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Upcoming Events

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Save the date! Regional Interfaith Forum 2015

The Palmerston North Interfaith group will be hosting the 2015 North Island Regional Interfaith Forum on Saturday 29 August 2015 at Te Whaiora Centre at Massey University, Palmerston North. Contact: Todd Nachowitz by email: toddnach@gmail.com

 

WIFCO to launch ‘Compassionate Cities’ initiative

The Waikato Interfaith Council has been working since early this year on launching a “Compassionate Cities” initiative, based on the work of Karen Armstrong.

WIFCO is currently seeking partner organisations and associations to help form a steering committee. The first meeting will be held on Thursday 13th November at 5:30pmChartwell RoomHamilton Gardens.

More details will follow as the campaign gathers steam. If you or your organisation wants to be part of this initiative please let us know as soon as possible. Email: wifconz@gmail.com.

 

Auckland Interfaith end-of-year event

The Auckland Inter-Faith Council end of year event will be held on Saturday afternoon 8 November from 2.00 to 4.00 pm. The venue is to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Lincoln Park Avenue in Massey.

A variety of faith groups will present music and readings to reflect the theme:  Flowers of Faith – A Spring Bouquet of Song and Music from our Diverse Faith Communities.

The programme will be followed by a simple afternoon tea. There is no charge and the event is open to the public.  For further information please contact: NZAIFC@gmail.com

 

Wellington Abrahamic event

Wellington Council of Christian and Jews (soon to be the Wellington Abrahamic Council) is hosting a public seminar on euthanasia on Wednesday 22 October at 7.30pm at the Wellington Jewish Community Centre, 80 Webb Street.

A Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspective will be provided on this important debate. Speakers include Dr John Kliensman, Dr Khalid Sandhu and Yitzchak Mizrahi.

For more information please contact Sister Catherine Jones c.jones@wn.catholic.org.nz  

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Statement issued by NZ Religious Communities Leadership Forum

The Religious Leaders Group spoke out on 3 October about international events that have impacted on religious communities living in New Zealand.  The Forum represents the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, New Zealand Indian Central Association, New Zealand Buddhist Council, and the New Zealand Jewish Council.

“Many of the issues from overseas that impact on us here are geo-political in nature and are wrongly interpreted as being religious.  We as a community of faith of Aotearoa are committed to the peace and harmony that we enjoy in New Zealand,” says Dr Anwar Ghani President of the Federation of Islamic Association of NZ.

“Our wider New Zealand community has within it over 50 ethnic communities who have come to this country because of our democracy, peaceful nature and human rights.  We do not tolerate any form of anti-Semitic behaviour; nor do the Jewish community accept Islamophobia.”

For further information contact Joan Buchanan on 0274 853 128

 

New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith celebrate five years

Congratulations to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations (NZCBCIR) who celebrated their first five years on 11 October. NZCBCIR functions include building relationships with people of other faiths in New Zealand, networking with other interfaith groups, and education for Catholics on the church’s teaching on interfaith relations.

For further information, contact: c.jones@wn.catholic.org.nz  

 

 

Islam Awareness Harmony Awards

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) was launched on 18 August in Wellington. The theme for IAW this year was “Charity begins at Home”.  The event included the announcement of the 2014 Harmony Award winners. The award winners this year included Maria Sammons from Waikato and Alan and Linda Geeves from Wellington. The Harmony Awards recognise efforts to improve understanding and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy delivered a keynote address at the Wellington launch.

 

Students’ Day of Diversity

The first school students’ Day of Diversity, organised by the Auckland Interfaith Council and the Unitec chaplaincy and multi-faith team, was held on 13 August in the Unitec marae. Eighty five senior students from seven secondary schools (including three state, one Muslim and three church schools) sent groups of 10 – 12 students. A further four state schools were represented by individual students who were speaking for their respective religions.

The students spent the day in small mixed groups. They heard three students speak on the theme of ‘Relating to the Environment’ from the perspective of their different religions and three from a further three religions addressing the theme of ‘Promoting World Peace’.

Students Day of Diversity

For more information please contact Jocelyn Armstrong aifcsec1@xtra.co.nz

 

Faith in Papatoetoe

Two events organised by local Papatoetoe Sikh resident, Raj Bedi, were enjoyed by representatives of the Indian community and the Papatoetoe Historical Society. The first event at the Papatoetoe Sports Centre on 15 August coincided with Indian Independence Day.  Participants at this event where asked to share their stories about settling in Papatoetoe.  The second event on 16 September involved a talk about Sikh traditions and religious attire.

For more information please contact jennya.clark@xtra.co.nz

Peace Movement Aotearoa is encouraging religious leaders and faith-based organisations to add their voices to an international Interfaith Declaration calling for a ban on fully autonomous weapons (also known as “killer robots”).

People from around the world have signed an Interfaith Declaration which is calling on all governments to work towards a ban on the development, production and use of fully autonomous lethal weapons.


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Indigo Films – I Am Eleven

Indigo Festival Trust and the Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) are showing the film I am Eleven on Friday 23 May, 6-8pm on Level 2 at the Garden Place Library, Hamilton. I am Eleven weaves together a deeply personal and at times hilarious portrait of what life is like for young people at this transitional age.


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Inter-Faith Event in Papatoetoe

Auckland Inter-Faith Council is hosting a special Inter-Faith Event in Papatoetoe.
When: Tuesday 10 June, 7.30 – 9.30 pm
Where: The Kadampa Buddhist Temple, 202-204 Great South Rd, Papatoetoe, Auckland.


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Douglas Pratt (PhD, DTheol), Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Waikato has been invited to give a presentation at an international workshop on religious diversity in Vienna, Austria later this month.

Professor Pratt will be speaking about how Aotearoa New Zealand’s population has changed over the past century and the impact this has had on ethnic and religious demographics. He will also talk about the creation of the New Zealand Statement on Religious Diversity (first published in 2007) and the status of religious diversity today.

Launch of ‘Work & Worship’

Dr Edwina Pio’s latest book Work & Worship was launched by Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy on 23 May at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland. The book considers religious diversity in the workplace from an employer and employee perspective. It focuses on five minority religions: Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians and Zoroastrians.

Book cover - Work and Worship


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Registrations are now open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum to be held on Sunday and Monday 24−25 August at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

To register and for more information visit: NZ Diversity Forum 2014

Once again religious diversity will be a feature of the Forum. The Christchurch Interfaith Council will host a session on Sunday and on Monday there will be a focus on religious diversity workplace resources for employers and employees.

Now in its 10th year, the Forum is a unique national convention where people involved in race relations, human rights and cultural diversity can come together to share ideas and good practice.

The 2014 National Interfaith Forum celebrates the unity in diversity of our interfaith organisations. Registration is still open for the Forum which is being hosted by the Dunedin Interfaith Council at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Fenton Crescent, St Clair, Dunedin.

The event promises to be a great weekend with an amazing diversity of people already registered from across New Zealand.


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The 2014 National Interfaith Forum will take place in Dunedin from 27−29 June. The theme for this year’s forum is Unity in Diversity and the event is hosted by the Dunedin Interfaith Council. The programme includes workshops and panel sessions, as well as a special overseas guest speaker, the Rev. Dr Lord Leslie Griffiths who is the Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, the Cathedral of World Methodism in London, England and a member of the House of Lords.

You are invited to host a workshop presentation about one of the topic themes. If you would like to present a workshop please forward an outline summary of your chosen topic by 30 April 2014. Please contact dunedininterfaith@gmail.com for the topic themes.

The Forum will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Fenton Crescent, St Clair, Dunedin.

Further details, including a registration form, are available at:  2014 National Interfaith Forum.

A new booklet, Culture No Excuse for Abuse, has been launched by Auckland’s Shakti Community Council with help from the Ministry of Social Development’s ‘It’s Not OK’ family violence prevention campaign.

“This fantastic new resource is aimed at encouraging conversations within ethnic families and communities on how to recognise family violence in its many different forms and what to do about it,” said Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, launching the booklet.
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Faith Against Violence

 

The Children’s Commissioner’s latest edition of Children journal explores some of the issues and experiences of the faith community when seeking to address family violence.

It includes some inspiring first-hand stories from those training faith leaders – and articles that examine the complex role of faiths that wish to address family violence in their communities.

You can read the journal on the Children’s Commissioner’s website or via this link:

http://www.occ.org.nz/assets/Publications/CHILDRENedition84.pdf

The interfaith community may be interested in attending an upcoming talk with Reza Aslan and Douglas Pratt at the upcoming Auckland Writers Festival on Sunday 18 May 2014, 11:30am-12:30pm.  
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GISBORNE’S first Holi day

GISBORNE’S first Holi day celebrations were a colourful success, sending more than 40 people home covered in a rainbow of powders.

People gathered at Midway Beach near Watson Park yesterday to celebrate the first major Hindu festival of the year — Holi day, the festival of colours.

Live traditional Indian folk music (faag) kicked-off the event before coloured powders filled the sky and a variety of Indian snacks were shared to celebrate.
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Historian Dr Stuart Lange presents a five part series documenting the story of the Gospel in New Zealand from Samuel Marsden forwards – its impact, the complications, and the way Christianity has had a significant impact in shaping New Zealand society both then and now. The series can be purchased on the NZ Christian Network website http://nzchristiannetwork.org.nz/te-rongopai-dvd/. This DVD is important for New Zealanders of all faiths and beliefs to know about the role of Christian faith in NZ’s history and contemporary society.

Please contact Glyn Carpenter gccarpenter@xtra.co.nz for more details.

Auckland Interfaith 2014

The Auckland Interfaith Council is to hold four events this year in four different areas of Auckland.  These events will give insights into the diversity of faith communities in Auckland and offer understanding of the faiths themselves.

The first event is this week and the theme is  ’WELCOME NEIGHBOUR: An Introduction to Three Faith Communities in Onehunga’.

Tuesday, 1st April, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

The venue is the newly opened Shirdi Saibaba Temple, 12-18 Princes Street, Onehunga.

Three speakers will briefly introduce their faith’s basic beliefs and practices.

The speakers will be Venerable Amala Wrightson from the Zen Buddhist Centre,

Bhaskar Duvvuru  of the Shirdi Saibaba Temple, and Deacon Dave Randall of the Catholic parish on Galway Street.

The Choir of the Onehunga based Tongan Congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will contribute to the programme.

A tour of the host Temple and supper will conclude the evening.

The event is open to the public and free of charge.

This is the first of four events this year in different areas of Auckland.  They will give insights into the diversity of faith communities in Auckland and offer understanding of the faiths themselves.

For more information please contact the Interfaith Council Secretary aifcsec1@xtra.co.nz

The Race Unity Speech Awards started last week with heats held throughout the country to support Race Relations Day http://www.hrc.co.nz/race-relations/race-relations-day-2014/. You, your family, friends and colleagues are welcome to attend the National Final of the Race Unity Speech Awards and Prize –giving ceremony on 12 April at Te Mahurehure Marae, Pt Chevalier, Auckland. Come hear the voices of youth – 4.30pm start concluding around 8.30pm. Dinner provided – RSVP essential as seating is limited and for catering purposes. Please reply to Bev Watson by Thursday 10 April. Email bev.watson@bahai.org.nz.
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Annual Review of Religious diversity

The Human Rights Commission has published its review of developments in religious diversity. The review is part of the annual review of race relations 2013 Tūi Tūi Tuituiā . Other sections of the annual Race Relations Review deal with international human rights framework, action on diversity, discrimination, the Treaty of Waitangi, action in diversity, migration and settlement, refugees, resettlement and asylum, media, language and research.

Read the review here. 

Wellington Interfaith Council is hosting an open meeting on 14 April, 5.30−8.00 pm at St Andrews on The Terrace, Wellington. The keynote speaker, Professor Peter Lineham will discuss opportunities and challenges for interfaith in the coming years.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ are hosting an Open Mosque Day on 1 March 2014. The Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Wiri, Auckland was opened in November last year and is New Zealand’s largest purpose-built mosque.
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Race Unity Speech Awards

The Race Unity Speech Awards will be held in support of Race Relations Day in March and will culminate with the finals on 12 April in Auckland.

This is the 14th year of the nationwide speech contest. The Speech Award challenges school students in Years 11, 12, and 13 to consider various aspects of the Race Relations Day theme, which this year is  I AM Aotearoa New Zealand.’
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New Zealand received feedback on what it can do to improve human rights at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 27 January 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.  76 countries participated in the meeting which is part of New Zealand’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a process which reviews the human rights records of all UN member states. 
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NZ Diversity Forum Save the Date!

The 2014 NZ Diversity Forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 24−25 August in Christchurch at the University of Canterbury.

Now in its 10th year, the forum is a unique national convention, at which people involved in race relations, human rights and cultural diversity come together to share ideas and good practice.

The 2014 National Interfaith Forum will take place in Dunedin from 27−29 June. The theme for this year’s forum is Unity in Diversity and the event is hosted by the Dunedin Interfaith Council. The programme includes workshops and panel sessions, as well as a special overseas guest speaker, the Rev. Dr Lord Leslie Griffiths who is the Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, the Cathedral of World Methodism in London, England and a member of the House of Lords.
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2014 Race Relations Day poster I am Aotearoa New Zealand feturing text and portrait of six New Zealanders.Race Relations Day, 21 March, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated around the world. The 2014 theme is I am Aotearoa New Zealand … te ranga tahi, together we grow.

This year’s theme expresses that everyone here, no matter what their race or cultural background, belongs, and that there are many ways of being a New Zealander. If we understand and appreciate our differences we can grow together into an Aotearoa New Zealand that is based on dignity and respect.
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Week of Prayer for World Peace in Nelson

Nelson Multicultural Council marked the Week of Prayer for World Peace by supporting a range of interfaith events across Nelson, including celebrations and prayer.  
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The New Zealand Buddhist Council is concerned that Buddhists who are sick or dying in hospital often do not have access to appropriate spiritual support. To address this, the Council has started to provide advice to hospitals on how to contact Buddhist clergy in their area when they have a patient in need. In the future, the Council hopes that every hospital in New Zealand will have access to a Buddhist chaplain trained to work with the sick and dying.
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Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting

Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot will be the guest speaker at this year’s Mother Teresa Interfaith meeting on Sunday, November 17, 2pm at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in Mt Roskill.
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Satsang Ramayan Mandali Central is hosting a free multicultural Diwali Mela celebration on 16 November from 6.30 to 9.30pm at the Queen Elizabeth College Hall, Palmerston North. This exciting event is open to the wider community. There will be an affordable and delicious vegetarian meal and sweets available as well as free entertainment by a diverse range of multicultural performers.

This event is kindly supported by Palmerston North City Council Celebrating Communities.

Representatives from the Law Commission, including Commissioner Wayne Mapp will be meeting with members of the Hindu community to discuss proposals for a new legal framework for burials and cremations in New Zealand.  The meeting will take place at the Law Commission in Wellington on Wednesday 4 December at 5.00pm.

Please register in advance for this meeting. RSVP to Selva Ramasami rselva6@hotmail.com by 29 November 2013.

Auckland Interfaith Event

The Auckland Interfaith Council is holding an end of year event The Golden Rule – Building Bridges of Peace. There will be music and readings by groups and different faiths.

When: Saturday, 16 November 2013 2−4pm

Where: The Auckland Deaf Society building, 164 Balmoral Road, Auckland

Open to all public enquiries aifcsec1@xtra.co.nz.

Over 500 people have participated in the Learn About Other Faiths programme over the past year. They have come from a wide variety of government departments, health and social services and businesses – all wanting to learn more about their clients and customers.
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Noah’s Pudding

The Pearl of the Islands Foundation and the NZ Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations are co-hosting a  Noah’s Pudding  event at the Catholic Centre, Hill Street, Wellington on Monday 2 December, from 11am.  Come along and join in this discovery of “the oldest dessert in the world”.

For more information contact c.jones@wn.catholic.org.nz.

 

Diwali in Parliament

Over 200 guests gathered at Parliament on 6 November to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key attended the function which was hosted by the Minister for Ethnic Affairs Hon Judith Collins.
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Where, when and how burials and cremations take place is a very important issue for New Zealand’s religious and ethnic communities. The Law Commission has published a paper exploring the laws and regulations around burial and cremation. It also sets out some proposals and questions for communities to consider. Faith groups are encouraged to give their feedback on the proposals before 20 December 2013. Consultation meetings are taking place around the country during November.

For further information check out the Law Commission website.

Muslim World Forum 2013

The Muslim World Forum takes place in Auckland on Saturday, 23 November 2013. The forum is open to all those with an interest in the contemporary issues relating to New Zealand’s relationship with the Muslim world and the New Zealand Muslim community.
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Islam Awareness Week launch and Awards

F or the first time Islam Awareness Week (IAW) was launched in conjunction with the NZ Diversity Forum on Monday 26 August at Wharewhaka Function centre in Wellington.


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The Catholic Bishops Interfaith Committee received an award from the Human Rights Commission at the annual New Zealand Diversity Awards held in Wellington for their contribution to the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme.

“Nick Borthwick, deputy chair of the Catholic Bishops Interfaith Committee receiving their Diversity Award.”

“Nick Borthwick, deputy chair of the Catholic Bishops Interfaith Committee receiving their Diversity Award.”


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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

Around 40 people attended the Annual Religious Diversity forum, as part of the wider NZ Diversity forum, in Wellington on 26 August. The focus of this year’s forum was on media and religion.

“Youth Forum participants presenting at the Diversity Forum plenary session”

“Youth Forum participants presenting at the Diversity Forum plenary session”


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Muslim forum a first for New Zealand

At the start of Islam Awareness Week, Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins announced plans are underway for an official Muslim forum to be held in November.


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The Ministry of Education, in association with NZQA, is reviewing the Levels 1-3 Religious Studies achievement standards.


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Raksha Bandhan

The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum celebrated the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan on a grand scale in Auckland and Wellington on Saturday, 31st August 2013.


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Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand between 13th and 20th October. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day.


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Settling In (MSD), Bridgebuilders Trust inc, Refugees As Survivors & Umma Trust are hosting a third joint interfaith event on Muslim and Christian women.


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Rotorua Deepawali Festival

Rotorua Deepawali Festival Committee and Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ), once again will be hosting the Rotorua Deepawali Festival 2013.


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A Guide for Deepawali

If your organisation plans to celebrate Deepawali this year then you might want to look at Celebrating Deepawali  – A guide for official functions, a resource developed by HCNZ to celebrate Deepwali.


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Symposium on Religion in Schools

The New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice is hosting a Symposium on Religion in Schools.


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WIFCO to host interfaith celebration

The Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) invites you to attend its 2nd annual Interfaith Celebration on Sunday, 20th October 2013, 4:00-5:30pm in the Chartwell Room at the Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton.


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Registrations are now open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, to be held in Wellington Monday 26 August at Te Papa, Wellington.
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For the first time Islam Awareness Week will be launched in conjunction with the NZ Diversity Forum in Wellington on Monday 26 August.

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) is held from 26 August−1 September. The theme for this year is The Role of Youth in the Community.
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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

Every year a religious diversity forum is held at the Diversity forum on an issue addressed in the Statement on Religious Diversity. Focusing on religion and media, this year’s forum will be held on Monday 26 August.
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Regional Interfaith Forum Report

The Report on the Regional Interfaith Forum, held in Hamilton on Sunday, 7 June 2013, has been completed.

The organising committee of the Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) would like to thank all those that attended and participated in the Forum, as well as all those that volunteered their time and energy towards making this a very successful event. 
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The Semarang Plan of Action, a result of the 6th Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue held in Semarang, Indonesia in March 2012, made several recommendations for strengthening regional interfaith initiatives between nations in the Asia-Pacific region.  
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Muslim’s share Iftar with others

The Waikato Muslims Women’s Association hosted an Iftar (breaking fast) and dinner event for community leaders on July 20.  This was the first time the Muslim community has done this in Hamilton. The event began with a call to prayer, after which guests had some light refreshments.  It’s traditional to break our fast with a date – it’s the first thing Muslims eat after going without food or water for the day. The guests at the event were encouraged to do the same thing.
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The most urgent task of our time is to build a global community of harmony and mutual respect so that people from every culture and faith tradition can live together in peace.
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Auckland Eid Day

Auckland Eid Day would like to extend a very warm invitation to you along with your family and friends, to attend Auckland Eid Day 2013, celebrating Eid al-Fitr. For its third year in a row, Auckland Eid Day plans to bring you an atmosphere of happiness, fun, diversity and unity, where all are welcome to join together in celebration of the joyous spirit of Eid. 
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Christchurch Interfaith Activities

The Christchurch Interfaith Council will be hosting Chris Stedman, who works  from Havard University, Boston, USA as a humanist pastoral care worker and a facilitator of interfaith dialogue in the USA. He will be speak on the topic “The spiritual Rebuild of Christchurch; more than religion alone …”.  
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Dunedin Interfaith Activities

Dr. Ingrid Mattson will be speaking at the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group and Otago tertiary Chaplaincy Annual Open Lecture. The topic of her speech will be “Interfaith engagement for peace – A Muslim perspective”
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The Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand between 13th and 20th October. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day. The theme of the leaflet is developed for worldwide distribution by the Week of Prayer for World Peace multi-faith committee based in Great Britain.
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Islam Awareness Week

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) will be held from 26 August-1 September 2013. The theme for this year is “The Role of Youth in the Community.”


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Auckland Eid Day

Auckland Eid Day is a family based event with a vision to create an atmosphere of happiness, fun, diversity and unity.


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The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations is offering several interfaith events marking “Abraham our Father in Faith”. In Wellington, a pilgrimage to the Islamic Centre, Kilbirnie, on 19 July, and discussion on Abraham from Christian and Muslim perspectives.


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During a recent visit to Christchurch with other interfaith youth leaders, International Ambassador for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Lachlan Mackay paid homage to Christchurch by reflecting on the suffering of Cantabrians especially those from faith communities.


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The Dalai Lama offered words of hope and encouragement to a youth delegation of world faiths during his latest New Zealand tour.


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The Dalai Lama was officially welcomed by a delegation of about 50 people from the Dunedin Interfaith Council on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in June.


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Review of religious diversity

The Human Rights Commission’s annual review of race relations, Tūi Tūi Tuituiā, Race Relations in 2012 is now available. It includes a chapter specifically addressing religious diversity.


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The Ministry of Education, in association with NZQA, is reviewing the Levels 1-3 Religious Studies achievement standards.


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The Waikato Interfaith Council hosted a successful interfaith forum in Hamilton at the Hamilton Gardens on 9 June.


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National Youth Forum

The National Youth Forum runs in parallel with the New Zealand Diversity Forum and  is an opportunity for young people from all over the county to come together to discuss and engage in issues relating to cultural diversity.


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The 2013 NZ Diversity Forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 25-26 August in Wellington, Te Papa.


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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

The 2013 NZ Diversity Forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 25-26 August in Wellington.

Every year at the Diversity Forum there is a religious diversity forum on an issue addressed in the Statement on Religious Diversity. This year’s forum will be on Monday 26 August and will focus on religion and media.


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Regional Interfaith Forum

The Waikato Interfaith Council will hold a Regional Interfaith Forum in Hamilton on Sunday 9 June 2013, from 9:30am-4:30pm.


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Christchurch Interfaith Activities

The Christchurch Interfaith Council will hold an evening on “Abraham”  to be  held in conjunction with the NZ Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations.


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Learn about other Faiths

Make the most of this professional development opportunity to learn more about other New Zealanders from different cultures and faith communities.


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The Office of the Children’s Commissioner will host two faith leaders and faith community action-takers workshops on family violence prevention:  “Faith Communities Against Family Violence: Taking a noble idea and turning it into action.”


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10th Doha Interfaith Conference

Jocelyn Armstrong has been ‘exporting’ New Zealand’s Social Studies textbook ‘Discovering Diversity’ and the inquiry pedagogy that shapes it. In April she presented a paper at the 10th Doha Interfaith Conference on ‘Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue’.
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A photographic exhibition of Asian New Zealanders of Muslim faith is on display at Jakarta’s State Islamic University – Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah. The Crescent Moon: The Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand features images and the personal stories of 37 individuals – including two Indonesian New Zealanders.


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Hillcrest High School Year 13 student Naomi Kumar’s dream for Aotearoa New Zealand won her the top award at the 2013 Race Unity Speech Awards held recently in Auckland.


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As part of its Jubilee celebrations, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held an event on Sunday 24 March. An estimated 80 people attended the event, which promoted an awareness and understanding of peace, tolerance, love and understanding among all communities.


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The Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) has announced that the Hamilton City Council will open each of its City Council meetings with an interfaith prayer.


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Religious unity and communal harmony was the highlight of a festival that combined Easter and ‘Vishu’ celebrations which was organised by the Hamilton Malayalee Association on Sunday, 14 April 14.


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Auckland Interfaith Seminar

The Auckland Inter-Faith Council will hold an interactive seminar with the theme, “Is Religion Relevant in Today’s Growing Auckland?”on 4 May, 9.30am- 4.00pm at St John’s Theological College, 202-210 St Johns Road, Meadowbank.


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The Waikato Interfaith Council will hold a Regional Interfaith Forum in Hamilton on Sunday 9 June 2013, from 9:30am-4:30pm. The theme of the Forum will be “Strengthening Existing Interfaith Networks.”


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Islam Awareness Week (IAW) will be held from 27August-1 September 2013. The theme for this year is “The Role of Youth in the Community.”


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Early next year, New Zealand will appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council) for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the UPR process, other countries will examine New Zealand’s human rights performance.


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At the end of 2012, 22 people representing various Dunedin based faith communities met at an end of year gathering hosted by the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group and Reverend Greg Hughson, Chaplain of Otago University to consider a proposal to form a Dunedin Interfaith Council.   
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The Semarang Plan of Action, a result of the 6th Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue held in Semarang, Indonesia in March 2012, made several recommendations for strengthening regional interfaith initiatives between nations in the Asia-Pacific region. 


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Senior high school students are welcome to attend the Race Unity Conference on Saturday, 6 April at the Manukau Bahá’í Community Centre, 16 Rowandale Avenue, Manurewa.


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Buddhist NGO, Soka Gakkai International of New Zealand (SGINZ) launched “iChoose”, an innovative anti-bullying programme in ten Auckland high schools last month.


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The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year. To celebrate and to promote awareness and understanding of peace, tolerance, love and understanding among all communities an event will be held on Sunday, 24 March, 11am-1pm at the Mount Eden War Memorial Hall, 487 Dominion Road Balmoral.


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Christchurch Interfaith Society

The nine spiritual styles will be discussed at this month’s Christchurch Interfaith Society meeting which will be held on Tuesday 26 March, 7 – 9 pm at 17 Kirkwood Ave, Christchurch.


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A motion was passed without debate at Parliament on 13 February about respecting religious diversity. This was in response to anti Muslim comments made by NZ First MP Richard Prosser in an article in Investigate magazine.


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Race Relations Day – Tell Us Your Dream

The annual diversity season is upon us, with a multitude of multicultural events from now until Race Relations Day (21 March). The 2013 Race Relations Day theme is “My Dream for Aotearoa New Zealand…” encouraging you to focus on your vision for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Race Relations Day 2013 
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Race Unity Speech Contest

Now in its thirteenth year of competition, the annual Race Unity Speech Awards will this year be on the Race Relations Day theme “My Dream for Aotearoa New Zealand…”


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Looking back: Religious Diversity in 2012

The US State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report, published in July, commented favourably on the current state of religious freedom and interfaith relations in New Zealand.
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In lieu of a 2013 National Interfaith Forum, the Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) is hosting a Regional Interfaith Forum to be held in Hamilton on Sunday 9 June 2013.


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National Statement against Family Violence

A Faith Communities’ National Statement against Family Violence was published on Human Rights Day, 10 December, 2012. This statement was facilitated by the Children’s Commissioner following an approach by delegates who had attended the Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue.
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Baha’i Faith’s Centenary Year

The Baha’i Faith’s centenary year is this year (2013). A commemorative event was held  on Saturday 9 February at the graveside of New Zealand’s first Baha’i, Margaret Stevenson.


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Christchurch Interfaith Activity

To start the year off, the Christchurch Interfaith Council will have a “show and tell” evening.


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Interfaith Harmony Week

There will be a potluck dinner to celebrate Interfaith World Harmony Week on 12 March, 6.30pm, at St Andrew’s on the Terrace, Wellington.  
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Register your projects for NZDAP 2013

Now is a good time to register diversity projects and programmes that you plan to undertake in the coming year.

horizontal nz diversity logo


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Religious Diversity developments 2012

Each year the Human Rights Commission includes a section on religious diversity in its Race Relations Report.


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Race Relations Day 2013

Theme for Race Relations Day 2013 has been confirmed which has been inspired by our Constitutional Review.


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In a display of religious and racial intolerance more than a dozen headstones in the historic Jewish Cemetery in Symonds Street in Auckland  were vandalised with images of swastikas and expletive-ridden anti-Israeli messages on 19 October.


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Mother Teresa Interfaith meet

Gopalkrishna Gandhi will be the guest speaker at this year’s Mother Teresa Interfaith meeting on Sunday, November 18 at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in Mt Roskill.


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Parliament celebrates Diwali

Members of the Indian community from around New Zealand gathered at Parliament on Wednesday 7 November, to celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali.


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NZ Bahá’í has a new website

The NZ Bahá’í community has recently launched its new, improved website.  


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Auckland Interfaith ends year on a high

The Auckland Interfaith Council hosted an end of year interfaith celebration on the theme “Unity” on Saturday 3 November at the Baha’i Centre in Manurewa.


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This month the NZ Herald continued its increased coverage on religious diversity with a focus on the diverse faiths in Auckland.


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The Wellington Council of Christians and Jews is hosting a talk on “Public Sacred Text Study on Our Core Beliefs: Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives” on Wednesday 5 December from 7.30pm at the Temple Sinai, 147 Ghuznee St in Wellington.


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Indigo Festival Waikato

The Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) will be participating in the Indigo Festival, a vibrant celebration of Hamilton’s multicultural community, which takes place from Thursday 29 November to Saturday 1 December 2012.  


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Christchurch Interfaith Activity

The Christchurch Interfaith Society will have their next discussion evening on “What our faith says about the dress code and its relevance in today’s society” on Tuesday, 27 November from 7-9pm. 


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The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace. The Week is being observed in New Zealand this week, 14-21 October.


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Deepwali/ Diwali 2013

Public celebrations for Diwali kicked off in Rotorua on 6 October and have continued in Auckland and Hamilton in the last few days.

diwali


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Celebrating Deepwali / Diwali guide

The Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) has developed a guide to celebrate Deepwali  called,  Celebrating Deepawali  – A guide for official functions .

Diwali Guidelines


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The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations has published a 16pp booklet, Promoting Interfaith Relations in Aotearoa New Zealand.   


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Halal Guide to NZ

Tourism NZ and Christchurch International Airport have published “The NZ Halal Guide to NZ.”

Halal Guide to NZ


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Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders in New Zealand spoke out on 19 September unreservedly condemning the controversial film about Muslims and the violence that has to tragic deaths around the world.


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Islam Awareness Week (IAW) was launched in Wellington on Monday 27 August.


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Waikato Interfaith wins Diversity Award

The Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) received an award from the Human Rights Commission at the annual New Zealand Diversity Awards held in Auckland.

HRC Diversity Awards - WIFCO


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The United Nations has acknowledged the Hindu Council of New Zealand by granting the organisation special consultative status as a non-governmental organisation.

ECOSOC


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Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ will be holding their annual Peace Conference on Saturday 20 October at the Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, 13 Reeves Road, Pakuranga.


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Waikato interfaith service, 28 October

The Waikato Interfaith Council (WIFCO) will hold an interfaith service on Sunday 28 October at Hamilton Gardens from 4-6pm.  


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The Auckland Interfaith Council is hosting an end of year interfaith celebration on the theme “Unity” on Saturday 3 November from 2 pm at the Baha’i Centre, 16 Rowandale Avenue, Manurewa.


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The Spirit of Rangatahi is organising a professional development day to learn about other faiths.


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United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently released the US State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report.


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The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace.


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A recent front page story by Wellington’s Dominion Post has raised questions about the newspaper’s use of a large-scale photo of a covered Muslim woman to illustrate the story, on the basis that it invites a stereotypical response.  


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1st Hindu temple planned for Bay of Plenty

There are plans to build the first Hindu temple of the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, according to reports.


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Social Justice Week, 9-15 September

Caritas’ Social Justice Week 2012 is happening this week 9-15 September, and focuses on the theme Our Daily Bread: Putting food on the table.


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A UN Peace Day event will be hosted by the Universal Peace Federation with the Women’s Federation for World Peace and partners.


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Faith: Food and Fasting, 25 September

The Christchurch Interfaith Society will hold an evening of discussion on the topic “Faith:  Food and Fasting” on Tuesday  25 September from  7.00 – 9.00pm at 17 Kirkwood Avenue in Christchurch (opposite the University Recreation Centre).


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Waikato multi-faith service, 28 October

Coming on the heels of the successful multifaith service held as a part of the National Interfaith Forum, in Hamilton in February 2012, the Waikato Interfaith Council has decided to make the Multifaith Service an annual event.


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Registration is still open for the annual NZ Diversity Forum to be held in Auckland this Sunday and Monday 19-20 August.


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Religious diversity will be a feature at the New Zealand Diversity Forum. Check out the links below for information on each session:


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The annual New Zealand Diversity Awards will be presented at the New Zealand Diversity Forum on Monday 20 August at 6.00 pm at the Aotea Centre, Auckland.


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The NZ delegation that participated in the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation in Semarang Indonesia this year has submitted its report to the Minister of Ethnic Affairs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  


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Islam Awareness Week will be launched by Hon Judith Collins, Minister of Ethnic Affairs at the Wellington Islamic Centre on Monday 27 August.


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Waikato IAW Activity

In celebration of the coming of spring, and to commemorate Islam Awareness Week (27 August to 1 September 2012), the Waikato Interfaith Council is inviting the community to come and join them on the first day of spring.  


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The Pearl of the Islands Foundation has been organising Ramadan Iftars (Dinner) every year since 2008.


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The Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace.


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Auckland Interfaith activities

Last year the catholic community hosted an interfaith service at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 27 October. 


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Christchurch Interfaith Activities

The Christchurch Interfaith Society will have their AGM & the Rafaa Antoun Memorial Lecture on 21 August, 17 Kirkwood Ave, Christchurch.
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Dunedin Interfaith Activities

The Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group and Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy will be hosting a talk by Rabbi Adi Cohen from the Wellington progressive Jewish Congregation on   Monday 3 September 5.30-7pm at St David Lecture Theatre, Otago University.  


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The minister of St John’s in the City Methodist church in Nelson will be hosting the next interfaith gathering in the region on Sunday 2 September from 3-5pm at the Victory Community Centre, Totora Street, Nelson.


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Auckland Interfaith AGM

Auckland Inter-Faith Council had its AGM on the 18 July and elected the Executive Committee members for the next 12 months.  


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Eid at Parliament

The Minister of Ethnic Affairs will host a reception to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr at the Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings, Wellington on Tuesday, 21 August 6-7.30pm.


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Maclaurin Chapel, The University of Auckland, Amud ha-Shachar/First light* and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are hosting a discussion on “One God, Many Faiths InterReligious Dialogue.


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Registrations are now open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, to be held in Auckland Sunday 19 – Monday 20 August at the Aotea Centre.


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Religious diversity will feature prominently again at the New Zealand Diversity Forum 19-20 August. 


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The Human Rights Commission has put together a compilation of their annual reviews of religious diversity published in the Race Relations Report since 2004.


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Islam Awareness Week (IAW) will be held from 27August-1 September 2012. The theme for this year is “Islam and the Environment: Our Rights and Responsibility”.


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Several scholars from the University of Otago have gathered authors from around the country to produce a book of essays on Maori engagements with Christianity. 

Mana MAori and Christianity


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The NZ Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand will be hosting a mid-winter film night at the Catholic Centre, Hill Street Wellington on Friday 27 July 5.30 – 8.30pm.


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As part of Islam Awareness Week (27 August- 1 September), the Waikato Interfaith Council and the Waikato Muslim Association will jointly host an evening celebrating the various religious perspectives on the environment.  


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The Christchurch Interfaith Society will hold a talk on: “Does our Faith help us Face the Challenges of Today’s World?” on Tuesday 31 July from 7-9pm at 17 Kirkwood Ave, Christchurch.


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The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace. The Week will be observed in New Zealand from 14-21 October.


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Kiwi Muslims Prepare for Ramadan

From an article by Shaikh Amjad Ali, Head of Religious and Digital Technology Department, Al-Madinah School. Member of HSAC, an Advisory Board to the NZ Government on Halal Meat Export.

Muslims all over the world will be fulfilling the 5th pillar of Islam by fasting in the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.


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The Waikato Interfaith Council and the Auckland Interfaith Council will join forces at this year’s New Zealand Diversity Forum to host a session on “Raising Awareness of Religious Diversity”.


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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

The focus at the Annual Religious Diversity Forum, as part of the NZ Diversity Forum, will be on accommodating religious diversity and health services.


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The National Youth Forum on Cultural Diversity Forum to be held 17-20 August will include a tour of various religious sites of worship in Auckland.


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Photos from the 2012 National Interfaith Forum, held in Hamilton 17-19 Feb 2012, are now available for viewing and download.National Interfaith Forum 2012


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The Ikaroa Rawhiti Interfaith Network which covers the entire Ikaroa Rawhiti Māori Electorate from Te Araroa in the north to Lower Hutt in the south has been launched by Tiopira Hape Rauna a well known national and international interfaith activist.


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Join the Aotearoa Ethnic Network

The AEN email list is a great way to keep in touch with what’s happening in ethnic and religious communities around the country.


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Death and Diversity Exhibition

The Death and Diversity exhibition run by the Museum of Wellington City and Sea will include a focus on “Interfaith youth and grief” as its fourth interfaith session on Saturday 23 June, 2pm.


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The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in New Zealand will host a number of events, including a thanksgiving  function  as  part  of  their  Silver  Jubilee   to  mark  25  years  of progress the community has made in New Zealand.  


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The Pearl of the Islands Foundation played a significant part in the Ataturk Memorial wreath laying ceremony.


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The Council of Christians and Muslims will meet at the Ponsonby Mosque Hall, 17 Vermont Street, on 17 June at 2.30pm.


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Christchurch Interfaith Activity

The Christchurch Interfaith Society will hold a talk on  “What Faith Teaches about Compassion & Forgiveness & How to put into practice” (from a Jewish, Hindu, LDS and Methodists perspective).


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The 2012 NZ Diversity Forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 19-20 August at the Aotea Centre, the Edge in Auckland.


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The Managing Religious & Cultural Diversity in the Pacific Law & Religion Conference was held in Apia, Samoa on 30 April & 1 May 2012.


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The Wellington Council of Christians and Jews hosted an international conference on 13-14 May on the “Twelve Points of Berlin”, the charter for Christian-Jewish dialogue.


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Over 200 participants this year have already registered their 2012 projects with the NZ Diversity Action Programme.


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Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Buddha’s Day multicultural festival at Auckland’s Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, on 14 April.
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In his inaugural lecture as a professor of the University of Waikato, Douglas Pratt will talk about, The Persistence and Problem of Religion.


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Samoan Language Week will take place from Sunday 27 May to Saturday 2 June.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Society is hosting a number of events over the next few months.


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The Auckland Inter-Faith Council is holding its first public talk for 2012 on Tuesday, 1 May with the theme “Interfaith In Action.” 


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The top prize at the Race Unity Speech finals in Auckland on 1 April 2012 went to Rima Shenoy representing Queen Margaret College Wellington.


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A New Zealand delegation, led by the Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs, Melissa Lee MP, has contributed to a Plan of Action released at the 6th Regional Interfaith Dialogue in Semarang, Indonesia.


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The Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington is presenting a four-day orientation session in May for international priests coming to serve in the NZ church, called “Landing the Waka.”   


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Christian-Jewish dialogue

The Wellington Council of Christians and Jews is hosting an international conference on 13-14 May on the “Twelve Points of Berlin”, the charter for Christian-Jewish dialogue.


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Come along to Rainbow Praise

Now on its fifth year, Rainbow Praise, Many People Many Songs, is a special event where Christian choirs from different ethnic communities come together and share their songs of worship.


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4th New Zealand Hindu Conference

The Hindu Council of New Zealand’s fourth New Zealand Hindu Conference has the theme “Serving Community – Serving New Zealand”. It is being held in Auckland on 12-13 May.


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International Day of Families

The Universal Peace Federation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace are hosting an event to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Families.


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Christchurch Interfaith Talk

The Christchurch Interfaith Society will host a talk “Feeling Great…no matter what…” led by Charlie Hogg, Director of the Brahma Kumaris, Australia on Tuesday 24 April, 6.30-8.15pm at Union Church, Cnr Linwood Ave and Tilford Street, Linwood.


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Islam Awareness Week will be on 27 August – 1 September. The theme this year is “Islam and the Environment: Our Rights and Responsibilities.”


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The national interfaith movement received a shot in the arm from the largest ever national interfaith forum, hosted by the Waikato Interfaith Council, in Hamilton on the weekend of 18-19 February.


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Workplace Guidelines launched

Over 80 people attended the launch of the Human Rights Commission’s resource  Religious Diversity in the NZ Workplace: Questions and Concerns on Saturday 18 February in Hamilton as part of the 9th National Interfaith Forum.


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The 6th Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue is being held this year in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, from 11-16 March 2012.


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The Whanganui District Council has voted to stop opening its meetings with a Christian prayer.


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There was a bit of a flurry last weekend when Fairfax media website stuff.co.nz published a report on Murray Deaker’s alleged comments on Sky TV that All Black Sonny Bill Williams being a Muslim in a so-called Christian country made him uncomfortable.


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Launch of Journeying into Prayer

A new book on “Journeying into Prayer: people and their pathways” edited by Fr. Neil Darragh was blessed and launched at the St Columba Centre in Auckland on 9 March.  


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Jewish Lives in New Zealand

The immense impact Jewish people have had in New Zealand has been encapsulated in a new book.


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As of November 2011 there have been significant positive changes as to how Religious workers, Work Permits and Permanent Residency applications will be processed and granted by NZ Immigration Services. 


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Race Unity Speech Contest

The Race Unity Speech Awards will be held in support of Race Relations Day through March and will culminate with the finals on 31 March at the Race Unity Conference in Auckland.


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Christchurch Interfaith discussion

The Christchurch Interfaith Society will host a talk “What is the value of Interfaith Dialogue: for me? for society? ”on Tuesday 27 March, 7-9pm 17 Kirkwood Ave.


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Walk for Humanity 2012

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is sponsoring the Walk for Humanity 2012 Walkathon, in aid of The Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind and Humanity First New Zealand Inc. 


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Christians and Jews Conference

The Council of Christians and Jews 2012 conference will be held in Wellington, 12-15 May at the Wellington Jewish Community Centre, 80 Webb Street. 


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Review of religious diversity in 2011

The Human Rights Commission has published its annual review of developments in religious diversity. The review is part of the annual race relations report Tūi Tūi Tuituiā: Race Relations in 2011.


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The 9th Annual National Interfaith Forum, with the theme “Spiritual Identity in a Secular Society”, will be held in Hamilton at Church College, Temple View, on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 February 2012.


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The Human Rights Commission will launch the resource Religious Diversity in the NZ Workplace: Questions and Concerns on Saturday 18 February in Hamilton as part of the 9th National Interfaith Forum.


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The UNESCO Chair for Interreligious Understanding and Relations, Professor Paul Morris, and the Chair of the UNESCO Culture Sub Commission, Brian Pauling, jointly conducted a highly successful “Young People of Faith” workshop at AUT in Auckland on Sunday 12 February.


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Delegates from around the world, including New Zealand, travelled to the Middle Eastern city of Doha, Qatar in mid December 2011, for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations forum.


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Jocelyn Armstrong has been asked to present a paper to an international symposium on ‘Religion, Spirituality and Education for Human Flourishing’ organised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations and the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace, 24-26 February in Marrakech, Morocco.


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An Intercultural night of Rumi

In December the Intercultural Dialogue Platform of the Pearl of Island Foundation  organised a Whirling Derwishes Ceremony, an ancient ritual passed down since the 13th century, performed by semazens of the Wellington Study Group who are followers of Rumi.


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Race Unity Speech Awards 2012

The Race Unity Speech Awards will be held in support of Race Relations Day through March and will culminate with the finals on 31 March in Auckland.


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Public Talk on Buddhist Practice

The St Andrew Study Trust has organised a lecture by Stephen Batchelor entitled “Being Completely Human – Buddhist Practice in a Post-Christian World” A critical reflection on the secular transformation of Buddhism as it comes to terms with the challenges of globalisation and modernity.


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Christchurch Interfaith Social

To start the year off, the Christchurch Interfaith Council will have an informal evening/social and is inviting people to bring along something from their faith to share with other e.g. a candle, book, item of clothing or symbol and give a simple explanation of when/ how it is used or the meaning behind it.


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The 9th Annual National Interfaith Forum, with the theme “Spiritual Identity in a Secular Society”, will be held in Hamilton at Church College, Temple View, on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 February 2012.


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Annual Race Relations Report

The Human Rights Commission publishes an annual Race Relations Report, including a section on religious diversity.


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Race Relations Day 2012

The theme for Race Relations Day 2012 is ‘A fair go for all’. Race Relations Day is on 21 March each year but many events take place around the actual day.


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A growing interest in Islamic religion and its role in the contemporary world has resulted in the University of Auckland adding a course in Islamic studies to its Bachelor of Theology degree from next year.


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On Saturday 8 October the Gisborne Interfaith group participated in the 7th annual Te Unga Mai Voyaging Festival to commemorate the first meeting of Māori and Pākehā in New Zealand with the arrival of Lt. James Cook on the HMS Endeavour.


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Assisi Meeting Auckland Service

This year the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi meeting was again marked by Pope Benedict who journeyed from Rome to Assisi on a pilgrimage of peace.


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Leaders of faith communities are invited to discuss the issue of violence against women and children.


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The Spirit of Rangatahi offers a professional development opportunity in Auckland and Wellington for customer focused staff to learn and experience diversity first-hand.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Society will host a talk “Pillow Talk – interfaith marriage and its challenges” on Tuesday 29 November 7-9pm at 17 Kirkwood Ave.


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Registration for the 9th Annual National Interfaith Forum is now open and can be completed by visiting the Waikato Interfaith Council website .


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The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace.


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Islam Awareness Week starts 31 October

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) will be from 31 October to 5 November this year.


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Acknowledging Muslim Male Leaders

Settling In in collobration with Auckland Council and NZ Police will host an event to acknowledge Muslim Male leaders on 4 November in Auckland.


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Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ is sponsoring a Peace Conference on Saturday 5 November 2011 at the Panmure Community Centre Hall, 7-13 Pilkington Road, Panmure.


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Leaders of faith communities are invited to discuss the issue of violence against women and children.


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Assisi Day of Prayer for World Peace

On 27 October 1986, the first World Day of Prayer for Peace was held in Assisi, Italy.


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NZ Diversity Forum

Around 50 people attended the annual religious diversity forum as part of the wider NZ Diversity forum in Hamilton on Monday, 22 August.


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Intercultural Iftar dinner held in August

The Pearl of the Islands Foundation (PIF) hosted their 3rd Annual Intercultural Iftar dinner at the Sudima Auckland Airport on the eve of Eid on Saturday 27 August.


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Celebrate Diwali 2011

Diwali celebrations will take place around the country throughout September and October. 


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Come to the next Auckland Interfaith Seminar

The Auckland Inter-faith Council is hosting a third seminar in the 2011 series “Keeping and practising faith in New Zealand today.”


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Participate in the Week of Prayer for Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace.


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Take part in Islam Awareness Week

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) will be from 31 October to 5 November this year.


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Come to the annual Otago interfaith lecture

The Otago Tertiary Chaplain and the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group are jointly hosting their annual peace lecture on “Compassion, Justice and the Pursuit of Peace: Ten Years on from 9/11.”


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The Christchurch Interfaith Society will host a talk on “Interfaith: Opportunities & Challenges” on Tuesday 27 September 7-9pm at 17 Kirkwood Ave.


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A multifaith prayer service will be held in all New Zealand Catholic dioceses to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Assisi Day of Prayer for World Peace. 


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Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ is sponsoring a Peace Conference on Saturday 5 November 2011 at the Panmure Community Centre Hall, 7-13 Pilkington Road, Panmure.


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NZ Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr 2011

This month we feature a report written by Sheik Amjad Ali, Al-Madinah School


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Registration is still open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum to be held in Hamilton this Sunday and Monday 21-22 August.


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The annual New Zealand Diversity Awards will be presented at the New Zealand Diversity Forum on Monday 22 August at 6.00 pm at the Claudelands Convention Centre, Hamilton. The awards will be preceded by a reception at 5.00 pm.


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Islam Awareness Week 2011

Islam Awareness Week will be from 31 October to 5 November this year. The theme is: Islam and the Environment: Our Rights and Responsibilities.


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Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman announced in July new rules making it easier for religious workers to stay in the country.


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Ratna Osman, Acting Executive Director of Sisters in Islam, Malaysia was in New Zealand to present and facililate a series of workshops/forums in Auckland and Wellington from Thursday 21st to Friday 22nd July.


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Gisborne Interfaith activities

Two representatives of the Gisborne Interfaith Group attended a special event to celebrate the Tairawhiti ‘Man of the Year’ Awards Ceremony and Dinner’, on Saturday night the 23 July.


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In order to find out how spirituality is part of secular state education in Aotearoa/New Zealand, senior lecturer at Auckland University Kim Elliott undertook a qualitative study.


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Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace.


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Christchurch Interfaith activities

Christchurch Interfaith Society will host a talk, as part of Rafaa Antoun Memorial Lecture combined with its AGM on Tues, 23 Aug. 7.00 – 9.00 pm, 17 Kirkwood Ave on “The Red Zone – reflections on God Talk in Canterbury after 4/9/10.”


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Auckland Interfaith activities

The Auckland Inter-faith Council invites you to the third seminar in the 2011 series Keeping and practising faith in New Zealand today Wednesday 14 September 7.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue the Hindu Swaminarayan Temple, 21 Barrhead Place, Avondale.


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Wellington Interfaith activities

The Wellington Interfaith Council in partnership with the Southern Environment Association will be involved in a planting day on Saturday, 3 September, 2-4pm at Tawatawa Reserve, Murchison Street, Island Bay.


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The Counties Manukau Multicultural Council will hold an “Integrating Ethnic Cultures” Eid Festival on Sunday 4 September from 10.00 am at Mangere Centre Park Sports Stadium,101-141 Robertson Road,Mangere, Auckland.


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There will be two forums focusing on religious diversity at the New Zealand Diversity Forum at the Claudelands Convention Centre in Hamilton on 21-22 August. 


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Vigils led by young people from local faith communities are to be held around the country on 16 July to honour Christchurch and stand in solidarity with the people of the city. 


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The Umma Trust will be hosting a series of forums on Muslim women’s rights on 21July at AUT in Auckland and 22 July in Wellington.


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Interfaith Activities

The Wellington Inter-Faith Council invites you to attend a combined AGM and talk on Sunday 14 August 2pm – 4.30pm at the 2nd floor Meeting Rooms James Smith Building corner Cuba and Manners Streets in Wellington.


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Very few New Zealanders, if any, had heard of the word maskophobia before two bus drivers in Auckland claimed it as a reason for refusing to allow two Saudi women wearing a niqab to travel on public buses in Auckland this month. A Wellington bus driver for the same company subsequently claimed to suffer from the same phobia.


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Regional Interfaith website launched

Following recommendations from the Perth and Waitangi Regional Interfaith Dialogues, a website has been created with the purpose of promoting interfaith dialogue at local, national and regional levels in the Asia Pacific region.


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Interfaith Harmony Seminar

Settling In, Family & Community Services, MSD and Bridgebuilders Trust organised a workshop to promote interfaith harmony along the theme of “Further Dialogue between Muslim & Christian Women Living in New Zealand.” 


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Registrations are now open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, to be held in Hamilton Sunday 21 – Monday 22 August at the Claudelands Convention Centre.


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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

The focus at the Annual Religious Diversity Forum, as part of the NZ Diversity Forum, will be religion and the state.


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Churches torched in Wainuimata

A 43-year-old Porirua man appeared in Lower Hutt District Court last week accused of starting fires at Wainuiomata Gospel Hall and Wainuiomata Pioneer Church.


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Anne Frank panel discussion

The Waikato Museum hosted a panel and discussion evening presented by a group of local Jewish community members and their families on 2 June following the high interest after the initial session held on 26 May.


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The 9th Annual National Interfaith Forums, which include both the annual Youth and Women’s interfaith forums, will be held in Hamilton at the University of Waikato on Sunday 19-20 February 2012.  


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Auckland and Wellington people from Government Departments/Agencies, Community organisations, Educators and Health Care professionals are invited to learn about various Faith communities in their local communities.


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Maori Language Week

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) have chosen “Manaakitanga” as the theme for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week 4 July – 10 July 2011.


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Activating the Charter for Compassion

The Wellington Council of Christians and Jews Presents a Public Symposium on “Activating the Charter for Compassion in our religions and wider society” on Wednesday 13 July 2011 7.30pm at the Wellington Islamic Centre / Masjid 7-11 Queens Drive, Kilbirnie.


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Umma Trust will be hosting a series of forums in July on Muslim women’s rights which will be presented by Ratna Osman.


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Interfaith Activities

The Wellington Inter-Faith Council invites you to attend a combined AGM/ talk on Sunday 14 August 2pm – 4.30pm at the 2nd floor Meeting Rooms James Smith Building corner Cuba and Manners Streets in Wellington.


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A concert of Jewish cantorial music

There will be an opportunity to hear Jewish cantoral music at a concert in Wellington this month on Sunday, 19 June 2011, 3.00 pm at the Wellington Jewish Community Centre 80 Webb Street.


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New Zealand’s only faith-based prison unit is under threat of closure unless it meets a Corrections Department edict to make changes to its programme.


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The 2011 New Zealand Diversity forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 21-22 August at the Claudelands Convention Centre in Hamilton. The Forum is a partnership between the Human Rights Commission and a range of New Zealand Diversity Action Programme participants, including the Hamilton Multicultural Trust, MSD’s Settling In programme, the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, and others to be confirmed.


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Council Prayers

Whanganui District Councillors are split over whether or not God has any place around their council table.


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The Catholic Church is welcoming the development of a special priest’s visa, saying current immigration laws discriminate against religious workers for responding to a “calling”, not a job advertisement.


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The second Wellington Region Hindu Conference was held at the Waiwhetu Marae, Lower Hutt, on 9 April 2011.  The theme of the conference was “Hindu-Maori Perspectives on Holistic Health: From Individual and Whanau to Community”. The conference was organised by the Wellington chapter of the Hindu Council of New Zealand, Inc. in cooperation with the Waiwhetu Marae.


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Gisborne Interfaith Report

An Interfaith prayer evening was held at the Gisborne Buddhist Temple on Thursday night the 14 of April, to pray for the religious minorities in Iran who are suffering persecution.


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Samoan Language Week 1-7 June

A reminder that Samoan Language Week O le Vaiaso Gagana Samoa will take place 1 – 7 June. This might be an opportunity to acknowledge your own members of your faith communities by organizing an activity. You are invited to register your activity by emailing nzdiversity@hrc.co.nz.


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Maori Language Week 4 July – 10

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) have chosen “Manaakitanga” as the theme for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week 4 July – 10 July 2011.


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Bridgebuilders and Settling In will be jointly hosting a 2nd workshop on Muslim and Christian Women Living in NZ this weekend. The theme is Interfaith Harmony: Further dialogue between Muslim and Christian Women.


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Umma Trust will be hosting a series of forums in July on Muslim women’s rights which will be presented by Ratna Osman.


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Interfaith Council Activities

Christchurch

The Christchurch Interfaith Council is hosting a discussion evening on Festivals – their value and the importance in one’s faith tradition on Tuesday 31 May from 7-9pm at 17 Kirkwood Avenue. There will be presentations by the Baha’i, Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths.


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The 9th Annual National Interfaith Forums, which includes both the annual Youth and Women’s interfaith forums, will be held in Hamilton at the University of Waikato on Sunday 19th & Monday 20 February 2012.  


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The 2011 New Zealand Diversity forum will be held on Sunday and Monday 21-22 August at the Claudelands Convention Centre in Hamilton. Every year at the Diversity Forum there is a forum on an issue addressed in the Statement on Religious Diversity .  This year’s forum will focus on The State and Religion.


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The Department of Labour has published a summary of submissions’ on the review of immigration policies available to religious workers. The agreement to review existing immigration rules for religious workers came after extensive lobbying from religious communities about the difficulty for religious workers to gain permanent residency in New Zealand.


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The Law Commission is undertaking a first principles review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964. The Act’s primary purpose is to ensure adequate provision is made for the burial of the dead in a manner which is controlled and respectful and which meets public expectations. It also contains the legal provisions governing the certification and registration of deaths.


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The top prize at the Race Unity Speech finals in Auckland on 6 April 2011 went to Lepau Feau representing Sacred Heart College Auckland with Supreet Kaur representing MacLeans College Auckland as runner up.


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Despite a small increase in complaints of discrimination towards Muslims, a researcher at Victoria University says Muslims in this country are doing comparatively well in other measures.


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Vaisakhi celebrated in Manukau

The NZ Punjabi Cultural Association Papatoetoe celebrated Vaisakhi (the harvesting festival of Northern India) on 2 April at Telstra Stadium in Auckland.


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Samoan Language Week

Faith communities are encouraged to celebrate Samoan Language Week O le Vaiaso Gagana Samoa which will take place 1 – 7 June.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Council is back into its activities and events. On Tuesday 26 April 7-9pm there will be a presentation from Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Brahma Kumari’s and Unificationists on the topic Understanding the Eternal: Is it possible.  The event will be at 17 Kirkwood Ave.


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NZ Hindu Youth Conference

Hindu Youth New Zealand and the New Zealand Hindu Students Forum are pleased to announce that the 2nd New Zealand Hindu Youth Conference will take place on 7-8 May 2011. The theme of the conference is Dynamic Spirit of Youth.


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The Auckland Council of Christians and Jews will be holding a meeting on Tuesday 17 May at 7.30pm at  St Paul’s Church lounge 12 St Vincent Avenue in Remuera. 


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Bridgebuilders and Settling In are organising the 2nd workshop on Muslim and Christian Women Living in NZ. The theme is Interfaith Harmony: Further dialogue between Muslim and Christian Women.


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Auckland Interfaith Council series

The Auckland Inter-Faith Council invites you to attend a combined AGM/evening seminar on Wed. 15 June at St Mark’s Church 95 Remuera Road Remuera. Doors open 7:00 pm for a 7:30 pm start.


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Radha Sahar’s artworks received by the Anglican Church will be on show at the Parish Centre, Steyne Avenue, Plimmerton, between 10.00am and 5.00pm, for Holy Week 17-25 April.


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DID YOU KNOW?

In recent years there has been controversy at the United Nations Human Rights Council over the issue of defamation of religions. Each year a number of Islamic states have put forward a resolution calling on action to counter defamation of religions, including legal sanctions. This has been opposed by Western nations on the ground that it conflicts with the right to freedom of expression.  Although the resolution has been passed by the Human Rights Council, it has only done so with a narrow majority and a very large number of abstentions.


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Race Relations Day

Race Relations Day is on Monday 21 March.  It’s not too late to order the multilingual posters. Check out the Race Relations Day website or Facebook page to view various events happening around the country to celebrate Race Relations Day.


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Indigo Festival in Hamilton

The Hamilton Indigo Festival will begin this weekend Sunday, 20 March. A series of open days at houses of worship will offer visitors a deeper understanding of different cultures and beliefs.


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Race Unity Speech Awards

As part of Race Relations Day, the Race Unity Conference and speech finals will be held at the Manukau Bahá’í Community Centre on 2 April.  The keynote address will be given by Aperahama Hurihanganui, winner of the 2010 Race Unity Speech Award and Rasha Rushdy, a young Egyptian/New Zealand lawyer, representing the New Zealand Bahá’í Community.  


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Local kaumatua and a police chaplain completed blessing ceremonies at more than 20 locations around the CBD and wider city Christchurch on Tuesday 15 March.


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The National Interfaith Forum was hosted by the Wellington Interfaith Council in Wellington from 26 – 28 February 2011 at Parliament buildings. The event was attended by more than 80 people including those participating in three separate forums.


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The Wellington Jewish Council and the Auckland Jewish Council have expressed their opposition to the upcoming visit to New Zealand of Rabbi Nachum Shifren in April.


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Auckland Interfaith seminar series

The Auckland Inter-Faith Council invites you to an evening seminar on “Keeping and Practicing Faith in New Zealand Today”, Wednesday 30 March at 7:30 pm at the Jubilee Building (Hobson Room), 545 Parnell Road. 


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Council of Christian and Muslims AGM

The Council of Christians and Muslims will meet for their AGM on Monday 4 April, 7.30pm at Ponsonby Mosque, 17 Vermont Street, Auckland.


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Easter Pilgrimage

Hibiscus Hospice will be organising a three day 40km overland trail from Riverhead to Puhoi over Easter weekend 22-24 April 2011.  The three day walk is called ‘Hidden Treasures Trail’


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Open Day at Auckland Zen Centre

The Onehunga Festival will be held on Saturday 19 March at the Onehunga Bay Reserve in Beachcroft Road. In conjunction, the Auckland Zen Centre which is only 2 minutes away will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm. 


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You can find information in the ‘Did You Know?’ section below about discrimination complaints in the Religious Diversity chapter of the Human Rights Commission’s Annual Review of Race Relations 2010.


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The Wellington Interfaith Council is hosting sponsoring the 8th National Interfaith Forum in Wellington from 26 – 28 February 2011.The Forum will be divided into three sections: women’s forum, general forum and youth forum.


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The annual diversity season is upon us, with a multitude of multicultural events from now until Race Relations Day (21 March) and beyond. The 2011 theme is People in Harmony and it features the first verse of the New Zealand National anthem in five languages projected over the faces of five people from various communities


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My God Series 5 now screening

The fifth series of My God is currently screening on TVONE Sunday, 8.30am. The current series has featured Ray Avery, Edwina Pio, Nan Gibson and John Sinclair. 


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Over the last few weeks young Christians, Sikhs, Baha’is, Hindus and Buddhists have been participating in an annual multiethnic outdoor leadership course with other participants from diverse backgrounds in Anakiwa, Marlborough Sounds.


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Enter the Race Unity Speech Awards

The Race Unity Speech Awards will be held in support of Race Relations Day through March and will culminate with the finals on 2 April in Auckland.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Council will hold its first presentation of the year on Tuesday 22 Feb from 7.00 – 9.00pm at the Institute Building, 17 Kirkwood Avenue, Ilam, Christchurch.


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Hibiscus Hospice will be organising a three day 40km overland trail from Riverhead to Puhoi over Easter weekend 22-24 April 2011.  The three day walk is called ‘Hidden Treasures Trail’


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Be part of the Hamilton Indigo Festival

The Hamilton Indigo Festival will be held on 19 -26 March 2011.  The festival is a vibrant celebration of Hamilton’s multicultural community. First held in 2000, it has become a much loved event that showcases the music, art, and traditions of this diverse city.


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The Commission received 71 discrimination complaints in 2010 on the grounds of religious or ethical belief. This was slightly up from 67 in 2009, 57 in 2008 and 69 in 2007.


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World Interfaith Harmony Week

World Interfaith Harmony Week will take place the first week of February. The goal of the World Interfaith Harmony Week is to give a platform for all religions to organize and work together http://worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com/

Annual review of religious diversity

Each year the Human Rights Commission includes a chapter on religious diversity in its Race Relations Report. We now welcome your comments on the draft chapter. Please send any feedback to nzdiversity@hrc.co.nz by Sunday 30 January. What do you think were the most important interfaith developments last year? What are the priorities for 2011?


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National Interfaith Forum

A reminder that the 8th National Interfaith Forum is on 26 – 28 February in Wellington. The National Interfaith Forum will start on the evening of Sunday 27 February with the opening ceremony and guest speaker, and will continue all day Monday 28 February in the Legislative Council Chamber in Parliament. Once again there will be a separate youth and a women’s component to the programme. Please contact Dr Pushpa Wood pushpa.wood@gmail.com for more information.

The Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand will be holding its Annual Convention in Hamilton.  The conference is for Muslim women, but there will be a public session on Saturday 22 January 2011, including lunch. 


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The Wellington Interfaith Council will be sponsoring the 8th National Interfaith Forum in Wellington between 26 and 28 February 2011. Once again  there will be a separate youth and a women’s component. The National Youth Interfaith Forum will be held on Saturday 26 February and The National Women’s Interfaith Forum will be held on Sunday 27 February.


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The Race Unity Speech Award will be held again in support of Race Relations Day through March 2011 and will culminate with the finals on 2 April 2011 in Auckland.


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The United Nations passed a resolution to create World Interfaith Harmony Week annually.  The goal of the World Interfaith Harmony Week is to give a platform for all religions to organize and work together.


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Each year the Human Rights Commission includes a section on religious diversity in its Race Relations Report. A draft of this section will be written in December / January.


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Race Relations: What’s most important?

Every five years, the New Zealand Government provides a report to the United Nations on its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The next report is due in December 2011, and will be compiled by the Ministry of Justice in consultation with other government departments, with input from the public.


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Update on Workplace Guidelines

The process of developing guidelines for religious diversity in the workplace is reaching its final stages. Both the Working Group and the Reference Group set up for the process will have a joint meeting this month to discuss the revised document for final sign off.


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Start planning for Race Relations Day 2011

The theme for Race Relations Day 2011 is ‘People in Harmony’. Race Relations Day is on 21 March each year but many events take place around the actual day. It is a time when you or your organisation or community can do something to celebrate, learn, discuss, plan or promote diversity in your own context and to achieve diversity goals.


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Register your NZDAP 2011 Projects

The process of registering projects with the NZ Diversity Action Programme (NZDAP) for 2011 has begun. Well done to the Islamic Women’s Council who were one of the first participants to register projects for 2011.We would like to invite others to let us know what you plan to undertake in the coming year. This may be similar projects to the ones you did this year, or new initiatives.


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Congratulations to Lachlan Mackay who has been appointed as the International Ambassador for the New Zealand region for the Council of the World Parliament of Religions.


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The Nanaksar Trust has completed 21 Years of Service to the local community in Manukau and Auckland. Established in 1989, the Nanaksar Trust started primarily as a religious charity and built the landmark Sikh Temple on Great South Road in Manurewa.


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On Saturday 6 November, 200 people from many different faith backgrounds gathered for an afternoon of sharing sacred words and music on the theme of ‘Gratitude’ held at the Manukau Bahá’í Centre in South Auckland.


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Diwali bigger than ever in 2010

Diwali celebrations took place around the country throughout October / November.  The celebration provides an effective platform for the local Indian community to showcase their culture and traditions.


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Attend the Otago Interfaith public lecture

The University of Otago Centre for Theology and Public Issues and the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group are jointly hosting a lecture by former British MP, Rt Hon John Battle with the topic “From Fear To Respect: Why Building Healthy Interfaith Relationships Matters, Post.”


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Holy Week offers spiritual insights

The largest pilgrimage in the world of 2 million people is taking place and will culminate with the festival of Eid -now confirmed for 17 November. The Rasheed Memorial Trust is taking the opportunity to offer learning about the spiritual fundamentals of the religion.


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The Council of Christians and Muslims will be hosting a public forum “Responsibilities of Parents from a Faith Perspective.”  Hyeeun Kim, a Christian Minister and Waseema Ahmed, an active member of the Muslim community will be the speaker.


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The Wellington Inter-Faith Council will be holding a Multi-Faith Celebration of Unity through music, song, and poetry from the many faiths represented by the Council. 


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Outward Bound Multi Ethnic course

Outward Bound in association with the Human Rights Commission is offering young Aucklanders the chance to embrace cultural diversity by participating in a three week leadership course next year. Earlier this year 14 candidates from diverse backgrounds took part in the 21 day Outward Bound course in the Malborough Sounds. The participants included Baha’i's, Christians, Hindu’s and Sikhs.


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From karakia to powhiri, from Haka to carving, from Mehndi Moko workshop to Poi demonstration – all happened at the Rotorua Deepawali Festival on Saturday, 2 October at the Energy Events Centre.


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Week of Prayer for World Peace

A reminder that the Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand from 17- 24 October. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day.


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The community services team and arts services team at Auckland city council have collaborated to produce a citywide interfaith digital storytelling project by and for women from diverse faith backgrounds. The women have worked with MIC (the Media and Interdisciplinary Arts Centre) to create and edit their stories. All stories celebrate the lives of these diverse women, and centre on themes of faith, hope and belief.


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The Legal Research Foundation will be hosting a talk on Secularism in New Zealand: The Hagley College Mosque Incident and Other Controversies. The lecture will be delivered by David Griffiths and the discussion chaired by Kris Gledhill.


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The Auckland Inter-Faith Council invites you to attend an End of Year Celebration featuring sacred words and music on the theme of “Gratitude”.


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The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is holding a religious founders day symposium on Saturday, 13 November. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at community encourages interfaith dialogue such as Religious Founders’ Day symposiums in a number of countries inviting all major religions to be part of major effort for promoting peace in the world.


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Islamic Women’s Council

The Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand will be holding its Annual Convention in Hamilton from 21-23 January 2011.  The conference is for Muslim women, but there will be a public session on Saturday 22 January 2011, including lunch. 


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Diwali 2010

Diwali will be celebrated by many New Zealanders on and before 5 November. Known as the festival of the lights, Diwali symbolises the victory of righteousness, the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life.


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A Taste of Interfaith

The Christchurch Interfaith Council is creating a  cookbook as a fundraising initiative and is seeking your help. The book will contain recipes for specific foods strongly connected to certain celebratory days of as many religions as possible.


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Eid festival hosted at Parliament

The Great Hall at Parliament resounded to the recitation of the Qur’an in September as more than a hundred people gathered from all over New Zealand for the Muslim feast of Eid-Ul-Fitr. This celebrates the conclusion of the fast. It is a day of joy and thanksgiving which marks the end of Ramadan.


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The Human Rights Commission is supporting this years’ Human Rights Defender Award.


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Diwali 2010

Diwali will be celebrated by many New Zealanders on and before 5 November. Known as the festival of the lights, Diwali symbolises the victory of righteousness, the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life.

It is the time for lighting small oil lamps (diyas) and candles and placing them around the home and setting off fireworks. There are heaps of events happening all over the country leading up to Diwali. For the first time this year, a Diwali Festival of Lights will be held in Manurewa and Christchurch. Once again there will be a special event held in Parliament in November. 

Diwali is a well known Indian festival now widely celebrated in New Zealand and all over the world.

Diwali Mela 2010
Date    :           Sunday, 24 October
Time   :           11am-10.30pm
Venue :           The Trusts Stadium, Waitakere City

Wellington Diwali Festival
Date    :           Sunday, 24 October
Time   :           1pm-10.15pm
Venue :           TSB Bank Arena Queens Wharf, Wellington

Waikato Diwali Festival
Date    :           Sunday, 24 October
Time   :           6pm – 10.30pm
Venue :           Founders Theatre, Hamilton

Auckland Diwali Festival
Date    :           Saturday, 30 October
Time   :           1-10pm
Venue :           Aotea Square Aotea Centre and The Edge, Auckland

Manurewa Diwali Festival
Date    :           Saturday, 30 October
Time   :           4-9pm
Venue :           Manurewa Library car park, Auckland

Teaching Diversity Forum

A workshop on Teaching Diversity was also conducted during the Diversity Forum. The workshop was chaired by UNESCO Chair of Interreligious Understanding and Relations and Professor of Religious Studies from Victoria University, Paul Morris and attracted around 40 participants.


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Congratulations to Mercy Ministries NZ Trust

The Mercy Ministries NZ Trust received an award from the Human Rights Commission at the annual New Zealand Diversity Awards held in Christchurch on 23 August for their contribution to the NZ Diversity Action Programme.


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Thank you for sending in your feedback on the draft guidelines on religious diversity in the workplace. Both the Working Group and the Reference Group set up for the development of the guidelines will meet next month to discuss any changes to the draft document.


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Controversy sparked by TVNZ Sunday programme

Around 100 people attended a public meeting in Hamilton on 3 September, organised by the Waikato Somali Friendship Society, to discuss concerns about an item “Chewing the khat” featured on TVNZ’s Sunday programme on 22 August.


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Over 700 people celebrated the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, Auckland on Sunday, 29 August 2010. The festival was organised by the Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum.


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Hindu Council launches three websites

The Hindu Council of New Zealand has launched three websites. These websites will help the Council in disseminating information easily to the public.


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Applications are invited for the confirmation path position of Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Religion, Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago. The successful applicant will teach courses on Islam and either Judaism or Christianity.


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Join the Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand from 17- 24 October. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day.


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The Settling In Project (MSD) and the Bridge Builders Trust Inc are running a workshop on Muslim women & NZ women.


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The Frederic and Margaret Wallis Labyrinth Committee invites members of all faith communities to an interfaith exploration of the labyrinth meditative walkway.


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Temple Sinai, the Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation invites everyone to an address by visiting Israeli Rabbi Dr Kinneret Shiryon. She will be speaking on “Progressive Judaism in Israel: A Quiet Revolution!”


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The Auckland Inter-Faith Council invites you to attend an End of Year Celebration featuring sacred words and music on the theme of “Gratitude”.


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Alliance of Civilisations meets in New York

At a time of threats to burn the Koran and violent responses to that from some Muslims, the United Nations will next week convene a high-level meeting of a major international body that seeks to promote inter-cultural understanding.


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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

Over 80 people attended the Annual Religious Diversity forum, as part of the wider NZ Diversity forum, in Christchurch on 23 August. The focus of this year’s forum was on media and religion.


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Over a thousand New Zealanders are expected to swarm to the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland to celebrate the Hindu Festival of Raksha Bandhan on Sunday 29 August 2010. The Raksha Bandhan festival celebrates the infallible bond of universal fellowship and is an occasion to venerate womanhood.


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The symposium, Reflections on the Holocaust, will consider the Holocaust or Shoah from Christian, Jewish and Muslim perspectives.


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On Sunday 26 September, The Frederic and Margaret Wallis Labyrinth Committee invite members of all faith communities to an interfaith exploration of the labyrinth meditative walkway at Hutt Hospital.


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Pray for World Peace in October

The Week of Prayer for World Peace is an opportunity for people of all faiths to pray in their own gatherings or with people of other faiths for world peace. The week will be observed in NZ from 18-24 October.


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Spirituality and sexual and gender identity will be covered at the human rights conference to be held at the Asia Pacific OutGames in March 2011 in Wellington.


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Celebration of Islam Awareness Week

Did you know Islam Awareness Week has been a national event since 2004? Find out more by reading the address given by Mustafa Farouk, FIANZ Vice President, at the launch of Islam Awareness Week, 2 August 2010.

Registration is still open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, to be held in Christchurch from 22-23 August. Check out the programme and register online NOW!


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The annual New Zealand Diversity Awards will be presented at the New Zealand Diversity Forum on Monday 23 August at 6.00 pm at the Christchurch Convention Centre. The awards will be preceded by a reception at 5.00 pm.


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Islam Awareness Week (IAW) was launched in Wellington on Monday 2 August. The event again included the announcement of the 2010 Harmony Award winners; Grant Morgan from Auckland and Joan Buchanan from Wellington, who was there to collect her award.


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Feedback is now sought on the draft document “Religious Diversity in the Workplace”, prepared by Professor Paul Morris in consultation with a working group and a reference group.


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An interim agreement has now been reached with the Minister of Agriculture and the Shechita committee, which represents the NZ Jewish community in its current deliberations with Government to have the practice of Shechita re-instated, as it has always been, as an important part of Jewish religious observance. The agreement with the Minister will enable the continued practice of shechita in the period up to trial, likely to take place in 2011.


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Neo-Nazi attack on Christian Church

According to the Manawatu Standard, a court has heard that in a rage of hatred towards Christianity, a neo-Nazi and his accomplice smashed nine windows of a Feilding church on Easter Sunday.


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On Thursday 19 August, the 10th anniversary of the Race Unity Speech award will be celebrated at Parliament. The celebration will be hosted by Hon Pansy Wong MP and will include previous winners and participants of the award over the past decade.


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The next speaker in the Auckland Inter-Faith Council’s “Journeys of Faith” series is Dr Maureen Sier, who will share her personal journey as a Bahá’í, as well as provide some updates on interfaith initiatives happening in the Pacific region and abroad.


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On Tuesday 24 August, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Christchurch Interfaith Council will be held, with guest speaker Peter Cammock.


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The Annual General Meeting of the Wellington Interfaith Council is open to anyone interested in learning about interfaith relations. You are welcome to come and find out about the work of the Inter-Faith Council, discuss activities over the past year, help plan the National, Women’s and Youth Interfaith Forums and to become a member.


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Eco faith: Massah online now

In this era of climate change, Elaine M. Wainwright takes a closer look at ecological ethics with reference to biblical texts in the winter 2010 issue of Massah, the quarterly publication for the NZ Council of Christians and Jews.


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As part of Islam Awareness Week (IAW), to be held this year from 2-8 August, the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ (FIANZ) is seeking nominations for the annual Harmony Awards.


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In Auckland on Thursday 29 July, Manual Beazley will explore the tribal traditions of the Pacific at the next talk in the Mercy Spirituality series, Māori and Pacific Spirituality.


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Understanding Islam

In the next month, the Rasheed Memorial Dawah Trust (RMDT) has three events in Auckland concerning the role of Islamic faith in the New Zealand community:


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Raksha Bandhan Festival

On 29 August the Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum will celebrate the Raksha Bandhan festival at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland. The festival “promotes universal fellowship and venerates womanhood”.


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On Tuesday 27 July the Christchurch Interfaith Council Inc. will present its annual memorial lecture on Religious Diversity and Multiculturalism, in memory of Rafaa Antoun. Hassan Haji Ibrahim will speak on this year’s topic, “Building Bridges Between Muslim and Non-Muslim Communities in New Zealand”.


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Before Professor Paul Morris introduces a suggested outline for a Statement on Religion and the Media at this year’s Religious Diversity Forum, we would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the subject.


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The next speaker in the Auckland Inter-Faith Council “Journeys of Faith” series is Dr Maureen Sier, who will discuss her personal journey as a Bahá’í, as well as provide some updates on interfaith initiatives occurring in the Pacific region and abroad.


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Public consultation regarding the guidelines for religious diversity in the workplace will begin towards the end of July. Both the Working Group and the Reference Group set up for the development of the guidelines are in the process of reviewing a draft document to present to the public.


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The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee (NZCBC) has labelled the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club’s continued ban on Sikh turban-wearers “a violation of the human rights of the Sikh community”.


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Māori and Hindus “become family”

“One big family doing it two different ways”, was how Hindu spokeswoman Nirmal Mishra expressed the coming together of Māori and Hindu leaders to celebrate Mātāriki in Auckland.


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My God re-screening Fridays at 7pm

The second series of the popular television programme My God, hosted by Chris Nichol, is now re-screening on TVNZ 6, Fridays at 7pm. The second series covers Hinduism, Destiny church, Druidism, Anglicanism, Scientolgy, Christianity, Rationalism, Ringatu, Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism.


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The Sikh Council put out the following press release with the aim of educating the New Zealand public of the Turban’s significance to their community, in response to the recent publicity about the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club’s headwear ban.


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The Sikh Council is planning to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Review Tribunal in an effort to overturn Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club’s recent decision to maintain its policy forbidding the wearing of headwear in the bar. At the club’s AGM meeting a majority of members voted to keep a ban on head gear, which includes turbans.


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Raksha Bandan Festival

The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum is celebrating Raksha Bandhan, which ‘promotes universal fellowship and venerates womanhood’. The festival will be celebrated on 29 August 2010 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland.


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Mātāriki

Mātāriki Māori New Year celebrations began on Monday 14 June with a dawn karakia marking the arrival of the first moon after the rising of the star cluster Mātāriki. The festival then continues through to 14 July. Mātāriki is the star cluster that heralds the start of the Aotearoa Pacific New Year.


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Islam Awareness Week

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) this year will be from August 2-8, with the theme of “Cultivating Positive Emotions for a Healthy Society”. IAW will once again involve the presentation of the annual Harmony Awards. The Harmony Awards recognise efforts to improve understanding and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims, and thereby encourage this outcome. There are a range of local and national award categories, both for target audiences and for non-Muslims. Please email FIANZ for a nomination form.


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The focus at the Annual Religious Diversity Forum, as part of the NZ Diversity Forum, will be religion and the media. The reporting of religion by the media continues to be a topic that occupies the minds of both religious communities and journalists, internationally and in New Zealand.


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Press Release by New Zealand Government at 1:16 pm, 16 Jun 2010

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman yesterday announced a review of the policy settings relating to religious workers.


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Third Alliance of Civilisations Forum

The Alliance of Civilisations (AOC) is a United Nations initiative that aims to improve understanding and co-operative relations among nations and people across cultures and religions.

The third forum of the AOC was held from the 28-29 May, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The AOC was launched by Turkey and Spain in 2005 in response to concerns that a rise of religious extremism and incidents of global terrorism were causing a growing rift between people of different cultures and faiths.


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Thank you to those who provided feedback on the draft paper on the right to religion and belief as part of the Human Rights Commission’s review of human rights in New Zealand. In addition to submissions received, the Commission conducted a series of roundtable meetings in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch in May, which were highly valuable.


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Mercy Spirituality Interfaith series

Mercy Spirituality Centre is holding three talks over the next month with a view to exploring interfaith dialogue and getting to know our neighbours in an increasingly multiethnic and multicultural society. Speakers from some major world faiths will share their faith, beliefs and practices, and what this means for them living here in New Zealand.


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The New Zealand Council of Christians and Jews will be holding its national conference from 3-4 July in Auckland. The theme this year is Christian-Jewish Dialogue: Encouraging Development, Emerging Challenges.


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Christchurch Interfaith Public Talk

A Christchurch Interfaith group will hold a discussion on the topic of ‘the value of life’.


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The Rasheed Memorial Dawah Trust has organised another workshop on Islamic faith for service providers to Muslim clients. This second workshop for 2010 is based on both positive feedback from the previous workshops and demand for objective cultural training that facilitates safe-space awareness and incorporates multi-factored outcomes, from productivity to human relations. There are only 25 spaces available in total for all sectors.


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NZ Diversity Forum 22–23 August

Registrations are now open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, to be held in Christchurch from Sunday 22 – Monday 23 August at the Christchurch Convention Centre. Check out the programme and register online. The Forum is a partnership between the Human Rights Commission and a range of New Zealand Diversity Action Programme participants, including MSD’s Settling In programme, the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, and others to be confirmed.


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Auckland Interfaith AGM 9 June

All are welcome to attend the annual general meeting of the Auckland Inter-Faith Council on 9 June, which this year will be followed with the series of public talk entitled “Journeys of Faith”.


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The Human Rights Commission is hosting a series of roundtable meetings to get more feedback on the final draft section on the ‘Right to Freedom of Religion and Belief’ in its status report Human Rights in New Zealand Today. There has already been a meeting in Wellington and the remaining two are in Auckland and Christchurch.


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As part of a nationwide initiative with the Muslim community, a second ‘Muslims and the Media’ dialogue forum was held in Auckland last month. These sessions are being run to help establish an effective relationship with the media, gaining a working knowledge of how the media works and incorporating a response mechanism that can address any media coverage and stereotyping that may occur.


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Mercy Spirituality Interfaith Series

Mercy Spirituality Centre is holding a series of six talks on Thursday evenings during June, July and August with a view to exploring interfaith dialogue and getting to know our neighbours in an increasingly multi‐ethnic and multicultural society. Speakers from some major world faiths will share their faith, beliefs and practices, and what this means for them living here in New Zealand.


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Christchurch Interfaith Public Talk

A Christchurch Interfaith group will provide a presentation and discussion on the topic of ‘coming of age ceremonies – part and present’ on Tuesday 25 May (7-9pm) at St Matthews Parish Hall, 108 Jeffries Street.


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Spirit of Rangatahi Faith visits

The Spirit of Rangatahi Aotearoa is running a ‘faith visits’ programme in May that provides an opportunity to learn about various faith communities in the Wellington area. Over two Sundays in May people are visiting a local Hindu Temple, Muslim Mosque, Buddhist Temple and a Jewish Synagogue.


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This year the focus at the Annual Religious Diversity Forum will be religion and the media. You are invited to send in your views and experiences of religion and the media (including the internet) prior to the NZ Diversity Forum (21-23 August) so that these can be included in the discussion.


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The Alliance of Civilisations is a United Nations initiative that aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and people across cultures and religions, and in the process, to help counter the forces that fuel polarisation and extremism. The New Zealand government is a supporter of the Alliance’s objectives, and at the end of May 2010 will be represented at the Third Forum by Office Ethnic Affairs Director, Mervin Singham.


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The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum was launched during the 3rd New Zealand National Hindu conference. This was one of the milestone outcomes of the conference.


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Due to heavy demand, the Rasheed Memorial Trust has organised another series of workshops on Islamic faith for service providers to Muslim clients.


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A collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and many other Buddhist masters is currently touring the world and is coming to Auckland in May.


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Theology and the Ethics of Food

This full day seminar and workshop explores the value of food in our health and wellbeing from nutritional, spiritual and environmental perspectives.


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3rd Hindu Conference

Encouraged by the responses that were received for the 1st and 2nd New Zealand Hindu Conferences, the Hindu Council of New Zealand will be hosting the third conference from 15- 16 May 2010 with the theme “Sustaining New Zealand through strengthening bond amongst communities”.


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Applications are now open for the OHCHR Minorities Fellowship Programme (MFP).


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The process of developing ‘guidelines’ for religious diversity in the workplace has now begun with members of the Working Group and Reference Group meeting to discuss the terms of reference.


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Thank you to those who have registered projects this year with the NZ Diversity Action Programme.


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The Human Rights Commission will host three lunch meetings to get more feedback on the final draft section on the right to freedom of religion and belief in its status report Human Rights in New Zealand Today.


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Speech Award Winners

The Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, awarded Aperahama Hurihanganui representing Rotorua Boys’ High School, the top prize at the Race Unity Speech finals in Auckland on 10 April.


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For the first time in New Zealand history, Māori will now be able to read the Muslim holy book, the Koran, in Te Reo Māori.


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Interfaith Youth Facebook

Interfaith Youth leaders involved in the National Interfaith Youth Forum are progressing the idea of setting up a Facebook group.


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Vaisakhi on the Square 2010

Manukau Square was alive with colour, music and performances as the third annual Vaisakhi on the Square event was celebrated on Saturday 10 April.


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All faith communities are encouraged to celebrate Samoan Language Week which will take place from Sunday 30 May to Saturday 5 June, and will coincide with Samoan Independence Day on 1 June.


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The Auckland Inter-Faith Council’s series of public talks for this year is entitled “Journeys of Faith”.


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Christchurch Interfaith Public Talk

A Christchurch Interfaith group panel discussion will be held on the topic of pregnancy, birth and associated rituals.


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The Council of Christians and Muslims is hosting a public talk by Antony Lowenstein.


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The National Interfaith Forum was hosted for the first time this year by the Christchurch Inter-Faith Council in Christchurch.


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The launch of the UNESCO Chair took place at the 7th National Interfaith Forum in Christchurch.


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The New Zealand Catholic Bishops have established a Committee for Interfaith Relations.


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Apology After Turban Refusal

A Sikh businessman refused service at a golf club bar because he was wearing a turban has been sent a written apology.


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Rotorua public and international visitors to Rotorua experienced a unique festival on 28 February 2010.


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The Annual Race Unity Speech Awards have now begun in support of Race Relations Day.


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The Hindu Youth Foundation is organising a Family Fun Day on Sunday 21 March to celebrate the 2010 Race Relations Day and to bring families and communities together.


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Māori Pacific Interfaith Network

The Māori Pacific Interfaith Network is meeting at 16 Donald McLean St, on the 4th Monday of each month.


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NZ Labour Party Interfaith Branch

The inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Labour Inter-Faith branch will be held on Monday evening, March 22.


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Over Easter weekend 2010, Hibiscus Hospice is holding its three-day 40km overland trail from Riverhead to Puhoi.


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Koran in Te Reo launch

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of New Zealand has translated the Koran into Te Reo Māori.


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Like his famous namesake Papatoetoe teenager Mohammed Ali knows how to stand out from the crowd. The 17-year-old has just been appointed head boy, or college captain, at De La Salle College.


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The Human Rights Commission is updating its status report Human Rights in New Zealand Today.


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Strategic Policy Manager position

A vacancy has arisen for the position of Strategic Policy Manager within the Human Rights Commission’s senior management team. A job description is available on the Commission’s website (applications close April 2).

Race Relations Day

Race Relations Day is being held on March 21 and this year’s theme is ‘It’s About Us’.


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Anne Frank ‘A History Today exhibition

As a way of educating and raising awareness about the Holocaust, the Anne Frank ‘A History Today’ exhibition opened at Te Papa on 11 February.


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2010 Race Unity Speech Award

The Race Unity Speech Award will be held again in support of Race Relations Day through March and will culminate with the finals on 10 April in Auckland.


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Wellington Regional Hindu Conference

The Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc. (HCNZ) is organising the Wellington Regional Hindu Conference on Saturday, 27 February 2010, in Lower Hutt, Wellington. The theme of the conference is “Community Development – A Hindu Perspective”.


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Over Easter weekend 2010 Hibiscus Hospice will again be organising a three day 40km overland trail from Riverhead to Puhoi.


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In the last three years, the Human Rights Commission has received 249 complaints on the grounds of religious and/or ethical belief. Just over half (53%) were complaints from people alleging specific incidents of personally experienced discrimination on the basis of their religion.


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You can find information in the ‘Did You Know?’ section below about discrimination complaints in the Religious Diversity chapter of the Human Rights Commission’s Annual Review of Race Relations 2009.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Council will be sponsoring the 7th National Interfaith Forum in Christchurch between 26 and 28 February 2010.


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The annual Diversity Season is upon us, with a multitude of multicultural events from now until Race Relations Day (21 March) and even beyond.


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Race Relations Day Facebook page

The Human Rights Commission is using Facebook to get discussions going ahead of Race Relations Day next month with a special Facebook page dedicated to Race Relations Day.


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“My God” Television Series

Pacific Crews Production Company has received further funding from NZ On Air to produce a fifth television series of ‘My God’.


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The involvement of UNESCO in the work on interfaith dialogue in New Zealand is being formalised by the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in ‘Interreligious Understanding and Relations’ at Victoria University of Wellington.


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Savory scones upset Afghan team

New Zealanders are being urged to learn more about the Muslim faith, after New Zealand Cricket was forced to apologise for providing scones containing pork at the Under-19 World Cup Cricket Tournament last month attended by an Afghanistan team.


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Annual review of religious diversity

Each year the Human Rights Commission includes a section on religious diversity in its Race Relations Report. A draft of this section is available for comment. Please send any feedback to nzdiversity@hrc.co.nz. What do you think were the most important developments last year? What are the priorities for 2010?

A final version of this section will be produced in time for the National Interfaith Forum in February.


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Race Relations Day

A reminder that Race Relations Day this year is on Sunday 21 March. The theme is “It’s About Us: Whanau”. We are encouraging faith communities to participate by celebrating their own cultural diversity – in the way that communities in Nelson and Palmerston North last year for example organised “Rainbow Praise” concerts including choirs from different ethnic communities coming together for a service of praise. Let us know at nzdiversity@hrc.co.nz and we will add your event to our Race Relations Day Calendar of Events.

A group of about 40 people gathered at the Ponsonby Mosque to celebrate the launch of the Charter for Compassion on 15 November. The meeting was organised by Aarif Rasheed representing the Rasheed Memorial Trust and Dave Moskovitz representing the New Zealand Jewish Council and the Union for Progressive Judaism. The meeting began with a brief text study from the Gospels, the Torah, and the Koran on the role of central role of compassion in our three religions. The group then worked together brainstorming ideas for projects to raise the profile of the Charter and compassion in our own communities.
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The Human Rights Commission is undertaking the development of guidelines for religious diversity in the workplace jointly with the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) Religious Studies Programme.
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The Human Rights Commission is conducting a survey on what people view as the most pressing human rights concerns in New Zealand as part of an update in the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights.
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Developing an updated New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights also includes updating the 2004 status report Human rights in New Zealand Today, including the section on the right to freedom of religion and belief. An initial draft of this section is now available for comment. We welcome feedback particularly on things that you consider are the priorities for action in the next five years. Please e-mail us with any suggestions.

A delegation of 10 New Zealand interfaith representatives accompanied the Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Hon. Pansy Wong, to the fifth Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue held in Perth, Australia 28-30 October.
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Perth Declaration

The Perth Declaration, issued at the end of the dialogue, focused on fostering interfaith projects, the development of future faith leaders, educational resources on religious diversity, involvement of faith community leaders in peace and conflict resolution, and religious diversity and the media.
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Participants at the Multi-faith gathering

Participants at the Multi-faith gathering

For anyone planning to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne next month, the multi-faith service at the Papatoetoe Town Hall on Saturday 14 November offered a taste of what will be encountered in Australia, albeit on a smaller scale.
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Week of Prayer for World Peace

Thousands of people across the country joined in the Week of Prayer for World Peace (11 – 18 October). From Kaitaia in the north (where Baha’is organised interfaith gatherings) to Invercargill in the south (where the hospital chaplains used the leaflets in their work).
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The Charter of Compassion

On Nov 12th, the Charter of Compassion was launched: The Charter of Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life.
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Seventh National Interfaith Forum

The Seventh National Interfaith Forum will be held in Christchurch on 26-28 February 2010 in Christchurch.
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Rabbi David Rosen will be doing two public seminars in his visit to New Zealand on November 24 and 25.
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Christchurch Interfaith activities

The Christchurch Interfaith Society is holding a discussion on the environment with a panel of different faiths including Christian, Hindu and Unification.
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The Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research at Victoria University of Wellington will present research findings on “Being Muslim in New Zealandon 26 November in Wellington.
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Parliament of World Religions

A number of New Zealanders will attend the Parliament of World Religions being held in Melbourne, Australia, from December 3 – 9.
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Season of Light Cultural Evening

On Thursday 17 December the Wellington Inter-Faith Council will be holding a Multi-Faith Celebration of Compassion through music, song, and poetry from the many faiths represented by the Council. The celebration will be held at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, 30 The Terrace and starts at 6.30pm. The MC for the evening will be Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban (Labour Spokesperson for Interfaith Dialogue) and admission is by koha towards future Wellington Interfaith events.

Contact Margaret Mayman for more information m.mayman@paradise.net.nz.

Did You Know?

In the month of November many Sikhs in New Zealand celebrated the gurupurab (birthday) of their first Guru , Guru Nanak Dev ji and will be celebrating the ‘gurupurab’ of their tenth guru Guru Gobind Singh ji in January 2010.
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The Human Rights Commission is currently updating its status report on human rights in New Zealand, in preparation for developing the second New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights next year.


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A 10 member government delegation from New Zealand will be leaving at the end of the month to attend the fifth Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue to be held October 28- 30 in Perth, Australia.


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Rabbi David Rosen will be visiting New Zealand on November 24 and 25.


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Eid celebrations hosted at Parliament

This year’s Eid celebrations were held in Parliament’s Banquet Hall on September 22.


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Labour Interfaith Branch

The NZ Labour Party has set up an interfaith branch, with the purpose of gathering together the Christian and Ratana roots of the Party and extending those to embrace Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and other faiths.


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Hindu Elders Conference Report

On 3 October more than 160 delegates participated in the first ever Hindu elders conference at the Hindu Heritage centre.


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Gisborne Te Ūnga Mai Festival

The Gisborne Inter-Faith Community participated again this year in the Te Ūnga Mai Festival in Gisborne on Saturday 10 October.


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Issues of integration, multiculturalism and policies of ethnic and religious minority rights have gained greatly in significance in recent years. A recently published book by Erich Kolig, NZ Muslims and Multiculturalism, deals with the Muslim minority in New Zealand, with special emphasis on policy aspects relevant to the integration of Muslims in the host society.


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A number of New Zealanders will be attending the Parliament of World Religions to be held in Melbourne, Australia, from December 3- 9.


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The need to foster family values and encourage Muslims to participate more actively in activities relating to religion, community welfare and sports will be among the highlights of the first National Muslim Convention due to be held in Auckland October 24- 25.


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The Auckland Interfaith Council is organising a multi-faith service with the theme “Faith and Family”.


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Jocelyn Armstrong, an experienced secondary school teacher, most recently in Religious Studies, with international experience in interfaith work, will speak about her newly published text book for Social Studies students, at a meeting organised by the Auckland Inter-Faith Council.
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Richard Tankersley is attending the fifth Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue in his capacity as a Human Rights Commissioner.


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Domestic Violence and Family Relations

The September meeting of the Christchurch Interfaith Society will focus on Domestic Violence and Family Relations.


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Hindu Elders Conference

Hindu Elders Foundation, a division of the Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc., is hosting the 1st New Zealand Hindu Elders Conference, with the theme ‘Old is Gold’. The conference will be held on Saturday, October 3 at the Hindu Heritage Centre, Auckland.


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Environmental Crisis: Muslim Responses

Dr Anna Gade will outline future agendas for understanding religious responses to conditions of environmental crisis among Muslim communities worldwide at the inaugural lecture for the Islamic Studies Research Unit at the University of Auckland.


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Dialogues with Islam

The University of Auckland will run a symposium on Islam on 10 October.


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Rasheed Memorial Trust

Rasheed Memorial Trust will be holding a study circle on the Muslim Philosopher Imam Al-Ghazzali’s Letter to Disciple.


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Speech to the National Diversity Forum

David Zwartz of the Wellington Regional Jewish Council delivered this speech at the fifth anniversary of the National Diversity Action Programme at the Diversity Forum, 24 August 2009.


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The NZ Diversity Awards

The 2009 Diversity Forum was held from August 22-24. There were over forty events and twenty organisations involved, with an estimated 4,000-6,000 people attending- a record number.


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Annual Religious Diversity Forum

The Annual Religious Diversity Forum was part of the NZ Diversity Forum that took place in Wellington from August 22- 24. This year the focus was on religious diversity in the workplace.


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Launch Statement Religious Diversity

The second edition of the Religious Diversity Statement was launched at the NZ Diversity Forum by Archbishop John Dew.


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Launch of Religion in Schools Publication

The Human Rights Commission also launched its joint publication with Victoria University Wellington: Religion in Schools, Questions and Concerns.


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Facebook page for NZDAP

The New Zealand Diversity Action Programme now has a Facebook page. You can read news and other information on the new Facebook page.

The fifth Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue will be held in Perth, Australia from October 28- 30 2009.


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Press release issued by the FIANZ

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) welcomes the assurance given by Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson that judges are sensitive to the Bill of Rights provisions against discrimination and that the barring of a woman wearing the hijab in the public gallery of the Hastings District Court last week was the result of a genuine misunderstanding by the presiding judge.


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Auckland Interfaith Council activities

There is to be a multifaith service hosted by the Auckland InterFaith Council, on Saturday November 14.


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World Peace March kick-off

The World March kicks off with a range of exciting events around the country. Find out the events close to you so you can join in.

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Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand from October 11- 18. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day.


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Diwali / Deepawali 2009 events

The NZ Sikh Society AKL & Supreme Sikh Council will be jointly celebrating Diwali Function on October 17 .


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Faith In Parliament

There will be a celebration at Parliament for the Eid festival on September 22.


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Jordan Cox will speak about the legislative history of religion in state primary schools and the current statutory framework and will also discuss the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act with particular attention to the right to free exercise of religion and its corollary, freedom from religion.


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NZ Christian Meditation website live!

The New Zealand Christian Meditation Community has launched a website ‘Christian Meditation New Zealand’.


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Week of Prayer for World Peace

The Week of Prayer for World Peace will be observed in New Zealand from October 11- 18. A leaflet has been produced by the New Zealand organising committee with prayers, readings and affirmations from many faiths to use each day.


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Christchurch Interfaith Council AGM

The AGM of the Christchurch Interfaith Council Inc. will be held on August 27 at the Refugee and Migrant Centre (Crn. Peterborough and Madras Streets) from 7- 9.00pm.


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1st NZ Hindu Elders Conference

Hindu Elders Foundation, a division of the Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc., is pleased to announce the 1st New Zealand Hindu Elders Conference on Saturday, October 3 at Hindu Heritage Centre, Auckland. The theme of the conference is Old is Gold.


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A multifaith service hosted by the Auckland interfaith Council will be held on the afternoon of Saturday November 14 in the main Hall Papatoetoe town hall.


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Speech to FIANZ Islam Awareness Week launch by Dave Moskovitz, August 10 2009.


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Annual Diversity Awards Evening

You’re all invited to the annual Diversity Awards as part of the NZ Diversity Forum Diversity Forum programme on Monday August 24. The Governor-General, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, will present the annual Diversity Awards after a reception at the Icon Restaurant, Te Papa.


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Victoria University Religious Studies Programme will host the Annual Religious Diversity Forum on August 24 from 1- 3.00 pm. This year the focus will be on religious diversity in the workplace.


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Settling In will host a workshop on Understanding Islam from a Rights Perspective on Sunday August 23 from 1pm.


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The Wellington Interfaith Council will host Interfaith in Action on Sunday August 23 from 1pm.


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Wellington City Libraries will launch the DVD Our Place Your Place about Muslim communities on Sunday August 23, from 3.30pm.


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Voice of Islam TV is hosting a launch event for their new ‘Introduction to Islam’ DVD. They have created this educational resource as a basic introduction to the Islamic way of life with a view to help dispel some of misconceptions about Islam today.


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You are invited to make comments on the Holidays Act via the comment function in blog format in this item by Friday August 21. The Commission will be making a submission on Government plans to review the Holidays Act 2003. We would like to capture some of your thoughts as a variety of views have already been expressed.


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IAW was launched successfully in Wellington on Monday August 10 by the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Pansy Wong. The event included the announcement of the 2009 Harmony Award winners and the presentation of their awards.


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Among initiatives launched for Islam Awareness Week was an online Muslim women’s directory. The directory is the result of a collaborative effort between the Office of Ethnic Affairs and Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand and brings together 26 Muslim women’s organisations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.


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Last month the Office of Ethnic Affairs hosted a forum on civic participation and belonging for the Muslim community in Christchurch. The forum formed part of the Office’s ‘Building Bridges’ project which aims to build awareness of and capacity within the Muslim community, and foster a unique New Zealand Muslim identity.


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Gisborne Interfaith Group Report

The Gisborne Interfaith group remembered Commitment to Peace Sunday, with a service at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Gisborne on Sunday August 9.


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The Government is seeking feedback on its plans to revise the Holidays Act 2003. A Ministerial Advisory Group, consisting of employer and employee representatives, has been appointed to review the Act. A range of proposals are up for public discussion, which include giving employees the choice of swapping existing public holidays for celebrations or holidays of other religions, and to take public holidays on days other than the 11 currently listed in the legislation.


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Care of the Vulnerable

The Council of Christians and Muslims (CCM), and the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) will meet to discuss Care of the Vulnerable. The meeting is on August 23 at St Johns College and will begin at 2.30pm. For more information please contact Ms Joan Brock (09 6255465).

A multifaith service is planned for November, along the lines of the highly successful service held during the National Interfaith Forum in February.


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New material on religions, non religious convictions and religious symbols is available from the Council of Europe Publishing website.


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Registration is now open for the annual New Zealand Diversity Forum, to be held in Wellington on 22-24 August. Check out the full programme and register online. Forum events are hosted by organisations that are part of the NZ Diversity Action Programme. There are a number of forums that explore religious diversity.


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‘My God’ complete DVD series

Pacific Screen, producers of the popular TV One programme ‘My God’ are pleased to announce the DVD release of the series. Series 4 is due to air this year, and the first three series are now available to purchase from Pacific Screen.


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Research on the Indian Diaspora in New Zealand is being conducted by Todd Nachowitz, at the University of Waikato. Results from the 2006 New Zealand Census show that the Indian ethnic community is now the fastest growing Asian ethnic group in New Zealand. It is also one of the most religiously diverse ethnic groups, with Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Christian members.


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Islam Awareness Week will be launched by the Hon John Key, Prime Minister (TBC), at the Wellington Islamic Centre. The launch on August 10 will begin at 10.30am and will again include the Harmony awards presentation and a lunch. The deadline for nominations for the awards is July 31.


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Dr. Nasser Shehata and Dr. Heba Hegazi will facilitate two weekend discussions on August 8 and August 9 as part of Islam Awareness Week. The discussion topics will include ‘Manners and Morals’, ‘Family and Islam’, and ‘Balance in Life’.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Society is holding a discussion on Death, Afterlife and Funeral practices. The panel of different faiths will include people from Māori, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist communities. The event will be held at the Refugee and Migrant Centre on July 30. For more information contact Bertha (03 3550959).

Annual Peace Lecture

The Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group and Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy will host Interfaith Interdependence in a Post- Modern World, the 2009 annual peace lecture.


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Unitec Spirituality Week

The Unitec Spirituality Week (August 3- 7) has become an annual celebration of the spiritual diversity of Unitec’s campus community. This year’s special sub-theme “Spirituality in Action” will broaden the range of organisations and groups invited to participate.


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Parliament of World Religions

The Parliament of World Religions will be held in Melbourne, Australia, from December 3 – 9. It aims to foster interreligious, civil and cross-cultural dialogue on important local and national issues, and to promote and encourage social cohesion within societies.


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The Victoria University Religious Studies Programme will host the annual religious diversity forum on Monday August 24 from 1- 3pm as part of the wider New Zealand 2009 Diversity Forum in Wellington.


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Network for Islamic Studies

Auckland University’s Network for Islamic Studies was upgraded last month to a Research Unit. The Unit’s intent is to pursue academic research alongside the development of a community outreach programme.


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The Office of Ethnic Affairs partnered with Auckland University’s Islamic Studies Research Unit on May 23 and 24 for the ‘Young Muslims Leadership Development Conference 2009′.


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Faith Café

The Office of Ethnic Affairs and Network for Islamic Studies also held a one hour session on the opportunities and benefits of intercultural and interfaith engagement for young people. The session was held at Esquires Café at the University of Auckland on May 23.


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Auckland Inter-Faith Council’s AGM on June 10 was attended by 40 individuals representing a wide range of faith communities, as well as faith-based organisations such as World Vision. An Auckland City Council representative also attended.


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Telugu Church Interfaith Event

An interfaith dialogue event was held in Auckland as part of the one year anniversary of the Telegu Church on May 9. The topic was ‘Unity In Diversity’ and the programme included reflection, discussion and presentation by members of various faiths.


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The Christchurch Interfaith Council held the first ever Rafaa Antoun Memorial lecture. Rev. Dr Jonathan Inkpin delivered a lecture: Receiving the Gift -Sharing in Diversity,on June 8 at the Refugee and Migrant Centre.


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New Testament for Tokelau

The first Christian scriptures to be published in the Tokelau language were launched at a church service in Porirua near Wellington on May 23.


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Spiritual Stuff for Kiwi Kids – a multifaith anthology is being compiled by Jo and Peter Donovan of Nelson: a former teacher/nurse and university religious studies lecturer.


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Islam Awareness Week

Islam Awareness Week (IAW) this year will be from August 10-17, with the theme of “finding a balance in life”.


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Matariki

Matariki, New Zealand’s indigenous new year celebration, is happening this month, and is expected to be bigger than ever.


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Hindu Elders Foundation, a division of the Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc., is organising the 1st New Zealand Hindu Elders Conference on October 3. The theme of the conference is “Old is Gold” and the conference will be held at the Hindu Heritage Centre, Mangere, Auckland.


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Professor R. Glynn Owens (University of Auckland) will give a public lecture entitled “Deconstructing Slippery Slope Arguments”.


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The Council of Christians and Muslims will meet at the Ponsonby Mosque on June 22.


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NZ Diversity Action Programme

We have now created a calendar of events page to keep the public informed about activities occurring all year round. The events are registered projects under the New Zealand Diversity Programme. There are nearly 190 participants who have renewed their participation or registered with the Diversity Action Programme for 2009.


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Seventy people from over 40 organisations spent two days, April 29-30, learning about the cultural archives of Muslims and Islam, in the New Zealand context. The feedback was extensive and there were many requests for further workshops, as well as sector specialised workshops.


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The Hindu Youth Foundation, a division of the Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc, organised the 1st NZ Hindu Youth Conference at the Hindu Heritage Centre, Mangere, Auckland on 2nd May 2009. The theme of the youth conference was “Living in Modern New Zealand with Traditional Values”.


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Two Indonesian Muslim youth leaders, Ms Lanny Octavia and Mr Raja Julia Antoni, visited New Zealand last week under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Seriously Asia programme. Lanny and Toni are up and coming civil society leaders in Indonesia, promoting religious tolerance, pluralism and interfaith dialogue.


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Spiritual Stuff for Kiwi Kids – a multifaith anthology is being compiled by Jo and Peter Donovan of Wakefield, Nelson; a former teacher/nurse and a university religious studies lecturer. Members of all faiths and the general public are invited to offer favourite precepts and practices, karakia and blessings, customs and rituals, advice and skills, and stories and teachings.


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The “Religion in New Zealand Schools – Questions and Concerns” draft guide will go through a final round of consultations that will last up until the end of June. The guide has been developed by Victoria University of Wellington and the Human Rights Commission, and identifies a number of issues about the provision of religious instruction and observance in schools.


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On Sunday May 17 come and hear two Muslim women share their experiences on what it means to be a Muslim woman in New Zealand. This talk is in association with the Crescent Moon – The Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand exhibition, currently on show at Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture in Wellington.


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The conference is being sponsored by the Office of Ethnic Affairs, the Network for Islamic Studies and FIANZ at the Copthorne Hotel in Auckland. It is aimed at Muslim youth between 18-21 years of age.


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Auckland Inter-Faith Council AGM

All are welcome to attend the annual AGM of the Auckland Inter-Faith Council, which this year will be coupled with free entertainment by stand-up comedian and author, Jamie Banks, who was recently featured in a half-hour television documentary.


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Gisborne Interfaith Group

The Gisborne Inter-Faith community is being re-formed with plans for activities being formulated for the year. An interfaith service will be held on Peace Sunday, August 9th, in remembrance of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


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Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres recently attended the world anti-racism conference (the Durban Review Conference) in Geneva. Although the conference attracted some controversy, it nevertheless resulted in the unanimous adoption of an outcome document that challenges us all to do more for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. Joris de Bres reports on the conference and what the outcome document had to say on religious intolerance:


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The ‘Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand’ surveys migrants six months, eighteen months, and three years after they have taken up permanent residence in New Zealand. New Faces, New Futures: New Zealand, recently released by the Department of Labour, is the descriptive report that presents the findings of the interviews conducted with migrants six months after they had taken up permanent residence.


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The Mystic India Part 4: Buddhism

A presentation on the faith and practice of Buddhism will be given by Almeric Cheng, President of the International Buddhist Association of the NZ- Christchurch branch.


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Race Unity Speech Contest Winner

Rayhan Langdana, Year 11, Wellington College was the winner of this year’s Race Unity Speech contest.


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Journey to Remember pilgrimage trail

Pilgrimage photo

Pilgrimage photo

A three-day pilgrimage trail that links four faith communities between Riverhead and Puhoi was walked by more than 80 people over Easter weekend.


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Scottish Interfaith Documentary

The documentary Beyond Tolerance went to New Zealand and Australia for preview events in Feb/March.


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The New Zealand Police launched a new edition of A Practical Reference to Religious Diversity on March 26.


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Massah journal

The latest issue of the Journal of the New Zealand Council of Christians and Jews, Massah Number 29 (Summer 2009) is out.


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The NZ Diversity Forum August 23-25

The Diversity Forum is held annually on the anniversary of a forum convened by the Speaker of Parliament in 2004.


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The Rasheed Memorial Da’wah Trust and the Al-Ghazzali Centre are inviting service providers to an upcoming workshop: Islamic/Muslim Cultures, A Primer for Service Providers.


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Hindu Youth Conference

The First Hindu Youth Conference will be held on May 2 at the Hindu Heritage Centre.


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Global Peace Festival

The Global Peace Festival will be held at the Samoan AOG, 38 Robertson Road, Mangere, on Friday May 8.


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The conference is being sponsored by the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the Network for Islamic Studies at the Copthorne Hotel in Auckland.


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Beyond Tolerance, by Sonya Sier

I was very fortunate recently to attend the annual National Interfaith Forum, which this year was held in the glorious surroundings of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple, as well as the Baha’i Centre, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and the University of Auckland Fale Pasifika.


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A special welcome to our new subscribers who have joined in 2009. We now have 514 on the network, which includes people from many faiths and beliefs.


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Statement on Religious Diversity

The Statement on Religious Diversity was launched two years ago after extensive public discussion and consultation. The cover of the published booklet indicated that the statement would be reviewed in time for the Diversity Forum in August 2009.


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The Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations (AOC) was held April 6-7 in Istanbul, Turkey.


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