Our role

The Ministry for Ethnic Communities is chief advisor to the Government on ethnic diversity and the inclusion of ethnic communities in wider society.

We provide information, advice and services to, and for, ethnic communities in New Zealand and administer funds to support community development and social cohesion.

Our work

In order to deliver on our role as Government’s chief advisor on ethnic communities we look to:

  • Advise on the impact of government policies on ethnic communities and identify opportunities to effect change
  • Improve the responsiveness of the public sector to the needs of ethnic communities
  • Understand from ethnic communities what they need to thrive and communicate this to government
  • Empower ethnic communities to achieve their aspirations

We work with communities, other Government agencies and a range of organisations to effect change in areas critical to the wellbeing of ethnic communities.

The Ministry wants to be a catalyst for change. We want to work in partnership across the system to harness and share knowledge, deliver tangible change for ethnic communities and support communities to be empowered.

Our priorities

To help understand what ethnic communities want the Ministry to focus on, the Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities hosted a series of targeted engagements throughout April and May 2021. Based on the outcomes of that engagement, Cabinet has agreed that the Ministry’s initial priorities are:

  • Promoting the value of diversity and improving the inclusion of ethnic communities in wider society.
  • Ensuring government services are provided equitably and in ways that are accessible for ethnic communities.
  • Improving economic outcomes for ethnic communities, including addressing barriers to employment.
  • Connecting and empowering ethnic community groups.

The summary of what we heard from the Engagements [PDF, 9.8 MB].

Engagement on the Ministry for Ethnic Communities [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Our Executive Leadership Team

Mervin Singham, Chief Executive

Mervin is a vastly experienced public servant and previously led the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

Prior to becoming the new Ministry’s first Chief Executive he was appointed Executive Director, Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions in 2018.

From 2012 to 2018 he held a number of executive leadership roles at the Department of Internal Affairs, including Deputy Chief Executive, Stewardship and Organisational Sustainability and Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy and Governance.

Between 2000 and 2004 he was Chief Mediator at the Human Rights Commission.

He was Complaints Manager at the Office of Race Relations Conciliator from 1997 to 2000.

Mervin holds a Master of Laws (1st Class Honours), Auckland University and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours), University of Canterbury.

Anusha Guler, Deputy Chief Executive Communities and Partnerships

Anusha has been with the organisation since June 2020 and was Executive Director before taking on the Deputy Chief Executive role. Prior to joining central government, she occupied senior managerial positions with local government authorities across New Zealand. Between October 2019 and June 2020, she was Chief of Staff at the Wellington City Council.

Anusha has also held a number of public sector roles in South Africa, including work to establish a fully democratic government following the end of Apartheid.

Anusha and her teams are responsible for connecting and engaging with ethnic communities, building effective partnerships, delivering key services to communities such as Ethnic Communities Development Fund, Nominations and Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme. She also leads work to connect government agencies to ethnic communities.

Fleur Murray, Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Services

Fleur joined the Ministry in August 2021 continuing a successful career in a wide variety of leadership roles.

She has had senior executive positions in a range of sectors, including, Meridian Energy, PG Wrightson’s, Inland Revenue, ANZ Bank, General Manager People and Culture at the New Zealand Racing Board and TAB, Chief People Officer at Parliamentary Service and most recently Group Manager Shared Services at the Royal Commission of Abuse In Care.

Fleur and her team are responsible for all the Ministry’s corporate functions including communications, HR, health, safety and wellbeing, governance, reporting, property, finance and procurement.

Jeet Sheth, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Policy and Analytics

Jeet joined the Ministry in August 2021 having worked in public and private sectors.

He has extensive experience in leadership and advisory roles in diverse portfolios such as energy and resources, culture and heritage, and education policy. Jeet also brings his experience as a migrant of Indian ethnicity from Africa.

Jeet’s team works across government to ensure that the views of, and outcomes for ethnic communities are considered early in the policy development process. The analytics function includes building the evidence base to inform policy, data insights, and monitoring of outcomes. The policy and analytics team is also responsible for the Ministry’s Ministerial services functions.

Berlinda Chin, Chief Advisor

Berlinda joined the Ministry in August 2021, having previously held leadership roles with the Office of Ethnic Communities.

Her career has involved many roles connected to diversity and multi-culturalism. These included Strategic Specialist on Ethnic Communities at the State Services Commission, Private Secretary to two different Ministers with Ethnic Community portfolios and Intercultural Advisory Manager at the Office of Ethnic Affairs. Berlinda is also a trained teacher of Chemistry and Maths.

Prior to joining the Ministry she was Head of Community Engagement for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care.

Berlinda works across a wide range of Ministry portfolios and is the key liaison with the Minister’s office.

Our minister

Our Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities is Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan(external link).

Our history

In December 2020, Cabinet agreed it would establish the Ministry for Ethnic Communities from 1 July 2021.

The seeds of the Ministry were planted in 1995 with the creation of an Ethnic Affairs Desk within DIA. Over the last 26 years, the organisation has slowly grown in size and function.

Click on the link below to see the key milestones in our journey to become a full Ministry.

 History of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities PDF [PDF, 35 KB]


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