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Te Papa should learn from history: War kills!

15th July 2005

Peace Action Wellington

Te Papa should learn from history: War kills!

Te Papa’s decision to host the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (euphemism for weapons industry) Conference in October this year is an obvious sign that they need to delve back into their history books and read more about the atrocities of war says Peace Action Wellington (PAW).

“In light of this decision, PAW will be taking up a public and peace education role on the forecourt of Te Papa this Saturday (16th July), to raise awareness about how New Zealand companies profit from the manufacture of weapons and infrastructure for war,” said PAW spokesperson, Kane O’Connell.

“Not only are we committed to this role in our national museum’s absence, but the first weekend of the school holidays provides an opportune time for us to go down there and share our anti-war and peace resources with visitors.”

“We will have balloons, a petition, face-painting, an open letter to Helen Clark, educational leaflets, a sheet to paint and write anti-war messages on, badges, as well as a make your own peace badge station,” said O’Connell.

This is the third year in a row that Te Papa has allowed the NZDIA to hold their conference at Our Place. Te Papa is a Crown Entity and the responsible Minister is Helen Clark, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

According to the Te Papa official website, “Te Papa’s key tasks are to preserve and present the taonga (treasures) of New Zealand’s people and to interpret the country’s heritage.” The Museum of New Zealand Act 1992 (section 8c) states that a museum has the responsibility to ensure that it is a source of pride for all New Zealanders.

“We’d like to know how hosting a conference dedicated to weapons and an industry that contributes to death and destruction ensures that Te Papa is a source of pride,” asked O’Connell.

“Products promoted at recent conferences have included grenades, weapons firing control systems, shoot-to-kill training equipment, ‘special purpose’ munitions, and aerial bombing score systems. We all know from history, and so should Te Papa, that the use of such materials has led to death and destruction for peoples in societies all across the world,” said Kane O’Connell.

Peace Action Wellington calls on Te Papa: Our Place to put the interests of peace before profit and inform the New Zealand Defence Industry Association that they are not welcome at Te Papa: Our Place in October.

ENDS

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