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ENGLISH AND SOCIAL STUDIES

Wellington Council and Ethic Groups

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Inter-Cultural Relationships Framework

Adopted by Wellington City Council on 5 September 2001

Purpose

Council’s motivation for improving its relationship with Pacific and other ethnic

communities is multi-faceted but includes the desire for:

1.      greater social cohesion through valuing and celebrating cultural diversity

2.      the economic and social benefits of tapping into the human resource represented by the ethnic communities in Wellington

3.      equity of access to Council for all residents in Wellington. The inter-cultural relationships framework is intended to provide a framework for action and policy guidance for developing and formalising relationships with Pacific and other ethnic communities.

Principles

1. Migrants and established ethnic communities add strength and diversity to

Wellington, making it a more positive and vibrant place to live

2. A co-ordinated approach is needed to support healthy and sustainable relationships between Council and Pacific and other ethnic communities

3. Council is committed to enabling citizen input and involvement in decision-making

and acknowledges that different communities of interest may need different

mechanisms to allow full participation in Council’s decision making

4. Positive inter-cultural relationships should be integrated into every area of Council.

Objectives

1. To promote access to Council services for Pacific and other ethnic communities

2. To improve communication between Council and Pacific and other ethnic communities resident in the city

3. To improve Pacific and other ethnic communities’ involvement in Council’s decisionmaking processes.

Actions (1)

  1. An ‘in principle’ commitment to a Pacific Island stakeholder group to be confirmed in detail by the appropriate committee in the new triennium
  2. Regular forums held 2-3 times yearly

 

Actions (2)

  1. A communications strategy targeting Pacific and other ethnic communities
  2. Reassessment of staffing responsibilities within Community Services to provide a focal point for liaison and communication between ethnic communities and Council
  3. Inclusion on the forward policy programme of appropriate immigration and socialissues as identified in consultation with Pacific and other ethnic communities
  4. A housing forum scheduled for October 2001 to include consideration of Pacific and other ethnic communities’ housing issues.

Background

The desire for Council to improve its relationship with different Pacific and other ethnic communities arose simultaneously from two sources:

  1. Councillors requested the development of a policy for responding to the needs of new migrants and refugees in Wellington
  2. Individuals and groups within established communities, including the Ethnic Council Wellington, have expressed a need for Council to improve communication and participation with Pacific and other ethnic communities.

These two drivers for the development of the inter-cultural relationships framework can be tied to two overlapping types of issues facing Pacific and other ethnic communities in Wellington.

Initial Resettlement Issues

For most new migrants and refugees, settlement can be initially difficult, depending on the circumstances under which they entered New Zealand. In addition, the well-being of new New Zealanders is correlated closely to their experiences after arrival in this country. New residents face hardship and systemic difficulties on arriving including access to

housing, education, health care and adequate income. Language difficulties compound early entry problems and there is often a very poor match of skilled migrants to suitable work opportunities. It is common for new migrants to speak of the bewildering range of unfamiliar bureaucratic requirements and expectations.

Ongoing Integration Issues

For established migrants and second, third and fourth generation ethnic communities, survival needs are not generally so urgent. These communities are more likely to be concerned with the need to be accepted and valued as visible ethnic communities, the need to retain their cultural values and norms within a different cultural context, and the desire to participate more in civic/community life. However, some cultural communities do continue to face very real survival issues long after migration. This has been voiced as a concern by Pacific communities especially.

 


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