Christchurch Multicultural Strategy, 'Our future together' - one year on
(Picture caption: Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel launching the city's Multicultural Strategy last year)
About Christchurch Multicultural Strategy
The Christchurch Multicultural Strategy, launched last year, is a commitment by the Council to provide a framework and a set of goals and actions to ensure every single person in Christchurch feels a sense of belonging. It will also give everyone in Christchurch an equal opportunity to access the Council's services, information, as well as participating in the decision-making process. This Strategy acknowledges Ngāi Tahu are mana whenua — the indigenous people of our area in Christchurch, and that Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the foundation document of New Zealand.
It recognises that the Council has a leadership role in making Christchurch a city where diversity is welcomed and celebrated. This Strategy outlines what the Council can do in terms of improving service delivery, up-skilling the internal organisation and developing authentic relationships to achieve the outcome of a diverse, inclusive and welcoming city. As such the City Council will: monitor implementation of the Strategy across the Council with the community, and publish an annual Diversity and Inclusion report.
It proposes the following vision for Christchurch:
Ōtautahi Christchurch: An inclusive multicultural and multilingual city that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi and values our diversity — a city where all people have a sense of belonging.
The strategy also seeks three outcomes:
Ngā Pou Haumaru – The sheltering mountains – the land. A safe place that people are welcomed into, where each person is cared for and_Rangatiratanga is respected.
Te Wairua Rāhiri – The welcoming spirit – the home people. A commitment to welcoming all who arrive to Ōtautahi with aroha and manaakitanga. A commitment to reciprocity when given such a welcome.
Te Waka Eke Noa – A purpose and model – the canoe we all are part of. An environment we can access where we can achieve common goals and understand the importance of working together.
So one year one, how is the Garden City doing in terms of its multicultural strategy? Christchurch City Councillor and chair of the Council's multicultural subcommittee, Jimmy Chen, has this to say, "The Council has developed a four-year implementation plan along with the community to achieve the four main goals. These goals and actions build on the work already undertaken by the community, Council and its partners to celebrate the diversity of all cultures, faiths and ethnicities in this city."
An update - as told by Councillor Jimmy Chen
- The Council has a 'Diversity at Work' policy aimed at creating a workplace that attracts, retains and values employees from a diverse range of backgrounds. Its induction for all new staff includes a one day Diversity@Work workshop.
- Council has introduced Māori courses across the organization for ALL staff, including Te Reo 101, Māori 101, and Ngāi Tahu 101.
- A Senior Leaders Forum in 2018 is scheduled to focus on the subject of unconscious bias - what does my headscarf mean to you? Are you biased? Test yourself for hidden bias?
- Four out of seven community boards in the city have been gifted Māori names:
• Banks Peninsula - Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū.
• Spreydon-Cashmere - Waihoro
• Linwood-Central-Heathcote - Waikura
• Coastal-Burwood - Waitai
- Christchurch Civil Defence and Emergency Management is developing the Foreign Language Messaging project. The aim is to prepare and record emergency preparedness messages in various languages to be broadcast on community radio networks.
- Council’s Multicultural sub-committee, established as the result of the Multicultural Strategy, is overseeing the implementation of this strategy and provides a platform for communities and sector agencies, council staff and government departments to raise issues of importance. Since its inaugural meeting in May 2017, the Committee has received delegations from over 20 community groups as well as the sector providers.
- Council invests a significant amount of community, arts and heritage grant funding and staff time supporting the city to showcase its ethnic and cultural diversity. This includes our regular iconic events such as Diwali, Holi, the Lantern Festival, Japan Day, Philippines Day, Drums of Africa, Korean Day and Culture Galore.
- The council is working with the Central Government to reinstate Christchurch and Refugee Settlement Centre - put on hold after the Canterbury Earthquakes eight years ago.
- The Council is currently reviewing its International Relations, Heritage, Events and Arts policies.
Disclosure - Christchurch City Councillor Jimmy Chen is also a member of Multicultural Times Advisory Board.