The head of the country's Federation of Multicultural Councils said having a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs in place before now might have helped avert last year's mosque shootings.
A number of initiatives have been confirmed as part of the Royal Commission report into the mosque shootings, released on Tuesday.
One of them is that a Ministry for Ethnic Communities will be created.
NZ Federation of Multicultural Councils president Pancha Narayanan said they had wanted such a ministry for a long time but he was grateful it would now happen.
"I don't know how to express the emotions with this. We have been asking for this since our inception in 1989 and I'm grateful this country has heard [us] but I'm sorry that we had to lose so many lives before.
"Maybe this is a way of redeeming ourselves and saying 'thank you' to those people who have lost their lives."
Narayanan said having a Ministry of Ethnic Communities in place might have led to a different outcome.
"For one, we at least would have had a very strong advocate for ... example, the Muslim community has been raising this issue - these concerns and their fears, and a ministry would have to have been responsible, they would have talked to various ministers and politicians directly."
He said such a ministry would have also had a lot of insight into the SIS and other agencies, plus stronger policy-making recommendations, while "leaving the mahi on the ground to the communities".
Narayanan said the Office of Ethnic Communities did a marvellous job but a ministry had "greater clout".
The Office of Ethnic Communities was the government's principal advisor on ethnic diversity in New Zealand. It provided information, advice and services to ethnic communities, and administered funds to support community development and social cohesion.
Narayanan said a ministry would have to built from the ground-up based on the values of the Treaty of Waitangi, and recognising tangata whenua as a first-nation people.
He hoped it would be set up quickly, but with the right foundations that looked upon New Zealand as a flourishing society because of its diversity.
He added that the culture of New Zealand was changing due to the hard work of communities, but he hoped to see this time around that New Zealand became a truly Treaty-based multi-cultural society.
"We don't differentiate whether they're from Europe or Asia - we just want the policies and the legislation to be inclusive.
"Let's not lose sight of the potential this ministry has to reset things."
The report made 44 recommendations which the government has agreed in principle to implement, including a new agency with responsibility for strategic issues around intelligence and security.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while nothing could have stopped the attack, there were still failings at a high level. "And for that I apologise."