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Positive Contributions to Race Relations - October

Positive Contributions to Race Relations - October 2004

Human Rights Commission

Te Kahui Tika Tangata

On the Bright Side

October / Whiringa-à-nuku 2004

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.

Alan Harrison, BP Moerewa

For establishing the first bilingual petrol station in New Zealand. Alan is the proprietor of the BP petrol station in Moerewa Northland. He is a Pakeha businessman who operates in a predominantly Maori area and he decided on his own initiative that it would be a good idea to have bilingual Maori and English signage. Customers are now welcomed to the Rohe of Te Rarawa, and greeted by large signs over all the retail sections in the BP shop in the corporate colours. Makes you think BP stands for Bilingual Petrol. Here's hoping others follow his example.

Works Infrastructure Ltd

On the opening of their new Auckland plant with appropriate Maori ceremonial. Those who think observance of indigenous tikanga is limited to politically correct public sector agencies under government instruction would have been surprised at the opening of Works Infrastructure's new plant in Auckland this month. The company is part of the Downer EDI Group, one of Australasia's largest multidisciplinary companies. Their company's culture change programme has included facilitation by Rugby and League stars Eric Rush, Frano Botica and Tawera Nikau, aimed at creating a sense of pride and belonging. At the opening of their new plant at Labour Weekend, special guests from Australia and New Zealand were greeted with a full powhiri and wero, and the New Zealand CEO Brent Waldron responded with a mihi in te reo. He was backed by a staff kapa haka group who also entertained the guests during the haakari kai. So maybe it's good for business after all. The Aussies were impressed anyway.

Megan Hutching, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

For The Office of the Race Relations Conciliator: An Oral History. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage, with support from the Human Rights Commission, has completed an oral history of the Race Relations Office from the time of its foundation in December 1971 through to the merger of the office with the Human Rights Commission in 2002. There are interviews with Judge Ken Mason, Executive Officer Pita Sharples, Hiwi Tauroa, Wally Hirsch, Chris Laidlaw, John Clarke and Rajen Prasad. Together they present a fascinating picture of the topical issues of their own day and the enduring issues that challenge us. Electronic copies of the history are available on request from the Human Rights Commission at fionar@hrc.co.nz .

East Auckland Churches

For Making Refugees Welcome on the World Day of Prayer for Peace. Nearly 100 people from parishes in Glen Innes, Glendowie and St Heliers marked United Nations Day and the World Day of Prayer for Peace this month by welcoming a group of Dinka refugees from the Sudan, who conveyed some of their experience of civil war through song. A collection for Sudanese refugee work raised more than $500. There was also a talk on recent troubles in the Pacific. Everyone agreed, we're told, that it was "an awesome service for peace and universal brotherhood."

Penny Jorgensen, Auckland

For a pivotal contribution to the establishment of the Auckland Regional Migrant Resource Centre. Penny retired from her position as Executive Director this month after successfully seeing the project through from concept to realisation. Her vision, energy and commitment have been a crucial factor in the success of the centre. The centre is now well established as a "one-stop shop" for information, advice and referrals for migrants, including employment and ESOL services. It has a satellite office in Manukau, with plans for another in Waitakere, and has become the template for future development of migrant services envisaged in the national migrant settlement strategy. For further information visit http://www.arms-mrc.org.nz/ .

Paul Spoonley and Andrew Trlin

For Immigration, Immigrants and the Media: Making Sense of Multicultural New Zealand. Massey professor Paul Spoonley has long had a research interest in race relations and the media, and fellow Professor Andrew Trlin has a long track record in migration studies. They have combined to produce a review of changes in the media's treatment of migrants, and the good news is that they identify significant improvements over the past decade. Overall, they conclude that media performance has been mixed, and that robust but accurate media coverage is required if we are to debate and understand the issues properly. The growth in migrant media is also noted. They provide some positive suggestions for further improvement. The study was conducted under the auspices of the Massey University New Settlers Programme. Visit their website at http://newsettlers.massey.ac.nz

Auckland University Centre for Pacific Studies

For the completion of the Fale Pasifika at Auckland University. A ten year vision, driven by Samoan academic and writer Professor Albert Wendt, became a reality this month when the magnificent Fale Pasifika was opened at the University of Auckland. The 12 meter high fale, based on the traditional Samoan meeting house, is the second largest in the Southern Hemisphere, with seating for 300 people. It will be used by the Centre for Pacific Studies, other academics, and the Pacific Island communities of Auckland. At the opening by Prime Minister Helen Clark, Centre Director Dr Melanie Anae said the fale realised a dream of Pacific migrants over 50 years ago. "My parents like many other migrants worked on factory floors, but they had dreams for us, their children, that New Zealand would be a better place for successive generations". For more information on the fale and the adjoining centre visit http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/departments/index.cfm?S=D_PACIFIC

Judy Bailey, Television New Zealand

For introducing Maori greetings on the television news. Television One was the winner of the supreme award at the Maori Language Week Awards in September, and although they have copped some flack for continuing the use of "kia ora" and "po marie" at the beginning and end of their news bulletins, they have also had lots of support, and "po marie" is now well established in the national vocabulary. Judy Bailey has shown a personal commitment to the correct use and pronunciation of te reo Maori, and set us all a good example.


For the Cultural Symphony, Michael Fowler Centre, October 2004. Violinist Elena, well known in Wellington for her regular appearances at a variety of functions, and nationally through her CD released last year, brought together her musical journey and the friends she has made en route in a heart-warming concert in Wellington this month. Her story was narrated in Maori (with English translation on screen) and traversed her childhood, classical training, and her blending of Maori, classical, Latin, jazz, gypsy and "eclectic" music. She describes her style as "energetic, funky, passionate, and fun". On the night she appeared with the NGC Wellington Symphonia (of which she is a member), Whitirea Performing Arts, Howard Rimu McGuire, Simply Fantastic, April Neho, Gareth Farr and the Strike percussion group. Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast described her at the conclusion of the concert as a Wellington Icon, and those who attended found it an uplifting experience that truly captured the diversity of New Zealand. For more information on Elena's music visit http://www.elena.co.nz/ .

Angan Publications, Auckland

For the launch of The Global Indian. The Internet is the medium for this new magazine, specifically designed as an electronic publication. The publishers are a collection of professionals who together specialise in management, economics, public relations, engineering, graphic design and journalism. Their diverse media experience includes work on Reuters, the Economic Times, the Times of India, the Indian Express, the Mid-May and the Observer. They aim to carry both New Zealand news and news from India and around the globe, particularly targeted at New Zealand's Indian community but accessible for all. The editor is Vaibhav Gangan, vgangan@theglobalindian.co.nz

UtopiaNZ Media Ltd

For the launch of Merge, a new Multicultural Lifestyle Magazine. Also hitting the newsstands this week is a new glossy, Merge, an 80 page multicultural lifestyle magazine, "presenting the unique East meets West melting pot that is part of New Zealand's diverse living". The launch is scheduled to coincide with Auckland's Diwali Festival on Sunday 31 October at the Classic, 321 Queen St, Auckland, and there'll be complimentary copies of the first edition. Here's hoping it will survive the cold realities of the market and the brisk winds of increasing competition in this field. The Diwali Festival will this year take place at the Auckland Town Hall, and in Queen Street, Wakefield St and Aotea Square. If it's anything like Wellington's Diwali Festival last week, which was attended by tens of thousands of Wellingtonians, it'll be well worth a visit. For more on Merge, visit http://www.mergemagazine.com/.

Previous editions can be found at


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