Welcoming Week honours newcomers and their supporters
Published on August 31, 2023
Welcoming Week is back! From 1 to 10 September, Whanganui is celebrating Welcoming Week - Te Wiki o Manaaki, an annual campaign that highlights how communities across Aotearoa New Zealand are striving to be more welcoming places for everyone.
Whanganui District Council community activator Harriet McKenzie says the week is about shining a light on the many people, groups and organisations who work hard to ensure everyone feels supported, connected and visible across our communities.
“The week is a chance to demonstrate whanaungatanga – the importance of relationships, and manaakitanga – respect, generosity, and care towards everyone who calls Whanganui home. Nau mai rā is the theme this year - we’re glad you’re here.”
On Tuesday 12 September, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, the Welcoming Communities Advisory Group will host a dinner and discussion with council emergency management officers, who will share insights on emergency preparedness. The event is open to all members of Whanganui’s multicultural communities as well as those who support newcomers. Attendance is free, but registration is required.
“We have so many integral groups in Whanganui supporting newcomers and providing space for different cultures to get to know one another”, says Harriet McKenzie. “Along with the emergency preparedness evening, there is also the Latin American and Spain Film Festival 2023 beginning this week, with films showing at the Davis Theatre from 9 to 23 September, and Tongan Language Week - Uike Lea Faka-Tonga - from 3 to 9 September.”
President of the Multicultural Council, Pushpa Prasad, says, “We are here to support all migrants and ethnic communities so that they can freely build a new home, fit in and enjoy every aspect of life in Whanganui without feeling left out. There’s freedom for everyone to able to showcase their customs, cultures and traditions, while also preserving their mother tongues.”
If you have an idea for making Whanganui more welcoming for newcomers, the council has a Welcoming Activities Fund that supports such initiatives. Groups can apply for up to $1,000 in financial support for activities that enhance newcomer experiences, such as improving access to information and services, and celebrating culture. Head to the funding page to find out more.
To register for the free dinner and discussion on Tuesday 12 September, please contact Harriet McKenzie on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 027 214 3198.