A Multicultural Council of Kapiti is in the process of being formed.

A group of multicultural people from around the district have held an inaugural meeting at council chambers.

The group, in partnership with the Multicultural Council of Wellington and Kapiti Coast District Council, is applying to become an official multicultural council under the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils.

Fernando Figueroa, a music teacher and community cultural project leader, has been resolute in his desire to see multiculturalism celebrated in Kapiti since he arrived from Chile two years ago.


Fernando has been spearheading the idea with the help of Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan who hosted proceedings.

After arriving in New Zealand two years ago with no English, no job or understanding of New Zealand, Fernando has been involved in community projects such as his Multicultural Educational Campaigns in schools and Multicultural Music Programme which led to the creation of the Kapiti Coast Big Band which he currently directs.

Mr Gurunathan played a large role in making the meeting happen, having approached Fernando expressing his interest to work with him in setting up the council.

"He approached me as he knew I was involved in this kind of work," Fernando said.

"I'm all about music and culture."

The first meeting discussed the role which the council would play in the community.

According to Multicultural New Zealand's guidelines on how to establish a regional multicultural council, activities of the regional councils generally include representing ethnic communities at community meetings and consultations, organising ethnic festivals and working with local authorities to develop initiatives that support ethnic communities.

Fernando said, "My desire is to realise my cultural projects and contribute to education through music and to improve the interculturalisation of the different communities in Kapiti."

Playing many different instruments, Fernando believes that music is a universal language. "Music is a powerful and wonderful way to unite and integrate people. Therefore we can use music in an active way to speak about and explain migration, immigration and multiculturalism and what it means to our community.

"We have just established a committee which we hope will become a fully-fledged council once we do all the paper work and go through the formal procedures which will take around six months."

Being under the umbrella of Multicultural New Zealand means that once formally established, the Multicultural Council of Kapiti will receive funding and support to run events in the community celebrating different cultures and ethnicities.