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Positive Contributions to Race Relations

Positive Contributions to Race Relations

Human Rights Commission

Te Kahui Tika Tangata

On the Bright Side

June/Pipiri 2004

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

Bruce Holm, Four Square Supermarket, Tokomaru Bay

For introducing bi-lingual supermarket signage, June 2004. Bruce Holm described himself on National Radio as "a sort of honkie Jaffa" who'd come to the small East Coast settlement of Tokomaru Bay from Auckland, having bought the local supermarket.

Tokomaru Bay has a population almost 80% Maori, and after being approached about the matter, Bruce agreed to introduce Maori language signage into the store. When asked if he was just another "sickly white liberal", he said that although he'd missed out on a tan last summer, he was basically just "sympathetic to commonsense things to be done for our country", that as a university graduate in foreign languages he felt that "language is a precious gift, the Maori language is a precious gift and it behoves all New Zealanders to treasure it" and that "language is the key to understanding who we are and where we are and why we are".

It's hard to think of a better introduction to Maori Language Week from 26 July to 1 August with its theme of "Give it a Go: Korero Maori" (for ideas and resources for Maori Language Week visit http://www.nzreo.org.nz/ ). Kia ora Bruce.

Daphne Bell, Hamilton

For contributing to greater understanding of New Zealand's new migrant communities. Daphne Bell's New to New Zealand: A Guide to Ethnic Groups in New Zealand is already in its third edition and second reprint since it was first published on behalf of Hamilton's New Settlers Focus Group and the Ethnic New Zealand Trust in 1997. It aims to give staff of voluntary and statutory agencies a readily accessible resource that will help them to understand their clients better. Daphne has worked closely with Hamilton's ethnic communities and has been a board member of the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust. She is also a committee member and home tutor for the Waikato ESOL home tutor scheme. As the Donations and Community Liaison Coordinator for Trust Waikato, she has provided funding advice to many community and volunteer organisations, and published a Grant Seeker's Guide. She is retiring from the Trust in July, and will be working on a further edition of New to New Zealand.

Moe Milne, Matawaia, Northland

For the Matariki celebrations, Healing the Spirit, in the Kaikohe region, June 2004. There has been significant further growth in the celebration of the uniquely New Zealand and Pacific festival of Matariki this year, with many iwi, local councils and other organisations marking the event with substantial programmes. Among those are the combined Auckland regional programme organised by the four major city councils, the well-established programme at Te Papa, and the equally well-established regional celebrations in Hawke's Bay. Moe Milne this year organised a Kaikohe regional programme under the theme of Healing the Spirit. One week of celebrations (15 - 19 June) saw over 2000 people attend various events including a wananga of Maori knowledge of Matariki in the Tai Tokerau region, composing waiata (songs), a Maori language debate and various types of healing including mirimiri (massage). There was a Maori language debate and taonga puoro (traditional Maori musical instruments), weaving lessons, and schools from the region were invited to perform throughout the week. The grand finale on the Saturday was Super 12 kapa haka, a fantasy fashion show, with special entries from Makareta Paku and Mandy Sunlight, and a showcase of local talent performing into the night. There were special appearances by Aboriginal performers, Te Huaki Puanaki, Tukaha Milne, Mere Taylor and healers from Nga Taonga o Te Ao Marama.

David Slack, Auckland

For Bullshit, Backlash and Bleeding Hearts, A Confused Person's Guide to the Great Race Row. Devonport speech writer and columnist David Slack was the author of the Treaty Quiz which achieved wide currency on the internet earlier this year. On the strength of it, Penguin Books asked him to write a book, which they describe as "At last, the book that digs behind the slogans, myths, mudslinging and misconceptions on ALL sides of the current Treaty and race debate to explain exactly where we are, how we got here and where we're heading". It is a racy, easy to read commentary that teases out and backgrounds the main issues in debate and comes to an overall optimistic conclusion about the underlying state of our race relations.

Wellington Conservancy, Department of Conservation

For the Conservation Week exhibition "Global Eye - Worldwide Perspectives of Conservation and the Environment". The theme of this year's Conservation Week (2-8 August) is Conservation with Communities, and there will be events throughout New Zealand. The Wellington Conservancy has organised an exhibition at Turnbull House, for which artists from twelve different ethnicities and cultures have been invited to create works that reflect the links between their cultural identity, the environment and conservation. Artists' backgrounds include Indonesian, Croatian, Colombian, Pacific, New Zealand, Iranian, Lybian, English, American and Iraqi. For more information on Conservation Week activities, visit www.doc.govt.nz http://www.doc.govt.nz/ .

The Rotary Club of Lincoln, Canterbury

For the inaugural Lincoln Multicultural Festival, 19 June 2004. The Lincoln Rotary Club combined with Lincoln and District Community Care, the Lincoln Community Committee and the Lincoln Business Association, to organise the festival at the Lincoln Community Hall. Their reason: "Lincoln and the neighbouring areas house a cross section of New Zealand multi-ethnicity: the university, research centres, schools and businesses bring to us the talent and diversity of people from many nationalities and cultures. What a great opportunity for Lincoln, Christchurch and Canterbury at large to enjoy the arts, crafts and food that many of those cultures now offer us." There were Japanese, African, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, South African, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Scottish stalls and an even wider variety of entertainment (including a highly popular dose of Bollywood). It was opened by Selwyn District Council Mayor Michael McEvedy and all rounded off in the good old Kiwi tradition of a cup of tea, savouries and cakes.

The Dominion Post, Wellington

For Ethnicity: Celebrating Wellington's Cultural Diversity. Following a meeting of ethnic groups facilitated by the Wellington Ethnic Council and Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast in early 2002, the Dominion Post researched and published a series of 52 articles on people from different ethnic groups in the Wellington region. These have been collated into a book, which was launched in Wellington on 25 June. As Editor Tim Pankhurst says, for many groups it was the first time they had had access to the mainstream media. "An overriding theme is that while those profiled love New Zealand, their cultures and customs are still dear to them. This is as it should be. The message of these compelling stories is that it's okay to be different." Each story contains a fact box on the country of origin, and a favourite recipe.

Pacific Business Trust

On the opening of the new Pacific Business Centre, Otahuhu, Auckland, June 18, 2004. The Pacific Business Trust was established in 1985 by the then Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Prebble, to improve viable unsubsidised employment opportunities among Pacific communities in New Zealand. Since then it has helped to establish Pacific businesses, published an annual Achievers scholarship magazine, published the Pacific business directories, organised the Pacific business awards, established the Pacific Islands Chamber of Commerce, developed South Markets and opened offices in Auckland (Waitemata and Otahuhu), Porirua and Christchurch.

Its new Pacific Business Centre was opened by the Prime Minister on June 18, where visitors are greeted by seven imposing Pacific statues, originally created in 1988 to represent the different links that Pacific people have with Maori. Each statue reflects the oral histories relating to the Pacific sea deity, Tangaroa. The building has a traditional vaka (canoe) entrance, and is decorated with tapa, fine mats, artefacts and the work of Pacific artists. It is located at the corner of Bairds Road and Great South Road. Their next big event is Thrive Pasifika, organised jointly with the Employers and Manufacturers Association at the Auckland Town Hall on July 15. For more information, visit www.pacificbusiness.co.nz http://www.pacificbusiness.co.nz/ .

For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website http://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, NZ Reo: Maori Language Week 2004, and the recently published Framework for the Future, Equal Employment Opportunities in New Zealand.

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

© Scoop Media

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