Welcoming community entice migrants up north

By Imran Ali

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WELCOMED: Pranathi Manoj with husband Manoj Mohan from India are among recent migrants who chose to live and work in Whangarei.PHOTO/JOHN STONE
WELCOMED: Pranathi Manoj with husband Manoj Mohan from India are among recent migrants who chose to live and work in Whangarei.PHOTO/JOHN STONE

Business graduate Pranathi Manoj had never travelled outside India until her marriage to an electrical engineer parachuted her all the way to Whangarei.

The shy woman from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh was one of 251 new migrants - according to Statistics New Zealand - who made Whangarei their home in December last year.

Figures revealed the 251 new residents Northland received in December was 40 more than the same month in 2014. The region welcomed 2002 migrants over the whole of last year compared with 1763 in 2014 and 1573 in 2013.

In comparison, 1279 people departed Northland last year, followed by 1445 in 2014 and 1998 in 2013.

Pranathi Manoj and her husband Manoj Mohan moved to Whangarei after their marriage in India in November last year.

Mr Mohan applied for and landed work as an electrical engineer with McKay Electrical in Whangarei early last year. He had two job offers - one in Northland and the other in Southland - and chose the former.

He first came to New Zealand in 2011 and studied for a masters in electrical engineering in Auckland before securing work in New Plymouth, where he worked for about two years.

Mr Mohan decided to change jobs as he used to commute a lot between Auckland and New Plymouth.

"There was a good opportunity here in Whangarei. The weather is warmer (than Southland) and people are very friendly. Everyone here and at work has been very welcoming."

The couple is keen to stay in Whangarei and Pranathi Manoj has contacted the Women's International Newcomers' Group Social (Wings) to meet and socialise with people of other nationalities.

"Whangarei is quite a nice place, it's quite peaceful unlike the bigger cities," she said.

Mr Mohan said it was important for them to integrate with other communities who have made Whangarei home.

"We can only call this place home if we can integrate with others and we want to do that," he said.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said the district welcomed migrants with open arms and valued the skills, depth and vibrancy they brought.

She said any increase in migrant numbers reflected Whangarei's growing appeal as a place to live, work, play and invest.

- Northern Advocate

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