Information for Migrants

In the wake of CCC activities around Race Relations Day on 21 March it seems an opportune time to focus on the information needs of migrants.

The CCC has just launched a revised edition of a very popular brochure called “New to Christchurch” which will be distributed to libraries in the next few weeks. Its strength lies in the fact that it is available in 6 languages and will in time be refreshed on the CCC website New to Christchurch

 This new edition provides more information than before about leisure activities in the city, safety issues, health services and updates  web addresses.

Languages were selected to reflect the trend of new arrivals to the city rather than to reflect the current balance of settlers ie English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Thai.

Older editions in Russian, Persian and Samoan have not been maintained. This is just one of the trickier aspects posed by offering translations.  Any written directories risk going out of date quickly and along with updating web pages is a costly procedure when spread across multiple languages.

The recent CCC promotion of taking care with English communications was a timely reminder to keep things simple and always test run our communications by using colleagues or migrant customers. This is particularly important for documents that will be translated.

Many agencies in our city provide specialised support for migrants and refugees but navigating those services can prove confusing.  Our Central Library is currently hosting a new information service to help migrants find their way around the range of agencies – Settlement Support  is a Department of  Labour initiative which funds a service in all main centres of New Zealand.

The Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce is managing the initiative in Christchurch and was keen to provide a very public space from which to promote the service.  The library was seen as a logical choice and we hope that this will prove a fruitful partnership.  Shirley Van Waveren started 23 March and is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm to field any enquiries relating to the settlement of migrants – employment, education, health and housing in particular. 

Shirley will be running well publicised seminars and has already seized on the power of our library’s website as a crucial tool for all new settlers to this city so we are planning a seminar around this.  Posters have been distributed to all libraries promoting this new service.  Their website Settlement Support is also a very useful link to migrant related information.

Jill Richardson
Info Centre

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