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Thursday 29 August, 2019
In two weeks, New Zealand will celebrate Māori Language Week, an occasion that has been on the nation's calendar every year since 1975. In recent months, the Council has been taking active steps to increase our own cultural competence and understanding of our country's indigenous language.
This month, 17 Council staff members completed a pilot te reo Māori language course through the Ara Institute of Technology. The course graduation was the culmination of several weeks of training. These staff members are now able to formally welcome visitors and dignitaries in te reo Māori, and have a richer appreciation for this national Taonga (treasure).
Being an increasingly diverse community, the Ashburton District has an important role to play in helping newcomers feel welcome and accepted in their new home. This means being open to implementing initiatives and activities that celebrate New Zealand's diversity, encourage inclusion and promote cultural awareness.Through the Welcoming Communities programme that our district is undertaking, the Council is working to make this vision a reality – both in-house and in the wider community. It is our hope that through leading by example, other organisations and groups will see the benefits of cultivating even more welcoming spaces for their people.Each year, people from all over the country and world come to the Ashburton District to live, work and make a life for themselves.
There are great benefits to living in our district such as very low unemployment, affordable housing, quality schools, and outstanding recreational attractions.
Enticing and retaining newcomers to our district also has benefits for our community. For example, newcomers often bring skills that enrich our workforce and support our local economy, as well as add to the social fabric of our community.
These benefits show the reciprocal value in making people feel at home in the Ashburton District.Participating in a te reo language course is one way that the Council is working to build our cultural awareness and celebrate diversity – both within the organisation and with the people we work with and serve.
We will be promoting and celebrating Māori Language Week from 9-15 September. This year, why not join us in celebrating our nation's third official language by promoting Māori Language Week around your workplace, school or within your own networks?
There is a range of resources available at www.tewikiotereomaori.co.nz. Additionally, if you'd like to learn more about helping to foster a more welcoming community, visit our Welcoming Communities website wccanterbury.com.