Get involved - join the New Zealand Newcomers Network Initiative
Are you looking to connect in your new community? Make friends and find a sense of belonging? Then New Zealand Newcomers Network may be perfect for you!
The journey of the New Zealand Newcomers Network Initiative (NZNN) began in 2006, after a series of government funded reports found, that making friends was one of the most difficult issues new migrants to New Zealand faced, when settling into the new community. To meet this very real problem, the first NZNN regional network was set up in Nelson in 2006, and the weekly social activities to connect newcomers and their host community began. Since then, the Alliance of Networks has grown to over 35, evenly spread across both the North and South Island. In 2016 Multicultural New Zealand decided to take on the governance of the NZNN Initiative which has led to great connection and collaboration opportunities for everyone involved.
NZNN is a grass-roots initiative concerned with social connection of newcomers, and the creation of bridging networks and social cohesion in host communities. NZNN - as the head of the Alliance - is the national body of the Initiative, manages the national website www.newcomers.co.nz, which links into the networks across the country - advocates for and supports the existing networks and their work and sets up new networks.
NZNN acts as a ‘starter’, ‘supporter’ and ‘connector’ by providing the national web platform and support services to the regional NNs. NZNN’s mission is to support and empower regional newcomers networks to create informal social networks that provide opportunities for people to connect and make friends. The core values are empowerment, professionalism, leadership, advocacy and connectedness.
The regional newcomers networks are open and welcoming to all new settlers in a community, whether from within or outside of New Zealand. This encourages great diversity, connects migrants and Kiwis alike, creating informal inter-cultural meeting, sharing and learning spaces.
The networks are run by (mostly volunteer) coordinators and volunteer activity coordinators and provide opportunities for meaningful social connection. Examples are coffee mornings, games groups, bonfire at beaches, walking groups, dance classes, ukulele groups, cycling groups, language classes, pot-luck dinners and many more. Several thousand newcomers are connected through these networks every year.
Every region can address their community’s need in whichever way is most fitting – regions are autonomous and are very creative in their approach to creating social connection opportunities, but they are bound by the Principles of Collaboration as set out in the Alliance agreement which are: friendship and support, respect, inclusion, community connectedness and service integrity.
If you are a newcomer looking for opportunities to connect please make contact with us. The easiest way to connect to the different regional newcomers networks is by visiting: www.newcomers.co.nz, choosing the appropriate region and completing the online ‘join us’ form. Or you can just send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to hear from you!
- by Andreja Phillips, National Manager, New Zealand Newcomers Network Initiative