Ethnic diversity is increasing in New Zealand. The country’s five largest ethnic groups are New Zealand European, Maori, Chinese, Samoan and Indian but in total, according to the 2013 Census results, there are 213 different ethnic groups. Almost 40% of Aucklanders’ were born overseas. Ethnic and cultural differences are part of New Zealand society and our club environments need to be open to those differences.
Here are some tips to help your club build an environment that values and respects different cultures:
Explain why cultural diversity is important to your club – take the time to discuss why an inclusive, multi-cultural community is important to your club. Is it because the club values the different perspectives that come from culturally diverse teams? Is it because the club has plans and needs greater cultural awareness to attract new members? Whatever reason, sharing your club’s thinking will help to position cultural diversity as a goal that everyone needs to contribute towards.
Build your club’s cultural knowledge – invest some time in educating your community on New Zealand’s ethnic make-up.
Make it clear cultural discrimination is unacceptable – New Zealand law prohibits discrimination but club need to take responsibility for their own culture. Club policies and procedures will determine whether the club environment delivers a positive experience for all cultures. Ensure that everyone understand there is no acceptable level of discrimination – from harmless jokes to exclusion. Everyone should be supported to talk about inappropriate behaviour, resolve issues and take action if the behaviour continues.
Understand cultural norms is a good starting point – Appreciating different cultural norms gives a club a good platform for understanding how they can show respect for the diverse groups in their community. Each culture has “cultural norms” which act as a guide for socially acceptable behaviour. Cultural norms can influence everything
from what a person eats to what they wear and how they interact with colleagues in the club environment.
For more ideas on how to cater for diverse groups click here.