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Human Rights Commission Millennium Awards

10 December 2000

Human Rights Commission Millennium Awards

The Human Rights Commission is giving its Millennium Awards at a ceremony commencing 12.00 noon 10 December - Human Rights Day. The venue is the West Gallery, Wellington Convention Centre, Wellington Town Hall.

The function will also launch the Human Rights Network of Aotearoa-New Zealand, a non-governmental network of individuals and organisations. The network’s patron Sir Paul Reeves will speak.

The awards recognise grassroots initiatives and achievement in the area of human rights, work which promotes harmony between individuals and groups and that which aims to overcome discrimination.

Journalists are warmly encouraged to attend. A light cocktail lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Award Winners

Winner of the Human Rights Commission Millennium Medal and the award winner in the media category is Her Honour Judge Caren Wickcliffe.

Caren Wickliffe (Ngati Porou, Te Whanau a Apanui, Rongowhakaata), is a newly appointed Maori Land Court Judge. She is responsible for the administration of Maori Land for Tairawhiti region and becomes one of the first two women appointed to the Maori Land Court. She is Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of Graduate Studies at Waikato University and was Lecturer in Law at Victoria University 1994 to 1997. From 1997 to 1999 she worked as a Fellow in Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation - in human rights development in Fiji.

Caren completed her LLM (Hons, First Class) in 1997 and is nearing the completion of a BA in Maori Studies. From 1991-2 Caren was a Harkness Fellow at the Indian Law Resource Centre, Helena, Montana, USA. She has published numerous international papers and articles concentrating on Maori issues and has an extensive knowledge of Maori Customary Law and Treaty issues.

Caren has also been a Board Member of the Public Health Commission (1992-5), a member of the National Family Violence Advisory Committee (1994-5), and of the Joint Crown and Maori Working Party for the Development of National Customary Fishing Regulations (1994-7).

The winner of the Youth category of the Awards is Anita Treefoot who is acknowledged for her work with other young women in advancing and protecting the rights of women. Most of her community work has been voluntary and has included co-founding Feminist Action in Auckland in 1999, running workshops on self-defence and sexual health, developing a comprehensive campaign against rape and sexual violence, running patrols in parks where women have been attacked and the ‘reclaiming the night’ candlelit vigils. Feminist Action seeks to empower and involve young women in becoming aware of their rights. Anita has also worked on the Auckland Women’s Centre management collective.

The winner of the Organisation category award is YouthLaw Tino Rangatiratangata Taitamariki. YouthLaw is a Community Law Centre for young people providing free legal advice, advocacy, information and support, nationwide. It employs eight staff and is managed by a Management Support Group. It provides legal assistance to over 2,500 people a year, including legal representation in Court and Tribunals. It runs a toll-free Advice Line and has produced more than 60 publications, which are provided free of charge. YouthLaw is a leading human rights advocacy organisation and in its practice and philosophy is committed to ensuring consistency with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Treaty of Waitangi.

The judges have decided to give a joint award in the Individual category – to Kevin McBride and John Miller. Kevin has been co-ordinator of Pax Christi (the global Catholic peace movement) in Aotearoa-New Zealand since it was established in 1993.

John Miller is a law lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, whose vast voluntary contribution to the legal aid of New Zealanders with disabilities has been recognised by the judges.

The Judging Panel also gave special commendations. In the Organisation category commendations have been given to the Alternatives to Violence Project; to Selwyn College’s Anti-Harassment team and to Huntly West School for its Artz and Technology 2000 community programme.

In the media category the Judges commended the radio show Te Puutake. This is a weekly show broadcast on 33 iwi and other stations.

In the individual category special commendations go to Tunuiarangi (Rangi) McLean, Manager of the Manukau People’s Centre and Wendy Wicks of DPA Wellington for their rights-based work in the community .

ENDS

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