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Seasons Greeting from MNZ President

To our dear MNZ family,  
The purpose of celebrating Christmas is to enshrine the message of peace and love in one's heart. It is especially a time to spread the message of love and compassion towards people especially the vulnerable members of the community.
It is fair to say that our landscape is changing significantly and that we are now operating in a tough, competitive and uncompromising environment. I don't propose to dwell on how tough it is or how we got there, as it's about time we talked about the positives again and focus on some good stuff.  We work in an inclusive environment that embraces change, new ideas, respect for the individual and equal opportunity to succeed.
My message is to focus on innovation and try new things as we need to embrace change. For the past year, it has been my privilege to serve again as your national president. As we prepare to flip our calendars to 2016, I am filled with hope for our future as an organization. As we carry the torch on the next leg of our diversity relay, I look forward to your support. At the start of my journey as your national president, I pledged to visit all regional multicultural councils. While completing my travels across the country recently, I was struck by how our common bond is our passion for the work we do and our shared cultural values.
This year, we saw how speaking up on behalf of our migrant and refugee communities is more important than ever. Without the federation, we may not have the resources to properly cover stories or the facts about underreported communities and the brilliant work you all continue to do. We need to tell our stories. We need to be heard.

I’d like to offer thanks to those who made my presidency possible: the executive team has been unflagging in its commitment to ensuring that I could focus on the governance of MNZ and diversity issues. Executive Director, Tayo Agunlejika, who has shared his time and expertise with us and has been an outstanding champion of MNZs mission.

The dozens of volunteers throughout the organization have been pivotal to keeping MNZ moving forward. Besides the executives, our Youth, Women, Seniors Councils, Business Advisory Board and the leaders in our 18 RMCs, deserve our gratitude. I salute our Advisor, Joris de Bres, our Lawyer Karun Lakshman, Barry Jordan, Delloite and Mike Scrivener. They all are strengthening the pipeline of our work and who understand that cultural diversity isn’t a footnote but an essential component of New Zealand. I acknowledge all the contributions of our MoU Partners and funders (Todd Foundation, Tindall Foundation, Nikau Foundation, Lion Foundation, Lottery Grants, Wellington City Council, Pub Charity, New Zealand Community Trust, OEC Settling In, Wellington Community Trust, UNICEF, UNESCO and E Tu Whanau) who are also part of our whanau.

MNZs volunteer office support, who works behind the scenes effortlessly, they too deserve a turn in the spotlight. Thank you to Pamela Arul and Ling for supporting all that our organization represents.
In this season, we also think of all those, whose lives were overturned this year – through illness or loss of work; through the death of loved ones, through natural disasters and acts of violence.  Whatever meaning this holiday season has for you, and however you celebrate it, I hope it’s a safe and great one for you. I wish you a Merry Christmas, holidays that are full of joy and a New Year that is happy, peaceful, and prosperous and a fresh start to the incoming year 2016!  Yours in diversity.

Alexis LewGor
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