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Human Rights Commission: On the Bright Side


Human Rights Commission Te Kahui Tika Tangata

On the Bright Side

March/Poutu te Rangi 2005

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 .

All Those Who Contributed to Race Relations Day 2005

For making Race Relations Day a success throughout New Zealand . From feature stories in magazines like Mana, Tu Mai and Spasifik, newspaper features, through radio and television promotions and features on Newstalk ZB, Television New Zealand, Maori Television, Mai FM, Niu FM and Access radio, to festivals, interfaith events, church services, workshops, seminars, public library displays, art exhibitions and activities in early childhood centres, schools, tertiary institutions and workplaces, Race Relations Day was marked throughout the country.

A few examples are separately listed below, but acknowledgment is also due to the Federation of Ethnic Councils, for major community festivals in Tauranga, New Plymouth, Nelson, Hutt City and Palmerston North and a range of events in other cities, Capital E and the Wellington Public Libraries for their children’s programme of making clay figures of earth people for display in Civic Square, the Waitakere Ethnic Board for their Race Relations Festival at Corban’s Estate, the Waimari and Fendalton Community Boards for their Culture Galore Festival in Christchurch, the extensive programme of activities organised by the Christchurch City Council and Christchurch Public Libraries, the workshop and staff activities at Papakura City Council, the major programme of activities undertaken by other councils such as Waitakere City, Manukau City, Auckland City and Wellington City (to name but a few). For the first time, the government officially marked the day with a reception at the Department of Internal Affairs and Office of Ethnic Affairs. The Race Relations Day stickers, posters, tattoos and balloons proved immensely popular, featuring the “diversity fern” representing New Zealand ’s different cultures.

Some local council ' s have picked up the theme of a “diversity season” with events spread from Waitangi Day in February to Race Relations Day in March. With such a wide variety of cultural events during this late summer period, including the Chinese New Year, Auckland ’s AK05, New Plymouth’s WOMAD, Pasifika, Te Matatini, the Auckland secondary schools’ Polyfest, St Patrick’s Day and other cultural festivals, it is hoped to extend this concept next year and to promote it nationally.

Waimakariri District Council

For the Celebrating Diversity Day, March 19 2005 . Waimakariri District Council, in association with the North Canterbury Neighbourhood Support group and the North Canterbury Baha’i community, organized Waimakariri’s first cultural festival in Rangiora on March 19 to coincide with festivals throughout the country to celebrate Race Relations Day. There was a powhiri from Te Ngai Tuahuriri Runanga, stirring kapa haka from Nga Pumanawa, a group of students from three Christchurch high schools (all wearing Race Relations Day tattoos), as well as Chinese and Scottish performances and Japanese, Swiss and other cultural foods. Rangiora’s Victoria Park was decked out with black and white Race Relations Day balloons for the festivities. The day was also supported by Creative New Zealand. Photo’s celebrating Diversity Day are at http://www.waimakariri.govt.nz/community/happening/index.htm

Sister Marcellin, Wellington

For the Palm Sunday and Race Relations Day banner at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wellington . Sister Marcellin made a huge banner of the 2005 Race Relations Day emblem of a fern with fronds representing different cultural groups in New Zealand for Palm Sunday in Sacred Heart Cathedral. Added to the fern was the word Hosanna, recalling the cries of the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem . Traditionally churches are decorated with palms to mark Palm Sunday, and the banner brought together the themes of Palm Sunday and Race Relations Day. There were similar posters in St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Plimmerton, and many other churches throughout New Zealand marked the day. A photo of the Sacred Heart and St Theresa’s banners is at www.caritas.org.nz/race_relations.php .

RANGIKAINGA Indigenous Media Network Ltd

For the weekly online panui Rangikainga. This new weekly e-newsletter on Maori issues was launched in January. Its purpose is to “harness digital technology in an effort to share relevant, unbiased and independent information with whänau, hapü and iwi as well as with those interested in and working with Mäori communities”. It is a well designed and very readable newsletter, and a website with further information and back copies of the panui is available at www.tangatawhenua.com .

Mallika Krishnamurthy

For Six Yards of Silk. This first novel by Wellington dancer, former teacher and careers adviser Mallika Krishnamurty is a simple but powerful evocation of the experience of migration from South India to New Zealand . It asks questions about what migrants bring with them and what they leave behind. The main character, Sharmila, is immobilised by the mysterious disappearance of her brother off the South Coast of Wellington, and seeks to gather the strands of her life and weave them into a new future. It is a story of dislocation and redemption. The novel was launched in February with a celebration of Indian culture in New Zealand . It’s well worth a read. For more information visit www.SteeleRoberts.co.nz .

Museum of New Zealand : Te Papa Tongarewa

For Qui Tutto Bene: The Italians in New Zealand . Te Papa has a long term programme of telling the stories of diverse New Zealand communities in its community gallery. The current exhibition, running till May 2006, is about the Italian community. You can explore the stories of Italian settlers, from winemakers to miners, fishermen to market gardeners, tunnelists to artists, the hardship suffered when Italian New Zealanders were interned on Matiu Somes Island in World War II, and the links between Maori and Italians. The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of Italian films and music, and the associated school programme includes opera karaoke and comparisons between Italian opera and Maori purakau (story-telling). Te Papa is a partner in the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme, and has contributed its community gallery exhibition programme as one of its projects. For more information visit www.tepapa.govt.nz .

Centre for Citizenship Education

For the Directory on Cultural Diversity, March 2005. The Centre for Citizenship Education launched its new web-based Directory on Cultural Diversity on Race Relations Day, in support of the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme (in which the Centre is a partner). The directory, which will undergo further development in the next few months, is integrated with the Centre’s Guide to Citizenship Education, and contains information on government and local government as well as community organisations and the Diversity Action Programme. For further information visit

http://www.decisionmaker.co.nz/directories/diversity/index.html

Te Aka Puaho

For the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the formation of the Maori Synod of the Presbyterian Church, March 2005. Te Aka Puaho is the name of the Presbyterian Maori Synod, and they celebrated their fiftieth anniversary at the Synod’s Ohope marae from 17-20 March. The programme included a hikoi to Maugapohatu, where Presbyterian missionary Rev John Laughton entered into a covenant with Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana which laid the groundwork for the Presbyterian Church’s bicultural journey. The celebrations were attended by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and the Moderator and representatives of the church’s Pacific Island Synod. The Human Rights Commission’s report on Race Relations in 2004 was released at the celebrations by the Race Relations Commissioner as part of Race Relations Day 2005.

Parkside Preschool and Nursery, Christchurch

For the Race Relations Day programme, March 2005. You’re never too young to celebrate diversity. Parkside Supervisor Jackie Dalton and her team have a strong commitment to encouraging diversity in their pre-school and nursery, and for Race Relations Day this year they had a week-long programme of activities. The under-two’s had a shared multicultural lunch (ranging from cheerios to sushi) and the over-two’s had a variety of educational and interactive activities to celebrate the day. All the children received Race Relations Day stickers in their lunchboxes and posters were also handed out.

Wellington Wesley Parish

For multilingual welcome signage. A bright new sign outside the Wellington Wesley Parish in Taranaki Street Wellington has the name of the church in English and Maori, and welcomes visitors in Maori and a number of Pacific languages. Over a year ago, the parish invited the Race Relations Commissioner to a meeting to discuss race relations and he issued them with a challenge to change their sign to reflect their multicultural congregation, and they did. Although government departments and local councils routinely use bilingual signage, mainstream local churches and cathedrals still tend to present a very monocultural face to the world. So good on you Wesley – may you start a trend.

Leonie Moxon , Victoria University

For an Overview of Race Relations Research in 2004. Leonie was contracted by Victoria University ’s Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research to provide an overview of race relations research in 2004 for the Human Right’s Commission’s report on Race Relations in 2004. This was part of the Centre’s contribution to the New Zealand diversity Action Programme. The overview gives an indication of the wide variety of research that is being conducted, and will be a useful resource to researchers and students of race relations. It is hoped to expand it further in next year’s report. The overview is published as an appendix to Race Relations in 2004, which is available at www.hrc.co.nz .

NZ Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux Inc

For CAB Awareness Week, 14-20 March 2005. New Zealand ’s citizens’ advice bureaux promoted their services in an awareness week in March. There are 87 bureaux from Kaitaia to Invercargill, all staffed by volunteers, who between them fielded 596,872 enquiries last year, which is 11,478 client contacts per week or 2,295 client contacts every working day or one client contact every 12 seconds of the working day. They provide services across all ethnic communities in New Zealand , including the availability of interpretation in a multitude of languages. They also have information leaflets in English, Maori, Cook Island Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Farsi, Hindi, Somali and Arabic. These and other publications can be obtained free of charge from admin@cab.org.nz. More information is available on their website at www.cab.org.nz or on their freephone 08000 FOR CAB.

For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website http://www.hrc.co.nz.


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