Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council – Celebrating Diversity

We are Ōtepoti Dunedin

Presented by Kotahitaka and Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council

Tēnā koutou katoa

In the midst of COVID-19 induced stresses and social distancing, it seems more important than ever to strengthen community spirit and to celebrate the multiethnic diversity of Aoteoroa New Zealand. We know that increasing linkages between ethnic communities provides for a healthy, happy nation.  

The Kotahitaka Trust initially formed within months of the Christchurch terror attacks and it is poignant that this book emerges close to the date of the second anniversary. Trust Members adopted the name ‘Kotahitaka’ from the Kāi Tahu dialect to reflect the concept of unity in diversity, and, our aim to foster a lasting relationship with Mana Whenua. The heart shape of the logo is single and unifying; decorated by waves and clouds. The koru emphasises our hopes for the future of Aoteoroa New Zealand.

In collaboration with the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council, we are delighted to bring together this inaugural snapshot of many ethnicities from within the Ōtepoti Dunedin community today. This book is a collection of pre-designed pages completed by as many of the current ethnic (cultural) groups as possible. It provides an electronic and hard copy record of our community today for future generations to explore their background and inheritance. We hope future editions will be expanded by even more diversity. (You can download the book on the right side of this page or access the web version below >>)

Without the time and effort of the participating groups, none of this would have been possible, and we sincerely thank you for your important contributions. We wish to thank Te Runaka o Ōtākou and mana whenua for their opening statement and ongoing blessings for our efforts.

We look forward to future contributions and editions.
Ka manaakitaka ki a koutou katoa

Noelyn Anne Hung,

Chair, On behalf of The Kotahitaka Trustees

  • Gerard de Courcy, Co-Chair Kotahitaka Trust
  • Malcolm Wong, Treasurer Kotahitaka Trust and Kotahitaka Trust Book Coordinator
  • Jessie Lenagh-Glue, Secretary and Kotahitaka Trust Book Coordinator
  • Lux Selvanesan, Dunedin Multi Ethnic Council President and Trustee
  • Latika Samalia, Trustee

28 March 2021

“He waka eke noa – a canoe that is inclusive of all people”

Tēnā koutou katoa, e kā mana, e kā reo, e kā waka katoa, e kā karakataka maha, e kā hakui, hakoro tae atu ki kā tamariki mokopuna, e kā hau e wha, no tēnā pito no tēnā wāhi, mauriora.

Greetings to one and all, we celebrate the diversity among our communities, of the many strands of ethnicity that make up our community.  We recognise the cultural roots that underpin identity and values, from the elders through to the young, to all genders, to the people from the four winds.  We extend our goodwill and wish one and all wellbeing, harmony and prosperity in this city, this place of Otepoti.

Te Rūnaka o Ōtākou are pleased to support the Kotahitaka Trust Board and the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council special initiative to celebrate Race Relations Week.  This indeed is a time for celebration, a time of sharing and expression as a community made up of many parts, a togetherness under the umbrella of ‘kotahitaka’.  To a unity built on respect for the diversity among our communities and regard for one another, a time to share our stories of who we are, a time of learning more about the richness of our diverse ethnic communities. 

We of the hapū (extended family) of Kāi Te Ruahikihiki (one of the five primary hapū of Kāi Tahu), trust that one and all have enjoyed a happy and fruitful 2021 Race Relations Week here in Otepoti.

Edward Ellison
Te Rūnaka o Ōtākou Upoko

Dunedin Cultural Groups

Click on the groups below to visit the group’s page

Araiteuru Marae

An urban marae had been suggested in Dunedin since the 1960s but it was not until 1980 that the Arai Te Uru Marae opened. This made it one of the first urban marae in the country.


Burns Club

The kaupapa of the Club is to promote an appreciation of Scottish culture, including fostering a love of Scottish songs, poems and stories. Membership is open to people from all cultures and it is not necessary to be a descendent of someone from Scotland

Chinese Assoc

Otago & Southland Chinese Association (OSCA)

The purpose of the Otago & Southland Chinese Association (OSCA) is to support Chinese living in NZ and in particular, Otago and Southland. This includes organising and participating in events that develop friendships and promote goodwill with the Chinese community and the wider community in Otago, NZ and overseas. We are part of the New Zealand Chinese Association (“NZCA”), the largest Chinese association in NZ, both in members and geographically.


Dunedin Senior Chinese Association

The purpose of the Otago & Southland Chinese Association (OSCA) is to support Chinese living in NZ and in particular, Otago and Southland. This includes organising and participating in events that develop friendships and promote goodwill with the Chinese community and the wider community in Otago, NZ and overseas. We are part of the New Zealand Chinese Association (“NZCA”), the largest Chinese association in NZ, both in members and geographically.

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Dunedin Korean Society Inc

The purpose of the Dunedin Korean Society Inc is to: facilitate meetings and strengthen the bonds between the Society’s members; support the members’ rights; to promote cooperation and friendship between the Republic of Korea and New Zealand; to assist settlement and assimilation of the Korean immigrants in New Zealand society; to help Korean immigrants to become contributing members of New Zealand society

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Dunedin Korean Language & Culture Society

Dunedin Korean Language & Culture Society is a Korean culture - centred community group. Our kaupapa is to support Korean-Kiwis to enjoy a higher level of wellbeing with a platform of learning English and Kiwi culture along with creating new style of Korean culture adapted to Kiwi lifestyle in New Zealand

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Lebanese Society - Cedars Of Lebanon Club Inc

Most of the Dunedin Lebanese immigrants come from a mountain village in the north of Lebanon, known as Becharre while a smaller number came from the Tripoli region. Over the years the Lebanese community of Dunedin earned respect and recognition as citizens of the city. Hundreds have obtained degrees from Otago University and elsewhere. Many have established small and larger businesses as well as professional practices

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Myanmar Community of Dunedin

Dunedin represents a second home for us multiethnic group of Myanmar nationals to form a community. In Dunedin, we are given a unique opportunity to learn about one another, support each other in addition to experiencing the local and the multinational cultures that this city has to offer.

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Dunedin Nepalese Society

We are the Nepalese by ethnicity, living in Dunedin who have migrated on work visas or come as students. We aim to promote and preserve Nepalese identity, culture and tradition; strengthen friendship and relationship with Tangata whenua and Mana whenua and other New Zealand societies to help our community members better integrate with New Zealand society and culture.


Otago Access Radio

OAR FM Dunedin is a vibrant, inclusive, not-for-profit station, hosting programmes and podcasts by, for and about our local communities. We are passionate about enabling Dunedin-based ethnic groups and people of all backgrounds to be heard and connected. The station provides a unique opportunity for you to share your language, music and culture with Dunedin listeners by making your own radio show and podcast.


Otago Polytechnic Student Association (OPSA)

Our Kaupapa is student needs, and to provide the students with support while they study as Otago Polytechnic. We are a student association, who provide students with ID's, help to find rooms around campus, provide finical support to students who are having hard weeks of financial difficulty, Advocacy support, Career information, advice, and guidance

Otago-University Medical Students Assoc th

Otago University Medical Students’ Association (OUMSA

The Otago University Medical Students’ Association (OUMSA) is an organisation run for medical students by medical students. At a personal level, OUMSA provides support for students, considering ourselves a family. Formally, we organise activities and events with the aim to further ourselves not only as medical students but as people within our communities and Aotearoa as a whole.


Otago University Students' Association (OUSA)

The Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) is run by students for students. Together with our paid staff, we provide our members with representation, welfare, advocacy, recreation, fun events and media. OUSA was founded on 20 May 1890 in order to run student rooms, organise activities over Capping, approach the University with student concerns, and arrange socials. 131 years later, we’re still doing that, but on a much grander scale!


The Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust (POHOS)

POHOS was formed by the descendants of Polish Settlers into NZ (the first substantial, in numbers, group arrived on “Palmerston” into Port Chalmers, Dunedin in 1872), descendants of 1st & 2nd World War refugees, Polish born emigrants arriving in NZ in 1970th and 1980th and Polish born young generation of people working and/or studying in Dunedin and Otago Region.


Ragalayam – Mini School of Carnatic Music

‘Ragalayam- Mini School of Carnatic Music’ was founded in August 2020 and is one of a kind in the Otago region. It is a unique initiative to encourage pupils based locally to learn an intricate and complex subgenre of classical music that originated in the Southern states of India way back in the 12th century.

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Sai Group, Dunedin

We are a service group based on Sai Baba’s teaching- with the Motto – “LOVE ALL SERVE ALL”. This group is not a religious group - everyone is included but the teaching are incorporated with Hindu teachings, It includes people from all religions, faiths, and nationalities.

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Otago Scottish Heritage Council

The aim of the Otago Scottish Heritage Council was to bring together all of the Scottish Societies of Dunedin under one banner to represent their interests at a regional level. This remains the aim. Membership has increased markedly and in 2021 there are more than 20 affiliated Scottish groups within the Council. Membership ranges from representatives of local clans, dancing and piping organisations to the Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society

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Dunedin Tai Chi Club Incorporated

Dunedin Tai Chi Club (DTCC), a non-profit organization, was formed to promote Tai Chi exercises to Dunedin residents especially the elderly folks to improve their physical and mental health well being. Tai Chi is a good exercise for people who cannot do strenuous activities and it helps the body to build up strength. For the more energetic enthusiasts, there are Tai Chi Fan and Tai Chi Sword Dance exercises too. We are looking into other related exercise and dance activities in the future


Dunedin Syrian Society (DSS)

We are Syrian by ethnicity, living in Dunedin, who have migrated through the Refugee Quota Program, are on work visas, or came as a student. We aim to promote and preserve Syrian identity, culture, and tradition; strengthen friendship and relationship with Tangata Whenua and Mana Whenua and other New Zealand societies to help our community members better integrate with New Zealand society and culture

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Dunedin Tibetan Association (DTA)

The Dunedin Tibetan Community group is made up of ethnic Tibetan people and their families who live in Dunedin. We are part of the groups that comprise the national New Zealand Tibetan Association. As stated above, the Dunedin Tibetan Association informally came into existence in 1985 with the first arrival of four Tibetans and their whānau.


Dunedin Tamil Society

Dunedin Tamil Society (DTS) is a community organisation to foster understanding, friendship and goodwill among the Tamil speaking community in Dunedin. Built on the three pillars of Tamil Language: Literature (Iyal), Music (Isai) and Drama (Nadagam).

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Tuakana/Tenia Program

To help Guide and support Students who are taking up education for the first time either after leaving school or retuning as an Adult Student. We are a newly organised group, who have been formed as a Big brother/Little Brother support system, making sure that the little Brothers/Sisters can cope in their new education journey, while at Otago Polytechnic.