21 Jul 2012

African communities gather at Auckland meeting

9:08 am on 21 July 2012

Organisers of a forum bringing African communities in New Zealand together for the first time hope the event will give a stronger voice to migrants.

More than 100 people from 54 different African communities are represented at the gathering in Auckland on Saturday.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs says the meeting will tackle critical issues facing African immigrants and refugees living in New Zealand.

As well as talking about the problems faced by minority groups, organisers hope there will be discussion on unlocking the economic potential of migrants.

Office of Ethnic Affairs director Mervin Singham says six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are African.

He says diaspora communities can often help build strong links between their homeland and their new country.

The idea for the forum came from community leaders, and the hope is that it will forge a sense of unity and ensure the communities feel their voices are being heard.