Foreign Minister Winston Peters -- once known for his criticism of Asian immigrants -- last night spoke at the launch of a magazine to promote better ties between Asians and New Zealanders.
Tony Gan, from Malaysia but educated in New Zealand, decided to start AM: The Asian Magazine to make a stand against racism in this country.
Before becoming Foreign Minister outside Cabinet Mr Peters was known for his public attacks on refugees, immigration policy and opposition to free trade deals.
He once said New Zealand was becoming an Asian colony and complained: "We have now reached the point where you can wander down Queen Street in Auckland and wonder if you are still in New Zealand or some other country."
In his speech last night Mr Peters said people who came to New Zealand were expected to contribute to the nation.
"The challenge is to find ways to provide greater opportunities for new arrivals to become New Zealand literate. This will help them not only enjoy life here to the fullest but ensure they make the most effective contribution they can."
Mr Peters said New Zealanders of Asian descent were 9 per cent of the population.
He praised successful people in the community including Governor-General Anand Satyanand and lawyer Mai Chen.
The minister said Asian countries were important for trade.
Speaking to NZPA in February, Gan said being Asian in New Zealand was not easy and despite having local degrees he struggled to get work.
"There was always taunts like 'Bloody Asian go home'," he said.