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Ethnic Affairs Conference: Increasing visibility

Tuesday 19 April 2011, 12:37PM

By Department of Internal Affairs

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A major ethnic affairs conference in Wellington will discuss ways in which ethnic people can improve their chance of being heard by decision makers and increase their sustainability in to the future.

This is especially important in an era of financial austerity, in which community groups are receiving less money from government sources.

The keynote speaker is one of Australasia’s leading consultants in the area of ethnicity and cultural diversity and will focus on ways ethnic community groups can improve their visibility and profile.

Pino Migliorino is the Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia, which represents migrant communities in Australia. He is also the Managing Director of Cultural Perspectives which provides marketing and research services in the multicultural and Indigenous areas.

Mr Migliorino says his key priority is working to ensure migrants and refugees feel they belong and can fully participate in society.

Sessions on social innovation and community enterprise will hear about different ways to structure organisations to increase participation, improve engagement and find creative solutions to funding issues.

Another theme of the conference will be the evolving relationship between New Zealand’s new settler communities and Maori.

The Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Mervin Singham, says: “The conference venue at the new Te Wharawaka o Poneke on the waterfront provides a setting that couldn’t be more appropriate for such a discussion.”

Mr Singham believes the Treaty of Waitangi plays a distinctive role in creating a more social harmonious environment in New Zealand.”

He says: “It is now time to encourage a debate about greater engagement between Māori and more recent immigrants to maximise all the opportunities new settlers bring to New Zealand. The session, ‘Is multiculturalism possible in a bi-cultural setting?’ will provide a fascinating debate on a topic vital to New Zealand’s growing diversity.”

The conference is being organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs and is being held at Te Wharewaka o Poneke, Taranaki St Wharf, Wellington 6 & 7 May 2011, from 12.30pm to 6pm. It is free and open to the public.

See the full programme at www.ethnicaffairs.govt.nz or email sue.ingram@dia.govt.nz