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Picnic of the bunch . . . Members of the Waitaki Multicultural Council and Waitaki Newcomers Network are looking forward to the Race Relations Picnic on Sunday. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

The Waitaki Multicultural Council’s family picnic is an opportunity to maintain existing friendships and build new ones, Waitaki Newcomers Network and Migrant Support co-ordinator Christine Dorsey says.

Migrants, newcomers and community members alike are all invited to this Sunday’s picnic at Wilson Park.

It was all about increasing understanding and bringing everyone together, Mrs Dorsey said.

“Many people don’t realise we have over 50 ethnicities living here in Waitaki,” she said.

“We just wanted people to be aware we are here, doing things in Oamaru.”

The picnic would be one of many national events held in March to celebrate Race Relations Day, which was established by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission to celebrate multiculturalism.

The council usually celebrated the day annually by putting on a multicultural concert at the Oamaru Opera House.

Mrs Dorsey said they did not want to go ahead with a concert this year in case it was cancelled because of shifting Covid-19 alert level restrictions.

Instead, the picnic would be a “relaxed” day of mingling.

“It’s a good chance to sit down and talk to one another.

“The whole idea is to gather and celebrate diversity.”

People would need to bring their own food and blanket to sit on, but sharing was welcomed.

There would also be face-painting, games and bouncy castles.

Members of the Oamaru Islamic Centre would be doing henna tattoos and Sport Waitaki co-ordinator Pip Sutton would be running games.

Mrs Dorsey had her fingers crossed for good weather.

The picnic is on from 11am to 3pm.