We have over 200 ethnicities who now call New Zealand home.
And our ethnic community population is growing fast.
It is set to grow from around 777,930 today, to 1.5 million people by 2038.
Our people being able to take pride in who they are and where they come from is critical to a modern country’s sense of social harmony.
How we promote and celebrate our ethnic diversity makes all the difference in showing this home belongs to everyone.
Social harmony on priority
For the last two years, I have had the honour of being Minister for Ethnic Communities in a Government that has prioritised social harmony and inclusion.
We recognise that Aotearoa New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world.
Our Government is working towards greater social harmony and inclusion by supporting our ethnic communities on the ground.
Recently, I had the honour of announcing a significant increase to the Ethnic Communities Development Fund from $520,000 per year to over $4 million each year.
This is the largest increase in the Fund’s history.
Emphasis on inclusion
We have also changed the focus of the Fund to ensure there is a strong emphasis on growing an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand, including supporting campaigns that educate New Zealanders on the value ethnic diversity brings to our country.
Every New Zealander should know about the contribution that our ethnic communities bring.
The Fund will now operate as a rolling Fund, with applications assessed and decisions made throughout the year, rather than just once annually.
Eligible groups with initiatives that benefit ethnic communities in Aotearoa New Zealand have been able to apply from early December.
If you, or organisations you work with, believe your work could be enhanced with this support – please, apply today.
Community engagement expanded
Inclusion also requires making sure your Government department, the Office of Ethnic Communities, has the resources required to help build stronger ethnic communities within and across Aotearoa New Zealand.
We have expanded the community engagement team by investing $9.4 million.
Having people on the ground working alongside communities helps to broaden and deepen relationships between communities, and gives communities like yours a real voice in government decision making.
Voice of the People
Another way that ethnic communities make your voices heard is through publications like Indian Newslink. This free, fortnightly newspaper for the New Zealand communities has promoted news, views, businesses and culture in print since 1999 and online since 2000. I wish to acknowledge the incredible success of the Indian Newslink team over the last 20 years.
I have had the pleasure to attend the Newslink Indian Business Awards in recent years, and these events have been lovely opportunities to recognise and celebrate Indian business excellence in New Zealand.
This publication also established the Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture in 2011, aimed at promoting good governance; and the Indian Newslink Indian Sports and Community Awards in 2012.
Remembering the Founder
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ravin Lal, Founder and first Publisher of Indian Newslink on November 28, 2019. Ravin was a media veteran and held several positions of importance in the publishing industry in Fiji, United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries before migrating to New Zealand more than 30 years ago.
His legacy lives on through these pages.
I would like to thank our 800,000 New Zealanders who make up our ethnic communities population in Aotearoa for your ideas, goodwill, and hard work this year.
Together we are building a home we can all be proud of.
All the best for a prosperous 2020.
Jenny Salesa is Minister for Ethnic Communities, Building and Construction and Customs.