Retiring Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon has been appointed as the next Race Relations Commissioner, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today.
Mr Foon, who will take up his new appointment on August 26, will be responsible for leading the work of the Human Rights Commission in promoting positive race relations.
"Race relations is a priority area for the Human Rights Commission," Mr Little said. "We need to continue to break down barriers to racial and ethnic equality in New Zealand society."
Mr Foon had "an outstanding record as a relationship builder and walks comfortably in the pākehā world, the Māori world, the Chinese community and other communities making up New Zealand", Mr Little said.
He also apologised for the delay after an unsuccessful applicant last year sought a judicial review of the appointment process.
“It is regrettable that the appointment of the Race Relations Commissioner has been delayed as long as it has been,” said Andrew Little.
The Human Rights Commission has welcomed the appointment.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says he and fellow commissioners look forward to working with Mr Foon.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Meng’s experience joining the Commission in this role. His background in working across cultures in business and at the community level will be a boost to improving race relations in this country.”
“We are all looking forward to working with Meng to help create the fairer, more harmonious society so many people have been calling for, particularly in the wake of the terrible events in Christchurch,” Mr Hunt says.