Kia ora, namaste, ni hao, mabuhay, anyoung haseyo, mālō e lelei and very warm greetings to you all.
I began the month by visiting many bright year 7 and 8 students at St John the Evangelist School, in Ōtara. I shared with them my migration journey; from arriving as a Tongan teenager with English as a second language, to becoming a Cabinet Minister. It was a delight to meet such a diverse group of engaged students and future leaders. Many of our students and their families have similar migration journeys in coming to settle in Aotearoa New Zealand. It was a great opportunity to acknowledge their skills, and the ambition of positive changes they wish to bring about in South Auckland.
In the spirit of supporting and empowering ethnic communities, I’m happy to announce that funding requests for the Ethnic Communities Development Fund 2018 open on 15 August and close on 26 September. The Fund provides $520,000 every year to projects supporting the development of established and emerging ethnic communities all over the country. Its purpose is to assist with work towards building stronger and more resilient ethnic communities.
This year, I’d also like to especially encourage funding requests under the Leadership Development category. This category aims to increase the capacity and capability in board and committee participation of individuals with diverse backgrounds. One of the areas I am focused on is to encourage more balanced representation on State sector boards and committees.
If you are interested in being considered for appointments to a number of government boards, committees, and advisory groups, I encourage you to consider registering on the Office of Ethnic Communities’ Nominations database. If you know of any unacknowledged champions in your communities who make outstanding contributions, do consider nominating them for one of the New Zealander of the Year awards(external link) which have opened for requests this month, or for civic awards in your local areas.
I also attended the South Auckland Diversity Forum on 24 July, co-hosted by the Manurewa, Papakura, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe local boards. It’s great to see occasions like these, which allow individuals to meet their local board representatives and members of the Pacific and Ethnic people’s advisory panels.
It was a pleasure to be the Master of Ceremonies for the 2018 Sir Anand Satyanand Indian Newslink Lecture. I would like to thank the team at Indian Newslink for eight years of hard work continuing this initiative, which promotes good governance processes in New Zealand. Sir Stephen Tindall provided an inspiring presentation for the participants.
At the end of July, we also recognise the United Nations’ International Friendship Day. The day reminds us to embrace our diverse friendships, working towards more tolerant and strengthened communities.
Mālō 'aupito, and have a happy International Friendship Day.
Minister for Ethnic Communities