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Celebrating 70 years of the United Nations Association

Celebrating 70 years of the United Nations Association of New Zealand


Tonight members, affiliates and supporters gather at Government House in Wellington to celebrate 70 years of the founding of the United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ).

Its founding members’ belief that the United Nations (UN) was the way to achieve prosperity and peace is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago. While the United Nations is still far from its ultimate goal, it has demonstrated its capacity to drive profound changes in attitudes to violence, human rights and global development. “We need to enrich our understanding of its work, affirm our support for it, and to strengthen the UN so it can serve us more effectively”, says UNA NZ President Joy Dunsheath JP.

The celebrations at Government House also mark the 71st anniversary of the United Nations itself, which has been celebrated as United Nations Day on 24 October since 1948. This year’s UN Day theme will be used to highlight concrete actions people can take to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A SDGs in Action app has been developed to spread the messaging of the SDGs, suggest ways to get involved locally and connect with others around the world. Dunsheath emphasises that, “we all need to promote and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, and that, “the UN has given us all a clear blueprint, and if we follow it we can build a future of peace and prosperity.

We must find ways of measuring and achieving the goals and I believe we can do it. Everyone has a contribution to make”.

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UNA NZ is a registered charity and works in a variety of ways to highlight the importance of the UN, and to engender the skills within our young people to cope with this extraordinarily challenging international environment. Branches around New Zealand run activities to educate New Zealanders about the activities of the UN and its agencies, and how to be involved.

Dunsheath adds that, “the United Nations Association of New Zealand exists to push UN values, to review its effectiveness and to encourage discussion and a vision about its future direction. Our policy decisions have influenced thinking and direction in New Zealand for the last 70 years.” Tonight’s guests are hosted by their Excellencies the new Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM, QSO and Sir David Gascoigne KNZM.

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