Wednesday, 05 October 2022

Welcoming Communities Advisory Group works toward a shared vision

QLDC is delighted to announce the establishment of the Welcoming Communities Advisory Group.


Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) is delighted to announce the establishment of the Welcoming Communities Advisory Group (WCAG), a group with a shared passion for living in the Queenstown Lakes District. This group is committed to guiding a new and innovative programme that will help create a welcoming environment for migrants, international students and New Zealanders who are new to our local community.

The group represents newcomer and community groups, iwi, business and central government partners. It consists of 13 members with five additional non-voting members, including two central government representatives, one elected member and two QLDC staff members.

Queenstown Lakes District Council Welcoming Communities Coordinator Silvia Dancose is delighted to have so many passionate community members volunteer their time to join the WCAG.

“Bringing together voices, views and input from newcomers and the broader community is fundamental to the success of Welcoming Communities, hence the creation of an Advisory Group”, she said.

Welcoming Commuities Chair Darren Rewi also welcomes the creation of this group and a shared vision for the future.

"Welcoming Communities - Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori talks of newcomers entering into the village and once through the waharoa (gateway) were treated with manaaki (welcome) and would go on to be regarded as whānau (family). This is our vision”, he said.

WCAG was formed in June 2022 and has met once a month since July 2022. Its purpose is to provide leadership and advice on the development of the district’s Welcome Plan 2023-2026 and ensure a collaborative approach.

The Welcome Plan will be developed from feedback gathered from our recent Whakatipu hui in June and the upcoming Upper Clutha hui in November along with a stocktake report completed in August. There will be other opportunities for local communities to contribute to the development of the Welcome Plan during 2023.

“The Stocktake Report is an assessment on how QLDC and the broader community are currently meeting the needs of newcomers detailing what we’re currently doing well and opportunities for the future”, Silvia said.

Welcoming Communities – Te Waharoa ki ngā Hapori supports local councils and their communities to create welcoming and inclusive environments for newcomers. It involves local residents in developing, delivering and participating in welcoming activities. This approach creates communities where everyone can belong, participate, contribute and thrive. It helps increase social engagement, build social connections and grow social inclusion. This generates economic, social, civic and cultural benefits for the community.

There are 26 councils participating nationwide who have all commited to taking a leadership role to implement the programme with their communities, cities, regions and districts.

A Welcoming Communities hui for the Upper Clutha will be held on Wednesday 9 November at Lake Wānaka Centre. Newcomers and key stakeholders are invited to take part in a world café style discussion and share ways to support those new to our district, making them feel welcome and able to participate in the economic, civic, cultural and social aspects of living here. We are hoping to identify champions in the Upper Clutha who will join the Advisory Group to guide the development of the QLDC Welcome Plan for the Upper Clutha area. If you are interested in being part of this hui please contact Silvia Dancose at


Media contact: or call 03 441 1802.

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Photo caption: Welcoming Communities Advisory Group Members – Olivia Plimmer-Jones and Hari Sapkota are missing from photo