Towards a multilingual Aotearoa: National MP Nikki Kaye’s second language learning bill

“Speaking more than one language has enormous cognitive, cultural, social and economic benefits. New Zealand is a diverse country where 160 languages are spoken, and it’s important that what’s being taught in schools reflects that. My Bill would require the Minister of Education to set at least ten national priority languages for schools following public consultation and places a requirement on the Crown to resource teaching these languages in primary and intermediate schools.”

Significance of Eid'ul Adha

The sacrificial story leads back to Abraham and Ishmael. Abraham was instructed in a vision to sacrifice his son Ishmael for the sake of God. In consulting with a willing Ishmael, both proceeded to make the sacrifice to obey the command of their Lord. In this selfless act of devotion they gained the Mercy of God who summoned a lamb in place of Ishmael. 

It is this act of devotion that takes place during Eid’ul Adha. Whilst festivities and celebrations have their place, the main emphasis of the Eid is social obligation. It is to connect the individual with their communities and their societies. Charity is emphasised. Community work is emphasised. Caring for others is emphasised.

Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple

The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple has been part of the Christchurch landscape for over 25 years. In its current location for the past 10, the temple provides an amazing space where people from every culture come to share experiences, learn new things, and maximise the joy from there life. The building is designed around the Longmen Grottos in China, a place were there is over 10,000 Buddhist Statues carved throughout an intricate network of caves.

Dunedin celebrates its first-ever World Refugee Day

The event was World Refugee Day held on July 1. 

It was an amazing evening, and the hall was jam packed. There was standing room only. 
While we were expecting 250, almost 550 people came. Most of the former refugees settled in the city came. There were 12 cultural times followed by a multicultural fashion show. This included performance by a sufi group in the city, Indian, Irish and Chinese dancing, Japanese drumming, and a kapa haka. Special guests at the event included National MP Michael Woodhouse, Human Rights Commission race relations adviser Rakesh Naidoo, and Dunedin Imam Shaykh Asrarul Haque Obaidullah.

Profile: Surinder Tandon, President, Christchurch Multicultural Council

Multicultural Times is a newspaper for the community, by the community, and geared towards the community. That's why we have developed a support matrix around the newspaper, where we are partnering with organisations and individuals, who are the guiding light - the beacon of multiculturalism across New Zealand. These are what we call, Multicultural Times Navigators. And we are glad to announce that Christchurch Multicultural Council (CMC), led by Surinder Tandon, is our first such Navigator. We welcome them, and seek their guidance as we embark on the journey towards an inclusive, diverse, and multicultural Aotearoa. 
Interested in being part of the changing media landscape of New Zealand?
For details on how we can join hands, please email at  

All your immigration questions answered

Two events, one was a speech while the other was a public interaction, but the message from the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway was essentially the same.

First was the annual conference of the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment held in Auckland on August 17, and the other was a public meeting organised by Labour MP from New Lynn Deborah Russell on August 21. Here’s what he said on several immigration issues.

Analysis of the rampant growth of Auckland’s hotel industry

2017 was easily the busiest for New Zealand hotel industry, with the occupancy rate touching 70 percent. This rate is used by Statistics New Zealand to understand how difficult it is to book a room in the country. But with the America’s Cup scheduled for 2021, there is a growing concern of hotel rooms shortage hitting Auckland very soon, as pointed in a recent report by the global commercial property research institute CBRC. Though, it adds, this shortfall can be compensated by other commercial accommodations such as bed and breakfasts, serviced apartments, and motels.

Selwyn launches its Welcoming Communities plan for newcomers and migrants

On August 24, the Selwyn District Council, under the leadership of Mayor Sam Broughton, launched the Immigration NZ initiated Welcoming Communities plan. This is significant as the Selwyn district has been experiencing extraordinary population growth for several years. This was accelerated by the Canterbury earthquakes, with people moving from Christchurch, along with people arriving from overseas to live in Selwyn and contribute to the Christchurch rebuild. The Selwyn population in 2000 was 27,600 and is now predicted to grow to over 79,000 by 2028.

Taking this into account, in November 2015, Selwyn District Council adopted its Newcomers and Migrants Strategy after undertaking research and working with a mix of key local community groups and agencies. The Strategy sets the direction and aims to address the needs of people new to the district so that they can settle well and call Selwyn their home.

New Zealand’s untapped talent pool

In New Zealand, we have a long list of skill shortages that need to be filled to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our growing population.bWe need more farmers (beef and dairy), arborists and market gardeners. We need construction managers, university lecturers, mechanical engineers, midwifes and nurses. We need bakers, builders, bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, mechanics and aged care workers.

As Immigration NZ says, some skills are in chronically short supply. When I read these lists I immediately think about the number of resettled Kiwis living in New Zealand who I have personally met who have these skills from their home countries. Some have years of experience and high levels of expertise.

Challenge to businesses to employ more refugees

A visiting British economist has laid down a wero for New Zealand employers to overcome their psychological hurdles and employ more refugees. 

Philippe Legrain, author of the book Immigrants: Why Your Country Needs Them as well as articles for The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, was the key note speaker at a Breakfast held last week at Parliament hosted by the Hon Grant Robertson in association with HOST International, Multicultural New Zealand, ChangeMakers Refugee Forum  and the Human Rights Commission.

“Employing refugees isn’t just a good thing to do - it’s also good for business,” said Legrain. 

NZITA launches its South Island chapter

The New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA) has launched a South Island chapter to create a
gateway for companies in the South to connect with the huge opportunities emerging in the
Indian market. The event called Unlocking the Potential of India, was held in Christchurch and was attended by over 60 representatives from companies looking to expand business opportunities in the Indian market. The local chapter will be led by Michael Henstock.

Diverse thinking is needed to generate successful businesses in NZ: Superdiversity Institute

The Diverse Thinking Capability Audit of New Zealand Boardrooms 2018, released last week by Mai Chen, Founder and Inaugural Chair of the Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business, has emphasised how diverse thinking around the board table is essential to improving the performance of companies and organisations.

The report launched by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, gathers insights, guidance and advice from over 60 top Chairs, Directors, and governance professionals about how best to attract, retain, and leverage diverse thinkers in the best interests of the company or organisation.

Majority Kiwis view NZ-China relationship in a positive light: NZCC survey

Titled Perceptions of China Monitor: Survey 2018, the first-ever survey done by the New Zealand China Council has revealed interesting insights into New Zealanders’ perceptions of China, as a comprehensive partner in trade, science, the arts and more. The online survey of 1,001 New Zealanders aged 18 years and over, conducted between the 2nd and 9th of February 2018, showed that overall, opinions of New Zealand’s relationship with China are positive.

Also, many New Zealanders say they are keen for more engagement with China, such as increased trade and investment in tourism and education. On the cultural front, the survey shows New Zealanders are well aware of the value of learning Mandarin, and many are keen to visit China in the future. 

Low pay rates and expensive immigration process, concerns Filipino migrants the most: E tū

A report released on August 26, which was commissioned by E tū, and was funded by the Industrial Relations Fund, has revealed the experiences of mostly Filipino construction workers in Christchurch and Auckland in 2017 and 2018. A small number of employers from around New Zealand was also interviewed. Along with low pay, and poor housing emerging as critical issues, the report, by researcher and lawyer, Catriona MacLennan, also reveals wide-spread exploitation of migrants by immigration companies and so-called pastoral care companies.

Get involved - join the New Zealand Newcomers Network Initiative

Are you looking to connect in your new community? Make friends and find a sense of belonging? Then New Zealand Newcomers Network may be perfect for you!

The journey of the New Zealand Newcomers Network Initiative (NZNN) began in 2006, after a series of government funded reports found, that making friends was one of the most difficult issues new migrants to New Zealand faced, when settling into the new community. To meet this very real problem, the first NZNN regional network was set up in Nelson in 2006, and the weekly social activities to connect newcomers and their host community began. Since then, the Alliance of Networks has grown to over 35, evenly spread across both the North and South Island. In 2016 Multicultural New Zealand decided to take on the governance of the NZNN Initiative which has led to great connection and collaboration opportunities for everyone involved.

AUT’s inaugural diversity awards celebrate staff’s commitment to diversity

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) staff came together for the Inaugural Vice-Chancellor Diversity Awards to acknowledge the diversity initiatives of eight awardees at the Auckland Art Gallery last week. The awards celebrated AUT’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, embedding everyday diversity and saluting work by the University’s staff in the diversity space. AUT Director of Diversity and event organiser, Professor Edwina Pio, added, “Many here will resonate with the echo of myriad memories, of inconvenient doubt, of stumbling, of passing the baton, of broken dreams, of fulfilling dreams and of grit and endurance. We do diversity every day and I privilege hope and compassion as the heart of diversity.”

NZ Police leads by example in diversity recruitment

Consider this: Of the 60 new constables that graduated from the Royal New Zealand Police College last week [from Wing 317], 38 percent are females, 19 officers were born overseas and between them speak around a dozen foreign languages. The youngest recruit is 19 and the oldest is 45. One has the distinction of playing in the Ranfurly Shield-winning Hawke’s Bay rugby team, another is a fine musician who has performed with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. There are former members of the armed forces and others who have done valuable volunteer work in the Fire Service, Search and Rescue teams, surf lifesaving and for Women’s Refuge.

Vietnam Veterans Day marked in Christchurch

This years Vietnam Veterans Day was held on Saturday, August 18, in the Papanui RSA club with about fifty members and guests attended. The ceremony started with the parade of Vietnam veterans. The Piper played while representatives of various sections of NZ troops laid the wreaths. This was followed by other participants laying poppies. The bugler played “The Last Post”. I gave a speech, presenting the view of a Vietnamese who had lived through Vietnam war.

Auckland Cultural Festival 2018 showcases Asian culture

Auckland War Memorial Museum in partnership with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presented the Cultural Festival 2018, a celebration of the vibrant art and culture of Auckland’s local Asian Communities, during the weekend of 25 – 26 August. 

Over the festival weekend, visitors enjoyed over 70 free drop-in activities, demonstrations, and performances showcasing ancient traditions through to modern cultural innovations at both Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery. These included musical performances, martial arts showcases, arts and crafts, tea ceremonies, traditional games and much more. 

This year's 6th annual event, celebrating Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures, partnered with community groups and organizations from Auckland's large and diverse Asian communities.