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A new advisory group will help Hamilton City Council shape a more welcoming city.

Council was accepted into the Welcoming Communities Te Waharoa ki ngaa Hapori programme run by Immigration New Zealand earlier this year. The initiative aims to help newcomers – including recent migrants, former refugees, international students, and anyone new to the city – feel more supported and included.

Now Council is looking for people interested in joining a ‘welcoming’ advisory group.

Community Committee Deputy Chair Councillor Kesh Naidoo-Rauf said the advisory group – made up of between seven and ten members – will help guide decisions and develop actionable plans.

“We want Hamilton to feel like home for everyone and anyone choosing to live here. The wellbeing of people is at the heart of everything we do, and that includes people who are new to our city.

“For this, we need to understand what will help our newcomers settle in smoothly and seamlessly. Our advisory group will share insights and ideas to create a culture of belonging and help our newcomers to thrive in every way.”

Hamilton is incredibly diverse, with Hamiltonians representing more than 160 ethnicities. More than 27% of the city’s population were born overseas.

“Anyone who has ever moved town or countries knows how challenging and uncomfortable it can be,” Naidoo-Rauf said. “Through this collaboration of thoughts and ideas, we can put plans in place to ease this transition. We can become a city our newcomers never want to leave.”

Council wants to hear from a wide range of people interested in joining the group, including – but not limited to – people from our iwi, migrant, student, business, and refugee communities.

Members of the group, appointed for two years, will help champion the programme, develop collaborative plans, provide guidance, and seek input from respective communities.

“More than anything, we need people who share our vision,” said Naidoo-Rauf. “That’s of a city that proactively celebrates our diversity and champions those new to the city.”

The Welcoming Communities programme is connected to similar programmes in other countries, creating an international network. It supports councils to share knowledge with each other and develop and carry out welcoming plans.

If you are interested in finding out more about the advisory group and the role it will play, you can read the Terms of Reference here. You can also email an expression of interest to Andy Mannering at by 8 July 2021.


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