After months of not being able to run our breakfast programme, we were delighted to be back at Level 1 to host former Gisborne Mayor, and now Race Relations Commissioner, Meng Foon, at our business breakfast event at Karori Park Café on 24 September.
Meng delighted us with his down to earth approach to life, his “humble” beginnings as a son of well-known Chinese market gardeners in Gisborne, his early schooling at Makaraka just outside of Gisborne city, and education at Gisborne Boys High before he took up various business interests working in the city. From two terms on the Gisborne District Council Meng became Mayor and served six terms from 2001-2019 when he was appointed Race Relations Commissioner in August last, succeeding Dame Susan Devoy. He and his wife Ying still maintain their family home in Gisborne.
Meng gave us a taste of issues coming across his desk and working through strategies to try and reduce amongst other big social issues a high and unacceptable level of bullying prevalent in schools and in the work place in New Zealand. He said he enjoys face to face meetings with people to try and build respect to work together with other agencies in the country for some better and more sustainable outcomes in behaviour patterns.
Meng was well received by an audience of 50, with quite a number of our regular attendees not able to attend this event.