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HRC: On the Bright Side

Human Rights Commission
Te Kahui Tika Tangata

On the Bright Side: Paenga Hihiko

September/Te Mahuru 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.

Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Maori, Maori Language Commission

For the launch of the Korero Maori website, 14 September 2005. A new interactive website, Korero Maori, was launched by Te Taura Whiri at the second annual Maori Language Week Awards on 14 September.

It's a very accessible, totally bilingual site, aimed at both Maori and non-Maori. It seeks to raise awareness about the Màori language by increasing opportunities for people to learn and use it in a variety of contexts (including business).

The site includes interactive conversations and basic introductions to Màori language and
culture , waiata and place names. The Maori Language Week awards themselves also attracted a lot of interest and keen competition, particularly in the media sections.

TV3 carried off the supreme award for its daily news items in te reo on its regular news programmes during the week. The site is at www.korero.maori.nz .

Asia New Zealand Foundation

For the Engaging Asian Communities in New Zealand report. This report by Terry McGrath, Andrew Butcher, John Pickering and Hilary Smith contains a wealth of information about the way engagement happens (or doesn't happen) between various Asian communities and other communities in New Zealand. It draws on both focus groups and interviews.

The authors say that "the trials and tribulations of Asians settling into and being discriminated against in New Zealand are well documented. This report does not seek to revisit this well-trodden path; rather it seeks to take further steps: moving from unsettled encounters to successful engagement".

It contains a wealth of information and recommendations (both specifically on language related matters and on general issues) that will be very useful for people working on settlement policies and plans. It also suggests an indicator framework to measure the impact of settlement policies on social cohesion. For more information visit www.asianz.org.nz .

St Joseph's parish, New Plymouth

For a Mass of Cultural Diversity, Social Justice Week, September 2005. St Joseph's parish, New Plymouth, celebrated Social Justice Week with a Mass of Cultural Diversity on 17 September.

Mass celebrants Fr Thomas Lawn and Fr Brian Vale were welcomed into the church with a haka, and prayers of the faithful were read in six languages, including Maori, French, Dutch and Tagalog. A Kiribati family danced the offertory gifts to the altar. The theme of the Catholic Church's social justice week was celebrating cultural diversity, and there were activities in schools and parishes throughout the country.

Special acknowledgments also to the Challenge 2000 group who organized a youth mass on cultural diversity at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Wellington, and St Joseph's parish in Morrinsville, who had a workshop on Understanding Islam. Social Justice Week was a Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand contribution to the NZ Diversity Action Programme.

Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand and Bridget Williams Books

For Last Words: Approaches to Death in New Zealand's Cultures and Faiths. The Funeral Directors Association commissioned Bridget Williams Books to produce a handbook on approaches to death and dying in different cultures in New Zealand. The resulting very useful new guide, compiled by Margot Schwass, was launched on 13 September at the Association's annual meeting.

Last Words provides information about death and dying in a wide variety of faiths and cultures and also includes general essays on facing death, understanding grief, and migrant communities in New Zealand. This makes the book relevant to a much wider audience than just the professionals directly involved in the care of the dying and the bereaved.

The Organising Committee, Joe Kum Yung Commemoration

For the street theatre and centenary commemoration of the murder of Joe Kum Yung, 25 September 2005. Joe Kum Yung was the victim of a random hate crime by Lionel Terry in Wellington's Chinese district of Haining Street on the night of Sunday 24 September 1905.

The commemoration of his murder was attended by about 200 people and supported by the Haining Street Oral History Project, the New Zealand Poon Fah Association, the Wellington Chinese Association, the Wellington City Council and the Wellington Tenths Trust.

As the organisers said: "The sadness of Joe Kum Yung's story, its sensationalism at the time and the public sympathy for Lionel Terry during his trial, defines this event as the low point of Chinese New Zealand experience. It is our hope that this part of New Zealand history should not be forgotten, but serve as a reminder that any sort of racial prejudice in New Zealand should not be tolerated."

The story of Joe Kum Yung, and the anti-Chinese climate of the time, is detailed in the recently published Aliens at my Table by Manying Ip and Nigel Murphy.

Wellington City Libraries

For the Migrant Communities Library Guide. This new section of the library's website was launched on 6 September, and contains information about the library collection and library services in 15 community languages. It can be accessed at www.wcl.govt.nz/languages.

This ongoing project has been contributed by the library to the NZ Diversity Action Programme, and more information on its goals is listed under projects at www.hrc.co.nz/diversity . Throughout New Zealand libraries are a key contributor to strengthening cultural diversity through their information services and events.

Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ)

For Our Dances in a New Land, September 2005. DANZ is undertaking a dance programme in conjunction with the NZ National Commission for UNESCO and Te Papa to encourage migrant groups to retain their cultures and thus enhance the rich cultural diversity of contemporary New Zealand.

The programme is facilitated by dance specialist Jennifer Shennan supported by DANZ Executive Director Tania Kopytko. A dance performance, Our Dances in a New Land, by a range of some of the smaller migrant groups in Wellington, orchestrated by Jennifer Shennan, was held at Government House in Wellington on 8 September, to raise funds to enable programme participants to attend an intercultural day to exchange experiences, and to cover the costs for a free public performance at Te Papa during Wellington's Dance Your Socks Off festival in September. The project is part of the NZ Diversity Action Programme.

Kitty Bennett

For leadership support for human rights and the role of Maori women in their communities. Kitty completed her three year term as President of the Maori Women's Welfare League at the League's 53rd annual conference in Rotorua in September.

The attendance of a wide range of political and community leaders at the opening of the conference was testimony to the League's continuing influence and Kitty's leadership. The conference theme, focusing on iwi, whanau and hapu, also reflected Kitty's emphasis in strengthening the League's role in local communities and in partnership with other organisations.

Kitty's involvement with the League began in the Rotorua branch over twenty years ago. During her term as President she also made a significant contribution to the development of the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights and actively supported the Human Rights Commission's community dialogue on Human Rights and the Treaty. Our special thanks go to her.

Christchurch Polytech and Institute of Technology (CPIT)

For the Celebrating Community programme, September 2005. As part of Adult Learners Week, CPIT Community Education organised a whole weekend of activities on 10-11 September on the theme of celebrating community. This included cultural performances, presentations, films, exhibitions and displays from a wide variety of community groups.

There were classes, discussions, Indian and Zimbabwean dance, a haka powhiri, and unannounced spontaneous events by students from CPIT's creative skills courses.

It was also an opportunity for community organisations, ranging from the Gallery Pasifika and the Refugee and Migrant Centre to the Cancer Society and the Coast Guard to promote their activities and services.

The organisers were so pleased with the community response that a repeat is planned for next year, and they are looking for community organisations to be involved in the planning process for the next one. The contact is Heather Clark at clarkh@cpit.ac.nz. CPIT was also a finalist this year at the Maori Language Awards for its Maori Language Week programme.

Land Transport NZ

For the multi-lingual road rules booklet, September 2005. Land Transport New Zealand has produced an easy to read booklet in eight languages (English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Fijian, Samoan, Hindi and Malay) to assist long term visitors and new residents to come to grips with New Zealand's road rules.

The booklet will be distributed with information packs sent to new migrants by the Immigration Service and also be available through English language schools, secondary and tertiary institutions, and refugee and migrant orientation courses, and Citizens Advice Bureaux. The booklet is also available online at www.landtransport.govt.nz/overseasdrivers/.

If you would like to nominate a person or an organisation for acknowledgment please email positive.contribution@hrc.co.nz with the details.

For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website www.hrc.co.nz . Keynote papers from the recent New Zealand Diversity Forum at Te Papa are now available at www.hrc.co.nz/forum. Also now available in hard copy are limited numbers of the Commission's review, Race Relations in 2004.

ENDS

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