Anita Balakrishnan

Salaam alaykum. Tēnā koe.

I have been spending time in Christchurch, meeting the brave and grieving people affected by the terrible events of last Friday. I’ve also connected with the Christchurch City Council and key central government agencies. What is noticeable is the effort and willingness among communities and government to develop coordinated responses in the short and long term for Christchurch’s communities. And the consensus that this must be led by communities for it to succeed.

The Office of Ethnic Communities is committed to working closely with your communities and the Christchurch City Council to ensure you are getting the support and help you need to work through the coming days, weeks, months and beyond. Later this week, we will be boosting our numbers on the ground in Christchurch to support families and communities, while also allowing the rest of our staff to keep checking on our ethnic and faith communities in other centres. Events like this have a ripple effect across New Zealand, and we must support each other and learn how this affects us.

If you need language support, remember (external link)Language Line is available in 44 languages and available until 8pm. We are constantly monitoring additional demand and putting plans in place so we can respond appropriately to any identified needs.

I’ll be posting further updates here. Please feel free to comment with any questions and we’ll get back to you, or contact the office by emailing ethnic.communities@dia.govt.nz.

At this time, I encourage all New Zealanders to continue to support those in need, however you can.

Salaam and kia kaha to you all.

Anita

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