Central Otago District Council affirmed its support for the national Welcoming Communities programme last week by signing a Statement of Commitment at a ceremony in Alexandra.

Mayor Tim Cadogan and chief executive Sanchia Jacobs signed the commitment to partnering with the community and Immigration New Zealand to build and maintain a welcoming environment for newcomers.

The programme will be guided by the newly created Welcoming Communities Advisory Group, who were introduced at the ceremony.

The volunteers will work throughout the district to build a programme that addresses the unique needs of Central Otago.

Mr Cadogan welcomed the advisory board members and thanked them for taking on a role that was very special for the community.

“This is really important and I’m really proud to be signing this today on behalf of the community of Central Otago,” he said.

“The people of Central Otago and of Aotearoa New Zealand – we’ve all come here. We were all immigrants at some stage or other.”