Race Relations Week exemplary

New Zealand race relations commissioner Meng Foon speaks at Dunedin’s Araiteuru Marae last night....
New Zealand race relations commissioner Meng Foon. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Dunedin's extensive Race Relations Week programme provides a positive example that other New Zealand centres could take up in future.

Office of Ethnic Communities executive director Anusha Guler made that point in an interview yesterday after a meeting Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins.

She was accompanied by her colleague Simon Whitfield, of Christchurch, the regional manager, southern, at the office.

Ms Guler had earlier addressed a race relations forum, held at the Araiteuru Marae, Dunedin, on Thursday night, with New Zealand’s race relations commissioner, Meng Foon, Dunedin Araiteuru Marae leader Tania Williams, and Prof Sara Kindon, of Victoria University of Wellington, as part of the Dunedin week.

Ms Guler yesterday acknowledged the size, complexity and diversity of the Dunedin week’s programme, and its efforts to include people of different ages, genders and backgrounds.

She acknowledged that the Office of Ethnic Communities, which was initially established in 2000 as the Office of Ethnic Affairs, and adopting its current name in 2015, was not as well known as she would like.

However, the office was working hard to network with other key organisations, including the Human Rights Commission, and its budget was increasing.

The Office of Ethnic Communities is scheduled to become a ministry in July.

The Office of Ethnic Communities was able to help not only with former refugees who had settled in Dunedin, but also people from many other ethnic communities, and Ms Guler was keen for the organisation’s work and support programmes to become better known.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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