Our work

Race Relations

We all have the right to be treated fairly, with respect and to be free from unwelcome racial discrimination. We undertake a number of projects as the Human Rights Commission to promote harmonious race relations and encourage all Kiwis to treat each other with respect, dignity and mana irrespective of race, ethnicity or faith.

Harmonious race relations depend on the equal enjoyment of human rights by all, regardless of ethnic or national origins or skin colour. Harmonious race relations’ refers to the ways in which peoples who are ethnically diverse positively interact with one another. Such positive interaction is based on mutual respect for, and realisation of, each other’s rights, non-discrimination, and the recognition of and support for cultural diversity.

Current projects

Monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Learn More
Race Unity Speech Awards

Race Unity Speech Awards

The Race Unity Speech Awards is a speech competition for high school students that runs alongside Race Relations Day. The Human Rights Commission sets speech topic each year (usually to coincide with the theme for Race Relations Day).

Learn More
Religious Diversity Statement

Religious Diversity Statement

The Statement on Religious Diversity was first published in 2007 and has since been endorsed by a wide range of faith communities. It provides a basis for ongoing discussion of religious diversity in New Zealand.

Learn More
Give Nothing To Racism

Give Nothing To Racism

In the middle of 2020, the Human Rights Commission will be launching the second phase of the Give Nothing To Racism campaign.

Learn More

Latest News

Meet the Commissioner responsible

Meng Foon, Race Relations Commissioner

Meng Foon has taken up the appointment of Race Relations Commissioner, after 24 years at the Gisborne District Council. Mr Foon was elected as a councillor in 1995 and in 2001 he was elected Mayor, a role he held for 18 years. He is one of a handful of people of Chinese descent to have become a mayor in New Zealand. He is fluent in English, Cantonese and Te Reo Māori. As of 2019, he is still the only mayor in New Zealand who is fluent in Te Reo. He is a member of a number of community organisations including the Ngā Taonga a nā Tama Toa Trust, the New Zealand Chinese Association, Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust and MY Gold Investments Ltd. He has released a musical number, Tu Mai, which includes various native tracks, he has been chair of Gisborne/Tarawhiti Rugby League since 2007, and is a member of the New Zealand Rugby League Board. Mr Foon is responsible for leading the work of the Human Rights Commission in promoting positive race relations.

Past projects

The NZ Diversity Action Programme

The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme is a community-driven race relations initiative
Learn More

New Zealand Diversity Forum

The 12th annual Diversity Forum will be held at Wellington's Te Papa Museum on September 1 2016. The theme for the forum is: Te Anga Whakamua / Future Focus
Learn More

NZ Diversity Action Awards

The New Zealand Diversity Action Awards recognise organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to community development and cultural diversity.
Learn More

Human Rights and Race Relations in 2010 review

Human Rights and Race Relations - Whakawhanaungatanga a iwi, is the fifth chapter of the Human Rights in New Zealand - Ngä Tika Tangata O Aotearoa review
Learn More

Review of Race Relations 2004-2013

Download the latest Review of Race Relations from the Human Rights Commission.
Learn More

Statement on Race Relations 2008

The Statement on Race Relations was launched at the New Zealand Diversity Forum in 2008.
Learn More

Perceptions of Racial Discrimination in 2006

Talking About Ourselves

Last year we engaged media monitoring company Mediamine to collate and analyse news reports about race relations. Talking About Ourselves is about encouraging dialogue, to get people talking – about how we talk about ourselves.
Learn More

Structural discrimination

View the Commission's 'A fair go for all' report on structural discrimination.
Learn More

Discussion on treating asylum claimants with dignity and respect in 2017

This discussion examined the relevant international and domestic human rights framework and the components of core economic, social and cultural rights for asylum claimants in New Zealand.
Learn More

Fulfilling New Zealand's refugee obligations as a good international citizen in 2016

The Commission prepared a report for Government which outlines the Commission position on the Quota Review covering the numbers, the integrity of the Quota, family reunification and additional admissions programmes.
Learn More

Discussion of religion in New Zealand Schools in 2009

This paper ‘Religion in New Zealand Schools – Questions and Concerns’ has been prepared by the Human Rights Commission and Professor Paul Morris of Victoria University.
Learn More

Religion in the workplace in 2009

The Commission worked with the Victoria University Religious Studies Programme to develop guidelines on religion in the workplace, arising from discussion on the topic at the 2009 religious diversity forum.
Learn More

National Interfaith Network Aotearoa New Zealand

A national interfaith network was established to facilitate cooperation and exchange between faith communities and government in New Zealand and in the Asia Pacific region in the furtherance of peace, security and harmonious relations.
Learn More

Muslim Women, Dress Codes and Human Rights in 2005

The Commission published a report on Muslim Women, Dress Codes and Human Rights: An Introduction to Some of the Issues.
Learn More

Religious Diversity Forum in 2007

A religious diversity forum was held as part of the New Zealand Diversity Forum in 2007
Learn More

National Interfaith Forum and Youth Forum in 2008

The first National Interfaith Youth Forum was held in 2008. It focused on Creative Encounters Generating Change.
Learn More

National Statement on Language Policy

The Statement on Language Policy PDF (Accessible Version), developed through the national language policy network of the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme, is intended to provide an elementary framework to prioritise, implement and monitor language policy development in New Zealand pending the development of a more substantial strategy.
Learn More