The Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) has commissioned a series of workshops:
1) To conduct a needs assessment, identifying issues of importance for young New Zealand Muslims, so that they can thrive and flourish in our country.
2) To probe recommendations from young New Zealand Muslims as to how their needs could best be met.
To achieve these objectives OEC contracted the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington, to conduct the workshops with the support of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) and to produce a report. The Centre has a history of working with New Zealand’s Muslim community on past projects, including FRST funded research – Youth Voices, Youth Choices- Identity, Integration and Social Cohesion in Culturally Diverse Aotearoa/New Zealand.
This workshop was conducted at Avondale Islamic Centre, 122-126, Blockhousebay Road, Avondale, Auckland in collaboration with New Zealand Muslim Association Inc. (NZMA) on Saturday 17 September 2016 from 9am to 1pm.
The Workshop Content and Activities
The half-day workshops was conducted with Muslim youth aged 16-25 years old in Auckland. Representatives from NZMA, President Ikhlaq Kashkari, the Office of Ethnic Communities, FIANZ and the Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research welcomed the youth on the day and reassured them of confidentiality of information collected from this research. He encouraged them to voice out any concerns and needs in order to find workable solutions for our youth.
The workshop was run by two trained facilitators, selected from a multi-ethnic and multi-national group of post-graduate students at the Centre of Applied Cross-cultural Research. The Centre recognizes the need to be culturally sensitive and to ensure the safety and well-being of the workshop participants. To these ends, interested parties are invited as observers for the first 30 minutes of the workshop. However, to provide the opportunity for the participants to speak openly and frankly, no observers are permitted once the needs analysis begins and for the duration of the workshop.
We appreciate the concerns of parents and elders regarding the implementation of these workshops by persons unknown to them. To address these concerns, we conducted evaluations of the workshops where young people are invited to share their views on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the sessions. We are happy to provide summaries of these evaluations to allay concerns. We are also making available copies of some reports and publications we have produced in connection with our previous work to highlight our trustworthiness and respect for members of the New Zealand’s Muslim community.
Finally, with regards to practical matters, FIANZ & NZMA provided the catering for the event, so all food was halal; we schedule gaps in the workshop for prayer times; and we will carefully oversee contact between males and females during the workshop. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly, either by e-mail (Colleen.Ward@vuw.ac.nz) or phone (021625315).
Professor of Psychology
Director, Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research
Victoria University of Wellington