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Excellence Awards Night and Charity Dinner 2017
The Office of Ethnic Communities attended the first Excellence Awards Night and Charity Dinner 2017, held by the The Okapi Alliance NZ (Congolese Community of New Zealand) on 18th February 2017. This charitable event was held at the New Lynn Memorial Hall, Auckland, to honour and celebrate members of the Congolese community for their outstanding talent and contribution in New Zealand, within their respective fields for the year 2016.
n the 2013 census 336 people in NZ identified themselves as Congolese born, and now living in New Zealand. The Congolese community remains small in comparison to some other ethnic communities in Auckland but presents a strong cultural and linguistic identity. There were three main categories that the winners were nominated for: Academic, Business and the Community. Along with François Kayembe, Chairman of the Okapi Alliance New Zealand Inc, the attendees were representatives from various government and non-government agencies namely the Human Rights Commission, New Zealand Police, Labour party, Whau Local Board and members from the Congolese and African communities from Auckland and Hamilton.
Most of the attendees from the Congolese communities were dressed in their colourful and vibrant national costumes and offered their solidarity and support through entertainment, dance and music. The event was a rich mix of cultural dance, dinner and Congolese music, led by a D.J. and the ambience for the evening summed up aptly by one of the winners “feels like the Oscars”
This purpose of the event was to encourage migrants to integrate and participate in New Zealand socio-economic life by acknowledging existing role models in the community.