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Source: New Zealand Government Office of Ethnic Affairs

Kia ora tātou

It’s been another action-packed month for our people serving New Zealand’s diverse ethnic communities.

What will our communities look like in years to come? While we know that over the next 20 years, New Zealand’s total population is expected to increase, so too will the diversity of our total population, with all ethnic groups predicated to grow. New Zealand currently has around 213 different ethnic groupings speaking more than 180 different languages.

The Office of Ethnic Communities has continued supporting the Ministry of Education in hosting education consultation meetings with ethnic communities. Over the past two months a total of five consultations have occurred, three in Auckland, one in Wellington and one in Christchurch.

The Wellington and Christchurch meetings attracted around 100 participants from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.  I had the great fortune to attend the session in Wellington, and it was great to such a high level of enthusiasm from participants. Some of the key themes emerging from the meeting are the need for more teachers in schools of ethnically diverse backgrounds, and a call for language, culture and identity to be valued and recognised in schools.

In line with my own passion for recycling check out the story about upcycling being done by the Chinese Conservation Education Trust.

Hon Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities attended the Wellington Diwali Festival of Lights at the weekend. Hosted by the Wellington City Council and Communities Action Trust New Zealand. The Minister acknowledged the significant cultural and social contributions that Indian communities continue to make to New Zealand. Diwali, or Deepavali, is the Hindu festival of lights and one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism. It is a celebration of the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It is generally celebrated with the lighting of an array of candles, lanterns and fireworks.

Coming up next month there are a couple of important events for our diverse communities taking place. Russia and Myanmar National Days along with the Albania, Cambodia and Polish Independence Days and the Brazil Republic day. I encourage you to wish members of your communities who celebrate these events happy and safe festivities.

Ngā mihi


Cathrine Austin