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Statement by Gregory Fortuin (30 August 2002)

Statement by Gregory Fortuin (30 August 2002)

Visiting the genocide sites of Rwanda, and seeing firsthand the carnage of ethnic relations gone horribly wrong, made me determined to do my bit to ensure that the people of New Zealand never suffered the same fate.

This led to my decision to serve the public of New Zealand as Race Relations Commissioner. I have had the privilege of doing so for the last 16 months.

Over that time, the job has been an all consuming, seven days a week, 24 hours a day one: I have felt passionate about, and committed to, my role for every minute of that time.

I have enjoyed every one of my 300+ public engagements and the building of relationships with people from all walks of life which has come with them. But I have particularly enjoyed engaging with the youth of this great country. While we adults are often paralysed by our entrenched views there is an exciting culture of harmonised diversity prevailing amongst our young.

This is a race I have endeavoured to run with dignity. I hope I have achieved this, but I will always remember my all too short time with pride.

I would not be human if I did not acknowledge that the past five months have been extremely tough – especially for my family. I want to recognise and thank them for their unconditional love and support.

I want to thank the hundreds of ordinary New Zealanders who have given me their encouragement and good wishes.

I also want to wish the Human Rights Commission and my successor well for the future.

Finally, my time as Race Relations Commissioner has been an honour and a privilege and leaves me wanting to ensure that I reaffirm my commitment to serving the people of New Zealand in whatever way I can.

ENDS

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