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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:27am

Three dancers in traditional outfits of blue with extra long sleeves, multi coloured checker trim and silver boots dance at CultureFest

Selwyn has become one of the first places in the country to be recognised as a welcoming community for its efforts to support newcomers to the region.

The Council was one of 10 that were the first in country to gain accreditation as a ‘Welcoming Community’ by Immigration New Zealand.

The accreditation recognises councils and communities that value newcomers, and their work to build welcoming and inclusive communities. It gives access to further funding, support and advice.

At its citizenship ceremonies over the past two years, Selwyn has welcomed 588 people from 56 nationalities around the world.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton says the accreditation recognises the hard work the Council and community is putting into being a welcoming place.

“We have many lovely people and families in our district who have moved from all over New Zealand and around the world. Helping one another feel at home here in Selwyn is important to us and we will continue to implement and support these types of initiatives.”

Those initiatives include Selwyn Libraries offering access to online English and other language learning systems and hosting programmes for newcomers and long-term residents to connect. The Council and Christchurch Multicultural Council also run the annual CultureFest event where migrants and New Zealanders share food, performances and crafts.

More initiatives are on the way in 2020, such as Chinese lanterns and Chinese New Year storytimes at Selwyn Libraries to celebrate the New Year festival.

The Council is working alongside Immigration New Zealand to provide information for businesses who employ, or are looking to employ people from overseas. For the first time, there will be a new award category at this year’s Selwyn Awards in August for businesses that accommodate people facing additional barriers, such as moving from another country, in their business plan.