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Positive Contributions to Race Relations November

Positive Contributions to Race Relations November 2004

Te Kahui Tika Tangata/ On the Bright Side

November/Whiringa-à-rangi 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.

MC Dasha and the HK Crew

For Meri Kirihimete, the first Christmas Album in Te Reo Maori. Band members from Fat Freddys Drop, Wai and Maia have been brought together as the H.K. Crew by producer MC Dasha to create what is claimed to be the first ever album of Christmas songs to be recorded in Te Reo Maori. It features popular favourites like Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Silent Night, Mary's Boy Child and I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.

It makes you wonder why it's taken this long, but with increasingly positive public attitudes to the use of Te Reo it should get some good airtime over the next few weeks. And speaking of Christmas, the use of Christmas greetings in Te Reo Maori and other languages continues to grow. One of many to join the trend is the Wellington NZ Samoan and Chinese law firm, Rasch and Leong, who have gone the extra step of adopting a bilingual motto, "Successfully helping you, Angitu ana te awhina i a koe", for their business. Suggestions for Christmas greetings can be found at www.nzreo.org.nz.

ANZ Bank Ltd

For portraying New Zealand's diversity in the "Getting To Know You" television commercial. ANZ's current TV commercial portrays the diversity of their staff and the diversity of New Zealanders in a positive manner, which can only be good for race relations. The advertisement did not set out to be a promotion of diversity, but in showcasing the bank's own staff it has that effect. The phrase, "We all wear the same uniform, but we're anything but uniform", with the accompanying graphics, captures the essence of what unites and differentiates us in our diversity as New Zealanders.

Auckland Theatre Company

For A Christmas Carol, November-December 2004. Jennifer Ward-Lealand's production of David Armstrong's new take on Charles Dickens' Christmas story has a laptop toting free-marketeering Kiwi Ebenezer Scrooge haunted by some very New Zealand ghosts of Christmas past. The first ghost, played by Hori Ahipene, uses more than a sprinkling of te reo, and Ghost No 2 is a Samoan cleaner with silver lavalava and glitter duster-wand. Jackie Clarke, who plays Lorraine Cratchit, says of Scrooge: "He's like an awful talkback person who says all those terrible things that maybe, for a minute, you think yourself, but probably won't say out loud. But when you see the glimpses of Scrooge's past you realise that he wasn't always like that, he's hardened up. But the more of those little glimpses he has of when he used to care, that's what keeps you hooked. A Christmas Carol, which in the true tradition of Christmas pantomime has plenty of double entendre for the adults and spectacle for the kids continues at Auckland's Sky City theatre till mid-December. Visit www.atc.co.nz for details.

New Zealand Netherlands Society

For the St Nicholas Day Festival, Auckland, December 2004. Santa (Sinterklaas) comes early for the Dutch, and this year it will be an occasion for the wider community. The Auckland War Memorial Museum and the New Zealand Netherlands Society are holding a Living Treasures Day for the Festival of St Nicholas in the Auckland Museum on Sunday 5 December 2004 from 10:00am to 5:00pm. This will be a day of cultural activities to celebrate the Festival of St Nicholas with the Dutch community with lectures, children's stories, puppet plays, crafts, arts, and performances by the Auckland Dutch Dancers and Dutch choir. There will also a visit by St Nick and his helpers (en route from Spain to Holland) at 2:30pm followed by a children's party.

Asian Students Association and UNITEC Students Association, Auckland

For the "Goodbye Racism" Unitec Culture Unity Day, November 2004. Following a controversy over the publication in Unitec's student paper of a poem which deeply offended many staff and students because of its racist content, the Asian Students Association and the UNITEC Students Association, in association with the UNITEC administration and staff, organised a "Goodbye Racism" forum. Its purpose was to demonstrate that Unitec values and honours the diversity of its students. The forum was packed out with some 350 students and staff in attendance. Along with some external speakers, students from a wide variety of ethnicities - Pakeha, Maori, Pasifika, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Indian, gave their perspectives, and there were Maori, Pasifika and Asian cultural performances. It was an opportunity to declare their rejection of racism in any form, and further events are planned for the future.

Wellington District, NZ Police

For a commitment to strengthening relationships with Wellington's ethnic communities. The desecration of Jewish cemeteries and the hate letters to a number of Muslims in Wellington, which shocked New Zealanders earlier this year, have had the opposite effect to what their perpetrators intended, if a meeting at Wellington's Kilbirnie mosque on 18 November is anything to go by. Here representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities met with the Wellington police and heard of the steps taken by police which have resulted in an arrest in the case of the hate letters. Community representatives spoke of the way the two incidents had brought them together and strengthened their relationships, and the police expressed commitments to strengthening their links with ethnic communities.

The press releases announcing the arrest were produced in Somali and Arabic as well as English, a first in police public relations. "The clear message to come from this investigation", said Detective Inspector Harry Quinn, "is that police, ethnic and faith-based groups can and must work together to overcome incidents of this nature." There was strong support from both communities for that sentiment.

Korean Cinerama Trust

For the inaugural Korean Film Festival, October 2004. It's been something of a year for film festivals featuring different countries and regions, including Asia, the Middle East, France and Italy, and now the Korean Festival has made its debut, reflecting both the growing Korean population in New Zealand and the cultural cooperation between Korea and New Zealand. A Korean Film, Old Boy, which won this year's Grand Prix at Cannes, was partially filmed in New Zealand. The Festival screened 11 of Korea's best known feature films at Sky City Theatre, included cultural items in some of the intervals, and coincided with a visit by a Korean government and film industry delegation to discuss future film linkages and a joint Korea/New Zealand Film Co-Production Agreement.

Auckland Trade Training Academy

For providing "pathways to construction" for refugee youth. The Auckland Trade Training Academy was established in 2000 as a training provider specialising in pathways to employment in the construction industry for youth at risk. The Academy initially focused on Maori and Pacific youth, but has recently extended its programme to include migrants and refugees. In partnership with the Ministry for Social Development and refugee communities as part of the Mt Roskill Refugee Youth Project, the Academy has included five Ethiopian and Somali young people on its 12 week "Pathways to Construction" programme, with a view to their moving on to modern apprenticeship positions in the building industry. They have taken special measures in consultation with community leaders to provide a supportive environment for the group.

Te Runanga a Iwi o Nga Puhi

For the planned Ngapuhi Festival 2005. The inaugural Ngapuhi Festival will be happening on Auckland and Northland's Anniversary Weekend, January 29 and 30) at Lindvart Park in Kaikohe. There will be a centre stage for performers, including Tui music award winner Ruia Aperahama and Hakiwa, an exhibition of Maori art, a shopping series and a waananga series (see www.ngapuhi.iwi.nz ). Northland is a particular focus for Waitangi commemorations the following weekend, but they will also be taking place all over the country. The Ngapuhi Festival will complement other huge iwi/community celebrations such as the well-established Ngati Kahungunu festival in Hawkes Bay and the Porirua City and Manukau City Waitangi Day festivals.

This year's grants from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Waitangi Day Commemoration Fund give an indication of the extent of activities, which include events organised by the New Zealand Tamil Society, the New Zealand Sri Lanka Buddhist Trust, the Waikato Ethnic Council, the Nelson Multi-Ethnic Council and the Ruatoria RSA. A growing list of events is available at http://www.hrc.co.nz/index.php?p=23980 .

Asia New Zealand Film Foundation Trust

For the Short Film Making Workshop, November 2004. The Asia New Zealand Film Foundation Trust grew out of the inaugural Asia Film Festival Aotearoa in Auckland this year, and is now embarking on a programme to encourage Asian film-makers to tell the stories of Asian New Zealanders, as part of their commitment to building bridges between communities and to enrich the cultural landscape of Aotearoa. The workshop was held on 27 November at the University of Auckland in partnership with the New Zealand Asia Institute and Creative Communities. The Trust plans a second Asian Film Festival in April 2005. For further information visit www.anzfft.org.nz.

Wellington Jewish Community

For the What it Means to be Jewish forum, October 2004. As part of the New Zealand Diversity Programme, the Wellington Jewish community combined on 31 October to present an audience of some 100 Wellingtonians with a panel of ten speakers on what it means to be Jewish. The panellists ranged from young to old, orthodox to progressive, religious to non-religious, and together painted a fascinating picture of the diversity of the Jewish community in New Zealand. Further forums are planned to contribute to greater inter-faith and inter-community understanding.

Claudia Orange

For "An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi". Claudia Orange's new book brings her history of the Treaty up to the present day, with lots of key people and events brought to life in pictures. She describes it as, "a short history and a snapshot taken at a particular moment". Her conclusion is that "the last fifteen to twenty years have brought significant settlements, far-reaching policy changes, a wider acknowledgment of the Treaty, and greater empowerment for Maori in decision making processes. From these experiences, a relationship 'akin to a partnership' has begun and can become a real part of the country's future...It is a responsibility of all governments to work with Maori and Pakeha towards a vision for the future - one that expresses a full understanding of the nation's founding document and one based on mutual respect for each others' culture." It's been a bumper year for Treaty information and publications, with the Treaty of Waitangi website www.treatyofwaitangi.govt.nz and a range of new books focusing on or informing the current public debate.

There have also been Human Rights Commission symposia and community dialogues on human rights and the Treaty (see www.hrc.co.nz/treaty ) and courses such as those run by the U3A Okeover, the Canterbury WEA, the Kapiti U3A and many others around the country.

For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website www.hrc.co.nz . Recent additions include information about Waitangi Day events and Race Relations Day on March 21 2005, the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme and the landmark report, Human Rights in New Zealand Today.

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

ENDS

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