Southland is rolling out the welcome mat.
Following involvement in Immigration New Zealand’s Welcoming Communities pilot, the Southland Murihiku Welcoming Plan will be launched on Wednesday 18 September.
The plan, which has been guided by the New Zealand Welcoming Communities Standard, outlines the actions required for Southland to become a welcoming community.
Great South Chief Executive Ann Lockhart said the plan had been developed in recognition that communities are happier and more productive when newcomers are welcomed and encouraged to participate fully in their local society.
“We are confident we have a strong plan in place to build upon Southland’s reputation as a place where newcomers are welcomed and made to feel included,”
To celebrate the launch of the plan, a pōwhiri will be held on Murihiku Marae followed by a high tea and entertainment by local cultural groups.
Ms Lockhart said the launch aims to reflect the inclusive values Southland already has in place and demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the region to build upon these principles.
“Welcoming newcomers to Southland, and having the initiatives in place that encourage them to stay, is pivotal to the future success of the Southland region”
Ms Lockhart said the actions outlined in the Southland Murihiku Welcome Plan are structured around the eight outcomes identified by the Welcoming Communities Standard and will help to increase Southland’s population, encourage diversity and strengthen local businesses through supporting the growth of the local labour force.
“Where previous settlement initiatives focused primarily on supporting newcomers, Welcoming Communities identifies ways that members of the Southland community can be involved in the process – it’s about supporting the cultural and economic development of both the host and the newcomer community,”
Southland is one of five regions across New Zealand to pilot the Immigration New Zealand initiative, with Great South coordinating the pilot with support from local councils and the programme’s Strategic Advisory group.