Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Ambassador calls on the Mayor of Waitaki District, New Zealand

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In line with the Philippine Embassy’s continuing efforts to promote closer ties with New Zealand’s local governments, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, accompanied by Consul Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, made an official and business call on His Worship on Waitaki District Mayor Alex Familton on 02 September 2013. Also present at the meeting was Mr. Jim Hopkins, Councillor, Oamaru Ward. The meeting was made during the simultaneous delivery of the Embassy’s mobile consular services for the benefit of Filipinos in Oamaru, Waitaki District and the surrounding cities of the South Island on 30 August-02 September 2013.

Mayor Familton warmly welcomed Ambassador Benavidez and stated that Filipinos are active and vibrant members of the Waitaki District, particularly in Oamaru’s multicultural community. He said that he is very much impressed with the Filipino workers’ work ethics. He is delighted that they show great initiative in involving themselves in multi-cultural events. Mayor Familton also said that in the Waitaki District, immigrant and overseas workers, such as those from the Philippines, are treated properly and fairly. The Multicultural Council is doing a good job in giving support and information to newcomers to help them settle in successfully.

Discussions focused on New Zealand’s significant, and growing, people-to-people links with the Philippines. Filipinos are among New Zealand’s most important sources of permanent and long term migrants. The Filipino population in New Zealand is now estimated at up to 36,000 to 40,000. It is a preferred place of residence and work, and has become a home to many migrants, making it truly multicultural. And Oamaru as the largest town in the Waitaki District and the service center for the outlying rural areas and communities with a thriving dairy industry is a significant draw card for many migrants to the area, particularly for Filipinos, due to its buoyant dairy industry. Coupled with the fact that the Waitaki District has a friendly, constructive, energetic and interactive community which welcomes immigrants as well as a strong multicultural group with over 50 nationalities, the district has attracted migrant Filipino dairy workers and many Waitaki farms are home to them and their families.

Ambassador Benavidez thanked Mayor Familton for the meeting and expressed appreciation on how Filipinos are treated fairly and well in his district.

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