The Office of Ethnic Communities
The Office of Ethnic Communities is the government’s authoritative advisor on ethnic diversity in New Zealand. They also provide information, advice and services to, and for, ethnic communities in New Zealand and administer funds to support community development and social cohesion.
Established in 2000 as the Office of Ethnic Affairs, in 2015 they became the Office of Ethnic Communities to align with the Ministerial portfolio and more accurately reflect their community focus.
The Office of Ethnic Communities is located within the Department of Internal Affairs and their work contributes to the Department’s overarching outcome: “Connected citizens, communities and government”.
Through the Department, the Office of Ethnic Communities contributes to broader public sector efforts to deliver on government goals. In particular, they contribute to the government priorities of building a more productive and competitive economy (for example, through their work with the business community) and of delivering better public services (for example, through providing Language Line telephone interpreting services to facilitate access to a range of public services).
The term ethnic (matawaka) in the context of the mandate for the Office of Ethnic Communities refers to people who are migrants, refugees, long-term settlers, and those born in New Zealand who identify their ethnicity as Asian, Continental European, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African.
They serve the interests of New Zealand. Their population is ethnically diverse and increasingly so. It is in the interests of all New Zealanders that they have strong and connected ethnic communities and that New Zealand is able to realise the benefits of ethnic diversity for their nation.
In addition to serving the public generally, as with other population agencies and Offices including the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, the Ministry for Women, the Office for Seniors and the Office for Disability Issues, they also have a mandate relating to a specific population within New Zealand.See more