New Participants to Promote and Enrich the Welcoming Community Programs in NZ

Community Programs in NZ

The Welcoming Community Program of NZ is an initiative involving the local government councils, administration, and the communities, which aims to make the ‘land of the Kiwis’ more hospitable, friendly, and inclusive for all those who are newcomers to the land. Along with various Work and NZ Visitor Visa extensions, this project aims to promote New Zealand as a favorable land for people from all over the globe.

Concentrating majorly on the plight of the recent migrants, former refugees, and international students – the WC Program was tested and tried by ten councils in 5 different regions during a two-year pilot (2017 -2019) who worked with their local communities to implement the program of creating an inclusive environment for all residents of the land.
During this period of trial, it was noted that communities are instrumental to indigenous growth. They are responsible for making the newcomers feel welcome, and they are likely to enjoy better social outcomes, including more vigorous economic growth.
In such a positive environment, everyone can participate in the community’s economic, civic, cultural, and social life. Building connections between locals and newcomers means everyone feels included and knows they belong.
Owing to the success this pilot project witnessed in the two years, the Government of NZ has approved the constant expansion of the project to other areas of the country and invited other city and district councils to be a part of the extended program by submitting Expressions of Interest.

List of WC Members: Districts and City Councils

The pilot project kicked off in 2017 with 10 Councils and five regions. Since then, the success of the WC program has brought more councils into the program and has made NZ one of the most hospitable places for an individual to reside in.
On 25th March 2021, 3 new members joined the program bringing up the number to 12 Councils in 9 regions in the nation.

The list of members

  1. Tauranga (Tauranga City Council)
  2. Whanganui (Whanganui District Council)
  3. Palmerston North (Palmerston North City Council)
  4. Canterbury (represented by Ashburton District Council and Selwyn District Council)
  5. Southland (Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council, and Southland District Council)
  6. Western Bay of Plenty (Western Bay of Plenty District Council)

New members

  1. Hamilton City Council

  2. Horowhenua District Council

  3. Masterton District Council

Fiona Whiteridge, INZ’s General Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services, commented that the Welcoming Communities program has been massively instrumental in building community links and promoting diversity and inclusion. She went on to declare that making newcomers welcome and included, be they migrants or Kiwis who are shifting towns, can foster an environment of growth and only make the communities stronger.

Meeting The New Members and Regions

1) Hamilton

  • Region: Waikato
  • Area – 110.8 km2 (42.8 sq mi)
  • Population -176,500 (As of June 2020)
Located in the fabled North Island of New Zealand, Hamilton was given the title of the ‘most beautiful city in New Zealand’ in 2020.
The history of this settlement traces back to a British Naval Commander who was killed in battle during the 1860s. During the latter stages and early 20th century, the town of Hamilton was mostly associated with agricultural services.
However, Hamilton now boasts of a diverse economy which is mainly supplemented by the town’s Education and Research Development Departments. The city houses 40,000 tertiary students and 1,000 PhD-qualified scientists from across the globe and NZ.
Mayor of Hamilton, Paula Southgate, noted that participation in the program for the Hamiltonians would add to the vibrancy of the city.
According to her, people’s diversity and their cultures bring enormous strength to any city by modifying its dynamics and giving it a positive boost. Hamilton is no exception. She commented that Hamilton already has more than 160 ethnic groups in the city, adding incredible depth and vitality.

2) Horowhenua

  • Region : Manawatū-Whanganui
  • Area : 1,063.60 km2 (410.66 sq mi)
  • Population : 36,100 (As of June 2020)
Horowhenua (roughly translated to shaking earth) falls on the western coast of the North Island of NZ. The majority of Horowhenua was once a colossal wetland centered around a flax industry. The process of draining the area and the conversion to farmland was slow and cumbersome but ultimately led to productive but flood-prone farmland.
However, in recent years Horowhenua has been producing almost 10 percent of NZ’s Manufacturing Industry GDP even though most of its local economy has been dependent on Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Industries.
The economy and the growth of the district has been steady, attracting a large number of people and Horowhenua District Council mayor Bernie Wanden commented said that they are looking forward to fostering an environment that is welcoming, thriving, all-inclusive and safe and that newcomers in Horowhenua will be proud to call home.

3) Masterton

  • Region : Greater Wellington
  • Area : 2,299 km2 (888 sq mi)
  • Population : 27,500 (As of June 2020)
Founded and established in 1854 by the Small Farms Association that aimed at settling people in villages and on the land, Masterton witnessed an early period of stagnancy and slow growth. However, the prosperity of the area began to blossom as their agricultural output started becoming hugely productive.
Today, a large part of the local economy is being supported by providing services to nearby farmers. The Health and Social Services Industry, along with the Manufacturing Industry, employs many people from across the globe.
Press statements of the Mayor of Masterton, Lynn Patterson, could not be found.

If you have any queries regarding the operation and overall functioning of the NZ Welcoming Communities Program, book a consultation with our experts. Our NZ immigration advisors are highly qualified and well-versed in every matter to guide you properly.


When we face another potential wave of a new coronavirus strain and another lockdown, introducing three new members to the Welcoming Communities program will only enrich the program and lend out a helping and comforting hand to all newcomers living in NZ in such trying times.
The freedom to make their plans to create a more holistic, inclusive, and warm environment for all people and assisted with the philosophy of equitable access, welcoming communications, inclusive leadership these new members will only strengthen the Welcoming Community Program and make the world a better and more comfortable place to live in.

If you have any queries regarding traveling/ immigrating to NZ, you can book a consultation with our immigration experts. They are friendly, amicable people who will take care of your needs and walk you through the entire process.