Sunday, 6 October 2019

Our New Race Relations Commissioner. Meng Fong talks about his life

Waata Shepherd, Ying and Meng Foon and Hinetau Dell. pn511
It’s nearly 50 years since New Zealand had its first Race Relations Conciliator. That was Guy Powles. And he’s been followed by Harry Dansey, Hiwi Tauroa, Walter Hirsh, Chris Laidlaw, John Clarke, Rajen Prasad, Gregory Fortuin, Joris de Bres, and Susan Devoy.
Along the way, in 2002, the title was changed. The Conciliator became our Race Relations Commissioner. And that’s what Meng Foon has been over the last few days since he turned from his job as Gisborne’s mayor and took up his new role within the Human Rights Commission.

Click here to read this interview with e-Tangata:  "Meng Foon: a Journey in te ao Maori" by Dale Husband.
It's a fascinating story. I learnt much about race relations (particularly Chinese-Maori relations) in Gisborne; about  the life of a young boy in a typical Chinese family, and about NZ Chinese-China relations, from when his grandparents and father arrived in 1947 to his years as Gisborne's mayor from 2001 to this year.  It is a little known part of New Zealand's story. -- ACW


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