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New Interpreting Pilot Service Welcomed

24 June 2002

New Interpreting Pilot Service Welcomed By New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils

At today’s New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils AGM held at Manukau City Council, the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, announced that the government will implement a new initiative to address the urgent communication needs of some ethnic communities and government agencies.

A new Telephone Interpretation Pilot Service will be up and running for initially ten languages in six months time. Mr Weng-Kei Chen, Federation President, welcomed the pilot as the need for interpretation had been a long-standing issue facing the community. The Federation anticipates that this initiative will lead to a wider ranging and more permanent service.

The Prime Minister presented Federation Merit Awards to four long-serving members Grace Hollander,DCNZM.,CBE,JP, and Professor Kuan Goh ONZM,JP from Christchurch; Dr. Rasalingam MNZM of Auckland, Associate Professor Ashraf Choudhary QSO, JP of Palmerston North.

President Chen also emphasised that the Federation will take up the challenge in supporting the guidelines of the new Ethnic Perspectives document.
Following the powhiri by the local tangata whenua, Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis welcomed delegates from 13 regions to the AGM which is hosted by the Auckland Regional Ethnic Council.

Also present at opening of the meeting were Minister for Ethnic Affairs George Hawkins, Human Rights Commissioner Roslyn Noonan, Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs Sonja Rathgen.


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