Anita Balakrishnan

Tēnā koutou katoa,

I am thrilled to bring to you my first newsletter as the Director of the Office of Ethnic Communities (Te Tari Matawaka). To those who have already reached out to me by email or at events, thank you for the warm welcome and for being generous with your thoughts and knowledge.  I look forward to strengthening relationships and meeting many more communities in the coming weeks.

I hope you had a restful break. Naturally, I took the quiet time over the break to think about the priorities for the Office of Ethnic Communities in the year ahead. It is important that we do not lose momentum, and keep building on the areas where we see a tangible difference, such as civic participation, representation on State sector boards and committees, and strengthening access to government services and information.

I hope you read my op-ed piece on the importance of diversity, which I wrote in response to the 2018 citizenship data recently released by the Department of Internal Affairs. I know too well the challenges that can come with increasing diversity. It is equally important to highlight the positive outcomes the data presents about New Zealand’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive country.  

This coming month, I’m looking forward to the joyful Chinese New Year celebrations. These will be happening throughout the country. In Wellington, the celebrations coincide with Te Papa’s exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality. If you’re in Christchurch, check out the Chinese New Year Parade. And among the many celebrations in Auckland, the Lantern Festival in the Auckland Domain is always a memorable experience.

Ngā mihi nui,


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