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Race Relations Conciliator’s Term Ends

Dr Rajen Prasad, the Race Relations Conciliator’s five-year term ends tomorrow.

Dr Prasad said that being Race Relations Conciliator during a time of significant change in New Zealand had been the most demanding role he had undertaken.

As Conciliator, Dr Prasad focused on encouraging New Zealanders to develop a deeper understanding of our race relations issues and on those matters that needed urgent attention.

As he leaves, he believes that there is a wider appreciation of our society and its peoples as well as the important role of the Race Relations Office. The relevance of race relations for all of us is now probably more broadly accepted than before.

"People are also more aware of the havoc that negative race relations has visited on a growing number of countries around the world and thus are more determined to ensure that such incidents do not come to pass in New Zealand," said Dr Prasad.

Dr Prasad believes that: "There is still much more to be done to achieve a more significant level of appreciation of New Zealand’s unique historical pathway, a deeper level of comfortable relationships amongst members of the various ethnic and cultural groups that live in New Zealand, and more appropriate institutional arrangements for our type of society. However, there is every reason to be optimistic about our future relationships".

"Any society that is becoming more diverse through changes in population demographics and immigration, and which has significant indigenous issues to resolve, has to deal with citizen relationships carefully and constantly. I trust that in my time as Conciliator, I, together with my staff, have served the interests of all our communities fairly," said Dr Prasad.

"I would like to acknowledge the support and encouragement I have received from many quarters throughout New Zealand: Maori, European and other communities. In this past nine months I have worked especially closely in Taranaki and I have appreciated their support, said Dr Prasad.

Dr Prasad leaves to take up an academic appointment at Massey University’s Albany Campus in Auckland. The Associate Minister of Justice is soon to announce Dr Prasad’s replacement.

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