Latest News

Eid Al Fitr signals time for celebration

May 09, 2022 Share

After the trials of Ramadan for Muslim New Zealanders from across the continents of the Earth, Eid Al Fitr is a grand celebration of faith and identity.

Whether from the date-palm sands of Arabia to the rain forested shores of the Indonesian archipelago, Eid festivals will be flourishing around the Islamic world and joined in equal measures in New Zealand suburbs, towns and cities where families and communities will gather together in joy.

The time of Eid is a celebration for many reasons, from the ending of the fast, to the heralding of a new time of the year, we see in Eid a spirit of identity for all New Zealanders to build on as part of our multicultural nation. Our social connectivity through celebrations like the Eid festival grow our economic and national prowess just as formidably as trade deals and commercial endeavours. Our multi-faith and multi-ethnic society must be a priority as we look towards New Zealand’s future as a leading global economy and as a prosperous country.

Read more

Eid Mubarak!

May 09, 2022 Share

With the passing of the month of Ramadan comes the joy and celebrations of Eid across the Muslim world!

The stoic determination and efforts of our New Zealand Muslim brothers and sisters as they commemorated the heritage of their faith through weeks of fasting, prayer and commemorations should not be underestimated, particularly as COVID-19 has shaped our abilities to engage with one another in the ways we would like to best. The time of the year is special for followers of the Islamic faith. For people of other faiths, like myself, we should always be conscious of the importance these occasions are for identity.

It’s a timely opportunity to remind all people that diversity and differences can only add value to our country and will not hinder our identity as a multicultural nation.

National Party values our Muslim community and the important contributions they make to New Zealand. As a country, we should always reflect that religion, ethnicity or language differences should not be a barrier to our values but instead be recognised as an advantage to work together with others and celebrate our unity as New Zealanders.

Eid celebrations come as the country borders re-open, families re-unite and communities are able to gather once more. Eid al-fitr will be a truly special occasion this year for our Muslim community. The solemn dates of Suhoor and Iftar now transform into Sweet Eid cuisines of Knafeh, Balaleet and Halwa amidst Songs and Eid Prayers to acknowledge the year ahead.

Read more

The ANZAC story fosters New Zealand as a multicultural Nation

May 09, 2022 Share

Anzac Day is a day of reflection for our nation no matter which of our over 213+ ethnicities, religions and communities you belong to.

The comradery of the ANZAC message reaches out to all faiths and people in New Zealand in the spirit of service. New Zealand’s ANZAC spirit is one of a multicultural identity under the Southern Cross and devoted to the bonds of friendship between New Zealand and those we as New Zealanders protect. It is a character that perpetuates in the course of freedom and sacrifice in the cause of the freedoms of others regardless of their nationality.

Read more

With faith and identity, Ramadan is a time for contemplation and reward

April 14, 2022 Share

Ramadan is always an important time for reflection and community for those living within the Islamic world. I have always appreciated the compassionate outreach by New Zealand’s Muslim community to me and other Members of the National Party Caucus.

To join them in commemorating the messages of Ramadan through Iftar dinners, public panels, Suhoor, and wider discussions about faith and identity in New Zealand has been a true pleasure as National’s Ethnic Communities Spokesperson.

Read more

Debates should not generate hatred and cancel culture

April 14, 2022 Share

On the weekend, as I was preparing to write a few words about Race Relations Day and the impact of our 213+ ethnicities on New Zealand’s cultural history, I faced an outpouring of messages concerned about an upcoming film to be screened in New Zealand, the Kashmir Files.

It had been recalled for review by the Classifications Office, home of the Chief Censor.

I have talked a lot about content regulation and censorship so after considering the issue in-depth on Sunday morning I posted to my Facebook Feed. The comment thread on this post crossed a number of discussion points but I was deeply concerned about some language, both for the film’s screening and opposed, some commentators decided to direct at each other. Religious hatred, accusations of propaganda, of supporting terrorism and of misinformation were flung in both directions and all over a drama, a film that has been screened internationally now for several weeks. I found it ironic, in a discussion regarding censorship, but necessary to limit some replies that were particularly nasty choosing to incite anger and belittle rather than continue the discourse of broader opinion on this contentious issue.

 

Read more

Easter and Vaisakhi

April 14, 2022 Share

Melissa Lee
Wellington, April 13, 2022

As we head into Autumn in New Zealand and the start of many traditional Spring Festivals of South and South-East Asia, it is important to reflect on the many changes that we have seen around New Zealand.

We have lost loved ones to Covid-19, we have seen many of our favourite storefronts close and we have seen incredibly sad situations keeping people torn apart on the borders.

We have also seen incredible acts of kindness and charity. The Sikh Gurudwara, the Hindu Mandir and the Muslim Masjid, alongside many other churches around New Zealand, opened their doors to support the vaccinations efforts, to provide food and compassion to the citizens of our country while they themselves strived to ensure that their congregants received the pastoral and spiritual care of their faith.

Read more

Race Relations Day 2022: Bridging Communities and Censorship

March 22, 2022 Share

On the weekend, as I was preparing to write a few words about Race Relations Day and the impact of our 213+ ethnicities on New Zealand’s cultural history, I faced an outpouring of messages concerned about an upcoming film to be screened in New Zealand, the Kashmir Files. It had been re-called for review by the Classifications Office, home of the Chief Censor. 

Read more

Holi and 2022

March 16, 2022 Share

Once again many cultural festivals around New Zealand have had to be cancelled, postponed or moved online due to the impact of Omicron around our country. I was particularly saddened to see that this year I and my fellow National Members of Parliament will be unable to join the community in celebration of Holi, one of my favourite Indian festivals.

Read more

The Power of Holi

March 16, 2022 Share

 

It’s Holi time. The vibrant celebration of culture in a fun way that children of all ages, old and young alike, have been able to come together. Through the rainbow cascades of coloured powder, lights, and streamers showing each other the warmth of our communities in the spirit of congeniality, unity and at the end of the day, you are doused in colour from head to toe.

Read more

Melissa Lee's March 2022 Update

March 15, 2022 Share

Hi Everyone!

Heading into Autumn and colder weather I want to acknowledge how difficult the cost of living crisis is getting for New Zealand households and businesses. When the price of just a single head of cauliflower and block of cheese is reaching towards the weekly food budget of an elderly pensioner something is seriously wrong.

The Government's wasteful spending, tax grabs and failure to address rising costs in our day to day lives isn't good enough and action is urgently needed.

Please remember my Auckland and Wellington Offices are open and here to help.

 

Read more