Selwyn’s growing multicultural community

by Kent Caddick

Over the past 12 months, 372 new citizens have been welcomed at 12 citizenship ceremonies in Selwyn.

The new Selwyn residents come from 40 different countries, with the four countries providing the bulk of the new arrivals being Britain with 136, South Africa (45), the Philippines (33) and India (25).

The district also welcomed news residents from Iraq, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Kenya and Nepal among others.

Mayor, Sam Broughton, said it was positive to see the district become home to a wide range of nationalities.

“As a growing district it’s fantastic to see people from all over the world wanting to make Selwyn a permanent home,” Mayor Broughton said.

“Our growing diversity continues to enhance our district, and the vibrancy it has.”

Data from the 2013 Census had Selwyn showing significant growth in terms of diversity. It reviewed where people had come from prior to moving to Selwyn.

The data showed new residents had moved from the likes of South Africa, Fiji, India, the Netherlands and China as well as a range of other countries.

Mayor Broughton was looking forward to the upcoming census to get a firm idea of how Selwyn is growing, and who is living here.

“With our rapid change over the last five years, the census will give us a strong idea about the true identity of our district,” he said.

“We rely on interim data from Statistics New Zealand, but the true data from the census will help us in key decision making.”

Selwyn is part of a two-year Welcoming Communities pilot programme involving eight other councils in five regions across New Zealand. It aims to mobilise and involve local residents in welcoming activities.

Mayor Broughton said previous settlement initiatives focussed primarily on supporting newcomers, while the new approach creates bridges between members of the receiving community and newcomers.

“One part of the programme is for each council and community to produce a Welcoming Plan that outlines what action is needed to meet the Welcoming Communities Standard, a benchmark for what a successful welcoming community looks like.”

He said the Selwyn Welcoming Plan will be launched in August and runs in conjunction with the 2015 Newcomers and Migrants Strategy.

The work that Selwyn District Council has already done has been recognised recently by the Christchurch Multicultural Council, which thanked the council for initiatives, like CultureFest and other activities, aimed at welcoming newcomers and migrants to the district.