Eid at Parliament

Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities

Tēnā koutou katoa

As-salamu alaykum

Eid Mubarak & Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful, joyous celebration with your family, friends and loved ones.

It is an absolute pleasure to be here with you all to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Parliament.

Let me begin by acknowledging:

Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Deputy Prime Minister

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Ibrar Sheikh, President of Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ)

Sheikh Mohammad Amir, Mufti of New Zealand and Chairman Ulama Board of New Zealand

Rajaie Ghashi, President of Islamic Council of New Zealand (ICONZ)

Aliya Danzeisen, National Coordinator of Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand (IWCNZ), and

All guests here with us this evening.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims.

While it’s often known for being a period of fasting, it is also a time for self-discipline, reflection, spirituality and compassion for those less fortunate.

And so, it’s also a time for generosity, as many Muslims choose to give to charities and help those in need.

As I do most years, this year I was at Auckland Eid Day and as always it was such an incredible event – the warmth, camaraderie, the incredible food and the sheer diversity of our Muslim communities was on display. I don’t say it lightly when I say it’s one of my favourite festivals of the year, even though I’m not Muslim myself.

I know there were many such events organised across Aotearoa NZ and can I say a huge thank you to our Muslim communities for sharing such a special festival with the rest of NZ and thank you for the work that goes into organising them.

It has been poignant to reflect on the values of both Ramadan and Eid. For two reasons. Firstly, they are values that we can all relate to regardless of the ethnic or faith community we come from.

And secondly, I couldn’t help but draw the parallels with the response we’ve seen across the country in the wake of the various weather events.

Eid is a time to reflect on our values of compassion, generosity, and unity. These are the values that have sustained us through difficult times, and they are the values that will continue to guide us as we navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

I want to acknowledge the many ethnic and faith community organisations that have been part of the immediate response across various parts of the North Island, whether it be language assistance, counselling, food parcels, logistics or preparation of meals.

Kindness and manaakitanga are important pillars of Islam and values that we all aspire to hold on to.

We’ve seen examples, like FIANZ distributing hundreds of meals following a shortage of halal food and the Pakistan and Friends Hawkes Bay Association purchasing a generator to support the elderly.

The Ministry for Ethnic Communities also played a role in supporting our communities through the response and recovery. They engaged with over 60 community organisations in affected areas and worked with other government agencies like MSD and DIA to ensure that financial support included a specific focus on things like additional translation and interpreting services to ensure ethnic communities could also access information and supports available.

This is why we have the Ministry. To ensure that the needs and aspirations of our communities are raised at decision-making tables.

And that’s what they’re doing.

A couple of other examples. You may have been involved in the health engagements around the country as we shape our NZ Health Strategy.

The Ministry has also worked with the Education Review Office on the long-term insights briefing which detailed the racism in our schools – something we’ve all known anecdotally for a long time – and something that came up at each of the 34 or so meetings Minister Andrew Little and I held on the government’s response to the royal commission’s report. Now, we have an evidence base to progress change.

It’s important we have our voices heard and that government services are equitable, accessible and relevant to ethnic communities. I’m proud we’re making change across Government and I’m also aware that we need to keep going because there’s more to do.

But for now and in closing, I hope that this joyous occasion brings you peace, prosperity, and happiness. May it strengthen the bonds of friendship and community that unite us all.

I wish you a blessed time with friends and whanau on this special occasion and always.

Again, Eid Mubarak to you all.

Nō reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.