Support and Embrace Diversity in the Garden City: Council's Multicultural Strategy
A Multicultural Working Party was established in mid-2015, which has come up with a public consultation paper. After inputs from public and other stakeholders, the Christchurch City Council will adopt and implement a final strategy in September.
"strategy is being developed with input from the community and affirms the Council’s strong desire to make Christchurch a city where diversity is welcomed and celebrated" - Jimmy Chen
This is needed because today's Christchurch is home to about 370,000 people from various backgrounds and ethnicities. According to the 2013 Census, 19 percent of Canterbury’s population was born outside New Zealand and that 21 percent spoke a language in addition to English.
"This consultation document invites your comments on the draft Multicultural Strategy. From the Council’s view, a multicultural strategy must challenge the Council to work in a way that honours the founding document of our nation, the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, while also
supporting and welcoming newcomers. The strategy must also challenge the Council to collaborate and strengthen relationships further between residents, service providers, organisations and government agencies for the benefit of our multicultural community,
and address identified community needs," noted Councillor Jimmy Chen, who also headed the City Council's Multicultural Working Party.
While the document is up for public consultation now, the draft Multicultural Strategy proposes three outcomes:
Whanaungatanga — sense of belonging
People feel they belong in Christchurch, regardless of their ethnicity, culture and English language skills
Tūrangawaewae — a place for all to stand
All people feel respected, safe and able to express their own cultural identity and linguistic and religious traditions
Whai wahitanga — participation
Everybody is able to access Council information and services and participate in decision making regardless of their ethnicity, culture and English language skills
Problems faced by migrants
The consultation document - while noting that diversity has immense economic, trade , social and investment benefits for Christchurch - also acknowledged the following challenges some migrants experience reducing the benefits of diversity:
• social isolation and tension from “living in two worlds’”
• racism and discrimination
• loss of mana and traditional roles
• negative and stereotyped representation in the media
• difficulty accessing services and information and difficulty participating in community decision making
That's why the draft Multicultural Strategy proposes the followingvision 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.