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Women’s Issues Top Agenda at Forum on Diversity

Human Rights Commission
Media Release
20 August 2006

Women’s Issues Top Agenda at Forum on Diversity

A forum on women and diversity in Wellington tomorrow has attracted so much interest that the venue has had to be changed twice to accommodate those registering.

Over 150 women of diverse ethnic backgrounds are gathering in Wellington on Monday to explore common issues they find in their diversity.

The forum on “Women Supporting Women: Making Connections” is being hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs as part of the New Zealand Diversity Forum (NZDF).

Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, says that of the sixteen different forums that are being offered by a variety of organisations, the women’s forum has drawn the largest numbers.

“There is clearly strong interest in addressing the issues faced by women in our increasingly diverse society, and particularly in connecting the experiences of women of different ethnicities.”

The programme includes keynote speakers and a panel of representatives from the National Council of Women, Pacifica, the Maori Women's Welfare League, Rural Women New Zealand and the NZ Federation of Ethnic Councils.

Because of the high registrations, the women’s forum will now be held in the Soundings Theatre at Te Papa from 1.00-5.00pm.

The NZDF is being held from 20-22 August and is a major national forum covering a wide range of topics on national identity, cultural diversity and harmonious relations attended by hundreds of people from across the country.

Over 80 researchers from throughout New Zealand will gather to discuss priorities in diversity research, and there will be specialist meetings of staff from public libraries, local government, museums and galleries. Creative New Zealand will launch its new strategy on cultural diversity in the arts at a forum on Monday afternoon.

Other forums attracting major interest are on “race versus need”, organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, and an interfaith forum organised by the Victoria University Religious Studies Programme to discuss education, community dialogue and a national statement on religious tolerance.

On Tuesday at 9.00 am, the Prime Minister is presenting a keynote address at the plenary session of the NZDF at Te Papa Marae on national identity, cultural diversity and harmonious relations. In the afternoon, a panel of Members of Parliament will debate their policies on diversity.

There will also be a multicultural and multi-faith tribute to Dame Te Atairangikaahu to recognise her strong leadership in positive race relations.

Full details of the programme are available at www.hrc.co.nz/diversityforum

Ends

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