Dame Susan Devoy says some of the criticism since she accepted the role of Race Relations Commissioner has been unfair.
Following her appointment last month, some groups said she should not have been given the job.
Dame Susan says although the criticism and media attention have been unfair at times, she understands the media need to reflect all views.
Speaking to an Auckland Council ethnic affairs conference on Saturday, she quoted former Race Relations Conciliator Wally Hirsch who said the role is like a turbulent whitewater rafting ride.
Dame Susan said the attention has had some benefit in highlighting the issue of human rights and she told the conference she took the role - and race relations - very seriously.
She said people should play the ball, not the person, and though she has learned from her rough few weeks she is unlikely to change the way she does things.