Improving NZ business via better ethnic diversity management

A new agreement between the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the New Zealand Institute of Management aims to make the most of the potential in the country’s changing workforce.

Improving NZ business via better ethnic diversity management

Seizing the potential of New Zealand’s increasingly ethnically diverse workforce is the motivation behind a new agreement between the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA) and the New Zealand Institute of Management (NZIM).

Currently 25% of the country’s, and one third of Auckland’s, workforce are migrants – and 60% of the country’s workforce growth comes from people born overseas.

Yet many people from different ethnic groups who come to New Zealand to work don’t feel encouraged or supported by the attitudes they often encounter in the workplace, Ethnic Affairs minister Judith Collins said. “And, on the other hand, many business people are not sure of what to do to access the potential of the resource they see in ethnic communities.”

The new OEA-NZIM agreement will assist the two organisations to better work together to deal with this problem by bringing ethnic communities and mainstream business together to build an improved business framework for the country.

Under the agreement, the OEA and the NZIM will focus on:


  • Enhancing leadership capability in New Zealand businesses to better manage ethnic diversity in the workplace.
  • Promoting the benefits of ethnic diversity in the workplace.
  • Assisting international students and potential entrepreneurs to integrate into New Zealand’s business environment.


The global business environment is much tougher than it used to be, but New Zealand is well-placed to deal with its challenges – both in terms of the ethnic diversity of its workforce and its geographical position in the Asia-Pacific region, the minister said. The OEA-NZIM agreement will help New Zealand business to embrace those advantages for the benefit of the country, she added.

It was necessary for New Zealand business to understand where the country was, in terms of geopolitical positioning in a changing world, and what that means, NZIM chief executive Kevin Gaunt said. “We all need to go with the flow and leverage the opportunities that are presented to us – and that will put the country in a good place for the future.”

Many people might see the changing nature of New Zealand’s workforce as a challenge, but it was actually an opportunity, Department of Internal Affairs deputy director Paul James [on behalf of the OEA] said. “The OEA-NZIM agreement is a great opportunity to get New Zealanders thinking about ethnic diversity and the potential it presents.”

Further information about the OEA-NZIM agreement and what it will mean for business is available from the OEA  and the NZIM

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