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Working with Ethnic Communities
Diversity Action
Good Citizens
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New Zealand government diversity action programmes

Find out more from the government, but read here for focused reporting on 2004 programmes.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said in December 2004 the Office of Ethnic Affairs will continue to work closely with the Human Rights Commission and other officials on the Diversity Action Programme, and to contribute to the discussions that will follow.

Of particular interest, she says, is the Race Relations Commissioner’s proposed initiatives around education as a tool to promote understanding of diversity and what we as New Zealanders value.

Government diversity action oriented programmes include:

Human Rights Commission

  • NZ Action Plan for Human Rights

Office of Ethnic Affairs

  • Focuses on issues that apply across government to ethnic people, including refugees and migrants, and New Zealanders who identify with their ethnic heritage
  • Provides information and advice about and for ethnic communities
  • Point of contact with government for ethnic communities
  • Supports work around refugee and migrant settlement
  • Raises awareness of the value and need to respond to ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Referrals to appropriate service agencies

Te Puni Kokiri, Ministry of Maori Development

  • Celebrates Maori culture in all its forms
  • Maori succeeding as Maori
  • Encourages full participation of Maori in our society
  • Maori language strategy – use and retention of te reo Maori, including Maori language week
  • Maori television
  • Budget support for whanau action and research programmes, sporting and cultural activities and enterprise development

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs

  • Community reference groups
  • Capability building for government officials and Pacific peoples

State Services Commission

  • Government Portal provides information about central and local government organizations that provide a variety of immigration related services
  • Equal Opportunities focuses on the elimination of discrimination of employment across the Public Service


  • Principles underpinning the NZ curriculum reflect the multicultural nature of NZ society
  • Civics, values, languages, histories and cultures are a part of the core curriculum
  • NZ’s curriculum works to help students to develop and clarify their own values and beliefs
  • Government, recognizing one size does not fit all, seeks to broaden the range of education available, including through special character, state-integrated and designated character schools
  • Government recognizes values are learned through each students’ experience of the total environment, rather than through direct instruction alone
  • Social studies, health and physical education curricula promote “living together in peace and harmony”. Relevant learning strands include “social organization” and “healthy communities and environments”
  • Students can also incorporate strategies into the orgnaisation and management of the school day, so students experience learning in an environment where there is peace and harmony
  • Social studies programmes emphasise learning about NZ peoples, cultures and groups in various time and place settings. Such learning includes the development of understandings of the Treaty of Waitangi, of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, and of the multicultural nature of our society
  • A major review of the curriculum in 2202 identified that social cohesion and citizernship need to be more explicit in our curriculum.

Refugee and migrant settlement

  • As part of the New Zealand Settlement Strategy, the Department of Labour Workforce has been tasked with establishing a national network of migrant resource services. This network will build on existing services, skills and expertise and strengthen a collaborative approach from the range of service agencies that contribute to achieving settlement outcomes
  • The immigration service website has links to community directories – providing more relevant information for migrants in their region

Ministry of Justice

  • Improve responsiveness to New Zealand’s diverse communities
  • Encourage culture of community responsiveness within the courts
  • Improve services at the courthouse to address the concerns of Maori and ethnic communities

Ministry of Social Development

Work and Income
  • Enhance opportunity for migrant and refugee clients to achieve sustainable employment
  • Multilingual contact centre
  • Migrant and refugee co-coordinator and specialized case managers
  • “Migrant job link” intensive job search programme
  • Work experience for migrant professionals
  • English as a second language training to help selected migrants and refugee job placement
  • Community migrant centres with WINZ job placement staff
  • Collaboration initiatives with:
    • Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy, inter-agency and territorial local authority settlement focused
    • Inter-agency Migrant and Refugee Network
      – regular meeting to address cross-agency barriers
    • Skilled Migrant Employment
      – cross sectoral job matching

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

  • Fosters nation building
  • The policy work of this Ministry is informed by a recognition of the importance of acknowledging the diversity – and diverse needs – of New Zealanders
  • This policy work influenced TVNZ’s Charter, which places an explicit obligation on the national broadcaster to recognize and respond to the requirements of minority audiences
  • Grants are available from the Waitangi Day Commemoration Fund for commemoration activities that commemorate the signing of the Treaty and promote nation building and community building

Te Papa, and Creative New Zealand

  • These Crown entities have a clear responsibility to reflect the diversity of NZ society in their exhibitions, services and funding support.


  • Public Broadcasters, through Television New Zealand Act 2003 incorporating its Charter and the Maori Television Service Act 2003, Radio New Zealand, and broadcasting funding agencies New Zealand on Air and Te Mangaia Paho, required to provide for universal access to the kinds of information broadcasting is best able to provide
  • Establishment of the pilot Pacific National Radio network
  • Revised framework for Community and Access Broadcasting
  • Transition to digital
  • Policy to support strengthening of identity and encouragement of civic participation
  • Ensuring all New Zealanders have reasonable and regular access to broadcasting representing diversity and uniqueness of NZ life, and providing for minority interests and increased choice


  • The Department of Conservation (DOC) aims to connect with heritage, for example fostering the Chinese Conservation Education Trust – with initiatives such as tree planting, and marine conservation
  • DOC partners the “Saving Paradise” partnership, involving Pacific communities
  • DOC conservancies are encouraged to think about ways new immigrants or refugee groups might be included in conservation events to help them gain a sense of belonging and connection with their new home

Local government

  • The Local Government Act 2002’s purpose is “to provide for democratic and effective local government that recognizes the diversity of New Zealand communities”
  • A local authority should make itself aware of, and should have regard to, the views of all of its communities
  • When making a decision, a local authority should take account of the diversity of the community, and the community’s interests
  • Means of reflecting the diversity of each community include the process to identify community outcomes for the intermediate and long-term future of the district or region
  • The Local Electoral Act 2001’s purpose includes to allow diversity (through local decision-making) in relation to the particular electoral system, representation arrangements and voting method to be used
  • Some local government areas have established formal channels of communication with their culturally diverse populations with ethnic advisory councils
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