Dame Susan Devoy has a dream. Martin Luther King she is not, but the new Race Relations Commissioner adopted some of the American civil rights legend's soaring rhetoric yesterday.
She had, she said, "a dream for Aotearoa".
"I want my children to be able to tell their mokopuna that New Zealand is a place of tolerance and understanding, a place where people are accepted for who they are, and not judged by the colour of their skin," she told the Ethnic People's Advisory Panel racism and discrimination conference.
Devoy referred to her turbulent start in her new job.
"As Wally Hirsch, a former Race Relations Commissioner, said: 'race relations is like white water rafting ... it may go smoothly for a while, then you may have a rugged ride, then get to calm waters again ... The thing to remember is, it is worth being part of the experience'."
Devoy added: "I hope I don't fall out of the raft."
She said the negative attention showed people cared about human rights, but race relations still had a long way to go in New Zealand.