New group guides warm welcome for Upper Clutha newcomers

Mar 03, 2023

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) is delighted to share the establishment of a second Welcoming Communities Advisory Group (WCAG) in the district, specifically representing the Upper Clutha.

QLDC Welcoming Communities Coordinator Silvia Dancose is thrilled to have another passionate group volunteer their time to help guide the programme locally.

“It was wonderful to see everyone gather and make new connections at their first offical meeting on 25 January. Having both a Whakatipu and Upper Clutha WCAG working together, sharing the views and needs of the diverse communities across our district, willhelp us create a strong and relevant Welcoming Plan,” she said.

This group is committed to guiding an innovative programme titled Welcoming Communities – Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori, in partnership with Immigration New Zealand, that aims to create a welcoming environment for migrants, international students and New Zealanders who are new to our local community.

The Upper Clutha WCAG consists of eight members from newcomer and community groups, business and central government partners. There are five additional non-voting members, including three central government representatives, one Councillor and three QLDC staff members. 

The group will meet once a month. Its purpose, along with the Whakatipu group (formed in June 2022) is to provide leadership and advice on the development of the district’s Welcoming Plan 2023-2026 and ensure a collaborative approach.

Upper Clutha WCAG Chair Niamh Shaw is excited to work with its Whakatipu sister group towards a shared vision for the future.

"I can't wait to collaborate with our wider community on the Welcoming Plan and build on the work done to date. The group is looking forward to engaging with iwi, community groups, schools and businesses in the public consultation later this year, to shape the opportunities identified in the plan," she said. 

Welcoming Communities concluded a big first year of groundwork at the end of 2022, engaging with many newcomer groups and key stakeholders across the motu, and in November hosted the programme’s third hui for the year in the Upper Clutha.

“We had a fantastic turnout with over 85 guests participating in a world café style discussion at the Lake Wānaka Centre. The group shared ways to support those new to our district, including how to make them feel welcome and able to participate in the economic, civic, cultural and social aspects of living here,” Silva said.

Feedback from the three hui along with a Stocktake report (completed last August) which assessed how QLDC and the broader community are currently meeting the needs of newcomers, will all feed into the Welcoming Plan 2023-2026.

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