Dining to enjoy ethnic diversity

Organisers Tina Zhang and John Hodgson are looking forward to the Breaking the Barriers Dinner. Photo: Alisha Evans.

A dinner celebrating the different cultures and ethnicities in Tauranga, as well as discussing how to combat racism, will bring people together to share their views.

Breaking the Barriers dinner organiser John Hodgson says there is increasing discrimination and racial intolerance around the world, so now is a good time to have open discussions about it.

“It gives the opportunity for many people to get together and exchange ideas,” he says.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon and five locals including Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley and Yvonne Kalman from the New Zealand China Friendship Society will be speaking. They will be sharing their thoughts on tolerance and discrimination in New Zealand.

John says they have been chosen to represent the contrasting cultures in Tauranga and the emphasis is on their experiences and feelings rather than their culture or ethnicity.

The dinner is about good food and a good opportunity to exchange ideas and meet new people, says John.

He has travelled extensively and been welcomed by people from many cultures; he says if more people could experience that welcoming feeling from diverse groups there would be greater understanding.

“People should take the opportunity to meet with and get a better understanding of different cultures.

“We are different but encompassing those differences and endeavouring to enjoy those differences,” says John.

Breaking the Barriers is a joint venture between the New Zealand China Friendship Society Tauranga branch and Multicultural Tauranga.

NZCFS Tauranga president Tina Zhang is interested to hear what the panelists have to say about discrimination and the situation since the coronavirus pandemic.

The NZCFS promotes friendship, understanding and goodwill between the people of China and New Zealand.

Tina says they love to bring Chinese culture to locals and share Maori and Kiwi culture with Chinese people.

“We’re a bridge to help the immigrant Chinese people live here and helping local people to understand our Chinese culture,” says Tina.

Foon is also holding a talk with local principals, teachers and board of trustee members during his visit to Tauranga.

The three-course dinner is at Daniels in the Park on Wednesday, April 14.

Tickets cost $45 and available at House of Travel on Willow St and Multicultural Tauranga in the Historic Village.


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