Director's Update - April 2017

E rere kau mai te awa nui nei
Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa
Ko au te awa
Ko te awa ko au.

Ko Caroline Bridgland tāku ingoa
Ko Ruapehu te maunga
Ko Whanganui te awa
Ko te Atihaunui-a-paparangi te iwi

Tēnā koutou katoa

Welcome to the April edition of our monthly newsletter.

As some of you may know, Maarten Quivooy’s secondment recently concluded and he has returned to his substantive position. An announcement on the Office’s new Director will be made soon.  But as an interim measure I am honoured to hold the acting Director position until a permanent appointment is in place. Until that time please feel free to contact the Office through our email address  We would love to hear what is happening in your community and where we can, will meet with you and your local community directly.  We are keen to better understand the work your group does for your community, your successes, research you are involved in, and the issues your community faces. I am also keen that we are able to also reflect the life pulse of a diverse range of ethnic communities to our Minister, so she is hearing directly from you what is happening on the ground and what is important to you.

Building the ethnic evidence base

On a separate note, I’d like to also introduce the Office of Ethnic Communities' newest member of the leadership team - Diana Solomon (pictured) who now heads our Policy and Research team. Diana has extensive experience working in the New Zealand public sector for over a decade with the Treasury, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and more recently the Department of Internal Affairs.  As part of the team, Diana will look at bringing to life the Office’s ambition of being the authoritative advisor to government on issues of ethnic diversity.  A quote from David Attenborough has particular relevance for Diana, which I share here: “No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced

A key focus for Diana then is to muscle up our research capability and develop a comprehensive evidence base work programme. We will look to have, at least initially, a small research focused section to this newsletter that outlines interesting domestic and international findings.  This will grow overtime as our research programme beds in and broadens, so I anticipate we will have a permanent research section on our web page. In the meantime, please let us know if you are involved in or know of ethnic focused research in your community, nationally or occurring overseas.  We are particularly interested in ethnic diversity in the work place and how we exploit the diversity dividend.

EPIC NZ Conference 2017

I want to draw your attention to EPIC 2017 conference on the afternoon of Friday, 30 June 2017 at SkyCity in Auckland.  This is a flagship event for the Office and is strongly supported by our Minister.  We normally attract an audience of around 200-300 and have a range of national and international dynamic speakers from various business backgrounds.  For those new to EPIC NZ (Ethnic People in Commerce) the conference is about inspiring, innovating and connecting businesses (small or large). While the focus is ethnic commerce, we appreciate that not every ethnic person or migrant will see their business as an ‘ethnic business’ – so the conference is welcoming of a broader business audience from Maori, Pacific and mainstream commerce. The theme for this year is the ‘New Zealand Business Story: Best practice, Better Business’.  Over the coming weeks we will profile the speakers and seek registration on our webpage, but feel free to email us if you are keen to know more.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the efforts that have gone into the Race Relations celebrations across both Te Ika-a-Maui/North Island and Te Waipounamu/South Island.  If Te Whanganui-a-tara/Wellington and Porirua are anything to go by, there were large numbers of people participating in what have been very colourful and informative events. If you are in or close to Whakatū/Nelson - check out the finals in the Race Unity Speech Awards on Saturday 13 at Mahurehure marae from 4pm onwards. If you’d like to know more about the awards click here:

Ngā manākitanga

Caroline Bridgland
Acting Director
Office of Ethnic Communities