Press Release – Human Rights Commission
This year our theme is Migrant and Refugee Employment and its an important one facing not just Christchurch but all New Zealand, said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.Tenth Diversity Forum focuses on migrant and refugee employment
New Zealand’s tenth Diversity Forum opens in Christchurch tomorrow.
“This year our theme is Migrant and Refugee Employment and it’s an important one facing not just Christchurch but all New Zealand,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“We need skilled people to fill our skill shortage particularly with the Canterbury rebuild. How we treat our migrants and refugees – whether it’s with respect, dignity and mana – that part’s up to us.”
The theme Migrant and Refugee Employment was chosen to reflect the influx of migrant workers to the Canterbury region following the Christchurch Earthquakes.
The forum will see a variety of speakers, panelists, and participants sharing best practice, discussing practical actions, acknowledging positive contributions, and help participants understand the issues related to migrant and refugee employment. The forum will also provide participants with opportunities to network and be inspired.
The Human Rights Commission has facilitated the community initiated New Zealand Diversity Action Programme for ten years. In 2004 anti-semitic attacks on Jewish graves saw the country’s interfaith and ethnic communities united against tolerance and hate.
“Ten years on it’s now 2014 and the reality is that sadly, hate attacks on Jewish New Zealanders are still taking place. These are not unlike previous hate attacks on Muslim Kiwis,” said Dame Susan.
“If Kiwis want peace in other countries then we need to start by building peace in our own. While we mourn tragic conflicts overseas we need to honour victims of war by standing up for peace at all costs.”
This year’s keynote speaker is Priscilla Brice, founder and managing director of All Together Now, Australia’s only national racism prevention charity. Well known journalist (now with Native Affairs on Maori Television) and Sri Lankan New Zealander Ruwani Perera will MC the forum and lead media discussion.
Other speakers include:
• Edwina Pio, Professor of Diversity at Auckland University
• Dr Rod Carr, Canterbury University
• Mike Bush, Commissioner of New Zealand Police
• Aurecon’s Asia Pacific Diversity and Culture Manager, Abbie Wright
• Taz Mukorombindo, Canterbury Business Association
• Te Maire Tau, Kai Tahu and Canterbury University
• Professor James Liu, Co-Director of CACR, Victoria University
• Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel
• Wayne Besant, AIA Insurance chief executive
• BNZ Communications Manager, Annie Brown