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Source: New Zealand Government Office of Ethnic Affairs

Kia ora koutou katoa,

Welcome to the November edition of our monthly newsletter. This is my last newsletter, as I complete my time with the Office of Ethnic Communities on 7 December 2018. We welcome Anita Balakrishnan as the Director from Monday, 3 December 2018.

It has been a privilege to serve in this role over the last nine months, and to support the priorities of the Minister for Ethnic Communities, Hon Jenny Salesa, with her evident passion for this portfolio. Working in support of her ambitions to empower ethnic communities to succeed and contribute, and supporting the delivery of the Safer Communities Initiatives, has been genuinely rewarding. 

I’d like to thank the Office of Ethnic Communities team for their support during my tenure, and the good work they do. A great deal of organising, engagement and analysis goes into the work that our stakeholders see. I’m grateful for all their efforts to celebrate diversity, to grow knowledge and understanding of ethnic communities, and to connect people in ethnic communities with each other, wider society and government.

It’s lovely to see both the strength of the ties within ethnic communities, and the enthusiasm with which ethnic communities develop links with the wider New Zealand community.  

Lastly, one of the many highlights of my time here has been the generosity and hospitality ethnic communities have extended to me and other the Office of Ethnic Commuities staff.  While we can’t always manage to find the time to connect with you in person, it is always a pleasure when we do. Thank you for your generosity. 

During November, leadership recurred as a theme through the work we were involved in.  Young leaders from diverse backgrounds had the opportunity to discuss the challenges of leadership for those from ethnic minorities with the Duchess of Sussex. Leadership was highlighted again, when White Ribbon’s campaign launched in early November, with violence prevention videos in a range of languages. White Ribbon celebrates the many men who promote safe, healthy relationships within families.

On 21 November, the Office of Ethnic Communities hosted a community consultation in Wellington to discuss civic participation. One attendee described how motivating it was to discuss enablers and barriers with migrants from around the world. Similar workshops were held in Auckland, in collaboration with the Chinese New Settlers Services Trust and Auckland Regional Migrant Services on 28 and 29 November. Another is scheduled for Christchurch on 7 December. The Office of Ethnic Communities is committed to ensuring that ethnic communities have the opportunity to shape government policy and service design and delivery.  

I leave with many good memories of my time here as Director and would again like to extend my thanks to all the Office of Ethnic Communities staff and ethnic communities that work to embrace diversity.

Ngā mihi nui 


Cathrine Austin