The Importance of Welcoming Communities: Manawatū and Waimakariri District Councils Join the Initiative

Manawatū and Waimakariri District Councils' participation in the Welcoming Communities program promotes inclusivity and a warm reception for newcomers.

In an effort to foster inclusivity, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is pleased to announce that Manawatū and Waimakariri District Councils have joined the Welcoming Communities settlement program.

This blog post discusses the significance of this initiative and its impact on creating a more welcoming environment for newcomers in New Zealand.

Welcoming Communities Program and Its Benefits

The Welcoming Communities — Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori — the program aims to assist local councils and communities in establishing inclusive environments for newcomers in New Zealand. It also benefits returning New Zealanders and individuals relocating within the country. INZ provides funding, resources, accreditation, best practices, networking opportunities, program evaluation, and guidance to participating councils.

Expansion of the Program

As of July 1, 2023, Manawatū and Waimakariri District Councils have become the latest additions to the Welcoming Communities program. They joined five councils and five local community boards that joined earlier this year. With these new additions, 34 panels, five local community boards, and associated communities across New Zealand are now part of the initiative. This signifies a significant commitment by over one-third of city and district councils to create more welcoming and inclusive communities for all residents.

The Significance of Council Participation

Fiona Whiteridge, INZ's General Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services, expresses gratitude for the councils' enthusiasm and dedication to this vital initiative. She highlights the program's role in making New Zealand a more welcoming and inclusive place for everyone. The continuous growth in the number of participating councils demonstrates the success and impact of the Welcoming Communities program.

Gaining Accreditation and Next Steps

INZ will collaborate with the new councils and communities to facilitate their attainment of formal Welcoming Communities accreditation. This process will further strengthen their commitment to inclusivity and ensure they continue to create welcoming environments for newcomers and residents alike.


The participation of Manawatū and Waimakariri District Councils in the Welcoming Communities program reinforces the importance of inclusivity in New Zealand. By joining this initiative, these councils are actively working to create a warm and supportive atmosphere for newcomers, returning New Zealanders, and individuals relocating within the country. The continued growth of the program demonstrates the commitment of local councils to building stronger, more welcoming communities for all residents.

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