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Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel stresses importance of diversity and inclusion

Published: 1 July 2019

Auckland Council’s Community Development and Safety Committee continued a series of co-hosted meetings with the council’s demographic advisory panels at its June meeting.

Selecting the theme ‘An inclusive future for Auckland’ Sunil Kaushal, chair of the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel, stressed the changing demographics of Auckland.

“The future of Auckland is changing. Projections are that the demographics for Auckland will continue to change with a significant population being identified as ethnic. Associated with this ethnic diversity lie challenges of inequality, inclusion and discrimination,” says Mr Kaushal.

“This is one of the reasons our panel has developed a new website. We wanted a place to capture ethnic stories, to compile resources to support ethnic diversity and to help keep our communities informed of upcoming events and meetings.”

Applauding the launch of the new website, Councillor Cathy Casey, chair of the committee, says the site’s ‘Future of Auckland’ video storytelling campaign captures the hopes and dreams of Aucklanders from different backgrounds.

“It is wonderful to see the dreams and aspirations of our ethnic communities,” says Councillor Casey.“I encourage everyone to watch the videos on the website. I was especially moved by the young people who told us what they want for the future of Auckland. We need to listen and learn from them!”

Jade Tang-Taylor, deputy chair of the panel, says that having access to resources that help inform their communities on topics of interest is part of the panel’s outreach to the ethnic community.

“Our site provides freely available links, resources and research to anyone interested in topics relating to ethnic diversity,” says Ms Tang-Taylor.

“We hope our website becomes a resource hub for those interested in connecting and engaging with our diverse communities across Tāmaki Makaurau. We want to highlight and champion the voices of Auckland’s ethnic communities.”

To-date, the committee has co-hosted a lively debate with the Pacific People’s Advisory Panel, enjoyed a presentation by Sir Bob Harvey organised by the Seniors Advisory Panel, discussed the issue of accessible housing with the Disability Advisory Panel and launched the Ethnic People’s Advisory Panel’s website. July will see the committee co-hosting with the Youth Advisory Panel where members will deliberate safer and more accessible transport.

Councillor Casey says the committee is also looking forward to co-hosting its August meeting with the Rainbow Advisory Panel and reminds all Aucklanders that they are warmly invited and encouraged to attend committee meetings.

Visit http://ethnicpeoples.advisorypanels.nz for more information about the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel and to view the ‘Future of Auckland’ storytelling videos.

Supporting Auckland’s diverse ethnic community

Auckland Council has a strategic focus on ensuring Auckland’s increasingly diverse population is actively engaged and participating. Social inclusion and equity, participation and belonging, capacity building and community-led placemaking are all essential elements of the council’s ‘Empowered Communities Approach.

For the council’s Arts, Community and Events department (ACE), responsible for delivering a wide range of activity across Auckland, this means working with partners such as the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel and other representative groups to explore ways to engage a more diverse mix of people based on the needs and interests of specific local communities.

ACE also works to ensure that activity delivered for local boards is aligned with the specific aspirations and needs of different ethnic and migrant communities, whether that’s through specific community projects or the formation of shared visions such as the recently launched Whau Ethnic Plan, the first local board ethnic peoples plan.

Other regional community safety and inclusion activities led by ACE include:

  • Supporting and hosting the Safety Collective Tāmaki Makaurau - addressing regional injury prevention and community safety priorities; and,
  • Assisting Auckland Emergency Management post-Christchurch with the local Welfare response
  • Supporting safety and security initiatives like the Safety Security and Wellbeing Forum, providing information for places of worship

ACE’s diversity and inclusion portfolio focuses on new migrants, former refugees and ethnic community activities. Recent work in this area includes contributing to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) national migrant consultation findings and supporting development of a Regional Partnership Agreement with MBIE.

The council also provide venues across the region, hosting family and cultural events and celebrations. We also provide a wide range of activities in our community centres, activities like language classes and cultural dancing, cooking and crafts.

Auckland Council libraries also provide services for our diverse ethnic communities. Our libraries provide a physical collection of books in 43 languages and digital language content in 60 languages including 2,411 e-newspapers, 3,680 e-magazines and more than 10,000 e-books and e-audiobooks.

Our libraries also host a range of events of interest to ethnic communities like language classes and workshops.

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