New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the OECD. Nearly a quarter of New Zealanders were born overseas.
This diversity helps New Zealand move forward economically, socially and culturally.
Watch a video about our work.
What we do
We work to improve business and trade opportunities by:
- Linking ethnic communities with government to help inform the New Zealand Inc Strategies which aim to strengthen our economic, political and security relationships with other countries
- Establishing a new online database to connect ethnic and mainstream businesses, here and overseas
- Holding training sessions and forums about doing business in New Zealand
- Training workplaces in how to unlock the potential of ethnically diverse staff.
We work to improve government’s responsiveness to ethnic communities by:
- Providing policy advice to government agencies to ensure equal access for ethnic people
- Expanding Language Line, a telephone-based interpreting service to a greater number of government agencies.
We work to maintain and improve New Zealand’s reputation for social harmony by:
- Building understanding and relationships between ethnic and mainstream communities
- Promoting a more self-sufficient ethnic sector through the promotion of social enterprise as a model for sustainability
- Promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue
- Holding functions to celebrate ethnic diversity such as Chinese New Year, EiD al fitr and Diwali.
The term ‘ethnic’ (matawaka), in the context of the mandate for the Office of Ethnic Communities, refers to any segment of the population within New Zealand society with cultural values, customs, beliefs, languages, traditions and characteristics that differ from the wider society.
Read about ethnic diversity in New Zealand and the work of the Office of Ethnic Communities- who we are and what we do – in Weaving New Zealand’s Future (625kb pdf).
Look at a photo montage of the Office of Ethnic Communities’ journey since our inception in 2001.