The Office of Ethnic Affairs held its third annual EthnicA Conference on a wintry day in Wellington – after the first two held in Christchurch and Auckland. New Zealand ethnic communities are one of the main stakeholders of the Translation Service’s activities, and greatly contribute to its raison d’être. As such, TTS could not afford not to be represented at the event.

Image of notepad with the logo of the Office of Ehtnic Affairs
(c) Office of Ethnic Affairs

Titled ‘Leading with Passion’, the series of conferences addressed the subjects of leadership and ethnic diversity, the challenges and hurdles faced by ethnic individuals, and the great untapped potential that New Zealand’s ethnic diversity represents, both within New Zealand (differentiated skills and interests, flexibility, cultural awareness etc.) and towards overseas economic partners (language skills, connections with countries of origin etc.). In this regard, as a trustworthy translation provider, we play an essential role: we enable communication between ethnic communities and government agencies, and help New Zealanders and New Zealand organisations communicate with the rest of the world.

As the day unfolded, with numerous presentations, panel discussions and workshops, I had the pleasure of meeting two of our panel translators, namely Sevana, one of our Armenian translators, and Arti, one of our Gujarati translators. Arti agreed to contribute to the newsletter and write a few lines on the conference (thank you Arti!):

The Ethnic Conference is an annual event organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs. The New Zealand society has become much more diverse over the years with the influx of immigrants of various ethnicities. This conference involves speakers and engages audiences in a dialogue about various aspects of ethnic diversity and leadership. The audience gets the chance to hear and discuss not only with experienced leaders but also with emerging ones, through panel discussions, sessions and workshops.

I attended the Ethnic conference of 2013 in Wellington and managed to hear many interesting sessions. The conference was intellectually stimulating and culturally rich. Short and diverse musical performances were enjoyable and reflected Wellington’s cultural diversity.

Personally, I found it quite positive to hear success stories of immigrants and the hurdles they experienced in their respective journey. It was inspiring to see that immigrants have new ideas and special skills that could create amazing and beneficial results for New Zealand, if the right support was provided.

Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon had an impressive approach to include ethnic communities not only at a professional level but also at a personal level. He was very positive about the interesting mosaic ethnic diversity this can create for any city.

I attended the workshop “A piece of New Zealand’s Artistic Kaleidoscope” and felt that Wellington is so fortunate to be like a melting pot with artists from different countries bringing their unique skills to add to the artistic scene of the city. I enjoyed hearing Hui Luo, director of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, and looking at a range of unique driftwood sculptures created by Ronal Villalobos from Chile.

The EthnicA Conference series was a resounding success – while celebrating New Zealand’s ethnic diversity and many individual success stories, it also addressed important issues and challenges, and represented a great opportunity to network. We strongly encourage you to take part in next year’s series of events.