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Photographic exhibition pays homage to peacemakers

3 March 2008

Photographic exhibition pays homage to peacemakers

Waitangi Park will, from this Friday 7 March, house a new photography exhibition, Winds of Change – 1000 Women for Peace, celebrating women from all over the world who have worked towards peace.

Three years ago, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee accepted a unique nomination by 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005, a project that was started by then Swiss MP Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold.

Now a major network with thousands of members, PeaceWomen Across the Globe is touring the world with its exhibition to highlight peace-building initiatives. After touring more than 30 countries in three different continents, the exhibition is being brought to New Zealand by the Embassy of Switzerland.

Nicci Simmonds, one of the co-ordinators of the Nobel project, says women from more than 150 countries and who were part of the original collective nomination feature in the exhibition.

“The nomination was quite a big deal. Even though women have traditionally been known as history’s peacemakers, the Nobel Peace Prize has been given to men almost exclusively for the last hundred years,” she says. “This exhibition is an inspiring and moving reminder of how peace can be brought about, day by day, and that while it’s up to each individual to act, it is collective action that brings the greatest change.”

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to navigate the thousand images through ten thematic areas. Each area is arranged by colour to indicate the type of work the women did, be it Justice and Peace, Reconciliation and Reconstruction or Minorities and Indigenous Peoples.

People will be able to read each woman’s story by flipping the image over to read the panel on the back. The stories include one woman’s success in abolishing female genital mutilation in a North African region, a woman from the highlands of Papua New Guinea who mobilised women from opposing villages to convince their men to end tribal fighting and the stories of four New Zealand women’s work.

Sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland to New Zealand and supported by Wellington City Council, the exhibition will be opened by Hon Marian Hobbs on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Ambassador of Switzerland, His Excellency Dr Beat Nobs. The opening ceremony will take place on the eve of International Women’s Day, Friday 7 March, at 5.30pm at Waitangi Park Wind Gardens (on the waterfront/corner of Te Papa).

Three New Zealand women from the original thousand nominees will attend the opening: Patsy Henderson from Whangarei, Marion Hancock from Auckland and Pauline Tangiora from Mahia Peninsula; as well as Eleitino Paddy Walker from the Cook Islands.

The exhibition will run from Friday 7 March until 23 March.


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