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HRC: On the Bright Side - August

On the Bright Side

August / Here-turi-kökä 2004

Kia ora. Anei te mihi ö te Kaihautu Whakawhanaunga ä Iwi, mo ngä mahi nui, mahi whakamana i te tangata i roto i ngä kaupapa Whakawhanaunga ä Iwi, i Aotearoa. Here are this month's acknowledgments from the Race Relations Commissioner for positive contributions to race relations in New Zealand.

James and Helen McNeish

For calling for a way forward for racial harmony, August 2004. After the desecration of two Jewish cemeteries in Wellington, writers James and Helen McNeish issued a wake-up call which led to a public meeting on the steps of Parliament on 23 August, followed by a forum inside Parliament on "The Way Forward for Racial Harmony" hosted by the Speaker, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt.

Over 250 people, including many different community and religious leaders, attended the forum, which resulted in a New Zealand Diversity Action Programme with ten steps and ten actors to strengthen New Zealand's cultural diversity.

The programme can be found on an interim website especially created after the forum, www.nzdiversity.org.nz . The website will be further developed over coming months. Those who wish to participate in an online forum to discuss ways of implementing the programme can subscribe through the website or by emailing forum-request@nzdiversity.org.nz with the word subscribe in the subject field.

Beatrice Faumuina

For being selected to carry the New Zealand flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony. For the second time this year, a New Zealand Samoan sportsperson has been selected to lead a top national team. Although we only caught a brief glimpse on television of the New Zealand team at the opening ceremony, the photos of former world champion discus thrower "Queen Bea", wearing a specially crafted Maori Olympic kakahu and carrying the New Zealand flag was a powerful symbol of our growing diversity, also reflected in the multicultural composition of the team.

And didn't they do well, spurred on by regular haka from their team mates and supporters. Appropriately, the cloak was passed to Gold Medalist Sarah Ulmer for the closing ceremony. Sarah has a Kiwi champion cycling pedigree going back to her grandfather Rod, who was a competitor at the 1938 Empire Games and Team Manager for the Melbourne Olympics, and father Gary who was a track and field cyclist in the 1950's and 1960's and managed the Olympic Team in Atlanta.


John Psathas

For composing and arranging the music for the Olympic Games. Wellington musician and composer John Psathas wrote and arranged much of the music for the opening ceremony, including the key moment when the Olympic flame was lit. Psathas' parents came to New Zealand from Greece and operated restaurants and takeaways in Taumarunui and Napier.

He came to the attention of the organizing committee in the course of a world-wide search because of the fanfare he composed for the opening of Te Papa, which was later recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.


Ani Waaka

For leading the team that brought Maori Television to air. Ani Waaka stepped into the breach as Acting Chief Executive of Maori Television last year following the resignation of Derek Fox. She successfully led the team that achieved the long-awaited launch of New Zealand's first national indigenous television channel on March 28 this year.

She has seen the station through its establishment phase, achieving significant audience statistics for both Maori and Pakeha. After considerable personal sacrifice in commuting each week from her Wellington home, she has now indicated that she will step down after twelve months in the job. New Zealand will be the richer for her amazing contribution.


Ans Westra

For a lifetime of showing us to ourselves. Dutch photographer Ans Westra came to New Zealand in 1957, and for forty seven years she has chronicled a changing New Zealand through the eye of her camera, with a particular emphasis on Maori.

Controversy surrounded the publication of her Washday At The Pa in the 1960's, but as her retrospective exhibition Handboek at the National Library shows, her portfolio portrays a wide variety of New Zealand life. This wonderful exhibition remains at the National Library until November 1, after which it will tour to Auckland, New Plymouth, Dunedin, the Netherlands and Christchurch.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of seminars organized in conjunction with the Stout Research Centre, A Dutch Treat, including "Cultural Intersections between Dutch and Maori in Aotearoa", and documentaries presented by the New Zealand Film Archive. For more information visit What's New at www.natlib.govt.nz .


Te Runanga o Turanganui-a-Kiwa

For the monthly publication and distribution of Pipiwharauroa. Gisborne's Runanga o Turanganui-a-Kiwa publishes a monthly bi-lingual newspaper called Pipiwharauroa, which is distributed with the local newspaper the Gisborne Herald for all the people of Gisborne and the East Coast. The paper takes its name from He Kupu Whakamarama Pipiwharauroa which was printed in October 1899 and edited by Rev Rewiti Kohere. The paper was relaunched on 20 October 1993 and now has a widespread Maori and Pakeha readership. It's a lively sixteen page paper, packed with photos and people stories as well as important community information. If only all regions of New Zealand had access to something like this! For more information contact pipiwharauroa@ta-pte.org.nz .

Auckland's Tamil Youth

For contributing to the Voice of Tamil Youth. Seven young Tamil New Zealanders, ranging from senior secondary school to university students, spoke about their experiences of settling into New Zealand at a forum in Auckland in March, as part of Race Relations Week.

The contributions of Nirupa George, Marino Vedanayagam, Sulakchanan Anantabaskaran, Vidhya Sritharan, Sumithira Sivaramalingam, Prashantha Kunarathan and Sathan Ponnampalam have now been brought together in a booklet, Voice of Tamil Youth, with the support of the Culture X Trust and the Human Rights Commission. The booklet was launched on 21 August and is available from the Human Rights Commission (PO Box 6751, Auckland, and will shortly be available on-line at www.hrc.co.nz .

Toi Maori Aotearoa and the Wellington City Council

For signing a Memorandum of Understanding to promote Maori art in Wellington and beyond. Toi Maori Aotearoa is the national organization promoting Maori arts, supported by Creative New Zealand's Te Waka Toi. They have entered into a partnership with the Wellington City Council to support the Council's "Creative Wellington: Innovative Capital" scheme. The Council hopes to make Wellington the leader of Maori Art, in both New Zealand and the world. The MOU has seven key joint objectives, including presenting quality Maori art to the people of Wellington, contributing to Sister City relationships, ensuring Maori art is a significant component of the city's tourism development, developing a premier Maori Art Event as a major icon initiative for the city and encouraging "Maori Art to the World" initiatives. A current project is the Whenua: Born of the Land exhibition, which runs at the Tinakori Gallery until September 4. For more information visit www.maoriart.org.nz or www.wcc.govt.nz .

McCullochs Accountants and Business Advisors, Gisborne

For supporting Maori Language Week 2004. There was huge participation this year in Maori Language Week, including schools, libraries, media, councils, iwi and public and private sector and community organizations. Hundreds of organizations supporting the week are listed on the website www.nzreo.org.nz , where the booklet Give it a Go, Korero Maori and other products can still be ordered. The major participants will be recognized at the inaugural Maori Language Week Awards in Wellington in September, but there were many who just did their own little thing for the week without fanfare. Typical of those is McCulloch's Accountants and Business Advisors in Gisborne, who posted the national anthem in Maori and English on their website (www.mccullochs.co.nz ) and directed their customers to the NZReo website. Kia ora.

i-Ball Media Works Ltd, Christchurch

For publishing a bi-lingual community newspaper to "bridge the cultures" in Christchurch. The Mandarin-English bilingual newspaper i-Ball, which started as a publication for Asian youth, is now distributed with the Christchurch Star to all homes in Avonhead, Fendalton and Riccarton, plus selected drops in Burnside, Ilam, Russley and Northwood and to libraries, City Council centres, selected schools, restaurants, shops and malls. Public reaction has generally been very positive, although there is clearly still work to do given this anonymous correspondent published in the August edition: "Dear Editor, I live in Riccarton and received your paper with the Star. We do not need a newspaper like i-Ball, and it would be good if you took your opinions, culture and food back to your home country.

New Zealand is a country of quality Europeans, and Asians belong in Asia just as the Maori belong to the islands. Please stop publishing the newspaper." Hmmm.


Hagley Community College, Te Puma Way o Waupaca, Christchurch

For celebrating cultural diversity with International Day, August 24, 2004. A third of Hagley Community College's 1758 students come from 56 different countries, including China, Korea, Taiwan, Somalia, Iran, Cambodia, Russia, Italy, India and the United States.

An influx of refugees since May has further boosted international student numbers. To celebrate the school's cultural diversity, the annual International Day was held on August 24, with ethnic foods, music, exhibits and photographs. Among those attending were Human Rights Commissioner Joy Liddicoat, Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore, and Muslim Member of Parliament Ashraf Choudhary. Visit their website at www.hagley.school.nz .

AUT Muslim Students Association & Auckland University Islamic Society (AUIS)

For organising events for National Islamic Awareness Week, August 2004. The student programme included an international guest speaker and a series of lectures and video screenings on Islam.

There was also an Islamic Art exhibition at the Auckland Central Library and an inter-faith service in conjunction with the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS). Lastly there was a Mosque open day with video screenings and talks on Islam.

Waitakere Library and Information Services

For the publication of the New Settlers' Guide, 2004. As part of Waitakere City's settlement strategy, New Out West, the Library Service has published a booklet covering a broad range of general and local information most relevant to migrants' settlement needs, written in simple English and supported with graphics, with space provided for notes and personal translations. It is also available on line at www.waitakereonline.co.nz . For more information contact the Waitakere Multicultural Services Librarian, Shivangi Pradhan, at ShivangiP@waitakerelibs.govt.nz .


For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website www.hrc.co.nz . New from September 1 is the full landmark report Human Rights in New Zealand, and a summary version of the report. There are also details of the meetings to be held in September and October to consult on the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights which will pick up the findings of the report. Copies of the reports can be read on line and the summary can be requested from nzaphr@hrc.co.nz .

ENDS

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