Celebrations of cultural diversity in Rotorua

Image of children and parents at the Multicultural Council/Plunket playdate

The Rotorua Multicultural Council receives Ethnic Communities Development Funding from the Office of Ethnic Communities. By making use of the contribution of volunteers and through the generosity of those who provide refreshments at low cost and venues for free, small amounts of money can go a long way when organising events to celebrate the cultural diversity of Rotorua.

On the last Wednesday of every month, a Multicultural Lunch is held at the Rotorua District Library. The Rotorua Lakes Council provides the venue, tea and coffee for free. Each month, there are brief talks by speakers from a different ethnic community, telling the more than 30 guests from many countries about their journey to Rotorua and introducing the food from their home country which they had brought to share. The first four events had Chinese, Filipino, Dutch and South African themes.

Multicultural Tea or Coffee Mornings are held at Teal Kitchen which is owned by a migrant from the Philippines. As word about these events have spread, more and more people are attending, including local and national politicians who understand that this is a good opportunity to find our first-hand about issues of interest to the approximately 12,000 people out of Rotorua’s population of 70,000 who were not born in New Zealand. At the May 2017 meeting, the guests cheered when a young man from India announced that he had received his Residence Visa that very morning from Immigration New Zealand. Everybody understood the long and stressful process that he had gone through.

Plunket knew that the healthcare system for babies and toddlers in New Zealand is quite different from what migrants had experienced in their home countries. Some of the young parents are shy and some are hesitant about their English language conversation. Plunket found it difficult to persuade them to attend playgroups – although Plunket is running such groups for Japanese and Chinese families in Rotorua. By joining forces with the Rotorua Multicultural Council and using funding from the Office of Ethnic Communities, a joyous event was organised where the Plunket classroom was filled to overflowing on a Saturday morning with Mums, Dads, babies and toddlers from many ethnic communities. Both Plunket and the Multicultural Council are keen to run more events like this in the future; there are new migrant families in Rotorua every week who can benefit from this opportunity to build their networks.

Margriet TheronMulticultural Tea or Coffee Morning at Teal Kitchen, Rotorua. The 34 guests came from the Philippines, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, Wales, Zimbabwe, China, the Czech Republic, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Argentina. They had been living in New Zealand between two months and 82 years.
President, Rotorua Multicultural Council
Phone 021 1729697
Email multiculturalrotorua@gmail.com