Waitak Multicultural and Newcomers Community


The Waitaki Multicultural Council is a non-profit organisation which supports migrants and newcomers in the Waitaki Region to settle successfully. It also promotes positive race relations through community education, helping people of all ethnicities feel integrated so that they can actively contribute to our community.

The Waitaki Multicultural Council employs a Newcomers and Migrants Coordinator to help and support new arrivals settle into the Waitaki District.

The Committee of the Waitaki Multicultural Council meets on the second Thursday of each month at Ara institute of Canterbury, Oamaru Campus, 44 Humber Street at 5.30pm, Oamaru. All members are welcome to come along and share in what we do. If you think you would like to get involved with the committee, you are also most welcome to contact the Chair on 0210665143.

Waitaki Multicultural Council Inc.

  • NGO (non-government organization)
  • Non-profit
  • Registered charity
  • Incorporated society
  • Member of the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils
  • Member of Stronger Waitaki Coalition – Community Safety

Our Mission

Whiria te Tāngata – Weave the People Together to create a multicultural community of people living in harmony.

Our goal is to reduce challenges for people who are new to Waitaki and to increase their capabilities to transition and settle successfully in their new home environment.

Helping you settle successfully

Have you just moved to Waitaki, North Otago? Welcome to Waitaki Multicultural and our beautiful district!

A 2022 survey to our newsletter subscribers showed that 88% of (former) new residents in our region wants to stay in Waitaki and 12% are thinking about it!

Are you an out-of-towner, immigrant, refugee, expatriate or returning after many years of absence to make a fresh start?

We would love to get to know you, so do reach out and contact us if you are new to town.

This service has been running since 2008 and has helped hundreds of families settle successfully in Waitaki and making this wonderful district their new home. May we help you next?

How We Support Newcomers to Waitaki

We are a facilitator connecting new arrivals in Waitaki to the necessary services in our district. Our goal is to make your transition into your new community a positive, easy and successful experience while you feel welcomed and respected.

Newcomers have either moved here from other parts of New Zealand or from overseas and we pride ourselves to support over 50 ethnicities throughout the district.

Waitaki Multicultural has always been known for the Migrant Support and Newcomers Network activities which have supported numerous residents finding their feet in our community.

For example, we have directed newcomers from overseas to language course providers and we also organise various cultural activities and events to bring people together from coffee chats, family trips to potluck lunches.

Regardless of our programme content: our aim is always to celebrate diversity, encourage learning, create harmony, and foster equality among people.

No matter if you were born in New Zealand and consider yourself a Kiwi or if you have migrated from abroad: we love to welcome you to our community!

"They linked me to people in the community which helped making friends. The friends explained how things worked informally like banks, driving licence and which medical centre dentist or chemist were good."

We Care About Your Story

Many new Waitakian’s share similar stories of why they have chosen to live here: they were drawn to its quieter lifestyle, the stunning scenery, variety of great schools, had landed an exciting job, found a safe(r) haven to raise their family or followed their loved one(s).

These former newcomers encountered the same challenges that you may struggle with such as: feeling homesick, overwhelmed or isolated or having difficulties integrating in a new community due to language or health barriers. We understand what you are going through.

It is our great pleasure to offer services, opportunities and support to create a sense of belonging to our new arrivals in the community. Let us know how we can help you!

“They supported us especially in our residency application by giving support letter to immigration. Helped in follow up of residency application.”

Meet our Coordinator

Photo of Paula Eatherley, Coordinator of Waitaki Multicultural

My name is Paula Eatherley and along with some wonderful volunteers, I coordinate the Waitaki Multicultural’s office, events and group activities.

Over the last ten years, this service has helped hundreds of families to settle into their new community and make friends and we invite you to join us. Just contact me and I will be in touch.

There is no obligation, just attend any activities that interest you, and opt-in to receive information via our newsletter, so that you know what is happening around Waitaki.

I have lived in Oamaru with my husband for many years and I have lots of local information to share.

I also understand what it is like to settle in a new community and would love to walk this exciting journey with you, as you forge new friendships and new beginnings.

Meet the Waitaki Multicultural Committee

Kia ora!

We are a group of volunteers running this organisation with passion and purpose. We represent a vast and exciting cultural pool of backgrounds: some of us were born in Waitaki or elsewhere in New Zealand, or came from overseas.

Our aim is to make you feel at home, confident and happy in your new environment.

We often take part in our own events, so we hope to meet you in person one day.

Governance (Executive Committee)

Executive Committee of volunteers elected by the members at the AGM.

Maria Buldain


Robert Roodnat


Socorro Laraga


Talanoa Palu


Birendra Datt

Committee Member

Tie Jian

Committee Member

Jessica Thomas

Committee Member

Life Members

Sandra Tonkin

Life Member

Inday Bungard

Life Member

Cecilia Baxter

Life Member

Employees and Contractors

Paula Eatherley


Enrico Stephan

Administrative Officer

Maddy Maxwell

Events Coordinator

What Does The Committee Do?

We are responsible for the governance of Waitaki Multicultural and to make sure that our organisation is doing its best to support newcomers in Waitaki.

We do this by cooperating with a wide range of education, advocacy, employment, community, health and wellbeing support organisations and services.

During our monthly meetings we check if we are still on track according to our intended mission, strategy and goals.

Every year we hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to present the outcomes and our future plans. You are always welcome to attend the AGM.

We also participate in advisory groups around ethnic topics and concerns to keep ourselves informed about the important issues that our multicultural community are facing.

Please know that most of us have been newcomers just like you in the past and we love to hear from you how to improve our services and what we do well.

Contact us if you have questions!

Our Strategy

Strategic Plan – click on the thumbnail to download the PDF

Annual Plan – coming soon

Sponsors & Partners

Our Sponsors

Our Partners