Minister's Update - December 2017

Namaste, Ni hao, Mabuhay, Anyoung haseyo, Salaam Alaikum, Shalom, Malo e lelei, Kia ora, Talofa lava; warm and festive greetings to all.

This is the time of the year when our thoughts focus on the excitement of holidays and time with our families and loved ones. It is also a time of contemplation, of what a New Year may bring, of resolve and change, and the determination to make 2018 the best year of our lives.

I recognise, however, that for many who are new to New Zealand, there is at times a struggle to use one’s full potential, to get the support needed, and to feel like one belongs. I genuinely believe our country offers every single one of us the opportunity to live full rewarding lives, to be the individuals we strive to be. My pledge as Minister for Ethnic Communities is to ensure that New Zealand continues to be a place where everyone can make a good life for themselves and their families, to realise their potential and grasp the opportunities on offer.

Since becoming Minister, I have been amazed and deeply touched by the warmth and support shown to me by the many well-wishers from our diverse ethnic communities who have contacted me. I sincerely thank all those who have sent their congratulations and best wishes.

A key priority for me will be to ensure our communities are safe and inclusive places for everyone, where acceptance of the views and beliefs of others is a part of everyday life. This Government is committed to ensuring ethnic communities have equal opportunity to participate confidently in society, to contribute to the economy, to live in safe communities, while maintaining connection to one’s heritage, culture, and language.

A notable success as the year comes to a close has been the allocation of funding from the Ethnic Communities Development Fund. I am delighted so many deserving organisations and entities have received this important funding. These organisations will be able to look forward to the year ahead, confident in the knowledge there is funding available to carry out vital activities in our local communities.

With an exciting year ahead there are many different cultural events and celebrations to look forward to. Chinese New Year in February, and the Indian Festival of Colour, or Holi, to be held in March 2018 at Parliament, are two of many that I am looking forward to. Like so many of our diverse cultures, our Indian and Chinese communities not only make an important contribution to New Zealand’s prosperity, they add to the richness of our society through food, unique celebrations and connectedness to communities up and down the country.

I would like to sincerely thank all the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes in our local communities, as volunteers and community leaders, in the service of helping others. You have my deep gratitude and thanks as you help empower our diverse ethnic communities.

I wish everyone a safe and very happy holiday. I look forward to working with you in 2018.

Malo ‘aupito,

Hon Jenny Salesa
Minister for Ethnic Communities