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Newcomers to the Waitaki district will now have a one-stop shop to make the move easier.

An initiative of the Waitaki Multicultural Council, 250 “welcome boxes” containing information to streamline the experience of moving to Waitaki are being distributed throughout the district.

“Basically we found a gap, where new people arriving weren’t getting all the information they needed,” Waitaki Newcomers Network co-ordinator Christine Dorsey said.

The packs contain information about education, housing, employment, community and civil defence.

Mrs Dorsey said it became clear from talking to migrants there were gaps in their knowledge.

“There are differences between kindergarten, playcentres, and daycare – some of them are government-run, some are privately owned, and some are parent-run.

“All those things provide different needs.”

New Zealand provided different living conditions for many new migrants, and the welcome boxes would be widely distributed throughout the district, she said.

The information packs were part of the overall service of the Waitaki Multicultural Council, Mrs Dorsey said.

“The over-arching goal is to help people settle successfully so they choose to stay.

“The migrants that we are attracting now are highly skilled – and we need those skills.”

One of the people helping to put the packages together last week was Anne Vechi, who moved to New Zealand from Brazil two years ago.

She praised the initiative and said it would have been useful when she moved to Waitaki.

“There are a lot of things we don’t know. The way we use houses is completely different to a tropical country like Brazil.

“And we never had any earthquake training. It is good to know how to prepare for that.”

Having basic information in one place would save Googling everything, she said.

“Sometimes with Google you don’t know if the information is good or trustworthy.”