The importance of creating welcoming and inclusive communities cannot be overstated in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected. Recently, two councils in New Zealand have taken significant steps towards achieving this goal. The Rotorua Lakes and Hurunui District Councils have been commended by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) for reaching a significant milestone in the Welcoming Communities program.
The Welcoming Communities program, led by Immigration New Zealand, is designed to create more inclusive communities. The program recognizes councils and their communities that are welcoming to newcomers and are committed to building diverse communities where people can thrive and belong.
Rotorua Lakes and Hurunui District Councils have recently been officially recognized as Committed Welcoming Communities. This accreditation is a testament to their commitment to inclusivity and their efforts to create an environment where newcomers feel welcomed and can thrive.
The Welcoming Communities program is gaining momentum, with a growing network of councils and local boards joining the initiative. Currently, there are 34 Councils, 5 local boards, and their communities in the program. Rotorua Lakes and Hurunui District Councils join 14 other communities that have achieved accreditation status under the 4 stages of accreditation: Committed, Established, Advanced and Excelling.
The steps taken by Rotorua Lakes and Hurunui District Councils are a significant stride towards creating more welcoming and inclusive communities in New Zealand. Their commitment to the Welcoming Communities program is a testament to the power of inclusivity and the potential for diverse communities to thrive. As more councils join this initiative, we can look forward to a future where everyone, regardless of their background, feels welcomed and has the opportunity to thrive.