Briefing to the Minister for Ethnic Communities



Tēnā koe e te Minita. Congratulations on your appointment and welcome to your role as Minister for Ethnic Communities.

The Ministry for Ethnic Communities is a young, agile, innovative and future-focused government department that acts as the Government’s Chief Advisor on ethnic diversity and inclusion in New Zealand society. We take a strategic and disciplined approach to create an inclusive nation that draws on the benefits of ethnic diversity, acting as trusted brokers to government agencies and ethnic communities to help address challenges. The Ministry works with a broad range of stakeholders across the Government, not-for-profit, private sector and communities to achieve results.

The Ethnic Communities portfolio presents you with significant opportunities to lift the experience of ethnic communities in Aotearoa New Zealand across a range of key areas including the Economy, Health, Belonging, Emergency, and National Security. It also covers issues raised by ethnic young people, women leaders, faith leaders and senior members of ethnic communities.

You have a unique system lead role. You can advocate, influence, and improve the current social, cultural and economic systems in New Zealand to foster the opportunities present in Aotearoa New Zealand’s increasingly diverse population. There is continued work to be done in closing ethnic pay gaps as well as improving workforce participation for ethnic people.

Our experience is that the growing vibrancy of Aotearoa New Zealand holds untapped growth potential. Globally, the image people can have of an internationalised and inclusive New Zealand will attract international partnerships, tourists, investors, and consumers.

Ethnic people believe they have the potential to connect and deliver New Zealand solutions to international markets through personal and direct relationships with international customers. When our systems perform better to equitably respond to the unique needs of some of our ethnic communities, it promotes inclusion. This inclusion results in increases to productivity, improved employment, and health outcomes, lowers cost of social services and enables the spread of economic growth. There are opportunities for you to lead and influence the system in a way that not only delivers meaningful outcomes for ethnic communities but also long-term, positive impacts for all people in New Zealand.

This briefing provides an overview of the Ethnic Communities portfolio, your roles and responsibilities, the Ministry's functions and duties, and key opportunities to make a positive difference. We will advise you on these opportunities and other work that is underway, through more specific follow-up briefings.

I look forward to working with you to drive impact for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mervin Singham
Chief Executive
Te Tari Mātāwaka – Ministry for Ethnic Communities

 Infographic: Ethnic Diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand. If you would like to know more information please email

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