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All Whites will be all colours before long

Human Rights Commission

13 October 2006

All Whites will be all colours before long says Race Relations Commissioner

The All Whites, New Zealand's national soccer team, will be all colours before long if the present growth in ethnic soccer tournaments continues says Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres.

The Human Rights Commission has this month acknowledged organisers of ethnic soccer tournaments in Upper Hutt, Wellington and Hamilton for their positive contribution to race relations.

Wellington City Council is organising the inaugural Culture Kicks Football Festival at Martin Luckie Park in Berhampore on 22 October (Labour Weekend) which they are describing as Wellington's own mini-World Cup. Teams representing their country of origin or a mix of nationalities will be competing, and there will be ethnic foods and entertainment as well as football at the park.

Last month the Upper Hutt Multi Ethnic Council organised a similar tournament at Totara Park, which was won by the Sudanese team who beat the Zimbabweans in the final.

New Zealand's longest standing ethnic soccer festival takes place in Hamilton on 9-10 December with 24 teams playing 66 games over two days, and a celebrity team playing a World XI. The Hamilton tournament, which also includes food, and arts and craft stalls, has been an annual event for the past five years.

Christchurch also held its third Ethnic Soccer Festival in February this year.

Mr de Bres said that with soccer being the most popular organised sport played by young New Zealanders, it was only a matter of time before this grass roots diversity was reflected in the national team.

"It's a great way of celebrating diversity and bridging communities and I expect that these kinds of tournaments will spread to more centres in the future."

ENDS

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