Aotearoa Ethnic Network Organisation / Collective / Group


NameAotearoa Ethnic Network
Decades Active2000s, 2010s


The Aotearoa Ethnic Network (AEN) was an email listserv and, later, an online journal initiated in 2004 by Ruth De Souza with support from Andy Willamson, who at that time had been working in nursing and healthcare and was based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. AEN attracted an active membership and provided a space for migrant and diaspora communities to connect and discuss political and cultural issues.

When De Souza established the email list, Williamson assisted with the technical and design aspects of the initiative. The name of the network re-appropriated the term ‘Ethnic’, which was being used in policy in New Zealand at the time — particularly by the Office of Ethnic Affairs (est. 2001) — “to describe people who are neither Māori, Pākeha, or Tangata Pasifika.”

Within a year of establishment, the network had over 400 members. The listserv hosted event announcements, job opportunities, and daily flurries of discussion generated by the membership. De Souza has described the network as:

a space for: cross cultural conversations between migrants, settlers and Maori; members of ethnic communities around Aotearoa/New Zealand to: network and to talk to each other about living in in a white settler nation context; develop connections across communities; and engage with those delivering Government or NGO services.

Requests to join the listserv were approved by De Souza. In 2006, seeking to expand the audience for these conversations beyond the intimacy of the listserv, De Souza and Williamson created the Aotearoa Ethnic Network journal. The content reflected some of the topics being discussed within the listserv — spanning religion, art, human rights, immigration, the justice system, the New Zealand media, diaspora in relation to emerging technologies, and solidarity with Tangata Whenua aspirations.

The first issue of the AEN journal was launched by the Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, and it became part of the Human Rights Commission’s Diversity Action Programme. It received acknowledgements for contributing to Race Relations in 2005 and 2006, and an Award for Outstanding Contribution to Race Relations in 2007. Four issues were published over the course of 2006-7.

The Aotearoa Ethnic Network offered an important space for discussion among communities outside of the mainstream media and created a space where members connected and organised in response to political issues. De Souza moved to Australia in 2013, and for a time, AEN was continued as a private Facebook group. The listserv was formally concluded in 2020.


Key works / presentations

August 2007 — 'Faith for all: New Zealand's growing religious diversity', Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2

April 2007 — 'Information Technology and Ethnic Communities', Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

November 2006 — Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2

July 2006 — Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1

Key awards

2007 — Award for Outstanding Contribution to Race Relations

Last updated: 7 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Issue 1, July 2006

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Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Issue 2, November 2006

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Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Issue 3, April 2007

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Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal, Issue 4, August 2007

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Email subject lines and previews in an inbox.

Subject lines of AEN listserv threads, 2017

Courtesy of Ruth De Souza

Black and white ad talking abou the origins of the Diversity Action Programme.

Information about the Diversity Action Programme, included in the AEN Journal

Excerpt of a digital journal page.

Editorial in the first issue of the AEN Journal, 2006