The Selwyn district has been experiencing extraordinary population growth for several years. This was accelerated by the Canterbury earthquakes, with people moving from Christchurch, along with people arriving from overseas to live in Selwyn and contribute to the Christchurch rebuild. The Selwyn population in 2000 was 27,600 and is now predicted to grow to over 79,000 by 2028.

In November 2015, Selwyn District Council adopted its Newcomers and Migrants Strategy [PDF, 1330 KB] after undertaking research and working with a mix of key local community groups and agencies. The Strategy sets the direction and aims to address the needs of people new to the district so that they can settle well and call Selwyn their home.

In 2017, the Selwyn and Ashburton District Councils were chosen to take part in a two year pilot programme call Welcoming Communities. The programme is an initiative of Immigration New Zealand involving nine local councils in five regions across New Zealand. While previous settlement initiatives have focused primarily on supporting newcomers, this new approach creates bridges between the members of the receiving community and newcomers.

One part of the programme is for each council and community to produce a Welcoming Plan  [PDF, 10722 KB] that outlines what action is needed to meet the Welcoming Communities Standard, a benchmark for what a successful welcoming community looks like. The Selwyn Welcoming Plan should be read alongside the Strategy document.

Some of the cornerstone newcomer and migrant programmes that council have launched as part of the Newcomers and Migrants Strategy and Welcoming Plan include: