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Parliament to celebrate Rosh Hashanah

Hon Chris Carter
Minister for Ethnic Affairs

9 September 2008 Media Statement
Parliament to celebrate Rosh Hashanah

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter will welcome New Zealand’s Jewish community into Parliament to celebrate Rosh Hashanah for the very first time tonight.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of the most important High Holy days in this, the 5768th year of the Hebrew calendar.

A small but vibrant Jewish community has been active in New Zealand since the earliest days of European settlement, and the first synagogue was consecrated in Wellington in 1868. Today almost 7,000 people in New Zealand identify as Jewish.

Chris Carter said he was honoured to host this important event for the Jewish community and take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution the Jewish community have and continue to make to New Zealand.

“This government recognises that our country is a place of diverse cultures and religions, and we believe that all New Zealanders are stronger for this diversity.

"In the past six years we’ve bought many different cultural and faith celebrations into our Parliament, including the Muslim festival of Eid, the Hindu festival of Diwali, and the Chinese new year which is an important Buddhist festival.

"Most recently, Parliament hosted over 500 people to celebrate the contribution that the Croatian community had made to New Zealand on the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Croatian migrants to New Zealand.

“Jewish immigrants have brought a passion for education, a devotion to family and community, and a strong social conscience to New Zealand.

"Jewish New Zealanders have included Prime Ministers, business leaders, high court judges, academics, local body politicians and have been well represented in the medical and legal professions.

“Our celebration of Rosh Hashanah recognises this legacy, as well as the many contributions the Jewish community continues to make to New Zealand. I hope this gathering will start a tradition of celebrating Jewish festivals in our Parliament.

“I want to wish everyone a happy and memorable Rosh Hashanah.”


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