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Bob Harvey Speech: Hiroshima Day

7 August 2005

Bob Harvey Speech: Hiroshima Day

Haere mai piki mai

Haere mai kake mai

Kia ora tatau

He tangata whiti

He tangata whenua

He tangata mana whenua

Haere haere haere

I have just greeted you in the language of the mäori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

As I stand before you a former Prime Minister of my country, David Lange, lies gravely ill in hospital.

He was the man who had the vision and courage to declare that New Zealand would be nuclear free.

I dedicate this speech to him

I wish now to give you some background on my city.

Waitakere was ‘born’ as a city in 1989 when several small towns were merged.

It enjoys a spectacular location as the western sector of New Zealand’s major metropolitan area, Auckland.

Its urban area, shaped by post-war expansion, forms a network of villages, town centres and suburban sprawl.

We are also proudly nuclear free… one of the first to declare itself so …. predating even the country’s stance.

The theme of this conference is of course peace and while occasions like this are very grand it’s the small things we do every day that contribute towards harmonious communities.

Let me give you some examples…

Waitakere is New Zealand’s first eco city.

Being an eco city means working with people and communities to build a strong, peaceful local economy.

Crime and other social ills evaporate with wealth and relative prosperity.

Being an eco city also means protecting and expanding the ‘green network’ which links our streams and parks from sea creating attractive, peaceful and claming city environments.

Home to around 130 separate and different cultures, Waitakere is thus a modern melting pot.

Our population is 190,000 and with 39 percent of our population under the age of 24 we’re a very young Polynesian city.

One third of the population is under 20 years of age.

A microcosm of the whole country really.

In Waitakere there is an absolute commitment to peace and sustainability.

The two are inseparable.

Peace means consultation and involvement in the decision making.

This is evidenced by the Waitakere Council in bringing Maori and Pacific Island people into the decision making house through Te Taumata Runanga and a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Pacific Island Advisory Board.

We have tired – and I think succeeded – in creating a peaceful community, a community in which people feel safe, valued and comfortable.

To Waitakere’s credit we have been involved in a number of peace initiatives that I want to very briefly relate.

We have a commitment to Agenda 21 which takes a holistic approach to sustainable development, in particular recognising the inter-relationships between the environment and the economy.

I would like to acknowledge here our relationship with our Japanese sister city of Kakogawa.

Our Civic Centre features a Peace garden which was a gift from there.

It features Peace roses. Roses take a lot of work to allow them to flourish. So it is with peace itself. Peace is about the evidence of work.

I have also been personally involved in peace initiatives.

In 1995 I led a delegation of civic and political leaders to Tahiti to protest against nuclear testing.

In 1996 I was honoured to receive a United Nations Mayors for Peace award.

As civic leaders in dark times we must take ownership of issues such as peace.

Today I bring with me formal letters from every New Zealand not represented here today thus demonstrating total commitment to a nuclear free Pacific, world and future.

I want to leave you with an old Maori proverb – He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

It is people, it is people, it is people.


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