CLING (Community Languages Information Network Group)

CLING (Community Languages Information Network Group) is one of a number of sector groups to which CRS belongs. CLING was established after the February 2011 earthquake in recognition of the fact that Canterbury’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities were sometimes missing out on critical response and recovery information due to language barriers. CLING sought to raise awareness of best practice communication for and engagement with CALD communities during times of disaster.

Eight years after its establishment, CLING continues to meet monthly. CLING’s work has evolved as Canterbury has moved through recovery phases, such that the group now promotes best practice communication during times of normalcy and not just disaster. The group’s Vision is that “All communities have equitable access to public information and services, and the ability to communicate and participate in society.” In this regard, CLING advocates for the provision of accessible and comprehensible information for all, including through ethnic media, translated materials and the use of professional interpreters.

CLING members at their July 2019 meeting

CLING is made up of representatives from various NGOs, health organisations, local government and central government bodies. The diverse makeup of the group brings many benefits: members contribute knowledge and skills from different backgrounds and professions; members are able to draw on each other’s expertise and networks which has resulted in close collaboration and some exciting projects; and, members can draw on the strengths (and in some cases, finances) of their various agencies to enhance CLING’s Vision. In addition to CRS, current members include the Christchurch City Council, Citizens Advice Bureau, Community and Public Health, Immigration New Zealand, Interpreting Canterbury, Lebern and Associates, Pegasus Health and Plains FM.

Examples of cross-agency collaborative projects which have been facilitated through the interpersonal relationships fostered by CLING include:

  • “I need an interpreter” cards, which are available at various places including GPs (co-produced by Pegasus Health and Interpreting New Zealand)
  • On-air disaster messaging in languages other than English, which is being rolled out by Civil Defence across NZ (co-produced by Plains FM and the Christchurch City Council).

CLING itself has produced some important work contributing to dialogue at both the national and international levels regarding best practice communication with CALD communities. Highlights of CLING’s work include: 

If you are interested in learning more about CLING and its beginnings, the group was profiled in MBIE’s Settlement ACTIONZ ‘Lessons from the Christchurch quake.’  

The group can be contacted at