The Office of Ethnic Affairs has been renamed the Office of Ethnic Communities and the minister, Sam Lotu-Iiga, has been renamed the Minister for Ethnic Communities.

He said the name change reflected the strengths and potential of the office.

The office is a unit within the Department of Internal Affairs.

"The office works closely with ethnic communities and businesses and uses that experience to inform government policy and practice," Mr Lotu-Iiga said.

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"It is important that our ethnic communities are empowered to expand their horizons so that they can play a more active role in shaping the New Zealand of tomorrow."