Over recent years, New Zealand has become home to an increasingly diverse range of people and communities from different cultures. Many of these new settlers are migrants seeking new opportunities in New Zealand, while others are refugees who, for different reasons, are unable to remain in their homelands. For anyone settling into a new country, there are the immediate concerns to contend with - finding a home, a job and schools for your children. Beyond these initial imperatives, there are ongoing challenges such as making new friends, understanding the language, accents and different ways of your new country and finding the confidence and support for a migrant to maintain and enjoy their own culture in their new setting. It is for these reasons that Newcomers Networks were established.
In 2004 Family & Community Services Ministry of Social Development established Settling In, an initiative to help migrants settle successfully in New Zealand.
In the 2005 ‘Settling In Nelson-Tasman report’ isolation and settling into a new community and making friends were three of the issues identified. To address this problem the first Settling In supported Newcomers Network was set up under the auspices of the Nelson Multicultural Council in 2006. Members loved it and the idea spread.