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On the Bright Side - May/Haratua 2004

Tue, 1 Jun 2004

Te Kahui Tika Tangata
On the Bright Side
May/Haratua 2004

Kia ora. Here are this month's acknowledgments from the Race Relations Commissioner for positive contributions to race relations in New Zealand.

Tana Umaga

For being named Captain of the New Zealand All Blacks, May 2004. Tana is the first Samoan New Zealander ever to be appointed to this icon role, and the appointment has been received both with both universal acclaim and with particular pride by the people of Wainuiomata and the Samoan community here, in Samoa and around the world.

He is reputedly one of the most feared attackers in international rugby, but also has a reputation for fairness, reflected in a recent international award. Ooh Aaah, talofa, congratulations.

Paul Rishworth

For organising the Equality Symposium, Auckland, May 26, 2004. Paul, who is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Auckland University, organised the one-day symposium to examine three areas of human rights of particular current interest - equality, discrimination and the Treaty.

He asked experts from around New Zealand to prepare papers and invited specialists from the universities, the Crown Law Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Review Tribunal to join them in a discussion of the issues. The symposium was chaired by Justice David Baragwanath and commentary was provided by Justice Laurie Ackermann, who is a Judge Emeritus of the South African Constitutional Court.

Pat Snedden

For a thoughtful Pakeha contribution to the race relations debate, 2004. Pat is an Auckland businessman who personifies the fact that the current race relations debate is not a Maori-Pakeha debate but rather one that crosses racial divides.

He took the initiative of organising a public meeting in Auckland to present his perspective on the current issues, and has since contributed articles to the media, spoken on radio and been invited to numerous other meetings. He is a Director of Auckland's Watercare Services, a board member of Housing New Zealand and the ASB Trust, and an elected member of the Auckland District Health Board. He is business adviser to the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board and Health Care Aotearoa and helped to establish Radio MaiFM.

Maidstone Intermediate School, Upper Hutt

For "The Story of Ghandi" at the regional inter-school Stage Challenge, Wellington, May 2004. Maidstone was one of only two intermediate school to enter the contest, held at Queen's Wharf Events Centre on 4 May. All but one of the other entrants were high schools, and mostly senior students. The performance, coached by the school's drama and art teachers, involved around 100 students on the stage.

The theme of their item was "satyagraha" or non-violence, and Gandhi's saying that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". It was the result of 12 weeks of workshop training in their lunch hours. It was a major learning process, which included being taught by a community member about the henna process and the background to it for their appearance on the day. They were also involved in the set-design, costumes and choreography for their performance.

Tourism New Zealand

For the launch of the "Rough Guide to Maori New Zealand", May 2004. This world first on a particular culture is a mini-version of the popular "Rough Guide" series of tourist guides and was a collaboration between Tourism New Zealand, the National Maori Tourism Network and the Rough Guide publishers, with support from the Historic Places Trust, Air New Zealand and Tailor Made Travel (UK). It has been cover-mounted and distributed with 165,000 copies of the UK Daily Telegraph and 47,000 copies of Wanderlust Magazine as well as at the Chelsea Flower Show.

It will not only background and showcase New Zealand's unique indigenous culture to a wide international audience but also support the economic development of Maori tourism in New Zealand. Who knows, it might even tell us a few things about ourselves that we don't know. For more information visit www.tourisminfo.govt.nz .

NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc (BPW NZ)

For follow-up to the "World of Peace" conference, May 2004. BPW NZ is part of an international business and professional women's organization and for their 39th conference last year they focused on "A World of Peace". The purpose was to provide a forum to explore the economic, social and cultural diversity of women in New Zealand, to identify ways to improve the position of women in the economic life of New Zealand, and to initiate a project to advance the integration of migrant and refugee women into New Zealand society.

Refugee and migrant women were sponsored and invited to lead and contribute to workshops on employment, education, health, resettlement, discrimination and communicating with people of other languages. Some 150 women from branches around the country attended, and delegates have taken the ideas generated by the workshops back to their clubs to initiate new projects. The outcome of these workshops, a booklet on Resettlement Issues for Refugee and Migrant Women, including suggested projects, was recently launched by the Auckland Clubs and the women of Ruapotaka marae at the marae. The BPW NZ website is at www.bpwnz.org.nz .

Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, Auckland

For the ethnic food and cultural fesitival, 1 May 2004. This annual event at the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall continues to grow, and is a fundraiser for the Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, which delivers care services to older people of Indian origin along with educational, social and cultural support. The members include Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. Activities include film showings, festivals and cultural activities, workshops on access to health services, welfare assistance and fundraising.

Year 10 Economics Students, St Thomas of Canterbury College, Christchurch

For the "Can Racism" economics project, May 2004. Year 10 St Thomas students combined a pressing school social issue with a business project by selling recycled and modified cans with anti-racist and anti-bullying messages on the outside and tips on how to keep safe from racism and bullying on the inside. The cans double as pencil cases, with lids made from materials donated by a local hardware store. The students (from ten different ethnic groups) have now marketed their product within the school and are visiting neighbouring schools to talk about their experiences and encourage other students to share theirs.

Government Administration Select Committee

For the inclusive process used to consider the petition for the repeal of the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act, May 2004. Last year the petition signed by 100,000 people, was referred by Parliament to the multi-party Government Administration Select Committee for consideration.

The Committee achieved a number of Parliamentary firsts in ensuring that their process was accessible to the Samoan community, including the first use of a live video-link for the hearing of submissions between Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Apia in Samoa, tabling of the report in Parliament's Galleria before a large gathering of petitioners rather than in the Chamber, and tabling the report in both English and Samoan languages.

While the Committee does not recommend granting the petition for repeal of the Act, it undertook a comprehensive human rights analysis and recognised the need to address underlying issues. It recommends a review of the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa for this purpose. The inclusive process used by the Committee was favourably commented on by Anae Arthur Anae, as spokesperson for the petitioners, at the tabling ceremony. The report is available at www.parliament.govt.nz .

Huia (NZ) Ltd, Wellington

For publication and communication services that promote and share Maori language, culture, achievement and ideas in New Zealand and abroad. Huia was established in 1991 as a small company specialising in Maori publishing. Today, it is a multi-media communications company that works to support Maori development by promoting Maori people, Maori perspectives and Maori language. The company was founded on Robyn Rangihuia's Bargh's personal belief that Maori experiences needed to be heard, seen and promoted on a national and international scale.

They have taken books by Maori authors to international book fairs, attended indigenous conferences globally, produced innovative resources for kohanga reo and kura kaupapa nationally, and have worked with clients to create information programmes that involve Maori and promote Maori achievement throughout New Zealand. Their website is at www.huia.co.nz .

For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website
(www.hrc.co.nz ). Recent information includes details of the HRC/UNESCO Living and Learning human rights education conference in Auckland in July, the Commission's Te Mana I Waitangi treaty dialogue project.), and NZ Reo: Maori Language Week 2004.

Previous editions can be found at http://www.hrc.co.nz/index.php?p=13789#3.

ENDS

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