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Celebrating New Zealand’s Diversity

Increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in New Zealand calls for celebration rather than intolerance and hostility.

Race Relations Commissioner Gregory Fortuin said that fast-approaching Race Unity Day (Thursday 21 March) is an opportunity for all New Zealanders to show that they value the wide array of groups that make up the population.

“Recent figures indicate that New Zealand’s ethnic landscape is changing rapidly; for example around one in 15 people are now of Asian ethnicity”.

“This type of diversity gives our society a greater richness and depth from which all New Zealanders will benefit as long as inevitable differences are accepted and celebrated”.

A soon-to-be published report, produced from a series of ethnic community consultations with the Race Relations Commissioner, confirms that New Zealanders are generally tolerant people.

The report records that in the post-September 11 response to Muslim communities the positive response of many outweighed the negative responses of a few.

“On Race Unity Day the Human Rights Commission wants to celebrate and reinforce the openness and tolerance of New Zealanders through-out the country,” said Mr Fortuin.

Mr Fortuin also said that New Zealanders should not forget that we are a treaty-based Pacific nation and that we should respect our first nation people for being just that.

Race Unity Day is the annual United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racism. This year there will be co-ordinated celebrations across New Zealand.


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