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Leadership in the spotlight at EthnicA conferences

Leadership in the spotlight at EthnicA conferences

Harnessing the leadership potential in ethnic communities is critical in helping New Zealand move forward economically, socially and culturally, says Berlinda Chin, Director of Ethnic Affairs.

Ms Chin was speaking at the final of the national EthnicA conference series in Auckland on Saturday. Since April, more than 500 people have attended the conferences in Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland, which bring together diverse cultures, community groups and organisations to share ideas, inspire new ways of thinking and encourage debate on diversity issues. It is the third year the conference series has been organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA).

“New Zealand is one of the OECD’s most culturally-diverse nations and it’s important to tap into our ethnic communities so that we can expand their horizons and empower them to play a more active role in shaping the New Zealand of tomorrow,” says Ms Chin.

Key themes this year include celebrating diversity and identifying and working with potential leaders in New Zealand’s ethnic communities.

One of the highlights of the conference series was a panel discussion which featured prominent New Zealanders from diverse backgrounds whose success was built on their ability to “walk in two worlds”. These included surgeon and author Dr Sharad Paul, economist Dr Ganesh Nana and Masterchef NZ contestant, Jax Hamilton. Ms Chin says all the panel discussions were engaging and it was great to see the audiences getting involved: “In Auckland we went over time to accommodate question time”.

The conferences also featured a session with ethnic youth, another key focus for Ethnic Affairs’ leadership programme, who discussed what they brought to the table in terms of creating a vibrant, ethnically diverse future New Zealand

“It was fantastic to hear the optimistic and visionary perspectives from the young leaders of our ethnic communities,” says Ms Chin. “These conferences help Ethnic Affairs meet the future needs of our ethnic communities and all of us who associate with them. It’s important not only to value diversity, but to make the best use of it that we can.”

Feedback from participants will be incorporated into next year’s conference series, which is expected to again be held in the four main centres.


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