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Minister's Update

Peseta Sam Lotu Iiga

Happy New Year to everyone. I trust you have all had some quality time with family and friends over the summer break.

It is good to be back as Minister for Ethnic Communities and I am looking forward to the challenges and rewards this role brings.

This time of year is always a happy one. It is summer, people are relaxed and energised for the year ahead.

For all of us in our diverse communities, it is also a time to reflect on the events of the year past and look forward to the opportunities 2016 brings.

It is a time of renewal, reflection and positive change.

Already this year I have had the privilege of attending the annual Filipino cultural festival in honour of Senyor Santo Nino. It included an opening mass followed by cultural presentations involving design and festival queen competitions. There was also a fine array of Filipino culinary delights.

There were more than 8000 people celebrating this important Filipino festival.

I am also looking forward to the Lunar New Year and all the festivities and colour this time of year brings.

This is the Year of the Monkey and I will be attending many events around the country, as I do every year, to see in the New Year with our Asian communities.

I recently attended a welcome function for the new Chinese Consul-General to Auckland Madame Xu Erwen. She has more than 30 years’ experience as a diplomat and is our eighth Consul-General to Auckland.

I will look forward to working with her to promote good relations between New Zealand and China.

Alongside the Office of Ethnic Communities, I will be planning ahead for the year, looking at how we can make New Zealand an even more diverse and tolerant society.

It is our priority to ensure that newly arrived migrants are made to feel welcome and are able to settle quickly into their new lives.

Our newer and less well-established ethnic communities will be a focus for me this year and I look forward to opening dialogue that creates positive and better outcomes.

Director's Update

Director for the Office of Ethnic Communities, Berlinda Chin

Welcome to 2016! It’s my pleasure to welcome you to another year of celebrating New Zealand’s ethnic diversity. We have one of the most diverse populations in the OECD, with over 200 ethnicities represented in our schools, workplaces and communities. It’s one of the things that make New Zealand such a great place to live.

This year, I’m looking forward to sharing with you some new and exciting resources on inclusion and diversity.

In March we are launching a new report which sets down a solid evidence-base for the impact that ethnic communities make in New Zealand and what we need to do to influence government on issues relating to our increasing ethnic diversity. This will be accompanied by our vision and strategy document. These documents will set the direction of our travel as we work with you to shift from a country where differences are tolerated to a society that values diversity. We are also introducing our online intercultural capability training, which will be freely available on our website to everyone.

Furthermore, we are launching guidelines that support communities’ celebration of their languages and in May we will be holding our next Ethnic People in Commerce (EPIC) NZ conference, connecting ethnic people in commerce with Maori and Pacific businesses.

Our existing services – such as Language Line – continue to be available as usual.

None of this is possible or will work without your input and partnership so I encourage you to get involved. Please join us for our report launch on 2 March in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch where we will take you through these great new resources. More details will follow, so keep an eye out for updates on our website or Facebook or Twitter. We look forward to seeing you.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all good luck and prosperity for Chinese New Year, which starts on 8 February. The upcoming year is symbolised by the monkey. People born under this sign are known for their good sense of humour and excellent problem solving skills. These are the types of traits that will help build a stronger and more prosperous New Zealand.

Ship for World Youth programme

Image of Naomi Simon-Kumar

Naomi Simon-Kumar, a recent grad from our Youth Leaders programme, is heading off to Japan as part of the Ship for World Youth programme.

“A friend encouraged me to apply. Having previously travelled on exchange to Japan as an exchange student, I was especially interested in participating in an international programme based in Asia that would allow me to make use of my own cross-cultural skills.”

The annual programme is organised by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese government and brings more than 200 young leaders from 11 countries together for several weeks on board the Nippon Maru. Participating youth spend two weeks in Japan experiencing the local environment including home-staying with Japanese families.

The programme aims to foster the spirit of international cooperation and the competence to practice it, while developing leadership capabilities of young people from around the world.

Naomi is in her third year studying towards a conjoint BA/BSc degree at the University of Auckland.

“I am particularly interested in health and development. As a child I divided my time between India and New Zealand which gave me a keen appreciation and passion for global affairs. In my time volunteering with young people, as well as working with ethnic migrant and refugee communities, I enjoy the practical challenges of being involved in community development,” says Naomi.

“The Ship for World Youth programme is an opportunity for me to open a forum for dialogue among young minds from wide-reaching corners of the world. I want to discuss the ways in which global issues need collaborative action and how a commitment to positive social change extends beyond government to us youth, as individuals.

“Given my passion for international development, I’m interested in starting a society for young people interested in interdisciplinary development studies and its practical undertakings. I believe the programme will give me a foundation for broadening my skills for engaging directly with the global community. I’m interested in the potential of social entrepreneurship locally in the coming years.”

Naomi has also been awarded a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia, which will cover her costs to study in Asia. And in 2013 she was the recipient of the Race Unity Speech award.

New Zealand young leader selected for 33Sixty programme

Fatumata Bah

Fatumata Bah has been selected to attend 33Sixty in Scotland in April this year where she joins 99 other young leaders from around the Commonwealth selected from a pool of over 6,500 applicants globally.

As part of the programme, Fatumata will be looking at collaboration between the public and private sectors and not-for-profit organisations, coming up with realistic implementation ideas and meeting with senior Commonwealth leaders.

Fatumata is originally from Sierra Leone. In 2011 she received the Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award where she was described as ‘a passionate human and women's rights advocate'. This was for her contribution to the status of women through service and advocacy following her address to 400 young people at the UN Headquarters through the Global Summit and Peace and Security simulations.

She was also the guest speaker at Office of Ethnic Communities’ 2014 Diversity Forum. Fatumata started her medical studies at the University of Otago and her goal is to become a paediatric haematologist. She is working towards a conjoint BA/BSc degree.

Non-professional interpreting and translation in New Zealand


Non-professional interpreting and translation goes largely unreported in New Zealand. AUT is conducting two anonymous surveys to find out more about experiences with this practice.

Please respond to the surveys if they apply to you.

Thank you in advance.

Save the date

Coming soon: detailed information about New Zealand’s ethnic communities.

For the first time, information about YOUR community will be publicly and freely available. It will help you plan for the services your communities need and provides robust evidence for funding applications and other support.

We’ll be presenting this information and what it means for you in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch on 2 March. So save the date and keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter for details.