Migrant workers.

Connecting Diverse Communities

What is the Connecting Diverse Communities project?

The Connecting Diverse Communities project is a whole-of-government approach designed to improve and better co-ordinate initiatives across government agencies to promote social cohesion and stronger relationships between diverse ethnic, cultural and religious communities. Work on the project, which is jointly led by the Ministry of Social Development and the Office of Ethnic Affairs (Department of Internal Affairs) began in early 2006. The project was formally launched on Race Relations Day, 21 March 2007.

The project goal is for New Zealand is to be a cohesive society where relations between diverse communities are strong and valued.

The Connecting Diverse Communities Project has identified the greatest potential for strengthening relations between diverse communities in the following areas which involve cross-government activity:

  • strengthening intercultural relationships
  • addressing discrimination and promoting respect
  • improving connections with cultural identity
  • capacity building and community development
  • building the knowledge base.

Diagram One: Connecting Diverse Communities: Structure

Connecting Diverse Communities

Key government agencies involved in this project, alongside the Ministry of Social Development and the Office of Ethnic Affairs include:

  • Department of Internal Affairs
  • Department of Labour
  • Ministry for Culture and Heritage
  • Career Services
  • Department of Conservation
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Ministry of Fisheries
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Ministry of Health
  • Inland Revenue
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
  • Ministry of Research Science and Technology
  • Ministry of Women’s Affairs
  • Ministry of Youth Development
  • Te Puni Kokiri
  • New Zealand Police
  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • the Office for Disability Issues
  • Land Transport New Zealand
  • State Services Commission
  • Transport
  • Treasury
  • Tertiary Education Commission
  • Statistics New Zealand.

More information about government and non-government initiatives may be found on the additional resources page.


The Human Rights Commission, which includes the Race Relations Commissioner, has a statutory mandate to encourage the development of harmonious relations between diverse groups (see section 5(1) of the Human Rights Act 1993).

The Race Relations Commissioner’s current focus in promoting positive race relations is represented by the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme.

As part of the programme, the Commissioner co-ordinates networks of people and organisations involved in issues relating to diversity.