Human Rights Commissioner in region to hear concerns

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo visited Southland last...
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo visited Southland last week. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH
Travelling from the top of the South Island to the bottom, a Human Rights Commissioner ended her tour with a two-day stop in Southland.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo visited various groups and agencies during her trip, including Miharo Murihiku.

She said she had a great time visiting both Gore and Invercargill at the end of last week, and driving herself meant she could connect with people more easily.

One of the concerns raised with her was that members of the Maori and Pasifika communities still had racism directed at them.

"It’s there. It’s subtle."

However, there had been progress and shifting of attitudes over recent times, particularly with Murihiku Polyfest, she said.

Some young Maori still felt disconnected and lacked confidence in terms of their identity.

"They don’t see symbols of their heritage.

"That’s the sad bit."

There was "potential for youth to mobilise", and she wondered if some people realised their friends might feel disconnected.

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