Ministers Foreword

New Zealanders welcome migrants and so we should.Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Migrants make a significant contribution bringing culture, colour and vibrancy to New Zealand.  They also contribute skills, knowledge, experience and capital.

They support existing businesses or start their own.

They also bring connections, expertise and interesting views and ideas which contribute to the richness of our communities.

In the past 6 months, the Office of Ethnic Communities has continued its work helping migrants who have chosen New Zealand as their new home.

The Office of Ethnic Communities organised the 5th EPIC conference held in Auckland last May. More than 400 delegates from around New Zealand and overseas attended. New Zealand’s economy is largely dependent on international trade. So it was encouraging to see people making connections and exchanging ideas that will help us unlock the economic and social benefits of diversity for New Zealand.

The new round of the Ethnic Communities Development fund has just closed. It was open to any not-for-profit group and provides funding for leadership development, social cohesion projects and cultural events. This fund better supports the on-going and often long-term settlement process for people and communities.

The Office of Ethnic Communities’ Language Line passed a significant milestone receiving its 500,000th call in August. The interpreting service receives around 1,100 calls each week from individuals and organisations including the New Zealand Police, ambulance services, Work and Income, Housing New Zealand and Inland Revenue. It plays a key role in responding to the needs of New Zealanders with English as a second language. It is one of a number of services which help them settle in to life in New Zealand.

I also released the Heritage and Community Language Celebration Guidelines earlier this year.  These will help increase language celebrations which in turn help preserve important cultural links.

Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
Minister for Ethnic Communities