens' Advice Bureau is hosting a Migrant Connect information session on 19 September, 9.45am to 11am, with a focus on how to create a New Zealand CV.
On 20 September, the First Voice programme is celebrating its 20th anniversary, with Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School students sharing their native languages through stories and videos. Everyone is welcome to attend the launch of this year’s collection of stories at the Central Library from 5pm.
A group of 10 Girls’ High students are already running a wonderful initiative – the New Kiwis Club. Every Monday the girls head down to Te Aroha Noa in Brentwood Avenue to run an afternoon of activities for former refugee children who live in the neighbourhood.
“They paint, do crafts, give ukulele lessons, play badminton and other games. This is a great example of welcoming in action, and it has been well received by those who have attended.”
During the week, tips for welcoming will be shared on Council social media – and there will be a fun competition for people to show how #PalmyWelcomes.