Newsletter   April  2019                                                                     View this email in your browser

Christchurch Attacks: A reflection

Kia kaha, kia kotahi ra. As-salaam alaikum. 
Our strength is our unity. Peace be unto you.

Life in New Zealand will never be the same again after Friday 15 March 2019 - a defining point in the modern history of New Zealand. The sorrow and hurt of the massacre will take a long time to heal and for us as a nation to recover from. However, part of the healing process is the need for our communities to pick carefully our path to a healthy diverse and treaty-based multicultural community.

Picking the path starts with the role we play in this critical moment, in the immediate, short, mid and long term putting 50 people killed and around 300 injured people, family, friends and relatives of people caught up in the attacks at the centre of effort or action we take in preventing this from happening again including addressing the enabling factors. 
Together, we remember them...

#YouAreUs #ArohaNui  #TheyAreUs #WeAreOne #WeAreTreatyBasedMulticultural #GiveNothingToRacism 

­­Race Relations Day, a chance to remember the victims 


Leaders from Multicultural Councils around New Zealand met in Christchurch on April 13 to pay tribute to the victims of the March 15 massacres that took the lives of 50 people and injured 48 others.

The meeting was attended by leaders and representatives from: Ngai Tahu, the New Zealand Muslim Community, Christchurch City Council, New Zealand Police, office of Ethnic Communities and Victim Support among others.

“We want to offer our love and support and pay tribute to the victims, their friends and families; we want to express solidarity with the New Zealand Muslim community and create an opportunity for dialogue, conversation and review of the attacks,” says National President of Multicultural New Zealand Pancha Narayanan. Read more here...

MNZ response to migrant consultation report

Concern about the large number of migrants experiencing unfair and biased behaviour, is highlighted by Multicultural New Zealand (MNZ) in its recent feedback to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on the National Migrant Consultation Report, released in December 2018.
The consultation was undertaken for INZ last year by Martin Jenkins & Associates. It included face-to-face consultation via workshops and focus groups in 12 locations as well as an on-line questionnaire undertaken by 3,437 migrants. (87% of the on-line participants were skilled migrants.)

Key highlights reflected the broad diversity of backgrounds and life experiences of recent migrants and the substantial learning curve they undertook to: find out about, understand, adjust and successfully settle in New Zealand.
The four consultation objectives were to find out: reasons migrants had moved to their current town/city in New Zealand, information about the services, people and places they found helpful in making the move, the challenges they experienced in the settlement process, and suggestions for improvements and additions to settlement information. 

Executive Director of Multicultural New Zealand Tayo Agunlejika said while the report showed as majority of migrants were able to access settlement services and information  with few difficulties,  inclusion and integration were still big issues that need a lot more work, engagement and investment. Read more here
Shaping Youth Statement on Race Relations in Aotearoa New Zealand

The Wellington Race Unity Hui brought together high school students, young professionals and university students and youth representatives of multicultural councils to discuss how we can build race unity in Aotearoa.

 The day started with a welcome and karakia by representatives of Te Atiawa, the local iwi, and opening comments from Tribhuvan Srestha (President Lower Hutt Multicultural Council), His Worship Ray Wallace (Mayor of Lower Hutt), Dr Paul Hunt (Chief Human Rights Commissioner) and Pancha Narayanan (President of Multicultural New Zealand).

 Aidan MacLeod (New Zealand Baha'i Community) facilitated a panel discussion between Pancha, policy advisor and advocate Martine Udahemuka, and student activist Jack Liang. The discussion delved into how what we can do to seek justice and unity in the face of racism in its various forms. The panel's diversity of age and experience yielded some great insights into how we can work for unity as individuals, as a community and as members of institutions.

 The heart of the Hui was nearly two hours of small group discussions, where the participants shared their thoughts on how we can build unity and stand up for justice. The insights from these discussions will help shape a youth statement on race relations, to be released publicly in May 2019. The discussions were facilitated by young leaders from around the Wellington region, including a few youth and young adults from the Baha'i Community. Read more here
Launch of MNZ International Volunteer Network

Invites have been sent to our community members and MNZ partners as an invitation to join Multicultural New Zealand and the Philippine Embassy in celebrating 2019 Race Relations Day, and launching the MNZ International Volunteer Network.

The event will be held on Tuesday the 7th of May 2019, from 5pm – 7.30pm in Parliament’s Banquet Hall. The programme will include networking, speeches from distinguished guests and a programme of ethnic performances.  The event is in association with Multicultural New Zealand and the Philippine Ambassador.
Wellbeing Framework has high hopes for Ethnic Women

A new learning programme – created to enhance the wellbeing of ethnic women in New Zealand, will soon be piloted by coordinators of Regional Multicultural Centres RMC’s in Waitaki, Manawatu and Hawkes Bay, and in Auckland; Belong Aotearoa and Waitakere Ethnic Board.

The free programme, is an on-line learning resource, women can work through in their own way and in their own time with support and coaching from co-ordinators in Multicultural Councils or Newcomers Networks (NZNN’s) around the country. It will also be produced as a colour-printed document for women who don’t have internet access.

The idea for the programme came from the Multicultural Women’s Hui in June last year. The development of the programme was guided by members of the Women’s Council and the Newcomers Network, with funding assistance from the Ministry of Women - as part of the Suffrage 125 celebrations. 

Known as “the Wellbeing Framework for Ethnic Women”, it aims to reach refugee-background and new migrant women to give them an overview of the opportunities and freedoms available to them in New Zealand. Part of its outreach will be to help women find and access existing resources and people. Read more here

MNZ to partner with local government in elections campaign

Multicultural New Zealand has signed up as a partner in the Vote 2019 Local Government Election Campaign.
This means, that we’ll be sending you regular #Vote2019NZ  information - developed by Local Government New Zealand over the next ten months.

In the wake of the March 15 Christchurch massacre and in the light of declining voter-turn-out in Local Authority Elections, this is an opportunity for the multicultural community to make better connections in local communities, put the issues that really matter ‘on the table’ and work for a more inclusive, and peaceful society.

The Local Government Community Wellbeing Bill has recently passed its first reading in Parliament and is currently before a select committee.  It seeks to recognise, work for and deliver: social, economic, environmental and cultural outcomes for all communities. Read more here

Government seeks feedback on Universal Periodic Review Recommendations

New Zealand’s review took place at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 21 January 2019.
77 countries made a total of 194 recommendations to New Zealand on further steps it can take to improve our human rights situation. The recommendations are included in the attached draft report of the Human Rights Council.

The Government will formally respond to these recommendations in June 2019. The Government is inviting people to send feedback on the recommendations received during New Zealand’s third UPR.
Rajesh Chhana, Ministry of Justice Deputy Secretary Policy, said that “the Universal Periodic Review process provides a valuable opportunity for us to engage in an open discussion about New Zealand’s human rights record, and to learn from the collective experience of the international community."

“Many countries commended New Zealand for the progress made since the last review in 2014, and highlighted some of the positive achievements in recent years. These included our actions to protect the rights of vulnerable groups, and a demonstrated commitment to the promotion of human rights.”
Mr Chhana says countries also identified challenges facing New Zealand and made recommendations in areas where more work is needed, such as combatting family and sexual violence, delivering better outcomes for children, and promoting gender equality. Read more here

Report on Community Hui on Work Visa, Parent Visa and Family Reunification Issues

Migrant Action Trust hosted a Community Hui on 9 March 2019 to enable community members to prepare for submission on Government’s proposed changes to employer-assisted work visas. The hui was attended by around 50 community members from different ethnic groups.

 Licensed immigration advisers Hyra Evangelista and Maricel Weischede presented overview of the proposed changes, insights and recommendations on key points on the submission process.

One of the resource persons, Mandeep Bela from Indian Workers Association (IWA) and Union Network of Migrants (Unemig), urged migrants to include in submission the call for open work visa for those already in NZ. Bela stressed it is important to attach visa to their skill or region rather than to one particular employer and employer's location of work. If not, even with the supposed lifting of wages, employers who intend to exploit the vulnerability of migrant labour will always find a way to pay at much lower rate as long as the visa is tied to employer. Read more here


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