Multicultural New Zealand held its 34th AGM and Community Awards Dinner over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of September 2023 at the Brentwood Hotel in Kilbirnie, Wellington. Twenty-four Regional Multicultural Councils gathered to celebrate the achievements of the past year and evaluate the direction of the Federation going forward.
Saturday 16th September
The Saturday programme began with two stimulating and informative panel discussions. The first was Government Working with Multicultural Communities, featuring Mervin Singham from the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, Hoani Lambert from the Department of Internal Affairs, and NZ Police Ethnic National Partnerships Manager Superintendent Rakesh Naidoo.
The second panel was a discussion on Community Mobilisation, with environmental, Indigenous, and human rights advocate Tina Ngata (Ngāti Porou), Te Puna Rangahau o te Wai Ariki/New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law fellow Professor David MacDonald of the University of Guelph, and Sam Malage from LGBTQIA++ advocacy group Indian Origin Pride New Zealand.
Saturday afternoon’s formal AGM session saw the re-election of the incumbent Multicultural New Zealand Executive Committee:
President – Pancha Narayanan of Upper Hutt Multicultural Council
Vice President – Marion Kerepeti-Edwards of Multicultural Whangārei
Secretary - María Buldain of Waitaki Multicultural Council
Treasurer – Prem Singh of Multicultural Council of Wellington
The meeting also saw the presentation of the Professor Kwan Goh Community Service Awards, given by the Federation to notable community-minded volunteers on behalf of the Regional Multicultural Councils.
The 2023 Professor Kwan Goh Community Service Award Recipients:
Auckland City Multicultural Council: Mohammed Saheef
Manawatū Multicultural Council: Angel Kwan
Marlborough Multicultural Council: Ann Turnbull; Jennifer Travers
Murihiku Southland District Multicultural Council: Shelly Ballantine; the Reverend Phramaha Sudchai Lekkratok
Multicultural Council of Rangitīkei/Whanganui: Grant Hartell; Jayson Herewini; Sonny Taneti Barlow
Tairāwhiti Multicultural Council: Gisborne Sargam Group; Dallas Haynes and Noema Te Hau (joint)
Tauranga Regional Multicultural Council: Beverly Scarlett
Te Tai Poutini West Coast Multicultural Council: Radha Nambiar; Leonora Freeman
Upper Hutt Multicultural Council: Xiuying Chen; Sahana Sivasubramaniam
Waikato Multicultural Council: Anil Gupta; Robin Patchett
Waitaki Multicultural Council: Birendra Datt
Multicultural Council of Wellington: Roz de Lambert; Lilia De Castro
Multicultural Whangārei: Rabin Ranji
MNZ Community Dinner and Awards 2023
Tireless volunteer work is the backbone of a national network committed to the wellbeing of a multicultural society. The MNZ Annual Community Dinner and Awards celebrate the efforts and achievements of those who have performed exceptionally in service to their communities.
Three award categories are presented on the night:
The Merit Award, which recognises outstanding dedication in volunteers within Regional Multicultural Councils.
The Life Membership Award, which recognises remarkable longstanding volunteer contribution to the Federation, and
The Ann Dysart Distinguished Service Award, named in memory of the late E Tū Whānau founding kaiwhakahaere, Ann Dysart (Te Rarawa), who served as the Federation's guide and supporter for many years. Six of these awards are bestowed each year, one for each of the six E Tū Whānau values.
The 2023 Award Recipients
Catherine Guo of Multicultural Council of Wellington
Rashid Khan of Auckland City Multicultural Council
Shelly Ballantine of Murihiku Southland District Multicultural Council
Rachel Qi of Multicultural Council of Wellington
Sandeep Diwan of Multicultural Whangārei
Ann Dysart Distinguished Service Award:
Aroha: Awarded to the Todd Foundation, presented by Lady Susan Satyanand, and received by Todd Foundation trustee Pam Davidson.
Kōrero Awhi: Awarded to Jan Logie, presented by Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.
Whanaungatanga: Awarded posthumously to Dr Ihakura Puketapu, presented by Sir Anand Satyanand, and received by Kara’s daughter Ngahaka Puketapu-Deys.
Whakapapa: Awarded in absentia to Taipari Munroe, presented by Ministry for Ethnic Communities Chief Executive Mervin Singham, and received on Taipari’s behalf by Marion Kerepeti-Edwards.
Mana Manaaki: Awarded to Shaneel Lal, presented by Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi.
Tikanga: Awarded to Tina Ngata, presented by the Multicultural New Zealand Executive Committee.
This year, Multicultural New Zealand had another significant honour to bestow in acknowledging the upcoming retirement of Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha. MNZ honoured Wally’s career and his friendship to the Federation by presenting him with a tokotoko, carved to represent the multicultural communities he has spent so many years supporting.
Sunday 17th September
Our Sunday session began with delegates dividing into four focus groups to discuss the path forward for the MNZ Women’s Council, the MNZ Senior’s Council, the MNZ Business Council working group, and the MNZ Youth Council/MNZ Rainbow Council working group.
The Sunday meeting concluded with representatives from each of the Regional Multicultural Councils presenting a brief round-up of their work over the past year.