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‘Transport biggest barrier for Hurunui’s newcomers’

Transport is one of the biggest challenges for newcomers to Hurunui, a new survey reveals.

One quarter of respondents taking part in the Hurunui Welcoming Communities survey found accessing transport in the district the biggest challenge to settling in the Hurunui – ranking it even more of a difficulty than finding work, making friends or conquering the English language for non-English speakers.

Hurunui Council Welcoming Communities facilitator Natalie Paterson said the aim of survey was to look at the challenges facing Hurunui’s newcomers and where their experiences could be improved.

Paterson acknowledged that some issues, such as Hurunui’s lack of public transport, couldn’t be solved overnight but it was exciting to start working to change what could be improved to help newcomers settle and integrate.

“This survey represents our newcomers’ experiences in moving to Hurunui during the last five years. We will be using their experiences to help others have a good experience,” Paterson said.

“The information will lead to actions that we, as a council, can undertake, for example, looking at how we communicate with those for whom English is not their first language.”

Paterson said it was rewarding that 69% of respondents reported feeling welcomed when they arrived in Hurunui.

“One of the biggest messages that came through was the importance of people just smiling and saying good morning to people who are new and being open to learning more about them. Just offering support if someone is looking a bit lost makes a huge difference.”

64% of the 97 survey respondents originally hailed from the Philippines, Paterson said, with work opportunities attracting 30% of responders, family ties 29% and lifestyle factors 23%. The average age of the respondents was 30 to 39 years (30 percent).

The survey’s findings would inform a Welcoming Communities report that would be shared at a community launch in April, Paterson said.

 

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