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Race Relations Day Forum For Whangarei

Race Relations Day 2021 will be marked in Whangārei with a free public event featuring three invited speakers, at Forum North’s Cafler Room on Monday March 22 from 12pm.

The day commemorates South Africa’s Sharpeville massacre in 1960, and is the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The forum format began in 2019 just days after the Christchurch massacre, while the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid. It begins with light refreshments, with speeches and questions from 12.15 to 2.15pm. Workers are welcome to bring their lunch.

Speakers are Andrew Judd, Hori Parata, and Sue-Anne Moo. Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai will make opening remarks.

Hori Parata is a Ngatiwai kaumatua with responsibility for kaitiakitanga. He is a member of the national Māori advisory groups for the Environmental Protection Agency and MPI’s Kauri Dieback programme, and pioneered whalebone retrieval by initiating a protocol with DoC. He is concerned to protect cultural sites of significance within the Ngatiwai rohe.

Sue-Anne Moo is a lawyer trained in Singapore, now resident in Whangārei. She is passionate about improving access to justice, and bridging the gaps between different cultures. She is active in social services addressing information needs, and support for new migrants.

Andrew Judd is a former Mayor of New Plymouth who has successfully campaigned to remove discriminatory legislation allowing council decisions to create Māori wards and constituencies to be put to referenda through a petition of ratepayers. He is the writer of the 2021 State of the Pākehā Nation essay commissioned by Whangārei anti-racism education group Network Waitangi.

Each will give a presentation and there will be time for questions from the floor.

Organisers are four frontline agencies that support the settlement of migrants into Whangārei – Multicultural Whangārei, Citizens Advice Bureau, English Language Partners, and Women’s International Newcomers Group Social – with the support of the District Council community development team, and Northland’s Immigration NZ relationship manager.

The forum will be live-streamed from the Multicultural Whangarei Facebook page, and in the event of a Covid-19 level change, the event will be an online Zoom with the link provided by that agency.

Background information

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws. Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

In 1979, the General Assembly adopted a programme of activities to be undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On that occasion, the General Assembly decided that a week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination, beginning on 21 March, would be organised annually in all states.

Since then, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and there is an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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